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Archive | Dear Abby

On the road with Dear Abby

Abby WeingartenDear Abby: I heard you do some road-trippin’ from time to time. I’ve been considering taking a trip to New Orleans. Have you ever been? What are some of your must-sees? –-Traveling Sarasotan

Dear Traveling Sarasotan: Last spring my husband, Mark, and I took a road trip to Louisiana for WrestleMania XXX. We only spent about 12 hours in the city, but let me tell you, New Orleans was amazing! The event was held at the Superdome, so we arrived early, parked in the garage and walked the French Quarter. If you go, try the Original French Market Restaurant and Bar, which was founded in 1803. I had my first steamed crawfish boat there, along with some gumbo and a Bloody Mary. Authentic and awesome! Then, we moved onto drinks at The Abbey Bar, which apparently sells the most Pabst Blue Ribbon (PBR) and Fireball Whisky shots in New Orleans. Mark is a huge PBR fan and my name is Abby, so it was meant to be.

After that, it was on to Aunt Sally’s for Creole pralines (pronounced “prah-leens” in the Big Easy) — the ideal sweet finish. We made sure to scoop up some Café Du Monde beignet mix for our friends back home. And we got to see Daniel Bryan win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. All in all, an epic road trip.

Crave more tips? Write to: abby@ediblesarasota.com 
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Memorable food and wine discoveries by Dear Abby

Abby WeingartenDear Abby: What are some memorable food-and-wine-related things you’ve discovered in the past year? –Local Foodie
 

Dear Local Foodie: Who doesn’t love a new, authentic Indian lunch buffet? I was fortunate enough to stumble upon Curry Station while driving down U.S. 301/North Washington Boulevard. Chicken and lamb curries with jasmine rice, roasted eggplant, salad with yogurt dressing, and rice pudding with golden raisins were among the highlights. Curry Station is coming up on its first anniversary of doing delicious business, and the owners are lovely. Show your support for local, exotic cuisine and meet your next lunch date there! 
 
Now, one of the perks of writing about drinks is that generous beverage distributors (occasionally from other states and countries) will often send packages to my doorstep containing heavenly libations. Such was the recent case with SIMI Winery, a company based out of Healdsburg, Calif. I received the SIMI 2012 Sonoma County Chardonnay (with notes of guava, pineapple, nectarine and green apple) and the SIMI 2011 Sonoma County Pinot Noir (cranberry and sour cherry). Also in this box was a bottle of 2011 Inniskillin Oak Aged Vidal Icewine (from a Canadian winery in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, and rich with peach and apricot flavors). All three were worth reordering. Tell ’em I sent you. It’s a tough job but somebody has to do the sipping. 
 
Curry Station: 1303 N. Washington Blvd., Suite 4, Sarasota, 941-312-6264; currystation.net.  
SIMI Winery: simiwinery.com; Inniskillin: on.inniskillin.com.
 
Crave more tips? Write to: abby@ediblesarasota.com 
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Dear Abby gives tips for shedding holiday “leftovers”

Abby WeingartenDear Abby: Now that the holidays are over, any tips for shedding the pounds associated with winter festivities? —Drawstring Pants 
 

Dear Drawstring Pants:
 It’s the inevitable annual dilemma, isn’t it? I’ll tell you, this is the first year of my LIFE that I refused to make a diet- or fitness-based New Year’s resolution. I’ve learned that resolutely declaring I’m going to change something about myself is the first step toward major self-sabotage. So, I didn’t embark on some crazily strict workout or nutrition regimen. I am, however, committed to eating more nutritiously — for the sake of my mood as well as my body — and I have some suggestions of local places that always help: CROPJuice and Get Fit Fuel. CROPJuice has some of the most delicious “mylks” (non-dairy, homemade, almond milk blends that will blow your mind), along with straight-up organic fruit and vegetable juices. Get Fit Fuel has dishes like arugula alfredo (which is raw, surprisingly filling and super flavorful), and the company also offers a three-day juice cleanse program. So, let the pros at these two businesses help jumpstart your healthy track, and take it one step at a time! Eat Clean in 2015 (but seriously, don’t be too hard on yourself). 


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Write to: abby@ediblesarasota.com 
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Local romantic wants to plan ahead for Valentine’s Day

Abby WeingartenDear Abby: Any Valentine’s Day plans this year? –Planning Ahead

 
Dear Planning Ahead: This is, for sure, going to have to be a repeat of last year, which was the start of a new tradition. I’d heard about a ritual that had been going on for more than 25 years on Siesta Key called Say I Do Again, so I decided to surprise my sweetheart.
 
When we arrived at the beach pavilion, we blended into a crowd of hundreds of couples, young and old, and the vow recitation began. Of course, I immediately burst into tears (it doesn’t take much for me to start weeping), which made him laugh, to which I said, “Stop laughing at me!” and then I started laughing. About five minutes of cry-laughing later, we went to the one-and-only Valentine’s-themed annual Black Diamond Burlesque show. Beachy romance followed by risqué entertainment? What could be better on V-Day? If you want to get fancier, you can always add gift baskets, chocolate, flowers or even a hotel room. Edible Sarasota is a great source for ideas!
 
 
Crave more tips? Write to: abby@ediblesarasota.com 
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“Inquiring Minds” wonder: W.W.A.D.?

AbbyPhotoDear Abby: Valentine’s Day is coming up soon, and I’d really like to treat my girlfriend to an evening out on the town. She’s a pretty unconventional gal, not exactly the flowers and chocolates type, so she can be a little hard to please. I’m short on ideas … and now I’m sweating. Any tips for an out-of-the-box but super-romantic date night? —Inquiring Minds  

Dear Inquiring Minds: I like to think of myself as fairly unconventional, too, so for my 33rd birthday last October, I went straight for roses.

You’re probably thinking, “Wow, Abby, how original. Way to think outside the box.” But let me clarify. Bouquets make me yawn. I’m not someone who wants to just stop and smell the roses; I want to TASTE them (philosophically and literally).

With that in mind, here’s what I did: I drove to downtown St. Pete to get the best frozen Boba tea in Tampa Bay at La V, a Vietnamese fusion restaurant on Central Avenue. I ordered the milk-free “rose” tea with tapioca pearls on the bottom, slurped it through a wide straw and got back on the Skyway (yes, it was worth the 45-minute trip). Then, I went to our very own St. Armands Circle for a rose macaron at Le Macaron. Oh, who am I kidding?! I got five. I stacked them in a tiny pink pyramid and popped each one into my mouth with my eyes closed.

After that, I headed to Main Street in downtown Sarasota for the heavenly Vom Fass, where I scooped up a 100-milliliter bottle of wild rose French liqueur — a Mount Olympus-caliber nectar. I finished the night at Casablanca Hookah Lounge in the Rosemary District for a hookah with rose-flavored shisha. So yeah, I was pretty good to myself, because 33 isn’t going to be a year of looking at lovely things, sighing and never fully experiencing them (sorry, roses in a vase). I want flavor. I want it all. And on this Valentine’s Day, I bet your girlfriend will both agree and approve. 

 
Crave more tips? Write to: abby@ediblesarasota.com 
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Abby’s getting lean for 2014

AbbyPhotoDear Abby: I haven’t seen you out much at local restaurants lately. Are you traveling? — Keeping Tabs


Dear Keeping Tabs: The opposite, actually. I’ve been in temporary hibernation while doing a program called P90X, which includes a rigorous at-home diet and exercise routine. I feel lively, strong and full of energy, but I am definitely looking forward to when the “fat shredder” phase ends and I can splurge on my local food favorites. Right now, I’m daydreaming about:

1. An Aztec sandwich with rare roast beef and jalapeno mayonnaise at the Main Bar Sandwich Shop. 

2. The Leche de Tigre at Jalea — a creamy, savory ceviche with a cilantro kick, served in a wine glass.

3. A sweet, infused pineapple rum and yogurt liqueur martini at Apollonia Grill. 

Maybe I’ll scarf all three in one day when the time comes. In the meantime, it’s back to plyometrics and protein shakes!

 

Crave more tips? Write to: abby@ediblesarasota.com 
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“Sugar Fix” seeks a sweet treat

AbbyPhotoDear Abby: Quick, name three (mini-ish) desserts you’ve tried recently that blew your mind! –Sugar Fix    


Dear Sugar Fix: I like your style! Each one of these quenchers can be consumed in about five bites. All are adorable, sweet and comforting. Indulge and report back.

The Chocolate Budino at Eat Here. This rich, dense, Italian mousse-like recipe comes in a glass dish with a tiny spoon and a mint sprig. Cute enough for two but realistically too delicious to share. eatheresarasota.com

A Paleo Cupcake at Heavenly Cupcakes. Get it in chocolate cake or vanilla with coconut flour, topped the most insane chocolate ganache-style icing. No gluten or dairy and it still tastes celestial. myheavenlycupcakes.com  

The Key Lime Lollicake at the Lollicake Queen. A moist, bite-sized cake on a stick, with a zesty tropical zing and a green-and-white shell. Match it up with a green iced matcha from the coffee bar next door. thelollicakequeen.com 
 
Crave more tips? Write to: abby@ediblesarasota.com
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