Well dear readers, I’m officially back from the beach. Actually, I’ve been back since Monday but have been suffering from acute vacation withdrawals, hence my brief absence. I was all set to hunker down and get this post out ASAP…but then my plane landed in Seattle.

And I drove home. In the rain. Which hasn’t stopped. Until today. When it decided to snow.

Can I go back to Florida now? Please?

Yeah yeah, I know. It’s time for me to buck up, be “an adult” (cringe) and get back to work. But that doesn’t been we can’t take a brief respite from the daily grind to pretend we’re still basking in those 80 degree rays!

I did promise you a trip to Naples and an Irish pub after all.

So let’s take a drive…

Welcome to Naples! No, not the one in Italy.

This picturesque city lies about 40 minutes or so outside Marco Island. Here, you will find an up-scale oasis filled with amazing homes, gorgeous landscaping, Porshe-lined sidewalks and these crazy-cool looking banyan trees, which provide the perfect backdrop for streets with “piratey” names like Cutlass Lane and Rum Row.

That’s right. Rum Row. I was seriously hoping I’d find Jack Sparrow sauntering down the street but alas, he was nowhere to be found.

We did find some fancy-shmancy houses however. I’m a serious sucker for pretty homes and will walk for hours around neighborhoods just snapping away with my Canon. Shall we go for a little walk then?

What I love most about Naples is how absolutely lush the residential area is. Florida tends to be…well…as this guy I met in Disneyworld once put it, FLAT. But the housing district is so chock-full of tropical plants and palms that I swear we were driving through The Jungle Cruise, (which ~ and here’s your Disneyland fun fact for the day ~ has grown into a living ecosystem that helps the plants not indigenous to California thrive)!

Naples is also home to the pretty as a picture downtown boulevard, 5th Avenue. This is where the locals apparently go to see and be seen. So, if you’re looking for a swanky restaurant or a post-beach cocktail to sooth that aching sunburn, then you’ve come to the right street. 5th Ave also provides some excellent shopping of the boutique persuasion.

Don’t worry dudes – there’s a nearby pub where you can wait out your woman’s credit card maxing antics while sippin’ on some suds.

The fam and I decided to take in some fine Irish fare over at McCabe’s Irish Pub and Grill during our trip to Naples and the meal was excellent.

But what meal consisting of Guinness soaked tenderloin and a cool, frothy beer followed by a slice of key lime pie wouldn’t be excellent?

The menu at McCabe’s features a sampling of Irish classics such as lamb stew, shepherd’s pie and a Dublin slow roast in addition to your usual bar and grill goodies. I opted for the boozy beef myself. Topped with a mushroom demi glaze it was succulent, tender and had just a hint of Guinness. I would have preferred a bit more beer but hey, that’s what concocting your own marinade at home is for!

As for dessert…I’m always down for a slice of key lime and was rather pleased with the pretty presentation. Anything covered in whipped cream, raspberry sauce and fresh strawberries is a winner with me! And despite the extra forks, I was happy to find my fellow family members suitably stuffed and unable to assist me in devouring this tart and lovely slice of paradise.

Shopping, beer, sugar and sunshine. Yes, it was a swell day indeed!

~Brittni

Guinness Marinade
Adapted from About.com

Okay, I’ll admit it. I have yet to actually try out this recipe for myself. Is that a food blogger sin? Well, if it is I do apologize from the bottom of my hungry little heart. But really…how bad can a concoction of beer, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard and spices be? Based on the ingredients alone, I’d say it’s pretty darn close to the marinade my tenderloin at McCabes’s was basking in.  Now don’t get all huffy. I plan on taking this marinade for a test ride over the weekend and will alter the recipe appropriately if need be. I think it will make a delightful Sunday supper, don’t you? Be aware, however, that the recipe below is only enough for one steak. So multiply those ingredients if you’re feeding a gaggle of Guinness lovers in addition to yourself.  

You will need:

4 ounces Guinness Stout Beer at room temperature
2 garlic cloves
1 ounce soy sauce
1 tbsp. Vidalia onion
1 teaspoon shallots
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon fresh tarragon
1/4 teaspoon parsley
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt

Directions:

Finely chop garlic, shallot and onion and place in a small bowl.
 
Add to that some finely chop parsley and tarragon and add to the bowl.
 
Then toss in the Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, Guinness beer, soy sauce and seasonings. Mix well to combine.
 
Let stand for 30 minutes to blend flavors.
 
Add your meet and marinade for at least 2 hours or over night.
 
When you’re ready to grill, place the remaining marinade in a small saucepan and reduce it for one or two minutes until slightly thickened. Add more beer to the marinade at this stage if desired.
Use the reduction as a scrumptious sauce to top off your meat.
 
Yield ~ Enough marinade for 1 serving
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