Degrees of Pleasure

By staff November 13, 2006




Dining for every temperature.

By Judi Gallagher


Considering the varying temperatures as of late, I am not quite sure if I should be turning on my slow cooker or the air conditioning. I am also finding that where we go to lunch or dinner can depend on the ever-changing temperatures.


If the temperature is below 75 degrees, it is Pho Cali for the No. 59 (941- 955-2683).     


If I am having a bad hair day, it means it is going to be hot and humid—best to make a lunch reservation at The Table on Hillview for a steak and watermelon salad—refreshing and delightful with an iced tea and some of those luscious little biscuits, and for dinner—well, a mere dip to the high 60s and I must have a classic order of beef Bourguignonne at Rick’s Café on Siesta Drive. (941-957-0533).


Of course, the right food can be delicious in any weather. This Saturday I had a wonderful time sampling conch salad, saucy shrimp and ahi sushi at the Suncoast Wine Festival before emceeing the cooking demonstrations. Chef Mario Martinez, (Epicurean Life) had the crowd jumping up and down as we played culinary trivia throughout the afternoon.


Incredible Saturday night dinner over at Ferraris Restaurante on U.S. 41, a favorite stop for tender fried calamari. Saturday night’s special offered the imported baby fried calamari, tender and sweet like a whole belly clam with a flavorful side of garlic butter for dipping. I could not resist the fresh whole roasted branzino (striped sea bass), stuffed with fresh fennel and dill—as good as the best restaurant in Sicily, and the other evening’s special, large sautéed prawns tossed into spaghetti and sautéed fennel with a creamy Sambucca sauce—perfecto! (941-929-7900)


I am gearing up for Roy’s opening celebration benefiting Mote Education programs on Tuesday Nov. 14. Call Mote at 388-4441 ext. 257 for more information. (I consult for this restaurant, but believe me, you will be wowed by the food and drink.)


Now, don’t forget our recipe contest for your favorite holiday side dish—you may be next to win a dinner for two at one of our local outstanding restaurants. E-mail your recipe to [email protected].
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