Tag Archives: Longboat Key Florida

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!

Salute!: 23 N Lemon Ave, Sarasota, FL

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My family and I went here for dinner tonight after our first attempt had an hour long wait and our 2nd attempt was closed. Salute has a great outdoor eating area with available tables and we were seated right away. Our waiter came over with menus and went over the specials. None of us wanted to order cocktails so we just asked for flat water. I also asked if, when he had a moment, he’d bring over some lemon for the water. When he came back to take our orders and to bring us bread and dipping olive oil, I again reminded him that I wanted some lemon. When he came back a third time to bring us our appetizers, I asked him for a third time for some lemon. Finally, he came back with 3 slices of lemon (for our table of 4. Hmmm) and my water glass was, by then, empty. Big fail. The bus boy overheard me complaining about the timing of this and re-filled my glass. Ok. Better late than never.

For my app, I shared an arugula, endive, radicchio salad with Gabriel. It came with a creamy balsamic dressing and shaved parmesan. Very nice and fresh, but kind of on the boring side.

For my entree, at the suggestion of our waiter, I ordered the chicken parmesan with penne. It was a great portion sized- very manageable and not overwhelmingly large which I appreciated. The chicken, however was totally overcooked, stringy, dry and unimpressive. The sauce and cheese on top were mediocre at best. I’ve had better chicken parm at a diner.

For the prices here, I would not return. Just a few nights earlier, we went to Cafe Baci for the same price and MUCH better food. I guess you’re really just paying for the lovely outdoor seating here and not much more.

Oh well, they can’t all be winners.

New Pass Grill & Bait Shop: 1505 Ken Thompson Parkway, Sarasota, FL

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Gabriel and I stopped here for a quick lunch today before our fun day of going to see a waterski show and then to the Mote aquarium (both just down the street). It’s a great setting, right next to the Longboat Key bridge at the water’s edge. Tons of boaters dock here for lunch, beer and bait, and it was cool to see them coming and going as we ate outside under an umbrellaed table.

We stood in line for about 15 minutes waiting to place our order at the takeout counter. We decided to share a cheeseburger and a clam basket (which consisted of clam strips, fries and cole slaw). I was happy to see that they had malt vinegar– something I really love on fries that not a lot of places have available. We sat at a gulf-side table and waited for our name to be called over the loudspeaker that our lunch was ready to pick up at the side door. About 10 minutes later it was ready and we picked it up. The burger was basically cafeteria quality. The bun was better than average, but the meat patty was pretty poor. Not juicy, not flavorful, not really any better than a frozen grocery store cheapo one or one you’d get at a fast food joint. The clam strips were very good, not greasy, just super crunchy and a generous portion. The fries were also better-than-average. Super crunchy and tasty. We also shared a large, unsweetened ice tea that hit the spot.

I wouldn’t recommend coming here for great food, but for a lovely, casual setting and fun people, bird and boat watching, this is a great choice. For just under $20, I think next time we’ll choose to make sandwiches and sit at one of the many waterfront park picnic tables.

>Frankie’s 17: 17 Clinton St. New York, NY

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 It’s true. I rarely venture downtown much anymore unless I’m meeting someone or I have a gig. Well, luckily for me today the friend I was meeting suggested this great lower east side brunch spot. I read up online a bit, and it was clear that I may as well get my long run in early to offset the amount of carbs I was about to consume. The french toast was reviewed glowingly by so many people that I was sure it’s what I’d be ordering.
We were seated immediately and ordered lattes that turned out to be really excellent and beautiful. We shared the beets and avocado appetizer which was quite tasty, but not terribly exciting.  The French toast, on the other hand, was definitely noteworthy. Wow. Dare I say the BEST French toast I’ve ever had? Why yes, I do dare. Freshly made with bread from Grandaisy bakery did not leave anything else to be desired. Perfectly crisp on the outside and decadently eggy and sweet on the inside. A light maple syrup and a dusting of confectioner’s sugar finished it beautifully, as did the few pieces of fruit who’s purpose was clearly to ease the indulgent guilt of eating sugary bread for a meal. I was completely stuffed to the brim after only one piece and am rather excited to have the other half for a midnight snack tonight or for breakfast tomorrow.
I surprised even myself by being too full to order my own dessert, but of course I DID manage to find enough room to taste my friend’s red-wine prunes and marscapone, a dessert that really wouldn’t have appealed to me at all (what with the absence of chocolate), but was surprisingly good. The creamy marscapone was so buttery and rich that the wine-soaked prunes actually cut it with their rich, juicy, sweet flavor. Overall, Frankie’s 17 was definitely worth the bus ride down and I would strongly recommend it if you are in the area.

 

>E.A.T. 1064 Madison Ave. New York NY

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 My mom and I were walking in the area so we went in to have lunch. She had an omelet that came with a small fields greens salad. I had a shrimp salad with field greens. We both had a lemonade. My mom had a cup of coffee. Not a latte, not a cappuccino, a simple cup of coffee that was FIVE BUCKS. Ridic. With tip, our grand total was $70. Ummm what you ask? Did I read that right? Yes you did. I said SEVENTY DOLLARS! I find that completely and totally appalling. We could have gone for a prix fix lunch at a fancy restaurant for the same cost. Seriously E.A.T? You are basically a casual diner-type place in a semi-fancy area so you think you are justified for this kind of pricing? REALLY? Wow. I guess a lot of the folks who live in the area don’t even bother looking at the check before they pay it, which is the only
                          explanation I have for the fact that this place is always busy. As far as I’m concerned, I will never go in again.
Don’t get me wrong, the food was tasty. The service was attentive and fast. But the price? Ohhhhh the price. Unforgivable. It’s places like this that give Upper East Siders like me a bad name and I do not appreciate it. Boooo E.A.T. Boooooo. You get one star. I kind of wish the food wasn’t good so I could give you zero.

>V-note: 1522 First Ave, New York, NY

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When V-note first opened in my neighborhood and I found out that it was the same owners as Blossom Cafe on the
UWS, I wasn’t really all that interested in trying it. (See my review of Cafe Blossom Here: http://careysculinaryadventures.blogspot.com/2010/04/cafe-blossom-466-columbus-ave-new-york.html)
When I saw a Groupon for $30 worth of food for $15, I decided that maybe it was worth a try after all. The decor was totally appealing with sexy black lacquer walls, white leather banquettes and modern throw pillows. I pass by frequently and often see good crowds dining there late in the evening.
My friend and I headed over for a late lunch today and were 1 of 2 full tables which ended up meaning really attentive service. Our waiter was friendly and made some great recommendations for us. Even though I didn’t adore the burger at Blossom, I decided to give it another try here since it’s still the most popular dish. Well, I am so glad that I have my ‘try everything twice rule’ because this time, I was completely blown away. The soy cheese was crispy on the outside, but gooey and melty inside. The soy burger and soy bacon were both hearty, earthy, and really delicious. The bacon had a shockingly ‘real’ crispness to it and could hardly tell the difference. How do they do that? The caramelized onions, sauteed mushrooms and chipotle aioli topped it off beautifully and even though I was stuffed after half, I managed to find room for another few bites. My friend got the sweet potato fries and I got the side salad and both were perfect accompaniments to the burger.
For dessert I just had to try the chocolate ganache cake with peanut butter. It was ridiculous. (Ridiculously good) I couldn’t believe that something dairy free could be this rich. If I could afford to eat out everyday, I think I could really do the vegan thing after all. I’m so glad I gave this place a try and I will definitely be back with my veggie friends!

>and on a totally different topic…

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>My CD of original music called Blurt is officially released and available for sale on Cdbaby.com today! It will be up on Itunes and other digital download sites in a couple of days.
Buy it here!
http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/careyyaruss2
Thanks for your support.
The more I sell, the more great restaurants I can afford to blog about!
What a win win situation.
😉

>Chez Carey! Variations on Mom’s Pasta and veggie dish.

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My mom used to make something like this for me when I was a kid and It’s still one of my favorite go-to dinners. Loaded with veggies, it’s a great way to get a ton of nutrients in one meal. It’s grown up slightly, with whole wheat penne and chopped peperoncini, but for the most part it’s still a comfort food for me. This version is super healthy; using cooking spray instead of oil, way more veggies than pasta and just a finishing sprinkle of Parmesan. You can feel free to vary the veggies, but this is my favorite combo.
Prep all of your ingredients first. Cook the pasta while you do the following.
Spray a pan with cooking spray and saute some minced fresh garlic and shallots. Add mushrooms, carrots, brussels sprouts and yellow squash and continue sauteing, add in shredded radicchio and toss a couple of times. Stir in chopped sun-dried tomatos and chopped peperoncinis. Add 1/4 cup of white wine and half a cup of chicken broth and bring to a boil. Stir occasionally as the liquid evaporates. When the brussels sprouts are tender, add the drained pasta and toss. Top with shredded Parmesan and enjoy!

>Chez Carey! Mussels in light sauce. MmMMMmmmm

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>Fresh Direct was having a great sale on fresh mussels so I ordered some to make for dinner tonight. They came out perfectly. Light but very flavorful, super easy and fast to cook.  Here’s the concept:
Scrub a lb of mussels and throw away any opened ones that don’t close when you tap them. Heat up a little olive oil in a big cast iron skillet. Add some whole cloves of garlic (I used 6 cloves). Add some chopped grape tomatoes. Add some fresh or dried oregano. Saute that for a few minutes and then deglaze with a few tablespoons of lemon juice. Add about a cup of chicken broth and a half cup of white wine. Bring it to a boil, back down to a simmer and then cover with a lid for 5 minutes or
until the mussels are all opened.
I happened to have some sweet potato fries that I made a while ago in my freezer so I had those on the side with a lovely salad. It was pretty much a PERFECT dinner, and thanks to the sale at Fresh Direct, the whole thing cost me about $3.

>Cafe 50 West: 50 W. 22nd st, NY. NY

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I bought a ‘Pay $25 for $50 worth of food/drinks’ coupon online for this restaurant and asked my dining pal to meet me for lunch. When I arrived, there was literally no one there except 2 people eating sandwiches. No one at the bar. No one at the hostess stand. No one. I waited for about 5 minutes and eventually the adorable bartender came out to seat me. After finding out how bad he is at his job, his adorableness faded pretty quickly. Harsh? Yes, but also true. He offered me a taste of red wine while I waited for my friend, which I accepted happily. That was pretty much the end of his attentiveness. For the rest of the meal, we had to constantly remind him that we’d ordered a glass of wine, a cocktail, an appetizer or a cappuccino. He hung out behind the bar ignoring us and the 2 other tables that now had people at them, texting on his iphone like a 16 year old at the diner table.
It quickly became clear that this restaurant probably offered the 50% off coupon because they are in grave danger of going out of business. They were out of about 6 items on the menu and apparently, as our waiter informed us, that’s very common.  We decided to share the sliders and the spinach/artichoke dip. The dip was actually surprisingly good, with big chunks of artichoke and not too much goo. The pita was fresh and warm and perfect to stuff with the dip. The sliders were ‘eh’. Fine, but certainly not worth any real praise. When we asked about dessert, we were told all they had was apple pie which we passed up, but 5 minutes later the next table over had a chocolate mousse. Hmmm. Weird. Anyway, the best part of our meal was actually the cappuccino at the end. Maybe because it was really a good one, but more likely it was because it signified the end of a not very good meal. Without the coupon and plus tip, this would have cost us about $55. Given the whole experience however, it wasn’t even worth the 50%.