Flavor Explosions

By staff July 9, 2007

The heck with fireworks—the real excitement was the food.


By Judi Gallagher


Another July 4th has come and gone, but not before our grand fill of fabulous food and company with the ultimate party hosts, Bill and Margaret Wise. A foodie’s dream come true…we had fried chicken, spicy potato salad, a scrumptious corn pudding—Deb Knowles, you promised me your recipe—and the grand slam, barbecue brisket a la Bill Wise. Clearly a Jewish woman’s dream is to have Southern friends that understand the art of good brisket. Bill brings it to another level, and we toasted under the protection of their grand porch as the rain poured just before the fireworks. I can hardly wait for Christmas Day when we dive into Bill’s annual gumbo fest.

Margaret and Bill Wise at their Fourth of July festivities.


 I had a hankering for authentic pork gyros, (not the pressed meat on a stick kind—I mean the real deal!) the other day and headed down to Ilia’s Mediterranean Grill at 625 N. Tamiami Trail in Nokomis. How frustrated we were to see our civic powers do not understand business owners need to survive, especially in the summer. The road construction is ridiculous and improperly marked; they learned nothing from the disaster that nearly put half of Palm Avenue out of business to support one condo project! Sorry, but it is one thing to get in my way of a fabulous Greek meal and quite another to deter business from these hard-working genuine.

Ilia's authentic pork gyros are well worth the road bumps.


So, my plea to all foodies: It is worth the bumps and difficult entry. Go in droves, order the mushrooms in wine, chilled cucumber yogurt soup and by all means the real deal gyros—crispy shaved pork wrapped around a soft pita with homemade tziki sauce, chopped tomatoes and onions—then show up at a county meeting waving a freshly baked piece of baklava and deem them not worthy of this buttery, honey flaked pastry until they respect the local businesses that are affected every day by construction blockades.


Good choice to meet a client the other day over at The Table on Hillview for lunch. Love the flavors, colors and presentation of the food, and the specials of the day did not disappoint. The pan-seared Chilean sea bass on warm potato asparagus salad with fresh sliced papaya and plum.was a visual pleasure that tasted soothing and refreshing. My companion’s flank steak and watermelon salad is always one of my favorites along with the ahi tuna and lemongrass salad, but it is the initial hit of warm, cheesy biscuit that sets the tone of your Table experience.

Pan-seared Chilean sea bass makes lunchtime special at The Table.


 And one last word this week about words: What is the deal with Lobster on Main? Shortly after they opened, a fellow blogger went to dinner with a craving for Maine lobster. When she tried to order it, the server explained they did not have that menu item. “Oh, yeah, lots of people are asking,” the server said. “They [management] just thought the name was cute.” Since then they have added one lobster dish—not exactly what I call worth the name.


Do you have a food find—or gripe—to share? Please post your comments below.
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