+ Sarasota restaurants receive Golden Spoons
Big news for Sarasota foodies! Many great restaurants have been named Golden Spoon winners this year. Among them are new spoon winners: Peruvian eatery Canta Rana (1813 Fruitville Road); the beautiful and fun Darwin’s on 4th (1525 Fourth St.); all-American and fun Eat Here (1888 Main St.); and the romantic and trendy Indigenous (239 S. Links in Towles Court).
The list also includes repeat spoon winners Libby’s Café (1917 S. Osprey Ave.); Derek’s (514 Central Ave.) known for its “casual new American” cuisine; Latin-inspired Selva Grill (1345 Main St.); Longboat Key’s Maison Blanche (2605 Gulf of Mexico Drive) and Pattigeorge’s (4120 Gulf of Mexico Drive); and what may be Sarasota’s answer to New York City’s Daniel, with a Western-Mediterranean twist, Mozaic (1377 Main St.).
Spanish eatery Ceviche (1216 First St.) took a “Best Brand Award,” as did neighbors Roy’s and Fleming’s (2001 Siesta Drive), and Carmel Café (8433 Cooper Creek Blvd.)
Three area restaurants, which are included in the “Hall of Fame” awards, are Holmes Beach’s Beach Bistro (6600 Gulf Drive); Longboat Key’s Euphemia Haye (5540 Gulf of Mexico Drive) and Sarasota’s Michael’s On East (1212 East Ave).
Of course, any of these great restaurants would make joyous and delicious places to ring in the new year. We suggest you add some other local restaurants that we highly recommend including The Table, the Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota and the Bijou Café.
+ ‘Haute’ Cocktails for cold days
For those wanting to get a jump start on the new year, Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar (2001 Siesta Drive), is extending a whole weekend of celebrations, from Friday, Dec. 28, through Monday, Dec. 31. They’ll be serving Gloria Ferrer Sonoma Brut by the glass or by the magnum, along with cheery “Haute Holiday” cocktails. But the menu (hey, with all that bubbly you’d better eat!) includes poached Gulf shrimp over Southern-style goat cheese grits, a choice of Delmonico steak with blue crab and Gruyere glassage, filet mignon and lobster-brioche bread pudding or a one-pound East Coast lobster tail roasted with champagne, sage and lemon butter, served with mac and cheese. Dessert is a chocolate budino: a rich chocolate tartlet with chevre-salted whipped cream and cocoa nibs. Best of all, it’s all à la carte so you may pick and choose. Head into 2013 stuffed or guiltless.
+ Home for the Holidays
Sometimes it’s a good idea to stay home for New Year’s Eve. No traffic, no hassles, no worries. And for those who also say, “no cook,” there are ways to bring great food inside for one, two or hundreds in the comfort of your own home.
A new European catering company, called La Table Du Chef, is offering complete holiday meals that can be ordered for delivery with just 24 hours’ notice. Just think, everything from a traditional turkey dinner, to braised beef short ribs can be yours, with arrays of smoked salmon and crab cakes, meatball kebabs and fluffy Parmesan biscuits to start, and Belgian chocolate cake and strawberry tiramisu to finish, without even heating your oven.
Belgian chef Stephane Pierre, who spent several years creating feasts for corporations in Dubai, as well as serving the royal family in his native Belgium, says, “I was inspired by traditional American favorites … adding a unique European sensibility to heighten the dining sensation.”
Ordering is simple. Just pick up the phone and call 377-2020 or go online to latableduchef.com for menus, ideas and photos to whet your appetite.
+ Morton’s pastry chef makes tempting treats
In case you’re planning a quiet New Year’s evening at home, just you or, you and a loved one, watching the ball drop in Times Square, there’s nothing like a light dinner followed by a midnight sweet treat and a glass — or two — of good champagne. To make it easy, Morton’s has added a new executive pastry chef who has a spectacular culinary background and a degree from the CIA, that’s The Culinary Institute of America in New York. Jami Holton is making those luscious-looking and tasty pies, cakes and tartlets even more tempting but, look at it this way: Without temptation at the end of the year, we wouldn’t have any resolutions to make (and break) in the days ahead.
+ Lollicakes make the perfect gift
Whether you’re home or out, dining in alone or with dozens, the place to visit before the holiday is The Lollicake Queen at 1821-A Hillview St. Owned and operated by sisters Amy Nichols and Erin Zolner, this fun little shop is the first and only one of its kind in Sarasota. “We call it ‘world headquarters,’” says Amy who, with Erin, is mighty busy these days.
Lollicakes are round balls of cupcakes, about the size of a ping-pong ball, iced and decorated and popped atop a white stick like a lollipop. Brilliant, but, simple idea. The great thing, though, is that, unlike some wonderful ideas that fall flat in the mouth, they’re delicious.
Nichols and Zolner turn out about 1,000 of the cutest little Lollicakes you can imagine every day. These young women went from being out of work to being way over-worked, but they’re not complaining. In fact, they’re just about to flip the switch on their website —thelollicakequeen.com — but, for the time being, they say their Facebook page is the most up-to-date place to get information.
Anyway, if you’re planning some quiet time or, better yet, if you’ve been invited to a friend’s home for a celebration and don’t want to bring yet another bottle of wine, offer up a tray of Lollicakes. They make great gifts.
Early in 2013, the Lollicake Queen will have company. Perq, a brand new coffee bar next door, will feature Lollicakes, other sweets and, perhaps, some savories. Although it’s difficult to break through the structure because the stores have been carved out of the old Hillview Fire Station, the spaces will connect and they’ll even share some outdoor space.
Whether you celebrate with a bottle of Cristal and Sevruga caviar, or a Lollicake and coffee, we wish you a happy, healthy and delicious 2013!