WE ARE HALF WAY THROUGH NOVEMBER....MUCH OF THE COUNTRY HAS SEEN SNOW....BUT HERE IN SARASOTA IT REMAINS SUNNY, WARM, AND ALREADY INTO CHRISTMAS...
We are nearly two weeks away from the normal BLACK FRIDAY, which retailers have been celebrating since VETERAN'S DAY. PLUS....so many retailers are open on THANKSGIVING there really is no need for midnight shopping. Well, actually there is. People are in line as this is written at BEST BUY, one of the few remaining retailers to honor tradition!!!!
Last week saw the SARASOTA cultural season kick into high gear with Masterworks, Opera, and the opening of two major Broadway musicals which I am glad to say will be here at least through the holiday season and possibly longer. The first to open in the Asolo's intimate Mertz Theatre....SOUTH PACIFIC...has been well received by audience and viewers alike and is sure to sell-out for most of its run. The second, though not as beloved as the other, is still a musical for all ages which has been performed on Broadway, the movies and cruise ships, HAIRSPRAY at the Gompertz Theatre as part of the 2014-15 FST season.
I personally have not seen either production, but those who have are raving about them. FST has a larger subscription base than ASOLO so tickets may be hard to come by in a few weeks or in the weeks leading to and beyond the holidays. To make it easier for you I am including a link to the FST web site.
Not to play favorites, here is a link to Asolo Theatre web site for tickets to South Pacific as well as other shows this season.
If you are looking for a restaurant to grab an early dinner before a show Thursday-Saturday 5:30pm-9:30pm there is a such a place on the Trail. I did not initially recommend TOASTED MANGO CAFE for dinner a few weeks ago when announcing their new hours. Now that I have eaten dinner there, I am happy to review this wonderful addition to your neighborhood. The food is delicious, the service fast, the wine our party had was special and we were finished just in time to catch a movie or concert.
The menu is simple to make the experience quick and enjoyable. We all ate the prime rib, so unfortunately that is only entree to recommend. But there is duck as well as pasta. and other choices like burger or salad. Each meal comes with salad and choice of vegetable or potato. No time for dessert, but they do have several. Whether it breakfast, lunch or dinner, TOASTED MANGO serves some of the best food in town. For reservations call 941-388-7728.
For all bikers who live west of 75 in the University Parkway corridor; you now don't have to travel very far for good bike service. RYDER BIKES recently opened in the Fresh Market shopping center. I recently had some bike issues and arrived at 10am. As the clock struck 10 the door opened. I was prepared to leave bike and walk home, but manager Rich Linkenhoker made the repairs in minutes and I was on my way.
If you're in the market for a new bike or accessories for an old one then by all means go to RYDER BIKES at 5275 University Parkway. The company has 2 addition allocations in Bradenton 1905 Cortez Road W and Sarasota 1530 Dolphin St. For more information click here.
One of the best reviewed movies of 2014 is now showing exclusively at Burns Court Cinema. WHIPLASH is easily one of the best we've seen this year. Included in the cast is J.K. Simmons who you may remember from TV series The Closer and a young actor who you will be hearing lots more about in the future, Miles Teller.
It tells the story of a music professor at a NY college and one of his prize students who is trying to impress him as best drummer in class. It is intense, terrifying, pshycological and moves at a ferocious pace, keeping you on the edge of your seat; and yet it is not a mystery!! Winner of Grand Jury Audience Prize at Sundance earlier this year, it will definitely garner consideration when the Academy sends out ballots next year.
Looking for a Christmas or Hanukkah gift for a grandchild this year then look no further. I have discovered a series of books fondly written for that 4-10 year old who love pets, and better yet loves sharing their pet adventures with grandma.
GRANDMA COO COO NUTS written by KJ Wilhelm, grandmother to 11, creatively puts child, grandmother and pet together as they address the challenges of travelling with animals and the responsibility inherent with the adventure. There will be 11 books, of which 3 are now available.
The cost for each book is $8.50 and can be purchased at www.amazon.com
or directly from KJ at email@example.com. 100% of the sales go to to ITS MY HEART-New England. For more information click here.
JIM'S RANT.....Enough already about the traffic and parking at UTC. I live close by and have never had any problems getting to; getting out; and finding a parking space. HINT...there are two main entrances to UTC. The one facing 75 has the most empty spaces. The #3 section is easily accessible and within easy walking distance to shops and restaurants. There is valet parking on the Cattleman side as well.
As always, Tracy is here when I need her...see you next week as we celebrate Thanksgiving and really begin our holiday shopping in earnest AND advice on how to get a table at CHEESECAKE.....JIM