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SRQ DAILY Jun 23, 2020

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"We're really going for just simple, clean ingredients and keeping it on the light side,"

- Ashley Lairby of Smokin' Bowls Food Truck

[Carribean-Mexican Food Truck]  A Simple Mash-up Yields Complex Explosion
Andrew Fabian, andrew.fabian@srqme.com

For decades, California has served as a melting pot of cuisines from around the world. Because of its proximity to the Far East and Central America, fusions seem to materialize there that simply cannot elsewhere. Roy Choi has come to epitomize this ethos of fusion with Kogi, his now-famous, Los Angeles-based food truck that combines his Korean roots with the Mexican food so popular in Southern California. Now, that West Coast style has made its way to the West Coast of Florida with Smokin’ Bowls Food Truck. While a heavy Mexican influence in its assortment of tacos, nachos and tostadas might paint the truck as just another modern Mexicali operation, but, owners-operators Ashley and Brian Lairby looked to the Caribbean for inspiration on a simple cuisine mash-up many would overlook in favor of the familiar.

That dish is the loaded tostones. Tostones are a twice-fried, smashed plantain patty believed to have originated in Puerto Rico. The crispy, salty, carbolicious treat often serves as a side in Caribbean cuisine, but the Lairbys borrowed a recipe from a late friend that envisions new horizons for the simple food at the same time that it memorializes him. In their loaded tostones, four plantains serve as a base for a mound of protein (chicken, pork, or vegetarian and vegan options), cotija cheese, citrus herbed slaw and a drizzle of house made roja sauce. Each serving almost takes on the look of a miniature tostada, but where a crispy tortilla base has the propensity to get soggy and crumble under the weight of its toppings, a tostone bears its burden like Atlas, maintaining its crispiness and shape.

The flavor profile is equal parts sweet, tangy and savory, with the citrus slaw (arguably the standout ingredient) adding brightness to the saltiness of the chorizo and tostone base. A pinch from a lime wedge perks it up even further, but the dish is a triumph of simplicity. “We’re really going for just simple, clean ingredients and keeping it on the light side,” says Ashley. And the dish is all of these things, but, ultimately, its sum is greater than its parts. Smokin’ Bowls currently operates 12:00pm-8:00pm on Saturdays at Calusa Brewing. 

Click here for more information.

[Re-Opening]  Element: steak. seafood. pasta. Reopens for Business

Element is returning to the Sarasota scene with a contemporary new culinary vibe focused on steak, seafood and pasta prepared with modern elegance. Located at 1413 Main Street in Downtown Sarasota, Element is ready to serve guests once again starting today. The revamped menu created exclusively by Chef Nils will present exclusive meats, fresh fish, pasta made daily and eclectic dishes that will excite the taste buds. Brasstown and Snake River, two farms with longstanding relationships with Element, will be provide pasture-raised, grassfed beef to the restaurant for personal selection by the chef. Extended outdoor seating and a café-style veranda make you feel like the star of your own romantic, European film. Add a glass of wine from the progressive wine list and your evening is complete.  Element has committed to creating a safe, sanitary environment for guests and staff. Along with regular cleaning and the disinfecting of all surfaces of the restaurant, all staff are required to wear a mask and gloves during service. The temperature of each staff member will be taken before they enter the restaurant and health questions are asked before the start of their shift. Guests are invited to make reservations by visiting OpenTable or by calling the restaurant at 941-724-8585.


Element will be open Tuesday - Thursday from 4:00 pm - 10:00 pm, Friday and Saturday from 4:00 pm - 11:00 pm and Sunday from 4:00 pm - 9:00 pm. Closed Mondays.

[Airport Updates]  SRQ Flights Return with New Schedules and Destinations

Sarasota Bradenton International Airport (SRQ) is beginning to see signs of recovery as airlines return flights and passengers to the airport. Last week, JetBlue announced they will be adding nonstop service to Newark, NJ (EWR) starting Aug. 6th. This destination, not previously served from SRQ by JetBlue, will be in addition to the nonstop service provided to New York’s John F. Kennedy (JFK) airport and the seasonal service to Boston (BOS).

American Airlines announced they will add nonstop flights to New York’s LaGuardia (LGA) airport starting July 11th. LGA is a route not previously served by AA at SRQ. They also plan to bring back service to Philadelphia (PHL) on July 3rd, as well as Dallas/Ft. Worth (DFW) and Washington D.C. (DCA) on July 7th.

Frontier Airlines recently announced new nonstop flights to Chicago O’Hare (ORD). This is a new destination for Frontier at SRQ. Last summer, Frontier served only one destination from SRQ. This summer they will provide nonstop service to four destinations. Cleveland (CLE) and Philadelphia (PHL) flights started on June 6 and Cincinnati (CVG) and Chicago (ORD) service will begin on July 4th. Delta Air Lines, SRQ’s largest carrier for business travelers, added a third daily flight to Atlanta (ATL) on June 11th and will add a fourth daily flight beginning July 2nd. United Airlines will continue to provide service to Chicago O’Hare (ORD).

Allegiant, SRQ’s largest ultra-low-cost-carrier, will continue to provide a minimum of two times weekly service to thirteen destinations including Baltimore (BWI), Cincinnati (CVG), Cleveland (CLE), St. Louis (BLV), Grand Rapids (GRR), Knoxville (TYS), Richmond (RIC), Asheville (AVL), Pittsburgh (PIT), Indianapolis (IND), Harrisburg (MDT), Columbus (LCK), and Syracuse (SYR). Allegiant also plans to return service to six additional destinations in August including Allentown (ABE), Nashville (BNA), Des Moines (DSM), Flint (FNT), Fort Wayne (FWA), and Rockford (RFD).

“It is an interesting phenomenon to see how the rebound in traffic is affecting airports across the country. People from larger cities seem to prefer traveling to smaller beach town resort areas like Sarasota/Bradenton as they are ideal places to safely and easily social distance while vacationing or spending time with family.

The airport continues to exercise the recommendations of the CDC with increased janitorial staffing, plastic shields, hand sanitizer stations, social distance markers, and face covering requirements for all airport employees. We are excited that our public health practices combined with the increased flight choices provides an opportunity to help get our local economy back on its feet in an expedited manner.” stated Rick Piccolo, President, CEO of the Sarasota Bradenton International Airport. 

[New Opening]  Club Pilates Studio Opens in Downtown Sarasota

Club Pilates, the nation’s largest premium Pilates franchise, is celebrating its grand opening in Downtown Sarasota June 25, 2020. Located at 1413 1st Street, Suite 102A (by Whole Foods), the new studio offers members total body workouts that help with posture, balance, flexibility and strength. The first 50 members to sign up for an unlimited membership will receive a 20 percent off lifetime discount. There are free introductory classes starting June 25. The light and bright studio welcomes members into an inspiring atmosphere where they can choose from dozens of group classes that utilize a variety of equipment, including reformers, EXO chairs, TRX, springboard and Barre. Owners Peter Kilcullen and Gary Keith are excited to open their third Sarasota location Downtown.

“Sarasota has been a great place for us to open Club Pilates Studios,” said Kilcullen. “Of the 600 studios throughout the county, the South Sarasota location grew to number 22 in less than a year. We have no doubts downtown will be equally popular.” Club Pilates is the first Pilates organization to create a proprietary 500-hour Teacher Training Program designed to thoroughly and safely teach group reformer Pilates classes along with TRX, Triggerpoint, and Barre. Club Pilates has more than 140 locations in 35 states. 

Click here for more info.

[New Performance ]  Van Wezel Announces Two Exciting Shows for the 2020-2021 Season

The Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall has just announced two additional performances for the 2020-2021 Season. Single tickets for these performances go on sale Friday, June 26th, 2020 at 10am. Newly announced performances include Neil Berg’s 50 Years of Rock and Roll Part IV on Thursday, April 1, 2021 at 8pm (Tickets $24.50-$82) and Jay Leno – Sunday, February 14, 2021 at 7pm (Tickets $37-$117). 

With a cast consisting of incredible rock and roll singers and stars from Broadway’s greatest rock musicals, Neil Berg returns by popular demand to share more of the 50-year history of the music that changed the world forever. From the progenitors of rock and roll in the 1940s, through the glory years of the ‘50s, ‘60s, and ‘70s, up until MTV in the early ‘80s, Neil Berg’s 50 Years of Rock & Roll features groundbreaking music with tributes to iconic rock stars, groups and genres.

Jay Leno, known as the “hardest working man in show business,” is an admired stand-up comedian, best-selling children’s book author and acclaimed TV late night show host. As a pioneering car builder and mechanic, he currently produces and hosts the CNBC Television series, Jay Leno’s Garage. He held the #1-rating for late night television for two decades with The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and is also a philanthropist, corporate speaker and voice-over artist. 

Click here for more information and two purchase tickets.

[Giving Back]  International Design Society Awards $20,000 Grant to All Star Children's Foundation

Graci McGillicuddy, the co-founder and board chair of All Star Children’s Foundation, recently announced that a $20,000 grant issued by the Sarasota chapter of the International Design Society will further empower All Star’s rich tapestry of education, therapeutic and clinical initiatives.

“Thanks to this grant, All Star will be able to offer expert care and treatment to children who have experienced neglect and abuse in the tri-county area,” says McGillicuddy. “The International Design Society shares our deep commitment to this cause and wants to do everything in its power to help us provide stability and treatment for these children. They recognize that adverse childhood experiences and trauma comprise the greatest, unaddressed threats to public health facing our nation today. This is an extraordinary gift. It will make a world of difference to All Star’s future success.”

Jesse White, president of the Sarasota chapter of the International Design Society, says that his organization has a long history of supporting local nonprofits—especially those helping children. “Nothing tugs at your heartstrings more than the incredible challenges All Star’s children face,” he says. “All Star’s founders, Graci and Dennis McGillicuddy, are powerhouses who deliver on their promises. Their passion and the leadership have made All Star’s vision a reality. The future of our society rests with our children—and that’s why we want to help.” 

[In This Issue]  Road to Recovery

Engaging regional business leaders for a dialogue about the future. 

Click here to read the full article from SRQ's Summer 2020 edition.

[Gallery Opening ]  Art Center Sarasota Galleries Are Now Open

Galleries Free and open to the public Monday through Friday, 10:00am - 4:00pm. 

Art Center Sarasota, 707 N. Tamiami Trail, 941-365-2032

Click here for more information.

[Book Club]  Suncoast Campaign for Grade Level Reading Hosts Family Book Event

Join This Book is Cool host Beth Duda and artist Cedric Hameed for an interactive family activity sponsored by The Patterson Foundation and the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. Learn about spoken word poetry. Explore your thoughts and feelings. Share your ideas. Create your own work of art.

All you need to participate is paper, something to write with, and your imagination! This family activity is designed for adults and children in grades PreK-3. All are invited.


Click here to Register.

[COVID-19]  COVID-19 Testing For All Age Groups at R.L. Taylor Community Center

No appointments or prescriptions are necessary, and individuals can walk or park their vehicles at the community complex located at 1845 34th St. "Any age group can get tested. We have a less invasive testing procedure now. The Q-tip is about as long as a regular Q-tips. It goes inside the nasal passage. It's free and you don't need a physician's notice which used to be required. You don't have to be ill that was once a requirement. We just hope that the community will come out and participate in this" says Wayne Balcom who is the Testing Site Incident Commander. Anyone can receive free testing regardless of residency or symptoms. The site will be open daily from 9 am to 6 pm or until the capacity of 200 tests per day is reached.  

[Dance Classes Resume]  Sarasota Contemporary Dance Ensemble Workshop Happening this Week

Workshop will be Monday through Thursday, June 22–25th, 2020 2:30pm to 5:30pm. Open to all dancers ages 13 and up with previous dance experience. Prices are $125 weekly or $40 daily. The home for contemporary dance training has created a one of kind workshop taught by four Sarasota Contemporary Dance company members. This workshop has emerged from the development of SCDE, a student training company for aspiring dancers. 

Click here for more information.

[Ground Floor Series]  Asolo Rep Presents Johnny and The Devil's Box

Asolo Rep continues its Ground Floor Series: Making Musicals, on Thursday, June 25 at 6pm with a preview of Johnny and The Devil's Box, a new bluegrass musical with book, music and lyrics by Douglas Waterbury-Thieman. In the dark days of the Great Depression, a beacon of hope shines from the depths of the Georgia foothills: Johnny Baker plays the meanest fiddle the world has ever seen. When a mysterious preacher rolls into the small town of Crossings and threatens to destroy what little they have, Johnny teams up with the no-nonsense Abigail to wage the next war in the ultimate battle of Good versus Evil with nothing but his fiddle for a weapon. Infused with American folk and bluegrass, this gripping tale will have you stomping your feet and clapping your hands in no time. 

Click here for more information.

[SOON]  MUSEUM: The Ringling: Kabuki Modern , November 13 – June 27, Museum hours.

In response to developments and the rise of photography, publishers, print designers and painters updated their stylistic and technical approaches to yakusha-e, thereby propelling the genre into the modern era. Kabuki Modern presents superb recent acquisitions of kabuki portraits between 1868 and the 1950s. Visitors will see works by Toyohara Kunichika (1835–1900), Yamamura Kōka (Toyonari, 1885–1942), and Natori Shunsen (1886–1960) — the foremost print artists of their time. Two stunning screen paintings by Murakami Michiho (1899–1938) and Torii Kiyotada IV (1875–1941) that recently returned to the Museum following conservation treatment are also on view. Featuring portraits of actors in character, these prints and paintings capture the dynamic poses, elaborate stage make-up, and sumptuous costumes that have enthralled audiences for over 400 years. The exhibit began November 13, 2019 and will end June 27, 2021, during museum hours.

The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, 5401 Bay Shore Rd., Sarasota

[SOON]  MUSEUM: The Ringling: Syd Solomon, Concealed and Revealed , December 19 – January 24, Museum hours.

Syd Solomon: Concealed and Revealed offers a unique selection of paintings by the artist, along with numerous objects from the Solomon Archive on view for the first time. Syd Solomon (American, 1917-2004) described himself as an “Abstract Impressionist” alluding to the fact that his work infused impressionism into the processes, scale and concepts of Abstract Expressionism. Solomon moved to Sarasota in 1946 with his wife Annie. His was the first work of contemporary art to be collected by The Ringling in 1962. His paintings were greatly influenced by climatic factors and reveal a fascination and concern for Florida’s aquatic environment. Solomon incorporated his experience as a camouflage designer during World War II into his painting. It is not well-known that he was also an accomplished graphic artist, who in his early years designed commercial signage for prominent hotels and businesses in Sarasota. Like his work in camouflage, Solomon’s calligraphic skill was essential to the development of his later gestural abstraction. The exhibition began December 19, 2019 and will end January 24, 2021, during museum hours.

The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, 5401 Bay Shore Rd., Sarasota

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Virtual: Art Center Summer Art Camps , June 15 – August 7, Varied.

Summer Camp will be virtual this year from June 15 to August 7, 2020! We have decided for the health and safety of our teachers and campers that we will host camp virtually. Camp hours: 10am – 3pm. Cost: $75 for members | $100 for non-members (youth membership is $25) for one week. Space is limited please register for the weeks that your child is interested in.

The Creative Kids Summer Camp is for ages 6-9 years old. The Emerging Artists Summer Camp is for ages 10-13 years old. Contemporary Studies Summer Camp is for ages 14-18.

A Supply List will be sent to parents a few weeks before the camp week starts. The supply lists contain basic materials that your camper will be able to use more than once and where to find them. The camp project packet will be downloadable, for printing at home, on the Friday before the camp week starts and contains the projects for the next week. A printed version of the Camp project packet will be available upon request for pickup at the Art Center the Friday before camp from 10-2pm.

Art Center Sarasota, 707 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota

[SOON]  THEATER: Online: Asolo Rep Ground Floor Series Presents Making Musicals-Maya, July 2 , July 2, Online at 6pm

Tune in to our Facebook and YouTube pages this Thursday at 6pm for the first installment in Asolo Rep's new Making Musicals competition, designed specifically for an online audience. On May 21, June 4, June 18 and July 2 at 6pm, we will preview four completely new and original musicals on our Facebook and YouTube pages. Each 30-minute session will consist of a fifteen-minute preview performance of one new musical, followed by a fifteen-minute discussion with the playwright/composer and James Monaghan, Asolo Rep Dramaturg and Literary Manager, and Celine Rosenthal, Asolo Rep Associate Artistic Director, who serves as the Director of the Ground Floor Series and is also directing all four musicals. To add to the fun, we're incorporating a Virtual Happy Hour into the presentation. One day prior to each performance, you will receive an email notice of the broadcast that includes a cocktail recipe specifically chosen to compliment the theme of that week’s new musical.

July 2 at 6pm: Maya. Book and Music by Cheeyang Ng; Book and Lyrics by Eric Sorrels.

At the center of the story is Maya Mehta, a Cambridge-educated girl from India striving for recognition as a poet in the West, while her family plans her wedding to a wealthy prince. But in one life-changing moment, the Salt March, led by Mahatma Gandhi against the tyranny of the British Empire, arrives on Maya’s doorstep. When Maya joins the thousands in their quest to shake the foundations of an empire, the Mehta family’s world changes forever. With a score that fuses Western pop and Indian Classical music, MĀYĀ is about the ties that hold us, the illusions that bind us and the truth that can finally set us free.

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Virtual: Choral Artists of Sarasota's July 4th American Fanfare Concert , July 4, 4pm

For the last 15 years, Choral Artists of Sarasota has honored Independence Day with a concert of rousing songs celebrating the United States. The choral group will continue that tradition this July 4—with a twist. To ensure the safety of its singers and audience, the concert will be virtual. According to Artistic Director Joseph Holt, this year’s concert will feature highlights of previous Independence Day celebrations—and will be streamed over various platforms, including Facebook and YouTube. “Audiences should prepare to tune in and sing along on July 4 at 4 pm,” says Holt. “We’ll be safe, and we’ll be celebrating.”

Holt explains that Choral Artists’ July 4th concert “has been a vital part of our community’s celebration of Independence Day for the past 15 years. These concerts featured musical pieces that form the heart and soul of our collective national sense of pride and patriotism. For all these years, Choral Artists has celebrated, through music, the thread of ‘liberty and justice for all’ that characterizes our nation.” He adds that, last year, Choral Artists moved the concert to the Sarasota Opera House due to popular demand. It also partnered with the Sarasota Concert Band last year to present a “musical tradition that is as American as hot dogs, apple pie and fireworks.” Original plans for the live performance of “American Fanfare” were to include patriotic music composed by female composers. This year’s virtual performance will feature one of those works, “The March of the Women” composed by suffragette Ethel Smyth, recorded specifically for this concert.

Holt says the July 4th video will feature hits from the past years, including such patriotic standards as the "Battle Hymn of the Republic,” “God Bless America,” and “America the Beautiful.” According to Holt, with the cancellation of the group’s “Listen to the Earth” in April and the July 4th concert, Choral Artists has lost more than $50,000 in ticket sales. “This represents a significant loss of income for our singers,” he says. “As we are all freelance musicians in this organization with incomes derived from a variety of performing opportunities, the pandemic has been financially devastating.”


SRQ Media Group

SRQ DAILY is produced by SRQ | The Magazine. Note: 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.In the CocoTele department, SRQ DAILY is providing excerpts from news releases as a public service. Reference to any specific product or entity does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation by SRQ DAILY. The views expressed by individuals are their own and their appearance in this section does not imply an endorsement of them or any entity they represent. 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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