Restaurants

Cafe Palm

By | July 22, 2011

I have visited Cafe Palm/Media on Main on two occasions. As you may know, I’m a realtor and share an office with two other real estate agents. On that particular day, our space had begun to sound more like the drug induced throes of a Lady Gaga concert than an office with three civilized human beings making business calls. I had no choice but to snatch up my laptop and head for the hills. I needed a place to abuse carbs AND pimp houses (aka network) in a somewhat efficient manner. I had been meaning to visit Cafe Palm / Media on Main for a while. I had this fantasy that it was the type of place that the local “ladies of leisure” might spend their time…you know, sculpted cheekbones and perky lips in tennis skirts, sipping on champaigne and noshing on fresh fruit. Maybe you are one of these ladies, hmm? I’m not mocking you, I’m just jealous. Anyway, I was eager to pretend for an hour or so.

The menu was eclectic and quite frou frou enough to differentiate Cafe Palm from some run of the mill breakfast/lunch place. I opted for the Silicon Valley “Handheld,” which for 10 bucks was a little bit steep for a sandwich. Good thing it wasn’t called a sandwich or I might have thrown the menu into the street and walked right out. Delectable turkey breast, carmelized onions, avocado, and a tasty garlic spread were nestled between two warm pieces of heavenly flatbread. It was fancy and it was darned good. Next time I’m dying for a fancy sandwich, you know where I’m going.

On my second trip I opted for the daily special, which was a chipotle chicken crepe with potatoes, red pepppers, three cheeses, some kind of magical sauce, and pico de gallo. It was good but not great. I figured out that they must have the crepes and the stuffings pre-made so that they can easily fold it up and nuke it. It wasn’t hot, and it was out on my table faster than anybody could have made it. Still, though, it was really quite good, as far as suspected-microwaved meals go. In the future, however, if I’m in the market for really tasty crepes I’ll march a few blocks up to C’est La Vie. There really is no point in eating a crepe anywhere else in Sarasota.

All in all, my excursion was a success. I had a fancy sandwich, did my best to look “leisurely” while sipping my coffee, and got a little bit of business done in the process. As I gathered up my things, those ladies had no idea I was heading back to the office. I’m pretty sure they thought I was headed to the spa.

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Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez!

By | July 20, 2011

Buffet Table at Polo GrilleIn Cajun, that means ‘let the good times roll’ – and that’s definitely what happened this weekend at Polo Grill’s 4th annual Shrimp Boil! I’ll be honest, I went for the food – there’s nothing like Billeaud’s boudin and fresh shrimp to get me rolling – but it was the ambiance that really made this a night to remember.

Featuring newspaper-lined tables, dollar drafts, and live music from the Gumbo Boogie Band – where they found a real, live, Louisiana cajun band I’ll never know – the normally restrained restaurant was transformed into a rollin’, trollin’, shrimp-boilin’ good time.
 

 

Here are some more pics:

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Mar Vista Restaurant on Longboat Key

By | July 11, 2011

Outdoor dining is great anytime of the year and we were reminded this weekend while on Longboat Key. We stopped in at Mar Vista which is on the north end of the key on Broadway just before you cross the bridge to Bradenton Beach on Anna Maria Island. This restaurant is one of three owned by Ed Chiles (son of our former Governor Lawton Chiles) which include the Sandbar in Anna Maria and the Beach House in Bradenton Beach. All are waterfront locations but Mar Vista is the only one on the Bay side of the Key.

At Mar Vista you can dine inside which is an old home dating back to the early 1900’s or outside either on the patio or under the shade trees. We opted for the latter as there is a great view of the water from there and fans to keep you cool.  I ordered one of the daily specials which was a Caribbean Grouper Wrap with a side of fruit which was wonderful and Marty had the Flounder Poboy; both were fresh and tasty. Seafood is their specialty but they have plenty of variety on the menu including tropical drinks if you’re in that vacation state of mind.

If you’re on Longboat Key and looking for a great casual spot for lunch or dinner check them out: http://marvista.groupersandwich.com/

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Siesta Key – Lunch at The Hub

By | June 19, 2011

Our first dining experience as Siesta Key summer residents was at The HubThe Hub is located in the Siesta Key Village at the corner of Canal and Ocean Blvd.

  We sat outside on their large porch overlooking the Village.  It was fun to watch all the happenings in the Village while we listened to live music performed by an acoustic guitar player.  Almost immediately we were swept into the relaxed feel you get on Siesta Key.

The menu was filled with many delicious choices; it was tough decision but in the end I chose the fish tacos and Joe chose the chicken burrito. Both were served with black beans and rice and both were out of this world!  If you are looking for a great meal and atmosphere stop in at The Hub, you will not be disappointed!!

For more information and menus visit The Hub’s website at http://www.thehubsiestakey.com/

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Nancy’s Bar-B-Q

By | May 27, 2011

Southern Comfort Foods…Southern Hospitality…Southern “Old Florida” Charm! Dine in…Take Out. Sweet Tea…Cold Beer and Bar-B-Q. “It’s a Sarasota thing”.

Sandwiches, Ribs, Chicken, Beef Brisket and Pork… slow cooked for hours allowing spices and smoke to permeate and tenderize the meat. In addition to Nancy’s time-tested dry rub, there are two sauces–sweat or spicy…you decide. I suggest you try both!

Side dishes include…but not limited to…Beans, of course, slaw, roasted mixed veggies or several other ‘creative’ choices. Dessert available…to put closer to your dining experience. Prices start at $5.50…

Bon Appetit!

Nancy’s Bar-B-Q
Downtown Sarasota
301 S. Pineapple (Corner of Pineapple @ Ringling)
Open Monday thru Saturday 11:30 AM
941/266.2271

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Bonefish Grill

By | February 15, 2011

 

I lived in Chicago for half a decade, and I would have been mortified to bring a weekend guest to the Cheesecake Factory downtown.  Shortly after I moved here, a new friend suggested we go to Bonefish.  I said “sure!”all while turning up my inner nose at the idea.  Who would go to a chain restaurant with all these great seafood restaurants around?  Years later, I’m not ashamed to admit I’m a regular.  The service is always great, the food is always excellent, and as odd as it may be, it’s actually quite the locals scene.  It’s so packed during Season that you have to hover and stalk seats at the bar and common tables, but it’s a fun energy.  We usually sit in the bar, but if you want a table expect to wait an hour and a half during season.  Don’t worry though, they pass tasty snacks around on trays while you wait!  The bartenders make it a point to know your name too, which is a nice touch.  I get the same thing almost every time: Jumbo Sea Scallops and Shrimp (except I ask for all Scallops, and they don’t charge me extra!), around $16.  They are never overcooked and are always properly cleaned so you don’t bite into that tough little morsel from hell that they’re supposed to cut off.   You can pick from among four sauces (Pan Asian, Lemon Butter, Chimichurri, or Warm Mango Salsa), but if you’re nice you can ask them to serve your fish grilled and sample several of the sauces!  I like the Lemon Butter and Chimichurri.  I was brave enough to try the Imperial Longfin the other day and it was TO DIE FOR.  Fresh, tender, flaky, and rich enough that I suspected Paula Deen might just come walzing out of the kitchen yelling “Hey y’all, surprise, it was me that cooked this!” (Sidebar: Just how cool would that have been?)  They also have a seasonal side, which right now seems to be some kind of spaghetti squash which is just ok, but for $1 you can substitute one of their other sides, which I will now be doing on a regular basis.  The Haricot Verts and Potatoes Au Gratin are the best, though the Garlic potatoes are excellent as well.  On Wednesdays bang bang shrimp are $5, so if you want a seat at the bar come early.  When there is a bargain Sarasota, the locals will pack it in!  Oh, and if you’re lucky enough to go when they have the chocolate crème brulee, get it, but plan on your bill being permanently more expensive because you will always feel incomplete without it.  I’m not one to turn down bread, but if you plan on getting dessert or an appetizer (AHI TUNA, don’t ask, just get it), do yourself a favor and skip it unless your ultimate plan for the evening is laying on your couch in misery.

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