Saturday, June 2, 2018

JUNE 3, 2018


 One of my favorite shows gone because of a fowl, irresponsible mouth....good riddance.....

On more important matters of the day, summer, which use to be a SLOW time for SARASOTA when it comes to theater and cabaret is no longer.  Though your favorite restaurant may not be nearly as busy as the past few months, you do have many choices when it come to live entertainment.

ASOLO REP will be hard pressed to replace one of its all time greatest RAGTIME, but their new and last show of the season, JUNGLE BOOK is generating good word of mouth from those who have seen the rehearsal process.  

From the same creative team of TWENTY THOUSAND LEAGUES....comes a world premier for the entire family.  This one uses a multi-media theatrical approach with eye-popping video, interactive technology and music to bring alive the animals and humans of Kipling's classic stories.

Playing in Previews June 6-8 and running through June 24.  To order tickets on line you can click here. Box office is open daily or call 941-351-8000. 

Opening June 12 in the CABARET of FST is CAROLE'S KINGS, this one is a tribute to one of our great songwriters of this era.  Music is provided by an all male cast with
writing provided by Chicago's famed THE SECOND CITY, the country's premier comedy club, theater, and home of improvisation.

Who can forget Carole King's amazing song book including  "A Natural Woman", "Beautiful", "It's Going To Take Some Time", "Up On The Roof" and much, much more.  If you were fortunate enough to catch the King musical, Beautiful, you know how powerful her songbook is.

Tickets for this show will be at a premium.  Running through July 15 to be replaced at Court Cabaret by The Music of The Night, I suggest you order tickets now at their web site now, or call 941-366-9000 and reserve today. 

Finally a movie for many of you who read this every week.  In its fourth week BOOK CLUB is being recommended by friends who would rather sit on a couch than go to Hollywood 11.  And how many of you know this theater has reserved lounge seating?  The story of four friends whose lives are turned upside down when their book club's next book is 50 Shades of Grey.  You can connect the dots. 

Starring Jane Fonda, Diane Keaton, Candice Bergen, Craig Nelson and more to make you laugh for almost two hours.  Playing all over town.  You can see it now or wait for Parkway in a few weeks. This time of year we are fortunate to have an adult movie choice other than Burns Court!his

What with all the SAVOR SPECIALS at most popular restaurants, its easy to
forget that many restaurants continue to serve their HAPPY HOUR daily.  Took advantage of one of the best last night, BRIO at UTC.  Their area for this promotion is bar and outside, and there were very few seats to be had at 6:00.  

Bar drinks are greatly reduced, and along with their small but substantial HAPPY HOUR menu, you won't leave hungry.  Their bar burger could easily make the Herald Tribune list published in Ticket Thursday.  Along with Tomato Mozzarella Salad,chips and Buffalo Chicken Nachos the bill is 1/2 of what normal portions would cost.  From late afternoon to 6:30 weekdays.

Craving another STREET FESTIVAL/CRAFT SHOW.....You're in luck

See You There

JIM'S RANT....Tropical storm Alberto is history.  Sarasota, except for beach erosion came away unscathed.  Not so are the many TV weatherpersons, especially nationally, who once again created the illusion that Sarasota was taking a direct hitWhile watching CNN on a sunny Sunday afternoon, their split screen showed the storm track and Sarasota residents lining up for sand bags.  No wonder we all panic this time of year............JIM....I'm off for a few months, but will return the end of summer with new editions of JIM KNOWS SARASOTA

Friday, May 25, 2018

MAY 27, 2018


Please take a few minutes this weekend to remember those who gave their lives in sacrifice to our country.....

SAVOR SARASOTA RESTAURANT WEEK....Returns this Friday and runs through 6/14.  That end date does not mean the end of this promotion, as several restaurants compete for summer business with SAVOR specials until Labor Day.  A three course lunch will cost you $16 while the same number of courses is $32 for dinner.   At most participating restaurants dessert is the third course, but many offer an additional appetizer in place of that caloric piece of pie or cake.

Three of my favorites always put on a good show and you don't leave hungry.  The Rosemary continues their tradition of providing more food than one could possibly want all for either $16 at lunch or $32 at dinner. 

 Many menu favorites, including A Trio Of Scallops, The Rosemary Petite Fillet Mignon, Ribs and George's Texas Platter.  Just a small sample; and more added throughout promotion.  Best to call for reservations NOW 941-955-7600.

Hyde Park Steak House not only has the best Happy Hour downtown,  but one of the best SAVOR menus as well.  Several Steak items are featured, including Petite Twin Fillet and Dry Aged Sirloin Chop Steak.  Add a wedge and their wonderful vegetable and potato side along with dessert, all for $32.  Reservations at 941-366-7788.

If you cannot wait for Thursday, Mozaic is well into their SAVOR menu.  Included is their Curry Carrot Soup, Mediterranean Salad, Crab Cakes, Ceviche, Fresh Catch, Scottish Salmon, Diver Scallop Trip, Skirt Steak and Short Rib.   Much more to choose from.  For reservations call 941-951-6272.

Those of you who prefer to get to Ft. Lauderdale, Miami, Ft. Myers or downtown Tampa on BUS, can now.  A new service, OURBUS leaving  from the Cattleman Transfer Center began this week.  And for two weeks, fare will be $10 each way including Wi-Fi, individual mobile-device charging ports, reclining seats, bottled water and bathrooms.

Their web-site is easily navigated.  I can tell you our son travels here from Ft. Lauderdale via Greyhound, which over the years has not done much to modernize or sanitize their bus line.  You can go on line and simply navigate for schedule. This is a positive transportation addition for our market.

With a tropical storm looming in the Gulf and almost a daily deluge of rain, it is not too early or too late to think about preparing for HURRICANE season.  I can remember the sounds of Irma this past September as it neared Sarasota; we were lucky not to take a direct hit.

To better prepare, Herald-Tribune is sponsoring a Hurricane Expo Saturday June 9.  Running 10AM-2PM at Sarasota Main Plaza, this expo offers you the opportunity to meet preparation vendors, storm- recovery experts, builders and remodelers.  There will be panel discussions as well as booths throughout the Plaza.  For more information and a complete list of panel discussions click here.

The 2018 CIRCUS SPECTACULAR begins June 12 and runs through July 28.  This show in Ringling's Historic Asolo Theatre is our most popular summer attraction.  Running a little over an hour, the entertainment never stops.  Presented in cooperation with The Circus Arts Conservatory of Sarasota this is an event for all ages. 

 Preview tickets are priced for as low as $12.  Call 941-360-7399  or click here for complete schedule and summer season of special events.. Before or after the show take advantage of MUSE Savor menu.

Lots going on this month including Sarasota Music Festival; a continuing program of Sarasota Orchestra.   Beginning June 4 and running for three weeks with all performances at Sarasota Opera House.  The Festival attracts the rising stars of music from around the world.  The competition is fierce for the final 60 spots in the closing concert.
Master classes are priced at $5 and participant recitals start at $10.  As their advertising states:  SARASOTA in June Never Sounded So Good.  For a complete schedule of classes and performance click here. You can also call 941-953-3434 for tickets.

Randy Silagi, who knows a good value meal when he sees one, writes "If you don't have a cardiologist or don't listen to him anyway, might want to try Cafe 766 in Engelwood.  Large portions moderately priced, paper table cloths and  plastic utensils.  It is the Quintessential old Florida stop. An outside tiki bar serves $5 drinks, $4 wine glass full to top.  Inside burgers, blackened grouper sandwiches to die for as well as decedent onion rings.

Located 45 minutes from exit 213, according to Randy; "its well worth the trip"  Open lunch and dinner 138 Indiana Ave.  Englewood. Phone ahead at 941-475-0519.

JIM'S RANT.....Seems like every week we learn tragically of another school shooting.  You know the statistics by now; more children killed annually than those fighting for our country in Afghanistan. To protect its students, Sarasota High School which has a vulnerable road adjacent to its campus will now close that road between 6:30am and 10pm. for a safer campus. That people are really fighting this is untenable.  Nothing to do with gun rights folks; everything to do with protection of our children......Thanks for reading.  Until next week.....JIM



Saturday, May 19, 2018

MAY 20, 2018


Last week, with help from The Supreme Court, sports betting outside of Las Vegas became LEGAL.   New Jersey will benefit almost immediately having passed a constitutional amendment in favor of legalized sports betting 7 years ago.  As soon as our State Legislature gets its act together Florida, is the perfect location for this activity.

The Doug Fernandez column in Saturday's Tribune .."Sports gambling here?  Don't bet on it" casts doubt on your placing a bet  anytime soon on your favorite NFL team in the fall.  Gambling of a different kind already exists at SKC, a natural though not ideal spot to place that bet in the future.  As more and more states pass necessary legislation it will put pressure on our political leaders to act.  Until then Welcome to New Jersey.

A terrific documentary produced by CNN opened Friday at BURNS COURT.  Playing to sold-out audiences at recent Sarasota Film Festival, RBG is not to be missed.  U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg at 84 is not slowing down.  The film explores the life of Ginsburg from an early age, through college, and law school.  She meets the love of her life, has a family and career, culminating with her years at the Supreme Court.  Saw this on Saturday, and highly recommend.

If you can't make it to Burns, this one is sure to turn up on CNN in the coming months. 

The location formerly housing ROY'S is now open as ROLF'S New Florida Kitchen 2001Siesta Drive. At first glance nothing has changed.  The interior looks familiar, but improvements have been made to brighten your dining experience.

Dining here now is a totally new experience.  Their menu is something else as it features freshly caught Florida seafood of many varieties.  If fish is not for you, there are several meat options along with salads.  ROLF'S is fine dining and can be costly.

On the other hand, if you are one of us who take advantage of happy-hour or early dining specials, then ROLF'S Sunset Special is for you.  Priced at $20, and serving 3:30-5:30, it features a list of six entree choices, along with first course and dessert.   The portions are more than ample for dinner.

 ROLF'S  is open for dinner daily with lunch served on Sunday.  Call 941-806-6820 for a reservation.  

Monday marks the conclusion of RINGLING by the BAY.  A very popular and successful local band, Kettle of Fish performs; you are also encouraged to dance to their music as well.    Festivities begin at 6 and conclude after 9.  Taking place at Ca'd'Zan along Sarasota Bay 5401 Bay Shore Road.  Admission to event is $15, but $5.00 for Ringling members.  For more information on this event as well as current exhibits at museum click here.

These events usually sell-out.  Call 941-358-3180 before you go.

One of my annual favorites, SAVOR SARASOTA, is just a few weeks away.  This year's dates are 6/1-14, with many restaurants extending the promotion well into the summer.  With over 90 restaurants participating throughout the region you will have many choices.  Consisting of three courses, lunch is $16 pp while dinner is $32. One of my favorites, THE ROSEMARY, has had their menu available on line for several weeks.  Located at 411 N. Orange they are now accepting reservations for Savor at 941-955-7600.

Over the next several weeks, I will have information on several more restaurants participating in this year's 13th annual promotion.  I'm sure many of you can remember the early days when portions were embarrassingly small for several restaurants.  That is no longer the case as most go all out to take advantage of this slow time for their industry.

Next weekend brings a favorite annual event, THE ST. ARMANDS SEAFOOD & MUSIC FESTIVAL.  From 11am-8pm there is continuous entertainment, an all-encompassing arts and crafts show, and delicious seafood from some of the area's favorites.  Admission is free, parking is ridiculous, with  entertainment running  throughout the event. If you are a fan of oysters, mussels and more, there is a VIP tent at $130pp. AND, if you miss Kettle of Fish at Ringling, they will be performing 3:30-5:30 Saturday. 

I'll give you advance notice for 2019
Last weekend, Andrew Lane and the Sarasota Orchestra presented their annual Field of Dreams concert at Ed. Smith Stadium.  Many of you went, and took the time to write how wonderful the evening was.  Irv Becker wrote:"....the sound system was better than Van Wezel, the orchestra was outstanding, and the fireworks were better than July 4th or New Year's eve. " Barry and Suzy Benjamin were also enthusiastic in their praise.

JIM'S RANT....Good news for those of you who travel the Ringling/Orange corridor,  construction of the roundabout is over, and traffic is flowing freely through the area.  This should come as RELIEF for some who spent the season fighting the ridiculous detour around Burns Court. No more complaints; just smooth sailing through the area......See you next week for the next to last blog until late summer........JIM



Friday, May 11, 2018

May 12, 2018

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY.....You've earned it!!!

Tap card to view!!!

THEY'RE BACK!!!!!!!  Every May around this time of year those of us living  in Florida are treated to the LOVE BUG mating season.  Unfortunately, they mate all over our automobiles.  UGH....but have no fear, their season is nearly over.....until October when those lovers return to die off until next year.

FLORIDA STUDIO THEATRE.....the mainstage is about to begin its summer season.  The first of  three plays begins in a few weeks with Always...Patsy Cline.  A tuneful and memorable tribute to Country Music legend, Patsy Cline.    Follow Cline from her beginnings in honky-tonk bars to the Grand Ole Opry.  Familiar songs from Crazy to Sweet Dreams.

Following in June is Murder for Two, and August by Other People's Money which sounds like some of the news stories we've been subjected to lately.  As always, subscriptions start at $39 and to $64.  There is no better Summer bargain than FST.  Call 941-366-9000 or click here to visit their web page.

 Last week's blog included my review of new Hillview Street restaurant Giorgio's.  Unfortuneatly for some of you the web address was incorrectly posted.  Though corrected on Sunday, I am repeating this week for the several of you who sent email alerting me to mistake.  

If you did not read last week, or forgot review, it is very positive!!!

Around the corner from Hillview going north is the brand new and modern YUMMY HOUSE.  Nothing has changed except address 1737 S. Tamiami Trail.  Well maybe the food is better in this location.  All your North Trail favorites are included  form Vegetable Lo Mein, to Egg Drop Soup to House Fried Rice.  JT promises to add new dishes in the coming weeks.

 New to this location is a FULL bar also serving specialty drinks.  Be sure to check out the Marsh Manhattan and the Fox Red Lotus Martini.  Call 941-351-1688 for either lunch or dinner reservation.   To view their menu for carryout and eat in click here. Save room for the soup!!!

We are several months from celebrating a new year, but that has not stopped VENICE THEATRE from putting its show for that weekend on sale now!!!  The always enjoyable, Capitol Steps will be appearing for three shows 12/29,30,an 31.  Called Make America Grin Again, the Steps take today's headlines and give you something to laugh about. 

 This show always sells out, so if you're in a mind to make your New Year plans this far in advance give them a call at 941-488-1115. 

Do you miss the entertainment of live baseball and don't want to drive through those love bugs to  see the  Rays game in Tampa?  Playing in Lecom Park,  the Bradenton MARAUDERS offer you a cheap   alternative.  Playing through August, you can purchase tickets for as low as $6.00.  Great ballpark food as well.  Click here to get complete schedule along with their weekly promotions. You can also call 941-747-303

The opening of UTC in fall of 2014 was greeted with skepticism.  No other Mall was under construction and none were in planning stages.  On-line shopping was becoming a trend and Mall shopping was from another time.  Here we are middle of May 2018, and UTC is brimming with shoppers and diners.  In fact, the corridor from Honore to 75 is the area's most condense shopping area with strip malls, big box stores, restaurants, and UTC.  See you there!!!........JIM.....Thanks for reading.  See you next week.......

Saturday, May 5, 2018

MAY 5, 2018


Hats, parties, drinking and more.  This once popular sport is now relegated to three weekends.  Enjoy!!!

As the 2017/18 season draws to a close, and summer performances set to begin, it's not too early to plan for 2018/19.  This week and next I will try to bring you a few.  But before we close the books on this season you are in for a treat next weekend.

 ARTS IN THE BALLPARK has been a successful Sarasota Orchestra presentation for several May evenings.

On May 11 and 12 beginning at 8, the orchestra is presenting Field OF Dreams.  Andrew Lane returns as conductor along with soloists Clifton and Deedee Hall.  Their program will include songs from movies, television and theatre.  La La Land, Les Miserables, Hairspray, South Pacific and Chorus Line is just a sample of what's in store for you next weekend.
 May evenings.

Each Ed Smith Stadium performance ends with a spectacular fireworks display.  Tickets from $15 sold by the Baltimore Orioles at Ed Smith Stadium or click here.

If you've been one of the fortunate who had tickets to this season's Florida Studio Theatre, you were thoroughly entertained at Mainstage and the Cabaret.  And if you purchased season tickets the value was exceptional.  FST's Summer Season is now available for subscription purchase; and there is no greater value than one of those.

Always Patsy Cline returns to Mainstage May 30.  Along with Murder for Two and Other People's Money you can see all 3 for as little as $39.  The Cabaret has an equally impressive lineup. 
for as little as $39.   Carole's Kings opens the season June 12.  This one is an all-male Carole King tribute combining her music along with music from the 70's and 80's.  The Music of the Night and Gilbert & Sullivan Unplugged follow. For more information and to purchase tickets click here.

Three weeks ago, I alerted you to the final show at Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe.  The reviews are in, and along with the dancing in the aisles audiences, they are ecstatic.   This original Nate Jacobs musical revue features over two dozen songs many of them from our childhood.  The cast is energetic and talented as is the small band guiding them and you through the evening.  If ever there was a show not to be missed, this is it!!!  Playing through May 26,  To order tickets click here or call 941-366-1505. 

As the area around Sarasota Memorial Hospital continues to grow, so do the restaurant choices.  A relatively new one,  GIORGIO'S on HILLVIEW, is getting good word of mouth and deservedly so as we learned last week.

Their specialty is creating your own meal from pizza to pasta.  Pizza is from a Brick Oven and comes with thin crust, crisp, and all sorts of toppings.  You can create your own personal pasta from more than a dozen pastas, over 10 sauces, of which 9 are made to order, as well as several protein and vegetable options to customize your creation.

Open daily beginning at 4 call 941-365-3300 for reservations and click here for more information and menu.

Having spent a good deal of time last week encouraging you to purchase tickets to Asolo rep's presentation of RAGTIME, I am going to brief this week.  Saw the opening performance on Friday.  Cannot remember a better show at Asolo, or anywhere else in the area.  Don't miss it!!!

JIM'S RANT.....Another successful Giving Challenge is history.  As you know from last week's Blog, I am a big supporter of this fund raiser.  However, the email barrage before and during the promotion was almost too much to handle.  Hopefully they'll find a way to cut down the mail next year.  Same goes to David Shapiro's and Vern Buchanan's run for congress.  Enough already!!!!....JIM.....Have a great week........