Cape Coral is a lovely little town in Florida just outside of Fort Myers. The Westin Cape Coral at Marina Village is an equally lovely property with more suites than rooms, each outfitted with a full-sized, fully equipped kitchen, as well as living rooms, dining rooms, bedrooms, and bathrooms.
The property has a spa, salon, and gym. But it also has some more unique offerings, including a marina, a water taxi to take you to the beach, sunset and dolphin watching tours, and a New Balance Fitness Gear loan program. They are pet-friendly and take part in a number of “green” initiatives in the rooms, public areas, and back of the house.
As for food, the property offers two dining options: Marker 92 Waterfront Bar & Bistro and the Nauti Mermaid Dockside Bar & Grill. The Nauti Mermaid serves the lunch portion of Marker 92’s offerings; its menu includes the usual seafood suspects, like grouper, mahi mahi, and shrimp.
I opted for the cherry bourbon glazed pork ribs with pickled watermelon, and the shrimp stir-fry with pan flashed shrimp, soy glazed tofu, edamame, and market vegetables over brown rice. The ribs were so delicious that I found myself ordering a second round after I finished off the first. The stir-fry was satisfying as well — it’s tough to go wrong with shrimp when you’re spending time on the Gulf Coast.
But the real fun at Marker 92 isn’t on the menu, it’s off.
If you’re in the know, you can order from the secret, unwritten poutine menu with variations on the popular French-Canadian dish. The menu was created to cater to an impressive number of Canadian travelers who visit the property each year. It doesn’t hurt that general manager Eric Ashton hails from Canada, either. After nagging executive chef Drew Tait to make the dish for him, the resort decided to offer it to any guest who knows to order it.
They offer three varieties; ask for poutine and you’ll get the classic recipe of crispy French fries topped with shredded mozzarella cheese and hot brown gravy. Order the Floridian poutine and you’re served crispy French fries covered with fried grouper bites, shredded mozzarella cheese, hot brown gravy, and drizzles of aioli. If you opt for the loaded poutine, you’ll find yourself reveling in crispy French fries topped with bacon, shredded mozzarella cheese, hot brown gravy, scallions, and sour cream.
I ordered number three and was one happy customer. The fries were perfectly crisped and the gravy was seasoned just right. Best of all, there was the perfect amount of each ingredient. Too much of any one thing and you end up with dry poutine, soggy poutine, or drowning poutine, but the loaded poutine was heavenly. Marker 92 may not have invented poutine, but they have definitely invented some attention-worthy renditions stateside.