Saturday, November 19, 2016

Another Terrific Meal at Ortygia - Bradenton Sicilian Restaurant

We have waited far too long to return to Ortygia Restaurant in Bradenton, which offers wonderful Sicilian, French, and Mediterranean-fusion cuisine. It also has a very reasonably priced wine list. The owner-chef, Bob Gaetano, clearly loves his culinary endeavors and interacts frequently and warmly with his customers. We had last dined there twice in 2011, and enjoyed terrific meals both times. Since it's about a 45-minute drive from our house, we tend to go to closer restaurants. We won't wait so long before we return.

My wife's appetizer was the Torta di Carciofi, a torte with artichokes and caramelized onions in a handmade crust for $8.50. It was wonderful.

My appetizer was a set of two different patés:
- The Paté della Casa (house paté) with chicken livers, pork tenderloin, Szechuan peppercorns, and Mediterranean spices. (As Chef Gaetano informed me when I asked, it was only mildly spicy, despite the Szechuan peppercorns.)
- The Paté delle Due Sicilie (Paté of the Two Sicilies) - a mushroom paté with capers, olives, and dry Marsala.
Both patés were terrific.

My wife's main dish was the Pasta Siciliana - penne pasta with San Marzano tomatoes, eggplant, garlic, basil, and ricotta for $13.50. She really loved it.

I decided to try the Timballo di Penne which my had enjoyed twice in 2011. Timballo is an Italian dish that can be made with pasta, rice, or potatoes. This one had penne, meatballs, hard-boiled eggs, prosciutto, provolone, and roasted peppers in béchamel and parmesan cheese with house-made, slow-cooked tomato sauce for $14.50. It was fantastic. (The name of the dish is derived from timbale, the French word for kettle drum.)

Our wine was a 2013 Feudo Disisa Terre Siciliane Nero d'Avola. It was very nice. I believe the price was $32.

We also had delicious desserts, and I had a cup espresso.

Our server, April, was very nice.

The name Ortygia evokes fond memories for my wife and me because we spent several days with two other couples in the charming Sicilian waterfront town of Ortygia. One evening, when we were dining at a waterfront restaurant called Le Papere, four Italian diners at a table next to us were singing as one of them played the guitar. One of our friends, who is Italian-American asked if he might play the guitar. (He is an accomplished singer and guitarist.) They invited him to do so, and we all began singing. It was a terrific evening - friends, great food, wonderful wine, and perfect temperatures - bellissima!

Friday, November 4, 2016

A Meal From Four Regions of Italy - the Veneto, Piedmont, Tuscany, and Umbria

My wife and I recently hosted a lunch for friends with whom we had enjoyed a wonderful trip to Italy. We decided to serve a meal with one dish from each of the Italian regions we had visited with them. The wines we served were from some of the same regions. The dishes we served were:

- Shrimp with Pancetta and Rosemary (Gamberi al Rosmarino) from Venice
- Tilemakers' Beef Stew (Peposo dei Fornaciari dell'Impruneta) from the small town of Impruneta in Tuscany. (This can be made a day in advance.)
- Asparagus, Peas, and Basil (Piselli con Asparagi e Basilico)
- Walnut Cake with Zabaglione (Torta di Noci con Zabaglione)

My wife learned to make the dessert in a cooking class at Verduno Castle (Castello di Verduno - where our group stayed in the Barolo area of the Piedmont. 

I served two red wines and one white wine. The reds were from two wineries we visited during the trip:
- Fiulot Barbera d'Asti red from the Prunotto Winery in Asti in the Piedmont
- 2007 Poggio Antico Altero Brunello. from the Poggio Antico winery which we visited during our trip and which is near Montalcino, Tuscany. This is a very special red, deservedly rated 98 points by James Suckling.
- Cren del'Ape Cortese white wine from the Piedmont.

I highly recommend a visit to the Poggio Antico winery. The wines are incredible and the views of the Tuscan countryside are superb. There is also a very nice restaurant located there. The owner, Paolo Gloder, is terrific. When I sent the winery a short-notice request for a fact sheet on the wine just 12 hours before the lunch, the response was immediate.

I have posted the recipes for the appetizer, the main dish, and the side dish.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Asparagus, Peas, and Basil - An Easy Umbrian Side Dish

In searching for a side dish from the Umbria Region of Italy, I found this delicious and easy recipe for Asparagus, Peas, and Basil (Piselli con Asparagi e Basilico) on ( It should serve 6. I served it with a Tuscan beef stew - Peposo dei Fornaciari dell'Impruneta - which I described in a previous post.


- 1/4 cup finely chopped shallots (about 2)
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 pounds asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
- peas, fresh or frozen (3/4 pound shelled fresh peas, or 1 & 3/4 pound in pods or 10 ounces of thawed frozen peas - I used the thawed frozen peas.)
- 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- about 3/4 cup of torn fresh basil leaves


Cook shallots in butter in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until just tender - about 4 minutes.

Stir in asparagus, peas, sea salt, then seal skillet with foil. (Rather than the foil, I simply used a tight cover for the skillet.) Cook over medium heat until vegetables are tender, but still slightly al dente - about 8 minutes.

Stir in basil and sea salt.

Shrimp with Rosemary and Pancetta - a Venetian Appetizer

Venice, Italy is well known for a type of bar snack called cicchetti, which are similar to Spanish tapas. In looking for an appetizer recipe from Venice, I found this delicious and easy recipe from Saveur magazine ( The Italian name is Gamberi al Rosmarino.


- 8 oz. pancetta, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 16 medium shrimp. (I used 24 medium shrimp already peeled and deveined.)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup white wine (I used a Cortese wine from the Piedmont Region of Italy.)
- 2 sprigs of rosemary, stemmed
- 1 medium tomato, cored, seeded and finely chopped. (I think it would also work nicely with chopped cherry tomatoes. That might be a bit faster.)
- Crusty bread for serving. I used a baguette, coated with olive oil and baked at 450° for about 7 minutes


Heat pancetta and oil in a 12" skillet over medium-high heat. Cook until crisp - 6 to 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer pancetta to a plate.

Add garlic to skillet and cook for 1 minute.

Season shrimp with salt and pepper, and add to skillet. Cook until pink - about 2 minutes.

Add wine, rosemary, and tomato. Cook until wine is reduced by half - 2 to 3 minutes. (In my case, it took 5 minutes.)

Sprinkle with pancetta and serve with the bread.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Paccheri or Rigatoni Pasta with Braised Chicken and Saffron Cream

This pasta dish takes a bit of time, but it's not difficult and I think it's worth the effort. The recipe was created by the husband and wife chef team of Isaac Becker and Nancy St. Pierre of Minneapolis, and published in Bon Appetit (

The original recipe serves 4-6, but I modified it to serve 2-3. It takes about 2 hours to prepare and cook.

Paccheri and rigatoni are both short, wide tubular pastas. Paccheri the shorter of the two. It is originally from the Campania and Calabria regions of southwestern Italy. In Sarasota, paccheri can be purchased at Peperonata Pasta on South Tamiami Trail. Peperonata makes its own paccheri. 

The story goes that paccheri was  originally created to smuggle Italian garlic into Austria after Austrian farmers convinced their government to ban the import of the more flavorful Italian garlic.


- 12 oz boneless chicken breast (the original calls for thighs with skin and bones. I took the easier and probably less flavorful approach.) I cut this thick chicken breast into quarters before cooking.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup chopped white onion 
- 3 garlic cloves peeled and crushed
- 1 cup (or more) dry white wine
- 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads, crushed. (Publix carries a small package of saffron threads for $6.19 in the spice section.)
- 1 & 1/2 cups low-salt chicken broth
- 6 oz. of paccheri or rigatoni pasta
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil


1. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Add chicken to skillet, skin-side down if you use thighs. Cook until golden brown - about 7 minutes on each side. Transfer chicken to plate.

2. Add onion and garlic to skillet and cook until onions are slightly softened - 7 to 8 minutes. Add wine and saffron and bring to a boil.

3. Continue to boil until liquid is thickened and reduced by less than half - about 8 minutes. Add 1 & 1/4 cups of the the 1 & 1/2 cups of chicken broth.

4. Return chicken to skillet and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer until chicken is very tender (adjust heat to prevent boiling, and turn chicken over after 30 minutes), about 1 hour total. Transfer chicken to plate and cool.

5. Reserve skillet with juices. If using thighs, remove skin and bones and toss. Cut chicken into bite-size pieces. Place in medium bowl and reserve.

6. Cook pasta in boiling salted water until tender, but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain pasta and return to pot.

7. If using thighs, spoon and discard any fat from the juices in the skillet. Add heavy cream to juices in the skillet and boil until sauce is thick enough to coat spoon - about 10 minutes. Stir in lemon juice and chicken pieces. Stir over medium heat until heated through - about 5 minutes, stirring in an additional 1/4 cup chicken broth if needed to add a bit of sauce and an additional teaspoon of lemon juice, if desired. (I added the broth but not more juice.) Season with salt and pepper.

8. Add the chicken and sauce mixture to the pasta in the pot, and toss to coat. Stir in the basil. 

Monday, October 10, 2016

Spaghetti with Artichoke Hearts, White Wine, and Prosciutto

This is an easy and delicious dish that I created and that serves two.

Ingredients (in the sequence in which they're used)

- 4 oz. of spaghetti or angel hair pasta
- 2 tbsp olive oil (for cooking sauce)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 sweet onion, diced
- 1/2 cup white wine (I used a chardonnay)
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- small jar can of artichoke hearts (I used a 7.5 oz jar of marinated artichoke hearts)
- 1/4 cup pitted and chopped olives (I used castelvetrano green olives)
- 2 tbsp capers
- 1/3 cup chopped Italian parsley
- 1 to 2 oz finely chopped prosciutto (I used Citterio prechopped prosciutto, which comes in 4 oz. packages. I typically mix it into salads)
- 1 to 2 tbsp of very high quality extra virgin olive oil. (I used Persian lime flavored oil.) This is to pour over finished pasta.


1. Pasta
Cook pasta until al dente, per package directions. Drain and put in serving bowl.

2. Sauce
a. Heat olive oil in medium skillet over medium heat

b. Sauté onion and garlic for 5 minutes

c. Add white wine, lemon juice, and artichoke hearts. Cook for 3 minutes.

d. Add olives, capers, and parsley. Cook for 2 minutes. Wine and lemon juice will have evaporated.

e. Spoon over pasta and mix. Then sprinkle prosciutto and olive oil over pasta and mix again.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Fish in Crazy Water - Pesce all-Acqua Pazza

The Sorrentine Peninsula of Italy is an incredibly beautiful place and one of its iconic dishes is Pezzogna all'Acqua Pazza - Sea Bream in Crazy Water. It is often called by the more generic name - Pesce all'Acqua Pasta - Fish in Crazy Water. I enjoyed this dish when we visited Sorrento and decided to try making it this evening. I was very happy with the results. I could not find sea bream, so I used flounder. The recipe is very easy to make.

There are many different versions of this recipe. The one I made tonight is a combination of two of those recipes and some modifications of my own. One source is the website Summer in Italy - The second is from the cookbook, Naples at Table, Cooking in Campania, which includes recipes from all over the Campania Region of southwest Italy.

This recipe serves two.


- 1 cup water
- 1 cup white wine 
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes
- 2/3 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced. I used mini San Marzano tomatoes
- 1/2 cup sliced olives (optional) I used Castelvetrano olives imported from Sicily and sold at Publix
- 1 tbsp capers (optional)
- 1/2 cup chopped Italian parsley
- 2 fillets of a fish like sea bass, branzino, halibut, or snapper


1. Put olive oil, water, wine, salt, red pepper, flakes, and cherry tomatoes into a large skillet and boil for 5 minutes.

2. Add fish, olives, and capers; and cook for six minutes. After the first 3 minutes, use a pair of wide spatulas to gently turn the fish fillets over.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Vesuviotti Pasta with Scallops and Onion-Zucchini-Tomato Cream Sauce

I recently bought an interesting imported Italian pasta type called Vesuviotti, which means little Vesuviuses because its shape is apparently meant to symbolize Mt. Vesuvius erupting. I found it at Detweiler's Farm Market.


I came up with an easy sauce that went very well with it. I started with the following recipe from - - and adapted it. I added zucchini and scallops. I substituted cherry tomatoes for canned tomatoes and half and half for cream (so I wouldn't have to go to the store just to buy cream.) I also reduced a couple of ingredients because it was just for the two of us. In addition, I changed the directions a bit. 

I think shrimp would also work nice in this dish.


- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 1 small zucchini sliced into 1/4" rounds
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
- 1/2 tbsp dried basil (original recipe called for 1 tbsp)
- 3/4 tsp white sugar
- 1/4 tsp dried oregano
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup half & half
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 & 1/2 cups Vesuviotti pasta
- 1 eight-ounce pkg of Publix frozen garlic cream Patagonian scallops (Publix has BOGO sales on these scallops from time to time, and I buy them to use with pasta.)

(I once tried to see how many types of pasta I could identify. I stopped at 365 because there seemed to be no end. Vesuviotti was not one of them.)


1. Boil pasta for 12-14 minutes, then drain.

2. While pasta is cooking, prepare the sauce:

a. In a saucepan, sauté onion and garlic over medium heat for about 5 minutes.

b. Add tomatoes, zucchini, spices and half & half, and bring to a boil. Boil for about 5 minutes.

c. Add butter and simmer for 5 more minutes.

3. After starting step 2.b. above, cook the frozen scallops for 6-8 minutes in a non-stick pan.

4. Plate the pasta and top with scallops and sauce.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Easy Chicken Pasta Vegetable One Skillet Meal

This tasty chicken & pasta one-skillet meal can easily be adjusted to meet your tastes. I started with a recipe at The original serves six. I adjusted the amount of chicken and pasta to serve three, and I substituted corn nibblets for the green peppers. My version is below.


- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast
- 1 cup chopped onions
- 1 (15-ounce can) chicken broth
- 1 (15-ounce can) diced tomatoes, drained
- 1 (11-ounce can) extra-sweet corn nibblets, drained
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 cup small shell pasta. I used penne.


1. Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces.

2. In large skillet, brown chicken in oil

3. Add onion, cook for 5 minutes

4. Add broth, tomatoes, corn, and spices; and cook for 2 minutes.

5. Add pasta, reduced heat and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes, or until pasta is done.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Delicious and Easy Shortbread

I wanted to make some shortbread to go with a Lemon-Lime Satin Cream I was making for dessert. I found this excellent recipe at: It is very flexible. The King Arthur site has a number of suggestions for serving it, including drizzling it with caramel, or spreading melted chocolate on top and decorating it with nuts. It has only five ingredients.


- 1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, at cool room temperature. (It needs to be soft enough to mix with the other ingredients, but still solid. Do not melt it.) King Arthur suggests using a top-quality butter because the butter is such a critical ingredient for this recipe.
- 1 cup confectioners' sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract - optional. Or use another flavor of your choice, like eggnog flavor.
- 2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour


1. Preheat oven to 300°F. Lightly grease two round 9" cake pans. If you worry about the shortbread sticking to the pans, line them with parchment paper and grease the parchment. (I used parchment.)

2. In a medium-sized bowl, beat together the butter, sugar, vanilla extract and almond extract. Then beat in the flour. The mixture may seem a little dry at first. Keep beating until it comes together. (It took a while for me to do this, but I think it's because the butter was too firm. I used a wooden spoon to beat these ingredients.) If it absolutely won't come together, dribble in up to 1 tablespoon of water until it does. This is a stiff dough.

3. Divide the dough in half. (If you have a kitchen scale, each half will weigh about 10 & 1/2 ounces.) Press each half of the dough into one of the prepared pans, smoothing the surface with your fingers or a mini rolling pin. (I used a mini rolling pin.)

4. Use a fork to prick the dough all over. This allows any steam to escape and prevents the shortbread from bubbling as it bakes. Prick the dough in a random pattern, but it looks nicer pricked with some kind of symmetry.

5. Bake the shortbread until it's light golden brown across the surface, and a deeper golden brown around the edges, about 35 minutes.

6. Remove it from the oven and immediately turn each shortbread round out onto a clean surface.

7. Using a pizza wheel or sharp knife, cut each round into 12 wedges. (Do this while the shortbread is still warm. If you wait until it's cool, it won't cut easily.) Transfer the shortbread wedges to a rack to cool. (I recommend using a spatula to transfer the wedges so they're not likely to break.)

8. Serve as is or decorate.

Lemon-Lime Satin Cream - A Delicious and Easy Dessert

For a recent dinner with friends, I was in a mood for a citrus-flavored dessert. I found this tasty and easy New York Times Lemon-Lime Satin Cream recipe at It has only five ingredients. I served it with a homemade shortbread, whose recipe I'll post separately. It serves six. I made the mix two days ahead of time until I was ready to cook it in the oven.


- Finely grated zest and juice of two lemons
- Finely grated zest and juice of one lime
- 1 & 1/2 cups superfine sugar. (Our Publix does not sell superfine sugar. I processed regular sugar in a small electric food chopper. I've done this before when I've needed superfine sugar. It works great.)
- 6 large eggs
- 1 & 1/4 cups heavy cream


1. In a mixing bowl, combine the lemon and the lime zest and juice, the sugar, and the eggs. Whisk until smooth. Add cream, and whisk again. Transfer to a large pitcher. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate from 2 hours to 2 days, the longer, the better to bring out the fullest flavor.

2. When ready to bake, heat oven to 300 degrees. Heat a kettle of water until just steaming. DO NOT BOIL.

3. Place six 1-cup ramekins into a roasting pan and pour cream mixture into them. Pour hot water into the roasting pan to come about halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake until cream is just set - 30 to 35 minutes. (I did it for 35 minutes.) The cream will still wobble, but it will firm up as it cools.

4. Remove ramekins from water and allow to cool. Serve at room temperature, or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Serve with shortbread, or plain, crisp cookies. (It was great with the shortbread.)

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Scrambled Eggs with Mascarpone, Pancetta, Cream, and Croutons

I created this easy concoction because I was looking for a light dinner entrée that could use some leftover pancetta, mascarpone cheese, and whipping cream. I loved the results. It serves 2.


- 5 eggs
- 4 tablespoons mascarpone cheese
- 1 tablespoon whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons garlic and butter croutons
- 1 tablespoon dried chopped onion mixed with 1 tablespoon water
- 1/4 tablespoon garlic powder
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 ounces diced pancetta (I buy 4-oz. packages of diced pancetta)


1. Whisk together eggs, whipping cream, mascarpone cheese, dried onion, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Then add croutons and whisk again.

2. Heat olive oil in a medium skillet and add pancetta. Sauté for 3 to 4 minutes.

3. Add egg mixture and cook.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Delicious and Easy Baked Grouper and Potatoes Recipe

When I was at Detwiler's Farm Market yesterday, I saw some beautiful, fresh Gulf of Mexico Grouper for what I thought was a reasonable price ($10.99 per lb.). So, I decided to make it for dinner. I found a very simple on-line recipe - Baked Fish and Potatoes with Rosemary and Garlic from the renowned Italian-born cook and cookbook author, Marcella Hazan. The recipe states it can be used with firm-flesh fish such as grouper, mahi-mahi, snapper, or striped bass.

The name in Italian is, "Pesce Arrosto al Forno con all'Aglio e Rosmarino."

I modified the recipe to serve two and added a couple of ingredients - fresh lemon juice and capers. I would suggest looking at the original recipe and reviews at: Some of those reviews suggest modifications like using oregano instead of rosemary. Below is my modified version, including rewording the directions.

Total cooking time is about 40 minutes.


- 12 oz. small potatoes, washed and cut into quarters. I used Honey Gold potatoes, and did not peel them.
- an oven-to-table baking dish that can accommodate both the fish and the potatoes in a single layer
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3 sprigs fresh rosemary. (I used rosemary from our yard. It has grown into a huge bush that requires no attention.)
- 4 whole garlic cloves, peeled. (I cut them into a couple of pieces.)
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon capers
- Fine sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- A one-pound fillet from a firm-flesh fish such as grouper, mahi-mahi, snapper, or striped bass
- 2 tablespoons fine, dry, unflavored bread crumbs


1. Preheat oven to 400°

2. Place potatoes in the baking dish and pour 2 tablespoons of olive oil over them. Add 2 sprigs of rosemary, the garlic cloves, and salt, and pepper. Toss thoroughly. 

3. Put the dish in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. 

4. Remove the dish; turn the potatoes over; return the dish to the oven; and cook for another 10 minutes or so until the potatoes feel tender when tested with a fork.

5. While the potatoes are cooking in step 4 above, wash the fish fillet and pat it dry with paper towels. Also strip the leaves from the remaining rosemary sprig.

6. Remove the dish from the oven. Push the potatoes to the sides, making room in the center for the fish fillet. Place the fillet into the dish, with skin side down. (Our fillet came with skin already removed.) Scatter the rosemary leaves over the fish; pour the lemon juice and olive oil over the fish; and sprinkle salt, pepper, bread crumbs, and capers over the fish.

Return the dish to the oven and bake for 14 minutes. Let the dish settle out of the oven for 3-4 minutes before bringing to the table. (I just placed each serving of the fish on each of our plates rather than bringing the baking dish to the table.)

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Easy Pork Tenderloin with Seasoned Rub

I love pork tenderloin because there are so many delicious and easy recipes used with this cut. I found this wonderful recipe on ( I can understand why this Ellie Krieger recipe has several hundred five-star reviews.

Since the spice mixture used to create the rub produced more rub than I needed, I later used the leftover rub on boneless pork chops, with equally tasty results.


1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp dried thyme
salt (I used 1 tsp)
1 & 1/4 pound pork tenderloin
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp minced garlic


1. Preheat oven to 450° F.

2. Make the rub by mixing the dry seasonings in a bowl with a fork until they are well combined. Sprinkle the rub over the tenderloin. Then gently rub the seasonings over the entire surface of the tenderloin, so that the seasoning adheres well to the tenderloin.

3. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the minced garlic and sauté, stirring for 1 minute. Put the tenderloin in the skillet and cook for about 10 minutes, searing each side, using tongs to turn the meat.

4. Transfer the meat to a roasting pan and bake for 20 minutes. Slice and serve.

(As I do with most recipes involving a large piece of pork or beef, I brought the tenderloin to room temperature by leaving it out for 30 minutes. Then I applied the rub. After cooking, a let it rest for 5 minutes before slicing.)

Rendez-Vous - Terrific French Bakery and Deli in Sarasota

My wife and I recently enjoyed delicious sandwiches and pastries from Rendez-Vous French Bakery and Delicatessen ( on Clark Road in Sarasota. 

We each had a sandwich for lunch and took home some pastries for breakfast. They were all delicious.

Her sandwich was La Riviera, with chicken, sun-dried tomatoes, romaine lettuce, mayonnaise, and chives on a French baguette for $7.75

Mine was Le Campagnard, with French paté, French pickles, and romaine lettuce on a French baguette for $7.95.

The sandwiches were not only delicious, but the size was generous. We could probably have split a single sandwich.

The breakfast pastries we chose were:
- Almond
- Almond and chocolate
- Apple

In addition to sandwiches and pastries, Rendez-Vous serves omelettes, quiches, salads, and soups. 

They're open from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday through Saturday; and 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Sunday. They're closed on Monday.

Can't wait to go back.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Chicken, Artichoke, Zucchini, Corn, Onion, Tomato, Olive, Red Wine Skillet Dish

I created this easy dish in the process of figuring out how to use leftover roast chicken. I was very pleased with the results. Needless to say, you could start with uncooked chicken instead.

It should serve 4 to 6, but the two of us managed to consume about 80% of it.


- 1/2 leftover cooked chicken, skin removed, and chopped into bite-size pieces
- 1 zucchini, sliced in half lengthwise, and then sliced into 1/2 inch, half round pieces
- 1/2 onion,  chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 medium to large tomato, seeded and chopped
- 1 small jar of marinated and quartered artichoke hearts (7.5 oz)
- 1 small can extra sweet corn niblets (11 oz.)
- 1 cup pitted black olives, chopped
- 1/2 cup red wine - I used a Tuscan wine -Vecchia Cantina Rosso di Montepulciano
- salt and pepper to taste
- 3 tbsp olive oil


1. In  a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat.

2. Add onion and sauté for 5 minutes. (If the chicken is uncooked, include it with the onion. If it is leftover cooked chicken, include it in the last step.)

3. Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute

5. Add zucchini and sauté for 5 minutes, turning once.

6. Add remaining ingredients, and cook for an additional 5 minutes.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Za'atar Crusted Chicken Schnitzel

Za'atar is a tasty Middle Eastern spice mixture which I had mentioned in an earlier posting (  It worked very nicely in this easy recipe which I found at 

The version below serves four and is approximately half the original recipe.


- 3/4 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
- 1tbsp za'atar
- 1/2 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided 
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided 
- 1 large egg
- 1 egg white 
- 4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breasts 
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided 
- Cooking spray
- 1/2 lemon, cut into 4 wedges (optional) 

1. Preheat oven to 400°.
2. Combine panko, za'atar, sesame seeds, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper in a shallow dish. Place eggs and egg white in another shallow dish; lightly beat with a fork. Sprinkle chicken with remaining 1/24teaspoon salt and remaining 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Dredge  breast halves in panko mixture, then egg mixture. Dredge again in panko mixture.
3. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken breasts to pan. Cook 3 minutes on each side or until lightly browned, turning carefully with a spatula. Place on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray.

4. Bake at 400° for 10 minutes or until done. Serve with lemon wedges, if desired.

Maryland-Style Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes

For my wife's birthday, I decided to try my hand at making rather than buying a dish she had requested - Maryland-style jumbo lump crab cakes. We lived in Maryland for many years, and this was one of our favorites. It turned out to be fairly easy to make and we were happy with the results. I found this recipe at

I made two small changes: I used chopped green onions instead of parsley and canned bread crumbs instead of fresh bread crumbs.

I purchased fresh jumbo lump crab from the Pinchers Restaurant in Lakewood Ranch ( The Pinchers chain has its own fleet of fishing boats and obtains the crab along Florida's Gulf Coast. The crab meat was beautiful and had only one bit of shell mixed in. Pinchers was selling the jumbo lump crab meat for $29.99 per pound and the lump crab meat for $19.99 per pound.

It is important to be careful not to break up the jumbo lump crab meat when preparing the dish. Otherwise, there's no point in buying the jumbo lump. My wife once showed me laughably idiotic instructions for a crab recipe in a major women's magazine. The instructions in the recipe called for processing the jumbo lump crab meat in a food processor!!!!!!

Some crab cake recipes call for a remoulade for the cakes. This would be sacrilegious in Maryland. We did use tartar sauce on them.

This recipe produces eight small crab cakes. Three of us easily finished them off.


- 1 lb. jumbo lump or backfin crabmeat, fresh or pasteurized
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1&1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1&1/2 tsp Old Bay seasoning (It's sold at Publix.)
- 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 tsp Kosher salt
- 1&1/4 cups fresh breadcrumbs (from soft white bread such as Pepperidge farm)
- 1 tbsp chopped, fresh, flat-leaf parsley
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- lemon wedges for serving


1. Drain the crab meat, if necessary, and pick through it for shells. Put the crab meat in a medium bowl and set aside.

2. In a small bowl, whisk the egg, mayonnaise. mustard, Old Bay seasoning, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce and salt. Scrape the mixture over the crab, and mix gently until well combined. 

3. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs and parsley over the mixture, and then mix them in thoroughly, but gently. Try not to turn the mixture into a mash. It should be somewhat loose. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 1 to 3 hours.

4. Shape the crab mixture into eight cakes about 1 inch thick.

5. Heat the butter and olive oil in a 12-inch, nonstick skillet over medium heat. When the butter is frothy, add the cakes to the pan. (The original recipe says that eight cakes should fit comfortably in a 12-inch skillet. I found that they completely filled a 14-inch skillet.)  Cook until dark golden on the underside - about 4 minutes. Flip the cakes, reduce the heat to medium low, and continue cooking until the other side is well browned - 4 to 5 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges on the side for squeezing on the cakes.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Maqluba - Palestinian Eggplant, Lamb, and Rice Stew

Maqluba is a delicious eggplant, lamb, rice, tomato. and onion stew that my mother used to make for the family when we were growing up. I finally decided to give it a try and was happy with the results. It's easy to make. This version serves four to six and takes about 90 minutes to prepare. 

This version is made with ground lamb, but it can also be made with ground beef or cubed lamb or chicken. There are vegetarian versions as well.

The name "Maqluba" means, "upside-down" because you're supposed to flip it over onto a serving dish when finished. I chose not to do that because of the size pan I used. The recipe calls for a 3-quart pan, but I used a 6-quart instead because of the amount of ingredients.

I served it with pita bread and yogurt sauce for the pita bread.

I found this recipe at Needless to say, there are other versions on the Internet.


- olive oil - 1/4 cup
- eggplant -1, sliced into 1/4" rounds
- onion - 1 minced
- ground or cubed lamb or beef, or cubed chicken - 1 lb
- allspice - 1 teaspoon
- cinnamon - 1/2 teaspoon
- nutmeg - large pinch
- salt and pepper - to taste
- tomato sliced into 1/4" rounds - 1
- water or stock, well seasoned with salt - 2 cups (I used beef stock)
- rice, soaked in water for 1/2 hour to cover. then drained - 1 & 1/2 cups


1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté eggplant slices on each side to lightly brown. Remove to a plate.

2. Add more oil to the skillet if needed, and sauté the onions until translucent. Add the meat, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and pepper, and sauté until cooked through. (If the meat is ground, break it up after putting it into the pan.) Drain off excess oil.

3. Coat the bottom of a heavy-bottomed 3-quart sauce pan with butter or olive oil or lard. (As I said, I used a 6-quart pan.) Lay the tomato slices to cover the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of the drained rice over the tomatoes. Spoon the meat and onion mixture over the rice. Lay the eggplant slices to cover the meat and onion mixture. Press down well to compact all the ingredients. Add the rest of the rice and seasoned water or stock.

4. Bring to a boil over medium-high flame, then quickly reduce heat to low. Cover tightly and simmer for 45-50 minutes. Toward the end of the cooking time, check to see if more water is needed.

5. Remove from heat and let rest for 15 minutes. Remove lid and invert a serving plate over the pan. Turn upside down and carefully slip the pan off the rice. Serve hot.

If rice sticks to the bottom when you cook it, the next time, try covering the bottom of the saucepan with a round of parchment paper. (I had no problem with the rice sticking, probably because I coated the bottom with a generous amount of olive oil.)

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Mattison's Forty One - Terrific As Always - Savor Sarasota

Paul Mattison is an extraordinary chef. He currently operates three restaurants in Sarasota - Manatee:
- Mattison's Forty-One
- Mattison's City Grille
- Mattison's Bayside

His menus are always creative and the cooking superbly executed. This evening, we enjoyed a Savor Sarasota Dinner at Mattison's Forty-One. It was exceptional. The three-course dinners with bread were $29. Every bite was mouth watering.

My wife's first course was Summer yellow pepper gazpacho with shrimp salsa. Mine was a lump crab cake with pickled vegetables and mandarin-habanero remoulade. Yum-yum-yum-yum.

My wife's main dish was short rib with gribiche oil, smashed fingerling potatoes, and Sweetgrass Tokyo Bekana Grape Slaw.

My main dish was Seafood Paella with Gulf Shrimp, Chorizo Sausage, Grouper, Snapper, Salmon, Mussels, and fresh saffron rice with Saffron Broth.

Her dessert was warm Chocolate Espresso Torte, and mine was White Chocolate Passion Fruit Mousse.

The wine I chose was a type of Spanish red wine that I have never had - Bierzo, made of grapes I have never had - Mencia. It is from the northwest of spain. There are only 22,000 acres planted with this grape. The make was Losada and the vintage 2010. The cost was only $37. It was very enjoyable.

Our server, Robert, was a consummate professional.

The Savor Sarasota menu at Mattison's Forty-One continues through September 30.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Persian Chicken, Pomegranate Syrup, Walnut Stew - Khoresh-e Fesenjan

A popular dish in Persian cuisine is Khoresht-e Fesenjan. It's primary ingredients are chicken, walnuts, pomegranate syrup, and onions. It is easy to make, and is served over rice. It is from northern Iran and was originally made with duck. Like so many other recipes, there are many variants, including vegan.

The types of rice used for the most authentic versions are Persian white or yellow rice (polo or chelo), which are prepared with Basmati rice. On this occasion, I prepared the Basmati rice in the normal manner because my recent first attempt at chelo was unsuccessful. I will try again.

I found this version at, at a blog which has many interesting-sounding Persian recipes. I recommend looking at the URL above because the author has pictures and commentary. The author of that article comments that, when pomegranate fruit is in season, she sprinkles pomegranate seeds on the finished stew.

The recipe below serves 5 to 6. Total prep and cooking time is close to 2 hours. Prep is really easy.

I found the pomegranate syrup (aka pomegranate molasses) at Bismallah Grocery on 17th St. at Lockwood Ridge in Sarasota. It carries Middle Eastern and South Asian groceries. They carry two varieties. I bought 17 oz. Cortas brand which is from Lebanon and which the store owner said is the most popular. It sells for $6.50. Pomegranate syrup is available on 


One and a half large yellow onions, sliced thin

2 pounds of skinless chicken drumsticks or thighs (4 -5 pieces). I used 1.5 pounds of boneless, skinless thighs, cut into large pieces.

8 ounces walnut halves (about 2 cups). 8-ounce bags are sold in supermarkets

1/4 cup cold water

1 cup pomegranate concentrate

3 to 4 Tbsp vegetable oil

1/4 tsp kosher salt

1/8 tsp cracked black pepper

Pomegranate seeds for garnish (if available)


Pick through the walnuts for shells, then put in a food processor and process until the walnuts become a tan-colored paste.

With the food processor running, add the cold water through the feed chute. Continue processing until the paste becomes uniformly beige in color.

Put the vegetable oil and onion in a 6-qt stockpot and fry until golden brown. Then remove the onion from the stockpot.

Add the chicken to the stockpot and top it with the fried onions.

Spoon the walnut paste over the fried onions. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Drizzle the pomegranate concentrate over  all the ingredients.

Bring to a boil over medium heat. Avoid high heat because the pomegranate concentrate tends to stick and burn fairly quickly. (I had no problem.)

Reduce the heat to medium low, cover the pot, and simmer for 15 minutes.

Reduce the heat to low and simmer covered for an additional 75 minutes, or until the chicken is fork tender and falls off the bone. Stir every 15 minutes or so to make sure the sauce does not stick to the pot. If at the end of this period, the sauce has not thickened enough, leave the pot uncovered on low heat for about 10 more minutes. 

Transfer the Fesenjan to a serving dish and sprinkle pomegranate seeds on top for garnish. 

Serve over white steamed Persian rice.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Delicious and Easy Spaghetti-Shaped Veggies - Zucchini

Last night, I used a simple, hand-held spiralizer, to transform a zucchini into spaghetti-shaped strands that made a terrific and easy side dish. The brand of spiralizer that I used was a "Veggetti," which I had been given as a gift. It took a couple of minutes to make these "noodles." I then sauteed them in a skillet with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat for 7 minutes. I sprinkled them with salt and pepper and drizzled a high-quality, Persian-lime, Extra Virgin Olive Oil (from Katy Rose Oilery in Lakewood Ranch) over the top. One decent-size zucchini made two servings.

These spiralizers can be used on a variety of vegetables to make salads, stir fries, potato pancakes, etc.

The hand-held version can be purchased for about $10 at Walmart or Amazon. The table-top version is about twice as much. There are other brands as well.

Delicious and Easy Spaghetti-Shaped Veggies - Zucchini

Last night, I used a simple, hand-held spiralizer, to transform a zucchini into spaghetti-shaped strands that made a terrific and easy side dish. The brand of spiralizer that I used was a "Veggetti," which I had been given as a gift. It took a couple of minutes to make these "noodles." I then sauteed them in a skillet with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat for 7 minutes. I sprinkled them with salt and pepper and drizzled a high-quality, Persian-lime, Extra Virgin Olive Oil (from Katy Rose Oilery in Lakewood Ranch) over the top. One decent-size zucchini made two servings.

These spiralizers can be used on a variety of vegetables to make salads, stir fries, potato pancakes, etc.

The hand-held version can be purchased for about $10 at Walmart or Amazon. The table-top version is about twice as much. There are other brands as well.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Single Skillet Pasta Dish - Angel Hair or Spaghetti

I wanted to try making a spaghetti dish with all the ingredients combined in a skillet instead of making the pasta and the sauce separately. Of course, I did an Internet search, and found one that was easy and delicious. It was on a video, which made it even easier. I made a couple of changes to adapt it to the ingredients I had on hand. This version produced two generous servings. I highly recommend watching the video at:


- long thin pasta (I  used 4 oz. of thin spaghetti)
- 1/2 an onion sliced very thin
- 1 green pepper sliced very thin (This was not in the original recipe)
- 1 handful of cherry tomatoes sliced very thin (I used a 14 oz. can of diced tomatoes, including the juice in the can.)
- a small amount of sliced chili pepper (I skipped this ingredient.)
- a handful of basil leaves - half for the cooking and half to sprinkle on top after cooking
- 2 cloves of garlic sliced very thin
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Pecorino cheese to grate over finished pasta (I used Parmesan)
- olive oil to drizzle over ingredients before cooking
- cold water or chicken broth sufficient to cover ingredients in pan (I used a combination of water and the tomato juice from the canned tomatoes.)

Another ingredient I'd like to add next time is sliced green olives.


Lay the pasta in the bottom of a deep skillet.

Lay the onion, garlic, pepper, tomatoes, chili, and half the basil leaves on and around the spaghetti..

Drizzle olive oil on top of the ingredients.

Sprinkle salt and pepper on top.

Cover the ingredients with cold water and or chicken broth.

Turn the heat on high and bring to a boil. Cook for 10 minutes starting from the time the heat is turned on. Stir from time to time and check the spaghetti to make sure it's al dente.

Grate pecorino on top of the finished pasta.

Add remaining basil leaves.

Tahini, Lemon, Garlic Salad Dressing

I figured that a salad dressing that combined tahini sauce, lemon juice, and garlic could be very tasty, so I did an Internet search and found a number of possibilities. The one I chose was really nice and easy to make. It has a very Middle Eastern taste. This one will make 4 to 6 servings. I found it as part of a kale salad recipe, but I used it with romaine lettuce instead. I found the recipe at Minimalist Baker (


- 1/3 cup tahini (as I have mentioned in another posting, tahini, which is a sesame spread and which is an ingredient in hummus, can be found at supermarkets like Publix, at Middle Eastern stores, on Amazon, etc.)
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 3-4 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice (I had a large lemon, which yielded 4 tablespoons. A small lemon might yield 2 tablespoons)
- 1-2 tablespoons maple syrup (I used about 1 & 1/2 tbsp.)
- 1 pinch salt & 1 pinch pepper


Add tahini, garlic, lemon juice, maple syrup, salt and pepper to a small mixing bowl and whisk. Then add hot water to thin until pourable. (I ended up using about half a cup of hot tap water.) Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

La Scarpetta - Delicious and Authentic Northern Italian Cuisine

There are many Italian restaurants in the Sarasota-Bradenton area, but most of them serve Italian-American cuisine as opposed to regional Italian cuisine. A delicious exception is La Scarpetta (, which bills itself as a rustic Italian restaurant. Many of the dishes on the menu are from the Emilia-Romagna Region of northern Italy, with food-famous cities like Parma, Modena, and Bologna. Parma is famous for Parma ham and Parmesan cheese, Modena for balsamic vinegar, and Bologna for Bolognese sauce.

The owners, Emilio and Rosaria Ferrara, are from Parma.

The menu ( has lots of meat dishes, as well as home-made Emilia-Romagna pastas like gramigna and caserecce. (I once wondered how many Italian pastas there were, so I started compiling a list. I stopped counting at 369, when I realized I still had a way to go.)

La Scarpetta has a nice, reasonably priced wine list, with wines from all over Italy, except Emilia-Romagna, which is not renowned for its wines.

Our meal started with a (free) amuse-bouche of onion focaccia bread and a crisp bread for a topping of mixed raisins, eggplant, and other goodies.

My wife started with a caprese salad ($8.90) and I had lentil and bacon soup ($8).

My next dish was Caprese di Burrata ($15.90) with burrata, Parma ham, and tomato with truffle sauce. Burrata is a soft Mozzarella cheese made of Mozzarella cheese and cream. Parma ham (Prosciutto di Parma) is one of the best types of Italian ham.

My wife then had the Ravioli di Zucca - pumpkin ravioli with walnut cream sauce ($16.90). This dish was incredible.

I had the Gramigna pasta with Italian sausage and cooked in wine and provolone cheese ($14.90). Gramigna are short, hollow, curled pieces of pasta. The dish was delicious.  It was sort of like mac and cheese comfort food.

For dessert, my wife had vanilla gelato with Italian cherries ($6) and I had Torta Sbrisolona with Vin Santo ($12.90). This torta is a crumbly cake meant for dipping in the Vin Santo. It is from Mantua Province, Lombardy Region.

Our wine was Badia di Morrona N'Antia ($58), a Tuscan red made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet France, and Petit Verdot. It was very nice.

The name "La Scarpetta"  means "The Shoe" and is from the Italian expression "fare la scarpetta" which literally means, "to do the shoe;" and figuratively means to mop your plate with a piece of bread by shaping it like a shoe.

Our server, Danny, was outstanding.

La Scarpetta open from 5;00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday. It is located on Tuttle in a strip mall just north of Bee Ridge. It is in the building which used to house Morels restaurant. It is small, so it's best to make reservations.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Savor Sarasota at Selva Grill

A couple of nights ago, my wife, our daughter, and I enjoyed a delicious Savor Sarasota dinner at Sarasota's Selva Grill (, which was established by renowned Chef Darwin Santa Maria a number of years ago, but has since changed hands.

We have eaten here a number of times over the years, and have always enjoyed it.

My wife and I started with the Maya Ceviche - a shrimp ceviche marinated in orange, lime juice, and achiote, and tossed with avocado, tomato, red onion, and Cusco corn. It was fantastic.

My wife's main dish was the same main dish she and our daughter always order here - skirt steak over sweet plantains, beet relish, and Selva's chimichurri. I ordered Salmon Chileno - Chilean salmon with jumbo lump crab and manchego topping, and served with jasmine rice and bell pepper. It was finished with mango beurre monte. It was terrific.

My wife and I both had chocolate mousse for dessert. It was very nice.

We also enjoyed our wine, which was a 2012 Chento Malbec from the Mendoza Valley of Argentina for $56.

Another great experience at Selva Grill.

Superb Savor Sarasota Dinner at Off the Hook Seafood Co.

My wife and I recently joined a couple of friends for a delightful Savor Sarasota dinner at Off the Hook Seafood Co. ( in the Gulf Gate area of Sarasota. It was terrific. The menu selections were creative and varied, the food was superb, and the service was outstanding. Like all Savor Sarasota dinners, the price was $29 for three (and sometimes four) courses.

My wife started with an appetizer of shrimp and grits, with Rockefeller sauce and fried oysters. My appetizer was a crab roll with lump crab and drawn butter on a toasted New England roll. Both were delicious and the portions larger than expected for an appetizer.

My wife's main dish was Grouper Piccata and mine was Golden Tile Fish with asparagus, artichoke, tomato, and lemon butter. Both were perfectly done.

My wife's dessert was flour-less chocolate cake and mine was warm bread pudding. Both were wonderful.

They also offered specials on many of the wines in their wine list. I chose a bottle of Predator Zinfandel. The normal price per bottle was $32, and the special price was $19. We both enjoyed it.

The service was great - very customer focused.

We will return.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Stottlemyer's Smokehouse - Delicious BBQ in Sarasota

Yesterday, I had a delicious BBQ lunch at Stottlemyer's Smokehouse ( with a group of friends. In addition, my wife and I had a nice takeout dinner.

For lunch, I had beef brisket, which had been smoked for 14 hours. I had the 8 oz. version for $12.75, with two sides. The brisket was tasty, but did have significant fat that I had to trim off. The sides were out of this world. One was the smokehouse baked beans and the other was the sweet vinegar coleslaw.

My wife's takeout meal was the Smokehouse Ribs for $14.95 and mine was a pulled pork sandwich with fries for $8.95. My wife enjoyed the ribs and I loved the pulled pork.

At lunch, one of my friends had a Caesar salad, which he did not enjoy.

Our server, Jennifer, was terrific.

Stottlemyer's is under roof, but without walls. 

Stottlemyer's is located on the southeast side of the intersection of Fruitville and East Rd. 1 mile east of I-75. It is collocated with a gas station. Parking is best behind Stottlemyer's.

The map on the "Find Us" page of Stottlemyer's web site shows an incorrect location. It shows Stottlemyer's as being inside the Sun n Fun Resort. I pointed that out to our server.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Goichi - Great Authentic Japanese Ramen in Sarasota

One of the dishes we loved in Japan was the flavorful ramen, a fast food in large bowls that came in many varieties. The noodles and the ingredients are very different than those found in ramen cups sold in American supermarkets. Until recently, there were only two restaurants in the U.S. where I'd found a typical large assortment of delicious, authentic ramen - Katana-ya in San Francisco ( and Matsuchan in Canton, MI. 

Now we've discovered one in Sarasota - Goichi Sushi Cafe, which is owned by Goichi Matsumoto, (, which offers 32 kinds of ramen (!cashandcarryramen/c1qsl)

We recently had the Tokyo Ramen and the Sapporo Ramen. Both were delicious and authentic. The Tokyo Ramen has sliced pork, hard-boiled egg, spinach, scallions, fish cakes, and bamboo shoots in a soy broth. The Sapporo Ramen has sliced pork, fish cakes, corn kernels, butter, bean sprouts, and garlic in a spicy miso broth. (It was spicy.) 

The ramen noodles are made with an antique, pre-1938, Japanese ramen machine.

Normally, the ramen is only sold as take out, except on Monday nights, when it is offered in the restaurant. The ramen sells for $10 per order. We discovered that a single order can easily feed two people.

Goichi's web sit has a video about it's ramen-making.

There is another type of dish that I intend to try - donburi, which is a bowl of rice with other ingredients on top. Goichi has five of these, two of which are on our list to try - Gyu Don, which has beef, and Ten Don, which has shrimp, fish, and vegetables. These are described as, "Early Bird Rice Bowls," and they sell for $7.95.

The restaurant also offers many types of sushi and 19 types of interesting-sounding Asian salads. Among the sushi rolls are nine types created by their customers.

The restaurant is very small inside - with only about five tables and two chairs at the bar.

Goichi is only open from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday. It does not accept reservations.

Goichi is located at 4563 Bee Ridge between Honore and McIntosh.