Iron Chef Elm City set for April 27 at Viking Distributing East in Wallingford

                                                          New Haven Register photo

Check out my column in this week’s New Haven Register

To see my food and travel column archives, please go to this link

‘A Taste of Pesach’ cookbook leaves more time for Passover reminiscing

Check out my New Haven Register food column featuring Passover recipes

To see my food and travel column archives, please go to this link

        Baby Bella & Cranberry Brisket

          “Unstuffed” Cabbage

Photo by: David Ticktin

Recipes reprinted with permission of Artscroll/Mesorah Publications

Lucky guy Stephen Fries sits down to fine dining in Sarasota, Fla.

                                     The Lido Beach Resort

                         Ringling Beach House

Check out my food travel column in today’s New Haven Register

           Dinner in the sand at The Lido Beach Resort

                 Artichokes Esther at Mattison’s

Additional stops for your Sarasota visit

Check  out the article “Hidden Gems of Florida: Sarasota,” published in the New Haven Register  on February 19, 2014.

For a cup of joe and mingling with locals check out The Local Bean,, 5138 Ocean Blvd. located in Siesta Key Village. Coffee connoisseurs will appreciate the single origin coffees brewed specifically for each type of bean at Perq Coffee Bar 1827 Hillview St, Sarasota. Stop in to the adjacent Lollicake Queen for the most beautiful cakepops.

Savory Street, offers casual breakfast and lunch. At 5 pm upscale dinner fare with Latin-American inspired flair is offered.  Finish a relaxing meal with housemade desserts.

A perfect spot for breakfast is Station 400, housed in an original railroad depot. I recommend the Smoked Salmon scramble on toast with melted brie, avocado, arugula and dill cream. The Italian omelette (fresh mozzarella, marinated artichokes, Kalamata olives, roasted peppers and basil pesto is a creative take on a breakfast standard. The Nutella waffle is more of a dessert served with strawberry sauce, banana brulee and vanilla bean whipped cream.

The cheese connoisseur must stop at Artisan Cheese Company. to sample and purchase hand-cut to order artisanal and farmstead cheeses from the region, the U.S. and Europe. Their mac and cheese and light fare lunch will hit the spot. Gourmet pantry items adorn the shelves and the popular cheese classes sell out quickly.

  Eat Here may be an odd name, but a memorable one. Owner, Sean Murphy founded Beach Bistro on Anna Maria Island which is listed in Zagat’s Top Restaurants in America. The chefs at Eat Here offer the flavor components at Beach Bistro and apply them to more accessible, less expensive  menu, featuring line-caught seafood and local farm products. The Gulf Coast Seafood  Stew is a dish that is a must try. The Polynesian pineapple cake with ginger glaze is a light tropical treat. The chocolate Budino, a fancy Italian name for a really decadent chocolate pudding that is nothing like your mother’s and topped with a little sea salt.

The casual LeLu Coffee Lounge in Siesta Key www.lelucoffee.comis the perfect spot for breakfast and people watching. The” pancake attack”, buttermilk pancakes whipped with vanilla and almond and dusted with powdered sugar are light and fluffy.  They brew up a good cup of coffee too.

Both kids and adults will enjoy mini donuts from Meaney’s Mini Donuts in Siesta Key. The little wooden “shack” can’t be missed which serves up the classic donut with cinnamon sugar or powdered sugar as well as specialties such as Bavarian Cream, strawberry cheesecake, apple pie and peanut butter cup donuts.

Check out Heavenly Cupcakes with shops in Siesta Key and in the Gulf Gate area of Sarasota. The Key lime pie cupcake which I indulged in is available only in the Siesta Key location.

Il Panificio,   an Italian market with pizza, a deli and bakery has four locations including the one I visited on Main Street in Sarasota.  The breakfast  topped with eggs, bacon and cheese pizza piqued my interest,   Those into spice might try the pepperoni , jalapeno and ricotta pie.

For those on a gluten-free diet, Stellar- Gluten Free Bakery  is exclusively gluten-free, serving breads, cookies, muffins, scones, pies, waffles and other delights. They also ship their products.

Located waterfront at Blackburn Point Marina in Osprey, Casey Key Fish House  is laid-back, open air, and decorated with mermaid and fish art. Known for their fresh fish, a specialty is pan seared snapper encrusted with almonds and topped with lemon sauce.  Nothing fancy about the place just Old Florida at its best.

New Pass Grill and Bait Shop is home to the award winning New Pass Burger. Nothing fancy, just walk up to the window to place your order and enjoy the spectacular view. Simple fare that has been enjoyed by locals since 1929.

For great muffins, stop of at Toasted Mango Café where I savored the mango muffin or Pastry Art  where the huge moist espresso muffin was breakfast. This muffin was written up in Sarasota Magazine as the muffin with the best buzz. Both of these café have full menus as well.

For a late evening dinner I visited Café Epicure In the mood for pizza, the Siciliana (eggplant, cherry tomatoes, dry ricotta and pesto), one of many creative combinations hit the spot. House made gelato completed this late night meal. With a full menu of pasta dishes, Italian entrees, sandwiches and salads, you are bound to find a dish to enjoy dining alfresco.     

Used cookbook collectors will need to spend some time at Brant’s Books , 429 N. Lime Ave and Book Bazaar, 1488 Main in Siesta Key.

At Spice & Tea Exchange of Sarasota 345 St. Armand’s Circle, cooks will be in their glory with the myriad of herbs, unique spice blends, sea salts and teas.

In between all of this eating, make sure to plan a visit to the Ringling Museum of Art and the Circus Museum

For more on Sarasota go to