Two weeks ago we kicked off Savor Sarasota with a fantastic media tasting at Libby’s. Tuesday night could’ve been the capper, since our much beloved restaurant “week” officially ended on the 14th. But as of this writing, two-thirds of the participating restaurants have officially extended their three-course prix-fixe deals through to the end of June (and more restaurants than that are rumored to do the same). Good news for us, since we’re in full-on Savor Sarasota mode. Well, good news for everyone, really.
Anyway, here’s our Savor Sarasota experience thus far:
Libby’s Café & Bar, 1917 S. Osprey Ave., Southside Village, (941) 487-7300.
Highlights: The six-course media tasting was one big highlight, but I loved the spicy tuna rice paper roll, the spinach gnocchi and the red lentil quinoa cakes in curry aioli. (Sound weird? Maybe. Taste awesome? You bet.)
The company: Unbeatable: Joey Panek, Matt Orr, Libby’s owner Steve Seidensticker himself, plus Kate Atkin from the Sarasota-Manatee Originals and Tracy Freeman from Edible Sarasota.
The after-party: A glass of wine at the bar watching game one of the Stanley Cup Finals.
Libby's new spicy tuna rice paper roll with kimchi, carrot, daikon, avocado and a ginger-Thai emulsion.
Mad Crow Brewery, 1525 Fourth St., Rosemary District, (941) 954-2337.
Highlights: The bone marrow/escargots combo, surprisingly tasty lentils with the mahi mahi and the beer sampler, which lets you experiment with what beers go with what dishes. The crème brulee trio, served in individual egg-shell cups with sugar-glass points, came in inconsistent consistencies (and the sugar points were a tad too solid), but I damn near tried to lick the inside of each of the egg shells, so…there ya go.
The company: CCB, Little J, Bartender Chuck (of Stairway to Belgium fame) and, next to us at the bar, a lovely couple from New Hampshire who insisted on buying me a less-than-lovely concoction of Kahlua and lime juice.
The after party: Food coma while house-sitting for my parents.
The creme brulee trio (as seen from my crappy phone) at Mad Crow.
Euphemia Haye, 5540 Gulf of Mexico Drive, Longboat Key, (941) 383-3633.
Highlights: The rich and wonderful lamb shank over mashed potatoes. (Those who got the duck, however, were equally convinced that they had made the proper decision.) Everything I want in a chocolate mousse (and the bite I had of CCB’s pecan pie was impressively reminiscent of my mother’s homemade version).
The company: CCB, Web Editor Megan, and a fashionably late Little J—plus a kickass waiter who really made the experience fun and relaxed. (As if Little J eating flowers and Megan and I giggling about god knows what weren’t fun enough.)
The after party: UFC at our place with Krazy Kevin et al.
MoZaic, 1377 Main St., downtown Sarasota, (941) 951-6272.
Highlights: The food, beginning to end: a chilled ginger-pear soup and Roquefort sherbet amuse bouche (and seriously, cheese sherbet is a fascinating and wonderful thing), escargots starter, wild mushroom ravioli, and a chef’s sampling of homemade sorbets and ice creams. (The optional wine pairings didn’t really work out, but that didn’t detract from the food.)
The company: CCB, Web Editor Megan and Little J again.
The after party: Sports Page to watch CCB’s major-league cousin get another close.
Café L’Europe, 431 St. Armands Circle, St. Armands, (941) 388-4415.
Highlights: Lobsterful lobster bisque, macadamia-crusted pork chop, and raspberry crème brulee. (They also have a kickass deal through the whole summer—a more extensive two-course meal for two that also comes with a bottle of house wine for $60.)
Company: Good ol’ CCB and another friendly (but not intrusive) waiter.
The after party: A really really lovely stroll around St. Armands.