The only thing bluesy about the 19th annual Taste of the Beach on Sunday was the music.
Beautiful blue skies dashed away any early week threat of inclement weather and the Baywalk Blues Festival portion complemented Estero Island's largest food festival of the year with a reported record in attendance (nearly 4,000) and sales.
Sixteen restaurants displayed their signature fare and competed for best dish awards in three categories -appetizer; entre; and dessert - as well as People's Choice and Best Decorated Booth along Old San Carlos Boulevard. The Sean Chambers Band headlined the all-day entertainment, which included musical acts Wendell Ray and The RH Faktor.
Yucatan Beach Stand was the big winner on the day by capturing best overall entree with Pork Osso Bucco, appetizer with Blackened Shrimp Skewers, second in dessert with Kim's Famous Key Lime Pie, third in People's Choice and second in Best Decorated Booth. Three members of Yucatan's staff also took top honors in the server competition with a time of 1:20.5 and no spillage.
Skip One Seafood also celebrated a banner day by picking up top honors in People's Choice, second in overall entree with Shellfish Fried Shrimp and fourth in appetizer with Gulf Steamed Shrimp (Pink Gold). Royal Scoop won the dessert category with Ma's Bread Pudding Sundae topped with Rum Raisin Ice Cream and Parrot Key Caribbean Grill was honored for Best Decorated Booth. Bongo's at Pink Shell took third in the entree category with Shellfish Crab Cake and in the dessert category with Key Lime Pie Mini Delights.
Other restaurants that placed include Castaways Bar & Grill (Grilled Grouper Cakes) and Beach Bums (Cheesy Bum Bites with Marinara Sauce) tying in the appetizer category and Nervous Nellies Crazy Waterfront Eatery placing second in the People's Choice category.
1. Yucatan Beach Stand
(tie) Castaways Bar & Grill/ Beach Bums
4. Skip One Seafood
* Entree (overall)
1. Pork Osso Bucco Yucatan Beach Stand
2. Shellfish Fried Shrimp Skip One Seafood
3. Shellfish Crab Cake Bongo's at Pink Shell
1. Royal Scoop
2. Yucatan Beach Stand
3. Bongo's at Pink Shell
* People's Choice
1. Skip One Seafood
2. Nervous Nellies Crazy Waterfront Eatery
3. Yucatan Beach Stand
* Decorated Booth
1. Parrot Key Caribbean Grill
2. Yucatan Beach Stand
* Server Competition
1. Yucatan Beach Stand 1:20.5
2. Nemo's on the Beach 1:37.1
3. Big Game Waterfront Grill 1:56.4
Eight restaurants competed in the server competition with four restaurants disqualified after dropping glassware from their trays within elements of the obstacle course that featured tires, stairs, swinging doors and cones. Yucatan Beach Stand was impressive with just under 17 seconds faster than second-place finisher Nemo's on the Beach, which had a time of 1:37.1 with no spillage and third-place finisher Big Game Waterfront Grill, which had a time of 1:56.4 with no spillage.