Friday, December 28, 2012

Sunday, December 30,2012


IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR AN INEXPENSIVE AND SAFE EVENING, THE PINEAPPLE DROP RETURNS TO MAIN STREET/SARASOTA. The day long carnival starts at 2pm and closes around 1:30am. There are four entertainment stages, along with food, drinks and favors available from vendors stationed along all the closed streets. The weather promises to be mild so come on out!

Going to a movie or staying at home and watching one ON-DEMAND is also an option. Playing at Parkway Cinema are two Cine-World films; The Other Son and Last Quartet. I have seen and can recommend both movies.

Quentin Tarantino's DJANGO will surely be mentioned around award time. Set a few year's before the Civil War, it is Tarantino's take on slavery at that time. I warn you, it is VIOLENT!! The film makes use of every filthy word you can imagine and is difficult to watch at times, but it is a brilliant and riveting work of art. There are so many wonderful performances. The cast includes Leonardo DiCaprio, Christoph Waltz and Jamie Fox, as well as a wonderful turn from Samuel L.
Jackson. And see how many of the cameo's you recognize in almost every scene.

THE CENTRAL PARK 5, the ON-DEMAND movie, has been shown in several major festivals and is also being mentioned for a Documentary  Academy Award nomination. Directed and produced by PBS favorite, Ken Burns, it is a compelling story of our criminal system gone wrong. Some of you may remember the Central Park jogger rape and beating in the late 80's. What you may not remember are these five boys wrongly accused of the crime.


If you are a bridge player and looking to get away from the football games on Tuesday, I suggest the IN-BETWEEN BRIDGE CLUB off Beneva and Fruitville. A fun and inexpensive way to spend an afternoon, it is the second busiest bridge club in all of the USA.

Since this is the last blog of 2012, I am going to quickly review some of my favorite restaurants. It will differ greatly with Jack Winner's list in this week's Herald Tribune insert. His appetite is very unusual, to say the least. I agree with Savory Street, State Street and Darwin's on 4th, which I haven't been to since starting the blog in July. However, he has overlooked some true gems; Puccini continues to be my favorite for Italian. You cannot beat El Toro Bravo for Mexican. Lucky Pelican stays hidden in Lakewood Ranch, and it is truly one of the best restaurants for fresh seafood in the market.

You know how I feel about
JPAN. Now with two locations, they serve up spectacular sushi along with Japanese favorites. And the best new Chinese food is served at Yummy House, a new and already popular place to eat every day of the week, including Christmas, when they were full to the brim. My apologizes to those I've missed this year, stay tuned for 2013! We are fortunate to live in an area with so many choices. 


2012 saw the arrival of COSTCO and TRADER JOE'S as well as construction of the new BENDERSON MALL at University and 75 and the ground-breaking of PF CHANG'S restaurant on Osprey and Mound.

I started the blog in July with a small list of contacts. It has grown beyond my wildest imagination. I thank all of you for reading and commenting. Don't stop!!! If you find a good restaurant let me know about it. To Jason, thank you for your efforts this year. He has earned a well-deserved vacation without pay. A special thank you to Tracy Finglass, my daughter from Atlanta, for formatting and editing this week's blog.  HAPPY NEW YEAR....SEE YOU IN 2013..JIM

Friday, December 21, 2012


Good morning, and again welcome to the sights of the season.  Only two more days until Christmas and one week until the last blog of 2012.  Again, this week I will begin with the sights of the season.

 If you are looking for a last minute gift, several of the area's restaurants are offering $incentives with certificate purchases.  Among them, STONEWOODS, JPAN, OUTBACK GROUP, CARMEL CAFE, and HYDE PARK.  In most cases you receive $20 for every $100 spent. 

This week with family here we visited several restaurants, some old, but one a reinvention of itself that is very, very good!!!  me' the evolution of LAN has become a smart upscale restaurant with snacks, soups, salads and small plates for every appetite and best of all, the prices are reasonable.  The owner/chef is behind the kitchen/bar preparing the dishes as you watch.  Outstanding is the mushroom strudel, beef short ribs, and mini cheeseburgers.  Best of all, they are open until 2am.  Next door is 1564 MAIN STREET, with an even simpler menu of soup, salad and sandwiches.  And, if you like pizza, EVIE'S is the place for you; especially on Wednesday when 14" pizzas are $7 and 18"are $8.  They have several locations around SARASOTA and are open late most nights.

Another new arrival RINCON CUBANO was written up this week in the Herald Tribune.  Though my review would not be as glowing, if you like Cuban food and don't like spending an arm and leg for it,  RINCON, tucked in a strip-mall on Honore and 17th is an ideal neighborhood restaurant for a fast bite.  We also visited old favorites, JPAN and CARMEL CAFE.  Both continue to grow in popularity, especially JPAN which has a wait most nights in both locations.

Also ventured to RIVERWALK along the BRADENTON waterfront.  A few miles of sidewalk along with parks, amphitheater, skate boarding, a water fall for kids, and areas for sitting, this is an ideal location for a walk or bike ride.  From there a few miles west on 12th street  is OLD BRADENTON, where you can find several dining options from coffee, to sandwiches, to bar food. 
For several years now, BRADENTON has been easy to avoid, but with it's MANATEE PLAYERS thriving along with its SOUTH FLORIDA MUSEUM and Bishop Planetarium, it is thriving as a tourist destination or a day trip for those of us who live here.

Next week I will give a review of 2012 along
with a preview of PINEAPPLE DROP, the return of SARASOTA'S traditional New Year's Eve celebration on Main Street.

Until then have a great week.  Jason is actually here editing and proofing the blog this week.  He is on his way to Ft. Lauderdale for Royal Caribbeans Oasis of the Seas.  See you  next week..... JIM.