An inside look at what’s coming this year in the ever-changing worlds of fashion, food, art and innovation. From craft cocktails to macho motorcycles, sweltering yoga sessions and theater stages full of film favorites and polarizing politics, there’s a lot to not miss this season, and with help from fall fashion trends, you can live it all in style.

L’Agence top, James Perse culottes, Elizabeth & James necklace. Ahlem sunglasses.

AKRIS PUNTO SET. THIERRY LASRY SUNGLASSES. SPECIAL THANKS TO LOLITA TARTINE.


L’Agence top, James Perse culottes, Elizabeth & James necklace. Ahlem sunglasses.

THE MARTINIQUE PRINT.


L’Agence top, James Perse culottes, Elizabeth & James necklace. Ahlem sunglasses.

BáNH Mì FROM MONKEY BUSINESS. THE LIBBSTACKER FROM LIBBY'S CAFé. THE CANDIED BLT FROM JIM'S SMALL BATCH.


L’Agence top, James Perse culottes, Elizabeth & James necklace. Ahlem sunglasses.

THE 1905 SALAD FROM COLUMBIA.

Wine-Kissed

Pump up your pout with off-the-runway plums and jams swiped over your lips. The wine-stained smudge breezed down the many runways this season, dabbed on the smackers of models wearing designers such as Marni, Rodarte and Christian Dior. The vampy shade instantly modernizes your look; deep berries, purples and even chocolate browns accentuate every skin color without having to create a high-maintenance look. “Dark lips were seen all over the Fall '16 and '17 runways due largely to the resurgence of ‘90s fashion,” says Sephora Sarasota Senior Artist Dora Salgado. “Bold and grungy colors such as matte browns, plums and burgundies can be worn by any age group and skin tone. The more opaque the color is, the edgier the look.” Skip the eyeliner and shadow—only a touch of mascara should be run over your lashes to complement the bold statement on your lips. For a matte, just-kissed stain, try out Nars’ Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Damned or Train Bleu; for a high-shine, lacquered look go for Yves Saint Laurent’s Rouge Pur Couture Lipstick in Prune Avenue—both available at Sephora in The Mall at University Town Center. Take the look to the next level and go for an updated Goth-girl lip with Bite’s Amuse Bouche Lipstick in Black Truffle. With one sensual swipe, your lips will speak for themselves. —A. Kanter

Political Theater

Nothing ruins a family dinner faster than talking politics, so this season take it to the theater instead. Asolo Repertory Theatre closes out its five-season American Character Project with an explosive slate of shows delving into even the prickliest parts of the political landscape. Actor Nick Wyman returns as Lyndon B. Johnson in Robert Schenkkan’s The Great Society, a sequel to last season’s All The Way, invoking Vietnam and social reform. The controversial late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia takes center stage in The Originalist from Charles MacArthur Award-winner John Strand, seeing the iconic judge play both mentor and provocateur to a young liberal law clerk. Even comedies such as The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity raise questions of race, class and power amongst fisticuff hijinks. “It is impossible to contemplate the true nature of the American character without considering politics,” says Asolo Rep Producing Artistic Director Michael Donald Edwards. “Americans are intensely political—that type of passion is what fueled the founding of the country, and is woven into our collective DNA. As we head into an election that will surely be a divisive one for many people, it is vital for Asolo Rep, as a leading arts institution in Sarasota, to make theater that reflects and investigates the world around us.” —P. Lederer

Offbeat Bar Band

If it’s too loud then you’re too old and if it sounds weird that’s because it is. Josh Scheible and Sarah Valdez, a musician-and-performance artist pair with a penchant for the avant-garde and unconventional, are changing the gin mill music game and the Sarasota bar scene may never be the same. With a musical series eschewing the expected, Valdez and Scheible bring the quirky and curious, the inscrutable and irregular to Growlers’ barroom bandstand with local and touring noise-rock acts defying genre and bearing descriptors ranging from “dreamscape motif” to “slithering synthesizers” to “jitter consciousness.” With an opening show featuring Sarasota’s own David Vassalotti looping guitars and vocals into an ethereal and emotional wall of sound, an August appearance from Bradenton’s Corporate Guest and visiting acts from Portland to Miami making themselves heard, this isn’t your average acoustic night at the neighborhood pub, but who says that’s a bad thing? —P. Lederer

Sandwiches on Parade

“All anyone really wants in this life is to sit in peace and eat a sandwich,” says Liz Lemon in Season 4 of 30 Rock. In true Tina Fey form, it’s time to open wide and stock up on wet naps, because big sandwiches are making a big splash. When it comes to the hand-held masterpiece, these Sarasota restaurants don’t hold anything back, throwing their hats in the trendy sandwich game using prime ingredients and drawing from far-flung cultures that push the boundaries of mere bread. At Libby’s Cafe, the Libbstacker Truffled Kobe Meatloaf Club proves a welcome edible challenge—heaps of prosciutto, white cheddar, roasted mushroom, romaine lettuce and a beefsteak tomato provide a throne on which Libby’s signature black and tan onion ring perches, (barely) held together by a layer of truffle aioli spread over a Mexican-style telera roll. The Candied BLT at Jim’s Small Batch Bakery reminds you why sweet and savory are better together. Jim’s thick-cut bacon packs a sugary salty crunch as the ripe red tomato springs to life with runny juice, all contained by your choice of Jim’s toasted artisanal bread. Baked between 11am and noon, the made-from-scratch selection is ever-changing, but often includes offerings such as challah, potato chive, Jewish rye, semolina, sourdough and genuine water bagels. Finally, Monkey Business goes Vietnamese with their classic Bánh mì, an unlikely but incredible Asian sub filled with slow-roasted pork, cucumbers, pickled carrots, cilantro, fried shallots, teriyaki and mayo. —A. Kanter

Liquor License

Sophisticated sippers worldwide are pushing and shoving onto the craft cocktail bandwagon, expecting more from their bartenders than a simple vodka cran. “Craft cocktails are all about the flavor profiles, blending flavors together,” says State Street Bar Manager and mixologist extraordinaire Topher Nalefski. “A good cocktail should tap into memory recall; where does this take you back to?” At State Street, Nalefski takes cues from the larger craft cocktail movement, coming up with all-original recipes that highlight handmade ingredients (down to the simple syrup), nuances in liquors depending on the distillery and attention to the smallest details—type of glass, ice and garnish included. Nalefski’s signature summer creation, the Jimador en Ilamas (or Agave Harvester on Fire) is the paradigmatic representation of the trend: Oaxacaian Mescal combines with house-made cilantro and coriander syrup, Green Chartreuse, fresh-squeezed lime juice and an egg white, all served in a shallow coupe glass and topped with habanero bitters. Spicy, herbal, weird—delicious. —A. Kanter

Bleeding Edge of Healing

The market that brought the iStan surgery simulation mannequin and the elder-moving Hoveround continues to seek out medical innovations. The med-tech sector remains one of the richest areas of success on the Gulf Coast, thanks to an aging population that cares about medical care and a growing higher education network, and many an innovative medical company sees a lifeline here. “Sarasota is not only a beautiful location, but there is growing high-tech industry in the region,” says Dr. Louise E. Sinks, vice president of US Nano, a company that last year announced it would relocate from Indiana to Sarasota. “Being part of Florida's High-Tech Corridor is extremely appealing to any high-tech start-up. The network of resources available is extremely attractive.” Even after the apparent failure of the Institute for the Ages here, leaders see prospects from individual companies solving health problems of tomorrow. US Nano joins homegrown companies like Voalte, which developed smartphone technology to boost medical communication, and Enzymedica, a Venice firm that has cultivated high-potency enzyme products for nearly 20 years. Mark Huey, president of the Economic Development Corporation of Sarasota County, says the sector remains a priority as officials here seek out companies to help expand or relocate to the region. Professions are high-wage, and quality of life for the entire area benefits with this type of cutting edge effort underway. "We are trying to give visibility to all the innovative health companies around our region in a way that helps attracts resources to the companies,” Huey says. —J. Ogles

Working Class Heroes

An affordable renter is something to be. After years of failing to solve the homeless problem, leaders today turn an eye toward at least housing the working poor. And while organizations like Young Professionals Group gather data showing inarguable need, developers like Harvey Vengroff bring construction into areas of town once unthinkable for attainable quarters for those not retiring into town with enormous wealth. Robert Young, Government Issues chairman for the Sarasota Young Professionals Group, has conducted a survey of the organization’s members and found a substantial percentage would like to live downtown but cannot afford to do so. “I work downtown, and traffic is incredibly bad because that is where everyone is driving,” he notes. He hopes some of the living space coming online in the Rosemary District will satiate the need among upstart professionals. And for low-income individuals, Vengroff hopes to provide a solid, low-rent home on land north of Fruitville Road soon. After a difficult zoning process at City Hall, he recently won approval to move on a plan for 393 rental units in a North Sarasota apartment complex. Units will rent for about $650 a month, he says. But even that won’t meet the tremendous demand for rental space. “We have a whole lot of people we turn down because we can’t find them apartments,” Vengroff says. “What normally happens is people move out every once in a while, but right now they don’t because they can’t find another place.” But they keep telling us there’s room at the top, still. —J. Ogles

Townhome Sweet Home

It’s not just you. People are moving into homes that are closer together. Townhouses have become a hot commodity throughout Southwest Florida, and new projects are rising everyday. Icon just announced plans for 37 townhouse units on a long-debated School Avenue site. JebCo Ventures has almost sold out of townhomes at The Q, a 40-unit development on Ringling Boulevard in the heart of Downtown Sarasota, and has just started building at Allure, where there will be 10 luxury units at Golden Gate Point. Jim Bridges, CEO for JebCo Ventures, says the appeal is obvious. “It feels like a single-family home, but in Downtown Sarasota,” he says. The roomy feel, ground-floor access and knowledge nobody is living in a unit above you gives the feel of a house without a lawn to mow. Tall ceilings inside and, in the case of Allure, a resort pool and other amenities available make for a winning formula. And while Q units cost upward of $600,000 and Allure units run for $2 million, in places like Parrish existing townhouses also remain a hot commodity for a different buyer. Realtor Matthew Sharp, of Keller Williams on the Water’s Team Pepka, says the market makes townhomes a good deal for many first-time buyers. Sharp lives in a townhouse at Copperstone he bought in Parrish last year for $150,000 and the value has already gone up. A family that has less than $250,000 to invest in a home but wants a three-bedroom with a two-car garage will most likely end up in a townhouse, he says. “It’s a less expensive home,” he says. “It’s not their forever home, but it’s a good place to buy until the housing market gets back in alignment.” —J. Ogles

Crystal Kingdom

Striking, distinguished and above all, captivating, Turkish tile has a way of ferrying your home across oceans and flinging your walls onto the shores of the Bosporus. The beauty lies in intricate patterning, hand-painted colors and use of materials, alongside the ease with which you can create an eye-catching splash in your home with just a few components. “One line which is very successful is a collection created by designer Martyn Lawrence Bullard for Ann Sacks called Eastern Promise,” says Brigid Saah, owner of Sarasota’s Tile Market. “The tiles borrow from the lines and patterns of Moroccan and Turkish designs with a modern interpretation. We have used this in both interior and exterior applications.” Cobalt blues, burnt oranges, eggplant purples and light-catching crystals dominate the mosaicked mounts, with interlocking patterns that draw in the eye. Dwell magazine recommends using Moroccan and Turkish tiles to spice up a kitchen backsplash or create some contrast along a bathroom floor. Or get ambitious and throw the tiles from top to bottom on an accent wall. The crystalline, hand-cut Turkish tiles at Sarasota Architectural Salvage make for even more creative projects: insert one of the 6-inch tiles to the middle of a reclaimed-wood tabletop or use the larger 12-inch tiles to create a glittering floorscape in your kitchen. The tiles from SAS are each acid polished with designs cut by hand, making all individual tiles one-of-a-kind, with beautiful imperfections that stay true to their heritage. —A. Kanter

Calling All Engineers

Forget Pride and Prejudice. Kids today want to be Mr. Robot, and the Gulf Coast may soon be the best place to learn to be an engineer. Business and education leaders have come together in 2016 to encourage Skynet-level strides in creating technology to redefine a 21st-century way of life. And so far, the region boasts a rousing success. When the Talent4Tomorrow initiative pulled together an engineering meet-and-greet between high school students and local firms in just a couple weeks, there was some anxiety that nobody would participate on such short notice. Instead, 95 students attended the event and 15 employers came looking for prospective hires. Every employer in attendance was given a booklet of one-page profiles of the students indicating their interests and college plans. “Employers were salivating, even though these kids were 17 and 18 years old,” recalls Steve Queior, Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce president. The minds that will be shaped tomorrow are here now. From civil engineers designing tomorrow’s highway exits to software engineers following in the steps of Snowden, yesterday’s geeks have become the most sought-after talents in the workforce today. “The response from the engineers and students was incredibly positive,” says Todd Bowden, Sarasota County School District’s executive director of career and adult education. “Based on that feedback, we anticipate this will become an annual event.” Add into the mix the arrival of the University of Florida Innovation Station, the first extension of the university’s College of Engineering that will start offering classes in Sarasota next fall, and the Gulf Coast seems a focal point for engineering students as well. That’s noteworthy because for all Sarasota’s higher education offerings, engineering had been a gap in offerings before announcement of the station. Now a variety of internships and freelance prospects will offer a bridge for them to become fully-fledged engineers. When the robot overlords arrive, at least someone here will know where to find the off switch. —J. Ogles

Coming Up Roses

Enter rose gold, a trend certainly, but also an homage to the sun-soaked lightshow Sarasotans have the privilege of watching every night. “It’s more ‘gourmet’ [than other metals],” says Kristin DeFrancisco of McCarver & Moser. “Sarasota is a trendy place. People want something that’s a little more on the unusual side.” Rose gold results from an alloy—or mix—of pure 24-karat gold, copper and nickel: a dash of copper creates the metal’s characteristic sunset glow, and nickel strengthens otherwise malleable pure gold. This season, rose gold finds its way onto the necks, wrists, earlobes and knuckles of many a Sarasota resident; adornments ranging from classic luxury timepieces to up-to-the-minute knuckle rings wear the rosy hue. “Really fashion-forward people can’t just wear totally yellow gold,” says Michael Chokr of the Diamond Vault. “[Rose and yellow gold] sit together really nicely. They’re kind of fluid and seamless.” Part of rose gold’s current appeal is its ability to traverse generational (and gender) divides; on a typical day at either of these two Sarasota jewelers, you’ll find Millennials stocking up on stacking knuckle rings, men custom-ordering black diamond-encrusted wedding bands and society mavens picking out the perfect set of ear chandeliers to pair with their gowns—all in rose gold. DeFrancisco attests to rose gold’s renaissance moment: a frequent flyer in estate collections, she now finds the rosy-hued metal making appearances in the current collections, adding, “In the ‘40s it was really hot, and now it’s back.” —E. Steiner

To Stay or To Go?

At the close of each academic year, a fresh batch of newly minted Ringling College of Art and Design and New College of Florida graduates must decide whether to remain in Sarasota after graduation or venture off to far-flung destinations such as New York, Chicago, Los Angeles or even Europe. Here, nine young New College and Ringling alums weigh in on their post-graduation paths. —E. Steiner

Name: Evan Mattson

School: Ringling College of Art and Design Current Job: Editor at Intermedia Productions, Sarasota. Office production assistant in New York City for the Amazon Original Series Mozart in the Jungle. “The good thing about working in Sarasota is that there’s really strong connected local film community. You’re constantly surrounded by motivated people who know what they’re doing and who can help you out in the future. This community’s got some legs.”

Name: Hanna Shea Persson

School: Ringling College of Art and Design Current job: Freelance costume designer in Sarasota (head costume designer for Sugar; other recent credits include Paradise, FL and The Lucky Six). “I initially stayed because of the freelance opportunities here. Something that was pitched to us [as Ringling students] was, ‘If you stay, the community will grow,’ and I definitely think that’s true.”

Name: Karen Arango

School: Ringling College of Art and Design Current Job: Associate art teacher/photographer/videographer at Visible Men Academy Sarasota. Freelance photographer. "I’ve accomplished so much that I feel like there is nothing wrong with staying. You can make as many connections here that you could make in other places because there are so many people from other parts of the country and the world that come here.”

Name: Rikki Miller

School: New College of Florida Current Job: Development and media specialist at International Waldenstrom’s Macroglobulinemia Foundation, Sarasota. "I wanted to work for a nonprofit. The job market here seems incredible. It’s a great place if you want to work at a nonprofit because there are so many based here.”

Name: Molly Swift

School: New College of Florida Current Job: Program coordinator at ALSO Youth, Sarasota. “A lot of my friends are moving to Portland, OR, and Austin, and I just can imagine there’s going to be thousands of people like me wanting to work with LGBT youth. What are the chances of me actually being able to make a substantial difference? I want to stand my ground and make progress happen here where it’s so desperately needed.”

Name: Mariana Silva

School: Ringling College of Art and Design Current Job: Product designer at Yahoo, San Francisco, CA. “For me, because I work in the tech industry, San Francisco is where it all started. All of my friends work in tech; we’re all like-minded people. What I really like about San Francisco is that there are a lot people [here] who are passionate about what I’m passionate about. It just made sense for me to move to this area based on the industry that I was interested in.”

Name: Brianna Geoghegan

School: Ringling College of Art and Design Current Job: Associate designer at AKQA, New York, NY. “For being such a creative-driven school, the environment where Ringling [College] is placed is just not the place to have a creative career. Being a motion designer, the environment needs a little bit more of an upbeat tempo for inspiration.”

Name: Tabia Lees

School: Ringling College of Art and Design Current Job: CG generalist and character animator at Vitamin Pictures, Chicago, IL. “I definitely wanted to move. I had lived in Florida all my life and I just wanted to explore different places. I really love the North, so I was excited to move to Chicago. I like the snow and the colder weather. It was a nice departure from the heat. I’ve never lived in a city before, so I had to learn a lot.”

Name: Claire Albiez

School: New College of Florida Current Job: HR and team assistant at ResearchGate, Berlin, Germany. “I wanted to leave Sarasota a little bit at least to discover more since I had been in Sarasota since I was 11, but it wasn’t ever in the way that I wanted to leave for good. In an indirect way, New College professors and career advisors are pushing us to go out and explore and to apply all the knowledge and lessons that we’ve learned while at New College. I think it makes sense that once you’ve learned all that, you go and explore beyond Sarasota.”

Looking for Adventure

It’s not just Sons of Anarchy looking for easy riding adventure. Lawyers, architects and real estate agents can be found mounting hogs and riding the coast on weekends. Lee Delieto, Jr., a real estate agent with Michael Saunders and Company, can also be spotted crossing the countryside during long-distance rides atop his fully touring Harvey-Davidson Ultra. A Harley enthusiast since buying his first bike in 1997, he happily chooses the beating challenges of two-wheeling on the open road over the quiet interior of a sedan. He will rid his hog through tropical storm winds, desert heat and Colorado cold fronts. “On a motorcycle, you are at the mercy of the elements,” he says, “and as uncomfortable as that can be, it’s also exhilarating.” And that testimonial comes even before meeting a rich community of riders. Delieto is a former director of the Manatee chapter of the Harley-Davidson Owners Group (HOG) and says resources for learning riding skills and safety take the intimidation out of joining a community with a burley rep. So grab your chaps and get out on the highway. —J. Ogles

Public Muralizing

See the headline: “Banksy Bombs London”—the RAF remain powerless to stop him. Cross the Channel: the hyperrealist MTO operates with impunity through France and Germany for more than a decade—whereabouts currently unknown. Cross the pond: street art—neo-graffiti—emerges from the urban enclaves of its birth in the ‘80s—NYC, Detroit, Chicago, anywhere in Southern California—getting up across the country, overflowing boundaries and expectations and hitting the Suncoast like the high-velocity spray from a fat cap. From municipal decoration to private adornment, murals and other forms of street art are on the rise in Sarasota-Bradenton, with genre-blending graffiti artists like Richie Brasil finding not only more public work but also the beginning of private commissions for interior murals on homeowners’ walls. “Graffiti has definitely become more known and respected as an art form,” says Brasil. “People are realizing that they can commission and add value to their property and their homes with personal art. Art doesn’t depreciate.” And that wall’s not going anywhere. Look out for a pair of multi-story murals from Brasil celebrating Overtown’s early black settlers and Florida’s indigenous peoples coming this year to the Rosemary District. —P. Lederer

Hit the Street

Tap into your inner Anthony Bourdain and get in touch with flavors of the locals. Street food represents a power to the people. No white tablecloths or Michelin stars needed—just simple, authentic, easy-to-eat meals. Chef Darwin Santa Maria, easily credited as the founder of the Peruvian food movement in Sarasota and more specifically, the ceviche craze, returns to the restaurant floor, experimenting with all flavors Latin. An urban restaurant on the shores of Siesta Key Beach, Cevichela delivers quick service the Latin way, with crisp customizable ceviche bowls, tacos, chifas (or stir fry) and traditional street food specials like salchipapas, a sliced crispy hot dog with bacon and crackling potatoes smothered in a creamy Peruvian mustard sauce. “I tried to combine foods from my Peruvian roots, where ‘street food’ and food trucks don’t mean greasy, but rather fresh, quality, organic ingredients,” says Chef Darwin. “I want people to be able to come in for two meals a day and only have to spend $10.” Ceviche get sliced and diced with a customizable fish, base and sauce. At price points much lower than we’ve ever seen Darwin advertise in the past, all dishes are convenient, quick and can be eaten at the open-air restaurant or out of a takeout box (made from sustainable sugar cane) while on the beach. Wash down the Latin spice with a can of chilly craft beer from one of the other Florida-based breweries. —A. Kanter

Hot Hot Heat

Strength, focus, flexibility, health, balance reads the sign of Bikram Yoga Sarasota. It’s been in place for nearly two decades—what’s new are the owners and renovations. Farky and Timi Fuszfas took over the downtown studio in December and opened a second location, Blue Roof Studio, on South Tamiami Trail in February.  A 90-minute moving meditation where you are led through a 26-posture sequence performed in two sets in a room that is 105 degrees with 40 percent humidity, Bikram yoga may be unfathomable to most. Though you do emerge soaked, a clear calm mind and a renewed energy accompanies you as well—and the pounds literally melt off. In that hot room there is no pretense, no judgment and the workout is designed for all shapes, sizes, fitness levels and ages. With regular practice, Bikram Yoga helps you to focus your mind and control your breath leaving you with a deep sense of relaxation and wellbeing inside and outside of the studio. At the Blue Roof Studio, Inferno Pilates is also offered and is included in the cost of your membership. A first-ever of its kind in the area and a perfect compliment to Bikram yoga, Inferno Pilates is a full-body, low-impact, high-intensity workout using Pilates principles. It’s performed on a yoga mat and towel in a slightly heated room with energetic music. Benefits include long lean muscle mass, fat burning, increased fitness levels, a stronger core and improved circulation and flexibility. You’ll notice a definite difference in mind, body and spirit. Change is good!  —N. Carbon

Living Walls

The Martinique print—the iconic, banana-leaf pattern papering the walls of the infamous Beverly Hills Hotel—provided a backdrop for glamour and scandal generated by over 70 years of esteemed celebrity guests. Since its installation in 1942, the print—created specially for the hotel by famed decorator Don Loper—has borne witness to stars ranging from Golden Age screen goddesses Elizabeth Taylor to Grace Kelly and Marilyn Monroe, Rat Pack greats Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin and ‘70s power couple Yoko Ono and John Lennon. The Martinique print’s Old Hollywood glamor still feels fresh today, and its botanical pattern, evoking the whisper of tropical vegetation stirring in a warm Caribbean breeze, fits into Sarasota’s urban-beach sophisticate vibe. A host of bold, graphic prints on offer this season stand as a testament to the Martinique print’s continuing influence on contemporary décor trends. At Mattson and Mattson Wallcoverings and Blinds, you’ll find the Ainsley Export Collection (a dead ringer for the Martinique print, albeit with softer, more watercolor-esque edges than its California cousin, along with the subtle Floridian addition of palm fronds) as well as Jack’s Jungle (a surreal take on tropical vegetation by Phillip Jeffries in stenciled coral). The Sarasota Collection Home Store pens in a zebra herd by JF Fabrics ready to gallop across your walls. —E. Steiner

Chili, Baby! 

The exact birthplace of chili is a disputed fact, and different chili historians give conflicting accounts as to how the robust, meat-and-tomato-based dish came to be—one of which involves a super-powered Spanish nun and her transatlantic, out-of-body travels. One thing is for certain: the 1893 Chicago’s World Fair, where delegates from Texas set up the now-legendary San Antonio Chili Stand, marked a turning point in cementing chili’s enduring popularity. In the intervening 123 years, innumerable takes on the classic hearty dish have cropped up, including fish, chicken and veggie substitutes and various vegetable variations (okra finds its way into Southern iterations; in Alaska, you might cross paths with a salmon chili). We’re anxiously anticipating the Annual Morton's Firehouse Chili Cook-Off (lucky for us, it’s right on the horizon, coming up in mid-October), but in the meantime, we’ll settle for sampling some of the delicious chilies Sarasota has to offer.  —E.Steiner

Whole Foods Beef Chili

Whole Foods’ Beef Chili features finely ground beef permeated throughout with a fresh-off-the-grill barbecue flavor—a perfect summer BBQ condensed into a lunch break-ready bowl. Dashes of mustard and garlic add a spicy kick.

Southwestern Chili

A meat-free (but no less flavor-packed) bowl of deliciousness bringing together a bean trio accompanied by corn, peppers, tomatoes and onions and accented with cumin and cilantro. Chopped onions and grilled corn provide a satisfying crunch that complements tender, slow-cooked tomatoes and peppers, and the spice hits top notes.

Morton’s House Chili

According to Executive Chef Fernando Cruz, the house chili at Morton’s Market derives from an old Texas family recipe. One spoonful of this deep red, home-style chili reveals hearty beef chunks swimming in a
robust pool of tomato and onion enlivened by the sweetness of V8 juice.

Morton’s White Chili

A cream-based dish, this white chili is offered at least once a month, when the necessary ingredients permit. Lighter than its beefy brother, this bowl subs in chicken for beef and hits high notes with green peppers, oregano and cayenne pepper.

The Hub Baja Grill

Head to Siesta Key’s Hub, where the house Chili Con Carne is served with lime crema and tortilla chips (extra credit if you pair yours with one of Hub Baja Grill’s cleverly named, award-winning margaritas
such as The Cadillac).

One-Stop Shop

With everything from fashion designers to restaurants and even adult books embracing the pop-up craze like huckster whack-a-moles, it was only a matter of time before starving art—hungry for space, hungry for sale—got in on the stopgap gallery game. “I grew up in an arts family and it’s something that comes naturally to me,” says Austin Kowal, founder of Clothesline Creative and the designer boutique shop Solid, which began staging in-store gallery shows for under-represented artists this past spring with an exhibition from Elijah Anderson. With more than 150 people attending the opening, Solid sold originals, prints and 32 T-shirts created in collaboration with the artist in just four hours. Restaurants like Burns Court Café regularly host installations from area artists and even appliance and accessory store Light Up Your Life makes room to display work from German artist R.O. Schabbach in between modern light fixtures and desk lamps, giving clientele an extra dose of culture and perhaps an additional reason to stop in and grab a little something to go. Says Kowal, “It’s exciting to see that the city is hungry for it again.” —P. Lederer

East is East and West is West (and Now the Twain Shall Meet)

There’s nothing wrong with the Old Masters, but sometimes they get, well, old. Between the gleaming emerald tiles of a new Asian Art Center, a performance arts festival celebrating Asian artists and a year-long series of exhibitions exploring the history of Chinese, Japanese and Islamic art, The Ringling Museum made clear its mission to embrace both longitudinal hemispheres—and it seems Sarasota is catching on. Suncoast collectors like Robin Radin, whose collection of Asian art ranges from 12th century Khmer artifacts to 17th century Japanese screens and contemporary Chinese art post-Mao and is planned for exhibition at Ringling College, are tipping the balance in favor of Eastern traditions. More than a novelty, it’s a glimpse inside the other side of the great artistic conversation, where Japanese woodcuts inspire Western impressionists such as Monet and Van Gogh. Says Radin, “The influence is not only one way.” —P. Lederer

Salad of the Year

Named for the year of the restaurant’s founding, Columbia Restaurant’s 1905 Salad is a perennial favorite among tourists and locals alike, earning national attention in USA Today and Southern Living. Columbia’s signature dish—with a provenance actually dating back to the 1940s—has inspired a host of copycat “date” salads in the greater Tampa Bay area, among them the Village Café's '95 Salad, Pier 22’s 1922 Salad and Lakeland-based Nineteen 61’s 1961 Salad. Created by waiter Tony Noriega, Columbia’s most famous dish owes its excellence to the combined flavors of julienned ham and Swiss cheese, iceberg lettuce, juicy tomatoes and pimento-stuffed green olives topped off with small spirals of Romano cheese. The original recipe has been modified slightly over the years—Noriega’s original is said to have contained celery and black olives instead of green—but still retains its essential ingredient: Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce, of which Columbia is the largest consumer in the entire country. Whisked together with lemon juice, white wine vinegar, garlic and a blend of spices, the Worcestershire-base dressing unites meat, vegetable and cheese by adding a tangy spark. Though the salad remains the same (for now), changes are afoot at Florida’s oldest continuously operating restaurant. Columbia owner Ricardo Gonzart last year welcomed Ūlëlē to the family, a combination restaurant-brewery on Downtown Tampa’s Riverwalk serving up house-brewed beer and native Floridian bites. Craft beer aficionados take note: Ūlëlē’s brews have already earned top honors at the Annual Brewers’ Ball Florida Beer Championships. — E. Steiner

Come Together Now

Why stop at being a leader in the arts? Ringling College of Art and Design takes over the world of continuing education with strategic mergers with the Lifelong Learning Academy and Pierian Spring Academy, all of which will operate as a single entity and a Ringling department by this time next year. “We will be bringing all of our faculty into one place and increasing our breadth and diversity of classes,” says Janna Overstreet, who will direct lifelong learning at Ringling’s south campus. “This will benefit our students because lifelong learners like to learn in a social setting, and they benefit greatly from interaction with one another.” The entire operation will be housed at the historic Sarasota High School site, in the same building as the Sarasota Museum of Art. Larry Thompson, Ringling College president, says the move will allow flexibility and power for the combined organization. But that’s not the only place Thompson’s tendrils have spread. Ringling will be among the most important players in the Consortium of Colleges on the Creative Coast (C4), an education partnership announced in late 2015. Along with University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee, State College of Florida Manatee-Sarasota and New College of Florida, as well as departments of Florida State University on the Ringling campus and Eckerd College’s St. Petersburg operations, this new consortium will both allow students to cross-register for classes and administrations to combine efforts like emergency training and grant writing. That means anyone attending, say, USF could take a computer animation course without taking on an extra tuition burden. —J. Ogles

Frond Frenzy

The royal palm: signifier of so much more than just a tropical climate, the iconic image points to lazy days basking in warmth, a sun-kissed glow and salty tresses that swirl in the wind caressing the sails of your boat. As such, the irreverent rendering of the sought-after palm lifestyle finds a home on the silks of summer dresses and emblazoned on swim trunks and two-piece bathing suits. Designers like Rag & Bone have adopted the palm, allowing the tropical tree free reign to decorate the front and backs of women and men’s clothing alike. Luxury swimwear brands such as Onia and Beach Riot regularly use fronds in varying colors, from banana palms to classic black-and-white silhouettes. “The resurgence on the palm tree print is centered on what it feels like to leave work and the city behind and assume your ‘vacation-self,’” says Shore Brand Designer Courtney Leonard. “A more relaxed, confident and open version of you, but with all the fashion sense and style intelligence intact. The palm print is classic yet on-trend.” Florida natives already know the powers of the palm—grab a garment patterned with the Sunshine State’s trusty companion. —A. Kanter

From Screen to Stage

“ALIVE! IT’S ALIVE!” Well, live at least. Players Centre for Performing Arts this season puts the silver screen on stage, bringing live productions of film favorites ranging from iconic comedy Young Frankenstein to modern day fairy tales such as Tim Burton’s visually astounding Big Fish. With no movie magic to aid them, cast and crew work double-time to capture the fantastic settings and quick-step, quick-cut feel of modern cinema—juggling props and parts like lead lech Bachelor Bernard juggles women in the season closer Boeing Boeing. “Onstage, it really becomes a troupe-in-a-trunk,” says Artistic Director Jeffery Kin. “Suddenly I’m a giant, and now I’m a fish. The theatricality gets heightened because you have to change locations and be all these different people, and do it in real-time.” With feel-good hit Legally Blonde: The Musical over the winter holidays and a cornerstone musical in Tony Award-winning Footloose, skip the superheroes this season and hit Lakewood Ranch for a real night at the theater in the Players’ new location. —P. Lederer

A Monstrous Reality

Strange electric creatures float through the air at Selby Gardens. Dragons infest Urfer Family Park. Marina Jack is overrun by canary yellow psychic fowl and Downtown Sarasota teems with two-headed birds. Behind them come trailing hordes of kids of all ages, roaming the parks at night like packs of wild dogs hunting prey. These are Pokémon trainers, and with the release of Pokémon Go, this is their town now. A mobile augmented reality game, players stroll the town while their phone alerts them to the presence of nearby monsters who may be hiding in parks or behind trash cans or trundling down Main Street just waiting to be caught and added to collections. The good news? Here’s a video game that finally gets people outside. Landmarks become Poké Stops where players can visit to collect in-game items (historical plaques are a good bet and The Ringling Museum is full of these hotspots) or “gyms,” where players can battle each other for Pokémon supremacy (Team Mystic in July held the Unconditional Surrender gym, much to the chagrin of Team Valor), encouraging exploration of the local environs. The bad news? People have literally walked off cliffs while staring at their phones. Grab a bike for maximum efficiency, but remember: the phone tracks the Pokémon; you track the semi coming down the street. —P. Lederer

 

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