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SRQ DAILY Mar 14, 2023

Tuesday Dining and Food Edition

Tuesday Dining and Food Edition

"So many people don't know anything about Venezuela aside from its political situation, and I want to show that Venezuela is a beautiful place."

- Adelina Vera, Owner and Principal Chef of Paramo Cafe and Restaurant

-IN THIS ISSUE: How to Food Truck - Lessons learned from six of the area's most memorable mobile eateries, March 2023.
[The Dish]  Venezuelan Culture Shines at Paramo Cafe and Restaurant
Laura Paquette, laura.paquette@srqme.com

Sipping a coffee under the slanted glass window in Paramo Cafe and Restaurant, it’s easy to forget that you’re in Sarasota, and not in a mountainside Venezuelan cafe surrounded by fellow travelers. The paramos, or moors, are cool, hilly ecosystems dotted with charming small towns frequented by vacationers, like Adelina Vera and her three daughters. While Vera moved to the United States from Venezuela 24 years ago, the country still holds a piece of her heart. Free time during the pandemic inspired her to channel her lifetime passion for cooking and love for both Venezuelan and American cultures into a new project, Paramo, which she opened in the summer of 2021 and runs as the principal chef.

“The paramo is a beautiful place in Venezuela where everyone is friendly and enjoys good food,” says Vera. Inside the restaurant, guests feel transported to the cozy mountain villages that inspired its name. Tiny houses with ceramic tile roofs, like those found in Merida, a city located in the paramo, decorate the space, adding splashes of color and a welcoming touch to every corner, doorway and shelf. Wooden furniture and warm lighting create a rustic, laid-back asethetic. A world map, also made of wood, runs along the back wall above a display case of mugs from across the globe, a fitting feature for a restaurant specializing in coffee. “I tasted varieties from every country,” she adds, “but I chose to feature coffee from the paramo.” Because the Venezuelan paramo shares a border with Colombia, Vera imports Colombian coffee, which she blends with an American variety to create a more familiar taste for guests. “That’s the point of having the map and wall of mugs from all over,” she says. “Paramo is open for everyone to enjoy.”

Vera’s dedication to embracing global flavors is reflected not only in the restaurant’s decor, but in its menu, which features Venezuelan and American favorites as well as dishes with an Italian, Indian and Japanese flair. The menu reads like a love letter to the cuisines and people that have shaped Vera and her life. While there’s something for everyone to enjoy, she recommends that anyone who’s never tried Venezuelan food order the Venezuelan Party Plate. This appetizer offers a mini sampling of the nation’s most famous dishes, like empanadas with a delectable chicken filling and arepas, cornmeal disks stuffed with tender meat and cheese. The plate also comes with cachapas, a cake made from corn kernels. Fresh cheese is sandwiched between the cakes, which are topped with a yogurt-like sauce, adding an unexpected dimension to the sweet corn. Along with cachapas, the plate includes tequenos, a Venzuelan party staple consisiting of llanero cheese wrapped in dough. This appetizer provides a helpful introduction to the rest of the menu and the country of Venezuela as a whole. “So many people don’t know anything about Venezuela aside from its political situation,” she adds, “and I want to show that Venezuela is a beautiful place.”

Moving to the United States gave Vera and her daughters a wealth of new opportunities, including the chance to open Paramo and share Venezuelan cuisine with others. “Half of my heart is in the United States, and half is in Venezuela,” she says.

Paramo Cafe and Restaurant, 3700 N. Lockwood Ridge Rd., Sarasota, paramorestaurant.com. 

Pictured: The Venezuelan Party Plate from Paramo, Photo by Laura Paquette.

Paramo Cafe and Restaurant

[Holiday Dining]  Celebrate Easter with an Easter Buffet and Special Holiday Menus from Mattison’s Restaurants

Gather with your family and friends to celebrate Easter Sunday, April 1 st at Mattison’s Restaurants with delicious, chef inspired food and fun, family atmospheres. All three Mattison’s locations will be open for Easter featuring delicious, all-natural, sustainably sourced menu items. Mattison’s Forty-One Easter Buffet returns this year featuring carving stations as well as a variety of delicious starters, specialty salads, cold and hot main dishes, fresh seafood, and house made pastries and desserts. Start with a mimosa, a glass of wine or a specialty cocktail. Buffet available 10 am-4 pm., adults $65++, Kids $25++. Mattison’s Riverwalk Grille in Bradenton and Mattison’s City Grille in Downtown Sarasota will feature a special Easter dinner menu offered all day with additional brunch items available 11-3. If you prefer to host your Easter at home, Mattison’s offers take away and curbside pick-up
options. Add a bottle of bubbly or your favorite wine to your to-go order. For catering, Mattison’s Catering Company offers several packages or can customize a menu just for you and
your guests. Mattison’s has three different locations to dine for Easter: Choose Mattison’s Riverwalk Grille in Bradenton on the beautiful Riverwalk with open-air dining and spring breezes from the Manatee River; Mattison’s City Grille in Sarasota on the corner of Lemon and Main in the heart of downtown Sarasota also offers open-air, al fresco dining with a lively atmosphere; or Mattison’s Forty-One in South Sarasota on Tamiami Trail for casual, elegant dining inside the newly renovated dining room or outside on your choice of two bistro style patios.

Mattison’s Forty-One, 7275 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, Reservations 941-921-3400. 

For full menu click here.

[New Restaurant]  St. Armands Culinary Gem Coming to University Town Center

One of St. Armands Circle’s most popular dining destinations is coming to University Town Center (UTC) later this year. Greek restaurant Blu Kouzina is set to open its second Sarasota location in the West District at UTC, adjacent to Ford’s Garage. Blu Kouzina, which was founded in Singapore and entered the St. Armands scene in 2015, is from Greek couple Chef Effie and Dennis Tsakiris. The new location will feature a 3,500-square-foot indoor space designed right out of Santorini, with hanging basket lights, natural textures and Mediterranean pastel color accents. There will also be an inviting outdoor patio that embraces the relaxed Greek lifestyle. The restaurant evokes that family feeling with Greek favorites -- all prepared fresh and made in-house daily -- like spanakopita, mousaka, grilled whole fish, succulent lamb, kalamaki souvlaki (beef skewers) and kotopoulo fourno (roast lemon chicken). Each dish is expertly prepared with the highest quality ingredients, including extra virgin olive oil grown and pressed in The Tsakiris Family Estate in Greece. Bottles of the olive oil, called Green Gold, will be available for purchase. Blu Kouzina is among an exciting lineup of new dining destinations at UTC. Rocco’s Tacos and Tequila Bar recently opened its doors March 1. Other new restaurants opening in the coming months include Yard House; farm-to-fork concept Naked Farmer; Orlando’s famed Foxtail Coffee Co; locally owned Anna Maria Oyster Bar; taproom and restaurant Fat Point Brewing; and The Breakfast Company. Benderson Development’s UTC is a premier mixed-use destination off I-75 and University Parkway on the border of Sarasota and Manatee counties. Spanning over 4 million square feet, the property features more than 250 specialty stores, 80-plus restaurants, three hotels and over 250,000 square feet of premier office space. 

Pictured: Blu Kouzina will be bringing wholesome Greek cooking to UTC later this year.

To learn more, visit

[Holiday Dining]  Temple Sinai Hosts Passover Seders for the Community

The community is invited to join Temple Sinai for both its intergenerational Passover Seder as well as its Family Seder for young families. The traditional Passover seder will be held on Wednesday, April 5 at 6:00 p.m. Guests will enjoy beautiful music led by Chazzan Cliff Abramson and the inspiring story and prayer led by Rabbi Geoff Huntting and traditional Passover food (and seder plate) catered by Mattison’s. The seated and served dinner will include gefilte fish/horseradish, matzo ball soup, and a choice of Chicken Marsala or Vegetable Torte. Sides include asparagus and tzimmes. Dessert will be either a flourless chocolate almond cake or a vegan option. Chair Barbara Pollack says, “It is a tradition to invite guests to the seder. Many people will invite travelers, neighbors and friends, both Jewish and not Jewish. One of the best-known lines of the traditional Haggadah is, ‘Let all who are hungry, come and eat.’ Passover is a time to share our blessings with others.” Cost for Temple Sinai members: $75/adult, $25/child (12 and under). Cost for non-members: $85/adult, $25/child (12 and under). On Thursday, April 6 at 5:30 p.m., Temple Sinai will hold its Family Seder for young families and grandparents. The Seder will feature a mini-Passover play in costume performed by Chazzan Cliff Abramson, Bethany Leinweber, Director of Youth Education and Family Engagement, and Laura Freedman, Director of Early Childhood Education, and singing with families. The specialfoods of the Seder will be enjoyed, the four questions asked, an Afikomen scavenger hunt with prizes awarded and a passage through the red sea will top off the special evening. Cost for Temple Sinai Members is $20/adult, $5/child. Non-members cost: $25/adult, $8/child. For both events, please register at templesinai-sarasota.org. Temple Sinai is located at 4631 South Lockwood Ridge Road (enter only from Proctor Road). For more information, call 941-924-1802. 

[Food Drive]  Food Drive on Key Islands

Most people who rely on local food pantries aren’t homeless or out of work. They’ve just endured a financial setback or need a little help to stretch their paycheck. In fact, many work in some of the area’s most affluent neighborhoods. Now through March 31, city halls and fire stations along the barrier islands will open their doors to donations. Longboat Key, Bradenton Beach, Holmes Beach, and Anna Maria are all participating. The food drive culminates on Saturday, April 1, at the Roser Church Food Pantry at 512 Pine Avenue in Anna Maria, where donations can be dropped off between 9 am and noon.Donors may bring non-perishable food or make cash donations. Most pantry guests have pets, and donations of non-refrigerated dog and cat food will also be welcome. The Mayors’ Feed the Hungry Program is organizing the food drive. Key residents are invited to share with people who live and work on the islands. 


To learn more, visit

[Arts & Entertainment]  UnidosNow Bringing Blend of Latin Culture and 72-Piece Symphony Orchestra to Sarasota

After a successful inaugural concert in 2022, UnidosNow is bringing their second installment of Noche Unidos - a visionary evening that fuses celebrated Old and New World music by combining the dynamic exuberance of traditional mariachi with the emotional power of a classical symphony - right to the Van Wezel stage. As UnidosNow’s flagship fundraising event, presented by Gulf Coast Community Foundation and Czaia Law, the event guarantees attendees a worldly evening of inspiring, creative, and captivating performance on a stage with over 80 professional musicians, including the globally recognized Mariachi Cobre group combined with the 72-piece Venice Symphony. Tickets for this year’s event are now on sale and can be purchased online at www.vanwezel.org/boxoffice/noche-unidos-2023-presented-by-unidosnow/

All funds raised will benefit UnidosNow to further empower the growing number of Hispanic/LatinX community members in our region through education, integration, and civic engagement to achieve the American dream.The experience begins at 7:30 pm on Friday, April 28 at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall (777 N Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34236). For more information, visit www.unidosnow.org/nocheunidos-2023 or contact Julia Groom at julia@dreamlarge.org or by calling 941-786-8732. 

For ticket information click here

[Open House]  Spring Open House Invitation, Sunday, March 19

Join Alliance Française de Sarasota for their Spring 2023 Open House with wine and cheese, some gourmet delicacies, friends, and interesting conversations. Long-time member, Marlene Valerga, will present an exhibition of portraits. Marlene studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome. She became a successful and avid portrait painter and has had numerous personal and group exhibitions internationally. Next Sunday, Alliance Française de Sarasota will also present updated information on their move to a new location. Au secours! They kindly ask for volunteers to help pack up thier wonderful and beautifully organized library. Sign-up sheets will be available for 2-hour sessions on upcoming Mondays, Fridays, and Saturdays. They would also much appreciate small packing boxes for the books so please request a few at your favorite shop and bring to the Open House or drop them off at the office. Merci d'avance et à dimanche prochain!

Alliance Française de Sarasota, 715 North Washington Boulevard, 3:00pm - 5:00pm, $20 per person. 

To register click here

[Forage]  How to Food Truck
Kevin Allen, kevin.allen@srqme.com

HOW TO FOOD TRUCK | Lessons learned from six of the area's most memorable mobile eateries, March 2023. 

Read Here!

[SOON]  THEATER: Network at Florida Studio Theatre , January 25 – March 19, Various times

Florida Studio Theatre (FST) is proud to present Network, a fast-paced drama following the downward spiral of Howard Beale, a longtime news anchor who has worked at a television network, UBS, for 25 years. When Beale learns that he is being fired for poor ratings and low viewership, he unravels live on air during his final broadcast. As a result, his show’s ratings soar, and Howard becomes the biggest thing on television. Seeing Howard as a new populist prophet, UBS decides to leverage Howard’s newfound popularity to boost its bottom line. Network begins playing January 25, 2023, in FST’s Gompertz Theatre. Single tickets to Network range from $25-39. Subscriptions and single tickets are on sale at FloridaStudioTheatre.org or at 941.366.9000.

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Ranch Nite Wednesdays at Waterside Place , February 8 – May 31, 6 to 9 p.m.

Enjoy a night of fun at Waterside Place during Ranch Nite Wednesdays. The event features food trucks, live music, a night market, a vintage mobile bar and cornhole. Visit lakewoodranch.com to learn more. Waterside Place, 1561 Lakefront Drive, Sarasota.

[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: 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]  PERFORMANCE: Sarasota Opera: Madama Butterfly , February 18 – March 24, Varied

Madama Butterfly is an Opera in three acts. Music by Giacomo Puccini. Libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa. A young geisha known affectionately as Madama Butterfly is swept off her feet by an American Naval Officer. Left with a promise that he would return one day, Butterfly waits faithfully for three years, but is met with heartbreak in one of opera’s most enduring tragedies. Sung in Italian with Translations in English. February 18th-March 24 For tickets visit sarasotaopera.org or Ph. +1 941 328 1300

Sarasota Opera , 61 N Pineapple Ave. Sarasota, FL 34236

[SOON]  : The Players Centre: Godspell , March 9 – March 19, Varied

Book by John Michael Tebelak. Music and Lyrics by Stephen Schwartz. Godspell touches on the parables and wisdom that grapple with maybe the most important mystery of all. It was the first major musical theatre offering from three-time Grammy and Academy Award winner, Stephen Schwartz (Wicked, Pippin, Children of Eden), and took the world by storm led by the international hit, “Day by Day.” Godspell features a parade of beloved songs, including “Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord,” “Learn Your Lessons Well,” “All for the Best,” “All Good Gifts,” “Turn Back, O Man” and “By My Side.” March 9-19, 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]  FESTIVAL: Sarasota Jazz Festival , March 13 – March 18, Various times

The Jazz Club of Sarasota presents the Sarasota Jazz Festival. A variety of jazz styles will be on display for audiences. The event will feature four evenings of main stage performances, a jazz trolley tour, late night jam sessions and jazz films. Programs will be held at University Town Center/Nathan Benderson Park and the Burns Court Cinema. To learn more and purchase tickets, visit sarasotajazzfestival.com.

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: History Hop Trolley Tours in Englewood, Sarasota and Venice , March 14 – March 16, 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Join us for History Hop, our annual week-long celebration of Sarasota County history in partnership with the Lemon Bay (Englewood), Sarasota and Venice Historical Societies. Explore one community each day, or visit all three. Each 2-hour tour offers guests a narrated tour of each community and the chance to “hop” off the trolley at various historic sites to learn from docents about each community’s history in Sarasota County. A percentage of net proceeds will be donated to each participating partner to support the programs and services they provide that keep Sarasota County history alive. discoversarasotatours.com

[SOON]  THEATER: Asolo Rep: Incident at Our Lady of Perpetual Help , March 15 – April 22, Varied

Take a trip back to 1973 with the Irish Catholic OShea family in the uproarious INCIDENT AT OUR LADY OF PERPETUAL HELP. This boisterous and moving new memory play introduces us to young Linda, as she recalls a week she’ll never forget. When Linda’s mother instructs her to tell her sister about the birds and the bees, things quickly snowball into a potential crisis after the conversation is overheard by the parish priest. Secrets are unintentionally revealed, and a quick-witted group of women realize what really matters as they work to protect their family reputation and each other. This wild and tender comedy directed by Asolo Rep Associate Artistic Director Celine Rosenthal explores the foolishness of first love, the pains of Catholic guilt, and ultimately, the power of family.  

Asolo Repertory Theatre

[SOON]  SEMINAR: The Exploding Costs of Living in Paradise Workshop , March 16, 4 to 7 p.m.

DSCA Workshop: The Exploding Costs of Living in Paradise, Mitigating the Pain of Increasing Condo Fees. Residents are increasingly feeling the pinch when it comes to condo living. Do you find yourselves asking what can be done about it? Is there anything residents can do to help control and manage their rising insurance costs? Bring your questions and concerns to this comprehensive discussion. Cost: $10-Members, $15-Non-Members. Goewey Hall at Church of the Redeemer’s Robinson Center, 222 S. Palm Ave Ste B, Sarasota, FL 34236, downtownsarasotacondoassoc.com

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Green Weekend at The Bay Sarasota , March 17 – March 19, Various times

There’s no better place than The Bay to celebrate two important green holiday favorites: St. Patrick’s Day and Global Recycling Day. Green drink specials, a visit from Sunshine Composters, a lunchtime concert by Garage Men Band... and more! Various locations at The Bay park. thebaysarasota.org.

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Sarasota Opera: Therese , March 17 – March 25, Varied

Therese is an opera in two acts. Music by Jules Massenet. Libretto by Jules Claretie. A love triangle during the French Revolution is the setting for this rarely heard work. Therese is torn between love for her former lover and her affection and duty towards her husband. Moments of lyrical beauty are punctuated by the drama of the “Reign of Terror” in this opera. Sung in French with Translations in English. March 17th-March 25th For tickets visit sarasotaopera.org, Ph. +1 941 328 1300

Sarasota Opera , 61 N Pineapple Ave. Sarasota, FL 34236

[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.

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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