Thursday, March 28, 2013

SUNDAY, MARCH 31, 2012


Many of you will be going to brunch this morning, and if you haven't made your plans yet here is a suggestion you will not regret.....THE BROKEN EGG. They have 3 loations,  SARASOTA, Siesta Key or Lakewood Ranch.   Associated with local ESPN commentator Dick Vitale, BROKEN EGG offers a wide variety of eggs, pancakes, fruit and cereal on its menu.  Huge supporters of the JIMMY V foundation, BROKEN EGG and Vitale raise money through sales of books and other items in their gift shop or by rounding off the check. Proceeds raised through the foundation help fight pediatric cancer, with most of the money staying right here in SARASOTA.  You get a great meal and contribute to a wonderful cause.

If you are not doing brunch today, a good place for dinner is EAT HERE.  There are small dishes to share (the fried beets are to die for) and larger dishes to share as well.  From meatloaf to seafood to flat bread to burgers, there is something on the menu for every appetite.  For a real adventure sit at one of the community tables in front of the kitchen.  There you can actually share with strangers, make new friends, and really taste most of the menu.  There are now three locations  in SARASOTA, Siesta Key and Holmes Beach.

For 10 years, EMBRACING OUR DIFFERENCES has drawn on the passion of artists around the world to create a unique and powerful international outdoor art exhibits at Island Park in SARASOTA and ib Bradenton at Riverwalk.  Beginning today and running through June in SARASOTA and through April in Bradenton,  it is well worth your time to view what is called "enriching lives through diversity."  If you visit the exhibit in Bradenton, plan to spend some time at Riverwalk, which was reviewed here several weeks ago.  Pick up a copy of Thursday's Ticket for even more fun to do in downtown Bradenton.  Our sister city to the north is beginning to make positive noise which is good for both counties.

Last weekend, a still under construction rowing and aquatic sports center was host to SARASOTA Invitational Regatta.  I was there both days, and though Sunday's weather was difficult for rowers and spectators as well, it was extremely gratifying to see how the course has grown.  Now adjacent to soon to be opened Cattleman Road,  BENDERSON PARK, is an eye-popping addition to the ever growing SARASOTA sport scene.  The next event, FIRA, Florida Intercollegiate Rowing Association Regatta takes place 4/5-6.  Several more are scheduled throughout April.  I urge you to attend, show your support, and see your tax dollars at work.

Several weeks ago, a group from SARASOTA ventured to Philadelphia for a reception given by the University of Pennsylvania to mark the opening of the Lawrence Schoenberg Institute of Manuscript Studies, named for Barbara and Larry Schoenberg.  In attendance along with Barbara and Larry were Debbie and Jack Yonker, Milton and Carole Fox, Mark and Irene Kauffman, David and Fran Lambert, Mickey Fine and Veronica Brady.

For over 40 years, Larry and Barbara have collected an extensive number of Medieval manuscripts.   Their collection is so valuable to historical studies Penn created the institute so that scholars can come there and actually hold pages written more than 500 years ago!  Their entire collection is in the process of being digitalized so everyone can have access to them.


While in Philadelphia, the group visited the newest Barnes Foundation building which is home to some of the finest collection of art, furniture, African sculpture, textiles and metalwork in the US.  They also went to the Jewish History Museum which traces the history of Jewish life in America from inception to present day.  Thanks to CIO Debbie for contributing the material for this article.  A picture from their visit concludes the blog.

This week brings Hollywood and all its glamour to SARASOTA for the 15th annual SARASOTA FILM FESTIVAL.  Running from 4/5-4/14, it features many independent films from various festivals around the world.  In this month's SARASOTA magazine, director Tom Hall picks seven festival movies as must sees....Running From Crazy, Pasadena, The Discoverers, The Cold Lands, Frances HA, Blackfish and The Spectacular Now.  His picks always sell out, so I suggest you get tickets today.

For all of you APPLE enthusiasts who drive to the Apple Store in Brandon for your Apple needs, there is no need to travel  that far for assistance.  Sarasota has an Apple authorized dealer, Computer Advantage. Although not an official APPLE STORE, Computer Advantage is the local area specialist in Apple products, training and service.  I can attest first hand to their expertise and willingness to take the time to educate you if you are looking to purchase or have problems with your current APPLE product.  Computer Advantage is conveniently located 7810 north on The Trail.

This week's rant comes courtesy of Tony Souza, Chairman of Downtown SARASOTA alliance, who was quoted in Friday's Herald in a story about the departure of DEREK'S from the Rosemary District to of all places Manatee Ave. in downtown Bardenton, "......said businesses in the Rosemary District suffer because pedestrians have trouble crossing busy Fruitville Road.  The City Commission has rejected bids to install better crosswalks."  Derek's, along with most viable retailers is too far from Fruitville for his remarks to be meaningful .  Until the Commission does something to address that area's homeless situation , you can forget about a viable Rosemary District.  DEREK'S is not the first  Rosemary business to move or go out of business, and will not be the last.



I had every intention of putting out a special Jim Knows Sarasota edition in commemoration of APRIL FOOL'S DAY....but as usual the several editions of OBSERVER beat me to it.  If you cannot find a paper somewhere in SARASOTA and want to see what is now a tradition click here to see this year's fool joke .  There are four editions, each with its own special treat.

That's all for this week.  Tracy is again responsible for cleaning up after me.  Have a great one....JIM


Saturday, March 23, 2013

SUNDAY, MARCH 24, 2013


If you've been shopping, eating or browsing at Cooper Creek you are familiar with the congestion most times of the day.  Now, with the addition of NORDSTROM RACK and ASHLEY FURNITURE, Benderson along with SARASOTA COUNTY are attempting to alleviate the problem.  A stop light is under construction at the corner of Cooper Creek and the entrance near PIER 1.  Have you ever tried leaving  the center during the day or at rush hour?   It requires lots of patience, which most of us have run out of quickly!!!!

Today continues the SARASOTA INVITATIONAL REGATTA at Benderson Park off University and 75.  This is the premier race kicking off the 2013 spring rowing season.  Both masters and youth level rowers from all over the Southeastern United States are participating in this event.  For the first time, the Regatta is running from the new (and still being built!) Regatta Island.   Events begin at 8:30 and conclude at 3:36.

Contributor Marcia Clark recently entertained out of town guests and asked us for a dining recommendation.  We gave her two and she went to both.  Here in her own words is how it went" CAS: A beautiful venue and very cool people.  Our friend had very good veal and his wife wasn't disappointed.  However...I had lukewarm escargot which really weren't tasty at all and fillet of sole, really a sole francais and chewy with nothing but a lemon taste.  Where is the imagination?  I did like the eggplant side and it was rather tasty but lukewarm again.

Now MOZAIC was a different story.  No pretensions.  We were seated upstairs as you suggested.  We had amuse boucher (a delicious little taste of a berry soup with an interesting spice).  I had a delicious escargot and polenta with goat cheese, and a yellow tomato soup.  All had interesting and fresh herbs and spices.  One of our guests had to eat gluten free and the waiter was very knowledgeable.  Others liked the duck and mussells.  We were happy with everything."

In closing Marcia advised "give CAS another chance.  Maybe we hit on a bad night.  Most important, my guests were happy with their meal."
Shifting gears from SARASOTA topics to a new and exciting discovery for your iPhone.  As you recall, grandsons Jason and Adam were here last week, and their adventure follows.  But while here Adam led me to SnipSnap, a wonderful iPhone APPTheir "Never leave home without a coupon again!" is the idea behind SnipSnap, the first app to scan, save and redeem printed coupons on your mobile phone.   The APP is free and available on iTunes.  Follow the instructions and start saving today.  I have already used it at CHIPOLTE, TARGET and PUBLIX.  Just search for your favorite.

                              JASON AND ADAM'S DISCOVERY OF SARASOTA
We saw and ate so much in 6 days, that I am going to condense this as best as possible.  Off the plane and on to FIVE GUYS for a greasy lunch of hamburger and fries.  If you've never been, you have to try it!!!  Not healthy, but real good.  That evening, they chowed down on pizza from EVIE'S, one of their favorite SARASOTA haunts. I wrote last week about TREE umph!!! Great for the young ones in your family.  You can find 10% discount cards all over town. 

On Thursday,  the boys played a round of miniature golf in on the trail. We ate dinner at one of my favorite restaurants, YUMMY HOUSE, where service and food was easily the best I've had there.  Both boys loved the dinner.  The next day we saw ORIOLE'S beat Red Sox in 10 innings, went to another favorite dinner spot, PUCCINI.  No trip to Sarasota is complete without an outing to ST. ARMAND'S CIRCLE and of course dinner at JPAN on Saturday.  To wrap things up on Sunday,  they played more mini  golf at Lakewood Ranch and enjoyed a snack of sweet potato fries at LUCKY PELICAN plus water sports at Bay Shore Park.  Our last dinner was the best....cooked by Roberta right here at home.

Now playing at Asolo Repertory Theatre, last year's TONY AWARD winner for best play, CLYBOURNE PARK.  Generating rave reviews and buzz from those who have seen it, this is easily the best play of the season.  For those of us who are here year round, there is more to come.  And this week, next season's schedule was announced and the first show beginning 11/12 and running to 12/29 is the classic SHOW BOAT, which has not been revived  on Broadway for several years.   There will be a large cast (for Asolo) of 25 along with an eight person orchestra.

Tomorrow night at sundown is the first night of PASSOVER.  PESACH in Hebrew, it is known as the "holiday of freedom" commemorating the Jewish exodus of Egypt following 210 years of slavery.  Passover is regarded as the "birth" of the Jewish nation, and its lessons of struggle and identity continue to form the basis of Jewish consciousness 3,300 years after the event.

PASSOVER is an 8 day holiday.  The name derives from the fact that during the final plague--the slaying of the first born--GOD "passed over" the Jewish homes.

Jim's Sunday rant.....continues last week's driver rant and moves to motorcycle courtesy.  Florida does not require helmets, and most cyclists don't wear them..WRONG....most cyclists go from lane to lane without signaling intention....WRONG....most cyclists drive well above the speed limit.....WRONG...several have passengers with no helmet and light clothing....not WRONG, but STUPID.  Drive a bike, but adhere to the rules of the road, and all of us will be better for it.

This week, I have a second can the Herald Tribune take credit for reporting NORDSTROM RACK, when they initially "confirmed" ASHLEY FURNITURE for the vacated Circut City space?

To my Jewish readers and friends, enjoy the "holiday of freedom."  To my non-Jewish friends, I will be visiting EASTER which is a week from today.

Thank you Tracy for once again proving your editing know how.  And thank you for those who contribute and respond.  Until next Sunday, .......JIM

Saturday, March 16, 2013

SUNDAY, MARCH 17, 2013

HAPPY ST. PATRICK'S DAY!!!!!!  And welcome to another edition of JIM KNOW'S SARASOTA........       

Grandsons, Jason and Adam visited Tree Umph!  this past Wednesday and had a blast.  Thanks to Marcia Clark for pointing me to this new (2 month old) attraction even before it opened.  Located 9 miles east of I75 off State Rte 70 it is well worth the ride for anyone with young guests.  I wouldn't participate, but there were many men and women, easily in their 50's and beyond who were screaming with delight at the end of their last zip line.
There is a mandatory training course at the beginning, and then groups go on their adventure to climb, swing, zip and jump...all while 15 to 60 feet in the air!  Among the activities in the 14-acre park are zip lines, a wobbly bridge walk, hanging nets, bungee swings and more all while the participant is harnessed to a rope for protection.  For more information click here .

For those of you who missed LES MISERARBLES at the Van Wezel, this show is still touring throughout Florida.  I've spoken to several who saw a performance and all stated "this is a better show than the original and far superior to the movie."   According to the Herald's Jay Handelman, the standing ovation did not stop for several minutes.  I had a similar experience earlier this year for BRAVO BROADWAY.  Could it possibly be we don't need as much sleep and are not ready to bolt to the exits after great performances?

If you are reading this before 2am Sunday, you can hop on down to THE GATOR CLUB at the corner of Main and Lemon to take part in a combination 100 Year Anniversary Party along with a more traditional St. Patrick's Day celebration.It's hard to believe GATOR has survived that long.  If anyone knows of older SARASOTA survivors please let me know.

CIO Debbie, recently dined at MADE, one of SARASOTA's new fun dinning additions.  Before reviewing the restaurant, Debbie stated:  "To all of Jim's followers and friends, I want to say I am not a restaurant critic or even an authority on good food.  I just know what I like.  I appreciate good service from the waitstaff and management that cares about the customer.  My tastes run to fresh ingredients, not too fussy preparations and a table where we can hear each other speak.  I hope that my opinions will encourage you to try more of the diverse dining opportunities we have in our wonderful town."  I want to add, though not a restaurant critic, Debbie is the BEST travel agent in SARASOTA.  She has planned our travel for several years.

MADE is surely not Brasserie Belge,  (an entirely different menu) ; however, it has the sense of liveliness which Belge was famous for.  An attractive young bar crowd,  drawn to the restaurant by creative drink items add to the exciting feel to the place.  Yes, it is noisy, but you can always sit in the back dinning room away from the crowded bar.  Though, not trying the many items on MADE's modern menu, what we did sample was delicious.  The BBQ rib appetizer, the brussels sprouts, risotto and impenadas all were delicious and highly recommended.  With warmer weather on the way, the outside patio will make for a wonderful setting for a casual evening of dinning.

Last week, while reviewing ZITI, I incorrectly stated that this is one of 11 such restaurants.  In truth, this is the only one of its kind among the other Midwest locations.

For several years, my walking group from University Park and Longboat Key have been walking the Ringling Bridge on Saturday and eating a hearty breakfast afterwards.  The walk use to begin and end at the BLUE DOLPHIN.  After we surpassed 12 in number, we needed a larger venue on the other side of the bridge.  After a few years of searching,  we have finally found a downtown location willing to cater to our large group which now includes a dog!!!  The outside patio of STATION 400, located at Fourth and Lemon, is one of the best breakfast/lunch restaurants that have sprouted up  all over SARASOTA.  Due to their popularity and word of mouth, their second location in Lakewood Ranch is prospering as well.

From omelets, to oatmeal, to biscuits and waffles, to fruit and yogurt, there is surely something for everyone.  The food is great,  the atmosphere is charming and the downtown location is an easy walking distance from the Saturday Market and Whole Foods. If the weather is cold, the inside is cozy, but not quite as much fun.  Wherever you sit, you won't go home hungry.

My weekly rant comes courtesy of another Fox, good friend, Mickey,  who rightly so complains about bikers without helmets, ride on the wrong side of the road--facing oncoming traffic, ride instead of walk bikes at intersections,  pay no attention to stop signs, ride in tandem, making them difficult to pass, neglect to signal when they turn and ride at night with no lights and worse yet, dark clothing.  STAY IN YOUR BIKE LANE and be safe!!!!

Thanks again to Editor Tracy, to CIO Debbie, to Marcia Clark for her TREE UMPH heads up, to Mickey Fox for this week's rant and to George Miles, who feels neglected each week for not getting credit for discovering CHOO CHOO'S!!!!  Next week I am going to tell you of an exciting trip friends recently took to Philadelphia along with more highlights of Jason and Adam's visit to SARASOTA......JIM