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SRQ Daily May 20, 2016

Friday Weekend Edition

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Friday Weekend Edition

"I like to tell stories through my shows. "

- Bobby Messano, blues musician

[SB2]  The Tourist Agenda
Jacob Ogles, jacob.ogles@srqme.com

While increasing tourism from overseas remains a priority for hospitality leaders in Florida, the region shouldn’t forget that the core pool of visitors to the Gulf Coast come from within the United States. “We are a domestic destination that international travelers are intrigued by because Americans say this is a place to go,” said Paul Phipps, Visit Florida’s chief marketing officer.

Experts speaking at the most recent installment of the SRQ-sponsored SB2 forum series, The Tourist Agenda: Making the Most of a Travel Economy, touched on this matter and others while discussing ways to keep a healthy flow of travel into this area. After Phipps gave a keynote address, a panel of local tourism voices took the stage to answer questions from SRQ Publisher Wes Roberts and from guests at the event.

Laurie Pike, Florida director of sales and marketing for MPH Hotels, said she has learned various hospitality venues will attract visitors from different origin markets. “It’s a very different world on the beaches and on the mainland,” she said, noting when she worked a seaside resort, 30 percent of visitors were international but that the Comfort Suites she works with in this region draw 90 percent of guests from domestic travel. In this market, an enormous amount of hotel use comes from corporations in this area booking rooms or space.

The biggest push in opening new markets will be in an increase in direct flights to the region, panelists agreed. Rick Piccolo, president and CEO for Sarasota Bradenton International Airport, said the top international market for visitors flying here is Canada, but many do originate in the United Kingdom and Germany even though there are not direct flights coming here from Europe. He said negotiating more destinations, though, can be challenging. “We have seen the eight major carriers in the United States become the four major carriers,” he said. “They are operating as an oligopoly.” That often means the airlines are more interested in keeping airlines at capacity than in meeting demand for more flights.

Elliott Falcione, Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau executive director, said the major focus for his agency is getting new visitors to come here. “First-timers come back 94 percent of the time,” he said. “So who do we target? The first timers.” He hopes to see flights to markets like Dallas. But he also stressed that it is important that the region attracts visitors who will bring an economic impact. He noted that the number of visitors to the Bradenton area in March dropped 1.2 percent but that didn’t matter to the hospitality industry because revenue raised per available room was up 4 percent.

And in a region where tourism remains the top industry, the panelists said the economic significance of hospitality needs to be commented to the region. Jeffrey Mayers, general manager of the Resort at Longboat Key Club, said 20 percent of the labor force in this community is directly or indirectly impacted by tourism and hospitality. He also noted his resort’s parent company, Ocean Properties, continues to invest here with enthusiasm. “We are very bullish, and with all the cranes you see in the community, you can see other developers feel the same way,” he said. 

Photos by Wyatt Kostygan. Above: Paul Phipps. Top: Rick Piccolo makes a point while Elliott Falcione listens intently.

[Music]  Messano Playing Chalk Fest Benefit
Diana Morales

Legendary blues musician Bobby Messano will play a benefit for the Sarasota Chalk Festival this Saturday. Event organizers promise an “intimate evening with authentic music.” SRQ spoke with artist, who has recorded and toured with rock acts like Steve Winwood and Peter Criss.

Why are you doing this benefit? It looked like a really cool festival. Anything that will bring artists together to do something like this is really it for me. I’m actually hoping I will be able to come back and go to the actual Chalk Festival. I’ve lived in Woodstock, New York, so the festival looks semi hippy-ish to some degree and it seems great. 

What can people expect at this benefit? I usually do shows with the band. I’ll be playing like it’s a regular show, maybe throw a little bit of some Jimi Hendrix. Actually this is the first acoustic solo record this year, which I have never done. I like to tell stories through my shows. It’s been 40 years of music stories. A night of storytelling and a night of guitar playing and singing. It will basically be a fun night of music and story time. It won’t be traditional straight blues but it will be contemporary blues. Once I start I’ll keep going. Some traditional blues but not much. I have six albums worth of songs that has been out and one has been on the Billboard. What’s cool is that I’ll be doing stuff like this that I can’t really do with the band. 

What made you change from rock to blues?  I made the transition because I wanted to go back to something others were comfortable with when I was younger. I still produce rock acts but I’ve always been a blues rock guy. I’m much more comfortable doing something that was really good when I was younger and I wanted to have more fun and didn't want to worry about wearing spandex and leather. That kind of stuff. And that’s why I “transitioned” styles. Last year was the 25th anniversary of me becoming a contemporary blues artist that was after a 14 year career before that. I feel betterI feel like I can write better stories. There’s a lot of stuff that I wanted to do and so I went back to doing that. 

An Evening to Benefit the Sarasota Chalk Festival, Word of Mouth Restaurant, May 21, 7pm.

[Good Bite]  Move Over Chocolate Milk
Aviel Kanter

Drizzle, glaze but most importantly, shake. Coffee syrup: a little known delicacy to most, yet a staple of Rhode Island childhoods. Made from cocktail-shaking the sugary-sweet syrup with a glass of chilled milk, the mixture called—you guessed it—“coffee milk” is so classic a RI fare that it earned the title of the state’s official drink.

Three generous tablespoons of the syrupcomposed merely of cold brew coffee reduced down with cane sugarget shaken and stirred into whole (or almond) milk until the top froths. Your first sip may induce cartoon-style eye popping from the shot of straight sugar, but keep sipping. Eventually the sweetness factor tones down revealing the oaky notes of the cold brew. Though caffeine does make an appearance, perhaps indulge in coffee milk as a dessert rather than your morning energy boost. Get a taste at Flour Parlor (owned by Rhode Islanders) and try the authentic flavors of Dave’s Coffee Syrup, also sold by the case.  

Flour Parlor, 128 N Orange Ave., Sarasota, 941-993-8649

[Recipe]  Grandma's Favorite
Diana Morales

Libby’s Dutch apple skillet cake with cinnamon ice cream is rich in flavor, gooey in the center and soft in texture. Warm and crunchy on the outside, the pie’s innards get sprinkled with spiced apple dust transporting you back to your childhood kitchen baking with Grandma. Chef Michael Yoder from Libby’s Café and Bar prepares his infamous dessert with cake batter—and even better, serves it on a skillet, maintaining an irresistible fresh-from-the-oven taste.

Cake Batter: 16 eggs; 1 cup sugar; 4 cups flour; 1.5 tsp. vanilla extract; 2 cup heavy cream, 3 cup milk; 1 pinch of salt.

Place all dry ingredients in a medium to small mixer and turn on low. Allow ingredients to evenly distribute. In a mixing bowl add together all of your wet ingredients and whisk together till combined. With mixer on low, add your wet components to your dry ingredients and continue to mix till well incorporated. When mixture is completely combined and smooth remove from the mixer and place into a plastic container for later use.

Spiced Apple Dust: 1 zest of lemon; ⅓ cup ground cinnamon; ⅛ cup ground clove; ⅛ ground allspice; ⅛ ground nutmeg; 5 cup brown sugar; 2 frozen green apple slice cut into thirds.

Place all the ingredients into a mixing bowl and toss together. Allow it to sit for about 30 minutes to let the flavor seep in.

Place a small cast iron skillet into oven set at 350 degrees. Wait about 15 minutes to allow the skillet to heat up and become hot enough to start cooking the batter immediately after pouring in (skillet must be hot). Take the hot skillet out of the oven and add in enough spiced apples to fill the skillet about ⅓ full. Pour in the batter over the top of the apples and place enough to fill the skillet about ¾ full. Do not fill up to the top so you can allow space for the cake to rise a little. Place back into the oven and cook for about 12 to 15 minutes. You can test the batter by poking it with a wooden toothpick. If it comes out clean and not wet batter on it the cake is done. Place the hot skillet on a charger plate and add one scoop of cinnamon ice cream on top. You may even drizzle caramel sauce over the ice cream and cake to finish the dish. Serve immediately.

Libby's Cafe and Bar, 1917 S Osprey Ave, Sarasota, 941-487-7300

[Expansion]  Caldwell Adds Seven Positions

Caldwell Trust Company announced seven new hires. The action represents a 65 percent increase in staff since 2011. Of the seven new staff members, six are based in Caldwell’s headquarters in Venice, while the other member works in the Sarasota office. Four of the new team members will work in the Information Technology Department; other staff members include a controller, trust associate and receptionist. 

Caldwell Trust Company

[Recognition]  Ballard Wins Bush Grant

Ballard Elementary School has been chosen to receive a library grant from the Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries. The grant is awarded to schools to extend, update and diversify the book and print collections in their libraries and encourage students to develop a love for reading and learning. The grant, up to $7,000, can only be used to purchase books or magazines for the school. More than $831,000 in grants is being distributed to 130 school libraries, from 30 states this year, from the Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries. 

Manatee County Schools

SRQ Media Group

SRQ DAILY is produced by SRQ | The Magazine and edited by Senior Editor Phil LedererNote: The views and opinions expressed in the Saturday Perspectives Edition and in the Letters department of SRQ DAILY are those of the author(s) and do not imply endorsement by SRQ Media. Senior Editor Jacob Ogles edits the Saturday Perspective Edition, Letters and Guest Contributor columns. For rates on SRQ DAILY banner advertising and sponsored content opportunities, please contact Ashley Ryan Cannon at 941-365-7702 x211 or via email

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