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Archive | Summer 2012



edible tribute

Amanda Yoder


Mrs. Yoder became well known for her homemade pies and Amish home cooking in what began as a small restaurant in downtown Sarasota in 1976. She with her husband and two daughters started what has become a Sarasota tradition. Mrs. Yoder’s famous pies have graced most Sarasota homes at one time or another.

“We are blessed not only to have had her as our mother and grandmother, but to have known her, loved her, and to have been loved by her. She was a humble woman of great faith and the legacy she left will continue in our hearts forever.”

—Yoder Family

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Taking the Party Outside




ne of the great things Sarasota has to offer is the outdoor living experience. Whether it is swimming or playing ball, we enjoy the fresh air and activities that our weather provides. For food, we may just have a picnic outside or put something on the grill. However, the trend now is not to just have a fabulous grill outside, but to install an entire outdoor kitchen. Cooking outdoors is becoming increasingly more comfortable and efficient.

Our friends Brad & Elisa Cohen, partners in Cove Cleaners, recently were looking for a home. They were drawn to a beautiful house with a marvelous full outside kitchen, which they say they now use for almost all their home-cooked meals. They love creating meals as a family, and can do so while the kids play in the pool. It is a great way of spending time together and keeping everyone close. Brad says he now couldn’t live without the outdoor kitchen and believes they’ve only eaten inside once since they moved in five months ago. He is very proud of his Evo 30G giant griddle, and uses it for dinner and breakfast. For the Cohens, the outdoor kitchen has become their main kitchen.

According to Calvin Gray, the manager at Absolute Aluminum, full outdoor kitchens are the newest amenity in Florida homes. He says an outdoor kitchen mimics what would be found indoors. At first, people bought basic charcoal grills, then they upgraded to gas. Lately, there has been a run on pizza ovens. The outdoor kitchen is much more than a stand-alone grill, it is the re-created center of the house, and can fit into any budget or need. In Sarasota, they range from $6,000 to $60,000. Builders put outdoor kitchens in high-end spec houses, and see an outdoor kitchen as a unique feature that helps sell a home. To keep costs down, some builders pre-plumb, but don’t put in the full outdoor kitchen. There is even an energy-saving element as you don’t have to turn the AC higher because the stovetop heats up the house.

scenes from a kitchen
The outdoor kitchen is much more than a
stand-alone grill, it is the re-created center of the
house, and can fit into any budget or need.
Photos courtesy of Absolute Aluminum

Often people will add a full outdoor kitchen while renovating their home. Recently a family in Sarasota created something that would make the Disney Imagineers proud. Sleek, long concrete counters are speckled by pinprick floating lights. Appliances rival any in a professional restaurant kitchen. Decorative lighting shows off the grill and pizza oven, as well as the ample bar and cleanup areas area, while fans and backsplashes help bring the entire space together. Not only is the kitchen great for family entertaining but it also becomes a fantastic catering kitchen, with room for movement and multiple serving areas. They created a true outdoor living experience, where the only reason to go inside would be to use the bathroom.

According to Calvin, more and more people are “taking the party outside.” Cooking has become part of the entertainment. Many people add a big screen TV and comfortable furniture, making the area into an outdoor living room. With an outdoor kitchen, people find themselves “entertaining more, having more fun, and creating more memories.”

American Grill & Hearth has been creating outdoor kitchens for 12 years. Andrew Gwilliam, the manager, believes that the trend has exploded in the past three years because people are renovating rather than moving. He believes, that, besides a grill, a big workspace is a necessity. He also thinks that clients, especially those with pools, value a refrigerator close at hand. He says outdoor kitchens have been getting bigger and more elaborate, and have become a critical component to a home. His average price tag for a custom kitchen is around $12,000.

According to Andrew, the biggest difference between an indoor and an outdoor kitchen is the structure. The cabinets must be built properly to accommodate the Florida climate. However, pretty much any appliance that can be used inside has an outdoor equivalent. Many outdoor kitchens have blenders, icemakers, dishwashers, and even waste-disposal units. His focus is to interview the clients thoroughly to make sure they get what they want. Will clients really use the rotisserie? If not, why have one? Andrew has seen a trend of putting an old-fashioned charcoal grill next to the faster gas grill as people want wood flavor. There has also been a trend of using the side or power burners to wok cook or to use as a fryer. The smells and mess stay outside where they belong.

The outdoor kitchen has become a social center, not just a “guy and a grill.” Cooking is now a social occasion, and with an outdoor kitchen you get to enjoy the best of what living in Florida has to offer.



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edible challenge

Bottarga Di Muggine

four chefs
Kitchen tools provided by Sarasota Restaurant Equipment & Supply
5330 Pinkney Ave #C, Sarasota; 941-924-1410


An exciting new event will take place highlighting the local dining scene of Bradenton. On Thursday July 26th, we invite you to be the judge when four chefs from the Bradenton area vie for the title. For tickets and more information please contact Pier 22 , 941-366-7950 or visit

CHEF: Mark Baker, Ocean Harvest

HOMETOWN: Kyoto, Japan, and Detroit, MI

EXPERIENCE: 20 years (two at Ocean Harvest, previously at Roy’s in Tampa and Hawaii)

TRAINING: Worked alongside Roy Yamaguchi and Gordon Hopkins

COOKING STYLES: French and fusion cuisine

WINNING SECRET: “I’ll win because I’ll probably have the most interesting, unique creation. I’ve always been of the idea that you should never have to use salt and pepper after a dish is complete, and I’ve incorporated the bottarga into my dish to create multiple layers of flavor that stand alone. The Humboldt squid in my dish is the most tender squid you will ever eat.”

Ocean Harvest: 5718 Manatee Ave W, Bradenton;

CHEF: Greg Campbell, Pier 22

HOMETOWN: Germany and the American Northeast

EXPERIENCE: 15 years (seven at Pier 22)

TRAINING: “School of Hard Knocks” (family restaurant business since childhood)

COOKING STYLES: French, Greek, Italian, Creole, and Asian

WINNING SECRET: “I think I’ll win because I incorporate multinational styles of cooking, and I’ve been focusing a lot on seafood and Asian cooking for six years. What I’m doing is kind of a classical French dish, and using roe doesn’t lend itself to French cooking, so I have to fuse that Asian style into it. Simplicity is incredibly important to me, and the contemporary upscale feel to what I’m making should lend itself to the visual side of the dish.”

Pier 22: 1200 First Ave W, Bradenton;

CHEF: Ian Fairweather, The Sandbar Restaurant

HOMETOWN: Anna Maria

EXPERIENCE: 10 years (seven at the Sandbar, previously at Harry’s Continental Kitchens)

TRAINING: Johnson & Wales University in Rhode Island, graduated in 2000

COOKING STYLES: Continental, international, Mediterranean, and Caribbean

WINNING SECRET: “I’ll be using simple, fresh seafood, and some pasta, which I love to work with. I’ve figured out a way to make the bottarga really stand out in this dish after playing around with it. It’s an interesting ingredient and it can be really strong like anchovies, but there is a way you can bring out the bold flavor skillfully, and I think I’ve definitely done that.”

The Sandbar Restaurant: 100 Spring Ave, Anna Maria;

CHEF: Peter Arpke, Bella Mia Grill

HOMETOWN: Sheboygan Falls, WI

EXPERIENCE: 24 years (six months at Bella Mia, previously executive chef at Beach Bistro for 17 years)

TRAINING: Onsite at such restaurants as Euphemia Haye and the Concession Golf Club

COOKING STYLES: Fusion, Italian, American, and Asian

WINNING SECRET: “I will win because I think I’ve come up with something that is completely different, which is a kimchi sushi roll. Kimchi is something you don’t usually find in sushi, so I think I’ve fused a couple different things together that are really special. My dish is fairly simple, incorporating the bottarga with some spicy crab, too.”

Bella Mia Grill:102 Riviera Dunes Way, Palmetto;

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Genetically Modified Organisms

square tomatoes



ast October, the Just Label It (JLI) campaign filed a petition with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to require labeling of genetically engineered (GE) foods, to give consumers the right to know what is in our food. Since then, more than 550 consumer, healthcare, environmental and farming organizations, manufacturers, and retailers have joined the campaign, generating a record-breaking 1.2 million consumer comments to FDA in just 180 days.

GE food, also known as genetically modified organisms (or GMOs), are foods altered at the molecular level in ways that could not happen naturally. In 1992, the FDA ruled that GE foods do not need independent safety tests or labeling requirements before being introduced because it determined that they were “substantially equivalent” to conventionally produced foods. Andrew Kimbrell, Executive Director of the Center for Food Safety and lead author of the JLI petition said, “We are asking the FDA to change a decade’s old and out of touch policy.”

Polls show that 91 percent of Americans want the government to label GE foods. Labeling is required in other countries, including the European Union, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Korea, Brazil, and China.

While nearly 90 percent of corn and 94 percent of soy in the U.S. are from GE seeds, the safety of GE crops for human consumption has not been adequately assured. Yet, unlike the strict safety evaluations for approval of new drugs, there are no mandatory human clinical trials of GE crops, no requirement for long-term testing on animals, and limited testing for allergenicity, with studies raising concerns that they may pose an allergen risk.

Gary Hirshberg, Chairman of Stonyfield and a founder of JLI, said: “While the pros and cons of GE foods is debated, an entire generation is growing up consuming them. Until we have no doubt that GE crops are safe to eat, consumers should have a choice about whether we want to eat them.” Hirshberg has published “Label It Now,” the first consumer guide to GE foods, available online.

JLI released a video by Food, Inc. filmmaker Robert Kenner, “Labels Matter,” collaboration between JLI and Kenner’s new project, FixFood, a social media platform aiming to empower Americans to take immediate action to create a more sustainable and democratic food system.

The drumbeat for mandatory GE labeling is getting louder, as informed consumers are demanding the right to know what’s in their food. Also last October, the GMO Right- 2Know March, a two-week, 300-mile trek from Manhattan to the White House took place. Federal legislation has been introduced requiring labeling of all GE foods. It took just five days for more than 25,000 people to sign the GMO labeling petition at the White House on-line petition site. In California, a GMO labeling referendum recently gathered the signatures needed to be on the statewide November 2012 ballot, landing GE labeling on the front page of the New York Times.

It’s urgent that we make our voices heard now, as the FDA is deciding whether to approve GE salmon and the USDA advances a proposal to deregulate corn engineered to be resistant to the herbicide 2,4-D, a major component in Agent Orange. You can join in asking the FDA to allow consumers the right to know what’s in our food. It’s your right.



Adapted from the Institute for Technology and Trade Policy, “Useful Tips to Avoid GM Food.”

  1. Buy organic and support strong organic standards.
  2. Read product labels and ingredient lists. Unless they are organic, products containing soy or corn-based ingredients, such as soy flour, soy oil, vegetable oil, lecithin, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, modified starch, corn flour, cornstarch, corn oil, polenta, or other corn or soy derivatives are likely to have GMO content.
  3. Know your sources. Inquire about your farmer’s or grocer’s growing and sourcing practices. Let them know GMOs are an issue of concern for you. Do the farmers use G M seeds? Do retailers consider GMOs when they source their products?
  4. Avoid or reduce consumption of fast food and packaged and processed foods. Processed and packaged foods are most likely to contain GMO ingredients.
  5. Bakery Products. When purchasing or even preparing your own baked goods, remember that such seemingly innocuous ingredients as baking powder can contain GM cornstarch.
  6. Restaurant Food and Menus. Ask your server or chef what type of cooking oil they use. (Non-organic soy, cottonseed, canola, or corn oils are likely to be genetically modified.) Ask if they have anything that is cooked without oil, or if olive oil or some other oil can be used. If they have olive oil, be sure it’s not a blend. Since most processed foods contain GM derivatives (corn and soy, for example), ask what foods the chef prepares fresh, and choose those items. Check if packaged sauces are used. Other potential sources of GM foods at restaurants include salad dressings, bread, mayonnaise, and sugar from GM sugar beets.
  7. Avoid margarine, a butter substitute typically made from soybean, corn, or other vegetable oils. Opt instead for organic butter, ghee, olive oil, or coconut oil.
  8. Meat and dairy products from animals fed GM soy and corn are not labeled. Talk to your butcher about the ranchers from whom they buy meat and learn about their farming practices and feed sourcing.
  9. Dried Fruit. Some dried fruits, including raisins, sultanas, currants, and dates, are coated with oil derived from GM soy. Seek out organic dried fruit, or brands that don’t list vegetable oil on the label.
  10. Save seeds and grow your own.
  11. Make it yourself! The easiest way to avoid GMOs is to prepare your own food using whole ingredients from purveyors you know.

—Kristina Sepetys


tomato with a question mark

Country Million
Biotech Crops 2011
USA 69.0 Corn, Soybean, Cotton, Canola,
Sugar Beet, Alfalfa, Papaya, Squash
Brazil 30.3 Soybean, Corn, Cotton
Argentina 23.7 Cotton
India 10.6 Canola, Corn, Soybean, Sugar Beet
Canada 10.4 Cotton, Papaya, Poplar, Tomato,
Sweet Pepper
China 3.9 Soybean
Paraguay 2.8 Cotton
Pakistan 2.6 Corn, Soybean, Cotton
South Africa 2.3 Soybean, Corn


The U.S. is by far the largest GM farmer in the world in terms of acres farmed. (FYI: 1 hectare = 2.47 acres) The largest crops, corn and soybeans, are grown in the midwest. (Source: ISAAA Brief 43-2011: Executive Summary, “Global Status of Commercialized Biotech/GM Crops: 2011,” International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications, Table 1.)

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edible profile

Breaking Out the Good Stuff

Michael Green



hen New York food and drink connoisseur Michael Green dubs Sarasota “a player” in the international culinary arena, it means one thing: Our city has arrived.

Green, who served as Gourmet magazine’s wine and spirits guru for 19 years, visited Southwest Florida in mid-June to test fare from five local restaurants: Brasserie Belge, Carmel Café, Eat Here, Indigenous, and Shore Diner. Sarasota chef and longtime friend Judi Gallagher acted as his tour guide and “food ambassador,” he says.

“I knew that the food scene in Sarasota was becoming more elevated but I did not know to what extent or to what level. I was very surprised,” Green says. “It has changed so much since I was here 10 years ago. I’ve been blessed to have traveled the world eating and drinking, but Sarasota has impressed me so much that I want to share it’s story with more people.”

Between lodging at the Ritz-Carlton and Hotel Indigo, Green sampled menus at the aforementioned quintet of eateries. He delved into Brasserie Belge’s steak tartare and mussels Provençal, and enjoyed a summery poached salmon salad at Hotel Indigo’s H20 Bistro. The local, seasonal ingredients in chef Steve Phelps’ menu at Indigenous lured him back for multiple meals.

“From a vibe standpoint, it’s also exciting that restaurants here are setting the stage for a more youthful scene, like Shore,” Green says. “When I was there, I felt like I was in South Beach or Delray Beach. It was wonderful.” Green intends to return to Sarasota soon, and to offer private wine and food pairings for luxury patrons. He is currently the lead presenter and wine and spirits director for the Food Network Atlantic City Food and Wine Festival, as well as the headlining wine and spirits personality on the national Buick Discovery Tour. His first play, Wine Lovers: The Musical, is on tour throughout the United States, and his second (set during the prohibition era) began production in the spring.

“I’ve been all over the world, but Sarasota, in my opinion, is really a force now,” Green says. “I can’t wait to experience more of what Sarasota offers.”

And that is one authoritative pat on the back.




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Creekside Cuisine

chef Pedro Flores



hef Pedro Flores hails from Mexico City, and he makes it a point to tell me that it is one of the worst polluted cities in the world. “Mexico City sits very high, so the air does not circulate.” He holds his hand up to demonstrate the altitude of the city, then looks over his shoulder and appears to relax. His restaurant, The Table Creekside, is all clean lines and sparkling water views. It is a study in white, tan, and blue, with large picture windows and a bar so closely resembling the cabin of a luxury yacht that I’m almost convinced I can feel the ocean moving below deck. I ask Pedro what inspired his love affair with food and he talks about his mother. His mother used to take him to the market very early in the morning and he would assist her in picking out fresh vegetables for use in her homemade sauces, salsas, and dips. “She made her own tortillas,” he recalls fondly. “She always told me: If you are going to do something, do your best— make it as if it’s for your family.”

Scenes from the restaurant

Pedro moved to the States at the age of 16 and lived with family in Austin, Texas; an exceptionally clean city, he informs me. His path to chefdom began in the kitchen at a Marriott hotel, where he worked part-time as a dishwasher. Soon he was being trained as a prep cook and then a garde manger, in charge of the production of cold foods. Pedro then apprenticed in the banquet kitchen under a Japanese chef, a master of ice sculpture who passed some of his carving skills down to his pupil. Pedro assisted in the opening of a large hotel in San Antonio as the sous chef. In his early 20s by this point, Pedro felt he was ready for the title of executive chef. He set out to Miami to seek his fortune and it was there that he met another young chef, Rafael Manzano, who would later become his business partner.

The two young men worked together as chefs for six years at a Sheraton in Miami. They cooked for the likes of Bill Clinton and Al Gore, developing an easy rapport with one another. Both were offered the opportunity to become executive chefs and spent four years separately pursuing their dreams before meeting one day for dinner and drinks and deciding to open their own place. After much brainstorming, they drove from Miami to St. Augustine in search of the perfect location for their new restaurant. Rafael was familiar with Sarasota and convinced Pedro that this would be the ideal setting for their original concept: a franchise chicken joint. They were inspired by a shared desire to be unique and soon decided to concentrate on the idea of ‘Global Cuisine’ and draw on influences from all over the world. The ambitious and dedicated pair opened on Hillview Street, where the original ‘Table’ did very good business. “We were blessed,” says Pedro, remembering those early years. When they decided to expand with a full bar and nightclub, they were so successful that they opened a second location in St. Petersburg, which did very well until the economy collapsed, causing both restaurants to close.

The idea of The Table simmered and the pair returned to Sarasota under the auspices of Roy Lalone, owner of Phillippi Creek Village Restaurant. The Table was reinvigorated after a few years spent regrouping. One perk of being the sole ownerights of a restaurant is the ability to constantly reinvent yourself. Pedro smiles at me, “I’m a little bit crazy. I always want to surprise people, to challenge their perceptions and have them try something new and be amazed by it. I want them to remember that feeling and come back for more.” Chef Pedro is an arbiter of the farm-to-table movement. He prefers to use local, seasonal produce whenever possible and features ingredients from farms in Myakka, Fort Myers, and Tampa. His mission for the summer is to give guests light, healthy, often gluten-free meals that still represent his vision of incredibly flavorful, globally influenced food that defies expectations. Take the chef ’s riff on a Beef Stroganoff: He makes his own fettuccine with egg whites and ladles over it a meat sauce made of green and black barley and tender chunks of organic veal instead of beef. The dish is light and tasty and, as promised, it’s a revelation.



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Chef de Cuisine

Mary Nolan



hef Mary Nolan’s passion for food has been a lifelong one. Perhaps it can be traced to her childhood: she grew up in the city-setting of Davenport, Iowa, but spent a lot of time at her grandparents’ rural farms. “I felt that at an early age I just had an understanding of where food could and should come from,” she told me after a Sunday brunch at the Polo Grill. “Seeing that you can in fact have food and know exactly where it came from was really inspiring.”

Though her culinary curiosity flourished at an early age, Nolan took an unconventional path. While she knew she loved working with food, she decided in high school that going to a four-year college felt like the right choice. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a degree in journalism and set off for New York where she landed a job in publishing at Gourmet magazine.

Though she worked at Gourmet for nearly four years, Nolan soon realized she wanted to move forward in the cooking realm and so she decided to study at the Institute of Culinary Education. In the meantime, she filmed a series for the Food Network titled Chic & Easy. After graduating, she went on to work in several restaurants. In her current role as chef de cuisine at bon appétit magazine, Nolan travels around the country sharing her culinary expertise through cooking demonstrations. A common theme runs through her career: the desire to inspire people to feel comfortable cooking by showing them simple, elegant recipes that utilize fresh, local ingredients.

Mary Nolan cookingNolan came to Sarasota in early June for a weekend-long event hosted by the Bradenton Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. The event included a hands-on cooking demonstration and luncheon, as well as a champagne brunch the following day. Nolan also autographed copies of The bon appétit fast, easy, fresh Cookbook for attendees. While she was here, she expressed admiration for the local food scene.

“I love to hear that buying local is really important to people here. You’re in an area that has a great climate for growing produce, so you’re in a prime location for utilizing local resources,” she said.

Nolan’s commitment to local food was evident, as she used locally sourced products during her cooking demonstration. She firmly believes that people can support local growers and still feed their family on a reasonable budget. She recommends shopping at farmers’ markets where you can deal directly with a farmer or at least with a vendor who is well versed in where the food comes from. She also says you can get great deals by shopping at the end of the day, when vendors are more willing to bargain.

Nolan also recommends cooking with seasonal produce, even if it means altering a recipe, in order to save money and ensure that you’re cooking with the highest-quality ingredients.

“I feel like people get intimidated by big, complicated recipes,” she said. “One thing I would encourage people to do is kind of do what works for you. If you’re reading a recipe, there are a number of ways you can take shortcuts. You don’t need to get everything on that grocery list. Look beyond the recipe; recipes can be a really great inspiration, but people shouldn’t feel bound to follow them exactly.



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Beba Sus Verduras



Jugo Rojo
1 celery stalk
1 cucumber
2 cups spinach
1 medium beet
Jugo Fresco
4 carrots
2 pineapple slices
1 small ginger slice
Jugo Verde
4 apples
½ lime
4 kale leaves
Jugo de la Calma
2 pineapple slices
2 oranges
1 celery stalk
Jugo Savor
2 carrots
1 pineapple slice
1 orange
1 medium beet
1 apple

hree years ago, mi Pueblo’s University Parkway location added a full juice bar and a second menu, featuring raw and living food items, all of them made entirely from organic produce. Owner Michelle Buice was inspired to create the menu after a trip to Guatemala, where she had the pleasure of eating mostly raw fruits and vegetables.

“I felt amazing,” she confides. “And when I came back to Sarasota I met a lot of people who were into raw foods. I learned a lot from them, and started preparing food for myself at home. Then I decided to bring it to the restaurant.”

mi Pueblo is well known for some of the best and freshest Mexican cuisine in town, but it is taking some time for customers to get used to what for many of them is a totally foreign menu.

“It’s a very unusual concept,” says Michelle, “having two menus, and one organic, vegan, living food menu, in a Mexican restaurant. It’s still taking time; people still don’t ‘get it.’”

Chava Ruiz, mi Pueblo’s raw chef, has come up with some pretty ingenious offerings. The burrito de Luz stuffs sunflower seed ‘beans,’ avocado, sprouts, fresh pico de gallo, garlic and cilantro dressing, and sunflower seed ‘sour cream’ into either a sprouted wheat tortilla or a massive organic collard green leaf. This might be the only place in town you’ll find hemp seeds, or ground, spiced Brazil nuts, or pump-kin seeds on salads of spinach or kale, or vegan, raw tacos. They also have chocolate made from avocado, raw soft-serve ice cream made from bananas, and other interesting sweets.

The juices have definitely received the attention of raw food enthusiasts around the area as well. They’re presented as first courses, since fresh vegetable juice has shown to be remarkable for digestive purposes if imbibed prior to a meal, activating enzymes and generally getting your meal started off right. Michelle tells us how it’s done: “I’ll start with a juice, and take my time, wait a few minutes before I eat.”

Though they can make any combination of juice with the fruits and veggies on hand each day, currently mi Pueblo offers just a handful of juice recipes, carefully concocted with both taste and health benefits in mind. The jugo verde takes the somewhat bitter juice from a massive handful of raw kale and cuts it with the tart, sweet flavors of organic green apples and a half a lime, rind and all, making for a tart, sweet, wildly refreshing, and nutrient-rich afternoon beverage.

“Juicing helps you get a lot of nutrients into one thing,” Michelle says. “I’m not going to eat four apples. But I can drink four apples, and a bunch of kale, no problem.”

For now, mi Pueblo only offers the menu at their University Parkway location, due to space constraints at their other venues. You can see the full menu at

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edible round-up




here’s the beef? Ask a butcher that question, and he’ll want to know which beef you’re talking about. There are about 75 cuts to choose from, many of which have a variety of names, depending on how any given muscle was sectioned and where the butcher learned his trade (one man’s Kansas City steak is another man’s New York strip). How to prepare the various steaks, roasts, and ribs is a challenge as well. When to grill? When to braise? When to roast?

Beef is muscle, and how you cook it depends upon how much it was used by the cow. The front (chuck) and back (round) are oft-used muscles, with plenty of connective tissue and marbleized fat (read: flavor). In general, these tougher cuts must be cooked with slow, moist heat. (Leaving bones in also adds tremendous flavor, so ask for the bones when you can.) The middle portions—where the cuts tend to be tender and more expensive—don’t involve the hard-working muscles, have a milder flavor, and can be cooked with dry heat over a shorter period of time.

Some grocery-store packaging will tell you where a cut comes from, which is helpful for something like a London broil because it can be from several different parts of the cow.

Of course, visit a neighborhood butcher or get it straight from the farm, and you can ask questions and tap into the knowledge of these seasoned experts. In the meantime, we’re providing a map of the eight “primal cuts” (the first cuts made when a butcher breaks down a steer), along with some fantastic recipes and tips from local butchers. So, you ask, where’s the beef? Hopefully, it’s in your kitchen.


CUTS: Brisket, shank, soup bones

LOCATION:This is basically the cow’s breast, immediately below the chuck. The abundant fat prevents the meat from drying out.

INSIDER TIP: Many chefs swear by the brisket for ground hamburger meat, because it has a magic ratio of 30 percent fat to 70 percent protein. (Ask for some next time you’re at the local butcher shop.)

COOKING TECHNIQUES: In liquid (braise, or use a slow-cooker). Also very good when cured (smoked, pickled, etc.), as in pastrami and corned beef.


Ossobuco Milanese over Saffron Risotto


CUTS: Flank steak, often used for ground beef and London broil

LOCATION: Comes from the belly section of a hindquarter and has no bone segments. It can be tough because it has a lot of tissue.

INSIDER TIP: Experts recommend cutting flank steak against the grain (perpendicular to the lines) because those lines are actually long muscle fibers that are difficult to chew if not cut crosswise into smaller pieces.

COOKING TECHNIQUES: Best cooked quickly: marinated and pan-broiled or grilled. Can also be braised.

Chuck Shoulder

CUTS: Chuck eye roast, chuck eye steak, top blade steak, chuck pot roast, mock tender, blade roast, 7-bone roast, short ribs, flat iron steak, arm pot roast, often used for hamburger

LOCATION: The forequarter containing ribs one through five—which is basically the shoulder. It is the largest primal cut.

INSIDER TIP: The chuck contains the workhorse muscles of the cow, which gives it the most flavor. The plentiful connective tissue dissolves when the meat is slowcooked and provides a special flavor profile.

COOKING TECHNIQUES: Cook in liquid slow and long (i.e., braise or pop into a slow cooker).


Napoletan Meatballs

Short Loin

CUTS: Prime rib, rib roast (large end and small end), rib eye roast, rib eye steak, rib steak, back ribs

LOCATION: Top portion from the 6th through the 12th ribs.

INSIDER TIP: “Small end” and “large end” rib roasts refer to the size of the bones that surround it, not the actual size of the meat. The more-tender small end is actually larger than the tougher large end.

COOKING TECHNIQUES: Dry-heat cooking, including grilling, broiling, roasting, pan-frying.


Niman Ranch Beef Tenderloin Filets Wrapped in Applewood-smoked Bacon with Gorgonzola Gratinee and Green Peppercorn Bordelaise Sauce

Short Plate

CUTS: Short ribs, skirt steak, hanger steak, often used for ground beef

LOCATION: More or less the area below the rib primal cut; it includes the bottom portion of ribs six through 12.

INSIDER TIP: The inexpensive skirt steak gets tough if cooked beyond medium; keep it at rare or medium rare and it remains quite tender.

COOKING TECHNIQUES: Best cooked quickly: marinated and panbroiled or grilled.


Shore Diner Beef Short Ribs


CUTS: Top round steak or roast, bottom round roast, eye round steak or roast, heel of round, rolled rump, rump roast, round tip steak or roast, knuckle steak, cube steak, round steak, kebabs, often used for hamburger

LOCATION: Derived from a hindquarter, it is more or less the hind legs and the rump. It is the second-largest primal cut.

INSIDER TIP: There are three major muscle groups in this section: the top round, which is where a lot of London broil comes from; bottom round, which can be turned into cube steak (great for chickenfried steak); and eye of round, which is typically a roasting cut.

COOKING TECHNIQUES: Because it doesn’t have abundant marbling, much of it needs to be cooked in liquid (braising, slowcooker); however, some cuts are tender enough for roasting (i.e., high-quality top round, knuckle, and rump roasts).


CUTS: Prime rib, rib roast (large end and small end), rib eye roast, rib eye steak, rib steak, back ribs

LOCATION: Top portion from the 6th through the 12th ribs.

INSIDER TIP: “Small end” and “large end” rib roasts refer to the size of the bones that surround it, not the actual size of the meat. The more-tender small end is actually larger than the tougher large end.

COOKING TECHNIQUES: Dry-heat cooking, including grilling, broiling, roasting, pan-frying.


Harris Family Prime Rib Roast


CUTS: Sirloin steak (flat bone), sirloin steak (round bone), top sirloin steak, pin bone sirloin steak, flat bone sirloin steak, cowboy steak, tri-tip, triangle steak

LOCATION: It includes bone segments of lumbar vertebrae and is often referred to as the hip area. Not as tender as the short loin region. Has many muscle groups, which means it can be cut in a myriad of ways, resulting in a great variety of cuts.

INSIDER TIP: The quality of the fat is different here than in other parts of the cow. It can become hard after cooking,so you will need to trim it out as you’re eating—not before, or you’ll lose flavor as well.

COOKING TECHNIQUES: This region can be a little tough, but still can be prepared with some dry heat. Best to broil or panfry. Also makes good stew beef.



Gauging when a piece of beef is done solely by sight is difficult to impossible. A thermometer will tell you 145 degrees for medium-rare; 160 degrees for medium; and 170 degrees for well-done.


Meat Pounder

For tougher cuts of meat (from the chuck or round, for example), a little pounding can make a big difference when it comes to tenderness. Some tenderizers even have blades that can be used to infuse the meat with garlic bits.


Basting Brush

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10 Ways to Beat the Heat


Salt-rimmed, on the rocks, straight up or frosty—any which way, the margarita is synonymous with Key West coolness and Mexican moods. The libation’s recipe (usually a tequila or wine base, coupled with fruit-flavored liqueurs and citrus juices) is as sultry as its historic saga.

Some believe mixologist Don Carlos Orozco invented the margarita in the fall of 1941 in Ensenada, Mexico. Legend claims he named it after Margarita Henkel, the daughter of a German ambassador, who was supposedly the first to sample the concoction. Other storytellers insist that the margarita originated at the Balinese Room in Galveston, Texas, in 1948, when bartender Santos Cruz whipped up the beverage for singer Peggy Lee.

Then, of course, there is the theory that the margarita is simply a twist on an American Prohibition-era drink called the Daisy (with tequila as a substitute for the original brandy). After all, margarita is the Spanish word for “daisy.” There’s something to ponder as you sip and toast the sunset.


Malinche Perfect

1¾ ounces Don Julio Añejo
¾ ounce Grand Marnier
Splash of lime juice
2 ounces Jose Cuervo Margarita Mix
Mix, shake and strain

La Malinche Restaurant
40 S Blvd of the Presidents, Sarasota;

Attitude Margarita

3 ounces Jose Cuervo Especial Tequila Gold
3/4 ounce Cointreau
Splash of orange juice
Sour mix to fill shaker
Mix, shake, strain and add a floater of Grand Marnier

The Old Salty Dog
1601 Ken Thompson Pkwy, Sarasota;

Frozen Baitbucket Margarita

1½ ounces Margaritaville Gold Tequila
1 ounce Blue Curaçao
½ ounce Rose’s Lime juice
2 ounces sweet and sour mix
Blend with ½ cup ice

Sharky’s on the Pier
600 Harbor Dr, Venice;


1 shot Cazadorez Tequila Blanco
6 ounces grapefruit soda (poured over ice in a clay pot)
1 lime, orange and grapefruit wedge
Mix, shake and strain

Mi Pueblo
8405 Tuttle Ave, Sarasota;

Tex-Mex Rita

2 ounces Tito’s (kosher and gluten free) Texas Vodka
½ ounce Cointreau
½ lime
1½ inch slice of jalapeño
Juice from a wedge of orange
1 teaspoon agave nectar
Mix, shake and strain

Coyne’s Pier 28
8201 S Tamiami Tr, Sarasota;

Pub Margarita

1¾ ounces Patron Tequila
¾ ounce Grand Marnier
4 ounces margarita mix
Mix, shake and strain

Mar Vista Dockside Restaurant and Pub
760 Broadway St, Longboat Key;

Don Pablo’s Squeezarita

2 ounces Sauza Tequila Gold
½ ounce Cointreau
2 ounces freshly squeezed lime juice
¼ cup powdered sugar
Mix, shake and strain

Don Pablo’s
5911 Fruitville Rd, Sarasota;

Herradura HonkyTonk Margarita

2 ounces Herradura Blanco (silver) Tequila
1 ounce orange liquor (preferably Grand Marnier)
1 ounce fresh orange juice
3 ounces sweet and sour or margarita mix
Mix, shake and strain

Two Senoritas
1355 Main St, Sarasota;

Mango Margarita

1 ounce Margaritaville Mango Tequila
½ ounce Cointreau
½ ounce Jack Mango Rum
4 ounces sweet and sour mix
Mix, shake and strain

Daiquiri Deck
5250 Ocean Blvd, Sarasota;

Our Top Selling Margarita

2 ounces of Silver Tequila
1 ounce triple sec
4 ounces of margarita mix
Mix, shake and strain

Tequila Cantina
1454 Main St, Sarasota

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The Key to Peru




t their 1¼-acre south Sarasota property, Javier and Mary Allen Arana nurture 75 fruit trees, harvest berries, and make organic compost.

Their bounty enriches the menu at Javier’s Restaurant and Wine Bar on Siesta Key, where local, organic ingredients are integral to the Peruvian-American fare.

“We’ve always been environmentalists. And I’ve always been into the earth, from the time I was a kid growing avocado pits in my window in Wisconsin,” says Mary, who has been in business with her husband for 25 years. “We’re subtly trying to promote that you can eat and live well without destroying the world with chemicals, through our own lifestyles and through our menu.”

Javier, who grew up in Lima, Peru, creates and tests recipes daily, about 90 percent of which are suitable for people with food allergies. All unusable scraps are gathered nightly and transferred to the home compost heap.

The Aranas purchase fair trade coffee and chocolate from Equal Exchange, bakery items from Sarasota’s Bavarian Bread, corvina from Peru, and wild salmon from Scotland. Other fish comes from area vendors like Maggie’s Seafood and Sammy’s Seafood, and much of the produce is from Global Organics.

The freshness of these items is evident in the Ceviche Mixto, which features shrimp and scallops marinated in lime juice, red onions, peppers, garlic, celery, and cilantro; the Chicharrón de Pescado (fried corvina bites with Peruvian tartar sauce and sweet plantains); and the Chorizo a la Parrilla, a grilled sausage served with yuca frita (fried cassava) and roasted tomato remoulade. Signature plates like the Pasta Jambalaya with spicy sausage and linguine in a zesty New Orleans tomato sauce, have remained on the menu for 25 years.

“We have always prided ourselves on being consistent, and we let people get hooked on our dishes,” Javier says. “We believe in our food and we want people to enjoy it. We draw inspiration from the locals and they become our friends.”

scenes from Javier's

The restaurant has been operating in its current location since 1992 (it began as a spinoff of the original Javier’s at the Surfrider Motel). The décor includes a vibrant, wrapped mural of Cusco, Peru, by artist Kathleen Carrillo, and green plants hanging from the ceilings.

In addition to such crowd-pleasers as the bacon-wrapped sea scallops or the cilantro risotto, Javier’s offers a four-course tapas dinner for $24, and rotating specials. Ask Mary about her famed Very Best Bananas Foster, which features bananas sautéed in caramel sauce, flambéed in dark rum and crème de banana, and served over vanilla ice cream.

“Ten years ago, there wasn’t that much Peruvian food in town, but I think Sarasota is really getting with it,” Mary says. “Now it’s everywhere. We’re glad we could be pioneers.”

The wine bar component of Javier’s Restaurant and Wine Bar is a six-seat wooden affair with selections from some 50 different producers. New Zealand, Australia, and Italy are represented, and of course South America. Fancy a Chilean Syrah from Valle Secreto, or perhaps an Argentine malbec from Familia Marguery?

If wine is not your cup of tea, you can choose from an extensive beer list that includes locally brewed quaffs by Jalehouse and the Peruvian imports Cusqueña, Tres Cruces, and Franca Premium. Or enjoy a Pisco Sour, Peru’s national cocktail. The Aranas invite newcomers to try the Peruvian dessert cordial called Algarrobina, made with sweetened condensed milk and carob syrup, or the iridescent yellow Inca Kola. The Aranas are as committed to the authenticity of their Peruvian selections as they are to their planet. Mary sums it up this way: “We all have an obligation to the Earth, I believe. We’re going to be leaving a big mess behind if we don’t pay attention. Organic is part of the solution. It’s better for the environment and it just tastes better.”

With lip-smacking libations, ethnic tapas, and an underlying devotion to nature, Javier’s menu is as scrumptious as it is sustainable.




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worth the trip

Seven Sinful Sandwiches

hands holding a sandwich


Sandwich savants, prepare to drool. You know a wicked stack when you cradle it; each bite is jam-packed with layers of flavor and nearly every food group is represented. Whether you prefer meat between your white, wheat, gluten-free slices, or veggies slathered in zesty condiments, these seven sinful sandwiches will likely summon you back.


Though its moniker may be cloaked in mystery, the Aztec’s deliciousness is anything but covert. This Main Bar Sandwich Shop specialty, like its locale, is a downtown Sarasota institution. Spicy, juicy and rife with pink meat, the Aztec piles super-thin slices of roast beef, provolone cheese, tomatoes, shredded lettuce, and red onions onto a poppyseed kaiser roll. The kicker is the jalapeño dressing (a hush-hush recipe), without which the Aztec would be just another run-of-the-mill roast beef sandwich. Complete the plate with a whole kosher pickle and a glob of potato salad.

1944 Main St, Sarasota; 941-316-0272;


“To die for” is one apropos way to describe the Kamikaze at Lucky Dogs in downtown Bradenton – a six-inch or foot-long sub with roast beef, pepper jack cheese, onion, lettuce, horseradish and mayonnaise on a toasted roll. While sipping a Guinness pint at McCabe’s Irish Pub next door, grab the cell phone, dial the Dogs’ number, and have the sub delivered on foot, in a take-home box, within minutes, to your barstool. Do not forget the creamy homemade macaroni salad side with tuna and peas.

1207 Third Ave W, Bradenton; 941-896-8839;

Too few people understand a really good sandwich.
–James Beard


You want local, high-quality grouper? Rush to Cortez. More specifically, plop down at one of the ocean-facing, wooden picnic tables at Star Fish Co. and order the grouper sandwich. Fishing boats unload black, red and scamp varieties of the catch daily, and chefs blacken, grill and sauté the filets. Slapped onto a kaiser roll with lettuce, tomato and onions, and served with a choice of cheese grits, French fries, coleslaw or hush puppies, this seafood delicacy is killer with or without the bread.

12306 46th Ave W, Cortez; 941-794-1243;


At Ham Heaven and Devil Dogs in Sarasota’s Gulf Gate district, the corned beef reuben boasts a statewide fame claim: It was voted the best of its kind in Florida. Maybe that is because the beef comes from Miami’s National Deli, the fresh rye bread is from Giovanni’s Bakery in Largo, and the Thousand Island dressing is concocted from scratch. The beef arrives in Sarasota as raw, flat brisket, and is then steamed, sliced in-house and grilled to perfection. Swiss cheese and sauerkraut round out the recipe, which is accompanied by bacon and cheddar potato skin chips.

2647 Mall Dr, Sarasota; 941-923-2514;


Two words for gluten-free foodies: horseradish burger. Unearth this sandwich at Beckham’s on the Trail in South Sarasota and pair it with a bottle of Sorghum-based Redbridge Beer. The Braveheart Black Angus Beef patty, sourced from cattle with superior genetics, is aged for a minimum of 28 days, and then flanked by a bun from Island Gluten Free Bakery. The eight-ounce cut is then stuffed with cream cheese, horseradish and mustard, and served on a kaiser roll with lettuce, tomato and onion. Have the gluten-free homemade citrus ginger ice cream pie with graham cracker crust for dessert.

6727 S Tamiami Trail, Sarasota; 941-706-1654;


Veggie utopia exists in the form of the cucumber sandwich at The White Horse Pub, just off University Parkway in Sarasota. Fresh English cukes, lemon-dill goat cheese, spinach leaves, and bits of sea salt and cracked black pepper marry on two pieces of ciabatta toast. Douse the accompanying steak or Idaho fries with malt vinegar for a classically British twist, and wash them down with St. Peters Sorghum Beer or homemade white sangria. Curl up with the sandwich in “The Snug” – the pub’s cozy corner hideaway with quiet seating.

6240 N Lockwood Ridge Rd, Sarasota; 941-358-1353;


Ride the well-seasoned wave of the Surfer at Anna’s Deli – an award-winning entrée with ham, turkey, Swiss cheese and sliced cucumbers. Anna’s Famous Sauce is optional, but take a hint from the regulars and go for a good slathering. Have your meats on marble, pumpernickel, wheat, white or rye bread (which, in the vein of Ham Heaven, is from Giovanni’s Bakery in Largo). Potato salad with mayo, special spices, scallions, salt and pepper? Yes, please. And don’t forget the pickle.

128 N Orange Ave, Sarasota; 941-330-2662;
6535 Midnight Pass Rd, Sarasota; 941-349-4888;
8207 Tourist Center Dr, Sarasota; 941-893-5908;


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Tilapia…A Family Tail




hen six-year-old Patrick Lydiard first saw the 2 ½ acre lake on 42nd Street, he knew he was home. To this young fisherman’s heart, the place was a dream come true. It was love at first sight for his parents also and for two decades, the large and loving family has called it home, where the children grew up playing pirates on the lake, and climbed up into the massive limbs of ancient oaks.

Patrick Lydiard is now a young man with a family of his own, and a business based on that very lake: the Sarasota Organic Tilapia Farms.

Here, Patrick, with family help, is creating the standard for the highest quality tilapia in the state of Florida. It’s an idyllic setting: shady oaks line the banks abundant with wildlife, and pure, clean water sparkles in the lake itself. Surely this must be tilapia heaven, where the fish freely roam in a balanced ecosystem and eat their natural foods. It is a far cry from how most tilapia are raised commercially.

“Tilapia farming is a hard and expensive business,” states Patrick. To assure a greater profit, most conventional fish farmers lower expenses using cheap, species-inappropriate food. The fish are then weaker and the farmers give them growth hormones and antibiotics. Gender of newly hatched tilapia is changed to be almost all male (they grow faster and bigger). Fish are grown densely and there is the danger of fish containing PCBs, mercury, and pharmaceuticals. Not an appetizing thought.


Contrast that with Patrick’s operation: Fish roam freely in a more balanced ecosystem, and at a much lower density than that of conventional fish farms. They eat foods they were designed to: organic algae, duckweed, occasional roots and insects. They are naturally healthy and strong. The lake is free from contaminants from runoff or storm water, and there are no pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers. Sarasota Organic Tilapia Farm is a source of safe, local fish.

Although fish cannot be certified organic, because their environment usually cannot be controlled (the ocean for example), Patrick works to ensure that every possible variable of his operation is as organic as possible.

The benefits to the fish are passed on to those who end up eating them: us. Their natural diet creates a much healthier ratio of omega-3 fatty acids. And we get an absolutely delicious, worry-free experience of eating fish, grown by people still loving and caring for the lake.

Sarasota Organic Tilapia is available for purchase at 3939 42nd Street on Friday from noon to 7 p.m. and Saturday 2 p.m.–5 p.m.. You can also find it at the Downtown Sarasota Farmer’s Market on Saturday from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Visit their website at





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