Who would live in Southwest Florida if they didn’t like it hot? SRQ editors each year consider what burns in this community’s soul, and assemble the annual must-read Hot List—to determine what makes us perspire or fume. Use this guide to navigate downtown Bradenton in a new pair of snakeskin ankle boots, or to ponder the master plan for the Fruitville Corridor over breakfast at Station 400. Whether the kissing sailor makes you spit or swoon, something in this tome should help you revel in the hottest trends that keep Southwest Florida so invitingly incandescent.
Libby's Red Riding Spread
There’s nothing like a tomato-red bottle of Heinz on the dinner table—well, maybe there is for Sarasotans. Libby’s star condiment, Catsup, fits the restaurant’s vision of bold, unique flavors, and complements everything it meets (besides powdered sugar donuts, we’ve been told). This squeeze is infused with chipotle peppers, brown sugar and white vinegar, leaving a dip that’s zesty and flavorful upon dunkage—especially when Truffled Parmesan Fries are involved. Libby’s Café and Bar, 1917 South Osprey Ave., Sarasota, 941-487-7300
Peter Pan may be all about preserving his youth, but Station 400 will have nothing to do with those pesky preservatives. That’s why the eatery’s jams—whether in blackberry, grape, strawberry or blueberry—are among the hottest add-ons in Sarasota. Not only is Station 400’s jam made from scratch in-house, but it’s also made with fresh, local fruit just 20 minutes away at King Farm. Station 400, 400 North Lemon Ave., Sarasota, 941-906-1400
The Wizard of Sauce
Although it’s not much of a yellow brick road, follow Hillview Street to one of Sarasota’s finest, time-tested sauces. On the dipping menu since Southside Deli opened its fridge to the public 11 years ago, the ingredients of its Southside sauce are simple: mayonnaise, deli mustard and horseradish. You’ve probably seen the sauce on the Southsider Sandwich, but feel free to use it in the same way you would your typical mustard or mayo. We dig it on marble bread with turkey pastrami (that’s one meat, people), Swiss cheese, lettuce and tomato. Southside Deli, 1825 Hillview St., Sarasota, 941-330-9302
Truffle Butter and the Beast
Battle the beast of hunger before your chopped
salad arrives with the complement to the Selva Grill’s breadbasket: rich, sensory-stimulating truffle butter. Although extremely simple and no different from regular butter in terms of appearance, this strong spread turns whatever it touches into gold. Selva Grill, 1345 Main St., Sarasota, 941-362-4427
The Little Mermayo
Mayonnaise may be the go-to dipping sauce in Europe, but it seems like this trend is just catching on along Main Street. The mayo at Stairway to Belgium is of the bourbon variety—a fusion of Wild Turkey 101, pepper flakes, paprika and parsley. Dunk one of the chef’s Pomme Frites and thank your lucky stars that this trend crossed the pond. Stairway to Belgium, 1359 Main St., Sarasota, 941-343-2862
From video games to cinematic productions, computer animation is taking over the world one pixel at a time. That is good news for Ringling College of Art and Design, which, over the past decade, has established itself as one of the best schools for digital animation in the nation. A digital laboratory at the school is adorned with movie posters for Disney’s Bolt, Pixar’s Up, and any number of other projects that alumni have helped bring to the screen. During the Sarasota Film Festival this year, Disney bigwig Don Hahn told SRQ that the facility was a top-notch asset. “Being here, you’re lucky to be by one of best colleges on the planet for the arts,” Hahn says. And Disney isn’t the only company to notice. Sony Pictures Imageworks has a tight, working relationship with the school, and Pixar sends recruiters to the campus every year. The website for Ringling proudly boasts about alumni that got jobs at Blizzard Entertainment, Electronic Arts, Reel FX and Warner Brothers, among any number of other studios and animation houses. Sarasota’s Economic Development Corporation officials say the College could play a major role in attracting studios to open satellite offices in Southwest Florida. And if that happens, we hear some kids on the North Trail know how to make them look real nice. Ringling College of Art and Design, 2700 North Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, 941-351-5100
HOT NEW NOSH
Morocco Meets Owen
As we stifle whimpers while driving past one too many foreclosure signs on restaurant doors, we regain our composure when new restaurants emerge. Of course, we’re talking about Owen’s Fish Camp and Morocco. When mentioned together, the two seem vastly and comically antithetical. On the one hand, we have a sultry, authentic African dining experience featuring bejeweled belly dancers and Morocco’s national dish, couscous. On the other hand, we have a downtown, down-home seafood retreat steeped in Old Florida tradition, with dockside-inspired ambiance. Both are deeply rooted in their respective themes, keeping Sarasotans of all tastes fighting for a hot seat. Just don’t burn your tush. “The indigenous Florida fish shack had been extracted, so we wanted to bring back the kind of shack that would have been around 60 to 70 years ago—the old tackle shop with a bit of southern essence,” says Mark Caragiulo, one of the restaurateurs in the Caragiulo family that masterminded the Owen’s operation. The Caragiulos captured that southern essence, not only in the restaurant’s buttery lobster rolls and cheesy grits, but also in Owen’s meticulously-executed décor. Complete with mason jars filled to the brim with Key West Conch Ceviche and a rickety “air-conditioning” sign near the roof, the allure of this upscale “shack” is all in the details. “The details have to tell a complete story—from the mints you serve on the way out to the forks you use to the music you play,” Caragiulo says. “A burger shack isn’t a real burger shack if it just grills a good burger.” Duly noted. A similar mentality inspired Morocco’s opening, filling a void that only chef Ammal Mustafa could. “We wanted to let people in Sarasota experience Moroccan cuisine,” says the chef, who hails from Casablanca, Morocco. “It’s something different. We have a lot of varieties in this small town, so why not Moroccan food?” As Mustafa’s accent fills the air, he pauses to turn the Moroccan music down in the background. It seems as if the restaurant is as much of an ethnic celebration as it is a cuisine locale, with its authentic North African chandeliers and tent-like tapestries hanging elegantly above the action. Like its economy-braving mate, Owen’s Fish Camp, Morocco creates an atmosphere that is unique to the restaurant and to Sarasota. Morocco, 7119 South Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, 941-922-4741; Owen’s Fish Camp, 516 Burns Court, Sarasota, 941-951-6936
HOT GREEN ACCESSORY
Many states are defined by their plants. Hawaii has its leis of orchids and hibiscuses. Texas has its prickly cactuses. And while cactuses and sweet-smelling orchids are just fine and dandy, our Floridian town has opted for a far more efficient line of greenery this year. Succulents—eclectic, sustainable plants—are beautifying the Sarasota scenery alongside traditional roses and palm trees. “I believe the interest in succulents has picked up lately because they don’t need a lot of water,” says Sarasota Succulent Society President Nancy Wellford. These sprouts retain water, requiring sprinkles only once a week, and their thick and waxy leaves (think Aloe plants) provide an unparalleled look. “[They] are drought-tolerant and easy. They don’t require a lot of difficult maintenance,” says Joy Pursifull of Troy’s Tropics. Succulents are also versatile, which adds to their appeal. “Succulents are very sculptural in size,” Wellford says. “They range from tiny little things to eight feet tall.” And while these plants have been taking advantage of Sarasota’s suitable weather, they have also been blooming in more places than beneath the soil. In everything from wedding centerpieces to home accessories, succulents are popping up all over the city. Sarasota Succulent Society, 1310 38th St., Sarasota, 941-924-2703; Troy’s Tropics, Inc., 5212 Proctor Road, Sarasota, 941-923-3756
Villages of Lakewood Ranch South
Who needs an economic recovery when you have hundreds of acres east of Interstate 75 ripe for new construction? Lakewood Ranch developer Rex Jensen went ahead this year in getting approval for more than 5,000 new housing units and a new commercial center, and he has no patience to wait for the housing crisis to subside. “There are still problems in North Manatee and in North Port,” he says. “Quite frankly, that is not my problem, and I don’t intend to wait until things get better in those places.” Lakewood Ranch, www.lakewoodranch.com
HOT CHARTER OFFICIAL
“Hail the sunshine” has always been more than a song lyric at Sarasota City Hall, so when it came time to name a new city auditor and clerk, officials knew they needed someone with a devotion to Florida’s Sunshine Law. After a national search, officials ended up finding
someone that was already in the organization, and promoted Deputy City Clerk Pam Nadalini. The Sarasota native, who happened to be both the first black and the first female charter official in the city’s
history, spoke to SRQ about her role. Sarasota City Auditor and Clerk, 1565 First St., Sarasota, 941-954-4103
Will it be difficult to continue a legacy of transparency at City Hall? Not at all. It is embedded in the office of the city auditor and clerk. We understand the importance of maintaining openness and transparency. You won’t find one employee in the office who does not respect the Sunshine Law and respect that we have to maintain that level of openness. So it is really just a natural progression for us. It is business as usual.
What changes can we expect during your tenure as clerk? The next big thing is definitely an improvement and enhancement of a lot of the technology used. You will see a lot of enhancement pushed out so that our customers can get information a lot faster and in a more efficient way. In the next year, I want to see a more elevated drive in enforcing automation and technology. We need to be more cost-effective and will rely on and embrace technology even more than we do today.
HOT FAMILY DYNAMIC
For every generation, there is a gap. Just ask community leaders Richard Swier and Kerry Kirschner. Both community patriarchs have contributed to business and politics for a generation, and proudly get to see their sons Kelly and Rich Jr. follow in their footsteps—well, maybe not their exact footsteps. It turns out the new generation marches to a very different drummer. Red County, www.redcounty.com; The Argus Foundation, 2033 Main St., Sarasota, 941-365-4886
Rich Sr. vs. Rich Jr.
A Republican activist who served as the Sarasota County editor for Red County, Richard Swier Sr. established himself as the most vocal opponent of school district sales tax and the most prominent supporter of a veteran-beloved statue this year. Rich Jr., a co-founder of the HuB and a leader in social networking technology, helped his dad raise support for Unconditional Surrender, but ended up a vocal supporter of the school tax. At one point, Rich Jr. began asking local media to always refer to the elder Swier using the “Sr.” title, simply to avoid confusion. “He has two kids in school,” the elder Swier says. “I certainly understand that.” He doesn’t quite know why his boy could attend Gov. Charlie Crist’s fundraisers though, but he will forgive that transgression in order to see his grandchildren.
Kerry vs. Kelly
As the only family ever to produce two Sarasota mayors, the Kirschners have certainly carved out a place for themselves in local history. But even though the two men have similar accomplishments under their belts, their politics don’t always mesh. While Kerry founded the pro-business Argus Foundation, Kelly made his name by fighting developers. The two have joined forces on matters like local hiring, but business activists often ask Kerry, “What’s up with the boy?” Fortunately, the political differences are never enough to ruin holiday dinners. “Trust me, we have better things to talk about at Thanksgiving than city politics,” Kelly says.
As the Cincinnati Reds packed their ball bags to go to Arizona, and the Red Sox stayed put in Fort Myers, there were some low moments in the last three years of baseball talks. Just when it seemed Ed Smith Stadium would have no roar this spring, a $31.2-million deal—and some high-intensity negotiations in Sarasota—ensured games would still be played here. In April, the Orioles finished up their pre-season. And though they clocked the Tampa Bay Rays in an opening row at Ed Smith, the Orioles were ranked 11th in the league with a 12-17 record and .414 PCT. That never stopped officials like County Commissioner Shannon Staub from root, root, rooting for the new home team throughout the season. “They are our team now,” she says. Tourism officials and business leaders say the team is also opening up a new relationship between Sarasota and the Maryland metropolis where the Os spend most of the year. Team officials say this will be a connection that transcends baseball and unites the communities in grand slam partnerships. “It just shows the type of community that exists here,” says team spokesman Greg Bader. “And it shows the citizens the business and political support that there is for baseball.” Baltimore Orioles, 6700 Clark Road, Sarasota, 941-923-1996
Artists have an endless array of media choices for creating masterpieces—from clay to oil pastels—but the preferred method of Sarasota’s landscape architects can’t be found in any craft store. These creators see the outdoors as their canvas, and use greenery for both aesthetics and functionality. “Landscape architecture is the perfect marriage of art and science,” says landscape architect Michael A. Gilkey Jr., of Michael A. Gilkey, Inc., in Sarasota. “You have to understand science and the horticulture of living material. You can’t have one without the other.” Landscape architecture is a field that is especially unique in Sarasota. “Due to the community and culture we have, such as the beautiful architecture and surroundings, the palette we have to work with is extraordinary to begin with,” Gilkey says. “Our clientele enhances that.” Landscape architects are currently working on a slew of projects in Sarasota, from residential yard makeovers—including customary, outdoor reading pavilions and water walls—to downtown parks. And landscape architects not only build with greenery, they contribute to the green movement that’s sweeping Sarasota and the rest of the nation. “There is a lot of focus on being environmentally responsible,” says David W. Young of DWY Landscape Architects. Young and his staff help recycle water by installing efficient irrigation systems, incorporating shade to save grass moisture, using Light-emitting Diode (LED) lights and planting low-maintenance foliage. “We like to create something that looks cool, but at the end of the day is sustainable and manageable for [the client],” Young says. The profession is gaining hotness in the area as more Sarasota residents seek to spoil themselves with new, outdoor oases. And with landscape architects among us, who said it’s not easy being green? Michael A. Gilkey, Inc. Sarasota Landscape Architects and Contractors, 5511 Ashton Road, Sarasota, 941-924-0312; DWY Landscape Architects, 1543 Second St., Sarasota, 941-365-6530
Whether it’s motoring a miniscule Smart Car, craving the ever-shrinking smartphone or coveting a smaller dress size, going microscopic is all the rage. This trend has hit the plate too—and no, we’re not talking nouvelle cuisine. Chopped salads packed with bite-sized ingredients are rampant everywhere from swanky downtown eateries to casual, no-fuss sandwich shops—and combinations are as diverse as the restaurants themselves. When grazing for greens, leave the cutting to the kitchen—no canine chompers necessary. Take Selva Grill’s Chopped Salad, for example. It’s made with tomatoes, avocados, onions, black beans and queso fresco, all dressed in a honey chipotle vinaigrette dressing. Oh, and don’t forget the Cusco corn—the largest corn in the world, for your information—that pops in your mouth with a simple bite. Despite the corn’s worldly significance and hefty stature, it commingles with hacked ingredients that make the salad seem more like an edgy, heterogeneous coleslaw than a big bowl of leafy greens. Next up is Libby’s Grilled Veggie Chopped Salad, a dish that strays from the raw and is downright diced. This chop was born in Libby’s fledgling days, when a not-yet-hired chef Fran Casciato was first showing his moves to the owners, the Seidenstickers. Reminiscent of a Top Chef challenge, the chef was given a mystery basket filled with carrots, red onions, asparagus and bell peppers—and he chose to grill, chop and sprinkle them with Parmesan cheese and truffle oil. “Everyone loved it and wanted it on the menu. Chef was hired, the salad was put on the menu, and the rest is history,” Lisa Seidensticker says. Looks as if Libby’s got the memo on chopped salads early. Make way for Phil’s Chopped Salad at Michael’s on East—a salad with a whirlwind of ingredients that seem to play off one another just right. In this chop, romaine lettuce and field greens unite with three cheeses (gorgonzola, Swiss and Parmesan), chopped cucumbers, black olives, tomatoes and julienned vegetables. The salad is then sprinkled with toasted almonds for a bit of a crunch. Sure, it may be hard to give up munching on the East Avenue Caesar or a good ole Wedge, but keep in mind that any dish that boasts co-owner Phil Mancini’s name must be good. Selva Grill, 1345 Main St., Sarasota, 941-362-4427; Libby’s Café and Bar, 1917 South Osprey Ave., 941-487-7300; Michael’s on East, 1212 East Ave. S., Sarasota, 941-366-0007
Bibhu Mohapatra, Sarasota’s favorite New York fashion designer—who can be found mingling at Selby Gardens’ Orchid Ball or throwing trunk shows at June Simmons—predicted it to us when we caught up with him back in the spring of ’09: navy will be hot. And hot it is. Mohapatra—who naturally keeps a constant eye on the newest trends in fashion—has, in the recent past, incorporated the color into his line in the place of black, saying it’s “the new black,” in fact. In Sarasota, we’re seeing the hue with a fresh set of eyes, and it’s spreading to local retailers fast. “It’s a new neutral and a good year-round color,” says LeeAnne Swor, owner of L. Boutique. She stocks the hue in lines such as Trina Turk and Splendid, where everything from sequined T-shirt dresses to three-quarter- length-sleeve boatneck tops front the color. “It’s always been a color that people thought of for a more mature customer, but now it’s appealing to everyone across the board. It’s youthful and fun,” Swor says. She notes part of the color’s appeal is that it feels newer than black, and it works especially well for Florida fashionistas that want to lighten up their darkest color in honor of their sunny surroundings. “Everyone has so much black in their closet, but navy is just as versatile,” she says. Bibhu Mohapatra, 209 West 38th St., Third Floor, Studio 12, New York, NY, 212-579-2095; L. Boutique, 556 South Pineapple Ave., Sarasota,
It’s no secret that the economy has been in the dumps this year, so investing in a new pad hasn’t exactly been on our to-do lists. But we still have that desire to keep up with the Joneses. So instead of buying entirely new abodes, we have been enhancing what we already have. “People have looked into renovating because, really, it all stems from the economy right now,” says Keith Floyd of Suncoast Construction Specialties, Inc. “They aren’t wanting to get into a mortgage with a high interest rate, and it all correlates to the down economy. People have decided to stay put with their existing mortgage and upgrade their styles.” According to Floyd, a popular trend in the renovation realm has been revamping kitchens by adding stainless steel appliances, as well as making over bathrooms. There are endless possibilities for remodeling the houses we once fell in love with, such as installing new cabinets, floors and countertops, and even knocking down walls to open up rooms. “Our niche is being flexible in getting people what they want,” Floyd says. Opting for renovation satisfies our hunger for a fresh look without adding the stress of a new mortgage payment. “People are upgrading quality with granite countertops or new door fronts,” says Andy Werner of Ocean Builders of South West Florida, Inc. “People are looking for a facelift [for their homes].” So, who says you can’t turn back time? Suncoast Construction Specialties, Inc., Sarasota, 941-374-8211; Ocean Builders of South West Florida, Inc., 6920 Corral Gate Lane, Sarasota, 941-306-4572
Vintage has been a longtime staple in the fashion realm, and the world of home décor is taking notice. With the plethora of home goods out there, we’re not looking to fresh items from the furniture manufacturers for inspiration; instead, we’re relying on the designs of previous generations. “When you walk into an antique store, you see things that have withstood the test of time,” says Jack Vinales, owner of Jack Vinales Antiques. “They have a track record of value, as opposed to furniture you may buy brand new at a furniture store.” Many shoppers are sprucing up their own items with affordable antique handles, or simply buying single, knockout pieces to complement rooms. Going antique is a satisfying way to quench your décor fix this year, and with the plethora of styles and antique hubs around town, hand-me-downs never looked so fabulous.
Asian-styled pieces are some of the most decorative and intricate antiques. Burke and Company carries several Eastern-inspired treasures, including Buddha sculptures, chandeliers and hand-painted cabinets. Burke and Company, 527 South Pineapple Ave., Sarasota, 941-952-0042
With John and Mable Ringling’s collection nearby, Sarasotans are no strangers to Baroque pieces from 17th century Europe. Antiques Gallery of Sarasota, with its 7,000 square feet of antiques, is no stranger to them either. This hub presents vintage paintings, clocks and mirrors. Antiques Gallery of Sarasota, 2088 12th St., Sarasota, 941-373-1234
The word “primitive” usually conjures up visions of cavemen, but in the antique world, primitive describes simple, handmade pieces. Sarasota Architectural Salvage is chock-full of these, as well as massive antiques like full oak bars and smaller-scale items like delicate knob sets. Sarasota Architectural Salvage, 1093 Central Ave., Sarasota, 941-362-0803
Colonial furniture has always seemed to find its way into our homes. Steven Postan Antiques has taken the style to the next level, presenting more than 2,000 antiques imported from England. With a strong focus on wood, this shop carries everything from mahogany sideboards to tall case clocks. Steven Postan Antiques, 7881 15th St. E., Sarasota, 941-755-6063
The 1950s was an era of style innovations, with a spotlight on natural shapes and simplistic designs. Jack Vinales sells various pieces from the movement, any of which would serve as the perfect complement to a modern room. “My stuff—you really shouldn’t think you have to do your whole house like this,” Vinales says. “It serves as a great mix to the décor you already have.” Jack Vinales Antiques, 539 South Pineapple Ave., 941-957-0002
Mom always told you it’s the most important meal of the day, and in these parts, breakfast is also the hottest meal. Local chefs are serving up gourmet breakfast bites that are just as refined as dinner. “The versatility of an egg or a batter allows a chef to make something extremely creative with such simple ingredients,” says Eric Bein, executive chef and owner of Station 400. Scratch the standard omelet and charred piece of toast. Here’s a list of the 10 hottest breakfast bites that’ll have the Suncoast wishin’ it was 9 o’clock somewhere.
Don’t tell mama we’re skipping straight to dessert at Café Palm with the Half Grapefruit Brulée. Sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar before being torched, this bite is even better without a cherry on top.
Infused with lemon zest, maple syrup, cinnamon and brown sugar, Libby’s homemade Citrus Sweet Butter is pleasantly sweet when slathered atop the Southern High Bush Blueberry Pancakes.
Pastry Art’s Wheat Blueberry Scone cuts down on run-of-the-mill flour to keep eaters’ physiques svelte. Hey, we’re down for any justification.
When we mention potato pancakes, we’re not talking your bubbie’s homemade latkes. Begin the day all starched and ready to go with Sun Garden Café’s “Famous” Sweet Potato Pancakes, made with real, pureed sweet potatoes.
Station 400 is where a childhood favorite matures, with Almond-Crusted and Apple-Stuffed Croissant French Toast. We bet the batter of your youth wasn’t charged with orange liqueur like this hot bite.
No shrink-wrapped packaging necessary to enjoy lox and schmear. Harry’s Continental Kitchens flies Smoked Nova Scotia Salmon in from Brooklyn each week.
This dish may translate to “cake” in German, but that doesn’t mean Word of Mouth is serving a sweet slice for breakfast. Instead, the breakfast eatery hits all the necessary food groups with the Deep Pan Quiche of the Day.
The routine granola bar’s getting a bit stale. Ditch the pantry and grab an all-natural, wholesome Cranberry Oatmeal Bar at Morton’s Gourmet Market. With pieces of orange peel, nuts and coconut fixed on both sides of a tart cranberry layer, this bar is zestier than the average oat.
We’re not into the liquid diet, don’t get us wrong, but a Simon’s Breakfast Smoothie has been known to do the trick. Slurp the soothing Mango Lassi made with mango, yogurt and honey.
Culture and community enrich life on the Gulf Coast, so it makes sense that, since 2002, an educational foundation committed to similar principals has called the region home. The Montessori Foundation uprooted from Washington, D.C., nearly a decade ago, and continues to find ways to better entrench itself in this region. “We’ve had a relationship with the existing Montessori schools in the area for 20-plus years now,” says the Foundation’s president, Tim Seldin. “Now, what we are doing is setting up a national model school called the Field School.” While the Foundation was originally planning to set up a completely new campus inside the Girl’s Inc. building in Sarasota, it was announced this summer that the Field School would merge with the existing New Gate Montessori School. After some time on New Gate’s part toying with a “Montessori-like” education, it was decided that a return to its roots was in order. Ultimately, the intention is for the New Gate-Field School to grow to about 500 to 600 students. Right now, there are less than 200 enrollees. But size is not what matters most when it comes to this form of education. Rather, individuality and community support are the keys to success. The purpose of Montessori education, Seldin says, is to provide an opportunity for all children to prosper by using their own curiosity and motivation. A less well-known aspect of the concept is the commitment to creating a community of interdependent families. “Part of the culture is this circle of equals,” Seldin explains. New Gate-Field School is intended to showcase perhaps the clearest model of a Montessori education, but charter schools in the area also continue to support the tenets of the system. New Gate-Field School, 5237 Ashton Road, 941-922-4949
Though only in its sophomore year, the Ringling International Arts Festival (RIAF) is clearly the most anticipated cultural event of the season in Southwest Florida. Sarasota Convention and Visitors Bureau President Virginia Haley says the event has generated international press coverage and is attracting many outside visitors. The event has even inspired a simultaneous celebration of fine arts in the planned Festival sARTée this year. Because the RIAF was a fledging startup last fall, organizers anticipated that only 65 to 70 percent of tickets to the inaugural event would sell out, according to former State Senator John McKay. Instead, 95 percent of tickets sold, even with such esoteric acts on the roster as the Elevator Repair Service improv comedy group and the burlesque star Meow Meow. (No offense, but these aren’t household names). Officials at the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art anticipated hosting an event every other year in Sarasota, but the success of the initial outing inspired an immediate encore. This year’s RIAF is slated to run from October 13-17. Legendary dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov will perform solo, as will star dancer David Nuemann. A play by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Nilo Cruz will be performed at the Asolo Repertory Theatre. Other top-shelf offerings include a violin solo by rising star Tim Fain and the spectacular puppet show, Obludarium, performed by the Forman Brothers Theatre.“We have this dream to make it a really special event where all the theaters are active and alive,” says Stanford Makishi, executive director of the organizing Baryshnikov Arts Center. “That, to us, signified what the festival spirit was last year.” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, 5401 Bay Shore Road, 941-359-5700
Just when it looked like the elected mayor was down for the count, the issue has resurfaced in Sarasota, and may even appear on the ballot for the fourth time as soon as this March. But how can that be after its trouncing at the polls in 2009? Even many supporters admit that the particular elected mayor measure was complicated and may have gone too far beyond the debate about leadership (if approved, it also would have created two more seats on the City Commission). And many critics thought the citizen petition process was one of the biggest problems. The former mayors of Sarasota, who meet informally every few months, decided to explore the issue last year. Ultimately, a majority recommended to City Commissioners that a Tallahassee-style mayor—one elected by popular vote for a four-year term but who would have few powers beyond the ceremonial ones held by mayors today—be discussed as a possible charter change. “The general tenor was that there should be a community conversation,” says former Mayor Lou Ann Palmer. Not everyone in the group agrees. Former Mayor Elmer Berkel says Sarasota’s current form of government, in which Commissioners select a mayor each year to cut ribbons and chair meetings, has served the city just fine. But when Commissioners sat in on a Charter Review Committee, which began meeting in July, the matter of an elected mayor was a top priority. By the year’s end, we will know if the measure will get another vote in the near future. As long as a vote is done before the qualification for city elections in 2013, an inaugural elected mayor could be chosen that year. Sarasota City Hall, 1565 First St., Sarasota, 941-954-4115
It seems scarves are starting to take on a shoe-like persona—you can never have too many and there’s a style out there for everyone. “I’m totally passionate about the scarves. Especially with the economy, to invest in things like scarves, you can dress up what you already have,” says Lissa Murphy, owner of Jane Boutique. “It makes the outfit. It raises your stock. It pulls everything together.” Murphy carries scarf brands such as Love Quotes—in Italian linen and with simple, rich hues—and Something Else by Natalie Wood, which takes the Navajo print trend to its fullest. Hope Allen, RHA Boutique’s owner, keeps her Sarasota clients stocked with the fashionable fabric squares, too. Tolani is her staple brand in the winter; its Indian prints—reminiscent of Missoni, in deep, cool-weather tones—help a Floridian feel a little wintrier in January. For the warmer months, lines such as Hard Tail offer bright shades of hot pink and turquoise in a casual, burnout material. She notes that, if clothing lines weren’t already offering scarves before, they are now. “For fall, I’ve ordered five times the amount I did last year,” Allen says. Although our personal collections may already be well-stocked, it looks like we still have some shopping to do. Jane Boutique, 1409 First St., Sarasota, 941-951-5263; RHA Boutique, 1935 South Osprey Ave., Sarasota, 941-706-2627
These days, the mere mention of oil puts Gulf Coast residents in a tizzy. But let us lighten the mood by bringing up crude’s hot cousin—fourth-removed, thank heavens—that is taking the city by storm. We’re talking about olive oil, the silky substance carried by Sarasota restaurants and swanky retail shops. New neighborhood joints are popping up in support of the olive oil revolution, hoping to set your hubby’s heart aflame while he’s grilling or get your girlfriend’s fanny into shape while she’s dining. Bottling enough olive oil to fill a veritable swimming pool, the Florida Olive Oil Company and the Katy Rose Oil Company exemplify the olive oil frenzy that is gripping eaters and chefs alike. Both joints hearken back to the days of the Sarasota Olive Oil Company’s reign—and by that, of course, we mean last year—by doling out oil samples from metal barrels. At the Florida Olive Oil Company, we gush over the chipotle olive oil and balsamic vinegar that are so aged they could vote. As for the Katy Rose Oil Company, we could drink the blood orange and Persian lime EVOOs straight from the spout. But why all the hoopla about olive oil in the first place? “It’s all pretty simple. People are finally catching onto what people along the Mediterranean have known for a long time,” says Don Whitson-Schmidt, owner of the Katy Rose Oil Company. Whitson-Schmidt thinks the health benefits and fantastic flavor of olive oil keeps people from opting for standard peanut or vegetable oils. “You can make a stupendous, healthy salad using olive oil, or you can use it instead of butter when you’re grilling steak,” he says. The Food and Drug Administration not only condones the use of olive oil, but also suggests that Americans consume two tablespoons of it daily to reduce the chances of heart disease. More like medicine than grease, olive is an oil we’d welcome on our beaches year-round. The Florida Olive Oil Company, 384 St. Armands Circle, Sarasota, 941-388-2640; The Katy Rose Oil Company, 8111 Lakewood Main St., Lakewood Ranch, 941-907-0306
Sarasota is tapping into its inner health nut this year, as locally-grown fruits, veggies and other delectables like natural honey are sweeping area farmers’ markets. “The produce at the farmers’ markets is much fresher than what you get at grocery stores,” says frequent farmers’ market shopper and Sarasota native Jackie Brown. “The [foods] stay good longer and taste better. It’s also nice to support the local economy.” When it comes to stocking our fridges with fresh items and our homes with unique crafts and goodies, Sarasota’s growing farmers’ markets are hot hot hot. Sarasota Farmers’ Market, Lemon Avenue and Main Street, Sarasota, 941-225-9256; Downtown Bradenton Farmers’ Market, Old Main Street, Bradenton; Siesta Key Farmers’ Market, Siesta Key Village; Venice Farmers’ Market, Venice Boulevard and Venice Way, Venice
Sarasota Farmers' Market
Lemon Avenue and Main Street, Sarasota
Saturday 7am-12pm (year-round)
standout items: Orchids from Awesome Orchids, pastries from Strudel’s Catering Bakery, massages from Lewis Pompi Massage
Downtown Brandenton Farmers' Market
Old Main Street, Bradenton
Saturday 9am-2pm (October–May)
standout items:Open Harvest Seafood, B & J Enterprise Wisconsin cheeses, Makin’ a Difference organic clothing
Siesta Key Farmers' Market
Siesta Key Village, Sarasota
Sunday 8am-1pm (year-round)
standout items: Green Door Organics produce, Bavarian Bread, Ashjoi All-Natural Artisan Soaps
Venice Farmers' Market
Venice Boulevard and Venice Way
Friday 7-11am (year-round)
standout items: Blooming Groves Nursery produce, Blue Flower soy candles, Zainey’s custom-designed artwork
The sun beams across Sarasota Bay and sparkles in the sequins of Nik Wallenda’s black shirt. On a breezy February morning, Wallenda is defying death in his hometown. Thousands gather in the street as this high-wire progeny dances across the air, 200 feet above the hard earth below. One shoe is untied. A balancing stick is exasperatingly uneven. Gasps fill the crowds as he wiggles in the wind. Halfway through his flouting of fate, the daredevil lies down on this string and seems to bask in the sun. After tightrope-walking the length of three football fields, a spiky-haired clown grabs his hand and pulls the circus legend to the safety of a hotel rooftop. His words to the masses when he gets his feet back on solid ground: “I was not scared at all.” Circus Sarasota, 8251 15th St E., Sarasota, 941-355-9335
HOT IPHONE APP
Near to Here
Curiosity may have killed the cat, but with a world full of wonder all around us, it’s hard to not to explore. Tempting our wandering minds is the hottest new iPhone app, Near To Hear. Sarasota developer and 2004 Sarasota High School graduate Zak Tanjeloff crafted the app to provide information on the landmarks “near” us at any given time (like a virtual tour guide). “I’m a curious guy,” Tanjeloff says. “When I was at school [Harvard University] in Boston, I was inspired because there were so many historic landmarks I would pass by.” Because Tanjeloff didn’t know much about the landmarks in his college town, he thought it would be “cool” to have an app that would explain exactly what he was passing while traveling. The app detects a location, then alerts the user to all the intriguing places in proximity, simply by pulling up each landmark’s Wikipedia entry. “With the iPhone 4, you can run apps in the background,” Tanjeloff says. “So you can just turn on Near To Hear and put it in your pocket and then it’ll alert you.” From the towers of Paris to the parks right here in Sarasota, this app has got it covered, storing millions of places in its database. “In Sarasota, if you walk by a hotel in Sarasota, your phone will buzz and you can read about that,” Tanjeloff says. “Or if you walk by the Ringling Bridge or Siesta Key, you can read about that.” Media on Main CEO Tony Driscoll has also caught onto the hotness of the new app. ”I’ve got it on my iPad,” he says. “No one knows their city completely.” And with the hundreds of thousands of locations on Near to Hear growing daily, oh, the places you’ll go. Zak Tanjeloff, DLP Mobile, www.dlpmobile.com; Media on Main, 1341 Main St., Sarasota, 941-914-9411; Apple, www.apple.com
HOT SPECIAL GUEST
We’re so giddy about this Brit’s arrival that you’d think we were already preparing tea and rolling out the red carpet. For the Ringling College Library Association’s 2011 Town Hall Lecture Series, Sarasota is welcoming none other than Tony Blair, former prime minister of Britain. On February 23 next year, Blair will join the ranks of Condoleezza Rice, Rudy Giuliani and Maya Angelou (all Town Hall Lecture Series alumni). Though Blair exhibited his leadership in England, we are no strangers to his worldly accomplishments, and we’re enthusiastic about his arrival to our Floridian town. Blair has received attention recently for his role in the Middle East, working to help Palestinians prepare for statehood in their efforts to establish peace. One of Blair’s famous statements about leadership is: “The art of leadership is saying no, not saying yes. It is very easy to say yes.” And yes, we are thrilled to welcome him. Ringling College Library Association Town Hall Lectures, P.O. Box 18716, Sarasota, 941-925-1343
HOT UP-AND-COMING- DOWNTOWN
That’s right. Bradenton.Don’t believe us? Take a walk along the Riverwalk downtown, where beautiful E. Dwight Conley sculptures of manatees in motion adorn the public fountains in a way that celebrates the region and raises the stakes in artistry more than any giant kissing sailor piñata ever will. In an area devastated just a few years ago by the housing bust, the revitalization of downtown Bradenton is all the more amazing. A mix of monumental structures like the First Baptist Church of Bradenton and the slick offices of Fawley Bryant Architecture make for an exquisite environment. Popular locations like Mattison’s Riverside and Twin Dolphin Marina help bring the region to life with pedestrian activity. “We know we are becoming a regional and national model for coming together,” says Johnette Isham, executive director of Realize Bradenton. City officials haven’t thrown out the old in order to renew. McKechnie Field and the South Florida Museum are testaments to the region’s ongoing vitality and history. In many ways, downtown Bradenton has maintained attributes to a degree that many of its neighbors aspire. Sarasota still hasn’t connected downtown to its bayfront, but the Manatee River is a critical element in Bradenton’s success. And while Venice may boast a short walk to the beach, Bradenton has kept professionals working within the city core. Bradenton Mayor Wayne Poston says that Riverwalk will be expanded beyond the Marriott this year, further enhancing the waterfront amenities. Poston, of course, is careful about comparing downtown Bradenton to others, and still sees areas that require improvement.“When you look at downtown St. Petersburg or Sarasota, they really changed when a residential element moved in,” Poston says. “We’re not quite there yet, but we are getting there.” Bradenton City Hall, 101 12th St. W., Bradenton, 941-932-9400
Pardon me boys, but is that a city on the right track? When planning a brighter future, it never hurts to see what paths others took to get there, and this year, local leaders decided to peek over the shoulder of Chattanooga, Tenn. Walter Cronkite declared the riverfront metropolis “America’s dirtiest city” in 1969, but since then, it has become a model for livable communities. “The community just shows what good things can happen when people decide on civic improvement as the thing to do,” says Sarasota City Commissioner Terry Turner. So what amenities do we have in common? –JO City of Chattanooga, 101 E. 11th St., Chattanooga, TN, 423-425-7800
Chattanooga built up its downtown with a connection to the Tennessee River. While Venice and Bradenton have successfully connected downtown to water amenities, Sarasota has been trying to connect its bayfront to its downtown for years.
The Tennessee Aquarium has made Chattanooga a major player in marine biology. Mote Marine Laboratory made Sarasota a center for aquatic observation in the midst of a major oil spill.
Many of Chattanooga’s accomplishments center around the Chattanooga Way—a push for a community vision. Sarasota, Bradenton and North Port are all moving forward with master planning initiatives.
Groups like the Lyndhurst Foundation helped Chattanooga implement progressive efforts in the city. Sarasota leaders are holding workshops on how major foundations in this wealthy community can help in a similar fashion.
HOT TABLESIDE SERVICE
What you get is what you pay for at most Churrascarias, especially for the voracious carnivores among us. Braza might as well set an entire farm aflame—meant in jest, of course—with its massive selection of meats, ranging from rack of lamb to filet mignon to chicken legs. Sure, you wouldn’t shell out this kind of dough at any old American barbecue, but a barbecue that is all-you-can-eat—where you don’t even have to get up and make your way to the buffet line—isn’t any old American barbecue. The next time a waiter runs after you with a machete in downtown Sarasota—or a menu, for that matter—do as the gauchos do and resist running the other way. These days, we’re all doing a bit more soul-searching before digging into the depths of our wallets and heading out for a bite. With this in mind, it’s no surprise that people are scratching their heads as they gaze longingly at Braza Brazilian Steakhouse’s menu, wondering how a few slabs of meat could possibly take so much green ($38 worth to be exact). As much as we commiserate with the penny-pinchers, we’ve learned from looking at the hottest Churrascarias in the nation that it’s just the nature of the beast—the Brazilian beast, in this case. Braza’s price tag is hefty for a reason; it doesn’t unnecessarily inflate the price of day-to-day goods like another communal dining experience many of us have come to love—ahem, fondue. Braza Brazilian Steakhouse, 1481 Main St., Sarasota, 941-955-1481
His Watches on Her
To borrow a line from Chicago, “Does anyone really know what time it is? Does anyone really care?” In terms of the trend of male-inspired watches on women’s wrists this year, no, no one really cares what time it is. It’s all about the statement. “Watches have become more about style than functionality. Everybody is competing with cell phones and iPods. The watch industry has learned to compete with these by offering fantastic designs and fashion to bring back the demand for watches,” says Darren Blum of Coffrin Jewelers. At Coffrin, designers such as Technomarine appeal to this new women’s trend by delivering oversized pieces with traditional men’s styling. They come in atypical colors like chartreuse, orange or white, and have unusual bands, such as interchangeable rubber versions. “In 1996, I saw a lady walk into a jewelry store I was working in at the time and she was wearing a Cartier Pasha. At the time I was thinking, ‘Why is this woman wearing a man’s watch?’” says Fletcher Shurley, jewelry manager at Saks Fifth Avenue in Sarasota. But Shurley eventually realized this was a true trend, especially as watch companies slowly started making men’s styled watches specifically for women. This year, the trend has reached a fever pitch. Lines in his jewelry case, such as Michael Kors and Michele, use materials like ostrich and denim to add fashion appeal to the men’s classic. But even without the all the fashionable feminine upgrades, women are still wearing classic men’s styles by Rolex and Cartier. “I’ve been in this business a long time. I didn’t see this trend lasting, but it’s gotten stronger and stronger,” Shurley says. Coffrin Jewelers, 1829 South Osprey Ave., Sarasota, 941-366-6871; Saks Fifth Avenue, 3501 South Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, 941-364-5381
Perhaps the “living room” should think about opting for a name change. Sarasotans have been slinking off the living room couch and into the kitchen for more than just mealtime. The culinary heart of the home has evolved into a bona fide entertaining space where everyone—from family members to guests—can gather. “Kitchens need to be inviting,” says Vesta Snell, kitchen designer at Inndesign Inc. “Islands have been a key factor for new kitchens—it’s where people gather around.” Snell explains that TVs in kitchens have become increasingly popular this year. Long gone are the days when the kitchen was simply a place for cooking. “When I was building my house, my big thing [to keep in mind] was that everyone seems to end up in the kitchen,” says Andrea Guthrie, a Sarasota resident and mother of three boys. “So now, my kitchen is the core. We have seven barstools in our kitchen so that everyone can be a part of it.” The Guthries’ kitchen was designed as an open area to connect to the rest of the rooms in the house. Laura Wallace of Kitchen Design by Laura has witnessed this growing trend firsthand. ”I’ve been taking the small kitchen and blowing out all the spaces to open up the room,” she says. “Everybody lives in the kitchen.” Hey living room, did you hear that? “It’s our hanging out place,” Guthrie says of her kitchen. If “home is where the heart is,” as the age-old saying goes, it’s now where the food is, too. Inndesign Inc., 2074 Constitution Boulevard, Sarasota, 941-921-6709; Kitchen Design by Laura, 4411 Bee Ridge Road, Sarasota, 941-780-2731
Oysters, Tuna & Short Ribs
Vegetarians, beware. This one’s about the year’s hottest chows at all levels of the earth: bottom-dwellers, swimmers and land lovers. —AM
Oysters Rough and jagged on the outside but soft and delicate on the inside, it’s a protein that’s simple—yet versatile—when doctored up in the kitchen.
Chef's Daily Value: “Oysters are hot all around the country. People are coming away from the composed dish and going more toward the raw. It takes the assembly out of it and is as down to the bone as possible,” says seafood aficionado Mark Caragiulo, co-owner of Owen’s Fish Camp.
Servings: Murph’s Famous Bloody Oyster Shooters at Owen’s Fish Camp , Cornmeal Fried Oysters at the Bijou Café, Alaskan Canoe Lagoon Oysters at Crab and Fin
Ahi Tuna On the meatier side as far as seafood goes, Ahi tuna can be seen everywhere, from a swanky sushi bar to an upscale restaurant to a casual lunch stop. Served raw or grilled, this two-species classification is a far cry from the “Chicken of the Sea” variety.
Chef's Daily Value: “Five years ago, Chilean sea bass was the most popular. Now, it’s tuna. It’s a different grain of fish with a whole different texture than grouper or snapper. You can sear it and cook it like a steak, and there aren’t many fish you can sear like that. It’s easy to cook, easy to handle, and it tastes great,” says Brett Wallin, owner of Walt’s Fish Market.
Seared Tuna Roll at Pacific Rim, Ahi Tuna Tartar Wonton Tacos at Pattigeorge’s, Fried Green Tomato Club with Seared Tuna Steak at Station 400
Short Ribs This hot protein is not restricted to one animal. It’s this cut of meat, in general, that has restaurant-goers rejoicing. Short ribs are prepared to be tender and falling apart, and are often slow-cooked.
Chef's Daily Value: “Short ribs are definitely a top menu item for us. It goes back to the comfort food idea because it’s like mom’s old pot roast but with a kick. People are looking for things that are familiar but have a little twist to them,” says chef David Arnold of First Street Chop House. Arnold has seen this cut in more exotic forms as well. Elk or kangaroo, anyone?
Servings: Bison Short Ribs at First Street Chop House, Braised Kobe Boneless Short Ribs at Michael’s On East, Beef Short Ribs at Derek’s Culinary Casual
Why is it that nothing gets people involved in Sarasota besides outrage?! I mean, what’s wrong with you people? It would be nice to have a conversation about police oversight without needing a video of an officer kicking a prisoner in the stomach. Instead, we get stuck with the “Let police do their job!” crowd fighting with the “Beating up drunks who can’t possibly escape is wrong!” crowd. Why does it have to happen this way? Fanner of flames Diana Hamilton says outrage is often the easiest way in politics to get something done. “It’s that hearts and minds thing I am always talking about,” she says. “It is easy for politicians to use outrage instead of talking about facts.” But political firebrand Susan Chapman took issue (of course!) with the label of outrage. “When the community values of the majority are not reflected by public officials, that usually brings about citizen action,” says a person who headed up a controversial Police Advisory Panel, recommending policy changes at the Sarasota Police Department. But outrage was on full display when a police chief was fired. And when artists and veterans fought over a stupid statue. And when Longboat Key residents were afraid of a big, bad hotel growing on their resort island. And on and on and on. So anyone who doesn’t perceive this as outrage is a poopyhead. See, they’re getting mad right now. Sarasota City Hall, 1565 First St., Sarasota, 941-365-2200; Longboat Key Town Hall, 501 Bay Isles Road, Longboat Key, 941-316-1999
Our shoes of choice this year are boots, boots and more boots. We can’t lunch on Main Street without seeing a whole herd of the pairs tromp by, and for shopping on St. Armands, it seems to be the required footwear. Everything from over-the-knee styles for winter to pairs that brush our ankles in summer are accented by soles ranging from sky-high stilettos to flat and casual comfort. Addison Craig is one local retailer carrying plenty of our hottest footwear trend. Classics with a riding appeal like Frye Harness boots, functional-yet-fashionable rain boots by Jeffrey Campbell, and fashion-forward styles by trendsetter Tory Burch are all part of the store’s collection. Tatyana Sharoubim, owner of T. Georgiano’s (and about 30 of her own boot pairs) carries a range of styles in her shop, too. “[The trend] is just all over the spectrum,” she says. Her store’s styles include flat, over-the-knee boots in tan, ruched leather by Ted Baker, and perforated black suede peep-toe ankle boots by Enigma. Addison Craig, 28 South Boulevard of Presidents, Sarasota, 941-388-3400; T. Georgiano’s, 1409B First St., Sarasota, 941-870-3727
High school chemistry comes in handy as we determine the nature of Sarasota’s hottest lemon-lime desserts. We’re using our very own acidity scale to judge these states of matter—no pH necessary. It ranges from one to five with one being as sweet as sugar and five as tangy as a whole lemon.
HOT CIVIC COURSE
Nearly a decade after planning legend Andres Duany revolutionized downtown Sarasota, long-term master planning is as much the rage in Southwest Florida as guayabera shirts and flip-flops. Take these community leaders: Realize Bradenton With a cultural master plan and a connectivity project with Village of the Arts in the works, Realize Bradenton Executive Director Johnette Isham is hoping to create a vibrant and evolving scene in downtown Bradenton. “Out of this process, we are trying to re-envision the real focus of revitalization through the creative arts and the cultural community and environment,” she says. Vision North Port Following up on the recent Imagine North Port: A Citizen Master Plan, Vision North Port Executive Director Peter Bartolotta wants a commercial identity in his bedroom community. “We have very creative minds here, and have just created a forum where that can occur," he says. Fruitville Corridor When the area south of Lakewood Ranch and east of Interstate 75 gets developed, officials hope it will follow the planning process that is currently being discussed. “This is the last great area near an interchange that hasn’t been developed with a shopping center or big box,” says Sarasota County Commissioner Joe Barbetta.
Parking and Sailing
The opening of two Sarasota landmarks shows that modern architecture remains the face of the city. The new Palm Avenue Parking Garage, designed by architect Jonathan Parks, gathered positive attention for its façade covered with translucent panels—some convex and some concave—that run nearly the full height of the building. Parks has also teased the public with suggestions that it could be illuminated for the holidays in an Empire State fashion. “If you light it right at night, on St. Patrick’s Day it can be green, or it can be red on Valentine’s Day,” Parks says. The Frank Gehry-esque exterior won over elected officials and merchants after earlier plans produced by city officials had garnered some negative press. Across the Ringling Bridge, real sails can be seen docked by the new Sarasota Yacht Club, a structure designed by DSDG’s Mark Sultana, which opened in March. To create a coastal contemporary appearance, Sultana gave the building a facelift that made it slicker but still classic. “We tried to make a cruise ship type of atmosphere,” Sultana says. Yacht Club Commodore Kay Goodman says members have been pleased with the building, as it makes sea-legged adventurers feel comfy on dry land. “You very much get the feeling you are on a luxury yacht,” Goodman says of the Club. And, of course, the architects are pleased to contribute to the city’s posh, chic feel. Other modern buildings are under construction now, including an updated Sarasota Memorial Hospital expansion. Sultana is enthusiastic about designing buildings in a place that respects great architecture. “Modern is timeless. It has been around probably since Sarasota has been around,” he says.
Spaces Change Hands
It’s not news to say that joints are forced to close up shop when times get tough. But in Sarasota, the story doesn’t always end with dormant stovetops and deserted parking lots. With every death there is a birth. It’s like a game of hot potato: a business’s property is thrown in the air for the next lucky buyer to take over, like a single lady snatching the bride’s bouquet of lilies. In these parts, Owen’s Fish Camp, Dawaat and Media on Main/Café Palm are the lucky “brides” to storm the scene, rejuvenating the remains of past businesses gone awry. Some switches, like the moves from Zoria to Main Street Oyster Bar, and from Esca to Urban Reef, weren’t so lucky. But others now have lines snaking out the door and enough good write-ups to fill the pages of mama’s scrapbook. Owen’s Fish Camp, 516 Burns Court, Sarasota, 941-951-6936; Media on Main/Café Palm, 1341 Main St., Sarasota, 941-914-9411; Dawaat Indian Restaurant, 239 Links Ave. S., Sarasota, 941-366-4433
Sarasota residents are embracing southern living year-round by investing in backyard makeovers. We’re morphing our outdoor areas into usable spaces with as much attention to detail as we give our living rooms. Since snow on our back porches isn’t an issue in wintertime, we’re funding posh backyards with outdoor kitchens, designer all-weather furniture and even TV sets. Sarasota resident and mom Genise Pedrick gushes about her outdoor overhaul. “We wanted something in the backyard that would bring the family together, whether it be a bonfire, barbecue or an outdoor, sit-down meal,” she says. When the Pedricks built their home, they gave immense attention to the outside architecture, installing an infinity edge pool with a grotto and a water slide, outdoor speakers, a bonfire pit and a kitchen. On the topic of outdoor kitchens, Clark Trautweiler of Outdoor Kitchen Cabinets & More raves, “It’s basically expanding and continuing space that already exists by bringing the party outside. So if someone has to go and grill outside, it keeps the company together.” Sarasota’s furniture store owners are also witnessing this hot new trend. “Sectionals that once were an indoor thing are now coming outdoors,” says Ashley Hutson of the Sarasota Collection Home Store. In the last few months, Hutson has seen a greater demand for benches, wicker dining room tables and modular furniture (such as tables that turn into ottomans). Using nature’s beauty to decorate is part and parcel to outdoor design. Playing around with colorful landscaping like bright flowers creates a setting that rivals any inside wall hanging or paint hue. Water fixtures, such as the Pedricks’ pool waterfall, exude a natural, earthy vibe. “There is something so relaxing to hear that waterfall,” Pedrick says. “Our neighbors even tell us that, when they sit outside and hear it, that it’s just so calming.” Who knew lounging in the great outdoors could be so stylish? Sarasota Collection Home Store, 622 Central Ave., Sarasota, 941-955-8313; Outdoor Kitchen Cabinets and More, 1823 Lakewood Ranch Boulevard, Bradenton, 941-744-5000
These chiseled pups have fought their way into our hearts and barked other dogs out of the running for the title of “Man’s Best Friend.” The antithesis of the tea-cupped fluff balls that act more like accessories than pets, boxers definitely won’t be found anywhere in a purse. These muscular, handsome dogs are part of an active breed, sweeping the nation with their playful, child-friendly spirits and quick-to-learn mentalities. Hollywood has caught onto the trend, as celebrity Justin Timberlake is a boxer owner (he has two: Buckley and Breenan). Casablanca actor Humphrey Bogart also had a boxer pal named Harvey. But boxer ownership isn’t confined to the Hollywood Hills. Sightings in Sarasota this year have skyrocketed. “Years ago, the boxer was a popular family dog,” says Chri
Read Next Access Feature
To access all SRQ articles, become a magazine subscriber today!