There’s no escaping the heat during Florida summers. It causes a mass-exodus of snowbirds at the end of spring; it turns the cool Gulf into bath water; it skyrockets electric bills; and it’s so synonymous with Florida that Miami named its basketball team after the heat!
When air conditioning doesn’t cut it, we’ve got some refreshing, epicurean ways to cool off and take the squelching summer days by storm.
3604 South Osprey, 807-4322
Hours: Open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday (closed Mondays). Available for catering and private events.
This new gourmet popsicle shop blends in-season fruit, whole ingredients and spices from the Virgin Islands. It’s the perfect way to end a beach day.
Scroll below to see a video of tips for making popsicles at home.
Simon’s Coffee House: Fresh Fruit Smoothies
5900 S. Tamiami Trail, 926-7151
Open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
Simon’s Coffee House is known for using whole foods, no sugary purees, and only fresh fruit and juice in
Pho Cali: Fresh Spring Rolls
1578 Main Street, 955-2683
Open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday; Open 11 a.m. to
9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Closed daily from 4 to 5 p.m.
Pho Cali’s fresh rolls contain crisp, chilled vegetables, refreshing mint, rice noodles and shrimp rolled in rice paper and served with peanut dipping sauce.
Selva Grill: Tuna Tiradito Nikkel
1345 Main St., 941-362-4427
Open 5 to 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday.
This sweet watermelon-and-tuna ceviche is made with ginger- and soy-sauce- marinated tuna between
cubes of watermelon.
Crab and Fin: Gazpacho
420 St. Armands Circle, 388-3964
Open 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
This chilled tomato soup with veggies, sour cream and homemade croutons has been a signature dish for more than 35 years — but the recipe is top secret.
See below for Chef Paul Mattison’s local heirloom tomato salad recipe — it features a basil sorbet. If you have an ice-cream maker, this is a must-try recipe.
2 cups water
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
1 ½ tablespoons lemon zest, divided
1 cup packed fresh basil (if a stronger basil flavor is wanted, use 1 ½ cups)
Pinch of salt
2 cups fresh lemon juice
1. Prepare a lemon simple syrup with the water, sugar and 1 ½ tablespoons of the lemon zest by combining all three in a medium saucepan set over medium-low heat.
2. Once the syrup is ready, add basil and salt. Let the mixture steep for 30 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice. Cover and refrigerate for two to three hours or overnight.
3. Strain the chilled mixture through a fine mesh strainer. Pour mixture into powered-on ice cream maker and let thicken (about 15 to 20 minutes).
4. When sorbet is almost done, add reserved zest through opening on top of the ice cream maker and let churn until combined to a soft, creamy texture. If a firmer consistency is desired, transfer the sorbet to an airtight container and place in the freezer for two hours (remove it 15 minutes before serving).
3 cups of whole milk
1 teaspoon garlic clove, minced
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 ½ cups Polenta cornmeal
¼ cup parmesan, grated
2 tablespoons butter
salt and black pepper to taste
1. In a medium saucepan add milk, garlic and cayenne. Bring the liquid to a boil.
2. Reduce the heat to medium-low and pour in the cornmeal, stirring constantly. Simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring often, until the mixture is thickened.
3. Remove from heat. Using a wooden spoon or spatula, add the parmesan and butter. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
4. Grease an 8-by-8 inch baking pan. Transfer the polenta into the pan and spread evenly with a spatula. Leave to cool.
5. Preheat an oven to 450-degrees, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut the polenta into small cubes and gently transfer the cubes ot the baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes or until the croutons are crisp and golden, flipping occasionally with a pair of tongs so each side of the cubes browns evenly. Can be pan fried, too.
Local heirloom tomato salad (serves 4)
3 each assorted medium sized heirloom tomatoes quartered
1 teaspoon shallot, finely minced
3 teaspoons minus 8 vinegar
3 tablespoons high-quality extra virgin olive oil
Salt and fresh round black pepper (to taste)
As needed: micro basil
As needed: Basil sorbet (see recipe)
As needed basil oil
1. In a small bowl, add tomatoes, shallots, vinegar and oil.
2. Gently mix the tomatoes
3. Season tomatoes with salt and fresh ground pepper.
4. Place three assorted wedges of tomato on each plate. Drizzle remaining oil between each plate. Place a small scoop of sorbet between the plates and garnish with feta, micro basil, polenta and croutons and basil oil between each plate.
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The West Coast Florida Region of AJC (American Jewish Committee) will honor Michael Klauber and Phil Mancini, of Michael’s On East, with its Civic Achievement Award in November.
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Bob Havel recently celebrated his 90th birthday on Longboat Key with 24 members of his family.