Friday, August 15, 2014

AUGUST 31, 2014


As fall approaches, we are only 6 weeks away from one of the most anticipated SARASOTA events I have ever been witness to....the opening of UNIVERSITY TOWN CENTER.  Those of you who won't be returning for a few months will be blown away by the beauty of the building as well as the traditional Benderson landscaping.  From Apple to Brooks Brothers to Crate and Barrel to Pottery Barn to lulu lemon to anchor stores
Saks, Macy's and Dillard's there is nothing comparable for miles.  In addition to stores there are restaurants galore.  In the coming weeks, I will touch on those that are new not only to immediate area, but Florida as well.  This week it's......

SOPHIE'S, Saks Fifth Ave. own restaurant and bar.  SARASOTA'S version will be the second of more to open  in other markets down the road.  Why we were chosen for Sophie's speaks well of Saks expectations for UTC.

SOPHIE'S will be as upscale as the department store.  Open for breakfast as well as lunch with plans to add a dinner menu in the future.  The 2,600 square-foot space will feature an indoor, 60-seat dining room as well as a 60-seat outdoor terrace for dining, lounging and a second bar.  The menu will feature Sophie's signature salads, appetizers and drinks, but skew closer to flavors found in Florida.  Chicago's version has a best seller in its crab cake; look for a similar dish here.  As this is written, the menu is a work in progress.

If you've ever been to Saks New York restaurant then you can expect the same quality and elegance associated with that one. 

Across the street from UTC in the area soon to be occupied by Panera Bread among others, DSW has committed to an out parcel.  It will be adjacent to Sports Authority.  And, Panera will be joined by Blaze Pizza, among others. University Parkway and I75 is definitely the place for shoppers, eaters, boaters, walkers....just about everyone.  Now, all you have to do is find a parking space.

Season tickets for next season's Sarasota Ballet are on sale now.  Single tickets go on sale tuesday.  If you have not been to one of this outstanding companies performances, then I, of all people, am going to recommend one NOT TO BE MISSED.  We were fortunate to see a summer performance of the opening Fall program...The Secret Garden.  It was breathtaking, unusual and one for the entire family.  There were several children at our performance, and as we left after the standing ovation, there were smiles on most of their faces.

Our Ballet ensemble , after its Kennedy Center performance last year, will be at the New York City Center for two performances in October.   It continually amazes how we have some of the finest arts, from music to theatre to dance.  One reason is the generosity of sponsors and donors.  We are very fortunate to live in such a cultural environment. For more information and an opportunity to buy tickets click here/

Own a home in SARASOTA and in the market for outside lighting, I have a great company for you.  And no, this is not a paid advertisement, but a personal recommendation for Night Affects, Inc. You can see for yourself the kind of beauty they can create for your home by clicking here.

I have worked with them for several years, and recently had a problem with lanai lighting when landscape company cut lines along with power. Owner Michael Flanegin was in Chicago for a wedding while his chief engineer was also out of town.  With a heavy load of work for his remaining crew, he found time to have someone here to correct the problem for a dinner party we were hosting that evening.

It is because service such as this as well as the ongoing beauty of the outside lighting, I am happy to recommend them to you.  Several of my neighbors have seen our lights and called Flanegin.  They haven't regretted it, and neither will you.

Going to the beach today or tomorrow to soak in the last weekend of summer or just staying home waiting for the NFL season to kick off this Thursday......then pick up one of the best reads of the season, Daniel Silva's entertaining The Heist.  Set in today's middle-east world of terror and treason,  it reads as current as this morning's network news programs.  Silva does extensive research for all his books...this one seems like it could have been written yesterday.

Next week, I will bring you up to date information on the coming season for several of SARASOTA'S entertainment venues, not the least of which is The Van Wezel concert hall.  The quality of shows announced this weekend far exceeds anything we've seen in several years.  Tickets for all performances go on sale Tuesday.   For an advanced peek at the just announced schedule and to purchase tickets click here.

JIM'S RANT......Once again our infamous Herald Tribune has featured a front page TICKET article....Lakewood Ranch Main Street TOP 20...and once again have not done their homework.  It would be unfair to knock some of the choices, but how could they not list STARBUCKS who attracts more shoppers to the street other than the Cinema,  as well as VILLAGE BIKES, easily the best bike and repair shop this side of Sarasota????? Our only major paper needs to pay more attention to Sarasota/Manatee and less to Venice.....just one man's opinion...

Had a wonderful time with Tracy and family and will update you next week...until then..JIM

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