The food was almost as good as the gossip at a recent gathering of friends.
By Judi Gallagher
Leave it to a ladies’ night gathering to find one of the sweetest young professional private chefs around. What started as our usual get together where the host makes the entrée(s) and the other gal pals bring the appetizers, side dishes and desserts turned into a fab dining experience when Blake Ellis of Eloquent Entrées (941-925-4648) decided to treat us to a little cooking demo and scrumptious appetizers to kick the night out.
Blake Ellis of Eloquent Entrees.
I did warn Blake that after his appearance out he goes—after all it was ladies night and Rebecca Baxter, Sarasota Mag’s amazing photographer and all around wonderful friend had the momentum off to a good start with four or so bottles of chilled champagne ready to pop.
Blake and the girls.
Blake had us at hello; and even better for me, he came an hour early to set up and made the pastry dough for my Vidalia onion pie, which I was serving with roasted chicken and wild mushroom and leek pasta (fresh Pereronata pasta, of course). Blake is clearly comfortable around a kitchen, and his fresh Vietnamese spring rolls were light and flavorful, while his rare tenderloin crostini was melt in your mouth delish! So, with our usual ladies’ night a success thanks to chef Blake and all my dear friends, it is time to rotate houses and wait for my side dish assignment.
This week I ran into Morton’s Market for some crimini and shiitake mushrooms and was thrilled to see one of my favorite sushi chefs, Kioshi, behind the counter. Looks like I will be running in for freshly made spicy tuna rolls now!
As a follow up to our gourmet pizza story in the magazine this month, I have to add my two cents on some plain old really good pizzas around town. These may not have fit the criteria for gourmet, but they certainly are some of our favorites. Filippo’s pizzeria serves a great slice or whole cheese pie, with just the right amount of grease to let it dribble down your wrist when folded just so. Café Italia is known for fresh seafood, pasta entrées and incredible veal Parm, but they also have a great pizza; while Mama Leone’s down in Nokomis (918-9889) probably has the best cheese for a pizza. But, since I am dieting yet again, I can only dream of browning mozzarella cheese and thin, baked crust with a tangy tomato sauce as I crunch on the celery stick beside me.
Do you have a favorite Sarasota pizza, gourmet or just really good? Please share by posting below.