MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY AND HEALTHY NEW YEAR TO THE READERS OF JIM KNOWS SARASOTA AS WELL AS YOUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS AND CONTINUE YOUR HANUKKAH CELEBRATION A FEW MORE DAYS......
No end of year blog would be complete without a salute to BENDERSON DEVELOPMENT for their magnificent, creative and spectacular CHRISTMAS decorations along University. After dark the street comes to life with colors beyond anything you've seen before in SARASOTA. In fact, Lakewood Ranch is so envious of the light attraction they are considering adding to their budget to at least come close to the Benderson extravaganza. To get the true effect of the decorations be sure to take Cattleman past Benderson Park. Other than a major city, I am hard pressed to come up with anything so spectacular; and it's all right here in SARASOTA.
At long last we had our first meal at Capital Grille. After dining at the variety of restaurants at UTC we saved the best for last. I am sure many of you have been to a Grille, since this is a successful chain with location's in Tampa, Baltimore, Pittsburgh and several other major markets. But, in my estimation our location is their BEST. From the moment you enter until you leave the service and attention to detail is like no other.
But you dine out for more important amenities; like FOOD! And the food is wonderful. From the bread basket to the wine to the Caesar salad to the fillet with ample sides to the decedent dessert....WOW!!! Though pricey, as most quality steak restaurants are, it is defiantly a
destination for special occasions or on those nights when you want quality meat and seafood for dinner. Though I have not had lunch here, their menu is full of choices from hamburger to salad to soup and not nearly as pricey as dinner. And if you make a reservation be sure to ask for Jeremy, a truly wonderful server who will treat you royally.
The new Florida Studio Theatre production at their Mertz Theatre has opened to rave reviews. I have not seen the show, but friends tell me not to miss it. Titled Dancing Lessons it is the story of a college professor with autism in search of dance lessons from an injured Broadway producer. Only 90 minutes in length with no intermission, I am told you will be won over not only by the performances but the story of a man fighting for dignity with an incurable disorder.
You can never go wrong at FST, and their prices are most reasonable. Unfortunately, I will not see this production until the end of January, but you can see it first and tell me about it. For a complete schedule of performances and purchase of tickets click here.
SAVE THE DATE....CIRCUS SARASOTA returns next year in a new location, but with the now Internationally famous NIK WALLENDA performing his amazing high wire act with family in tow. If you've never been to this event, next year you definitely should.
The tent will be at Benderson Park immediately in front of Dillard's. You can shop, eat at the many UTC restaurants and enjoy a wonderful show. Dates are February 6-22 and tickets are on sale now!!! For a performance schedule and purchase tickets on line click here. Note, there is a 20% off promotion on opening weekend tickets.
For those of you who are into vegan, soy-free ,gluten free food as wellas all organic, you now have a restaurant devoted to those wishes. Beauty of Sprouts at 1474 Fruitville Rd., so small you can easily overlook it, serves all dishes made from scratch by owner Rano. Simple setting with very few tables and open for lunch and dinner serving soups, salads and organic pizza. The portions are small and not inexpensive, but are delicious. The day we were there every table was occupied and it was after 2pm. For menus and changing hours click here. Thanks to Jan Wallace who steered us to this unique restaurant.
Returning to Straz Center in Tampa is one of the most acclaimed musicals of all time PHANTOM OF THE OPERA. This completely NEW produciton began its American tour at the Broward Center for Performing Arts where our son saw it, actually met Cameron Mackintosh, and told me it was better than the original. I know most of you have seen this one several times. But with new costumes, scenic designs, new choreography and lighting design it seems NEW again. Playing from December 17-January 4 you can purchase tickets on line here.
Hope your family and friends visiting for the holiday season are enjoying our spectaular weather. I know there is some rain forecast for the future, but this time of year it does not last long. And hard to believe WINTER acutally begins on Friday. Tough to take isn't it?
..I save my last rant for a rant of hope and peace for the new year. With all our faults, there is nowhere any of us would want to live but the good old USA.....especially SARASOTA where our sunny days far outnumber our cloudy ones. And a big thank you for reading and responding to Jim Knows Sarasota...starting with a handful of readers there are now over 700 of you reading each week.....Have a Happy and Healthy New Year...see you Jan 5, 2015
Thanks to Tracy for her faithful editing; to Roberta for her constant needling; and to all who have contributed.....JIM