Best of October: The top things we ate in SWFL

Will Watts

October brought us a new food destination, Wawa, and we also revisited several island favorites.  

Wawa, South Naples

Wawa recently opened in South Naples. In perusing their sandwich offerings, my curiosity was piqued by the specials of hot turkey paired with stuffing and cranberry sauce or mashed/sweet potatoes on a hoagie roll.

More:‘Watts for Dinner’: Wawa improves on gas-station food

Alas, the temps suggested I sample something less heavy. So, I sampled the spicy Cajun turkey sandwich and added bacon. I ordered the 10-inch sandwich which is compact and easy to handle; yet still stuffed with mildly spicy goodness. The ingredients were fresh and delicious. I highly recommend this sandwich.

The spicy cheesesteak sandwich from Wawa, South Naples.

For my side, I added a cup of chicken noodle soup; also, amazing. If this is the new standard for gas-station food, I’m in and Subway is doomed.

My partner in dine picked a sandwich from the sourdough melts menu; the spicy cheesesteak. Cheesy, hot and scrumptious was his assessment. Although he would have liked a bit more meat.

Sourdough melts feature thicksliced- artisan bread. You can also get roasted chicken and pepperoni, to name a few.

For his side, the sweet potatoes. This dish was incredibly sweet, more like a pie filling than a savory side dish. Don’t get me wrong, it was top notch and earns our highest rating.

Jackie’s Chinese, Marco Island

Are you looking for great Chinese food on the go? Jackie’s Chinese Restaurant on Marco Island does have a few tables, but the bulk of their business is takeout. Whether you call ahead or stop by to order, The pork fried dumplings are naughty, but these little dumplings are worth every gram of fat.

More:‘Watts for Dinner’: Our take away? Jackie’s a delicious alternative to cooking

The shrimp lo mein combo comes with fried rice and an egg roll and there’s a boatload of shrimp.

Sesame chicken from Jackie's Chinese Restaurant, Marco Island.

The sesame chicken dinner features those golden brown crispy nuggets tossed in a delectable sesame sauce. The sauce is made of sunflower oil, sesame seeds, soy sauce and rice vinegar.

If you like tangy and sweet and have an affinity seeds, this dish is for you.

SpeakEasy, Marco Island

The temperatures may still be flirting with the 90s, but there’s something in the air that harkens to cooler days ahead. That’s why we picked a nice outdoor spot for our late Sunday lunch, and with the help of a few fans, we were enjoying comfortable waterside dining at the SpeakEasy.

More:‘Watts for Dinner’: SpeakEasy and have a big sandwich

I ordered the “Mile-High Club” with ham, turkey, bacon, avocado, cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, mayo and your choice of white, wheat or rye bread.

The “Mile-High Club” from the SpeakEasy, Marco Island.

This sandwich is a monster; it comes cut in quarters and each was too thick to fit in my mouth. This sandwich is more than the sum of its parts; the tomato is diced, and the ingredients are layered uniquely and perfectly; the avocado layer near a generous bacon layer. The cheese is thick, but not too thick.

You have your choice of sides: fries, sweet potato fries, cole slaw or onion rings. I picked the sweet potato fries. While they were great; this sandwich deserves some homemade potato chips on the side; just a suggestion.

My partner in dine picked the monster parmesan meatball sub with marinara and mozzarella cheese and served on a hoagie roll. As you can see from the photo, this is a generous sandwich that’s also more than a mouthful. He picked the fries, which were crunchier than mine and were absolutely addictive.

“Su’s Garden Flaming Steak Kew” from Su's Garden, Marco Island.

Su’s Garden, Marco Island

Things got off to an appetizing start with the lettuce wraps. Ground chicken, water chestnuts, and mildly spicy seasoning served with leafy lettuce. This is a favorite dish of mine that I’ve eaten at P.F. Chang’s and Pei Wei, so my expectations were high. And this dish met them. I highly recommend this appetizer.

More:‘Watts for Dinner’: Su’s Garden for your Chinese fix

For his main dish this visit, my partner in dine ordered the “Su’s Garden Flaming Steak Kew,” a ribeye steak grilled to the degree you prefer served with “Chinese vegetables.” First, the presentation is incredible and flammable. They add wine sauce near the table on a serving tray, then light it on fire.

The pan-fried pork dumplings at Su's Garden, Marco Island.

So, this dish comes with a lot of vegetables and your choice of rice. The ribeye was a bit fatty but cooked to perfection and quite tasty. I picked from the dinner combos on the back of the menu – you can choose from numerous appetizers, soup, your main dish and a small dessert. I chose the egg roll, the wonton soup and shrimp fried rice.

The egg roll was good, a bit on the dry side, but good. The fried rice was delish! Plentiful shrimp and a nice mix of ingredients. One word of caution, this dish is huge, and you will have leftovers.

During our July 2018 visit we sampled the pineapple chicken off the house specialties menu. The dish features white meat chicken – and be aware, not all the dishes do – assorted veggies with sweet and sour pineapple sauce. He considered the dish a success, but said it leaned more toward the sweet than sour side.

If you have a hankering for Chinese, Su’s offers a solid meal at a reasonable price without crossing over any bridges.

More:Best of September: The top things we ate in SWFL

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If you go


  • Price Street and Tamiami Trail E., South Naples

Jackie’s Chinese Restaurant

  • 1089 North Collier Boulevard, Marco Island
  • 239-642-8148

The SpeakEasy

  • 1106 North Collier Boulevard, Marco Island
  • 239-970-2929

Su’s Garden

  • 537 Bald Eagle Drive, Marco Island
  • 239-394-4666