Daily Archives: November 14, 2012

Waffle Stop: 660 S. Washington Blvd, Sarasota FL


I had to get my car serviced at the Ford dealer across the street, so with an hour to kill and not much else nearby, I decided to go have lunch at Waffle Stop. Yes, it’s kitchy and sort of cute with it’s Elvis memorabilia, but let’s not kid ourselves. This is the divy-est of dives around. The bathrooms are dirty and dingy and you actually have to go outside of the restaurant to get to them, similar to a gas station. The restaurant itself is dark and filled with mostly people over 70. The waitress, however, was just sweet as pie and I got the feeling that she had been working there for a long time. I bet she even served Elvis a few times since it was apparently a favorite spot of his.

In typical dive-y diner fashion, I decided to order something basic that they couldn’t really mess up too much- a grilled cheese with tomato and a side salad. The salad was very generic, down to the packet of dressing that came with it, and ingredients that are most likely intended to top sandwiches or burgers. The grilled cheese was pretty darn good with it’s buttery, junky, white bread and thick american cheese and tomatoes.

My whole meal was less than $10 (cash only by the way- there is an ATM in the front), as it should have been, and I successfully killed the right amount of time for my car to be ready when I returned. I highly doubt I’ll be back, but ya never know.


Nancy’s Bar-B-Q: 301 S Pineapple Ave Sarasota, FL


I find it totally hilarious that Nancy is apparently a Jewish woman who knows how to do BBQ. As a Jew myself who happens to make an excellent pulled pork, I find this very appealing.

I’d heard excellent things about Nancy’s and finally had the opportunity to try it when a couple of friends, Gabriel, and I went to the annual Sarasota Chalk Festival nearby. We were hungry and wanted to eat lunch before dealing with the thick crowds at the festival, so we decided to wait on what first appeared to be a very long line for Nancy’s. We were happy to find out that it moved quickly, and we were ready to order sooner than we expected. I had heard that the pulled chicken was phenomenal, and really had my heart set on it, so I was a bit disappointed to hear that it had already sold out for the day. I opted for the BBQ chicken with 2 sides instead. My sides were a sweet, vinegary, cucumber salad and some awesome collard greens with bacon. YUM. The chicken had a crisp BBQ-y outside and juicy, tender meat. I sampled a few of the different sauces and settled on one that was a smokey, sweet flavor as my pick of the day. Everything that was on trays around me looked fantastic too, and the bites I sampled of pork, and mac & cheese were outstanding. I will definitely have to make a return trip to try  that pulled chicken next time. Thanks Nancy!

Tsunami Thai and Sushi Bar: 8404 Lockwood Ridge Rd, Sarasota, FL


Gabriel and I were getting a little bored of our standard dinner spots, so we decided to try Tsunami. We were seated quickly and the smiley waitress brought us our menus. I noticed right away that she addressed me very infrequently and pretty much spoke only to Gabriel. Ooookay. I ordered a chicken stir fry which came with a small salad and miso soup. The soup was very salty and I only had a few spoonfuls. The salad was covered in dressing, which I had specifically asked for on the side, so I sent it back for a new one. The sad little salad was made up of mostly iceberg lettuce. Boo. The main dish was also very over-salted, though it was full of fresh ingredients and it was a perfect portion size. Gabriel ordered Pad Thai which was mediocre.

Overall, the chef definitely likes his or her salt, and for that reason I doubt I’ll be back. The waitress and the sushi chef thanked Gabriel as we paid and left, and hardly acknowledged my presence. Not a fan. Oh well.

Blue Dolphin Cafe: 470 John Ringling Blvd Sarasota, FL


I loooooove a good breakfast. I met my dad at Blue Dolphin and was charmed to find out what a ‘regular’ he is there. Everyone knows his name and treated us both really well. It has the feel of the NY diners I miss so much, and a menu with tons of great choices at fair prices. I ordered a 2 egg omelette (they are usually 3 eggs but 2 was plenty for me) with broccoli, tomatoes, mushrooms and half the amount of swiss they’d normally use. It came with fresh, thick, rye toast and a fruit salad and it totally hit the spot. Everything was cooked perfectly, exactly the way I would do it myself- except probably a bit prettier if I’m being honest about my omelette cooking skills.


Zante Gyros: 6500 Superior Ave, Sarasota, FL


This was one oh those ‘happy accident’ kinds of meals. Gabriel and I were starving for lunch and literally tried to go to 3 other places before we made it to Zante. The first was apparently closed that day, the second had no parking spots open, and the third was closed at this odd time of day.

We were at that stage of hungry where blood sugar has dropped, crabbiness has begun and anything is starting to sound like a perfectly decent option. We were driving around the Gulf Gate area and came up on Zante Gyros, with a sign in the window stating that their gyros were the BEST. Ok. We believe your little sign and will come in. We were the only patrons inside, but it was, as I mentioned, a sort of odd time for a meal. We went up to the counter and placed our orders. I got a chicken gyro and a side greek salad.

A few minutes later, our food was ready and looked fantastic. One bite and I was totally hooked. The chicken was fresh and juicy, the tzatziki sauce was cool and refreshing and all of the vegetables were super fresh and piled on.

The price was a little high for a take-out, casual spot, but the quality warranted it and I will definitely be back.

Cafe L’Europe: 431 St. Armands Circle, Sarasota, FL


On a gorgeous day in St. Armands Circle, I met my mom outside at Cafe L’Europe for lunch. Our waiter brought us fresh bread and olive oil with herbs right away along with ice water and menus and I made my decision quickly after hearing the specials.

I had the half wrap/salad special which included a delicious Bourbon Pecan salad: Baby greens, cornbread croutons, candied pecans, bourbon-maple dressing and a half wrap of seared tuna, avocado, wasabi mayo and veggies. The fish was super fresh and perfectly seared, and the wrap was a wonderful mix of flavors. The croutons on the salad were noteworthy with their crunchy, corn-bready goodness.

Overall, for a VERY reasonable price of $12, I had a lovely lunch, great service and an excellent experience that will surely warrant a return visit.