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SRQ DAILY Feb 14, 2023

Tuesday Dining and Food Edition

Tuesday Dining and Food Edition

"It is rare to find a store that carries sweets from so many places, and that makes us special."

- Justin Fyffe, Owner, Suitcase Sweets.

[The Dish]  Suitcase Sweets in Lakewood Ranch Offers a Passport to Flavor
Laura Paquette, laura.paquette@srqme.com

While living in Ohio, former teachers Justin and Holly Fyffe spent their summers off traveling around the world with their four children. “We’re kids at heart, and we love toy shops and sweet shops,” says Justin. Wherever they ventured, the Fyffes visited a local candy shop to sample sweets from across the globe. On Christmas morning of 2018, as their children were enjoying candy from a recent trip to Germany, Holly proposed the idea of opening up a store featuring candies from the countries that they had visited.

In 2020 they opened Suitcase Sweets in Jackson, Ohio. Searching for a change of lifestyle and better schools for their children, the family relocated to Lakewood Ranch, taking the business with them. In February 2022, the Fyffes reopened Suitcase Sweets in Lakewood Ranch, and this week marks the shop’s first anniversary.

Candy and travel lovers alike delight in the charming shop, which beckons to shoppers with enchanting window displays. Retro travel posters line the walls, and the candies nestle together based on the continent or country where they were produced. “Chocolates from abroad don’t contain paraffin wax, a substance added to American chocolates to prevent melting,” adds Justin, “so we have to ship everything that we import on ice.” According to Justin, chocolate without paraffin wax tastes better. International confectioners also use less sugar than their American counterparts and dye their candies with natural colorings derived from plants as many countries have banned the artificial coloring common in American treats. Due to their premium ingredients and superior taste, international candies fly off the shelves. Justin recommends the British candies, like the Crunchie bar, and the popular Icelandic chocolate.

Gifts and toys, like the top-selling alpaca from Peru and Pan-Am World Airlines stationery, complement the international candies. Globes, a hot air balloon mobile, a British telephone booth and vintage suitcases add a whimsical and playful touch to the store, which also carries nostalgic candies. “People love the Mallo Cup, Necco Wafers and candy cigarettes,” says Justin, “and they’re among our biggest sellers for everyone from little kids to older adults.”

Another favorite is the $7.49 candy fill-up box, which customers can fill to the brim with saltwater taffy and other loose candies like Pixie Sticks and lollipops from the candy buffet wall. “The boxes aren’t sold by weight, so as long as the lid fits customers can fill the box to the top,” Justin says. Many shoppers purchase candies to send to loved ones out of state, and Suitcase Sweets ships premade or custom box orders.

“Holly says that you shouldn’t have to travel the world to taste it,” adds Justin. Every month, the shop features a different theme and hosts fun events for customers seeking to satisfy their sense of wanderlust. In the works are a children’s candy tasting and a space-themed month, featuring astronaut ice cream and other NASA-inspired delights. “It’s rare to find a store that carries sweets from so many places,” Justin adds, “and that makes us special.”

Suitcase Sweets, 8111 Lakewood Main St. Ste. J102, Lakewood Ranch, suitcasesweets.com. 

Pictured: A box of international candies from Suitcase Sweets. Photo courtesy of Laura Paquette.

[Anniversary]  Café L'Europe 50th Anniversary Celebration

This season marks the 50th anniversary of the iconic Café L’Europe opening its doors to serve Sarasota diners. To commemorate this milestone, the restaurant is launching a year-long celebration with a variety of special events, including a Legacy Chef Wine Dinner series, where acclaimed local chefs who got their start at Café return for a night of storytelling over fabulous wine and exquisite cuisine. A “Born in 1973” campaign beginning February 15, 2023, invites all guests celebrating their 50th birthday this year for a complimentary glass of Champagne*. In the restaurant, as the second of three planned renovation phases continues, construction partitions will be wrapped with a special memorabilia gallery. This collection of Sarasota history is comprised of snapshots and news clippings that have been lovingly compiled from guest contributions. Online, guests and fans of the restaurant will delight to see these memorabilia shared on the restaurant’s social media pages. A new commemorative logo has also been unveiled on the website and dinner menus.

On January 21, 1973, founders and acclaimed restaurateurs Titus Letschert and Norbert Goldner welcomed 77 guests to dine for the first time. Café L’Europe’s name and concept were inspired by the classic ambiance of the popular De L’Europe Hotel in Amsterdam. The founders were also influenced by the Sign of the Dove’s interior design, the beloved Manhattan restaurant where they met that was known for lush architectural elements like red brick arches and mirrored glass. Before the building became Café L’Europe, it was the Cocoanut Palms restaurant in the 1950s before becoming Colombi’s Italian Restaurant, which lasted into the 1960s. The building was originally built circa 1926 to be the real estate office of one of Sarasota’s most famous former residents – John Ringling. Over the following 50 years, the kitchen of Café L’Europe would become a breeding ground for Sarasota’s successful chefs and restaurateurs, with menus and dishes that have stood the test of time.

Plans for the 50th anniversary include a Café staff reunion event where former team members from over the years are invited to a private reception hosted by Oysters Rock Hospitality and former General Manager Michael Garey, with more details to come. Oysters Rock Hospitality, led by award-winning restaurateurs and philanthropists Amanda and John Horne, purchased Café L’Europe on February 1, 2022. In the summer of 2022, the duo announced plans to completely renovate the interior of the historic building. Phase I, a total overhaul of the private and semi-private dining spaces, has now been completed and is receiving initial acclaim for its unique design that blends contemporary fixtures with the Café’s signature interior. Reservations are available now for the first of four Legacy Chef Wine Dinners. For two nights on Tuesday, February 28 and Wednesday, March 1, Chef Ray Arpke, retired former owner of Euphemia Haye, will return to the restaurant where he once worked. The destination is Italy for five courses of masterful Italian cuisine with paired with exquisite Italian wines. Bookings are exclusively offered via OpenTable for $250 per person inclusive of tax and gratuity; visit CafeLEurope.net/LegacyChef to reserve. 

Pictured: Caesar Hummus Board. Courtesy of Cafe LEurope.

[Arts & Entertainment]  FST Extends Run of Captivating Drama, Network

Florida Studio Theatre (FST) proudly announces the extension of its Regional Premiere production of Network, a fast-paced play based on the Academy Award-winning screenplay by Paddy Chayefsky. Adapted for the stage by Lee Hall, Network follows the downward spiral of Howard Beale, a longtime news anchor who is being let go due to poor ratings. Critics call the production “Gripping” (Sarasota Herald-Tribune) and “Chilling” (Sarasota Magazine). Due to audience demand, Network is being held over and will now run through March 26, 2023, in FST’s Gompertz Theatre. Single tickets range from $25-39 and are now on sale at FloridaStudioTheatre.org or at 941.366.9000. 

Pictured (Left to Right): Roy Stanton, Joe Storti, Jason Pintar, Sheffield Chastain, and Rebecka Jones. Photo by John Jones.

[Arts & Entertainment]  The Perlman Music Program Suncoast Presents PMP Alumni Quartet Recitals

The Perlman Music Program nurtures the talent of gifted young musicians by providing an opportunity for them to train in Sarasota with Itzhak Perlman at the PMP Winter Residency. After the residency, PMP students move on to higher education and careers. The Perlman Music Program Suncoast (PMP Suncoast) then invites these alumni back to the Sarasota-Manatee region for performances and outreach initiatives throughout the year. Each performance offers a unique opportunity for area audiences to learn about and interact with the musicians through Q&A sessions and post-concert receptions.  

[Animal Rescue]  Rough-Toothed Dolphin Rescued After Stranding on Longboat Key

A resilient, young rough-toothed dolphin, is being rehabilitated at Clearwater Marine Aquarium’s Fred Howard Park location after the animal was found stranded on Longboat Key last week. On Friday, Feb. 10 at 6:00 p.m. Clearwater Marine Aquarium (CMA) received a report from NOAA that MOTE Marine Laboratory & Aquarium was responding to a young, female rough-toothed dolphin stranded off Longboat Key. MOTE assessed the animal’s health and transported the animal to CMA for rehabilitation at its Fred Howard Park location. The veterinary staff at CMA continues to assess what may have caused the stranding. There were reports of beachgoers attempting to push the dolphin back to the water before trained professionals arrived on the scene. The juvenile rough-toothed dolphin is a female weighing 156 lbs. upon intake and 198 cm. According to NOAA Fisheries, this species can get up to 8.5 feet long, 350 lbs. and have a lifespan of 36 years. Rough-toothed dolphins are usually found in tight-knit groups of 10 to 20 individuals but have been reported in groups of up to 100 individuals. They often associate with other cetacean species, including short-finned pilot whales, bottlenose dolphins, pantropical spotted dolphins, and spinner dolphins. If the public sees a marine mammal in distress, it’s important to remember not to intervene, and call trained responders at (877) WHALE-HELP. The public should remain at a safe distance, and if conditions allow, take photos to share with biologists once they arrive on scene. This is the first dolphin to be rehabilitated at CMA’s Fred Howard Park rehab facility since 2020, when Rudolph, another rough-toothed dolphin, was transported and rehabilitated there. 

[New Hire]  Adam Kwiat Joins RE/MAX Platinum Realty

Adam Kwiat has joined RE/MAX Platinum Realty as a Realtor in the downtown Sarasota office. He has eight years of local real estate experience, serving Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte counties. With a strong knowledge of the area, he helps buyers, particularly first-time buyers, navigate the real estate transaction process as easily and quickly as possible. A native of Whitesboro, New York, Kwiat earned a bachelor’s degree in International Politics with a minor in Mandarin Chinese from the University of Buffalo. Prior to his real estate career, he was an intelligence analyst with a small defense contractor in Buffalo. He enjoys traveling, playing pick-up soccer and reading, and volunteers every year to help collect and distribute Toys for Tots at Christmas time. The RE/MAX Platinum Realty downtown Sarasota office is located at 1500 State Street, Sarasota, Florida 34236. Kwiat can be reached at (941) 228-5484 or adam@ringthewingers.com. 

[Forage]  Three Perfect Winter Soups
Laura Paquette, laura.paquette@srqme.com
THREE PERFECT WINTER SOUPS | Discover three unique and local soups that are sure to warm you up when the temperatures drop! 
Check them out through the link, on our social medias, or in the February edition!

Read Here!

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Marie Selby Botanical Gardens 2023 Jean & Alfred Goldstein Exhibition Tiffany: The Pursuit of Beauty in Nature , February 12 – June 26, During garden hours

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens’ 2023 Jean and Alfred Goldstein Exhibition Tiffany: The Pursuit of Beauty in Nature showcases the creativity and innovation of American artist and designer Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848-1933). The first exhibition of its type to be presented in a botanical garden, the exhibition highlights the inspiring connection between Tiffany Studios and the natural world through unique horticultural displays in the Tropical Conservatory and the Gardens, accompanied by seminal examples of Tiffany’s work on view in the Museum of Botany and the Arts. To learn more, visit selby.org. Selby Gardens Downtown Sarasota campus, 1534 Mound St., Sarasota.

[SOON]  THEATER: Tootsie at the Van Wezel , February 13 – February 15, 7:30 p.m.

Tootsie, the hilarious Tony Award-winning musical, coming to the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall for a limited three-day engagement from February 13-15. Tickets are $42-$97 and can be purchased at www.VanWezel.org, by calling the box office at 941-263-6799 or by visiting the box office Monday through Friday between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Groups of 10 or more should contact 941-263-6726. Pre-show dining is available through Mattison’s at the Van Wezel which is located inside the theatre. Reservations can be made on VanWezel.org or through the box office.

Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota.

[SOON]  MUSIC: Cuban Music Train by Calixto Oviedo at Fogartyville , February 14, 7 p.m.

During a career that has spanned 38 years, Calixto Oviedo has repeatedly proved his expert knowledge of Cuban percussion and Timba rhythms. His control of bass drums and timbales has been an irrefutable influence on the Timba genre as a whole. Oviedo will be showcasing his Cuban Music Train at Fogartyville on Tuesday, Feb. 14 at 7 p.m. Doors open at 6 p.m. and tickets are $22 for members, $25 for nonmembers, and $12.50 for students. Advance tickets are available at www.Fogartyville.org.

[SOON]  SEMINAR: Conservation Conversations with Architecture Sarasota: Conserving New York City's Modernist Icons , February 14, 5:30 p.m.

In 1988, Glenn Boornazian started what would become Integrated Conservation Resources (ICR), and Integrated Conservation Contracting (ICC), in order to combine investigative architectural conservation services with high-quality conservation contracting. His expertise includes specialized conditions investigation, materials testing, analysis, and the design and implementation of architectural conservation treatment programs. For this talk, Boornazian will discuss his involvements with the restorations of the Guggenheim Museum, the Lever House, and the TWA Terminal. Visit architecturesarasota.org for more information and to purchase tickets. 

Architecture Sarasota, McCulloch Pavilion, 265 S. Orange Ave., Sarasota.

[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]  MUSIC: Reel Music at the Florida Studio Theatre , February 15 – June 25, Various times

Florida Studio Theatre presents the original music revue, Reel Music, celebrating the movies that helped create the soundtrack to the last century. Featuring classics like “Singin’ in the Rain,” “Circle of Life,” and “My Heart Will Go On,” this new Cabaret traces how films—and the music highlighted in them—have evolved over the past one hundred years. Created by Richard Hopkins, Rebecca Hopkins, and Sarah Durham with musical arrangements by Jim Prosser, Reel Music begins playing February 15, 2023, in FST’s Court Cabaret. Single tickets for Reel Music
range between $18-39 and are now on sale at FloridaStudioTheatre.org or at 941.366.9000.

[SOON]  FESTIVAL: Thunder by the Bay Music & Motorcycle Festival , February 17 – February 19

The 25th Annual Thunder By The Bay Music & Motorcycle Festival. The iconic three-day Festival, organized by and benefitting Suncoast Charities for Children, is scheduled for February 17-19 at the Sarasota Fairgrounds. Continuous live music will be featured throughout the weekend, and attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and blankets for outdoor seating in front of the stage. The Festival plans to feature over 100 vendors, a 17-class bike show, a motorcycle stereo sound off competition, motorcycle freestyle demonstrations, a tented full bar area with seating, a “little riders” kid zone, a food court, “Thunder Alley” inside Robarts Arena and so much more!  For tickets, vendor information, sponsorship opportunities, and a complete listing of all Festival events visit: THUNDERBYTHEBAY.ORG | (941) 487-7904. 

Sarasota Fairgrounds

[SOON]  FESTIVAL: Saint Barbara 2023 Sarasota Greek Festival , February 17 – February 19, Various times

The 39th Annual St Barbara Greek Festival “Glendi” offers three days of pure family fun filled with delicious Greek dishes, domestic and imported beverages, amazing pastries, live Greek music and The St. Barbara Hellenic Dancers and all things Greek. The tents will be filled with amazing Greek food, Greek drinks, pastries dancing, vendors and more, including a raffle. Visit stbarbarafestival.org to learn more.

Saint Barbara Greek Orthodox Church, 7671 Lockwood Ridge Rd, Sarasota.

[SOON]  FOOD: Lapostolle Wine Dinner at Michael's Wine Cellar , February 22, 6 p.m.

Located in one of its country’s most famous valleys, the Colchagua Valley, Lapostolle Winery is an icon for wine production in Chile. Lapostolle strives to create world-class wines using French winemaking philosophy and the superb terroirs of Chile. Today, the vineyards span 188 hectares planted to Cabernet, Carmenere, Merlot, and Petit Verdot along with Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre, and Cinsault. Michael’s Wine Cellar is proud to feature one of Chile's greatest winemakers in this one-night-only, multi-course dinner event. To learn more and purchase tickets, visit michaelswinecellar.com. 

[SOON]  FOOD: Truchard Vineyards Wine Dinner at Michael's Wine Cellar , February 23, 6 p.m.

The Truchard family wine tradition began in the U.S. in the late 1800s. Today, the Truchard estate covers 400 acres and houses an amazing 11,000-square-foot wine cave. Among the wines produced by Truchard Vineyards are Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Malbec, all of which are estate grown. This exquisite multi-course wine dinner will feature a special selection of Truchard’s finest wines. And best of all, Anthony Truchard will be our guest host for this event! To learn more and purchase tickets, visit michaelswinecellar.com. 

[SOON]  FOOD: 2023 Forks and Corks Food and Wine Festival , April 20 – April 24, Various times

The 2023 Forks and Corks Food and Wine Festival will return for its 16th year. The Festival is scheduled for April 20-24, 2023 and offers a world-class weekend of winemaker dinners, interactive wine seminars and wine tastings that culminates with the alfresco Grand Tasting event at The Ringling Museum of Art Courtyard. Guests will savor delicious dishes presented by over 40 members of the Sarasota-Manatee Originals restaurant group and sample from a collection of more than 300 unique wines from across the globe. There will be live musical entertainment and an expansive silent auction of rare and collectible wines and experiences. Due to the unprecedented demand this year, there are three available ticket levels: VIP, early access and general admission. For more information on Forks and Corks and to purchase tickets, visit EatLikeALocal.com. Follow Forks and Corks on Facebook and Instagram.

[SOON]  MUSEUM: Towers of Tomorrow with LEGO Bricks at the Bishop , January 11 – March 18, During museum hours

Get inspired to create your own ‘towers of tomorrow’ with over 200,000 loose LEGO® bricks available in hands-on construction areas. Young and old will be limited only by their imagination as they add their creations to a steadily rising futuristic LEGO® metropolis inside the exhibition. To learn more and purchase tickets, visit bishopscience.org.

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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