Eat, Drink & Think Sarasota

Your resource for what's happening in beautiful Sarasota

Helping you enjoy the art of living

July 31, 2018 Edition

Foodie Favorites

I leapt at the opportunity to try brand-new Summer House recently, a casual but sophisticated "transitional steakhouse with a seafood attitude," according their own words.  The newest venture from the owners of fellow Siesta Key restaurants The Cottage, The Hub Baja Grill, and the Beach Club, Summer House is so beautifully designed and well executed--from the menu to the light fixtures--that it has quickly become a must-see (must-eat!) on Siesta.

You can read my full review of this delectable dining experience here.

Summer House | 149 Avenida Messina | 941.260-CORK | summerhousesiestakey.com

 

Illustrious Illustrations

We are fortunate to have right in our own backyard one of the best illustration programs in the country, at Ringling College of Art & Design.  Professor Octavio Perez has his illustrations on display this summer at a must-see exhibit right on Ringling's campus at the Patricia Thompson Gallery.  

The whimsical exhibit of illustrations will be on display through September 14th.  Click here to view the college's full exhibition calendar.

Ringling College of Art & Design | 2700 N. Tamiami Trail | 941.351.5100 | ringling.edu

 

Proper Permitting

Navigating a major home repair or renovation can be difficult, stressful, and scary.  Add in permitting, and you have another layer of stress!  Luckily, Sarasota County recently laid out a very easy-to-understand guide for the permitting process.  You can view the entire guide right on my blog by clicking here.

Sarasota County Permitting | 1660 Ringling Boulevard | 941.365.2200 | scgov.net

 
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Sweet Summer Shows

Our well-stacked summer theater programming continues into August with several fantastic options at multiple area theaters.  Take a look at what is on the stages of Sarasota this month!

The Summer Cabaret Series at Florida Studio Theater went back in time for its third show, which plays until August 19th.  The Swingaroos host an evening of musical classics from the first half of the 20th century, highlighting music from Cole Porter, Ira Gershwin, and many more that you might not even know (or recall) was originally from a movie musical.  The vocals and jazzy swing music will get your toes tapping while you enjoy dinner and wine at this dinner-theater cabaret.  Highly recommended -- you can get your tickets here, and don't forget: the Cabaret series runs in both the summer and winter every year so if this sounds like fun to you, become a subscriber!

Dog Days Theater at the Asolo continues this month with The Turn of the Screw.  A ghost story from the middle of the 19th century leads viewers on a journey through the unexplained when a governess moves to an idyllic country home to care for two orphaned children and soon realized they are not alone. For tickets and information, visit the website here.

The Players Centre has a wide variety of shows this month, but I am especially excited about their performance this Friday, August 3rd at 7:00pm of James & the Giant Peach. The Roald Dahl classic is the story of young James, who, when commissioned by his aunts, cuts down a local fruit tree.  The protesting tree drops a giant peach, which James rides on the adventure of his life, meeting all sorts of friends along the way.  Great for kids and adults alike, you can purchase tickets for James & the Giant Peach  here.


Eat, Drink & Think Sarasota

Your resource for what's happening in beautiful Sarasota

Helping you enjoy the art of living

June 30, 2018 Edition

Experience Art

The summer can be a great time to experience the arts first-hand!  Check out the below workshops for some fun ways to spend your summer days, and don't forget to stop by the First Friday art walk on Palm Avenue is this Friday, July 6 from 6-9pm.  (The Towles Court Art Walk is done until October.  Registration & fees may be required on any of the below, so please visit gallery link for full information.)

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Visit Expressive Arts in Towles Court for the Handmade Boxes Class this Friday, July 6 from 10am-1pm.  Attendees will create a watercolor painting and turn it into a beautiful box.  You can find more information about this workshop here.  

Expressive Arts | 200 S. Washington Avenue, Ste 1 | 941.366.9595 | expressiveartsflorida.com

The Artful Giraffe has a class on Japanese dyeing technique this Saturday, July 7 from 11am-1pm, during which you'll make two hand-dyed scarves.  On July 12, 11:30am-1:30pm: a class dedicated to acrylic painting on canvas with a focus on painting birds.  What a fun way to spend time and create pieces you'll enjoy for years to come!  You can find a full schedule of classes at the Artful Giraffe here.

The Artful Giraffe | 1861 Fruitville Road | 941.388.3700 | artfulgiraffe.com

Options abound at the Sarasota School of Glass!  In their wide variety of classes (including classes for kids as young as 4!), you can learn the art of creating glass masterpieces of many kinds: jewelry, platters, wall art, and mosaics just to name a few.  If you have any interest in creating with glass, I encourage you to visit their full schedule here.

Sarasota School of Glass | 5704 Lawton Drive | 941.925.4527 | sarasotaschoolofglass.com

 

The Summer Scene

The steamy months of the summer mean smokin' new shows at many of our favorite local theatres!  Take a look at what is coming to the small stages of Sarasota this month...

Broadway in Black, Jr. at West Coast Black Theatre on July 15 & 16.  After a 5-week intensive summer theatre program, the students will perform in a culmination performance of Nate Jacobs's original musical Broadway in Black, which debuted last summer.  Come see the fruits of these young artists labors at the Junior version of last year's summer sensation!

West Coast Black Theatre Troupe | 1012 N. Orange Ave | 941.366.1505 | westcoastblacktheatre.org

Dog Days Theatre at Asolo's Cook Theatre.  This summer is featuring contemporary works, starting July 10th with What the Butler Saw, a witty comedy, and followed by a ghost story/thriller called The Turn of the Screw in August.

Asolo Rep | 5555 N. Tamiami Trail | 941.351.8000| asolorep.org

Summer Sizzler at The Players Center for Performing Arts.  This month, Tops from Flops features well-known numbers from some of Broadway's worst-loved musicals.  Sounds like this one will be both fun AND funny! 

The Players Center | 838 N. Tamiami Trail | 941.365.2494 | theplayers.org 


Tasty Tex-Mex

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Winner of the Best New Hope for an Old Location restaurant this year is North Trail's Wicked Cantina, according to Sarasota Magazine.  I visited the oft-turned-over location just north of downtown earlier this month and was treated to a fun, vibrant interior, great margaritas, and some of the best fish tacos I've had locally.  Take it from Sarasota Magazine if you don't take it from me; this new venue has promise!

Wicked Cantina | 1603 N. Tamiami Trail | 941.706.2395 | wickedcantina.com

 

Fourth Festivities

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Happy birthday, America!  Even though the weekend-barbeque-friendly holiday falls mid-week this year, there is no shortage of things to do in Sarasota to celebrate!

Downtown's bayfront fireworks begin at 9pm on Wednesday right off the coast of City Park.  If you want a seat at Marina Jack's for great viewing, make a reservation early!  

Rooftop party at Office Bar SRQ is a great alternative to fighting traffic to settle your beach chair in the sand for waterfront fireworks viewing.  New-ish bar to downtown at Ringling and 301 is Office Bar SRQ and on the 4th, they are hosting a rooftop party to "view fireworks from Anna Maria to Port Charlotte," according to the Herald-Tribune!  

The annual Freedom Fest Parade on Longboat Key will start in front of LBK's Town Hall, where pets adorned in red, white, and blue are welcome to march alongside our public officers, firefighters, commissioners, and other rescue personnel.  The parade begins at 9am.


Eat, Drink & Think Sarasota

your resource for what's happening in beautiful sarasota

helping you enjoy the art of living

May 31, 2018 Edition

 

Savor Sarasota

Two weeks of sweetness begin tomorrow, as nearly 100 local restaurants participate in Savor Sarasota.  Each restaurant features a prix-fixe menu ($16/person for lunch, $32/person for dinner) for Sarasotans to enjoy three-course meals at many area favorites, and some new ones as well!  

I've done a full write-up on Savor Sarasota on my blog, and you can check out Visit Sarasota's website for more information, including full list of participating restaurants as well as menus, on this great event!  Take the time to savor Sarasota's restaurant scene June 1-14!

 

Accessible Art

The summer can be a great time to visit the many local galleries.  First Friday art walk is tomorrow from 6-9pm.  

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Currently on display at Alfstad& Contemporary Gallery is a collection by artist Laine Nixon called "Unfixed."  Nixon's first exhibition in Sarasota, "Unfixed" refers to the many painting techniques she uses in each individual piece.  Geometric and colorful, her work is a treat to the eye.  Unfixed will be open at Alfstad& until June 29.

Alfstad& Contemporary | 1419 5th St | 941.366.6400 | alfstadand.com

Art Center Sarasota has on display now a juried exhibition called Florida's Finest.  Two- and three-dimensional works from artists all over Sarasota will be on display in all four of its galleries.  To see some of Florida's Finest fine artists, stop by Art Center Sarasota before July 6th.

Art Center Sarasota | 707 N. Tamiami Trail | 941.365.2032 | artsarasota.org

 

Theatrical Treats

As the 2017-2018 performing arts season is coming to a close, some of our finest venues are going out with a bang!  Have a look at what's on the main stages this month:

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The much-anticipated Jungle Book is at the Asolo from June 6 to 24.  With a similar production style to and by the creators of last summer's Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, The Jungle Book promises to be a treat for the eye with modern additions to the performance, such as video and interactive technology.  This classic tale by Rudyard Kipling is appropriate for all ages, so bring out your kids, grandkids, or visiting guests for this world premier show.  Next month, the Asolo begins its summer season, the Dog Days of Summer.  

Asolo Rep | 5555 N. Tamiami Trail | 941.351.8000| asolorep.org

The Players Center for Performing Arts (formerly known as The Players Theater) also has a summer season, called Summer Sizzler.  This month, viewers can enjoy Crossing Delancy about a meddling family member interfering in the love life of an upper West Side New Yorker.

The Players Center | 838 N. Tamiami Trail | 941.365.2494 | theplayers.org

 

Bayfront 20:20

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The team working on designing the new Sarasota bayfront, known a The Bay, was in town this month, having updated their renderings based on feedback from Sarasotans.  I give a full update about what is happening around our waterfront, including the fate of the Van Wezel, in my blog post, Bayfront 20:20, a New Vision for Downtown.


Eat, Drink & Think Sarasota

your resource for what's happening in beautiful sarasota

helping you enjoy the art of living

April 30, 2018 Edition

 

Grand Galleries

Our unfettered access to the arts in Sarasota is one of the city's biggest draws.  Have a look at what is on display in some of my favorite galleries in May:

Alfstad& Contemporary Gallery is featuring the works of Jorge Blanco, sculptor you'll know from his recognizable art around Sarasota, including the Running Men, pictured here, that "run" up Tamiami just north of downtown.   The exhibit is open through May 19, with a reception on May 15th.  Contact the gallery to RSVP.

Alfstad& Contemporary | 1419 5th St | 941.366.6400 | alfstadand.com

First Friday this week sees the opening reception at two of my favorites: Art Uptown will host the opening reception of New Vision: New Artists AND Dabbert Gallery will host their opening of Spring's Promise tomorrow, May 4th at 6:00pm during the First Friday Art Walk downtown.  New Vision: New Artists runs through May 25th, and Spring's Promise runs through May 28th.

Art Uptown | 1367 Main St | 941.955.5409 | artuptown.com

Dabbert Gallery | 76 S. Palm Ave | 941.955.1315 | Dabbertgallery.com

 

Operatic Opportunities

We have a plethora of unique opportunities for children to gain access to the arts at a young age in Sarasota, and one of those is Youth Opera, a summer camp for kids, made possible by the Sarasota Opera.  My granddaughter went last year and had the time of her life.  She reveled in the experience and stunned us all at the end-of-camp performance.  If you have a child or grandchild interested in the musical arts, don't overlook this wonderful chance for them to acquaint themselves with one of the oldest art forms: opera!

Youth Opera | Sarasota Opera | 61 N. Pineapple Ave | 941.328.3200 | sarasotaopera.org

 
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Jaunty Jazz

My dear friend, jazz bassist Michael Ross, will be at a couple fantastic restaurants this month performing both classic and contemporary jazz.  You can hear clips of his tunes on his website, and see him live A Loft hotel's bar, WXYZ Lounge on 5/9 and 5/23 & at Italian-fushion restaurant Amore on 5/8 and 5/22.

WXYZ Lounge | 1401 Ringling Blvd | 941.870.0900 | aloftsarasota.com

Amore Restaurant | 446 Pineapple Ave | 941. 383.1111 | amorelbk.com

 
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Bayfront Without Van Wezel?

Real Estate writer at Sarasota Herald Tribune Harold Bubil wrote an article last week about the future of the Sarasota Bayfront, and one gleaming exclusion from proposed designs: the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall.  The large purple building has been our Sydney Opera House for as long as most can remember; it's nearing it's 50th birthday as a Sarasota landmark!  Can you picture the bayfront without it?  Read Mr. Bubil's article on the fate of the Van Wezel here.


 

Eat, Drink & Think Sarasota

your resource for what's happening in beautiful sarasota

helping you enjoy the art of living

March 30, 2018 Edition

 
 
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Fresh Films

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Sarasota Film Festival!  This year's event will feature indie-films fresh off of their premiers at Sundance and/or South by Southwest, such a "Love Means Zero," a documentary about Sarasota local & founder of IMG Academy Nick Bolliteri, and the much anticipated "Won't You Be My Neighbor?" featuring Tom Hanks as Mr. Rogers.  Virginia Madsen, Steve Guttenberg, and Eric Stoltz will all attend this year's event.

The Sarasota Film Festival runs April 13 through 22.  Information about all the screenings and special events can be found on the SFF website here.  

Sarasota Film Festival | 332 Cocoanut Avenue | 941.364.9514 | sarasotafilmfestival.com 

 
 
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Musical Musings

For over 3 decades, La Musica has been bringing some of the best chamber musicians to Sarasota for this intimate festival.  Rehearsals are open to the public for all to see the creative process through which artists go in order to prepare for their performances.  The festival includes 4 major performances, artist meet-and-greets, and a lively interactive dinner with the musicians.

Don't miss the opportunity to get behind the curtain!  This year, La Musica is also going to be available by podcast, so if you're already gone for the season you can still tune in on one of Sarasota's most celebrated festivals!

Tickets for the concerts & rehearsals can be found here.

La Musica | PO Box 5442, Sarasota, FL 34277 | 941.366.8450 | LaMusicaFestival.org

 
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Asolo Ascending

Always at the cutting edge of the performing arts, the Asolo is not disappointing this season.  Rolling out in June is the world premier of The Jungle Book, which utilizes the same multi-media approach that viewers loved so much about last season's Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.  This theater company always has an ambitious selection of both entertaining and thought provoking scripts for production!

Not to be missed this month is Shakespeare in the Garden, performed by the MFA students at the Asolo/FSU Conservatory.  This year's Much Ado About Nothing will be performed throughout the spring on a stage in the midst of Selby Gardens.

The Asolo Rep also just announced their 18-19 season, and it looks simply stellar, with Music Man, Sweeney Todd, and The Crucible all on the docket.  

The Asolo Repertory Theatre | 5555 N Tamiami Tr | 941.351.8000 | asolorep.org

 
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Wine Wednesdays

I want to share with you all something I found out about this week:  Every Wednesday at all Tableseide restaurants is WINE WEDNESDAY!  That means half off bottles of wine at Libby's in Hillview, Louie's Modern downtown, Muse at the Ringling Museum, and at Oak & Stone in University Park!  Not to mention that these restaurants have a reputation for succulent, fresh, high-level cuisine.  Half-off wine at every corner of Sarasota -- I'll drink to that!  Cheers!

Tableseide Restaurant Group | 1235 N Gulfstream Ave | 941.538.7330 | tableseide.com

Libby's Website | Louie's Modern Website | Muse Website | Oak & Stone Website

 

West of Trail's Increasing Footprint

As Sarasota continues to grow, some of the most desirable neighborhoods have become out of reach for many homebuyers.  Over the last few years we have watched the price point of these coveted neighborhoods with proximity to downtown and the waterfront increase from the $300 thousands to the $700 thousands and now to many newer construction homes exceeding $2 Million.  Many homebuyers are craving a more affordable option.  Heading a little farther north or south will get home buyers a lot more for their money.  

I've just listed a fantastic West-of-Trail home in North Sarasota's Whitfield Estates!  This charming mid-century home is filled with original character on a large, shady corner lot just a couple of blocks from the bayfront.  


Eat, Drink & Think Sarasota

your resource for what's happening in beautiful sarasota

helping you enjoy the art of living

February 28, 2018 Edition

 
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Fanciful Feasting

I visited the lovely waterfront fine dining restaurant The Table Creekside recently with a group of friends and clients prior to seeing Circus Sarasota, and it reminded me why this restaurant is such a staple in our city!  Absolutely every dish is top-notch, with interesting flavors and high-quality ingredients.  

Haven't been?  I'd suggest dropping in for the ever-popular (and award-winning!) Happy Hour for small plates & appetizers and cocktails!  You can make a meal of the reasonably-priced happy hour special small plates, but come early, because this place is simply PACKED during happy hour, which lasts from 4:00 to 6:30pm on weeknights.  If you're coming for dinner, I might recommend waiting until after the happy hour crowd begins to clear.

The Table Creekside.  5265 South Tamiami Trail.  941.921.9465.  www.tablesrq.com 

 

Musical Musings

The Fourth Annual Suncoast Blues Festival comes to the Sarasota Fairgrounds this Saturday, beginning at 10:00am.  This single-day event features 6 singer/songwriters or bands, including Grammy-nominated and Blues Award-winning artists, throughout the day.  Tickets are available day-of for $45 at the gate or $30 in advance (available here).

Sarasota Fairgrounds. 3000 Ringling Blvd.  941.758.7585.  www.suncoastbluesfestival.com 

 
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Play Ball!

It's that time again!  Spring training is in full swing in Sarasota and our neighboring cities.  There are options galore when it comes to catching your favorite MLB team getting ready for the 2018 season. Whether you're here full-time or just visiting the warm weather from one of these northern cities, support your team by seeing them up-close-and-personal at Spring Training!  Here are the parks within about an hour of Sarasota:

  • Ed Smith Stadium - Home to the Baltimore Orioles: 2700 12th St., Sarasota
  • LECOM Park - Home to the Pittsburgh Pirates: 1611 9th St. W, Bradenton
  • Charlotte Sports Park - Home to the Tampa Bay Rays: 2300 El Jobean Rd., Port Charlotte
  • Spectrum Stadium - Home to the Philadelphia Phillies: 601 Old Coachman Rd, Clearwater
  • Dunedin Stadium - Home to the Toronto Blue Jays: 373 Douglas Ave., Dunedin
  • George M. Steinbrenner Field - Home to the New York Yankees: 1 Steinbrenner Dr., Tampa

Spring Training Grapefruit League.  Map & Schedule.

 
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Theatre Off the Beaten Path

I regularly highlight the unparalleled access Sarasota has to arts & culture for a city its size.  One need only run a Google search for "Sarasota Theater" to quickly see the big-stage venues we are fortunate to have.  Step for a moment with me to the smaller venues, visit the community theatre troupes, to get a taste of the cultural lifeblood that Sarasota has to offer.

West Coast Black Theatre Troupe this month highlights one of Billie Holiday's final performances in this tribute musical, Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill, starring Tony Award-winner Melba Moore.  Lady Day opens today and runs through April 8 at WCBTT.

West Coast Black Theatre Troupe. 1646 10th Way. 941.366.1505.  www.westcoastblacktheatre.org 

The Urbanite Theatre takes its audience inside a caved-in mine with two men awaiting rescue in this month's Northside Hollow.  The already-intimate black-box experience is immerses the audience in the men's experience with scene design and sound effects.  Northside Hollow has been open since January and ends on March 11.

Urbanite Theatre.  1487 2nd Street.  941.321.1397.  www.urbanitetheatre.com 


Eat, Drink & Think Sarasota

your resource for what's happening in beautiful sarasota

helping you enjoy the art of living

January 31, 2018 Edition

 
 
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Fanciful Feasting

Has it been a while since you drove out to Mar Vista on the north end of Longboat Key?  It's recently remodeled and expanded, so now is the time to revisit!  This Sarasota favorite has been a staple on the island since 1912 and is considered one of the oldest structures on Longboat Key.  The seafood menu is succulent and decadent, and it is simply some of the best seafood you can get.  Their quaint dining room and the outdoor covered eating space overlooking Sarasota Bay both have Old-Florida appeal.  That you can dock right outside in the Bay for lunch or dinner is a perfect bonus for boaters!  

And a bonus for everyone else?  A home I just listed for sale is walking distance from Mar Vista, and soon-to-be Shore Longboat Key!  If you're interested in expanding your life to include a beach house and all the appeal of North Longboat Key, give me a call about this fantastic home in Lands End.

Mar Vista Dockside Restaurant & Pub | 760 Broadway St, LBK | (941) 383-2391

 
 
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Powerful Performances

Performing Arts season in Sarasota is well under way in Sarasota and there are options galore for theatre-lovers.  One I am particularly looking forward to this season is being put on at the Asolo Repertory Theatre, Shakespeare in Love.  This stage adaptation of the Academy-Award winning movie takes you on a journey will young Will Shakespeare as he is honing his craft and falling in love.  Director Rachel Rockwell has said the play is "a love letter to theatre," and it "makes a case for why theatre is so important," according to actor Jordan Brown, who plays the young playwright.  Shakespeare in Love runs through March 28.

You don't have to love the works of Shakespeare to appreciate Shakespeare in Love, but if you enjoy his plays as I do, you won't want to miss the Asolo Conservatory's performance of Much Ado About Nothing, which will be performed outdoors at Selby Botanical Gardens April 18 to May 6.  

 
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Celebrate the Circus

With Ringling Brothers & Barnum and Bailey Circus officially closing their doors last spring, we are fortunate here in Sarasota to still have a piece of this historical American pasttime.  Circus Sarasota is open for one month only in the big tent, from February 10 to March 3.  Get tickets now before they sell out!  

Circus Sarasota Big Top | 140 University Town Center Dr. | (941) 355-9805

 
 Esther Jensen

Esther Jensen

Wondrous Walks

The Palm Avenue Art Walk is tomorrow from 6-9pm.  Art Uptown, which is around the corner from Palm on Main Street and a part of the first Friday walks, is holding an opening reception for their newest installment during the Art Walk.  Celebrated glass artist Cecile Moran's art will be on display at Art Uptown through February 23, alongside the stunning works of Esther Jensen, in an exhibit entitled "Reflections of Glass and Gold." 

The Towles Court Art Walk happens on February 16, from 5-9pm.  Take a stroll and get to know some of our local artists and galleries.