Saturday, July 15, 2017

JULY 16, 2017



Several of you were among the hundreds dining at the recently opened METRO DINER 3501 S. Tamiamai Trail.  Located at Westfield Siesta Key, many of you who wrote were ecstatic with your first Metro meal.....

Debbie Y writes, " The Debbie's had lunch at Metro Diner, and it was GREAT!  Although it was filled we were seated very quickly.  We tried the Reuben sandwich, the fried chicken platter and took home a pork tenderloin sandwich with fixing's for another meal.

Moderately priced, retro feel, excellent iced tea. This is a WINNER"

Marlene writes..."Went to Metro Diner for lunch and really enjoyed it.  Great grilled cheese sandwich with three cheese choices.  House made chips are to die for.  Overall a fun dining experience with great service in a very busy restaurant."

Here's some good news for those of us in the University Parkway area:   Metro Diner is opening a second location near Detwiler's and Parkway Cinemas.  Target date is 12/1/2017.    Look for their sign this summer. 

Actor Jeffrey Plunkett should be a familiar name for those of you who visit Florida Studio Theatre.  Over the last 20 years he has performed in close to a dozen show in this venue.  He's back again in The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey

His performance was recently praised by Jay Handelman...."he takes his art to an even richer, more detailed level playing nine roles in James Lecesne's one-man play."

This off-Broadway hit is about the disappearance of a 14-year-old boy, and a New Jersey detective's effort  to find out what happened to him.  Running 75 minutes with no intermission, Handelman writes, "..the production leaves you feeling joyous for a young life...and the imaginative way that the story is being told."  Playing until August 6, call 941-366-9000 or click here to their website and purchase tickets on line.

I never go tired of author Daniel Silva.  He's back again this summer with his 19th thriller, House of Spies.  His legendary spy, assassin and art restorer, Gabriel Allon is back in his new role of Chief of Israel's secret intelligence service.  He is out for revenge; determined to hunt down the world's most dangerous terrorist, a shadowy ISIS mastermind known only as Saladin.

I am only a quarter through this lengthy book, but am thoroughly enjoying Allon again; even though at times I feel I've been here before.  Nevertheless, this is a very, very good summer read.  Silva is at the top of his game here.

MUSIC ON MAIN, the successful and growing Lakewood Ranch promotion continues through the summer and beyond.  Running every First Friday 6-9pm, you are encouraged to bring a chair and enjoy food, drink and music on main Street. No coolers, but  leashed pets are allowed.   The remaining dates are 8/4 and 9/1 at 8100 Lakewood Ranch Boulevard. See you there.

Good news for those of us waiting the arrival of Whole Foods second location on University and Honore.  Thursday morning the Opening Soon signs were posted at that location.  My guess is late this month or August 1.  See you there.

JIM'S RANT.....Jay Handelman must be back in good graces with FST again.  His review of The Absolute Brightness is being used in their advertising.  What was it, a month ago when FST was really upset with his review of Burt and Me?  So upset they sent an email to summer subscribers telling them how wrong he was.  And, by the way, most agreed with Jay and not FST.

That's all she wrote, folks.  Have a wonderful summer and I'll see you sometime this fall.....JIM

On Streets of Chicago
 Photo courtesy of Debbie Y and Mark F...........

Friday, July 7, 2017

JULY 9, 2017

The beauty of Selby Gardens

One place to start is SELBY GARDENS.  You have the rest of this month to see one of their most popular exhibits in years, Marc Chagall, Flowers, and the French Riviera: The Color of Dreams.

This exhibit combines the botanical imagery of Chagall with the living artwork of horticultural displays.  Overlooking Sarasota bay, this is a truly beautiful display of flowers, plants and painting.

Over the course of the past two weeks, several of you recommended newly opened Il CONTE Ristorante Pizzeria & Bar.  Located in the San Marco Center, Lakewood Ranch 8209 Natures Way.  We went with neighbors last week, and the four of us were underwhelmed.  

Though the interior is bright, modern and trendy, the food was not.  Our salads came without dressing and the pizza was over-baked.  In fairness, this was their first week; so we'll be back once the dust settles and report in the fall.

If you think summer could not get any hotter, it will starting July 31, as MTV premiers its new reality show  Siesta Key.   Taped in May and June, it's centered around "wealthy" college students home for the summer.

There is already kick-back from Siesta residents as they fear the notoriety will add to the year long congestion now associated with this Sarasota hot-spot.  What with a full parking lot for the July 4 holiday along with a packed beach most weekends. Siesta Key/Beach is hot already!!

Don't You Wish
Letter, I get Letters....  Randy writes of his wine store discovery in Lakewood Ranch.  Fine Wine & Tastings 8111 Main St. "is comparably priced to the big box stores but offers a selection of hard to get small production wines.

The inventory is eclectic and more interesting in choices than some of their better known competition."  Their Wine Bar offers over 25 choices as well as a weekly happy hour Mon-Fri 5-7pm.

For Fine Wine and Tastings inventory click here.

MUSIC MONDAYS will resume in the fall, but sadly without June LeBell, who lost her courageous fight with cancer last April.  In her stead will be husband Edward Alley.  The entire 2018 season is dedicated to June's memory.  The list already announced will be sure to please those of us who attended these wonderful mornings in the past.

Leading off January 8th is Bruce Adolphe, pianist, composer and author of NPR's Piano Puzzler.  The programs continue through March 26 with several guests including John Miller of the Sarasota Orchestra,  MET opera tenor Rafael Davilia and saxophonist Ashu.

To subscribe NOW, click here and then click red button that says ORDER TICKETS.  See you there next year!!!

Several restaurants are continuing SAVOR SARASOTA through September.  Table Creekside, Hyde Park Steakhouse, Bijou Cafe, Salute, Ruth's Chris Steak House and The Rosemary are just a small sample.  If you haven't been out in awhile there is value to be had at these and more.  I suggest you check with your favorite and see what specials they're offering through July and beyond.

 JIM'S RANT......After a 70% voter approval of Medical Marijuana in November, we are finally seeing some dispensaries open in Florida.  But not in Sarasota, as officials banned sales within the city limits.  Instead, a vote was passed allowing for an additional 60 days in able to draft an ordinance that will eventually allow sales here.   Only in Florida could the will of the people be so ignored.

Once again thanks for reading.  I'll be publishing next week, but then it's off until sometime late September......JIM