Tag Archives: Shopping

Walt’s Fish Market & Restaurant: 4144 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL

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walts smoked mulletwalts saladwalts veggies walts scampi

 

 

Things I love about Walt’s:

1. It’s literally across the street from my favorite 6:30pm Tuesday night candlelight power yoga class at Family Tree Yoga.

2. The market is full of super fresh, reasonably priced choices.

3. There’s pretty much always a place to sit in their outdoor section- which is open and airy. Even though it’s view is of a parking lot, it still somehow feels sort of beachy, and there is often live acoustic music.

4. Huge cups of ice cold water. (Too bad they are in environmentally unfriendly styrofoam)

5. A reasonably priced menu with tons of options that sound appealing.

6. The yummy, complimentary, smoked mullet starter they bring with loads of saltines.

7. Their blue cheese dressing is AMAZING. Huge chunks of cheese and seriously just so so so so good.

Things I don’t really love about Walt’s:

1. The food is so- so. Although everything is fresh, it’s boring and uncreative. They love to fry stuff and/or drown it in unnecessary amounts of butter and oil. The salads are mostly comprised of iceberg lettuce (boo). The veggies on the side are usually overcooked and mushy, and again, just boring boring boring. I wish they would get a little creative with what they offer, but the couple of times I’ve been there, I’ve ended up feeling like I really should have just bought seafood in their market and taken it home to cook it myself.

2. The waitstaff, though they are friendly, are super slow. It is not a place I advise dining at if you’re in a hurry.

3. Even though the prices seem fair at first glance, it still ends up costing more than it should in the end.

The moral of the story is that I have been there twice, and kind of doubt I’ll go again. If I do, it will just be for the market, which really does have some seafood worth buying. I will learn my lesson this time and next time will be my own chef.

 

 

 

 

Veg: 2164 Gulf Gate Dr. Sarasota, FL

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veg kale saladUpdate! I felt that it was important to add an undated entry for Veg. I actually go there pretty frequently on my lunch breaks from work and decided that my first review of it really didn’t do it justice- especially because at that point, I’d only tried take-out. This photo is of the amazing 2164 Salad: chopped kale, shoestring carrots, shredded raw beets, purple cabbage, toasted sunflower seeds, avocado, organic pea shoots; papaya seed citrus dressing. This salad has become my favorite at Veg and I can’t seem to stop ordering it. It makes me feel SO healthy and tastes seriously amazing. As the saying goes, we eat with our eyes first, and the beautiful colors of the beets, carrots, avocados and kale make for an incredibly tasty display of color. There are tons of awesome choices on Veg’s menu, and I still have a long way to go before I’ve tried them all. I find it very difficult to move on to new choices when I get so easily hooked on the ones I’ve had so far. Bravo Veg! Thank you so much for giving me such a great place to go to for lunch. See you again soon!

Here’s the original post:

I had take out lunch from Veg a few days ago and it left a great impression on me. The menu had so many wonderful sounding, healthy and reasonably-priced options that I wasn’t sure what to order. When I called to place my order for pick up, I decided to ask if the women answering the phone had any recommendations and was told that the special of the day was looking excellent. I took her word for it and ordered the shrimp/lobster cake sandwich. It had a definite seafood taste, but was not filled with chunks like I was hoping for. It really could have been shrimp, lobster, fish, crab or anything else- but for under $10, I had a VERY filling and flavorful lunch on a hearty roll with a side of great cole slaw and a little slice of watermelon. Great deal, easy, peasy, done. I will definitely be back soon.

Paisano’s Italian Bakery: 2732 Stickney Point Road, Sarasota, FL

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This was the third and final stop on my father and my Gulf Gate area foodie tour today and the only one that didn’t blow us away. The case of goodies looks simply awesome when you first walk in, but I should have trusted my initial instinct about bakeries who put sprinkles on rainbow cakes. It’s just not right, and usually indicates that they don’t really know what they are doing. Beautiful cakes and cookies are nice, but if they don’t taste as good as they look I won’t be back.

We ordered rainbow cakes, (wrong consistency and flavor of the cake, chocolate that was too thick and kind of weird tasting, and the sprinkles, ugh)  biscotti (totally wrong texture, not hard or crunchy enough), an almond macaron (which was spelled incorrectly as a macaroon, which it definitely was not) and a raspberry linzer tart that was very sub par.

So yes, maybe I’m just a spoiled NYer with parents from Brooklyn who was lucky enough to grow up with access to some of the best cakes and cookies in the world, and maybe I should have turned and left when I saw the sprinkles (which, by the way I DO love on my ice cream but don’t want anywhere near my beloved rainbow cakes) but I didn’t. Oh well. Two out of three ain’t bad.

And yes, I will be eating salad for dinner tonight.

 

Jim’s Small Batch Bakery. 2336 Gulf Gate Dr, Sarasota, FL

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Stop #2 on my father and I’s little culinary adventure in Gulf Gate led us to Jim’s Small Batch Bakery and WOW this was the highlight of the day for me. This tiny little shop tucked away in the corner of Gulf Gate is just awesome, with a staff who clearly has a ton of integrity about what they do. Jim was on hand to chat and give us some samples of his sorbets and ice creams and I simply couldn’t resist. I ended up with a scoop of coconut sorbet and a scoop of strawberry sorbet and they were both so incredibly delicious. Smooth, creamy and very natural with nothing but the fruit, a little sugar and a binding ingredient. Some of the best sorbet I’ve ever had actually. I couldn’t help topping my cup with a lemon sand dollar cookie that was super thin, crisp and delicate. I also tasted my father’s vanilla ice cream which was equally outstanding.

The case full of treats was extremely tempting, and I’m lucky that I work pretty close by. I will absolutely be back for lunch soon- as they had a wonderful little menu of sandwiches, soups and quiches in addition to their baked goods. The almond croissant was LOUDLY calling my name and I promised it that I’d come back for it soon. The lemon bar, breads and cakes also looked amazing and I’m sure I’ll eventually try them all.

YUM. I will be back within a week, I’m sure of it. Thanks Jim!

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!