Saturday, June 22, 2013

SUNDAY, JUNE 23, 2013


Tonight is the BIG EVENT.....Nik Wallenda attempts to cross the Grand Canyon.  You can watch beginning at 8pm on the  Discovery Channel.  The actual walk begins around 9pm.  I saw him a few times at Benderson Park.  He was charming, entertaining and patient with hundreds of people.  He also sold books, t-shirts, took countless pictures and signed autographs.  NBC expects over 1 billion viewers to watch worldwide.

It is difficult to put into words the enjoyment of seeing THE WORLD GOES ROUND currently extended through this week at FST/Gompertz Theatre.  It is easily the most entertaining show of the season, and one of the best I've ever seen at FST.  I encourage you to get tickets before the week is sold out.  AND, just announced the Tony Award-winning musical SPAMALOT is kicking off the fall season.  With a larger stage available at Gompertz, FST is able to present bigger productions.  Tickets are on sale now for the rest of summer and next season.  They are offered at 1/2 price.....EASILY the best bargain for entertainment in SARASOTA.

We went to a crowded and exciting P.F. Chang's last week.  It was their third night and when we arrived at 6:30 there was already an hour wait.  HOWEVER, they take and HONOR reservations and our wait was under 5 minutes!!! They also pick up the phone to accept your reservation.   If you've ever been to one of their locations in several cities including Tampa, you can expect great food, realistic pricing, great service and a welcoming atmosphere. Their phone number is 941-296-6002.  To learn more click here 

 From time to time they offer free appetizers on line as well as an opportunity to buy gift cards with $$ rewards.  I bought one and got an additional $20.  But, even without any come-on, this place is the real deal and shines brightly on downtown SARASOTA.  The location is ideal for the entire market.  I should also mention valet parking is available, but if you know the area you can find your own parking no more than a block away.

If you plan to visit P.F. Chang's or any of the wonderful downtown SARASOTA restaurants, you should plan your trip around a wonderful new documentary playing at BURNS COURT SCATTER MY ASHES AT BERGDORF' you a peek behind the back-room doors and into the reality of the fascinating inner workings and fabulous untold stories from Bergdorf Goodman's iconic history.  Now owned by Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf's is one of New York's historic Fifth Ave. buildings.  Women will love the movie.  I really enjoyed it.  Very entertaining and no one gets killed, the world is not in chaos, and buildings don't crumble to the ground.

Looking for a good summer read?  I have one for you....Floridian, Carl Hiaasen, has written his funniest and wittiest book since SKINNY DIP.  As with all his books, the story takes place in Florida and begins on the water with a fishing charter hooking onto a human arm.  It takes off from there.

We don't eat out every only seems so.  But we recently celebrated friends Sheila and Merrill's  50th anniversary at one of our favorite restaurants, MOZAIC.  The SAVOR SARASOTA menu was available to us.  What a meal...three courses...several choices with each course...and enough food for Buckhead to feast on the next day.  Not one of the courses was the dreaded dessert of sorbet.  We did get a dessert for the table which was comped as an anniversary present.  MOZAIC has extended the SAVOR SARASOTA menu through the month.  This restaurant, better than any I've been to, understands the value of this promotion.  We will be back again this summer.  click here to view the Savor Sarasota menu .

An update on still under construction ANTOINE'S the new creation of Christian formerly of brasserie belge.  Their Facebook page finally  announces GRAND  OPENING on Tuesday 6/25 at 4pm. I stopped by the other day and saw a finished restaurant with  some work still to be done in the kitchen.  Since there were cars in the parking lot, I assumed someone was on premises.  No one answered my yell, so I took this picture of a blackboard list of daily specials. Some of the appetizers are lobster ravioli as well as their famous warm goat cheese salad.   I am looking forward to most everything on their menu. See you Tuesday!!
A few weeks ago, our granddaughter Cori was on a trip of a lifetime.  Ten days in ISRAEL as part of a Taglit-Birthright group, all expenses paid by generous philanthropists and others who want to strengthen Judaism amongst our youth.  Birthright's vision is to reinforce Jewish identity, Jewish community and solidarity with Israel by providing this trip to Israel for Jewish people ranging in age from 18-26.  Over the years thousands of young adults have experienced the miracle of this tiny country in the middle of total chaos around them.

A $250 deposit is required and is returned after the trip; however, most if not all donate their deposits are matched by others to provide future trips.  After arriving at Kennedy airport, Cori exclaimed..."these were the ten best days of my life."

Each day spent in Israel was filled with sight seeing, walking tours, museum visits, camel rides, reflection at the Western Wall.....just enough to make every one of the thousands who have experienced BIRTHRIGHT ISRAEL to want to go back on their own and experience even  more.

JIM'S RANT this week is directed at a SARASOTA icon.  I am upset with the Asolo Theatre pricing policies.  After spending the better part of 11 years here and experiencing culture at its finest, why can't the Asolo make itself more accessible to those of us who live here and support theatre.  FST's productions, though maybe more off-Broadway than on, nevertheless are professional, for the most part rewarding and  above all affordable.  Instead of empty seats at most performances and discounts when tickets are not selling, why can't the Asolo provide an opportunity to buy season tickets at reduced prices at least semi-comparable to FST?  A flex-package is a good idea, but not an inexpensive one. Revenue from ticket sales, though necessary, is not enough to keep any of our arts alive.  ALL rely on generous contributors to stay afloat.  A more flexible pricing policy would keep the seats full and not necessitate last minute discounts.....

Thanks as always to Tracy for her expertise in cleaning up this Cori for her Israel pictures, and to you for reading.  Debbie ,George and Marcia  return next week with more restaurant news ,George's trip to the Vatican, and ideas for furnitrue shopping in SARASOTA.

CORRECTION:  I was misinformed about Panera under construction at Target Center.  It turns out to be for a Fidelity branch.  However, I don't think their bread is nearly as good as Panera.....


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