Saturday, November 9, 2013

NOVEMBER 10, 2013

Tomorrow is VETERANS DAY.......The one Federal holiday to fall on its original date happens to be on a Monday this year, allowing for a three day weekend for many.  There will be no mail,  and banks are closed, but department stores are open with pre-holiday sales!!!  ABOVE ALL, this is a day of celebration to honor America's veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.

Keeping the Veteran theme, this year's SARASOTA Chalk Festival's honors our veteran's.  The chalk drawings on display beginning 11/13-11/18 will capture that theme.  Taking place in historic Burns Court district, the festivities escalate on the 15th with music, food and chalk drawings all over the place.  For more information and a schedule of activities click here.

While visiting the Chalk Festival if you walk to corner of Pineapple and Orange you will discover yet another new restaurant. I heartily recommend MATTO MATTO an Italian cafe and wine bar.  Owned by Alessandro and Alana Settimi  by way of Toronto/Rome you will be treated to some of the best thin pizza in Sarasota, as well as a menu rich in original pasta dishes, antipasta, panini, salads,  and a salmon dish  served on spinich which is one of the best I've ever had.  Save room for dessert, as we were treated to owner Alessandros mother's tiramisu...a mix of rich decadence. 

There is ample outside seating as was the case of former owner Citrus.  You will be much better served at MATTO MATTO.  Open at 11 for lunch and most nights until 9:30 or later, this is a perfect addition to the very popular Burns Restaurants Owens Fish Camp and Nancy's BBQ. Live music is available on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays,  but could be extended for the Festival.

It seems like we eat out most nights, but the fact is, we eat home a lot.  By now, you know our favorites, but all of you have your own favorites and discoveries all over Sarasota.  Stephanie Hochfelder writes...."Cafe Posh is a cute little place 33 S. Palm.  A Victorian Retail front window & a small cafe in the back.  Allen & I love their scones.  Among our favorites are lemon chocolate chip with lemon frosting and clotted cream. They also have very good sandwiches along with coffee, tea, water, etc.  Everything is made fresh daily on premises."

Dick Gross loves Sarasota Ale House. on Kenny Drive near Bee Ridge and I-75.  "I ordered the osso buco.  The portion was large and delicious.  My friend had their ribs and he said they were excellent.  My wife had a hamburger, ordered medium-rare, and it was cooked perfectly."  Others have also suggested this little gem which my  guess is crowded with locals form that area and has not been discovered by tourists because of its location.

The theatre season really takes flight this week with two openings.  Both are Tony winners from years ago, but have stood up over the years.  

SHOW BOAT, winner of the 1994 Tony for best musical, opens the ASOLO REP season with a four week engagement.  This is classic musical theatre from an era when a Broadway musical was known for its score as much as for story....Ol Man River....Can't Help Lovin Dat Man...and Make Believe are some of Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein 11 most popular songs.  SHOW BOAT is in previews Tuesday-Thursday and opens its run Friday through December 29.

A few miles South, FST, brings the 2005 Tony Winner, MONTY PYTHON'S SPAMALOT to life in the Gompertz Theatre to help kick-off their winter season.   Literally ripped off from a classic film with similar name, this outrageous parody is funny, campy and full of music from a long ago era.  This is a BIG musical and will fill the new Gompertz stage.  To my knowledge, this production is the biggest in FST history with a cast of 16 and several set changes.  Opening night is Wednesday and runs through January 11, 2014!!! (cannot believe we are only a few months away from the New Year).

CINE-WORLD is history, but two movies will stick with me for a long time.  Opening this weekend in selected cities is The Armstrong Lie, a documentary started in 2009 as a celebration of Armstrong's return to competitive cycling but  quickly turning to a condemnation  of a fallen hero.  Accused of doping and  after many denials Armstrong earlier this year admitted years of doping to Oprah and others.  He comes off as arrogant, deceitful and you will not have one ounce of pity for him.  Though two hours long, if you are a fan of cycling and know of Armstrong, the time is well spent.

The other movie, August: Osage County, will certainly be nominated for several Academy Awards for picture and actors.  Meryl Streep is never better.  But there are so many wonderful performances from Julia Roberts to Chris Cooper to Juliette Lewis to Abigail Breslin it is hard to single out anyone.  The Weston family gathers for a family crisis and bare their souls over two hours of some of the best ensemble acting you will ever see.  This one comes out on Christmas.  Do not miss it!!!

UTC UPDATE....Justine Griffin reported this week in one of her many excellent SARASOTA Herald Tribune articles that at long last APPLE has committed a store for the University Town Center Mall set to open October 2014.  In Friday's paper she listed several more stores, including Gucci, Tiffany, Armani and Kate Spade, with more to come.  Her list is not "official", but as close as it gets!! To read the entire article click here.  If you have not kept up with Justine, in her short time at the paper she has covered all the major retail store openings as well as breaking business news as good or better than anyone before her.

JIM'S RANT is for those of us who do not stop at some point tomorrow and give thanks for the valiant men and women who  served and continue to serve our country.  Whether in peace or war they risk their lives to preserve our freedom.  At least, the Armed Services, gets it right.  Can't say the same about Washington!!!
Thanks to Tracy and all of you who continue to read this blog.  Readership has grown to almost 600!!!!

Honoring our Armed Forces at Bay Shore Park

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