Sunday, March 2, 2014
Notice anything about Libby's Logo? Check back on my previous post for O'Bricks in Bradenton and you'll note that the logos are almost identical. Hmmm....so either they are owned by the same corporation, or they've used the same graphic designer. Take what you will from that - perhaps I'll investigate further. Our Escape this month led us to Libby's where we enjoyed the food, the atmosphere and each others company. It must be stated that whether the restaurant is a hit or a miss - our company is always a hit. This Sarasota neighborhood is lively and filled with restaurants and bars clustered within a few short blocks. I'm always delighted to discover these pockets of cool, hip eateries. Libby's is a large beautiful place with additional sidewalk seating where you can dine alfresco even on a cool evening as they are equipped with some futuristic groovy furnace towers.
Thursday, January 30, 2014
Our original Great Escape pick last Saturday had been for a restaurant in Tampa and we’d all looked forward to it until someone remembered it was Gasparilla weekend. A couple of years ago we had found ourselves gridlocked in Tampa’s most celebratory weekend and vowed to forever more avoid the pirates and pirate lovers. We quickly changed the venue to O’Brick’s Irish Pub & Martini Bar in Manatee. Sometimes last minute Plan B’s work out great and this was one of those times. O’Brick’s offers a myriad of martini’s (mmm). I had a Lemon Drop that was quite delicious but they had dozens of flavors to pick from. The service was very good and our waiter was extremely nice. Note that while groups of 6 or more customarily get 18% gratuity added to their bill, at O’Brick’s it is 20%. Not a bad thing as we’d tip that much anyway for good service. But I’m guessing you’ll see this small increase at other restaurants soon. http://obricks.com/main.html
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
With the holiday season upon us our group is taking a break for November and December as Escape seems impossible. We'll spend these months doing more entertaining at home as family and friends come from near and far. I'm flexing my long dormant 'chef' muscles and find that when I have enough liesure time to spare I actually enjoy doing some cooking. Hold on hubby I'm not ready to take back my apron full time - you're still the master of the kitchen. But I've been preparing one meal a week and enjoying it. I make killer black beans, wicked good hot dog onions, GREAT pizza, yummy quesadillas. I'm not fool enough to try my hand at one of Jolly's specialties. I focus on things he doesn't cook and am so pleased when he likes them. Validation. Recently we invited a friend over who wanted to learn how to make hubby's Eggplant Rollatini - a dish that has earned him high praise through the years. I filmed it for our kids to enjoy but its too long to share here. I will say that looking at him perform his culinary magic through a camera lens helped me focus squarely on his incredible precision. His style is so regimented that he does it almost on auto pilot with culinary muscle memory. Viewing it back on film even he was struck by how calmly he went about his process. I think that's the mark of a genius cook. I'm more likely to get distracted and forget that somethings on the stove. I've made my mother's bread pudding recipe twice in the last two weeks but haven't been happy with the results. I had asked her for years to please give me her recipe and she couldn't do it. So I set about ammassing all the ingredients and invited her over to make it for me. As she put it all together I followed her around with pen and paper and wrote it down for posterity. I lost mom just a couple of years after this and so I treasure this recipe in her memory. Bread pudding is one of those things that changes each time you make it depending on the ingredients at hand. I'm ashamed to say these two efforts didn't cut it and its because I took liberties with her recipe thinking that's what I was supposed to do - make it my own. So this weekend I will try again and this time stick to her recipe. That's what hubby does and why his dishes always come out exactly the same - delicious. Lesson learned.
Merry Christmas and Happy Hannukah and Happy New Year to all!
Monday, October 28, 2013
Monday, September 30, 2013
Sunday, September 1, 2013
Saturday, March 9, 2013
There’s a lot to like about Bella’s – the décor and ambiance are bistro chic, the food was really quite good. Ours is a judgmental group headed by my cheftastic husband whose opinions are coming from a place of great food knowledge and experience. How do you take a fabulous Italian who cooks fabulous Italian food to an Italian restaurant and expect not to hear his opinion? So I’m taking him out of the mix entirely because for the remaining seven in our group there was definite thumbs up approval. I love dining in this trendy SoHo area of Florida – if I squint I can almost imagine myself back in New York City (and yes in this dream sequence I’m about 30 years younger and absolutely fabulous). There’s a lively energy to this part of town and we see it mostly as we’re leaving for home around 8 and the young’uns are just arriving decked out for a night of fun. Kudos to them. I enjoyed Lasagna with Bolognese sauce that was cooked perfectly. Others in our group tried the standard Spaghetti and Meatballs, or the Salmon and the approvals were high. Of course the Eggplant Parm was tasty but those who ate it paid considerable homage to my honey exclaiming that his was definitely better. (Yes they want to be invited back to our house someday). We skipped dessert and settled for capuccinos which were considerately served with a little biscuit - just enough of a sweet bite after such a heavy meal. Would I come back for another meal? Most definitely - or maybe just to sample their gorgeous desserts!