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SRQ DAILY Dec 14, 2021

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Freshly Squeezed Content Every Morning

"Something we always want to do is raise the bar, raise the standards."

- Chris Voelker, State Street Eating House + Cocktails

[The Dish]  A Tasty Staple to Judge a Restaurant By
Andrew Fabian, andrew.fabian@srqme.com

In each cuisine, there exists a small list of staples with which you can judge a restaurant by. A Chinese restaurant might tell you everything you need to know by its egg rolls or lo mein, an Italian restaurant by its marinara, a smokehouse by its brisket or a French restaurant by how many menu items you won’t be caught dead trying to pronounce. You can judge Stiks by its Pad Thai.

The new concept on South Tamiami near Demetrio’s is a refreshed concept from Nikki Lum-Kleiber and husband David Kleiber, the former being the daughter of A Taste of Asia’s founders and owners, Lam and Selina Lum. The young couple have modernized the interior space with chic furniture, stylish décor and some neon accents while also reconfiguring the menu into a fast-casual, cafeteria-style concept. But the most important thing is what they haven’t changed: the pad Thai recipe.

Some pad Thai preparations are heavy on the flavor of a well-seasoned wok, some are gummy with starches while others are as sweet as dessert. At Stiks, the pad Thai is just right, combining all the requisite notes of tamarind paste, soy and fish sauce, sugar and vinegar into a rich and smooth profile strung together with a bit of peanut butter. Served in a small to-go box with your choice of protein, Stiks’ pad Thai bodes well for the overall calculus of the restaurant’s concept: fast food, casual atmosphere, inexpensive and customizable menu, and a tasty staple to judge it by. And for those on a fried chicken kick (me), get it topped with fried chicken. 

Photo taken by Andrew Fabian

For Stiks' full menu click here

[Belgian Waffles]  Not Your Average Waffle
Chloe Cuyler. chloe@srqme.com

What comes to mind when you think of waffles? Probably maple syrup. Maybe blueberries. Possibly even whipped cream. But what about avocados? Sounds almost blasphemous, right? Well, not for Crisp Waffle Company, where they are pushing the boundaries on what to put on waffles—and succeeding at it. 

Crisp Waffle Company is a new restaurant in St. Armands Circle. Owned and operated by Todi Garay, this restaurant offers thick, fluffy Belgian waffles, but with some unexpected twists. You’ve heard of chicken and waffles, but avocado and waffles? Crisp Waffle Company offers, what they call, the Lido Avocado.  This menu item begins with the restaurant's signature Liege waffle a waffle crafted from a dough made fresh, in-house every day with ingredients imported from Belgium, including Belgain Pearl Sugrar, which is mixed into the dough before cooking. This delicious creation is then covered in cheese—which is melted—and finished with a creamy avocado spread. The cherry on top? A hint of tangy lime. And if avocados aren’t your thing, don’t fret. You can still try some out-of-the box waffles at Crisp Waffles Company. They offer the Monte Cristo On the Beach—a sandwich comprising Liege waffles filled with turkey, blackforest ham, melted cheese and a sweet berry jam—and your quintessential chicken and waffles—a Liege waffle served with a piece of crispy, fried chicken, provided by Whiskey Barrel, perched on top and garnished with your choice of maple syrup or berry jam. 

Gone is the day when waffles were nothing more than the crispier, thicker and oftentimes overlooked sibling of the pancake. We now welcome a new day and age in which they are free to become sandwiches, toast, and even serving vessels for fried chicken. 

Crisp Waffle Company, 17 Fillmore Dr, Sarasota, St Armands Circle, crispwafflecompany.com, @crispwaffleco 

Photo courtesy of Crisp Waffle Company

For full menu click here

[941 Originals]  Layer Up and Dine Waterside This Winter

Where the Bay, or Gulf, views are as delicious as the dishes—The Sarasota-Manatee Originals (SMO) has got you covered for the best places to park it, or dock it, for a great meal on the water. If down in Venice, head to The Crow's Nest on the Venice Beach Pier for sparkling sunsets, great happy hour specials and prime seafood fare. Nextled off the main drag of Longboat Key, find the iconic Mara Vista Dockside Restaurant & Pub, where boats come in hungry from hanging out at the sandbars all day to tie up for an outdoor meal and cocktail in the sand. And over in Siesta Key, the romantic date night spot of Ophelia's By The Bay, swoons diners inside as well as on the patio with the same breaktaking bayside views. If you're in the Bradenton area, you're in luck, because Pier 22 is nestled right in the marina of Manatee River, boasting water views in addition to elevated surf-and-turf options. Over in Nokomis, Pop's Sunset Grill is never a snooze, with live outdoor music every day, a laid-back beachy atmosphere and classic handheld foods. Riverhouse Waterfront Restaurant in Palmetto offers uninterrupted views with their multilevel dining floors, as well as an upscale-casual food and drink menu, while The Waterfront Restaurant in Anna Maria features global seafood dishes along with a beer-&-wine bar situated across the way from the historic Anna Maria City Pier.

Grab that shacket (light jacket in the style of a button-down shirt) and catch an early sunset paired with a Florida winter breeze at these local, waterfront dining destinations.

The Sarasota-Manatee Originals network promotes and sustains over 60 independent area restaurants and provides diners with a comprehensive resource of some of the finest locally-owned keepsakes throughout Florida’s Suncoast. Remember to “Eat Like A Local” and check out eatlikealocal.com or @941originals socials for restaurant updates, promotional deals and upcoming events. 

Pictured: Riverhouse Waterfront Restaurant, courtesy of @RiverhouseFL

For a full list of 941 Originals Members Restaurants, click here

[New Chef]  State Street Eating House + Cocktails Elevates With New Executive Chef

Long established as one of downtown Sarasota’s best culinary destinations, State Street Eating House + Cocktails recently welcomed Executive Chef Michelle Wolforth to take the restaurant’s menu to new heights. Chef Wolforth, a Boston native, has worked in some of the most renowned fine dining kitchens in the country, including the Mandarin Oriental in Boston, Waldorf Astoria in Chicago, and The Soho House in New York City. Most recently, Wolforth served as the executive catering chef of Morton’s Gourmet Market and executive chef of Blasé Bistro. “Something we always want to do is raise the bar, raise the standards,” says State Street owner Chris Voelker, “and we think a lot about how we can elevate guest’s experience.” With Wolforth helming the State Street kitchen, raising the bar starts with impeccable sourcing. “Great food starts with the highest quality product you can get your hands on,” says Wolforth, “so we’re really committing a lot of resources to that.” That means fresh Gulf-caught seafood purchased whole and broken down in-house, ensuring a clean flavor profile and fresh seafood stocks. “It takes more skill and time to break down fish every day, and that’s what drives some restaurants to buy frozen,” Wolforth says, “but with so many varieties of delicious local fish in our backyard, it’s worth every penny to buy fresh.”

But Chef also carries that level of regionality, seasonality and care to all aspects of the kitchen. With house made pastas made from whole yolks, freshly baked breads and scratch-made sauces, she aims to transform every dish into something memorable. “I often speak to our diners,” says Voelker, “and it is truly heartwarming to consistently hear rave reviews. And that’s really what we want. We don’t want guests to leave here and say, ‘that was good’ or ‘that was fine.’ I want them to leave and say, ‘wow, that was amazing.’ And I think our recent growth demonstrates that Michelle is giving people that kind of experience.” 

[Employment]  VSC & EDC of Sarasota County Launch Workforce Campaign

Yesterday, Visit Sarasota County and the Economic Development Corporation of Sarasota County (EDC) announced a collaboration to attract working-aged adults to Sarasota County and make it home. “Work Where You Want to Live” was created to lure new residents to the area to fill open positions with local employers. It will target key national markets that are known to feed visitors to the area. “At VSC and the EDC we are listening to our local businesses, and they are telling us that, like so many employers around the country, they need help building their workforces,” said Visit Sarasota County President Virginia Haley. “We know from years of analyzing our visitor and relocation data that people tend to visit here before deciding to move to Sarasota County. Thus, we’re targeting the markets that often send us visitors and providing all of the resources someone would need to find work and settle down.”

With creative and earned media assistance from two local companies, Miles Partnership and Knight Strategic Communications, markets targeted through a combination of media outreach, branded digital content, digital marketing, and paid social media include New York, Chicago, Boston, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and Atlanta. Audiences are directed to the Visit Sarasota website, which offers abundant relocation information, and the EDC website, which includes a job search tool that aggregates open positions with local employersWhile the campaign is designed to attract workers, it may also serve to attract companies seeking to relocate to Sarasota County and people who want to start businesses.

“We’ve seen a record number of business relocations and expansions in Sarasota County this year,” says EDC President and CEO Lisa Krouse. “However, as these companies grow, they’re facing the same labor shortages as the rest of our country. Through our collaboration with VSC, we hope that our efforts to recruit new talent and expand the labor pool with enhance our local business climate and allow room for more business relocation and expansion.”

The campaign comes as Visit Sarasota County hit new summer tourism records, and the EDC reported a year of record results.

Information on Visit Sarasota County can be seen at visitsarasota.comInformation on the Economic Development Corporation can be viewed at edcsarasotacounty.com. 

[Community]  DreamLarge Announces Purposeful Holiday Evening in Support of Mothers Helping Mothers

Celebrate the holidays and support those in need through a toy drive for local nonprofit, Mothers Helping Mothers, a local 501c3 organization committed to supporting families in need by fostering resiliency, self-sufficiency and family stability in our community. On the evening of Thursday, December 16, all are encouraged to bring a new, unwrapped toy to 600 Central Avenue, the western end of the RADD Night Market. In celebration, multiple free events will take place in the Rosemary Art & Design District including a festive RADD Night Market, BLVD Bike Rides: Merry on Main, and a storefront holiday display hosted by the Rosemary District Alliance. The entire community of visitors, vendors and riders can support the nonprofit by bringing new, unwrapped toys to the market and participate in the free evening festivities. 

BLVD Bike Rides, a free bike community bike ride, will be offering free participation and electric bike rentals in exchange for toys. In addition to the toy drive, Endless Summer Eco-Tours and Bike Rentals is raffling off a Rad E-bike, with proceeds going toward Mothers Helping Mothers. Raffle tickets are sold online at dreamlarge.co/blvd and at the event. 

[SOON]  FILM: Virtual: This Light Of Mine: The Making of the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe , December 17 – December 31

The dream of one man became a cultural tour de force for Sarasota’s performing arts community. In 1999, actor and playwright Nate Jacobs founded the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe, establishing a unique dramatic company to present and explore the Black experience. After twenty years of challenges and hard-won triumphs, the troupe experienced one of its toughest years yet in 2020. The killing of George Floyd ignited a national reckoning on race, and the COVID-19 pandemic made theatres go dark. Drawing on the resilient spirit that carried the troupe across previous hardships, WBTT has reimagined ways to stage its performances and fulfill its mission to promote inclusion and diversity in the arts. As a new generation of artists comes onboard, the troupe also finds successful approaches to address racism and lift others up through opportunity, mentorship and outreach. Produced by WEDU PBS in partnership with the Community Foundation of Sarasota County with generous funding from the George J. & Alice Pugh Donor Advised Fund. The film is available at https://www.wedu.org/shows/documentaries/this-light-of-mine/

[SOON]  : Discover Sarasota: City Sightseeing Tour , January 1 – December 31

On this air-conditioned City Sightseeing Trolley or Van Tour, see the BEST places to tour, shop, and dine through Sarasota’s historic downtown neighborhoods of Gillespie Park, Burns Court, Laurel Park, St. Armands Circle, Lido Key, and the Rosemary Design District. You also see our world-class artistic and cultural organizations: The Ringling Museum, Ringling College, Asolo Theater, Selby Library, Van Wezel Performing Arts Center, Selby Gardens, Sarasota Opera House, Art Center Sarasota, and Sarasota Symphony Orchestra. Learn more about the architects and developers who designed some of our most unique homes and buildings, like the Blue Pagoda, Crocker Memorial Church, and Splendida. Circus history, Amish culture, real estate development booms and busts, and colorful stories about Sarasota’s founders give you a true overview of Sarasota’s rich and amazing cultural history. Trolley tours usually run on Fridays. Tours with fewer than 10 guests will travel in our comfortably air-conditioned high-top van. Tour is year-round, tickets are $34.99 and include FREE Parking.

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Motorworks Yappy Hour to Benefit Friends of Manatee County Animal Services , February 21 – December 19, 1pm-4pm

Friends of Manatee County Animal Services (FoMCAS) invites everyone to join them at the February Yappy Hour at Motorworks Brewery. FoMCAS will be the featured nonprofit and will have over $4000 in raffles and silent auction items plus a 50/50 drawing to help fundraise for the Manatee County Animal Services shelter animals. The family friendly and pet friendly event will be held on Sunday, February 21st in the Motorworks Beer Garden from 1pm to 4pm. The event will feature vendors selling an array of pet and non-pet related products with drink specials and food from local food trucks all in the 12,000 sq ft. artificially turfed beer garden. Raffles and silent auction items include resort stays on Anna Maria Island, spa packages, restaurant gift cards, sailing excursions, fabulous gift baskets, pet items, tickets to sporting events and a golf package, handmade arts by local artisans, jewelry, baskets of spirits, gourmet gift packages, and much, much more. Pet owners are encouraged to bring their leashed pets to enjoy the day and help contribute to the Friends of Manatee County Animal Services whose mission it is to work hand in hand with Manatee County Animal Services to enrich the lives of the shelter animals by raising funds to provide additional resources, medical care and heartworm treatment. Animal Network is the event partner with Motorworks Brewery for the monthly Yappy Hour held on the third Sunday of each month. It features different local nonprofit animal organizations that support, rescue, and find loving homes for dogs and cats in our community. Each month, the guest organization receives the funds raised through the silent auction, raffles and 50/50 split drawing. Over the last three years the event has raised over $100,000 shared among the various guest organizations. Animal Network, Dawg Phonics and Motorworks are sponsors of the Yappy Hour.

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Florida Studio Theatre Improv: Triple Play , March 20 – December 25, 8:30pm

Florida Studio Theatre’s resident improv troupe, FST Improv, will return to a weekly live performance schedule with Triple Play, a full-length show created specifically to entertain from a distance. Drawing inspiration from audience suggestions, a rotating cast of three improvisers will perform games, scenes, and songs—all made up on the spot. Starting Saturday, March 20, Triple Play will take place Saturday evenings at 8:30pm for socially-distanced audiences in FST’s Keating Theatre. Tickets are $15 per person and are now on sale. To purchase tickets, call FST’s Box Office at 941.366.9000 or visit FloridaStudioTheatre.org. FST's musical improvisers, Jim Prosser and Helena Rankin, will provide comical accompaniment as performers play some of Sarasota's favorite improv games - all while maintaining social distancing. In addition to live audiences, the cast of Triple Play will draw inspiration from prompts submitted virtually through text or via Twitter. With this added virtual element, FST Improv will engage with audiences in Sarasota and beyond. Triple Play performances will be socially-distanced and in compliance of all CDC guidelines, including socially-distanced seating, paperless ticketing, and limited theatre capacities. Facial coverings must be worn at all times - including throughout performances - when on campus at FST, aside from dining in FST's Green Room Cafe & Bar. Socially-distanced pre-show dining is available indoors and outdoors in FST's Green Room Cafe & Bar one hour before each Triple Play performance.

[SOON]  SEMINAR: Virtual: The Ringling: Private Lectures presented by Dr. David Berry , April 13 – December 31

David Berry, Associate Director of Academic Affairs and Special Projects, is one of Sarasota’s favorite lecturers. His dry sense of humor and wealth of knowledge is sure to both entertain and educate your group. Dr. Berry is available to speak on any of the following subjects: The origins of museums, museum architecture and display, The Victorian museum, early museums in America, museums, education, and community engagement, great women collectors, the illicit trafficking of cultural property, world fairs, an introduction to natural history, great illustrated natural history books, natural history and children’s literature, scientific illustration, natural history specimens, natural history collections, art and medicine, the art of anatomy, the art of astronomy and microscopy, the art of geology and paleontology (including dinosaurs), botanical and zoological art, botanical and zoological gardens, the golden age of botanical exploration, the orchid craze in Victorian Britain, and Japanese garden design and horticultural practices (ikebana and bonsai). $100 flat fee; must be scheduled at least 3 weeks in advance, $250 for custom topics; must be scheduled at least 6 weeks in advance. Lectures include a single-speaker, slide illustrated lecture. All programs are hosted via Zoom. For additional information, or to book a virtual program, contact Laura Steefel-Moore, Head of Educational Programs, at laura.steefel-moore@ringling.org.

[SOON]  FESTIVAL: First 1,000 Days Sarasota: Color the Community , April 6 – December 31

First 1,000 Days Sarasota County is a community initiative to improve the health and well-being of babies and families. At the end of 2020, the initiative and its 75 community partners launched a website to empower all parents and caregivers with simple tools proven to promote quality early childhood development. The initiative partners are now using the power of art to celebrate families and promote local educational resources available to them.  Utilizing free curriculum with fun activities for parents to do with their children and a sidewalk chalk festival, First 1,000 Days Sarasota is encouraging the community to get involved this spring in the “Color the Community” campaign. The campaign kicked off with the unveiling of three new works of art across Sarasota County: “Swing Out Into the World,” by Laura Pommier at 14212 Tamiami Trail in North Port, its sister mural, “Bubbles,” by Truman Adams, at Forty Carrots Family Center, 1500 South Tuttle Avenue, in Sarasota; and a traveling artwork, “Making Roots,” being created by Traci Kegerreis, are designed as gateways for young families to learn about resources available to support parents in being their child’s first teacher. Artists were encouraged to creatively express one or more of the fundamentals of early childhood development, known as “The Basics.” First 1,000 Days Sarasota County is now asking the broader community to follow suit. Children and families can easily get involved by: Creating sidewalk chalk art (or your preferred medium) inspired by The Basics early learning principles: Maximize love, manage stress, Count, group, compare, Talk, sing, and point, Explore through play and movement, and Read and discuss stories; Posting photos of you and your masterpiece to social media. Tag @First1000DaysSarasota on Facebook and Instagram and use hashtags #First1000DaysSarasota #ColortheCommunity; and Visiting First1000DaysSarasota.com to sign up for free text tips on The Basics and connect with local resources for parents and young children.

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Selby Gardens: Seeing the Invisible , September 25 – August 31, 10am-5pm

The most ambitious and expansive exhibition to date of contemporary artworks created with augmented reality (AR) technology will premiere at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, opening on September 25, 2021 and ongoing through August 31 2022, as one of 12 participating gardens across six countries. Seeing the Invisible features works by more than a dozen international artists such as Ai Weiwei, Refik Anadol, El Anatsui, Isaac Julien CBE, Mohammed Kazem, Sigalit Landau, Sarah Meyohas, Pamela Rosenkranz, and Timur Si-Qin—including several artists’ first work in AR. Visitors will engage with Seeing the Invisible via an app designed for the exhibition downloadable to smartphones and tablets. Forging new links between botanical gardens located in diverse biomes around the globe, the exhibition fosters collaboration between institutions, artists, and audiences, highlighting the power of art to connect people around the world.

[SOON]  SCIENCE AND NATURE: The Suncoast Science Center: Weekend Science Classes for Kids Return at the Fab Lab , October 2 – December 31, 10am-1pm

The Suncoast Science Center/Faulhaber Fab Lab’s STEAM Saturdays classes are back by popular demand. The weekly courses provide students from grades 1-12 with a unique opportunity to explore various science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) areas through engaging hands on activities and the use of high-tech Fab Lab equipment such as laser cutters, vinyl cutters, 3D printers and more. STEAM Saturdays run weekly from 10 am-1 pm beginning Saturday, October 2. Returning classes include Robotics, Engineering, Chemistry and Art Lab, while new courses like Coding & Artificial Intelligence, Electric Engineering, and Build Your Brand have been added. All students are invited to spend their Saturday at the Fab Lab. There are classes to suit every age and interest, from creating spooky pumpkin volcanoes in “Halloween Chemistry” to programming a robot to travel across a zipline in “Engineering” class. No experience is required. Classes are $40 and include all supplies and take-home projects. Limited spaces are available, and sessions sell out quickly. For the full schedule and more information, visit https://suncoastscience.org/steam-saturdays.

[SOON]  FOOD: Sarasota Opera: Moonlight & Melodies Dinner Series , November 1 – February 21, 6pm

Moonlight & Melodies Dinner Series is a new dining experience for opera lovers. This year Sarasota Opera welcomes our community into the Donna Wolf Steigerwaldt Courtyard for an immersive themed dinner series that highlights composers from the season. As we come together to share our awe for the exquisite art these composers created, enjoy curated cocktails and food prepared by the best of Sarasota’s chefs in a setting that will transport you to a different location each evening. Make your reservations now so you won’t miss out on this exciting and new event. Moonlight & Melodies Dinner #1 will take place on Monday, November 1 at 6pm and Moonlight & Melodies Dinner #2 will take place on Monday, February 21 at 6pm.

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Discover Sarasota: Psychic Sunday Tour , January 1 – December 31

Get in touch with Sarasota’s psychic influence on this interesting trolley or van tour. Learn why Sarasota is called Sedona by the Sea, explore the tools psychics and mediums use, hear about the history of the tarot, and learn why Sarasota is a psychic and spiritual energy center. Visit Pixie Dust on Sarasota’s Main Street, walk the sands of Siesta Key Beach, explore a labyrinth, and then enjoy a Spirit Gallery Reading and a mini tarot reading on the trolley or van. You can also book a 15-minute personal tarot reading with tour guide Michael Newton-Brown at the cottage after the tour. Ages 12+; young people ages 12-20 may attend if accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. Tours with fewer than 10 guests will travel in our comfortably air-conditioned high-top van. Tour tickets are $34.99 and include FREE Parking.

[SOON]  FESTIVAL: Ranch Nite Wednesdays , November 10 – May 31, 6-9pm

Your favorite weeknight hangout has arrived at its new home, Waterside Place, the newest town center in Lakewood Ranch. Ranch Nite Wednesdays will take place from 6-9pm, every Wednesday, starting November 10, 2021 and through May, 2022. It will feature New food trucks + dessert truck each week, Weekly live music from local artists, Night market every 2nd Wednesday hosted by Main Street Market LWR, Outdoor bar hosted by Waterside Place tenant Good Liquid Brewing & Scratch Kitchen, and The 2nd largest recreational cornhole league in the nation hosted by MVP Sports & Social.

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Sarasota Art Museum: Fresh Perspective Lunch Series , November 16 – February 8, 11:30am

A new series focusing on topics like history and architecture, and how they relate to the museum. A catered, two-course lunch will follow. Fresh Perspective Lunch #1 on Tuesday, November 2, 2021 at 11:30am in Thomas McGuire Hall at Sarasota Art Museum, Featured Speaker to be announced soon. Fresh Perspective Lunch #2 on Tuesday, February 8, 2021 at 11:30am in Thomas McGuire Hall at Sarasota Art Museum, Featured Speaker to be announced soon. Individual Tickets: $125/person, Member Price: $75/person, Contact Laura Stuart Wood at lwood1@ringling.educreate new email or 941-309-4321.

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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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