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Eating with Emma

The best spots around Sarasota to celebrate Galentine’s Day

On Feb. 13, grab your gal pals, gather your glasses high and cheers to girl power.

For ladies only, $75 each, enjoy bottomless select wines and bubbles at 99 Bottles on Galentine's Day.
For ladies only, $75 each, enjoy bottomless select wines and bubbles at 99 Bottles on Galentine's Day.
Courtesy photo
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Valentine’s Day is a heinous holiday (this coming from a woman living in newlywed bliss). 

You and your significant other are conditioned to separately embark on the Hallmark haul of must-have items: cards, chocolates and tchotchkes.

But there are other ways to celebrate love in February then succumbing to Cupid’s cult.

I'm talking about Galentine’s Day.

Leslie Knope, Amy Poehler’s character on "Parks and Recreation" says: “What’s Galentine’s Day? Oh, it’s only the best day of the year."

On Feb. 13, grab your gorgeous gal pals, graze grub, gather your glasses high in the air (high enough to break the glass ceiling) and cheers to girl power. 

Besties before testes, uteruses before duderuses, ovaries before brovaries, chicks before — well, you get it. Here are some perfect places to go to for Galentine’s Day.

Bees Knees cocktail, $16. Gin, fresh lemon and lavender honey.
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Chicks Craving Cocktails: The Doctor's Office

5312 Holmes Blvd. Suite 8, Holmes Beach; 941-213-9926;

Gal-Pal Plan: Prepare to be buzzed. Heat things up with the Eleanora cocktail ($22) for a memorable, magical mezcal moment, or be the badass babes you are and order the beloved Bees Knees gin cocktail ($16) with a lovely lavender honey hint. This will surely get your ladies night started!

Lobstercargots, $28. A Sean and Susan creation from the Bistro with chunks of Novey lobster baked in crock with Garlic Butter.
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Girls Just Want to Have: The Manchego pimento cheese ($11), maple leaf duckling tacos ($19) and Lobstercargots ($28) — luscious lobster chunks baked in crock with garlic butter. The menu features a sampling of evolving and revolving specials, which includes even more lobster, lamb, oysters and more.

This One’s For the Girls: Since this Doctors Office visit certainly won’t be your last, next time reserve a table in the outdoor gorgeous garden space, with limited seating under the twinkle lights, Thursday through Saturday.

Ladies Who Lunch: Baby Brie’s Café & Coffee House

1938 Adams Lane, Suite 105, Sarasota; 941-362-0933;

Mimosas are served outside on the Key West inspired wraparound porch as well as inside the cafe.
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Gal-Pal Plan: Mingle over mimosas or have a caffeinated catch-up while biting into brunch (with gluten-free options too!). Have your girl gang gather on the Key West-inspired wraparound porch, and you’ll forget that you’re in Towles Court.

Girls Just Want to Have: The hash brown casserole side transports you back to any holiday meal — especially when paired with the roast turkey melt ($13). Don’t leave the hidden gem without one of the homemade goodies, like the white chocolate raspberry scone I recently scarfed down.

This One’s for the Girls: Owner Sarah’s daughter Brie can sometimes be seen in the kitchen making her famous chicken salad (sandwich with side, $12). If this woman-owned business doesn’t define the importance of Galentine’s Day for generations to come, what does?

Wine Not Treat Yourself: Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant

3130 Fruitville Commons Blvd., Sarasota; 941-263-8100;

Crispy Brussels Sprouts, $16.99. Served with cashews, mint, sweet Thai chili and sesame-Sriracha aioli.
Photo by Emma Jolly

Gal-Pal Plan: Instead of paying airfare to Wine Country, hop in a Lyft to thoroughly enjoy a wine-driven dining experience in your own community. Be sure to make a reservation but wander to the wine tasting wonderland while you wait for your table.

Girls Just Want to Have: Crispy Brussels sprouts ($16.99) or the crab, shrimp and lobster bisque (cup $8.99, bowl $11.99) are starters you will fantasize about forever. Treat yourself to an entrée that comes with Mary’s potatoes, but save room for dessert because the salted caramel crème brûlée ($10.99) is un-brûlée-vable.

This One’s for the Girls: Discover a new wine with your favorite women by joining the Cooper’s Hawk Wine Club. The best part? You can enjoy the rewards at home in your sweatpants or get dressed up for a vivacious vino-filled evening.

Beers for the Babes: 99 Bottles

1445 Second St., Sarasota; 941-487-7874;

Grab your bestie and shower her with an evening of love & fun on February 13th at 99 Bottles.
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Gal-Pal Plan: Warning! Your partner will beg to tag along to this dreamy drinking destination, but a limited ticket event is ONLY for the ladies on Galentine's Day. For $75 each, you and your babes can sip on bottomless select wines and bubbles, snack on cheese, charcuterie and accoutrements plus treat yourself to permanent jewelry, henna tattoos and Champagne sampling from 6-9 p.m.

Cheese, charcuterie, accoutrements and more will be served while you shop permanent jewelry and henna tattoos while sipping on a champagne sampling.
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Girls Just Want to Have: A return visit for New York bagel boozy brunch every Friday through Sunday. As a Northeastern girl, finding a real bagel and schmear in Sarasota is harder than watching visitors maneuver a round-a-bout, but these shipped-in-that-morning New York bagels are the real deal.

This One’s for the Girls: While you're sipping on drinks from all over the country, Tralia Italia Restaurant Pop-Up posts up on Monday's at 99 Bottles from 5-9 p.m. to help soak up some of that sweet alcoholic nectar. PSA: The MVP Detroit-style slice will alter your perspective on pizza forever.

Burrata Caprese Panzanella, $14. Garlic toasted ciabatta, fresh beefsteak tomato, burrata, arugula with balsamic reduction and olive oil.
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Libations for the Ladies: Libby’s Neighborhood Brasserie

1917 S. Osprey Ave., Sarasota; 941-487-7300; 8445 Lorraine Road, Bradenton; 941-357-1570;

Gal-Pal Plan: Calories don’t count on Galentine’s Day. Craving another Chardonnay ($11-$25 per glass)? Order it. Feeling like fried macaroni and cheese balls ($12.50)? Get it. Not to say the kale Caesar salad ($13) isn’t delicious, but nothing hits like a carb overload.

Seafood a la Vodka, $25. Rigatoni pasta, fresh clams & mussels finished with vodka sauce, crispy peas and toasted garlic breadcrumbs.
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Girls Just Want to Have: Avocado egg rolls ($13.50) or the burrata caprese panzanella salad ($14). From the Impossible vegan double mac burger ($16.50) to the newly added seafood a la vodka ($25), this menu comes in clutch for your celebratory chica party.

This One’s for the Girls: Libby's is offering their Valentine's Day prix fixe menu from Feb. 9-14. Bring your best gal pal to a dinner for two, and choose one appetizer, two entrees, one dessert and a bottle of brut for $130. Ladies with libations is the perfect pairing for this female empowerment holiday.



Emma Burke Jolly

Emma B. Jolly has worked at Observer Media Group for five years as the digital fulfillment specialist with previous experience at Sarasota Magazine, Harper's Bazaar and even "The Jerry Springer Show" (yes, that's right). In her spare time, she enjoys doing anything near or on the water, being a cat mama and, of course, being a foodie with her new hubby.

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