Tastes around Town

By staff March 23, 2008

Seeing March madness in a whole new light.


By Judi Gallagher


 Since moving our annual family vacation from the first round of NCAA basketball tournament play to the regionals (coming up next weekend), I found myself fortunate enough to be able to attend the St. Joseph’s feast with the Italian Cultural Club in Sarasota this past Wednesday at the Van Wezel, and what a feast it was.


Phil Mancini brought out platters of jumbo shrimp scampi, tortellini, sausage with peppers and onions, and cannolis and cream puffs the size of the isle of Capri. Along with the president of the club (one of the nicest and most cultured people I know), Angel Algeri, the club also hosts dear friend, cookbook author, food and wine editor of and mentor Gail Greco. In fact, I first met Gail at the club’s marinara sauce tasting contest and picnic several years back. Gail is a “Martha Stewart,” only beautiful inside and out. We recently visited her tasteful home (she and her husband also live in Maryland), where Gail made us outstanding homemade pizza, worthy of our  pizza contest this month in the magazine, and get this: salmon Wellington with our initials on each one. That is taking entertaining to a new passion!


Top: Angel serves up a fabulous St. Joseph's feast. Directly above: Salmon Wellington with my initial on it!


 I have also had some time to stroll around and discover some great new food finds. Green Leaf Wisconsin cheese store on South Tamiami Trail is worth a trip, not only for its yummy aged cheddar but for a great history lesson with photos from the old Wisconsin dairy farming days. Best food find: Owner Carl turned me on to a cheese that when cut into a long slice and heated on all sides in a pan and topped with pure maple syrup tastes EXACTLY like French toast.  




 Cheese that's French toast? I love it!


While not known to drink anything more than French champagne and good red wine, occasionally I do like to sip a chocolate martini. It was fun to listen to some jazz and sip a creative cocktail over at Arosa in their upstairs lounge (next to the opera house). Between the chocolate martinis there and at Bonefish Grill and the Ritz-Carlton, I might have to add the classic dessert cocktail to my weekend indulgences.


Do you have a favorite food or cocktail indulgence? Please post below!
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