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Archive | Summer 2013



Chef José and Victoria Martinez of Maison Blanche



José and Victoria Martinez own the elegant Maison Blanche on Longboat Key. A reification of Frenchness on American soil; a renaissance of their Maison Blanche Arrondissement 8, a Michelin-starred restau in Paris. A handsome couple, who both mentioned that their favorite greasy spoon meal was rillettes, they are like a more sophisticated species from the Planet Hexagon. But in the beauty of cross-cultural exchange, they have learned to appreciate the hamburger and earnest farm-to-table initiatives while offering us the terrine, the confit, the beignet.

Victoria runs the front of the house and José is the chef. Like all maisons, there are roles and then all the connective tissue of shared inspiration and sweat. I like these ‘his & hers’ answers, they say something sweet and simple about the nature of marriage as well as the influences of these gifted individuals.


Clockwise: Chef José prepping for dinner; Maison
Blanche’s new menu; one of Chef Jose’s many
knives; an organized kitchen


What was your favorite food as a kid?

VICTORIA:Orange flavored beignet made by my mother.

What was the first meal you made that you were proud of?

JOSÉ: Crepes at six years old.

VICTORIA:I was spoiled so I didn’t start to cook full meals until I was about thirty years old. But when I was a teenager I loved to make clafoutis.

What three adjectives describe your cuisine?

JOSÉ: Precise, respectful, and flavorful.

VICTORIA:Simple, flavorful, and exotic.

What book most influences your food, cookbook or otherwise?

VICTORIA:Pierre Hermé is my favorite author for pastry books and I am inspired by the work of Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche.

What chef do you most admire?

VICTORIA:I admire many chefs, it’s a very difficult profession which demands much patience and commitment. The closest to me would be my brother and my husband and I have a special weakness for Michel Guérard, who is both a remarkable chef and pastry chef, which is rare.

What is your favorite ingredient?

JOSÉ: Potato.

VICTORIA:Herbs, I love herbs.

What music do you like to hear when you cook?

JOSÉ: I do not cook with music, the music is in the cooking.

VICTORIA:I enjoy listening to the various noises of the pots and pans and the creation of the dish. It is very relaxing.

What is your favorite midnight snack?

VICTORIA:My husband’s caramel.

What kitchen utensil is most indispensable to you?

JOSÉ: A spoon.

VICTORIA:For savory dishes, a knife and for sweet dishes, a scale.

What food trend would you most like to erase from the annals of history?

JOSÉ: SPAM and GMO’s in all the foods that we have today.

VICTORIA:Nothing in food for me, but in drinks it would definitely be soda.

What do you most value in a sous chef?

JOSÉ: Aptitude to duplicate.


If you could do one other job, what would it be?

JOSÉ: Racecar driver.

What one food would you take with you on a desert island?

JOSÉ: Tomato, because we use it as a vegetable but it is a fruit.


What is your favorite guilty pleasure treat?

JOSÉ: Caviar.


What most satisfies your sweet tooth?

JOSÉ: Chocolate.

VICTORIA:Grand Marnier Souffle.

What would you eat at your last meal, if you could plan such a thing?

VICTORIA:Oysters with a brut champagne.

Cheeseburger or foie gras?

JOSÉ: I enjoy both, I think a burger is one of the best American traditions.

VICTORIA:Foie gras, cooked in a fireplace.

What’s your favorite for …

…a splurge meal?

JOSÉ: Winter truffle.

VICTORIA:Private jet to Maison Pic in Valence, France. We had dinner there last year, it was absolutely divine. For the private jet, I will just have to try the lottery.


JOSÉ: Espresso.

VICTORIA:Fresh baquette, salty butter, honey, and black coffee.


JOSÉ: Apple tart.


…a late night/after work meal?

JOSÉ: Burger.

VICTORIA:Tomato salad with olive oil and sea salt is very refreshing.

…a greasy spoon meal?

JOSÉ: Goose Rillettes.

VICTORIA:Duck rillettes, little sardines and tuna in olive oil.


VICTORIA:I go everywhere: Whole Foods, Publix, Morton’s, Trader Joes.

…ice cream?

JOSÉ: Licorice.

VICTORIA:I love Jose’s ice cream- the vanilla ice cream in particular, it is homemade.


JOSÉ: 90% dark.

VICTORIA:My favorite chocolate store is La Maison du Chocolat. They are the most exquisite chocolates.

Maison Blanche: 2605 Gulf of Mexico Dr, Longboat Key; 941-383-8088;


Potato and Corn Soup with Coconut

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Lolablue Living



With a name like Jamie Lovern, you can’t be putting out products that people hate. You just can’t. It would defy the laws of nature.

And Jamie Lovern is not about to defy the laws of nature. In fact, her business— Lolablue, which makes eco-friendly soaps, candles, lotions, and even bug spray— does everything in its power to bring the best of what’s out there into your home.

“Indulge Yourself. Respect Mother Earth,” reads Lolablue’s tagline, setting the stage for products that are both luxurious and eco-conscious. “I’ve always been drawn to the Earth and the peacefulness of being one with nature, so I make my products with ingredients that bring back that balance so you can feel good about using them,” says Jamie, referring to the organic soy and essential oils in her line, and the palm oil she makes sure to leave out.

Saving the Earth aside, these seasonal sugar scrubs, hydrating lip balms, soaps made with pure essential oils, and candles that smell so good you could serve them with a knife and fork, are amazing and just a few of the incredible things Jamie has been—oh, ya know—tinkering with for the past decade. What started as an after-work hobby has blossomed into a full-blown occupation.

Nag Champa 100% Organic Soy Wax Candle; Earth Day Soap – created in honor of mother earth
(soap cures for one full month on “magic” racks); turmeric root is used in the lemongrass mint soap;
Jamie stamping their signature Lolablue logo on each soap; funnels used to fill their natural body bug sprays
& daily bliss aromatherapy sprays; Votive candle and wick; sliver sample soaps;
Body Whip (lavender vanilla and naked); travel soap samples in Bark; stamping Lola Blue;
Blue Moon Orange Beer soap; DJ moving a soap log to be cut; sssorted raw samples
of soap available to the public; the Lolablue Family DJ, Jamie and son Dakota;
cutting the soap; Votive candles

A new career began to take shape after Jamie’s 15 years hunched over her computer as a graphic designer began sending her home sore. “My neck and shoulders hurt all the time,” Jamie says. “I was over the corporate environment and wanted to be creative but I didn’t know where to start.”

So, to ease her daily stress, Jamie’s relaxation modus operandi was to burn candles. Which seemed to be working well until her husband, DJ, found an article about the detriments of paraffin wax and how a seemingly innocuous candle was really just a cup of carcinogens. And there you have it, that’s how a few backaches and some bad news turned out to be just the beginning of Lolablue. Instead of living in a cold, dark existence of a candleless life, Jamie ordered a kit from an online company while researching the benefits of soy.

That kit, and a few gorgeous vintage glass holders from Goodwill, ignited the flame of a bright, new career. Homemade gifts for friends turned into big orders from customers and in 2003 Jamie launched Lolablue, named after her childhood nickname, Lola (earned because of her unwavering love of Manilow-style ’70s music) and her love for the big, blue Earth.

In 2005, after birthing son Dakota, Jamie began freelancing, allowing her to earn income while still focusing on her favorite craft (and while coordinating diapers and feeding times). By 2007, the company required full-time attention, so Jamie left corporate life for good, turning her garage into her new workspace and filling orders for her eco-friendly, recyclable, stupidly delicious-smelling goods, all with the smart look and feel one might expect from a previous graphic designer.

What started with candles quickly turned into a more expansive selection as Jamie’s craftsmanship evolved, demanding that this once one-woman, at-home candle production turn into a full-tilt family affair with both Jamie and her husband working farmers’ markets, handling corporate accounts, filling orders, and creating goods out of their new warehouse.

“We were outgrowing our house. Soaps were curing in the office, in our hall closets, in the garage. We needed more space!” Jamie says. “We now work out of a warehouse/office off Toledo Bay in North Port, where customers can shop from 10am–2pm on Saturdays and see the whole process in action.”

Can’t get to North Port for four hours on a Saturday? That’s OK. As you might have guessed, this former designer’s website is easier to use than body lotion and will ship right to your shower door.

You can find Lolablue products all over Sarasota and beyond. Bliss Spa sells her completely natural (read non-synthetic: preservative/sulfate/ phosphate-free) body goods, while locals load up on her bug spray at Longboat Key Club.

“We’re growing. Worldwide is the goal and we’re on our way!” Jamie boasts without even a hint of bragging, her pride stemming more from her passion than her paycheck.

Lolablue has quite a future. Just this year Lolablue products were featured in MTV’s 2013 Movie Award swag bags while spas across the nation are lining up for Lolablue goods. Jamie’s always at work on new products but she’s not in a rush, saying, “I’d rather take my time and develop something really great than hurry to make something sub-par.” “The sky’s the limit,” Jamie Lovern exclaims. And for this company, it’s more than true. With products that smell good enough to eat—and, with such wholesome ingredients, probably are—Lolablue is headed straight for the top.

Lolablue: 1090 Innovation Ave. A-112, North Port; 941-564-9207;

jackpotSoapStar3Lolablue’s Easy Peasy Laundry Soap


1 box borox
1 box washing soda (Arm & Hammer)
2 bars of your favorite Lolablue soap (finely grated)
1 sprinkle or so of baking soda


Mix Well.

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We combed farmers’ markets and restaurants from Bradenton to the Everglades to South Beach to bring you a definitive list of locally produced, locally owned, and locally designed condiments that have passed our Edible taste test with flying colors. South Florida is filled with entrepreneurs and food enthusiasts and their passion and drive have gifted us a truly remarkable lineup of tasty toppers.

Nancy’s BBQ Sauce—Nancy’s Bar-B-Q

Nancy Krohngold is the dynamo behind Sarasota’s premier BBQ joint, Nancy’s. There are two versions of her addictive BBQ sauce: sweet and spicy. The sweet sauce complements pulled pork to perfection and the smoky heat of the spicy sauce has us considering the logistics of a hip flask of BBQ sauce.

Barbie-Lu’s Salsa—Abby’s Kitchen

Abby Biekner was living in New Jersey when she worked with a woman named Barbie-Lu who made tasty salsa. Abby skillfully tweaked the recipes to make them her own, naming them in honor of their inspiration. Barbie- Lu’s tart, tangy salsa is good on a variety of foods and can be found at the Sarasota Farmers’ Market.

Sauerkraut—Beagle Bay Organics

This raw sauerkraut, from the Bradenton natives behind Beagle Bay Organics, is something of a phenomenon. Keith recommends eating the sauerkraut with your eggs in the morning for a healthy and tasty breakfast. We’ve also been known to use it to top grilled bratwurst.

Mr. Sawyer’s Mustard—Sawyer Sweet Jalapeños

Chiqui Sawyers’ personality is as sweet and spicy as the Candied Jalapeños that they add to their tangy mustard. Chiqui and husband, Tom, make their products on Anna Maria Island and are featured at various locations in Manatee County as well as Sarasota’s Downtown Farmers’ Market.

Chef Raymond’s Famous Steak Sauce—Euphemia Haye

You know you’re dealing with something special when you find a condiment made by a local celebrity chef at an iconic local restaurant. As D’Arcy Arpke says, “To know it is to love it, but you have to be in the know.” Chef Raymond Arpke created the steak sauce 30 years ago; it was so well received by devotees that the restaurant was eventually prompted to begin selling the magical steak elixir.

Annalida’s Cherry Pepper Relish—Annalida’s Gourmet Foods

James D’Esterre is the charismatic creator of Annalida’s Gourmet Foods, named for his late mother, which features a Bloody Mary mix so good that we’re almost reluctant to add vodka. Annalida’s Cherry Pepper Relish is a sweet and piquant combination of cherry peppers and spices that can be used to elevate even a simple hot dog to a foodie favorite.

Perry’s Original Roadside BBQ Sauce—Perry’s Original Roadside BBQ

In the book America’s Best BBQ there is only one BBQ company featured in the state of Florida and that company is Perry’s Original Roadside BBQ based right here in Sarasota. Perry drives all over Florida in his van pulling a trailer housing his smoker to supply BBQ and traditional Southern sides. Perry’s tasty, tangy original recipe BBQ sauce comes in regular and spicy and can only be replicated with the inclusion of Perry’s secret ingredient: “Love!”

Joy of Garlic Spread—Joy’s International Foods

John Najjar created a tasty version of his grandfather’s Lebanese garlic sauce. The versatile nondairy condiment can be enjoyed as a replacement for mayonnaise or a simple marinade. Pick up a loaf of homemade bread and spread it with Joy of Garlic Spread for sinfully delicious garlic bread.

Dynasty Guacamole

Guacamole is one of the most refreshing things you can eat on a hot summer’s day. Luckily we have Dynasty Guacamole made fresh at a farmers’ market near you and served with their signature salsa and tortilla chips. Based out of Miami, Dynasty Guacamole travels all over South Florida utilizing Haas avocados to prepare their mouthwatering guacamole.

Giardiniera—Tony’s Chicago Beef

Tony’s Chicago Beef in Gulf Gate makes a giardiniera specifically designed to accentuate their authentic Chicago-style hot dogs and there’s nothing mild or hesitant about the flavor of this relish: the peppers are hot, the vegetables are crunchy and fresh, and there’s just the right amount of oil holding it all together.

Slawsa Original—Slawsa

Fat-free, cholesterol-free, gluten-free, low in sodium, and kosher too? Slawsa is an innovative condiment that is quite literally a combination of “slaw” and “salsa,” which owner and Riverview High School graduate Julie Busha describes as “a little sweet, a little heat, and a lot of love.” Slawsa is available in Publix stores. Add it to fish tacos with a squeeze of lime juice for a taste of that sweet hot love.

Gator Sauce (Hot Sauce)—Gator Hammock

Buddy Taylor launched his sauce and rub empire in 1989 with an all-natural, homemade hot sauce. Buddy christened his flavorful fiery concoction Gator Sauce—it wasn’t long before even the Food Network took notice of the man from Felda, Florida. Gator Hammock has expanded to include various rubs, sauces, and accessories, but it’s his hot sauce that sets our taste buds on fire.

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The Ins and Outs of Smoke and Sear



True Southern barbecue, coined by Christopher Columbus, is a labor of love with the goal of creating an almost heavenly flavorful tender piece of meat to be enjoyed by all. Barbecue takes on the flavor of the source of heat used for cooking and sauces that are used to moisten and season the meat. Unlike grilling, barbecue isn’t cooked over a direct flame, rather it is smoked. For barbecue, fattier usually inexpensive cuts of meat are prized, such as Boston butt, chuck eye steak, ribs (both beef and pork), shoulder, and brisket. They are transformed into tasty morsels that are often family favorites.

Today, it is common to barbecue not only with standard hardwood, usually oak or whatever is lying around your yard (hopefully not poison ivy), but also with trendy woods and other substances that proponents say infuse the meats and give them richer flavor. These include fruitwoods, cedar planks, tea bombs, and even the must from pressed olives or grapes. The motto for creating a good smoke is low heat and slow cooking. True barbecue aficionados often say that their “mop,” or baste, is purely a smoking sauce with a combination of secret ingredients, handed down through generations. Whether you plan to use a rub, marinade, or sauce, put the same flavorings from them in your mop, as you want to make sure your flavors don’t clash. With a bit of planning and forethought, it can be easier than expected to become your home’s barbecue master.

If you don’t have the time to barbecue or if you desire leaner cuts, grilling may be the method for you. The oldest form of cooking known to humankind, grilling is fast cooking over direct, very high heat, often exceeding 550°. Although marinades are used to keep in moisture, usually the flavors come from the choice cuts of meat themselves. The high heat caramelizes the surface and seals in the juices. Burgers, steaks, hot dogs, fish, and chicken are often grilled. Also fruits like peaches and pineapples and vegetables like eggplants can be surprisingly tasty. Sauces are often put on right at the end; because of the high heat, sauces with sugar may burn.

Choosing between grilling or barbecuing depends on your time or inclination. What you don’t want to do is a hybrid of both. The thick black smoke from high-fat meat on a covered grill contains carcinogens, according to the American Institute for Cancer Research. You can avoid them by marinating your meats before cooking or by using a drip pan to keep the fat from dripping on the coals. Whichever you choose to do, barbecuing and grilling are wonderful and flavorful summer rites that can be enjoyed by all.


Char Grilled New York Strip with Blue Cheese Butter

Grilled Red Grouper with Mango Pineapple Salsa

Herb Marinated Rack of Lamb with Cherry Sauce

Nancy’s Smoked Chicken

Perry’s Original Beef Brisket

The Oaks Smoked Honey BBQ Ribs


Smell: When it starts to smell done, it usually is. When sugars caramelize and proteins cook, they let you know with a sweet and nutty scent.

Touch: As proteins cook, they firm up. Touching your food can give you an idea of how cooked it is – the more it gives when touched, the more rare.

Sight: Perfectly cooked food looks moist and juicy, not fleshy or dry. Grilled foods should have a nice char on the surface, and barbecued turns a deep redish-brown depending on the type of wood used to smoke it.

Taste: Whenever you’re uncertain, give it taste. You’re looking for tender, juicy, and, of course, delicious.


  1. Bank 45 lit coals tightly to one side of charcoal grill with bottom vents open. Place 2 wood chunks over charcoal.
  2. Fill an aluminum pan with water and place on empty side of charcoal grate. Add cooking grate with hinges over charcoal. Cover grill with vents open.
  3. When desired temperature range is reached, clean the grates. Place meat over pan as far from charcoal as possible. Cover


There is an overabundance of outdoor grilling tools available. Most important are cleaning tools, especially if you live in our area, because if you don’t take care of your grill it will rust and get ruined easily. Cleaning your grill is easy—don’t do more than scrape it. The grease prevents rusting. The next time the grill is used, light it early to burn off the excess grease.

These few essential tools will help make outdoor cooking easy and accessible:

16-inch cooking tongs

Good tongs allow you to grip even the most delicate of items easily.

A heavy-duty grill brush

Use a spiral brass brush that can easily clean your grates without damage. You don’t need one that has a heavy scraper on the end; it just gets in your way.

A good spatula

One that easily slips under food to turn it. It doesn’t have to be fancy or have many extra features. The Grill Spatula or Weber Wide stainless steel spatula are heavy duty to turn big meats but delicate enough for fish.

A long-handled basting brush

Otherwise known as a mop. Look for one with silicone bristles. According to legend, President Johnson’s pit-master, Walter Jetton, made BBQ on a 40 foot long, open pit for hundreds of people at a time. It was so big that he used a real mop as his brush to moisten the meat.

Instant-read thermometer

Many recipes identify what the internal temperature of the meat should be when done. To avoid illness, recommended temperatures should be reached.

Other stuff

Paper towels, kebob skewers, aluminum foil, drip pan, garbage can, grill light, and a fire extinguisher.

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Gas Station Gastronomy



“They want me to write about gas station food??” I gasped, grimacing at my computer screen in abject horror. The last time I considered a gas station as a grocery store was around the same time I thought ‘N Sync had a real shot at lasting success. These days the only thing this mainly vegetarian eater of organic produce picks up at the gas station is a hot temper staring at the gas prices. But, alas, it turns out that quality and flavor are still alive and well in some of Sarasota’s most unexpected kitchens, with these fuel stops having a few tricks hiding up their sleeves. Tricks that may have already lured me back for a second bite.


One Star Café—Fruitville Texaco: Fried Chicken

Head east and there you will find some of the best fried chicken on Fruitville or beyond. Just beyond I-75, a row of beautiful oak trees canopy over a Texaco station and its small picnic area. Picnic area? At a Texaco? Well, when what they’re serving up in the back has moved past finger-lickin’ good to bite-yourfinger- off good then, yes, a picnic area might be called for. This hidden gem has an array of stick-to-your-ribs meals perfect for the truckers looking to fill up their tanks—yes, metaphorically—before their big trips. Forego the meatloaf and French fries and ask for the fried chicken. (Feeling frisky? Ask for the fried livers and gizzards that go with it.) The skin is super crispy while the meat itself is über moist. Go ahead and load up on the hot sauces at the counter, but with all the flavors in this bird, you won’t need ‘em.

19 East Rd, Sarasota; 941-377-3262

Alday’s BBQ—Save-On: Everything

A modern yet modest-looking food truck sits on the corner of Bahia Vista and Beneva, sending the scent of barbecue wafting down the busy street. The wood fire is ablaze right near the truck’s tires and Jeff Alday, who has been oakwood-smoking his cuts of meat—pork, beef brisket, spare ribs, and chicken—since the early ’80s, continues to work toward perfection. Now, I’m a sucker for pulled pork, insistent that if God exists He smells like barbecue, and Alday’s made me wonder if perhaps their recipes aren’t heaven sent. Alday’s uses no basting sauce on its meats, letting the signature smoky taste shine through while the meat is so fall-offthe- bone tender a sock puppet could enjoy it. But go ahead and drown it in some of that thick, sweet sauce as it only makes the experience even better.

1135 Beneva Rd, Sarasota; 941-928-2279

McAshton Café—BP station: Tamales

Breakfast or lunch, McAshton Café has tamales that’ll put a bigger smile on your face than any Happy Meal could. From 6am to 2pm this open kitchen fries up all manner of things, from eggs to steaks. But the tamales, legend has it, are the real star. The chicken tamales, either mild or hot, are snuggly wrapped in a steamed cornhusk, creating an all at once juicy yet dry mouthful, offering the best of both worlds. A tad spicy with a hint of sweetness, it’s no wonder why tamales have been around for 10,000 years. With a few tables and chairs underneath the barn-style roof, this kitchen may not pass muster as a full-blown restaurant but it sure hits the spot for lunch.

5321 McIntosh Rd, Sarasota; 941-926-7118



Clockwise: ribs right from the smoker from Alday’s BBQ;
lamb gyro straight from the spit at Max’s Market;
assorted sauces from One Star Cafe;  a heavenly bag of the
finger-lickin’ goodness from One Star Cafe;
Chicago style dog from Scotty’s.

Max’s Market: Gyro

If you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, then you certainly shouldn’t judge a gyro by its gas station. Max’s Market, an unassuming little spot on Stickney Point, may be offering chips and sodas within its small square footage, but also has some mighty fine Greek treats. Syrupy baklavas and kalamata olive–studded salads line the counter, but the real gem swirls on a spit in the corner. A cone of meat, a mix of lamb and beef, may seem out of place at this station, but one bite of that warm, fluffy pita bread loaded with tender, juicy slices of meat under a mound of homemade tzatziki won’t seem remotely out of place in your mouth. Get it topped with lettuce, onion, and tomatoes for a sandwich worth savoring.

2616 Stickney Point Rd, Sarasota; 941-921-9287

Super Day Express: Everything

For years locals have known that the Super Day Express is the place to meet their culinary needs. Wine? Check. Cannoli? Check. Pizza? Coming right up. From dinner to dessert, Super Day’s got you covered. The ribs and coleslaw are legit, and the pizza is right on point. Cheesy, salty, crunchy—sometimes nothing hits the spot quite like a nice slice of pie. Some locals say you shouldn’t dream of leaving without a Greek salad, while others swear that the cheesecake is the best you’ll find outside of New York. This bakery is, by far, worth the visit.

1595 S McCall Rd, Port Charlotte; 941-697-1556

Pik ‘N Run: Italian

I went on a lot of college road trips in my day where gas stations provided a bathroom break, a good leg stretch, and perhaps a meal made out of Combos and Slim Jims. Had I ever found a full Italian deli at one of our stops I might have parked my car once and for all. The popularity of the Italian deli in the Pik’ N Run extends beyond the pump, as they offer catering to the town. Italian-style pizzas, calzones, strombolis and more are offered hot and fresh alongside garlic knots and lasagna. You can also get your fill of chicken wings, potato balls, and fried chicken. This flagship store may be onto something.

20101 Peachland Blvd Suite 301, Port Charlotte; 941-255-1157;

Scotty’s—Marathon station: Pulled Pork Sandwich

Sandwiches that come in silver foil aren’t always that special, but that’s certainly not the case at Scotty’s. This hideaway may be tucked inside a Marathon gas station, but don’t let the decor fool you. Their menu boasts quite a variety, from portobello to steak sandwiches and Cubans to hot dogs. But the pulled-pork sandwich is sure to satisfy. Slow-smoked and smothered in that rich and tangy North Carolina– style barbecue sauce, this is something any good Southerner can get behind. The meat is cut into beautifully tender chunks, making for a very juicy mouthful. Served on a dense and squishy roll, this is the kind of lunch you hope gets stuck in your teeth.

6212 S Tamiami Trail, Sarasota; 941- 921-7441


Clockwise: the saucy pulled pork sandwich and
slaw from Scotty’s; hot sauce from Alday’s; and
outrageous gas prices!


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Yogurt from the Homestead



You think yogurt and you probably imagine a small plastic cup with a bright label and easy-to-peel-back top. It’s convenient, comes in a plethora of flavors, and hails from the refrigerated section of the grocery store.

You have an idea of what’s in it—milk, right? How it’s made? Well, that will require some research.

What you probably don’t imagine is a woman standing patiently by the stove culturing milk that was collected 10 miles away, which will soon be seasoned with honey harvested from her back yard. I didn’t. Not until I tasted what Deborah D’Alonzo Lynch of Jackalope Meadows creates right here in Manatee County.

I thought if I could choose anyone in the world to teach me how to make yogurt (aside from Jon Hamm, for reasons that have nothing to do with cooking) it would be this woman. Fortunately for me, she was willing.

Cooking with Deborah is a family affair. Her kids, Quinn and Bailey, are her sidekicks and keepers of the family’s secret recipe. I tried to coerce it out of them, but they are even more loyal than Duke, the talking Bush’s Beans dog.

Deborah insists that the “secrets” of her yogurt’s mild tang, velvety texture, and decadent creaminess are due to using the very best ingredients. For Jackalope Meadows, that means Dakin Dairy Farms milk and honey from their own apiary. But after a day in the kitchen with the Lynch family, I realized that the true secret to this addicting yogurt is the maker herself.

This inspiring homesteader, and former mental health counselor, is Bradenton’s version of the late Helen Nearing. Working towards sustainability on her 20-acre property is a family commitment.

“I think kids should know that food doesn’t come from the grocery store; it comes from the earth,” says Deborah, describing her motives.

That includes limiting additives and preservatives, as well as processed sugars like high-fructose corn syrup. “I don’t want my family to eat something that is supposed to prolong shelf life. Food is meant to nourish the body, not confuse it.”

To make this family even more provocative, Deborah confesses that health and nutrition are certainly the motivation that keeps them going, but the kick-start was a desire for some action.

Having left a life of mountain climbing and other adrenaline-pumping sports in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, to settle down in sleepy Florida, Deborah and her husband, Joseph, were jonesing for a thrill.

“We thought beekeeping was an acceptable risk-taking behavior for parents,” Deb says with a grin. So a beehive was purchased, with chickens not far behind, and the adventure in advanced home economics began. “I find that our nutritional choices can be a delicious path towards a more productive, positive life.” Not exactly spelunking, but enough to keep this family living comfortably on the edge.

If you’d like to get your hands on this labor of love that is redefining the way the Gulf Coast thinks about yogurt, as well as fresh salsa, eggs, and honey, “like” Jackalope Meadows on Facebook and you’ll be notified when and where they’re available.

Jackalope Meadows Farm: 941-518-5533;


Like many awesome discoveries before it (diamonds and beer come to mind), yogurt is a spontaneous creation of nature.

It was discovered some 7,000 years ago. By fateful circumstance, friendly bacteria came into contact with milk and worked its magic—making it thick and tangy while amping it up with a powerhouse of probiotics. Probiotics are live bacteria that boost the stomach’s ability to digest and absorb nutrients, the secret to a happy belly. Yogurt has all the nutritional qualities of milk (think protein and calcium) plus an arsenal of additional health benefits. It can contribute to weight loss, help prevent colon cancer, boost the immune system, help prevent high blood pressure, and even smooth and exfoliate skin when applied topically. If you’re not interested in making your own (which isn’t all that hard), be sure to check the label to make sure the brand you are buying includes live and active cultures, ensuring it packs the health punch you’re looking for.



Clockwise: holding their three ducks, Melvin, Rachel and Rosco; Quinn displaying his mother’s yogurt; Deb holding her hen “Chicken Biscuit” ; Deb adding the cooled milk and culture to mason jars to rest in a warm bath


Homemade Yogurt

No-Churn Vanilla Frozen Yogurt


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Five Ways to Beat the Heat


Photo courtesy of 1440 Photography Rick Cody.

5K Run photo courtesy of Mr Beery’s.


From Top: Having fun at the Life’s a Beach Triathlon;
Ready to run at Mr Beery’s Hump Day 5k;
The perfect mix of food and beer at The Shamrock Pub.

Life’s a Beach Triathlon

Experience camaraderie with a side of healthy competition at the Life’s a Beach Triathlon on Saturday, Sept. 14, in Sarasota. Swim 200 yards, run two miles, bike five miles on Lido Beach, and maneuver in the hot sand under a net during the Turtle Crawl. Score your race T-shirt, cooler bag, wristband, bib number and goody bag. And be sure to wear your board shorts, bikinis, and Hawaiian shirts.


Village De Chefs

A three-day international gastronomic festival is coming to Southwest Florida from Monday, Oct. 7, to Wednesday, Oct. 9, thanks to chef Jose Martinez of Longboat Key’s Maison Blanche Restaurant. Known as “Village De Chefs,” the event will bring together 25 of the world’s top French-style chefs from Belgium, Australia, Bali, Vietnam, and beyond. This is the first time this gathering has been hosted outside of Paris, France. The renowned chefs will introduce locals to French cuisine and wine, and impart techniques to culinary students.

Maison Blanche: 2605 Gulf of Mexico Dr, Longboat Key; 941-383-8088;

Taste on Main

Downtown Bradenton is bracing for a flavor burst at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 24, for the inaugural “Taste on Main.” Along Main Street, from Manatee Avenue North to Fourth Avenue, chefs from six downtown restaurants (with help from students in local culinary arts programs) will tempt patrons with gourmet food and wine pairings. Co-hosted by Edible Sarasota Magazine, Chefs Choice, the Bradenton Downtown Development Authority and Realize Bradenton, the event will donate a portion of its proceeds to helping future chefs acquire cooking tools.

Info: Robert DeMino, business development coordinator, Chefs Choice, 941-224-1252

Summer Chef Jam Series at the Shamrock

Florida craft beers and grilled gourmet bites are on the menu at Sarasota’s Shamrock Pub from 8 to 10 p.m. every Tuesday through August. Backyard barbecuing for the fourth annual “Summer Chef Jam Series” kicked off on June 11, when chef Jeff Sladky from Mattison’s Forty-One introduced his jerk chicken, paired with Cigar City Invasion Pale Ale. Featured chefs from area restaurants, such as Louies Modern and Darwin’s on 4th, rotate weekly. Cost is $15 per person, which includes refillable pints.

The Shamrock Pub: 2257 Ringling Blvd, Sarasota; 941-952-1730;

Mr. Beery’s Hump Day 5K

Work up a sweat and a thirst before bar-hopping in Sarasota’s Gulf Gate district with Mr. Beery’s weekly 5K. At 6 p.m. every Wednesday, scores of nocturnal athletes and amateurs participate in the 3.1-mile run and follow up the exercise with a few social rounds at the craft beer pub. The tradition was conceived less than two years ago, and Mr. Beery’s owner Mark Tuchman helped map out a safe route in the residential community for his runners. It’s fun, free, and good for the soul.

Mr. Beery’s: 2645 Mall Dr, Sarasota; 941-343-2854;

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Healthy fast food in Sarasota has a name: Get Fit Fuel.

Since the opening of the Siesta Drive storefront on March 29 (after the fall launch of its delivery service), on-the-go patrons seeking prepared meals have been fully quenched. Owner Greg Gentile and “culinary guru” Jonathan Neumann are at the helm of this operation, which caters to diners who want nutritious eats. “One of my daily stresses was always food. ‘What am I going to eat today?’” Gentile says. “I’d go six hours without eating and then go to Subway or Taco Bell when I was starving, and there was no healthy fast food available, which was what I wanted.”

Gentile could not find his fix, so he created it.

He had already been running Chefs Choice, a Sarasota-based company that distributes food to 150 restaurants, and his connections to locally grown product purveyors were vast. He recruited Neumann, who was a longtime chef at the Longboat Key Club and Resort, to whip up Get Fit Fuel’s menus. Both Gentile and Neumann grew up in food-centric, entrepreneurial families, and knew the ins and outs of the industry.

“There are companies that do this all over the U.S., just none in Sarasota,” Gentile says, adding that Get Fit Fuel currently has six employees and several delivery trucks. “I think Sarasota was looking for something like this.”

Get Fit Fuel’s meals are perfectly portioned and cooked, and hot meals only require a quick nuking. At any given time, there are 30- plus gourmet options—from $3 snacks to $4 salads, and $7.50 to $9 entrees—in the refrigerated display case, with rotating weekly specials. Local fruits and vegetables are combined with lean, organic beef, chicken, fish, turkey, and shrimp. The meals are low in sugar and sodium, high in good fats and oils, and have no artificial flavors or preservatives.

“Within 24 hours, we can customize any order. You can pick it up here or we can deliver it,” Neumann says. “Tell me what you want and I’ll create a menu based on what you like.” Some of those likeable entrees include smoked salmon Benedict with vine-ripened tomatoes, wilted spinach, tofu, and dill sauce; a salmon burger with ginger-and-herb-infused Scottish salmon, served with a side of Asian slaw and cashew sauce; and mushroom barley risotto with Pecorino Romano cheese.

Snack-wise, there is the Nutella apple stack with two slices of fresh Granny Smith apple, Nutella, and granola for $3. And fresh bottled juices, lovingly made by Nina Lakatos, come in varieties like the “Clean Skinny Green Juice” with romaine lettuce, cucumbers, cilantro, celery, and parsley, for $8.

Quick, fit, and yummy.

Get Fit Fuel: 2063 Siesta Dr, Sarasota; 941-554-4567;




Marty and Maggie Glucklich are the vibrant husband and wife team behind Sarasota’s Veg, an award-winning vegetarian, vegan, and pescatarian dining destination in Gulf Gate. Beyond the attentive customer service and innovative recipes, it’s a delight to see a couple so in love after 27 years of marriage and so dedicated to a common dream. Maggie keeps a little red book of her guests’ special dietary restrictions; there’s a page dedicated to one regular customer’s myriad of allergies and a page detailing another customer’s various illnesses, and the ingredients that combat these illnesses. The couple’s daughter, Amanda, a devoted vegetarian, provided the original inspiration for the restaurant’s concept.

Marty believes that a restrictive diet need not be tasteless or boring and he prides himself on the fact that his kitchen is completely devoid of poultry and red meat. Marty, like myself, hails from South Africa and I can attest to the fact that South Africans love their red meat, but South African cuisine is also heavily influenced by Indian and Malaysian flavors and showcases fish, seafood, and exotic vegetables. On any given night the specials at Veg range from Pistachio Encrusted Barramundi (the fish is always wild-caught) to Vegan Butternut “Spaghetti.” The soups are 100 percent vegan and, except for the matzo balls, are gluten-free. Desserts are homemade and are often raw as well as vegan. The apple pie is sweetened with apple juice and the cashew cheesecake is an edible magic trick that Marty insists belongs on your “culinary bucket list;” after sampling (read: devouring) a piece, I can only sigh and murmur in agreement.

The owners and staff of Veg are committed to using fresh, locally sourced ingredients and it doesn’t get much fresher than the organic basil grown in the restaurant’s own garden or the organic collard greens supplied by one regular customer’s mother. Marty laughs that another customer brings them lemons from the tree in her garden and he gives her a meal in return—when life hands Chef Marty lemons, he trades them for lunch. Details such as biodegradable straws made from corn and biodegradable takeout containers made from sugar cane proclaim their conscious dedication to environmental conservancy. In listening to the needs and desires of their loyal and enthusiastic patrons, Marty and Maggie noticed a common thread in that more and more people wanted to join the raw food movement and this has prompted Chef Marty to redesign and expand his raw food menu to include a wide variety of tasty and nutritious choices. Veg is constantly evolving and the menu is a reflection of the current culinary times as well as homage to their philosophy of back-to-basics cooking.

Veg: 2164 Gulf Gate Dr, Sarasota; 941-312-6424;




If his description on his Facebook page of the rising ciabatta—“soft, puffy clouds on couches, awaiting their turn in the fiery furnace… hot from the oven around noon”—doesn’t catch your attention, surely the taste of his bakery’s delicacies will.

Meet Jim Plocharsky, the artist behind one of Sarasota’s most talked about bakeries, cozily tucked in at the east end of Gulf Gate Village. “There is something magical about combining ingredients and coming up with a finished product,” owner Jim says passionately. When he was a child his parents let him experiment with items in the pantry and whip up late-night desserts upon request for his three older siblings. Pressured as a high school freshman to declare a vocation, his friend strongly suggested he write “cooking.” Jim explains how it became a self-fulfilling prophecy as he later graduated from culinary school at Johnson & Wales.

Asked how he relocated to Sarasota, his answer is simple: “I came down in 1986 for 30 days… and never left.”

With the sweet smells sneaking out to the sidewalk and luring patrons in, it’s anyone’s guess what temptations might lurk within the glass case and how quickly they will disappear. “Variety is my specialty and always from scratch,” Jim states emphatically.

Chat with the regulars who zip in to grab their favorite lemon bar or maple-crusted bacon croissant, then linger a bit to see what new concoction Jim has created. “The homemade bagels, fresh from the oven, are amazing!” testifies Brooklyn resident Annie Bernstein, who always stops in when she’s in town. This artisan baker makes just enough of what he will sell in one … Read More

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Growing up in Canada, I always looked forward to the change of seasons, summer especially. I recently returned from a trip to Montreal to visit my parents. What I noticed the most was the joy on people’s faces because summer had finally arrived. It is their season: The gardens are bursting with fruits and vegetables and restaurants open their patios for patrons to dine and bask in the much-welcomed sunshine.

I love the perennial flowers that return every year in my parents’ garden. When I was growing up, my parents could not have done a better job of impressing upon me the importance of growing your own food. I have childhood memories of the cornstalks growing in our backyard garden and fresh tomatoes on the kitchen windowsill. It was wonderful to go home and share these memories with my own children. It was fun to take my children to a local farm and see their expressions while gazing at the miles of cornfields as they devoured fresh-picked, sun-kissed strawberries. All of a sudden, I felt like a kid again.

Back home where the mercury is soaring, there isn’t too much growing in our own backyard. So we took the opportunity to feature a dairy farm in our summer issue of Edible Sarasota. We introduce you to the Saturley clan, owners of Jersey Acres Farm. This is a beautiful story about a family farm in Myakka City, an operation that requires tremendous love, determination, and a whole lot of muscle.

Then we visit with Deborah D’Alonzo Lynch from Jackalope Meadows, where I have been spoiled for life by her amazing yogurt. I can’t get enough and I will never be able to buy yogurt from the grocery store again. Luckily for us, Deborah invited our recipe editor, Charlotte Abrams, in to learn the secret to this velvety success. You can find this and the cover recipe in our Urban Farmer piece.

We stepped outside the proverbial box this issue in our Worth the Trip piece on gas station grub. When I sent the email to Megan Greenberg asking her to write about it, I could only imagine what was running through her mind. I said, trust me, there are some really good eats at a few fuel stops in town. Once she was over the horror of my editorial request, she hopped in her car and got her gas station groove on. I hope you enjoy “Worth the Gas” as much as I did and yes, there are picnic tables at the Texaco station on Fruitville.

We ask you in this issue “Do you BBQ or do you grill?” We explain the difference between these two summer rites and have collected delicious recipes from the area’s best. We also suggest a few tasty toppers—local condiments for all your summer parties.

Whatever summer fun you’re planning, we hope this issue of Edible Sarasota gives you plenty of inspiration and the resources to enjoy many summer meals with your friends and family. Food is family, I thank my parents for their interests years ago which opened my eyes and curiosity about food. I now consider it my responsibility to pass this on to my children. So we don’t have fresh strawberries in Sarasota right now but we are happily enjoying local lychees by the pool and the occasional fried chicken from the Texaco station. We are creating our own food memories, one meal at a time.

Savor the sunshine

Tracy Freeman–Editor

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Our hearty thanks to all of our advertisers for their continued support in helping to grow and sustain Edible Sarasota. Please make a point of supporting these businesses and organizations.


Suncoast Motorsports
5005 S Tamiami Trl


C’est la Vie
1553 Main St

Heavenly Cupcakes
6538 Gateway Ave

Heavenly Cupcakes
5212 Ocean Blvd


Dakin Dairy Farms
30771 Betts Rd
Myakka City

Sarasota County Extension Office
6700 Clark Rd

White Oak Pastures
Po Box 98
22775 Highway 27
Bluffton GA


Sarasota Farmers’ Market
Main St & Lemon Ave

Hair Salons and Spas
Cutting Loose Salon
8429 Honore Ave

Cutting Loose Salon
1950 Main St


Get Fit Fuel
2063 Siesta Drive


The Ritz-Carlton Sarasota
1111 Ritz Carlton Dr


Ringling Museum
5401 Bay Shore Rd


Anna Maria Oyster Bar Landside
6906 14th St W

Anna Maria Oyster Bar Cortez
6696 Cortez Rd W

Anna Maria Oyster Bar
1525 51st Ave E

Beach Bistro
6600 Gulf Dr
Holmes Beach

Bijou Cafe
1287 1st St

Blue Marlin
121 Bridge St
Anna Maria Island

3900 Clark Rd

Drunken Poet Café
1572 Main St

Eat Here Anna Maria Island
5315 Gulf Dr
Anna Maria Island

Eat Here Sarasota
1888 Main St

Eat Here Siesta Key
240 Avenida Madera

Euphemia Haye
5540 Gulf of Mexico Dr
Longboat Key

Flavio’s Brick Oven
5239 Ocean Blvd

Javier’s Restaurant
6621 Midnight Pass Rd

Libby’s Café and Bar
1917 S Osprey Ave

Mattison’s Bayside
777 N Tamiami Trl

Mattison’s City Grille
1 N Lemon Ave

Mattison’s Forty-One
7275 S Tamiami Trl

Michael’s on East
1212 East Ave

mi Pueblo
8405 Tuttle Ave

mi Pueblo
4436 Bee Ridge Rd

mi Pueblo
530 US 41 ByPass S

Pier 22
1200 1st Ave W

Polo Grill & Bar
10670 Boardwalk Lp
Lakewood Ranch

Sandbar Waterfront Restaurant
100 Spring Ave
Anna Maria Island

Square 1 Burgers & Bar
1737 S Tamiami Trl

Square 1 Burgers & Bar
5239 University Pkwy

Sun Garden Café
210 Avenida Madera
Siesta Key, Sarasota

The Sarasota Manatee Originals

8453 Cooper Creek Blvd

Tequila Cantina
1454 Main St


Big Water Fish Market
6641 Midnight Pass Rd
Siesta Key

Morton’s Gourmet Market
1924 S Osprey Ave #100

Whole Foods Market
1451 1st St


Beagle Bay Organics
4501 Manatee Ave W #105

Pop Craft Pops
2245 A Bee Ridge Rd

Sapore Della Vita


American Harvest Vodka

Mr Beerys
2645 Mall Dr

Shamrock Pub
2257 Ringling Blvd


Global Organic Specialty Source
6284 McIntosh Rd

Chefs Choice
2035 Whitfield Park Loop

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Potato and Corn Soup with Coconut




2 tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots, sliced
Kosher salt
1 leek, sliced
1 teaspoon of curry powder
1 glass of white wine
4 cups chicken stock
1 pound Russet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 (15-ounce) can of organic corn
2/3 cup coconut milk
1/3 cup heavy cream


Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots, season with salt and cook until soft. Add leek, curry, and wine; bring to a simmer. Cook until reduced, about 5 minutes. Add chicken stock and potatoes. Bring to a simmer, cover partially, and cook until potatoes are soft, about 20 minutes. Add corn, coconut milk, and heavy cream; simmer for 10 minutes. Adjust seasoning to taste. Enjoy!

Recipe courtesy of Maison Blanche

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1 tablespoon Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1½ teaspoons onion powder
1½ teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cajun seasoning


2 racks St. Louis-style spareribs, about 3 pounds each
1 cup Oaks Original BBQ Sauce
½ cup grape jelly
½ cup honey


Combine rub ingredients in a small bowl. Rub both sides of ribs with spice mixture. Place ribs in 200°–300° smoker and tent loosely with foil. Cook until tender, 3–4 hours, rotating ribs and adding 10 briquettes every hour and a wood chunk as needed. Remove from smoker and let rest 10 minutes. Meanwhile, combine barbecue sauce, grape jelly, and honey in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat; set aside. Heat grill to high. Brush both sides of ribs with honey barbecue sauce, then sear on grill for 5 minutes per side. Serve topped with additional sauce.

NOTE: The Oaks Original BBQ Sauce is available for purchase at the restaurant. When not available, substitute your favorite barbecue sauce.

Recipe courtesy of The Oaks Open Pit BBQ:

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1 tablespoon Old Bay
1 tablespoon Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons au jus gravy mix
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
2 teaspoons Montreal seasoning


5-6 pound beef brisket, flat-cut


Combine all rub ingredients except for Montreal seasoning in a small bowl. Rub both sides of brisket with spice mixture, then rub with Montreal seasoning. Let brisket sit at room temperature for 45 minutes. Place fat side down in 225°–300° smoker, loosely tent with aluminum foil. Cook for 2 ½ hours. Remove foil, flip brisket, then reposition foil. Cook until tender and internal temperature reaches 175°, 5–7 additional hours, adding 10 briquettes every hour and a wood chunk as needed. Wrap in foil and let rest for 1 hour. Slice brisket across grain into thin slices and serve on a bun with or without barbecue sauce.

NOTE: Perry’s BBQ sauce is available for purchase at America Grill & Hearth;

Recipe courtesy of Perry’s Original Roadside BBQ:

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