Taking Savor Sarasota (and more) by storm.
By Hannah Wallace
OK, so we’re not gourmands. CCB and I spent most of last week shouting “Hot dogs and beer!” at each other because we’d scored free tickets to Thursday night’s Rays game. Hebrew National is like Godiva to me.
But we do know the value of a good confit, and CCB especially was psyched for Savor Sarasota. Truly, it was a great excuse to get off our keesters, finally, and make our first trip to Mattison’s Riverside, Savor Sarasota’s lone Bradenton outpost a mere mile from our house. But with baseball, Sex and the City madness, and CCB’s parents coming into town over the weekend, I had no idea the days ahead would revolve almost entirely around food.
So, yes, I dragged CCB to the SATC estrogen spectacular Friday night. Really, my main motivation was the Planned Parenthood pre-party ($25, just like Savor Sarasota dinners) at the condo of Suzette Jones, owner of Evolution Fitness. Of course Barbara Zdravecky and Misty Smeltzer were there, as was ubiquity incarnate Matt Orr, plus Andrea and Karen from Jake’s Downtown, who I think have only seen me in hockey gear, so I was unrecognizable as a wannabe urbanite.
(See how I can drop all these names like I know people? When in reality, CCB and I plopped ourselves down on the couch as bartender-for-the-night Kelly Byrne brought the cosmos to us.)
And by the way, it took one blintz and a couple of potato pancakes to make me a die-hard fan of Toojay’s, which catered the to-do. (Picking between that and Cosimo’s on my next Southgate visit is going to be like Sophie’s Choice.)
Sufficiently tipsy for the movie, we sat in the second row of a crowded theater, when I realized that I yet again failed to elude my stalker, Judi Gallagher, sitting in the row behind us. She offered me popcorn! I know it’s just popcorn, but it’s Judi Gallagher popcorn.
Saturday we took Mr. and Mrs. Cheetah Club (oh, that’s endearing) for lunch on the beachfront deck of Anna Maria’s Beach House, and wouldn’t you know it, that cool breeze I ordered was delivered just on time—as were our fried grouper sandwich, shrimp quesadilla, shrimp salad and blackened grouper plate. We followed that up with a drive down Longboat for ice cream at Kilwin’s. The Alabamian Cheetahparents said they could eat seafood for every meal of their Florida vacation, and sure enough, the next morning they drove themselves all the way from Hotel Indigo to have another Beach House meal.
But we made sure their Sarasota savoring was well-rounded. Saturday night dinner at Mattison’s City Grille included my favorite appetizer, heretofore known as “ohmygodbruschettayum.” (Gesundheit.) CCB introduced his folks to the many Southern/Cajun/Caribbean wonders of Mr. Bones Barbecue Monday afternoon, and Monday night at Selva peaked when CCB’s mom took one bite and declared, “I think this is the best steak I’ve ever had.” (We stopped at Sarasota News & Books after dinner so she could buy a local cookbook.) Tuesday lunch at Treviso featured seafood-topped salads followed by crème brûlee, and their final vacation dinner at Captain Brian’s was, as always, a freakishly fresh fried fish feast.
I think we showed off epicurean Southwest Florida good and proper, right?
And somehow, we’re still gaining momentum. His folks have gone, but CCB has insisted on another Selva trip on Wednesday, then soccer on Thursday (which probably won’t make a dent in all these excess calories, but at least it’s a workout), then Euphemia Haye Friday. Maybe we can fit in one more lunch Saturday, too, to maximize our Savor Sarasota experience. And if you have any love for your stomach at all, you’ll do the same.