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Eating with Emma

Celebrate a 'Seinfeld' Festivus with these Sarasota eats

Louis Pappas' Greek salad is mega-mouthwatering.
Louis Pappas' Greek salad is mega-mouthwatering.
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I’m not feeling like a total Grinch this holiday season, but after the year I’ve had, I don’t quite feel like singing Christmas carols between sips of spiked eggnog and traveling among the masses.

However, I will never write off Christmas, as my dad loved it. But this year I've pondered the idea of celebrating Festivus on Dec. 23.

For those of you not familiar with the "Seinfeld" holiday, Festivus is the day for the “airing of grievances,” over a meal in which each person shares the hilarious and true disappointments of the last year. Instead of a Christmas tree, there's an unadorned aluminum pole so no one has to worry about putting up lights and ornaments.

But instead of taking the fictional fest literally, I want to put a local spin on the food-oriented episodes seen during the nine-season lifespan of "Seinfeld" and celebrate the laughs the show continues to bring viewers, thanks to the wonders of streaming.

Move aside, Newman. It’s time to eat — and yada, yada, yada.

The Lobster Pot 

5157 Ocean Blvd., Siesta Key; 941-349-2323;

Lobster bisque ($7.99-$10.99) with added lobster chunks ($5), please and thank you.
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Soup FOR You: In Season 7, Episode 6, we meet and all fall in love with a character called "The Soup Nazi." Where do I go to feel like George taking his first spoonful of this hot lunch dish? Lobster Pot. Choose between tasty cups and/or bowls of lobster bisque ($7.99-$10.99), prepared in lobster broth and then pureed with lobster meat, cream and sherry (add lobster chunks for $5). You can also slurp the family recipe of New England Clam Chowder with bacon ($6.99-$9.99) or order the Portuguese soup ($5.99-$7.99) with fresh kale, potatoes, assorted beans, onions, linguica and Chaurice sausage blended with broth and spices. This I can say: "Soup for Me!"

Early Bird Special: In Season 7, Episode 14 ,we see Jerry visit his retired parents in Florida and get the meal which I love most — an early bird special. So if soup isn’t singing to your soul, go to Lobster Pot and grab a tasty lobster tail (market price) steamed or fried to your satisfaction. All entrees are served with a choice of two sides (mine would be French fries and cole slaw) and cornbread.

Taste of Hong Kong

2224 Gulf Gate Drive, Sarasota; 941-922-6765;

You must eat at least one egg roll ($1.79) at Taste of Hong Kong.
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I Will Wait 10 Minutes 10 Times Over: Season 2, Episode 11, "The Chinese Restaurant" is by far one of my favorites. The host tells the gang that their table will be ready in “10 minutes” multiple times, testing the hunger and patience of each and every cast member. Growing up outside of New York City, I was blessed with some of the best Chinese food you can imagine, so when I moved to Florida I held my hopes high. My tummy’s expectation was met at Taste of Hong Kong.

Always Hungry For: Where do I start? There truly isn’t a wrong meal to order here when you have a hankering for the Chinese food you see in the movies. The smell brings back memories of Saturday night takeout and the first-bite feeling is unmatched. Try the Mongolian beef with onions, green onion and dried chili ($12.99) if you like something spicy. Order the bourbon chicken chef special ($11.99) if you want something to warm the soul, or the house special lo mein with shrimp, chicken and pork ($9.99-$12.99) if you want a little bit of everything. Pick up at least one of the fried rice options ($7.99-$12.95), and you must eat at least one egg roll ($1.79).

Louis Pappas Fresh Greek

8512 Cooper Creek Blvd., Bradenton; 941-388-8719;

The Big Salad: In Season 6, Episode 2 we learn that Elaine loves a large, leafy salad. It got me thinking about the salad that I fell in love with as quickly as Kramer enters a room. I remember each bite like it was yesterday. Louis Pappas' traditional ($12.75-$20.75) and the Pappas chopped take on the Greek salad (same pricing) both deliver greens in a mega-mouthwatering way. The list of ingredients is as long as it is delicious; lettuce, potato salad, watercress leaves, tomatoes, cucumber, avocado, feta cheese, green pepper, sliced beets, shrimp, anchovy fillets, black olives, radishes, green onions with salad dressing. Best of all, it's served with toasted garlic bread.

Louis Pappas Fresh Greek's chicken avgolemono soup ($4.75-$7) will keep you warm.
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Soup IS a Meal: In Season 6, Episode 7, Jerry is told that soup doesn’t qualify as a meal, which is false — especially when you are ordering what they are serving at Louis Pappas. The chicken avgolemono soup ($4.75-$7) is bright, light and makes the random cold fronts feel a little warmer here in Florida. Made from scratch using lemon, chicken broth and other fresh vegetables, this meal is loaded with nutrients in each spoonful.

Happy Festivus for the rest of us!



Emma Burke Jolly

Emma Burke Jolly has worked at Observer Media Group since 2018 as the digital fulfillment specialist. Originally from Connecticut, this Gulf Coast transplant loves being by the water, reminiscing about what Longboat Key looked like in 1990, navigating life with her husband and their two Maine Coon cats, and sharing her foodie findings with you.

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