A tasteful year it has been. While not every morsel has been top notch, some food finds have been overwhelmingly scrumptious from first bite. I will not list my favorites in any special order, because I loved them all equally. It’s like when someone asks me what my favorite restaurant is—well, that honestly depends on the mood I am in and what I might be craving at that very moment. I am a self-confessed food snob. Not that everything I taste must be smothered in duck fat and lobster (but it could not hurt); I just appreciate pure ingredients and properly prepared dishes. The perfect crisp apple, a medium rare cheeseburger that has just the right amount of fat to drip down your chin and catch on your forearm, and a fresh fried potato dipped in tartar sauce all make me shiver with delight.
Piccolo Italian Market and Deli is like eating in New Jersey without the bad weather!
If you have been in search of great Italian bread—the kind that you have to pull at with each bite—trust me and order the meatball Parmesan sandwich with extra sauce. Devour it right there and don’t worry about the crumbs on your table; it’s the true sign of great Italian bread. 2128 Gulf Gate Drive
A classic Peach melba at Beach Bistro.
While I love most of the dishes at Main Street’s Sangria, the Berenjenas Bracedas—stuffed eggplant— is one of the best dishes in Sarasota. Their sauce is homemade, but it’s the ricotta filling that won us over. Of course, finishing with the warm apple tart does not hurt either! www.sangriatapasbar.com