Faves I Crave

By staff December 30, 2008

The year’s taste picks.


By Judi Gallagher


A tasteful year it has been. While not every morsel has been top notch, some food finds have been overwhelmingly scrumptious from first bite. I will not list my favorites in any special order, because I loved them all equally. It’s like when someone asks me what my favorite restaurant is—well, that honestly depends on the mood I am in and what I might be craving at that very moment. I am a self-confessed food snob. Not that everything I taste must be smothered in duck fat and lobster (but it could not hurt); I just appreciate pure ingredients and properly prepared dishes. The perfect crisp apple, a medium rare cheeseburger that has just the right amount of fat to drip down your chin and catch on your forearm, and a fresh fried potato dipped in tartar sauce all make me shiver with delight.



Piccolo Italian Market and Deli is like eating in New Jersey without the bad weather!


The sandwiches at Piccolo deli on Gulf Gate Drive (new location)

If you have been in search of great Italian bread—the kind that you have to pull at with each bite—trust me and order the meatball Parmesan sandwich with extra sauce. Devour it right there and don’t worry about the crumbs on your table; it’s the true sign of great Italian bread. 2128 Gulf Gate Drive



A classic Peach melba at Beach Bistro.


Peach Melba at Beach Bistro

A classic. They even toast the homemade pound cake to make the raspberry sauce on vanilla ice cream and sliced peaches a new memory of dishes from years gone by.



The sliders at Michael’s On East

For only 5 bucks for two, with slivers of onion rings as an accompaniment, these mini burgers are deliciously juicy with the right amount of grease to stain your shirt.


The new fish ‘n’ chips at Bonefish Grill

Really, it’s like being over the pond. Crisp tempura batter, and yep, I dunk those chips in the homemade tartar sauce.


The Volcano Roll at J-Pan in Paradise Plaza

It’s the best. The heat of the crab with the spicy tuna makes this a volcano of flavor and texture and a weekly must have. 3800 S. Tamiami Trail


Vanilla ice cream at Strickland’s

After a power walk on Siesta Beach, I have the high-calorie, high-butterfat creamy dessert as a special treat. I know, probably an oxymoron with the exercise, but oh so good. Sarasota Pavilion, 9593 S. Tamiami Trail


The patty melt at Cheeburger Cheeburger.

Grilled rye bread with Swiss cheese is just about good enough, but add a grilled burger and a smear of ketchup, mayo and onions and I was in nirvana. 4944 S. Tamiami Trail


The Berenjenas Bracedas at Sangria.

While I love most of the dishes at Main Street’s Sangria, the Berenjenas Bracedas—stuffed eggplant— is one of the best dishes in Sarasota. Their sauce is homemade, but it’s the ricotta filling that won us over. Of course, finishing with the warm apple tart does not hurt either!


Do you have a favorite dish of the year? Just click the comment button and this hungry food editor will grab the fork and go!






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