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TownTaster M





April 2013




Volume 2 • Issue 6

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Page 11

The Saucy Sicilian

Page 15

Page 7



w w w.To w nTa s t e r. c o m


to 72727

For Weekly Dining Specials!

April 2013 Volume 2, Issue 6 Publisher

PCI Publishing, LLC


Valerie Longo 941-932-8884

Web Design

Syd Krawczyk Concept Digital Media

Social Media Lenny Longo

Graphic Design Mara Stork

Contributing Authors Gluten Free by Beverly Norm & Mary Berg The Three Kitcheneers Jeanette Longo Mary Lanphier Larry Woodham

Town Taster and PCI Publishing, LLC does not endorse or warrant any products or services contained herein, unless otherwise expressly noted. The opinions expressed herein are those of the authors. Submitted materials will not be returned. Whole or part of this publication may not be used or duplicated in any way without written permission from PCI Publishing, LLC. Advertising rates and information available from: PCI Publishing, LLC, 1202 Gary Avenue, Suite 13, Ellenton, FL 34222 Phone: 941-548-1908 Town Taster is published monthly. Subscriptions are FREE. To continue receiving Town Taster on a regular basis, visit our website:

A Spicy Celebration… Olé! From the Editor

You may be wondering why we are featuring Cinco de Mayo a month early, but we thought it was only appropriate to give you enough time to make your plans for a festive day. So read on and find out what local restaurants will be ready to help you celebrate your love of Mexican cuisine. There is no shortage of fun, food and margaritas to be spread around for one and all. Whether for a special holiday or for a daily dinner out, one thing we have learned about our community is that there is a sincere LOVE of FOOD that resonates amidst our readers. We get notes daily about how much you love trying unique dishes and discovering new restaurants in town. Keep them coming – we are thrilled you have joined us. We hope you will sit back and take some time out of your day to revel in the joys of tasty treats and marvelous celebrations of food. You have been waiting for it with much anticipation.... Are you ready? The time has come! TownTaster is officially ON THE AIR. From the pages to the airwaves – more of the tasty news you love coming to you. You can hear us every Friday at 12 noon on 1490AM or you can listen on demand by clicking the episode links on our website. We will be bringing you interviews with local restaurant owners, chefs, farmers, foodies and more… So much to tell you about - make sure to stay tuned into TownTaster wherever you may be.

Get weekly specials exclusively for TownTaster readers sent right to your phone! Just text LOVEFOOD to 72727 to start getting updates.*


Each month we will select a random number from those who sign up to receive a FREE gift certificate to a local restaurant! What are you waiting for?!

* Up to 2 texts sent weekly. Msg & Data Rates may apply. For help, text HELP or to cancel, text STOP to 72727. See our website for privacy policy.


Valerie Longo

Welcome to our April issue of TownTaster. The following pages are filled with so much excitement – chocolate for lunch, dinner with your toes in the sand, tacos, margaritas and more. You will even get a little history lesson!

Our 5th Ann g n i iver at r b s ele


~ Carmen


“Love and food are the two greatest things in the world, and I’ve got a love for food.”

Carmen & Kay Rizzo, Owners

ASK ABOUT OUR WEEKLY SPECIALS Dishes are fresh & made to order Desserts straight from Italy Full Liquor Martini Bar “Absolutely excellent!!! The food, of course, and the ambience, friendly staff. The perfect place to go. We’ll definitely be back.” ~Gloria, TownTaster reader

515 27th St E. Bradenton, FL 34208

Live Entertainment Most Nights

Karaoke – Friday 10pm Tues - Wed: 5:00 pm - 10:00 pm Thu - Fri: 11:00 am - 10:00 pm Sat - Sun: 5:00 pm - 10:00 pm

Don't forget to make your Mother's Day reservations..

(941) 745-1540

Ladies Night Out • April 30 • 5:00 - 10:00 pm in the Martini Bar


Get Ready for Cinco de Mayo

IN THIS ISSUE The Three Kitcheneers A Mexican Fiesta......................7 Gluten Free by Beverly Identifying Gluten.....................8 Love to Eat & Eat to Live Balance & Energy...................10 Cinco de Mayo Celebrate the Heritage & Cuisine of Mexico................ 11 The Saucy Sicilian..................15 Reviewed by You The Sandbar Restaurant..........16 Sirard's Chocolate CafĂŠ..........18 The Green Winer Salute!...................................21



Florida Wine & Balloon Festival

Winemakers from around the world gather with gourmet chefs and hot air balloonists in breathtaking venues from Sarasota to Lakewood Ranch. Wine venues, educational forums, and creative food benefiting local charitable organizations. 941-952-1109

April 5-7

DeSoto Seafood Festival

One of Florida’s most outstanding riverfront events, the three-day family event features some of the best seafood (and other tasty offerings) from area restaurants and food vendors. A great lineup of continuous entertainment on two stages includes the best the local music and nationally known recording artists. Admission: $2, children 12 and under FREE. 941-747-1998.

April 13

Eat, Drink and Dance the night away!

Discover Sashay Dance & Café - Inspiration Dance Evenings. Professional demonstrations and refreshments included. Bring your own wine. $35 per person. 8-11pm. 8209 Natures Way, 
Lakewood Ranch, FL 34202. For reservations call 941-306-5850.

MAY 2013 May 3

1st Annual Kentucky Derby Party at Pinot Picasso, Interactive Art Studio.

Led step-by-step by a fun professional artist. Sample a traditional derby menu: mint juleps, brown sugar glazed cream cheese spread, cocktail franks in pineapple compote and of course, derby pie! Admission $50p/p (includes 2 hour painting class, menu above and fun!). Call or book reservations online - 941.479.7977. Located at 408 7th St. W, Palmetto -


Food & Wine on Pine

A culinary and cultural experience, May 4 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Historic Pine Avenue in Anna Maria. The event will feature 25 independently owned, local restaurants, 30-plus wines, several craft and domestic beers, an art show with more than 40 juried artists, a children’s activity area, minstrals & character performances, 30 live musical performances and more. For more information contact Caryn Hodge at (941) 778-8705 or, or visit www.

April 13

Tropical Nights “On the High Seas”

The 20th Annual Tropical Nights event to benefit Meals on Wheels PLUS of Manatee. Enjoy a “cruise ship” style experience without ever leaving land with an exquisite menu including a Raw Bar, Surf ‘n Turf dinner and a “Venetian” dessert hour. Individual tickets are $150 per person.

April 20

Suncoast BBQ Bash - Venice

11:00AM - 7:30PM. Venice Airport Festival Grounds. Free Admission & Parking. Benefiting the Suncoast Foundation for Handicapped Children.


The Master Cabinet Maker, Inc. All Custom Cabinetry


Surprise mom with a beautiful kitchen makeover.

941-723-0278 Custom Design & Remodeling Kitchen, Bath, Home Office • Entertainment Center & more Outdoor Polymer Cabinets • Custom Countertops Locally owned and operated by 3rd generation woodworker

April Calendar Herb Appeal (H)............................................................................. 1 Sauce Savvy! (H).................................................................. 2 & 24 Veganlicious (H)................................................................... 3 & 25 That's a Wrap (H).......................................................................... 4 Sushi 101 (H).................................................................................. 5 Couples Cooking: Spring Grilling (H).............................. 6 & 19 The Basics of Culinary 1/6 (H).................................................... 8 Cooking Fish 101 (H)..................................................................10 Worldwide Pasta (H).................................................................11 World Street Food (D)................................................................12 Basic Knife Skills (H)..........................................................13 & 23 The New South (D).....................................................................13 The Basics of Culinary 2/6 (H)..................................................15 Rolling in the "Dough" (H)........................................................16 Herb Appeal (H)..........................................................................18 Oaked vs. Un-Oaked Chardonnays (D)................................20 The Basics of Culinary 3/6 (H)..................................................22 Rose Wines (D).............................................................................26 Face Time with Friends (D)......................................................27 The Basics of Culinary 4/6 (H).................................................29 Worldwide Pasta (H)..................................................................30 Call or stop by for times and cost. (D) Demonstration • (H) Hands On

Let us know you saw us in TownTaster For help planning your party call the Apron’s Event Planning team at


2874 University Pkwy., Sarasota, FL 34243 6

FISH TACOS 1 package Garden of Earth Blue Corn Taco Shells 4 fillets of your favorite white fish (we use tilapia) 1 tbsp of olive oil 2-4 gloves of minced garlic 2 tbsp of Chef Paul Magic Seasoning 1 can of Spicy Kidney or black Beans 1 avocado 1 lime 2 scallions 1 cup arugula 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar sea salt fresh ground pepper white or brown rice (already cooked in the steamer) Coat your sauté pan with 1/2 tbsp of olive oil and let it heat. Once hot, add fish, garlic and season with Chef Paul Seasoning. Cook on medium for about 5-7 minutes. While that's working, warm your spicy kidney or black beans in a small pot, set aside. By now it's time to flip your fish and season the other side. While that cooks, cut your avocado in half, pit it and scoop it out with a spoon into a bowl. Mix it with lime juice and rind of the lime, add a pinch of sea salt to taste. Set aside. Check your tilapia. It's probably done. Set it aside. Take your arugula in a bowl and mix it with remainder of olive oil and vinegar, add sea salt to taste. Now it's time to build your tacos. We like to start with rice, then beans, then arugula and top that with fish, then avocado mixture and chop scallions on top. One more squeeze from the lime and we are ready to eat. Serve with Corona or Margarita for some real fun!!! Enjoy!

Fajitas, Tacos, Margaritas, Tequila, Quesadillas, Guacamole....Olé! Everything on the menu makes us want to sing and dance! Mexican cuisine, who doesn’t love to indulge in it every now and again, and again...and again? we certainly do and we certainly do. Often. Cinco de Mayo is just one more reason to celebrate, as if we needed another. Everything about the culture centralizes around food, making every meal a true fiesta! Even the sound of the fajitas cooking sounds like a party! The smells, the sounds and the colors are all so inviting. There isn’t anything better than filling the house with all of those yummy smells and sounds. One of our favorite DIY recipes is our simple but delicious fish tacos. We love chopping, dicing and slicing all of the toppings while sipping on some Don Julio 1942, wearing sombreros and shouting “Olé!” Ok, we don’t really wear sombreros but if we had them we would be wearing them for sure! When we are just too lazy to get into our own kitchen, we love getting our fix at some locally owned places like Mi Pueblo (3 locations) and Tequila Cantina (located on Main St in downtown Sarasota). The authenticity they both offer is as good or better than our very own cooking! And let’s face it, having someone bring you your tequila is almost as good as them doing the dishes too! “Arriba Arriba!”

Check out for recipes, articles and webisodes. All food, all the time.


Maybe you are Gluten-Intolerant, or trying to find out if you are. Maybe you are simply exploring a gluten free diet, and trying to remain true to your commitment. Either or, there are a quite a few foods that have gluten hidden somewhere in the ingredient list. Hint: you have to read every label, and Google things that aren't written in plain English. Here are a few common food items to be aware of: 1. Sausages - usually made with bread and other fillers, you can expect the majority of packaged sausages to contain some gluten. 2. Low fat dairy products - sometimes used as thickeners, you can find gluten in low/no-fat dairy products like milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, soft cheese, or mayonnaise. 3. Alcoholic drinks - beer, whiskey, grain vodka, and more. 4. Deli meats - processed meat in general will usually have some type of gluten added in the preservation ingredients. 5. Flavored coffee, tea, and syrups - take a close look

at what you are drinking. Many flavored beverages, including coffee and tea, have gluten added to the artificial flavoring. 6. Salad dressing - similar to gluten found in beverages and low-fat dairy products, gluten can be added to salad dressings as a thickener. 7. Soy sauce - if you are eating-out or eating-in, know that soy sauce is made with wheat. Shoot for “gluten-free” tamari as an alternative. 8. Gum and candy - lots of chewy, sweet snacks and treats contain gluten. Take a look at the ingredients because you may be getting more than just sugar and flavoring. 9. Stamps and envelopes - yes it’s not food, but you still may be putting your lips on something that you wouldn’t think has gluten. If you didn’t know, “gluten” is short for glue, so many adhesives may have gluten in them. 10. Processed foods in general - almost 100% of commonly processed foods have gluten in them. Whether it’s a primary ingredient or a filler ingredient, gluten and wheat flour can be quite inexpensive to add to any packaged food. Above all, educate yourself. There are lots of resources out there to help you on your way to a healthy, whole life. Research what you are eating and find out where it comes from and how it got to your table. It may be exhausting at first, but in the end it is rewarding to know that you are eating real food, and that you know where your food came from.


50% - 90% Off at El Sombrero Mexican Restaurant American Car Wash, Sushi, Posh Salon, Mobile Apps, Devito's Oil, and More Go to to redeem

Text “Sombrero”

to 941-343-7393



MON: $1 MARGARITAS, to receive more discoun ts $1 ENCHILADAS from El Sombrero and TUE: $1 TACO TUESDAY other local businesses WED: Kids Under 10 Eat Free MEXICAN RESTAURANT THURS: $7.99 BUFFET FRI - SUN 'till 7pm : $1.5O PINTS, $2 MARGARITAS ALL DAY GREAT DINNER SPECIALS! 1330 U.S. Hwy 301 N. Palmetto, FL New Mariachi Wednesday (next to NAPA in Live Tableside Music from 6:30-8:30 every Wednesday the Hall Building on 301)


Home of the

$2 Margarita!

MOBILE APP'S ALSO 50% OFF 19900Go to 19900


Love to Eat & Eat to Live It’s Not a Diet, It’s Math By Lenny Longo

Lenny before

This month on our journey to healthy eating & weight control, energy balance is a subject I’d like to mention, as it is a key factor in my weight loss success story. I believe that managing a healthy weight is simply a matter of balancing calories eaten and exerted. I’m a big advocate of the law of thermodynamics. I mentioned this in my first article, and it still may have some pondering. In the first and second laws, energy cannot be created or destroyed and no system can go on perpetually. I agree a calorie may not be a calorie, but for all intensive purposes, if one follows the course of only looking at caloric intake and caloric expenditure, it will work! However, like I said before, there may be MORE efficient ways to do it for YOUR body type. Only you can figure that out through experiment and see how you react mentally and physically to it. Remember, you still want to be motivated. Just because you can lose weight eating wood chips all day doesn’t mean you are going to stick to this diet and lose all your weight or maintain it if you do. This also goes the other way, just because you can eat 2,000 calories of butter for the day doesn’t necessarily mean that’s going to get the job done either (re-


Lenny after

member my previous ice cream example) as your body also needs an array of nutrients… How do you figure out your energy balance? To determine my energy balance (calories you need to lose or maintain), I use the equation below. I let the energy balance equal zero to maintain my current weight OR -3,500 (negative) calories per pound per week I want to lose and I adjust it every month. It is really as simple as math! If you are reading this magazine you are probably a foodie like me. I love to go try new restaurants and indulge in my favorite meals - so I do! I simply make sure I plan for an indulgent meal out by adjusting my other meals earlier in the day - there are plenty of delicious options, fruits and veggies, that will fill you up and give you your nutrients while maintaining your balance. Or, if you find yourself indulging in a spontaneous dinner with a friend one day, compensate for it the following day. It all will balance out in the end...

Energy Balance = Energy Intake - Energy Expenditure Energy Blance formula by John Berardi

Lenny Longo is now entering his fifth year of maintaining 120+LBS of weight loss. The articles written in TownTaster Magazine are his story, which will contain lessons learned with tips, advice and/or answers to questions people have asked him. Lenny has no formal training in any health field and what works for one person may not work for another. Please be sure to consult your physician, before making changes to your regimen. Lenny would love to hear your comments/ suggestions/ stories. Please send correspondence to 10

Cinco de Mayo


Celebrate the Heritag W   ait, it is April… Yes, we know it isn’t May yet, but we wanted everyone to have a chance to read this issue and make their plans on how they will be celebrating Cinco de Mayo. Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Mexican victory over France back in 1862. Many years have passed and celebrations honoring Mexican culture and tradition now tend to involve traditional Mexican fare. We thought we would take a look and celebrate the heritage of Mexican cuisine by talking with someone who has a passion for preserving food traditions and cultural heritage.


We caught up with Julio Masias of Tortelleria La Rancherita and learned that there is NOTHING more comforting than the taste of a fresh tortilla. And we are about to tell you where you can find them! Eight years ago, Julio found himself seeking a reliable supplier of fresh authentic tortillas for his taqueria only to find that he would soon turn into that person! What started off as a means of supporting his business has turned into one of its own. Now, he turns out 10,000-15,000 tortillas daily in a little shop off 14th Street in Bradenton. Fresh ingredients and no preservatives is key to the most delicious tasting, authentic flour & corn tortillas we have ever had.

ge & Cuisine

Anna Maria and Holmes Beach Poppos Tacos

212C Pine Ave. Anna Maria, FL 34216 (941) 254-7941

Tortilla Bay Southwest Grille

5318 Marina Dr. Holmes Beach, FL 34217 (941) 778-3663

Bradenton Mexicali

5502 Cortez Road W. Bradenton, FL 34205 (941) 761-9516

Poblano Mexical Grill 5779 53rd Ave E Bradenton, FL (941) 739-9800

Although he was born and raised in the United States, Julio’s Mexican heritage influences his desire to bring a taste of Mexico to his customers. Traditional corn tortillas are at the roots of Mexican culture. Julio tells us that these authentic beauties are made with whole grain corn meal and are a cultural staple along with beans, rice and hot sauce. Flour tortillas are a more Americanized version of the popular tortillas. Holding a softer and breadier texture, flour tortillas are mostly used in American restaurants for burritos, quesadillas, and enchiladas. The tortilla production line is quite a site! We were amazed at the intricacies and the specific process that goes into make the tortillas. We were intrigued to see this all-natural product being produced right in the heart of our community. There is nothing with more history in Mexican cuisine than authentic tortillas and we are happy to report you can now taste them yourself! Tortelleria La Rancherita is located at 3010 14th St W, Bradenton, FL 34205. Stop by next time your family is planning taco night for dinner and stock up on some authentic tortillas, tamales, hot sauce, chips and tostadas! We promise you will bring home a small taste of Mexico when you give them a try! Now that you are inspired to come out and celebrate the upcoming Cinco de Mayo holiday, let us give you some of our top picks of where you can enjoy a crispy taco, flavorful tamale or some homemade guacamole. Where will your celebration take you? OlÊ!

Sarasota Azteca Mexican Restaurant 1551 Main St. Sarasota, FL 34236

Mi Pueblo

8405 Tuttle Ave Sarasota, FL 34243 (941) 359-9303 4436 Bee Ridge Rd, Sarasota, FL (941) 379-2880 530 US 41 ByPass South 2-A Venice, FL 34285

Tequila Cantina

1454 Main St. Sarasota, FL 34236 (941) 554-8586


a y M o e d o c n i Taste of C and

Latin America Festival

Latin Culture, Music and Cuisine Saturday, May 04, 2013 5pm to 11:30 pm Between Lemon Ave., Main St. and State St. in downtown Sarasota. Presented by: Gulf Coast Latin Chamber of Commerce Sponsored by: Florida Blue Health Insurance, BMO Harris Bank, Coldwell Banker Real Estate, Bright House, Comcenter, State Farm, La Guia, Siete Dias, Buen Vivir, Lowe's, Shapiro, Goldman, Babboni & Walsh Accident Attorneys, Gator Club

Entertainment: FJ ONE Latin Band playing salsa, merengue, Reggaeton and more. Sarasota School of Arts and Sciences presenting Latin Folkloric dance, Fuego Espa単ol By Mrs. Ruth Berkel Mariachis, and Irania Graterol with the group Sabor Flamenco.


The Saucy Sicilian


By Gaetano Cannata of Ortygia Restaurant

n the last issue, we spoke about how Sicilian cooking was influenced by the numerous countries that had invaded its shores for over 2000 years. Today I would like to tell you about a specific country that ruled over Sicily about 200 years ago that left a small but significant impact on the cuisine of Sicily. When Napoleon invaded Sicily in 1798, Sicilian cuisine was forever changed. At that time, Naples and Sicily were collectively known as The Kingdom of the two Sicilies. At the time, the Sicilian aristocracy was envious of the chefs that were brought in by their French invaders. So, they sent their Sicilian trained chefs to France to learn the French culinary arts. The returning chefs, known as Monzu, introduced ingredients such as butter and cream, and dishes, such as foie gras and consommé to the kitchens of Sicilian nobles. Their schooling was in the French culinary tradition, but their flavors were connected to the bounty and history of Sicily. This was the birth of the cuisine of the Monzu, a French/ Sicilian fusion, more or less. The cuisine fell into obscurity, due to the fact that Italy became a unified country and the Monzu were forced to leave the employ of their masters due to the decline of the aristocracy. At Ortygia, we are thrilled to bring back a tradition that, even in Sicily, is all but forgotten. We hope you enjoyed your Sicilian cuisine history lesson for this month. In the next issue……We will share a classic Monzu dish to try at home.

Fresh and Healthy Regional Sicilian Food Prepared by Chef Gaetano

specializing in Catering, Private Parties and Luncheons. Meeting Space is Available.

Live Weekly Entertainment A one of a kind, authentic Sicilian restaurant featuring Cuisine of the Monzu

1418 13th St. West • Bradenton, FL 34205


Hours: Tues. through Sat. Lunch 11:30am - 2:30pm • Dinner 5pm - 9pm





Tell Us What You Think Restaurant Name Day Visited Time Visited



March 19, 2013


4:00 PM

What did you order?

100 Spring Avenue Anna Maria, FL 34216 (941) 778-0444

A special thanks to this issue's TownTasters

Norman & Mary Berg and Two Guests

for giving their stamp of approval to The Sandbar Restaurant

About our TownTasters: Hometown: Bradenton, FL Favorite Food: Fish Hobbies: Computer, Swimming

APPETIZERS - The Shellfish Sampler of Shrimp, Mussels, and Clams (The Clam’s were missing due to the Red Tide). It would have been great with the Clams. Steaming in Old Bay seasoning and Shrimp Broth made it so good. Spinach Artichoke Dip It was served in a baked bread bowel with creamy cheese and it was large enough to share. It was very good and a nice introduction to the rest of the dinner. ENTREES - Shrimp & Scallops. The shrimp and scallops were the best I have had cooked to perfection and I was wishing I had more. The baked potato and garden beans were absolutely wonderful (so small and fresh, I ate them all). Crab Crusted Scallops. It was my first introduction to scallops and I would certainly do it again. They were served in a Blackfin Crab and lemon butter sauce and were excellent. DESSERTS - Coconut Cake, a special for the night and not on the menu, and it was a delicious. It was homemade, not from a box. Key Lime Pie was delicious. The presentation was superb. Kid Friendly Yes Easy to Find? Yes Reservations needed?

No No Yes


Please describe: Lighting

Was very adequate Located on the Beach so have sunlight


Ambiance & Decor

Great, can watch activities on the Beach Very good. Our waitress - Mary Ellen, was very attentive Favorite Aspect of the Restaurant

On the Beach Favorite Menu Item

Crab Crusted Scallops Interesting Menu Items

Ceaser Salad with Anchovies And Crab Crusted Anchovies Would you go back?


Would you recommend?

Yes, very good food and service. Comments

The presentation of all servings were very tastefully done and added to the en joyment of the dinner - my complements to the Chef! The setting is beautiful located on Anna Maria Island, overlooking the Gulf. We were kept busy watching the activities on the beach. We had a window setting with a large window that opened onto the Beach. We had a choice of seating, either inside or outside on the deck under umbrellas to view the sunset. There was a small shopping area in the reception section so that people waiting for their table could browse. The parking was somewhat congested and using the Valet parking is best. Overall it was a great experience that we en joyed and would love to do it again. We surely will go back.

Recently refurbished and done nicely

Each month, our TownTaster reviews are completed by loyal readers who want a chance to share their dining experiences. If you would like a chance to be chosen as a TownTaster and enjoy a dinner for two - register on our website


Hunsader Farms Homegrown

Fruits & Vegetables Available Daily

U-pick Hotline: 941-331-1212 Daily Updates for current picking


Florida Sweet Onions, Acorn Squash, Spaghetti Squash, Butternut Squash, Buttercup Squash, Yellow Squash, Zucchini, Beans and Peas 5500 CR 675, Bradenton, FL 34211

Farm Market: 941-322-2168 Birthday Parties • Playground • Petting Zoo





Tell Us What You Think Restaurant Name Day Visited Time Visited

5170 Clark Rd. (Palmer Plaza Blvd) Sarasota, FL 34233 941-923-2462

A special thanks to this issue's TownTaster

Mary Lanphier

for giving her stamp of approval to Sirard's Chocolate Café

About our TownTaster:

Age: 48 Current City: Sarasota Favorite Food: Anything that doesn’t eat me first. French fries do come to mind, though. Hobbies: Writing, computers, music, dining out, cooking

Sirard’s Chocolate Café

Saturday Noon

Service was excellent! My coffee cup was never empty and the server, Lynn, offered suggestions Favorite Aspect of the Restaurant

What did you order?

Chili, BLT Panini, Quiche of the day (Asparagus and Cheese), apple turnover, banana bread Kid Friendly Yes Easy to Find? Yes Reservations needed?


No No Yes

Do I have to pick a favorite? Can’t do it, loved it all! Favorite Menu Item

Can’t choose!

Interesting Menu Item No

Please describe: Lighting

Wide windows allow natural light, ceiling lamps fill in the rest

Chocolate Chili

Would you go back?

I’ve already planned my next trip! Would you recommend?

Absolutely! Charming atmosphere, wonderful food


Café style, cute as a button! Even the bathrooms reflect the love of chocolate. Very pleasant, not rushed, passion of food filled the air Comments

My “partner in dine” and I arrived at noon, not quite sure what to expect. Opening the door revealed a charming, nice sized café with beautiful walls that literally dripped chocolate (paint). Being quite surprised, we were seated and presented with menus. Before we could open it up, Lynn was at our table, offering suggestions and getting our drinks. Not sure what to order, we had to try the chocolate chili. Chocolate chili? Um, ok... The steaming bowl came topped with melted cheese and a dollop of sour cream. Cocoa infused, the chili was much richer, creamier and deeper in flavor than a traditional recipe. Neither one of us could stop eating it!

Our order consisted of the quiche of the day which was asparagus and cheese and the BLT Panini. We decided to split the plates between us. The quiche was extremely light and flavorful, not overpowering. It came with a small salad with cocoa vinaigrette, which was out of this world. The BLT Panini, made on daily baked focaccia with cocoa cured bacon, fresh local lettuce and tomato and served with a chocolate wasabi mayonnaise was delightful! It was a pleasant twist on a familiar favorite. We nibbled at the chili in-between bites of the choices on our plates. My friend and I needed a thesaurus to come up with more words other than awesome, wonderful, superb, fantastic and astounding.

Enjoying our meal, we watched people of all ages come and go, ordering the special hot chocolates, scones, chocolates and fresh pastries. Carol, the owner, migrated from table to table spreading her excitement, infectious personality and passion of food. Starting with an apartment sized refrigerator, it is hard to believe her tiny start almost thirty years ago and the moves she’s made to accommodate her growing business. The website and menu are new and don’t give the place the justice it deserves quite yet.


The time for dessert came and we were invited to experience the dessert bar. Instead, we choose Carol’s choice for us, which was freshly baked, super moist banana bread with chocolate, of course (among other things) as well as an apple pastry fresh from the oven. Even the presentation was great! Drizzled with chocolate and caramel, topped with ice cream and whipped cream, the crust of the pastry literally melted in my mouth. I couldn’t stop eating until the plate was clean.

I am disappointed they are closed on Sunday. I’ll have to wait until Monday to visit my new favorite place and get my next order of chili, as well as which Panini/sandwich I’ll choose for lunch!

Each month, our TownTaster reviews are completed by loyal readers who want a chance to share their dining experiences. If you would like a chance to be chosen as a TownTaster and enjoy a dinner for two - register on our website


WORTH  THE TRIP By Jeanette Longo

"Life is a box of chocolates... you never know what you're gonna get!" That's not always true... one thing we know is you will enjoy this destination. High above and looking over John's Pass, is a restaurant with a movie theme from the great movie Forrest Gump! Although Forrest isn't a part of the staff, there are traces of his presence everywhere. To get the attention of a server you have to flip a license plate, which is on every table. One side says "Run Forrest Run" and the other says "Stop Forrest Stop"! When this side is showing every server going by will stop and ask what can they do to help. Kid friendly, this restaurant offers inside dining filled with tons of trivia and other memorable "stuff" on the walls to keep your eyes busy during your visit. They also have outdoor dining that allows your senses to enjoy all that Florida has to offer...the crystal aqua colored waters, the warm sunshine, the gulf breezes and the great smells of delicious food cooking. Especially the fried chicken and mashed potatoes, which tastes just like Momma’s. They also have bar-b-que ribs, burgers, fries and of course shrimp! And to drink you must get raspberry iced tea or the blueberry lemonade... which are both amazing. You can even get your drink in a lighted souvenir cup. Who says they are just for kids!!!! They also have some terrific dessert choices such as Momma's best strawberry shortcake, bread pudding and key lime pie just to name a few. After dinner you can stroll through the area where there are many shops, other restaurants, bars and scenic boat rides. There is a pirate ship, a dolphin watching cruise and a sunset cruise. What more could you ask for...this area is definitely "worth the trip"!!!



Sa lute

Have you ever thought just how important that wines are in our lives? Every great occasion that we experience is shared with a glass of wine. With our wine goblet in hand we toast each other’s health. Graduations, promotions, birthdays, weddings and great triumphs are memorialized by raising our wine glass in salute! With this month’s Blog, we’re going to vary off course from our normal discussion of wines. Instead, we’re going to raise our wine glasses in a toast to a group of fellow Americans that fought to protect and preserve our precious freedoms. This month, the last survivors of “Doolittle’s Raid” will meet for the last time. More than 70 years has passed since these brave men flew into the pages of history. Without them, and the countless other warriors of WWII, we would not enjoy all that we have today. So, it’s only fitting that we glance back into our past and remember a moment that changed the world! Lest we forget, on the morning of April 18, 1942, at about 8:00 in the morning, sixteen B-25B Mitchell medium bombers lifted off the deck of the American aircraft carrier…Hornet! They were approximately 600 miles from the shores of Imperial Japan. Led by Lieutenant Colonel James (“Jimmy”) H. Doolittle the planes of this group of 80 volunteers lifted one by one from the rolling deck of the carrier. Still reeling from the devastating attack on Pearl Harbor by Japan on December 7, 1941, the United States and its allies needed something to boost the morale of its soldiers and of their citizens back home. This bold and daring venture by “Jimmy” Doolittle and his brave men became the catalyst for the change of the

momentum of the war from the Axis powers to America and her allies. Due the embarrassment of the “Doolittle Raid”, the Japanese high command resolved to prevent this from ever happening again by destroying America’s aircraft carriers. A month and a half later, japan suffered its greatest disaster of the war at…the “Battle of Midway”.

So, please, join me by raising your wine glasses in a solemn toast to these men of uncommon valor and bravery. At the very moment in our history when courage and sacrifice was needed most, these men stepped into their airplanes and flew into certain danger. With humility and gratitude to each of you we say… Until next time… ”Thank You, Salute and Happy Days”!

(This ‘Green Winer’ wine Blog is created by me, Larry Woodham. The views and statements contained herein are exclusively mine. They DO Not necessarily reflect the views of TownTaster magazine. If you have any comments or questions on this Blog or suggestions for future Blogs, please email me at


2013 DeSoto

The three-day family event features some of the best seafood around, along with other tasty offerings from area restaurants and food vendors. WHEN: 5 p.m.- 10 p.m. Friday, April 5, 2013 11 a.m.- 10 p.m. Saturday, April 6, 2013 Noon - 7 p.m. Sunday, April 7, 2013 WHERE: Between 10th and 12th Street West Bradenton, FL, 34205 COST: Adults: $2 Children 12 and under: Free

NEXT MONTH A Salute to Red, White, & Blue. Cooking up some American favorites!

A portion of admission fee’s will be donated to both the MOTS (Manasota Operation Troop Support) and FELT (Feeding Empty Little Tummies) non profit organizations. Presentation will be Saturday evening prior to headliner on the Main Stage at 8 p.m.

Contact: (941) 747-1998 or

Headliner - Uncle Kracker Performs Saturday April 6 at 8:30pm

Mr. Cheesecake & More Where Elegant Meets Delicious!

Cheesecake Wedding Cakes Layered Cakes of Cheesecake/Cake • Specialty Cakes Groom’s Cakes • Mini Dessert Trays Cannolies • Cream Puffs • Eclairs • and More!

Creating delicious memories for over 20 years


Check us out on the Web! 1128 30th Ave. West, Bradenton, FL 34205

Bring This Ad In For $5 off a purchase of $20 or more! 22

Now Open! 8215 Tourist Center Dr. • Bradenton • 359-1234 (Just off Cooper Creek Boulevard, next to World Of Beers)

NOW OPEN: 2121 Siesta Drive, Sarasota Pita’s/Gyros Fresh Salads Overstuffed Wraps And Much More... 100% Fruit Smoothies Coupon Required

Coupon Required

Coupon Required

Upgrade To A

Chicken Pita

Any 2 Pitas

Combo Meal


With purchase of pita, salad or wrap. Reg. $1.95

Not valid with any other offer One coupon per customer, per visit. EXPIRES 04/30/13

With purchase of Chicken Pita, & 2 drinks at Reg. price.


$  99 Just

Reg. $11.99 You Save $2.00

Excludes mega pitas.

Not valid with any other offer One coupon per customer, per visit.

Not valid with any other offer One coupon per customer, per visit.

EXPIRES 04/30/13

EXPIRES 04/30/13

Ceviche Sarasota is currently CLOSED while we renovate our new location at 55 Palm Avenue. THANK YOU for your years of loyal patronage and we look forward to welcoming you back soon when we have moved into our new home closer to Main Street. 23


Fridays at Noon 1490 WWPR OR listen online or from your mobile device at The TownTaster Radio Program will feature exclusive interviews with restaurant owners, chefs and other talented foodies in our area



On-Demand – visit our website to listen ANYTIME. Hear programs in the car, at the office, at home whenever you are ready.

April 2013  

This issue of TownTaster magazine brings a fiesta to your tastebuds. Local food activities and events to attend, elaborate reviews of Sirard...

April 2013  

This issue of TownTaster magazine brings a fiesta to your tastebuds. Local food activities and events to attend, elaborate reviews of Sirard...