Thursday, February 17, 2011

Dolce Tesoro makes a sweet — and savory — debut

A combination bakery, gelato shop and espresso bar, which opened last week in the Tahitian Gardens Shopping Center, Dolce Tesoro is the brainchild of executive chef AJ Black and his wife, Jolene. The couple already owns Il Tesoro Ristorante, which recently celebrated its second anniversary on the island. However, they wanted to open a different kind of eatery that would offer "fine foods with a to-go option."

"We wanted to bring a little feeling of Italy and France to Sanibel," said AJ Black, one of the island's top culinary artists whose recipes have been published in the Grand Masters cookbooks alongside Thomas Keller and Chef Daniel Bolud for Relais & Chateaux. "We wanted people to feel more casual but still be able to enjoy fine food, and they don't have to break the bank to do it."

Among Dolce Tesoro's "Savory Bakery" menu items are pizzas (with toppings including salmon, potato, primavera, caprese, quatrro formaggi and margarita), lasagna, baked ziti, ravioli and meatballs.

"We have items that everybody will like... even the children," added AJ, who noted that his own daughters have taste-tested and approved the entire menu. "A lot of my favorite dishes as a kid are my kids' favorites."

Also on the bakery menu — made fresh on site each day — are baguettes, rolls, tarts and an assortment of croissants (plain, chocolate, apricot, orange cream, vanilla cream and Nutella) and cupcakes (vanilla bean, chocolate, lemon meringue and peanut butter cup, to name a few).

A variety of individual serving-size cheesecakes, tiramisu, cookies, triple chocolate cake and sweet or savory crepes are also offered, some on a daily basis.

The modest walk-in shop, which provides outdoor hi-top tables for diners, is painted with vibrant colors and decorated with flower boxes, tapestries, fresco-style paintings and curtains, evoking a European sense of decor.

"This space sort of reflects our character," AJ Black added. "It's looks like it's Old World, and gives you a feeling that you're off the island."

In addition to baked goods, Dolce Tesoro serves coffees, espressos and lattes — all exclusively by Italian manufacturer Lavazza — as well as sodas, teas, bottled waters and fresh-squeezed juices.

"Most gourmet coffees, even if they come from Italy, cut corners in the roasting process, or they don't filter the water properly," said Black, who selected Lavazza from among 50 varieties. "I think that people should start a meal and end a meal with a great coffee."

The take-out eatery also offers more than a dozen flavors of gelato, including amaretto, strawberry rose, pistachio, black currant and a few exotic-sounding varieties like vaniglia, cremrosce and tartufo.

"When people walk in here, we want them to feel like they're stepping into a place in Sicily," explained Jolene Black. "It also has kind of a French flair to it. We hope that people will want to come here not just for the great food, but for the ambiance as well."

Dolce Tesoro, located at 2003 Periwinkle Way, is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week. Delivery will also be offered in the near future. Call 472-4300 or fax orders to 472-4333. Their menu is available online at JEFF LYSIAK

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Rotary Club hopes to exceed 10,000 visitors for 28th Annual Arts & Crafts Fair Feb. 19-20

The Rotary Club of Sanibel-Captiva is preparing for their 28th Annual Arts & Crafts Fair on Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 19 and 20 on the Sanibel Community House lawn on Periwinkle Way.

The premier arts and crafts fair of the islands, the event is a celebration of community spirit, beautiful arts and crafts from around the country, entertainment, food and displays from community and charity projects supported by the Rotary Club. With no fees for parking and a $5 suggested donation for entrance, the public is invited to attend.

With a record number of artists applying for the show this year, the Jury Committee was challenged in choosing the very best for the event. Renowned nature artist Ikki Matsumoto has generously donated, yet again, a special piece of art, one of the most dramatic prints shown to date. It will be used as the feature art on the customary Arts & Crafts Fair t-shirts to be on sale at the event.

Many local businesses have also donated outstanding items for the silent auction, including a Rolex watch, weeklong beachfront stays and more, in addition to spectacular pieces donated by other artists.

Open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday the 19th and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday the 20th, more than 100 participating artists will offer unique gifts, wearable art, sculpture, paintings, photography, wood working, painted furniture, jewelry and more.

Proceeds from the Sanibel Arts & Crafts Fair are used to meet community needs, to fund local scholarships and for human service needs worldwide.

For more information on the art festival, please call 472-1000 or or their Facebook page ( by SAMANTHA SCOTT

Corner Grill, Gallery hosts grand opening celebration tonight

The grand opening celebration for Wendy and George Schnapp’s Corner Grill and master artist and Islamorada Florida gallery owner Stacie Krupa’s 5,000-square-foot Corner Gallery will take place on on Friday, Feb. 11, from 5 to 9 p.m. An exclusive Art PrivĂ© charity art auction featuring Krupa’s premier series “Sanibel, Sunshine and Sass” will open with a preview at 5 p.m., followed by a silent auction lasting until 8. During a cocktail party featuring gourmet selections from Chef Kevin Decker, Krupa will be greeting guests, answering questions, and discussing her art.

Krupa, who conveys a very refreshing way of looking at life, says she is very excited about the event. “The buzz is so beyond positive so far! We already have pre-auction bids on some paintings, some of them at full value in order to secure the work!

“I think the whole night will be a win-win for all — George and Wendy, ‘Ding’ Darling Wildlife Society, and My Art Spirit!”

Krupa, a 2008 HG-TV featured “Dream Home” artist and gallery owner — known internationally for her “powerful and original expressionistic paintings” — is expanding her “Creative Empire” by collaborating with the Schnapps to create a double dose of the Creative Spirit — a great experience for both palette and palate! 

Krupa received her Master’s in Painting from the University of Miami. She also studied at The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art and Maryland Institute College of Art on scholarship and has owned her gallery/studio in the Florida Keys for 12 years. She has also had galleries in Montreal, Canada and Winter Park, Fla.

The Corner Grill and Krupa’s Corner Grill Gallery opened last week to rave reviews for its extensive renovations, food, art, and an upscale “hip” freshness that is full of fun, vivid colors. Krupa’s gallery is intertwined with the dining experience to cultivate a fresh and new gallery experience while one dines on creative American cuisine by Chef Kevin Decker. The 5,000-square-foot interior features Krupa originals that are for sale and will always be replaced with originals as the art sells. 

A portion of all painting sales benefits the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends Of The Refuge. Patrons can purchase the art through table-top purchase orders or through the Sanibel Gallery Director, George Schnapp; all prices include taxes and full shipping worldwide. Art will be shipped or delivered on a monthly basis.  

“Well behaved women, rarely make history.”

Bobcat spotted at Sunset Captiva

On Sunday, Sunset Captiva Property Manager George Hoch experienced something rather unusual — a bobcat sighting. 

Bobcats sightings aren’t uncommon on the islands, but it was the nature of this particular feline that Hoch said made the experience so strange. 

“It was about 7:30 in the morning, and I’d just gotten up on the dock at Sunset Captiva, when I spotted something out of the corner of my eye,” Hoch said. “I looked over and there was a bobcat sitting 10 feet away from me in the mangroves just staring at me.”

Hoch, a nature photographer, was without his camera at the time, so he had to go all the way home on the other side of the island, put his camera together and come all the way back.

But when he returned to the dock, the bobcat was gone.

Disappointed, Hoch looked around — just in case — and that’s when he realized that the bobcat was actually under the dock. 

“He walked out from under the dock and along the edge of the property, stopped, looked at me, I got the shot, and then he turned around and walked off into the mangroves,” Hoch said. “I was so excited about it and it was just the neatest thing — talk about a beautiful animal!

“That was the second time I’d seen a bobcat on Captiva, but this was a close encounter. He was very cool and casual, just sitting there in the mangroves looking at me. I wish I’d had my camera because that would have been a perfect shot, like something out of National Geographic.”

And while Hoch said he would have loved to capture a perfectly posed photograph of the bobcat, he’s glad he was able to get at least one great shot of the creature. By JANE BRICKLEY
“Usually you don’t see them so close, but I never know what I’m going to see out at Sunset Captiva — I’ve seen otters, eagles, osprey, armadillos. It’s a really great location.”

Monday, February 7, 2011

What's happening at the Community House - Community Association


Valentine's Day Dinner & Dance
Monday, February 14
6pm Hors D'oerves
6:30pm Dinner Buffet
7:30pm Dancing

Celebrate with your sweetheart and friends on this special night.  Enjoy an elegant buffet dinner and Island Jaza Big Band, 10 pc ensemble.

Buffet Menu:
Prime Rib Carving Station
Chicken Marsala
Greek Salad
Marinated Vegetable Salad
Twice Baked Potato
Steamed Fresh Vegaetables
Sweetheart Cake

Make Your Reservations Today
$35 Members, $45 Guests

Songwriter's Blend Featuring Annie Wenz
Sunday February 20
Doors Open at 6:30 pm
Performance Begins at 7pm
$12 members, $15 guests

"Before I Forget" A Memoir With Music
Encore Performance By and with Sally-Jane Heit
Tuesday, February 22nd, 7:30 pm  $35.00
Meet The Artist Reception Following The Performance

Shell Crafting Every Monday 10am - 3pm  FREE
Sanctioned Duplicate Bridge  Tuesday  1pm   $8.00
Island Yoga Wed, Thurs, Fri 8:30 am  $12 members, $15 guests
Zumba,  Tues,  February 8th  10:00 am Complimentary Class

Make Your Reservations Today
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Call To Make Your Reservations Today
472-2155 or visit us online at
See You At The House!
Sanibel Community Association

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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Island Beach Club 240F - Special Rate for Presidents Week!!!

Relax and enjoy the white sandy beaches at this Gulf front complex.

Centrally located, Island Beach Club offers easy access to the bike trails and the Gulf of Mexico

This comfortable unit is 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms. Located on the second floor offering a long view of the Gulf of Mexico

Call for more information - Island Beach Club 240F - Special Rate for President's Week! $1550.00 plus Tax and Fees. Located on Prestigious West Gulf Drive. -
  800 237 7526 or website