Tuesday, February 16, 2016


At the last minute we decided neither of us wanted to cook so we settled on trying this restaurant. We love Asian food of most any variety and friends had spoken highly of Sakura. We were smart enough to call early for a reservation (highly recommended) and so it was with smug satisfaction that we elbowed our way through diners lined up two deep trying to get a table. It being Valentine’s weekend may have explained the crush but I would still call for a reservation as it’s a real reservation with a sign on your table…not one of those where you still have a half hour wait. We had asked for a table in the small dining room this time and left the Hibachi room for our next visit.
I ordered the Chicken Teriyaki which had a delicious but subtle sauce. The serving was plentiful and came with a bowl of white rice, a beautifully composed side of colorful vegetables (al dente) and also a fresh, crisp salad topped with Carrot Ginger dressing that was very good. The rest of our group went for the Shrimp Tempura and were wide eyed as the plates were set before them displaying a dramatic assortment of Shrimp and Vegetables. A very big portion especially considering the delicately crisp Tempura Batter was filling. Two people can share it. I find Tempura a little bland, but the texture was lovely and a bit of salt brought it to perfection.
Two things should be noted: I ate my entire meal with Chop Sticks - Bravo for me. And next time I'm determined to try the Sushi that I spied at a table we passed on the way out as it looked like bejeweled works of art.
Sakura Japanese Steak House & Sushi Bar
10722 Big Bend Rd, Riverview, FL 33579
(813) 671-2388
Sakura Japanese Steak House & Sushi Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
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Monday, February 15, 2016


CONNECTION CAFÉ, 1207 3rd Ave W, Bradenton, FL 34205 | (941) 251-4954
A friend of mine introduced me to this charming café tucked away on a side street off Old Main Street in Bradenton. Connection Café is a quiet, unassuming little place with quirky decor and just a few tables. But this family run café offers some very tasty food prepared and served with welcoming charm.
We decided to split two entrees so as to enjoy the best of both. And certainly the portions were more than enough to accommodate our appetites. The Roasted Beet Salad with Brie and Orange was dressed with a Balsamic reduction…very fresh and tasty. The Mushroom Crepe was delicious and while I found both dishes to be very satisfying, my friend admitted that both were better the last time she dined there. I'll have to visit often and in the interest of further 'research' try some of their other offerings and get back to you.
Perhaps the big plus of the day was enjoying the Bradenton Farmer’s Market. Open every Saturday from October through May, the hours are 9AM to 2PM. Located on Old Main Street in downtown Bradenton, the market covers about three blocks and offers fresh fruits and vegetables, Organic Honey, homemade Italian specialties, amazing freshly baked breads, Red Gulf Shrimp, Olive Tapenade, fresh baked goodies, Vegan specialties, arts and crafts…..and much more to feast your eyes (and your taste buds) upon.
The atmosphere is made even more pleasant by live music – mostly local bands and performers who delight the crowds.
On my second visit here I brought hubby who was delighted with all the free food tastings like...... Shrimp with Panzanella Salad; Olive Tapenade; Crusty Bread with a variety of flavored dipping oils; Pretzels and a variety of Creamy Dips; Italian Chocolate…..oh my it was wonderful. We plan on visiting this market often and bringing our friends. I can’t think of a more pleasant way to spend a Saturday morning. Check out the Realize Bradenton website to learn more about the Market, the Riverwalk and surrounding neighborhood attractions.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016


Hubby and I recently celebrated our 25th Wedding Anniversary and decided to escape to Daytona Beach for a few days. The weather was brilliant and we spent our time visiting the boardwalk, checking out curiosities, and relaxing on our ocean front beach front balcony. And of course we sampled the local cuisine. Here’s a recap of our favorites.
CHARLIE HORSE 810 S. Atlantic Avenue, Ormond Beach, FL 32176 | 386-672-4347 http://www.charliehorserestaurant.com/
For a quick casual meal on our first night in town we headed over to Charlie Horse Restaurant on the recommendation of the hotel’s concierge. The place was lively and a dozen or so people were lounging on the front porch waiting for their tables. We couldn’t find parking so I popped in to ask the hostess where we should park and she directed us to enter the next door Bone Fish driveway and pull around back to park there. That was a little odd but we figured it out. The wait for a table wasn’t too long and made pleasant by chatting with other touristy folks comparing notes on Daytona Beach in general.
Hubby ordered Sirloin Steak with a side of Garlic Mashed and brown gravy and declared it good. I opted for a Salad topped with Sliced Grilled Sirloin and it was very good. Honestly we were so tired this first night that we just ate quickly and headed to the hotel to call it a night. The place was noisy and we just weren’t in the mood – but I’d definitely go back and maybe try their all you can eat crab legs since that seemed to be the hot menu item.
Rossellini’s Restaurant & Lounge 136 S Atlantic Ave, Daytona Beach, FL 32118 | Phone: 3862538333 http://www.rossellinisrestaurant.com/
We were in the mood for elegant Italian food and Rossellini’s seemed the perfect choice for dinner. The restaurant has a charming atmosphere and it was a quiet Monday evening midway between Christmas and New Year’s. Next time we’d like to return on a night when they have live music on the patio deck.
We started with an appetizer of Seafood Saute that featured clams & mussels in a garlic and white wine sauce. Delicioso! Way too much of their good crusty bread was employed to sop up the savory juices.
I indulged in Veal Scallopini Marsala and it was tender and tasty, a good portion size, and came with a mushroom risotto and vegetables. I ate every morsel. Hubby had Veal Parmigiana with Spaghetti and he was quite satisfied. Our waitress fussed over us with a celebratory glass of champagne and a slice of their amazing Lemoncello Cake to mark our special occasion 25th Wedding Anniversary. Here’s to the next 25 years!
Hubby is obsessed with Raw Clams on the Half Shell. This craving harkens back to his NYC upbringing where he was known to indulge in eating 2-4 dozen on his own, heaped with cocktail sauce, horse radish and lemon juice. As a matter of fact it was hubby that introduced me to raw clams, something I’d never had any desire to try. Well he got me hooked as well and I especially like when he prepares my clams just so to make sure they’re dressed correctly. With this in mind we set out to find a restaurant for lunch that served Raw Clams and well that turned into somewhat of a fiasco. We’ve noticed since moving to Florida that most restaurants with a Raw Bar serve Oysters, not Clams. Yes we’ve found a few but they’re rare. On this day we finally got a tip where to go – Boondocks, an outdoorsy place right on the marina. I wouldn’t even mention them now since they had no clams that day, but the hostess was so very nice and referred us to one of their competing restaurants she was sure would have what we were after. That makes me determined to try Boondocks next time we’re in town! BOONDOCKS | 3948 S. Peninsula Drive, Wilbur By The Sea, FL 32 127 | 386-760-9001 | http://www.boondocks-restaurant.com
And here at last we found our Raw Bar – We ordered two dozen Littleneck Clams on the Half Shell and slurped them up in no time. I followed that up with a salad topped with grilled tilapia, and hubby got a Shrimp Po Boy. The weather was brilliant and we enjoyed sitting on the open deck – a most pleasant experience. Our Deck Down Under is a terrific casual place that families will enjoy. We sure did!
It was the perfect way to celebrate our big day and we were so enchanted by all that Daytona Beach has to offer that we will be returning later this year and bringing some friends with us.....the more the Jollier! OUR DECK DOWN UNDER , 78 Dunlawton Ave., Daytona Beach, FL | http://www.ourdeckdu.com/
Charlie Horse Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato