Saturday, August 31, 2013



Tomorrow is LABOR DAY, the traditional end of summer season;  though summer has a few more weeks to go (Fall arrives 9/22 at 4:44PM) it lingers in Florida at least through October. Labor Day originated in 1882, the day set aside to honor the many fine workers of this country.  It use to be the last day of summer break for most of us, but now school begins in August.  This weekend also kicked off College football with the NFL arriving Thursday night.  Have a great day, not only tomorrow, but every day.

Broadway at Van Wezel
Thursday September 5, 5:30-730 in the Grand Foyer of VAN WEZEL performing arts hall, the new season will be formerly announced.   Some of the acts already committed...Jay Leno, fresh from his late nite television show, former American Idol and TV star, Katherine McPhee, Marilyn McCoo/Billy Davis Jr., Yanni and even Jerry Lewis???? Cannot believe he is still performing.  Tickets will be on sale then prior to public sale. For a complete list of performances see Sunday's Herald-Tribune Arts section.

The 10th Annual Perlman Music Program is offering a warm up concert at above mentioned Van Wezel, Wednesday November 6 at 7:30.  Sponsored by PMP/Suncoast and Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee, the concert is in celebration of Israel at 65 and the 10th anniversary of  Perlman's winter residency in SARASOTA.

Tickets are on sale now on line or at the box office for the performance and also a meet and greet later that evening.  This will be a chamber music performance featuring Perlman and several of his former students.

Tickets for the MUSIC PROGRAM will be available later this year.  Keep reading for more information.

Movies....Movies...Two quality ADULT movies are playing this weekend and I recommend both with each getting as many stars possible.....Woody Allen's superb BLUE JASMINE with an ensemble cast including sure to be Academy Award nominee Kate Blanchett, Alec Baldwin, Bobby Cannavale and Peter Sarsgaard among others.  The story is ripped from today's headlines; Bernie Madoff comes in mind.

And, Lee Daniels' wonderful THE BUTLER, featuring sure to be Academy Award nominee again, Forrest Whitaker who along with Oprah Winfrey and a cast of cameos from Jane Fonda to Robin Williams to Alan Rickman,  THE BUTLER tells the story of a White House butler who served eight American Presidents over three decades.  No better way to escape the sun and heat with these two.

Hidden in a strip mall on Siesta Drive across from Dillard's is a charming French restaurant RICKS.  Don't go now, as they are closed until October, but when they return and you have the urge for an authentic French dinner by all means go.  Intimate, with few tables, but charming and QUIET, you can have a relaxing meal, close your eyes and pretend you are in Paris.  The beef bouruignon is to die for.  And save room for dessert.

Blog reader, friend and caterer extraordinaire, Marlene Meyer writes glowingly about her recent discovery of SMACKS on Bee Ridge and Shade Ave. a mere few miles from TRADER JOE'S. 
Marlene writes "...I ate at SMACKS...very cute place.  Very crowded at lunch.  All hamburgers are cooked medium unless you ask for well done.  Hot dog is actually sausage from Griers and very good.  Not a Chicago dog, if that is what you are looking for.  Frozen custard was very good and very rich...."

Reviewed Monday in the SARASOTA Herald Tribune, RANDABI'S is a relatively new deli in the Gulf Gate shopping center.  I went with a group of friends last week and had a sampling of a good portion of  their menuThe corned beef is thin and warmThe brisket the sameChopped Liver is very tasty, fries are special; the bread is not.   We did not like potato knish,  but devoured Baba GanoushThe desserts are home made and  especially liked the New York style apple/cheese pie.  The restaurant itself is nothing to look at, in fact it is downright ugly.  But if you are in the area and have a craving for Jewish style deli  RANDABI'S is located at 6550  Gateway Ave.


Justine Griffin wrote in Tuesday's SARASOTA Herald about APPLE STORE speculation at new mall.  For sometime now, this rumor has been floating around the market.  Either Benderson or Westfield.  I heard over a year ago from their store in Brandon that SARASOTA was a definite.  One thing is sure, if you need Apple products or service COMPUTER ADVANTAGE on US41 past the airport is the place to go.  I've bought from them and had repairs.  They are authorized and knowledgeable about your Apple products.

Construction of UTC continues at a rapid pace.   Both SAKS and DILLARD'S are under construction, and I understand MACY'S is not far behind.  Across the street, Fidelity Bank is nearly complete, while Ethan Allen and Panera seem to be on schedule for a late winter opening.

Credit East County Observer this week with unravelling the mystery of the archway close to Cattleman Road.  It is a mock-up of the skylight system that will form the ceiling of the mall's concourse.  The system allows people to see the sky.  And because of its complexity, the mock-up is a practice run for the real thing.  It will be coming down soon.

Last week I asked for comments and received several.  Dean Congbalay took a group to YUMMY and was pleasantly surprised with the improved quality of service.  Marcia Clark was pleased to learn Main Street Oyster Bar was moving into the vacated Red Elephant location and advises APALONIA is now one of her favorite SARASOTA restaurants.  You can write your comments to email address listed with this blog. 

I also ranted about lack of service at several major retailers.   One who gives great service from entrance to checkout is HOME DEPOT.  I had to return two defective hoses without receipt.  No problem...they even would have swapped with driver's license.  No wonder they are #1.

Jim's rant this week is directed at all of the citizens who are still complaining about Sarasota's  growth either on University or Longboat Key.  If you want a 2001 version of SARASOTA, those days are way behind us.  We are moving along at a fast clip both downtown and out University Parkway.  To demean the Benderson Park Rowing facility  as someone did last week in the Herald, is stupid. 

The rowing, arts, restaurants, shopping and weather are drawing record tourists to our city.   In addition, many more are moving here.  It's only going to get more crowded. Without the crowds, merchants and restaurants would close ; limiting our choices.  The Mall will open, the National Rowing event will take place, swim goes on and on.  If you're unhappy with the progress put your house up for sale and move South....Venice, Englewood, North Port....

For my BALTIMORE RAVENS fans.  Welcome the defending Super Bowl Champions back Thursday 7:30 NBC, first with a live concert featuring Keith Urban from Baltimore's famous Inner Harbor and then the game everyone is waiting to see....a rematch of last season's memorable playoff overtime battle with the Denver Broncos.  GO RAVENS!!!!!

Thanks again to Tracy and all who contributed.   Congratulations to Jason who completed his first week of college at Tulane and Cori who helped deliver a great pledge class to SDT at University of Georgia.  I'll be back next week and every week until February when Roberta and I are off to Vietnam....Jim

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