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SRQ DAILY Nov 22, 2022

Tuesday Dining and Food Edition

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Tuesday Dining and Food Edition

"The duck dish is one of our most labor intensive dishes as every component of the dish is made in house. Many steps go into preparing the dish and if one is missed or not done properly the whole duck is ruined."

- Drew Adams, Executive Chef/Owner, Meliora Restaurant.

[The Dish]  Meliora Is Elevated, Approachable
Kevin Allen, kevin.allen@srqme.com

When some people hear “small plates” and “elevated” as restaurant descriptors, there’s a certain connotation. Those of us with formidable appetites may envision an inevitable stop at McDonald’s on the way home to fill the gaps left by tweezer-manicured plates full of alien ingredients that lack substance. Not the case at Meliora.

This Hillview Street hotspot is approachable, fun, a celebration of flavor that doesn’t overly rely on gimmicky molecular gastronomy tricks. The interior is a picture of minimalist class and sophistication. A trip to the bathroom, however, takes you through a graffitied hallway that reminds you that the very definition of fine dining is evolving before our eyes. The crowd was hip, skewing younger. A man in a tailored suit and his similarly well-dressed date sat next to a couple in trendy T-shirts and jeans. And the food? Meliora brings it. The menu is simple: Small, shareable plates with a couple of larger entrees. It’s divided between a hot and cold side, and we opted for two smaller plates from each side and a shareable entree.

The Japanese milk bread is served black thanks to, I assume, the charcoal powder that many Hokkaido recipes require. The Maitake mushrooms with cauliflower mousseline and tamari was a smoky surprise that was heartier than it should have been. Our goat milk ricotta looked like an advertisement from the Whole Foods produce section. I lost count of how many fruits and veggie varieties it came with (radishes, beets, heirloom carrots, pears, to name a few), each a perfect complement for dipping.

For us, there were two standout stars to the meal: The gnocchi and the Rohan duck.

If Sarasota held a pillowiest gnocchi contest, Meliora would be untouchable. The gnocchi themselves are exceptional, but it’s the parmesan cream sauce and a dehydrated brown butter crunch on top that take this dish far beyond the conventional. According to Executive Chef/Owner Drew Adams, "The main reason our gnocchi is light and airy is because we do not use eggs in the recipe, only potato and flour. It's the Parmesan cream sauce that ties everything all together!"

And the duck! The roasted leg and breast cuts were perfectly cooked, served with a side of kimchi, scallions, and Hoisin sauce, creating a DYI bao kit that was unrelentingly flavorful — crunch, roasty, tangy and sweet in every single bite. "The bao buns are made in house every day by our chefs," says Adams. "The duck dish is one of our most labor intensive dishes as every component of the dish is made in house. Many steps go into preparing the dish and if one is missed or not done properly the whole duck is ruined."

We capped our night with a jaunt south to check out Dive Wine & Spirits on Clark Road. Walk through what looks like a standard strip mall liquor store to the back and you’ll find yourself in one of Sarasota’s sleekest bars. The cocktails are clever, the atmosphere is super cool.

And no, we didn’t need to stop at McDonald’s on our way home.

Meliora, 920 Hillview St., Sarasota, (941) 444-7692, meliorarestaurant.com.

Pictured: Meliora offers an abundance of globally inspired fall flavors and a variety of small and larger dishes. Photo courtesy of Meliora.

To learn more, click here.

[Brunch]  Realize Bradenton Blues Festival Blues Brunch: A Delicious Way to End the Blues Fest Weekend

For most people when you mention the month of December the holidays come to mind. For music and blues fans, instead of conjuring up visions of sugar plums, the month conjures up another vision – one filled with authentic blues, dancing, and fun. The Bradenton Blues Festival and the Blues Fest Brunch! The final event of the weekend of the Blues Fest is a Blues Brunch hosted by Mattison’s Riverwalk Grille. Chef Paul Mattison creates a special menu every year to highlight delicious, all-natural brunch items sustainably sourced. The Blues Brunch is the perfect way to round out the weekend of music, dancing, and enjoying the beautiful weather we have this time of year. Realize Bradenton’s Blues Festival The Bradenton Blues Brunch is Sunday, Dec. 4, 2022, from 11am-2pm, at Mattison’s Riverwalk Grille featuring Dustin Arbuckle and the Damnations. Doors open at 10:30am. A limited number of tickets are available for $90 each (price includes ticketing fees, taxes, and gratuity). Enjoy a three-course, seated-and-served brunch created by award-winning Chef Paul Mattison. First course: Smoked Salmon Tostada with cream cheese and dill topped with fresh endive, orange supremes, finished with preserved lemon vinaigrette, garnished with fried capers; Second Course: Pork belly Croque Madame crispy pork belly, gruyere cheese, corn bread, topped with a poached egg, served on a bed of heirloom tomato butter sauce; Dessert: Banana flambe Parfait chocolate chips, toasted granola, cinnamon rum crème fraiche, Bottomless Bloody Mary’s, Mimosas, and non-alcoholic beverages are included. The Blues Fest is an annual festival held in December in Downtown Bradenton, organized by Realize Bradenton, a group which promotes Bradenton's Downtown as a destination for arts, culture, history, and sports. The performers are both national and regional blues artists. Kindly note: The Bradenton Blues Brunch is offered by Mattison’s Riverwalk Grille; Realize Bradenton is only offering ticket sales for this event. Tickets can be purchased at https://www.bradentonbluesfestival.org/bradenton-blues-brunch/ or by calling 941-301-8445. Tickets are only on sale through Realize Bradenton. 

Pictured: Bottomless Bloody Marys, Mimosas, and non-alcoholic beverages will be included at the Blues Fest Brunch.

[Recognition Given]  The Players Centre Honors Long-Time Board of Trustees Chair Donna DeFant

The Players Centre congratulates immediate past-chair Donna DeFant on her long and impactful run as head of the Board of Trustees. Donna DeFant started at the Players Centre in 2010 acting on stage in musicals and plays. She also lent her time and talent backstage as a dresser, as a stitcher in the costume shop and prop mistress for several of The Players Broadway Series Shows. Donna was Assistant Director for 12 productions and directed two plays over the years including an outdoor adaptation of Spoon River Anthology. In 2013 she joined the Board of Trustees, in 2015 became Secretary, and in 2017 the Chair of the Board of Trustees and continued for the next five years. DeFant helped The Players navigate through the sale of its former home, Covid-19 and the conversion of its temporary space in The Crossings at Siesta Key mall. The Players would like to thank DeFant for her unwavering support and tenacity in guiding Sarasota’s original theatre through the many challenges of the past few years. Her strength has allowed this community staple to continue providing visitors and locals with life-changing theatre experiences. Donna will continue as a Trustee in the capacity as Immediate Past Chair for the 93rd season along with Bill Porter as Chair, Bill Rusling as Vice Chair, Sarah Glendening as Secretary, Joe Kaminksy as Treasurer, Tom Tollette as Vice Treasurer, and the following trustees: Brian McCarthy, Tracey Coakes and Amy Weinberger. The Player Centre Advisory Council for the 93rd season is: Michael Brown, Terry Kozlowski, Dawnyelle Singleton, Barry Godin and student board member Fontaine Chambers. 

[Holiday Event]  Fourth Annual Boat Parade Brings Holiday Cheer to Bradenton Beach

Celebrate the holidays with Bradenton Beach during the fourth annual holiday boat parade returning to the area on Dec. 3. Boat owners are invited to show off their holiday spirit and beautifully lit vessels during the festive parade along the Intracoastal Waterway. Entry is free and open to powerboats and sailboats, and cash prizes will be awarded in multiple categories, including Best Lighting and Most Holiday Spirit. The parade will kick off at 6 p.m. near the south end of Jewfish Key and travel along the Longboat Pass Bridge before heading north through the Intracoastal Waterway, passing the Bradenton Beach City Pier and ending at the Bradenton Beach Marina. Attendees will have the opportunity to watch the parade from the Longboat Pass Bridge between 6 and 6:30 p.m. and from the Bradenton Beach City Pier between 6:30 and 7 p.m. The fourth annual holiday boat parade is part of Bradenton Beach’s Holidays in Paradise. An afternoon of fun activities, including music, food and entertainment, will start at 3 p.m. on Dec. 3 on Bridge Street. For more information about the parade and entry forms, visit Boat-Parade.com or call Mia or Mike at 941-778-2288. 

Pictured: Last year’s holiday boat parade, photo courtesy of Bradenton Beach Marina.

[Holiday Event]  Boys and Girls Clubs of Manatee County to open their 68th Annual Christmas Tree Lot on November 25th

Friday, November 25, 2022 marks the opening of Boys & Girls Clubs of Manatee County’s 68th Annual Christmas Tree Lot. Since 1954, families from as far away as Orlando have been visiting the Boys & Girls Clubs’ tree lot as part of their family holiday tradition. The tree lot is located between Publix at Westgate Shopping Center at 3913 Manatee Avenue West, and McKelvey Park in Bradenton, and adjacent to Jessie P. Miller Elementary School. On opening weekend, the lot will be open Friday, November 25 and Saturday, November 26 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday, November 27 from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. After opening weekend, the lot will be closed Mondays through Wednesdays; open Thursdays and Fridays from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sundays from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. Purchases can be made using credit or debit cards, checks or money orders – no cash sales this year. 

“Last year we sold out by the end of our second weekend and we’re anticipating a similar demand for our Fraser fir trees and wreaths this year, so we’re encouraging everyone to get their trees early,” said Dawn Stanhope, President & CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Manatee County. 

For more information click here

[All Faiths Food Bank]  All Faiths Food Bank Turns Empty Plates Into 'ThankFULL Hearts'

Challenging economic conditions, surging costs of living, and the devastation wrought by Hurricane Ian are hitting the most at risk in our community hard – especially children, families and seniors. When basic costs increase – and disasters strike – food can be the first thing to go. For too many of our neighbors, the holidays may mean additional financial difficulties and stress … and empty plates. 

All Faiths Food Bank is the only food bank and largest hunger relief organization in Sarasota and DeSoto counties. Together with our partners, we provide healthy solutions to end hunger in our community. In 2021, we distributed 17 million meals through mobile pantries and farm markets, school and family pantries, backpacks for students, summer hunger programs, holiday turkey distributions, and our partner agencies. 

This year, with the support of the ThankFULL fundraising campaign, All Faiths will distribute 13,000 turkeys and 3.6 million delicious holiday meals to families in need.

The holidays offer the perfect opportunity to showcase the true spirit of the season – especially for our neighbors who are struggling. Please consider a gift to All Faiths Food Bank to help us turn empty plates into ThankFULL tummies

Click here for more info.

[Feature]  Super Grouper
Kevin Allen, kevin.allen@srqme.com

SUPER GROUPER | Why has this fish become the official food of Southwest Florida? We went on a mission to find out.

Learn about Kevin’s love for the local grouper through this link, on our social media, or in the November edition of SRQ Magazine! 

Read Here!

[SOON]  BUSINESS: Amore Restaurant Extends Savor Sarasota Promotion to December , June 1 – December 18

Amore Restaurant has decided to extend Savor Sarasota Menu through December 18th (not combined with any other offer and, not available on special occasions). Savor Sarasota is a 3 course menu dinner for $35.00 per person. The restaurant offers a Portuguese and an Italian menu. They are open Wednesday through Sunday from 5 to 9PM. Fridays and Sundays 5 to 9:30pm. With indoor and outdoor seating available. Easy and free parking. Menu can be viewed here:https://www.amorelbk.com/savor-sarasota/

[SOON]  FOOD: Epicurean Greece Menu at Michael's On East , November 1 – December 1, Tuesday through Saturday evenings

On November 1st we launched the Epicurean Greece menu at Michael's On East: "The culinary team at Michael’s On East is challenged to create new dishes inspired by the world’s most exotic destinations each month. Join us to experience ever-changing, palate-pleasing global cuisine with Michael's Epicurean Adventures. The three-course dinner menu is available Tuesday through Saturday evenings for $42.95 per person." The menu includes: “Kasarma Seafood Saganaki” - Shrimp, Clams and Swordfish with Roasted Tomatoes, Kalamata Olives, Spinach, Gremolata Butter, Orzo Pasta, Toasted Goat Cheese, and Ouzo Flambé; and “Grande Bretagne Braised Baby Lamb Shank” - Braised Lamb Shank with Green Peas, Garbanzo Beans, Carrots, and Lemon Risotto.

[SOON]  FOOD: Phillippi Creek Oyster Bar - Waterfront Dining On Thanksgiving Day , November 24, 11am-8pm

Phillippi Creek is the perfect waterfront destination for gathering with family and friends.  The award-winning Phillippi Creek restaurant will feature the regular menu with additional specials like fresh Stone Crabs, baked stuffed seafood,, fresh steamed oysters, and oysters on the half shell and  Seafood boats for two along with a traditional Turkey Dinner for those craving the flavors of the holiday.  For over 37 years, the “Creek” as locals like to call it, has been a favorite to gather for the freshest seafood, cocktails and daily specials for lunch and dinner. Large parties without reservations are welcome for al fresco dining or can enjoy one of the larger tables indoors. Whether early lunch, late afternoon family meal, or a cozy dinner for two, Phillippi Creek is your destination to enjoy the holiday. Thursday, November 24, 2022  Opening at 11a.m.-8:00 p.m. 5353 Tamiami Trail South Sarasota, FL 34231 (941) 925-4444  www.creekseafood.com

Phillippi Creek Oyster Bar, 5353 Tamiami Trail South Sarasota, FL 34231

[SOON]  FOOD: Bijou Garden Cafe Announces Broadway Brunch for Thanksgiving Weekend , November 27, 11:00 AM - 3:00 PM

Bijou Garden Café, an iconic downtown restaurant offering fine dining with an intimate and inviting ambiance in the heart of Sarasota’s Theatre and arts district since 1986, will feature local performers for its November Bijou Broadway Brunch event. The popular monthly Broadway Brunch continues this month on Sunday, Nov. 27 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and will be hosted by Joey Panek and feature George Dejong at the piano. Panek and Dejong will be joined by singers Laura McKenna and Ellen Kleinschmidt. The performers will entertain guests as they dine on a delicious menu designed specifically for the event. Guests will be able to order from a special menu prepared by executive chef Christopher Covelli and his culinary team. The menu will feature freshly baked quiche, eggs Benedict, salads and lunch fare. The restaurant is currently accepting reservations for this month’s Broadway Brunch. To make a reservation, visit BijouGardenCafe.com or call 941-366-8111.

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: The Players Centre: Always... Patsy Cline , February 2 – February 12, Varied

Always… Patsy Cline created and originally directed by Ted Swindley
Always…Patsy Cline is more than a tribute to the legendary country singer who died tragically at age 30 in a plane crash in 1963. The show is based on a true story about Cline’s friendship with a fan from Houston named Louise Seger, who befriended the star in a Texas honky-tonk in 1961, and continued a correspondence with Cline until her death. The musical play, complete with down home country humor, true emotion and even some audience participation, includes many of Patsy’s unforgettable hits such as Crazy, I Fall to Pieces, Sweet Dreams and Walking After Midnight – 27 songs in all. Feb 2-12, 2023. For tickets visit theplayers.org, Ph. 941-365-2494, email BoxOffice@ThePlayers.org

The Players Centre For Performing Arts, Performance Venue & Box Office The Crossings at Siesta Key 3501 South Tamiami Trail, Suite 1130 Sarasota, FL 34239

[SOON]  THEATER: Asolo Repertory Theatre: Chicken & Biscuits , February 15 – April 13, Varied

The hilarious new play CHICKEN & BISCUITS introduces us to the Jenkins family, as they gather to celebrate the life of their beloved and recently deceased father and grandfather, the Revered Bernard Jenkins. When an unexpected guest reveals a secret, they all discover that nothing brings a family together like a big side of drama. This side-splitting new Broadway comedy explores the tenderness of family, the joy of reconciliation, and the nourishing power of love. Written by Broadway newcomer Douglas Lyons and directed by the talented Bianca LaVerne Jones, who was associate director of the 2021 Broadway production, CHICKEN & BISCUITS proves that while family may drive us crazy, we’re lucky to have each other. 

Asolo Repertory Theatre

[SOON]  FILM: Sarasota Film Society: Movies For Heroes , September 13 – December 13, Varied

Sarasota Film Society is proud to present "Movies For Heroes", a year long Salute to our Military. Active, Non-Active, Retired Personnel & their family are welcomed to join us once a month at 11am at Burns Court & Lakewood Ranch Cinemas starting in January of 2022 for a year of free movie screenings. 10% of the concession sales from these screenings will go to Wounded Warrior Project. Space is limited, reserve your tickets today. Location Burns Court Cinemas 506 Burns Court Sarasota, FL 34236.

506 Burns Court Sarasota, FL 34236

[SOON]  GALLERY: Marie Selby Botanical Gardens - The Orchid Show 2022 , October 15 – December 4, 10am-5pm

EXHIBITION: The Orchid Show 2022, October 15 – December 4, 10 AM – 5 PM Marie Selby Botanical Gardens showcases the beauty and diversity of orchids in “The Orchid Show 2022: Capturing the Perfect Shot.” This immersive, photography-themed exhibition features innovative horticultural vignettes with hundreds of orchids in flower in the Tropical Conservatory and large-format photos of rare orchids from the Gardens’ own collection in the Museum of Botany & the Arts. On view through December 4 at Selby Gardens’ Downtown Sarasota campus. For more information, visit selby.org. Marie Selby Botanical Gardens Downtown Sarasota campus1534 Mound Street, Sarasota, FL 34236 Historic Spanish Point campus401 North Tamiami Trail, Osprey, FL 34229 TEL 941.210.0874

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens , 1534 Mound Street, Sarasota, FL 34236

[SOON]  MUSEUM: Imagine Museum Offering Free Admission to Veterans and First Responders Through November , November 1 – November 30

The Imagine Museum, a contemporary glass art gallery located in downtown St. Petersburg, announced Tuesday that veterans, active-duty military, first responders and their immediate family members will receive free admission throughout November in recognition of National Veterans and Military Families Month. Located on Central Avenue, the museum plans to showcase its “Flight and Illusion” installation, a series of military-themed glass art created by Imagine Museum Founder Trish Duggan. Additionally, the museum features artwork created by Harvey Littleton, founder of the American studio glass movement and World War II Army Signal Corpsman. The Imagine Museum is open Tuesday and Wednesday from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m., Thursday from 10 a.m. - 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon - 5 p.m.

[SOON]  FESTIVAL: Sarasota Medieval Fair , November 5 – November 27, 10am-5:30pm

SARASOTA MEDIEVAL FAIR Every Saturday and Sunday running November 5th-27th, 2022 at Woods of Mallaranny (29847 FL-70 E.Myakka City, FL 34251). Welcome one and all to four weekends of exciting tournaments, scrumptious feasts, & pure family fun at the 18th Annual Sarasota Medieval Fair! Live the majesty and madness of knights, jesters, minstrels, acrobatics, wenches, and sword swingers! Watch jousts and human combat chess tournaments! Listen to musical displays of powerful bagpipes and the heart pounding drums. Feast on turkey legs and hearty ales. A full day of entertainment. You will not miss your favorite show as you stroll through the village as the shows repeat several times a day to adjust to your schedule. Get into the fun by wearing your favorite medieval or renaissance garb to feel part of the clan! For tickets visit www.sarasotamedievalfair.com Phone 1-888-303-FAIR (3247)

Woods of Mallaranny, 29847 FL-70 E. Myakka City, FL 34251

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Broadway's Record-Breaking, Tony Award-Winning Musical Smash , November 29 – November 30, 7:30 PM

CHICAGO is back in town and after 25 years, CHICAGO is still the one musical with everything that makes Broadway shimmy-shake: a universal tale of fame, fortune, and all that jazz, with one show stopping song after another and the most astonishing dancing you’ve ever seen. CHICAGO is celebrating with the 25th Anniversary Tour that arrives in Sarasota, FL, November 29-30 at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall! Tickets on sale now.

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: The Players Centre: Miracle on 34th Street: A Live Musical Radio Play , December 1 – December 11, Varied

Join The Players in their 93rd season with Miracle on 34th Street: A Live Musical Radio Play.  Adapted from the 1947 Lux Radio Broadcast by Lance Arthur Smith. Original Songs and Arrangements by Jon Lorenz Original Songs and Arrangements by Jon Lorenz. When a department store Santa claims he’s the real Kris Kringle, his case gets taken all the way to the Supreme Court, and a little girl’s belief makes the difference in the ‘miracle.’ With live Foley effects and a score of holiday carols, Miracle on 34th Street is a beloved musical radio version of the classic film that will melt even the most cynical of hearts. December 1-11, 2022. For tickets visit theplayers.org, Ph. 941-365-2494, email BoxOffice@ThePlayers.org

The Players Centre For Performing Arts, Performance Venue & Box Office The Crossings at Siesta Key 3501 South Tamiami Trail, Suite 1130 Sarasota, FL 34239

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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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