Featured Restaurant

Rosa Fiorelli Winery

By | October 14, 2014

Rosa Fiorelli Winery

Rosa Fiorelli WineryLast weekend the weather was perfect for a convertible ride so we headed east from Lakewood Ranch to check out the Rosa Fiorelli Winery in east Manatee County. We tasted some really nice wines and enjoyed chatting with Heather and Rosa in their tasting room.

They have been in business for 16 years. The Winery has its own building for fermenting and bottling, and a separate building for tasting and sales and has recently expanded to 10 acres of vineyard and a 3000 sq. ft. winery. Mature grapevines allow for u-pick fresh grapes bronze or black Muscadine grapes in early August to September.

I always thought that muscadine grapes would just make a very sweet wine but found they have quite a variety from dry to sweet. The last sample was of a dessert wine that was to die for with a bite of chocolate!

Throughout the year they offer tours and Wine & Dine events so check out their website for dates and further information.

www.fiorelliwinery.com

 

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Happy Birthday Smacks Burgers & Shakes!

By | August 2, 2014

S'Macks Logo

S'Macks LogoS’macks Burgers & Shakes, the younger sibling of Gecko’s Grill & Pub, is celebrating a big birthday. Wednesday, August 6th marks the beginning of the Better Burger concept’s one year milestone at the corner of Bee Ridge & Shade in Sarasota.

S’macks is Polished Casual food with a conscience. With its 100% Hormone and Steroid free Bison Burgers, Choice Angus, and locally sourced Top Dogs, S’macks’ original menu evolved to honor the requests of our guests, and now includes Chicken and Vegetarian options, daily Chef Specials, specialty Iced Teas, and inspired Frozen Custard flavors. S’macks’ Fries, a tasty crinkle cut, immediately earned “Best Fries” distinction with SRQ Magazine.

Join S’macks to celebrate its Birthday with Frozen Chosen Happy Hour from 3-5pm Monday through Friday this week, where you can make a Birthday wish and enjoy your choice of Frozen Custard, Shakes, or Concretes for half price.

Smacks Burgers & Shakes
Compliments SRQ Daily

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The Hob Nob Drive-In in Sarasota

By | July 4, 2014

Hob Nob SignThe Hob Nob is an institution in Sarasota that has been around since the 50’s. Located at the corner of Highway 301 and 17th Street, this open air diner has retained its historical charm. Lots of black and white checkerd tile and chrome seats with red vinyl. It’s a casual, friendly atmosphere and almost always bustling with activity. Recent renovations included roll down shades for rainy days and heaters for our few winter days.

Hob Nob Drive In They have all the old fashioned diner food: burgers, fries, milkshakes, etc. plus alot more. We were in the mood for hot dogs and onion rings with a cold beer after a day at the beach. This was the perfect spot! We sat at the counter and were amazed at how much food was coming out of that little kitchen. The servers are friendly and efficient. There are no frills here but it’s a fun place to stop in for a bite. They are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Check out the menu at http://www.hobnobdrivein.com/menus.html

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Real Southern Style Cooking at Darrell’s Restaurant

By | June 6, 2014

Darrell's Restaurant Sign

Darrell's Restaurant SignDARRELL’S Restaurant is tucked away at the Brick Yard Plaza in Venice off Tamiami Trail. I had heard so many wonderful comments the last few months about the “Super Yummy” food so we decided to give it an honest try this past Sunday evening. Owner, Darrell came out personally to greet us at our table and and thanked us for coming. He really prides himself in running a great restaurant with his hands on attentive staff and it shows with his caring genuine nature to make sure every table leaves full, happy and content!

There are so many wonderful meal choices on the menu but we first started off with Sweet Teas served in Mason jars which was a nice presentation. Being that it was the first time, we chose Two of Darrell’s Signature Items: My pick was the “Andy Dandy”- a plentiful portion of delectable pulled pork and slices beef brisket seasoned to perfection along with homemade cheesy mac and cheese, coleslaw and a nice slice of cornbread. My husband chose “Down The Keys Mac & Cheese” with shrimp and crawfish tail along with a sweet potato with a slice of cornbread… not a morsel was left on his plate when he was done. To finish off the meal, we shared a “Jar of Dirt” which was chocolate pudding & oreo cookies with whipped topping which was fun to eat and brought out the kid in us again. This is now our Favorite Place for Real Homemade Cooking… next time it’ll be the Fried Chicken!

Menu: www.darrellsrestaurant.net

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First Watch Restaurant in Sarasota

By | May 27, 2014

First Watch Logo

First Watch LogoWay back when, in the 1980’s a trip to Sarasota was not complete without at least one stop at the quite novel First Watch Restaurant at 8383 S Tamiami Trail. In those days it was not common to find a breakfast, lunch or brunch restaurant with health minded food, what a fabulous concept! The smell of coffee and toast, so inviting. In those days the First Watch Restaurant was a family run, one of a kind spot. Though First Watch started in California in the early 80’s, it did not survive there but opened a few years later in Sarasota. In Sarasota it is was not only popular, but grew to hundreds of restaurants in 16 states!Sarasota has several locations but if you want to relax and feel like you’re on vacation and maybe you already are, you need to visit this location.

Waterfront Dining on the Patio

Waterfront Dining on the Patio

Don’t let it fool you that it’s in a small strip mall, the lakefront setting is peaceful with a choice of terrace dining or inside, still with lovely views from walls of French windows.. I’ve always been drawn to the Bacado omelet but love the Siesta Key Cocktail, a healthy choice with yogurt, fresh fruit and granola. One of my SearchForSarasotaHomes.com visitors has thoughts of moving back to Sarasota solely for their vegetable soup! Now that’s saying something!!!

Check out the menu at FirstWatch.com

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MONKS STEAMER BAR in Gulf Gate

By | April 24, 2014

Monk's Steamer Bar

Monk's Steamer BarOK, I’ve held off for a while now so as not to give away our favorite local hang-out and date-nite spot with my wife… But, here it is… Eat at Monk’s in Gulf Gate on Superior Drive! It is a local dive bar but full of energy, great staff, patrons, music and food! Monk’s serves up steamed oysters, raw oysters-the best in town, crab claws, shrimp, crawfish, clams, and more! They even sell wholesale. Don’t miss that famous laugh by one of our favorite bartenders, Pineapple! All the food is shucked and steamed right behind the bar as the guys (and gal) rush around like neutrons pleasing the crowd! Monk’s is smoke-free now but they just built a beautiful wood deck out front for the outside diners and smokers. If you want excellent seafood, DO NOT MISS MONK’S! Say ‘hi’ and tell ‘em we sent you!

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Polo Grill and Bar in Lakewood Ranch

By | February 28, 2014

Polo Grill

Polo GrillWe hadn’t been to the Polo Grill in awhile so last weekend my husband and I decided to check it out. We had heard that a new chef was hired and some remodeling had been done to the space so we were anxious to see it.

I would describe the atmosphere as casually elegant with the dining area divided by comfortable booths with tables inbetween. Ambient lighting and music was pleasant but the highlight of our evening there was definitely the food, although the drinks were good too. They have a special martini menu with some selections I had never seen before and their wine list is extensive.

The new chef, Stephane Pierre, has created a varied menu that uses locally sourced ingredients and all the sauces are made from scratch. We both ordered fish; I had the soy and honey laquered salmon and my husband had pan seared red snapper with a crabmeat and sundried tomato topping…both were outstanding! The presentation was what you would expect to find in an upscale restaurant.

According to Mark Resnick, the General Manager, they are having a good response to all the changes that have been made. There are quite a few special events that take place at the Polo Grill as well as Tuesday Night Trivia each week and live music every Friday and Saturday night. If you’re in need of catering or an event venue…they have that too!

If you haven’t been to the Polo Grill lately I encourage you to get reaquainted…you won’t regret it! It’s located on Main Street in Lakewood Ranch and open for lunch and dinner.

www.pologrillandbar.com

 

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Lucky to have Javier’s Restaurant and Wine Bar on Siesta Key…

By | January 31, 2014

Javier's Restaurant

Javier's RestaurantI count my blessings to live in Sarasota.  I count my blessings to have Siesta Key close by.  I count my blessings that Javier Arana and his wife Mary opened the ever fabulous ‘Javier’s Restaurant and Wine Bar’ on Siesta Key over 25 years ago!!  We are so lucky.

If you’ve not been to Javier’s Restaurant near Crescent Beach, you’re missing out and you’ll be mad at yourself for not going sooner. The hardest part might be trying to decide what to order, the menu is impressive! Javier is from Peru and has had a lifetime of experience in the kitchen, and it shows! I’ve included a menu for you to peruse, there is soooo much to offer. Typically I select the four course special and the ceviche is a must have, I also LOVE the lemon parmesan salad dressing and always, always have banana’s foster which Javier flambés up himself. The wine list is vast and there are wonderful South American wines, among others to choose from. They serve Peruvian beer too! Check out their menu at http://www.javiersrestaurant.com/index.html

Happy to say they abide by ‘Eat Fresh, Eat Local, Eat Organic’! Food Channel says that “Peruvian cuisine is considered one of the most varied and richest in the world”.  Greetings from Javier’s on Siesta Key!

Just south of the Stickney Point Bridge at 6621 Midnight Pass Road.   Tell them Debra sent you…

Javiers Restaurant Interior

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Blu Island Bistro

By | January 16, 2014

blu-bistro

“A hidden gem of an eatery on the Island of Venice”blu-bistro

It’s so great to have a pleasant dining experience at an eating establishment I’ve heard so much about but haven’t had the time to dine at yet. So one afternoon on a whim, based only on word of mouth, my husband and I decided to try this quaint eatery as I’m always in search of unique places to recommend to my clients and/or treat to a business breakfast, lunch or dinner.

We were so pleasantly greeted by the hostess and shown to our table which overlooked the pool area of the small hotel adjoining next door. The décor had a beachy cottage sleek comfortable feel as if I were on vacation myself.

The made to order daily specials sounded great but we decided to order off the menu instead with the chicken tacos along with cilantro/lime slaw & fresh fruit and the two-handed Reuben brisket sandwich with homemade fries- delish! When our plates arrived, my eyes widened at the presentation of  just a lunch portion….all I can say is ..Wow! Our waitress was still attentive despite the busier it became due to the lunch time crowd and by the time we paid the bill and left, every table was full including a wait. We will definately go back for lunch, then try the breakfast and dinner.

Located across from Venice Hospital on the Venice Island at 625 S. Tamiami Trail, Venice adjacent to the Sun Island Inn Hotel.  Before you go, look at  the menus at www.bluislandbistro.com

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Bob’s Boathouse is Now Open

By | November 15, 2013

Bob's Boathouse EntranceAfter three years of driving up and down 41 and watching Bob’s Boathouse being built to look like a Marina, the restaurant finally was open to the public on Sunday, November 2nd. The weather was picture perfect for opening day and the place was outstanding.

From the minute you drive onto the property you can see the attention to detail and building an atmosphere that makes you feel like you are at a boatyard. The front door is shaped like a boat and feels like you are walking into a marina.  The staff greeted us with big smiles and that laid back, but very friendly attitude found in most boaters.

Bob's Boathouse TablesThe place is decorated over the top with lots of real “boat-like” features and it makes you feel like you are in an actual marina. There is plenty of seating and three bars in the restaurant. Live music plays on the outdoor patio overlooking the pool, which will perfect for the lazy hot days of summer.  The drinks were cold and the food was good. It was a great way to spend a few hours on Sunday afternoon.

Bob's Boathouse Pool

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