Daily Archives: June 13, 2012

Mi Pueblo: University Walk Plaza, 8405 Tuttle Ave. Sarasota, FL

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Everyone we have met here has told us to try Mi Pueblo. Apparently, it’s known as the very best Mexican food in the area. A waitress at a different restaurant also told us that they make fantastic margaritas- which my boyfriend loves, so last night we decided to give it a try.

We arrived to find a really adorable building, a friendly hostess, cool lighting and shadows, and a comfortable booth ready for us. Menus and ice water were brought for us right away. Soon after that, our drink orders were taken and a basket of delicious tortilla chips and spicy fresh salsa was served. The margaritas came out super fast and really were outstanding.

I knew what I wanted before I even looked at the menu because I’d heard their chicken Mole was awesome. It’s one of my favorite Mexican dishes, so that was an easy choice. We noticed there weren’t really any sides on the menu, but when we asked if we could have a side of veggies, our waiter told us that they did have tasty grilled vegetables as a side to offer. Great, we’ll take one of those.

Gabriel ordered the ‘2 choice’ combo plate with 1 verde enchildada, and 1 chimichanga. We decided we’d share everything so that we could really get a good feel of the food here.

Our meals came out very quickly, and WOW! Everything was awesome. Super fresh, cooked perfectly, served with sides of Mexican rice and refried beans topped with cheese.

When our bill came, we did a double take. Two entrees, a side and 2 drinks for less than $40!?!?!? WOW again, that is really awesome.

I was so full but somehow managed to keep noshing on the 2nd basket of chips that was refreshed during our meal. Ohhhhh. I think I overdid it. Next time we come, when they ask if we want more chips, I will definitely remember to say ‘No thank you.’ In spite of my eyes-bigger-than-stomach rookie mistake, this was an excellent dinner and we’ll definitely return soon!

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Nokomis Groves: 111 Albee Farm Rd. S, Nokomis, FL

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My father, whose opinion on food I take very seriously, recommended this place to me. Since it’s only a couple of exits from where I

rehearse with my duo, Painted Echo (please see http://mikesolomusic.com/home.cfm for more info) It was not hard to find time to swing by.

It was 95 degrees out on Sunday so after rehearsal, I decided it was the perfect time for a refreshing treat. I pulled up to a fairly full parking lot and people happily licking cones on benches in the shade. I went up to the counter and asked which flavor they suggested, and they told me that the orange/vanilla was by far the most popular. Thinking back to how much I loved creamsicles as a kid, I was excited to try a homemade version.

The woman who made my cone was nice enough to hold it for a photo before the melting began. I can honestly say that I ended up eating it so quickly that I had no need for a napkin. All dripping was easily averted.

This is a delightfully refreshing treat indeed. The vanilla is creamy and the orange is a bit more on the sherbet-y side. It’s lower fat/calorie than most ice creams, and didn’t leave me feeling like I had just totally pigged out at 4 in the afternoon. Nope, no dinner spoiling here, just a wonderfully cold snack with awesome flavor and charm to boot. I’ll be back!

 

Verona: 1111 Ritz-Carlton Dr. Sarasota, FL

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It was my mother’s birthday and we met at Verona to celebrate. It happened to fall during Savor Sarasota restaurant week, so we were excited to be able to have 3 course dinners for a fraction of the cost that it would usually be. Verona is inside of the Ritz-Carlton hotel, and it is fancy. We arrived to find valet parking, beautiful floral arrangements, and excellent live music at a gorgeous grand piano in the main lobby.

When we entered the restaurant, we were led to our table but then asked to be seated outside as they have a really lovely outdoor area.  We soon realized that it was actually uncomfortably hot out there and decided to move inside after all. Our waitress was more than accommodating to our ever-changing minds, and we could tell that she was equally relieved that she wouldn’t have to be melting outside serving us.

Our drink orders were taken and I must say, I immediately got the sense that we had an exceptional server. She was very friendly, knowledgeable, polite and articulate and she served us wonderfully throughout the whole meal. If I’m not mistaken, I believe her name was Kimberly. If you can be seated in her section, I strongly recommend it. She was a big part of why our meal was so wonderful.

A delicious basket of bread and fresh butter was served along with our awesome cocktails and we happily tasted each type as we looked over the menu.

I started with the crab bisque with popcorn, mango and mint and it was presented in a whimsical way. It reminded me a LOT of the way my favorite restaurant in the world would do it: ABC Kitchen in NYC. (See that review here: https://bigforkinmouth.wordpress.com/2010/11/20/abc-kitchen-35-east-18th-st-new-york-ny-10003/) It started with a simple bowl containing crab, popcorn, mango and mint and then the waiter came around with a pitcher of the warm bisque to fill the bowl with. It was outstanding. Creamy and delicious with large chunks of fresh crab. Yum.

Next I had the Hammock Hallow Daily Harvest which was eggplant, bok choy, ginger topped with an amazing fried/poached egg. WOW. This was so tasty that I think I will try to recreate it at home sometime. The crisp outside of the egg was a wonderful contrast to the creamy, rich, soft yolk inside, and the way it lightly coated the fresh vegetables was genius.

For dessert I had the key lime pie with vanilla/mango coulis and citrus sorbet. It was beautifully presented and a great, refreshing way to end the meal. The portions here (at least when you order from the Savor Sarasota menu, I’m not sure about the regular menu) are definitely on the small side. I am fine with that- as I’d always rather small portions of exquisite food over large plates of mediocrity, but for some, the plates might be too small. That said, I definitely left feeling full but not overstuffed, and with the memory of a truly wonderful meal. I’d strongly suggest a visit should you have the time before restaurant week ends- or a visit on another day, should you have some extra money to spend 🙂 Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Dry Dock Waterfront Grill: 412 Gulf of Mexico Dr. Longboat Key, FL 34228

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Dry Dock Waterfront Grill has been one of my favorite places to have lunch for a long time. It’s right near where my mother lives, and is pretty unbeatable in terms of the view. If it’s too hot to eat outside by the docks, you can go upstairs to have the same beautiful gulf view while you dine.

It’s best to come here at ‘off’ times as it can get extremely crowded, but you can call ahead to get on the wait list if you are so inclined to come at a busy hour. The food is always fresh, the pesto/olive oil dip for the bread is always awesome, and the service has always been friendly as fast.

I tend to get the same few things when I come here, and today was no different. I ordered the garden salad with grilled shrimp and blue cheese dressing (which has great big chunks of cheese) on the side. As always, the huge shrimp were perfect and I finished my lunch feeling satisfied but not overly full.

Again- the view is definitely the noteworthy element of Dry Dock. Once when I was here with my mother we saw a whole bunch of manatees swimming around and today, my honey and I were lucky enough to see a dolphin repeatedly surfacing. There are always pelicans- galore and the gorgeous blue water to look at should you be there on a marine mammal quiet day.

Enjoy!