Another Little Pizza My Heart (National Pizza Day Edition)

National Pizza Day rules… SRQuisine drools (over pizza)

Here at SRQuisine, the term “wood-fired pizza” doesn’t get tossed around lightly. We love everything about those tender slices of dough- from the crust, to the distribution of patches of dark char juxtaposed by globs of creamy buffalo mozzarella, to the smokey hint that curls up and snuggles in on every slice like a little flavor gift for your taste buds! So you can imagine our delight when we realized that it was National Pizza Day! That being said, no ordinary pie would do- the stakes were high, and tonight was meant for something truly special…

After some deliberation, we made the decision to try Baker & Wife, and we were not disappointed! For those unaware, Baker & Wife is located in South Gate, and has a casual “neo-farmhouse-meets-upscale-pizzeria” feel. The menu boasts comfort food, a variety of entrees, and some truly inspired appetizers. We opted for the Slow Roasted Yellow Beets Salad as a starter and it was a real treat. Now, on to the main event.

We tried two pies:  1.) The Quilted Shroom, and 2.) The Diabla Wild Shrimp. Both were every bit as tasty as we’d hoped for. The Quilted Shroom was decorated with bechamel and roasted mushrooms, and blanketed with sheets of prosciutto, while hints of thyme and rosemary delighted the senses. The Diabla Wild Shrimp was best in show. Under the surface of what appeared to be an inland-sea’s-worth of arugula were swarms of pink shrimp, tomatoes, capers, and onions, each waiting for their day in the sun! Red pepper flakes added a tiny punch to eat bite. It was a feast truly befitting National Pizza Day and one that we won’t soon forget!

We’ve had brunch at Baker & Wife in the past and were thoroughly impressed as well. Check it out! Follow them on Instagram @baker_and_wife, or visit the website: bakerwife.com

And until this glorious holiday next year… pizza and happiness to you!

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Totally Going NUTS for DONUTS!

The Amish Baking Co. knows dough, yo.

We are not joking or exaggerating when we say the donuts from The Amish Baking Co. will change your life. They will. It’s an understatement to say we’ve had our fair share of specialty donuts from awesome little donut shops that seem to be popping up everywhere. But ABC’s are simply the best! They are piping hot, fresh, sticky, and truly melt in your mouth. Curiously large, though neither for the sake of novelty or pretension, these sweet, buttery rings of dough come hot off the presses, still-dripping with dipped glaze. I know what you’re thinking, “Yeah, yeah- I’ve eaten Krispy Kreme donuts, bro. I know all about fresh donies…” If that’s where your mindset is, well then, by all means, more for you. These donuts are in a league all their own, so give them a try. But don’t do it for our sake; your taste buds will thank you!

Still not convinced? Or maybe you flat out don’t like donuts (heathens…)? Well, what if we told you that ABC also has the best soft pretzels in town? Or maybe the universe. They are incredible and remind the chewer of a simpler time when all the world’s woes could be settled through gifts of pretzeled bread. I eat them and often think of a pre-corporate Auntie Anne, in her college days (when she was just “Anne” to her friends, and not so focused on profit) toiling away in her kitchen, striving simply to make the best soft pretzel she could. Then I picture her, now in her 70’s or 80’s, strolling through Sarasota, wearing large sunglasses and a kerchief round her head, and she stops at this humble ABC baking cart. There’s something so familiar about the smell that wafted by…Suddenly, a warm soft-pretzel catches her eye. She asks for one, and takes a bite. A single tear strolls gently down her cheek, and she remembers those formative baking years, her lost loves, and why she began baking pretzels in the first place. Yes; these pretzels are that good. Talk about melting in your mouth. Buttery, salty goodness! Are you laughing? Hope so, because we couldn’t type this with a straight face. Sometimes Eric gets carried away.

But anyway, when we say life changing. They are. Go now! The Amish Baking Co. food truck is always at the Central Sarasota Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings, and the Phillipi Creek Farmhouse Market on Wednesday mornings. They also pop up randomly around town at various festivals and events. Find them by following their Instagram account @theamishbakingco or by visiting their website: http://www.amishbakingco.com/ We promise you will not be disappointed. Amish 2 donuts.jpg

 

 

Who? What? When? Where? Walts! (Fish Market and Restaurant)

Gone fishin’.

Among a sea of fish camps and markets, waterfront bars, seaside restaurants, and wharf shanties that sell delicious fish tacos, it can be a real chore, and an expensive learning experience, to sort the delicious from the mundane (but we’ll gladly do the research)- the kingfisher from the guppies- when it comes to local fish spots. We are pleased to report that Walt’s Fish Market and Restaurant delivered a strong performance and did not disappoint! For starters, we were treated to complimentary smoked fish spread (some of the best we’ve had locally), and we opted for a lobster bisque and conch chowder as a first course. The bisque was flavorful and familiar with small, but ample, pieces of lobster, while the chowder was spiced and peppery with a rich and flavorful tomato base, and packed to the gills with conch. All delicious. We tried the fried grouper Reuben and the  blackened mullet. The blackened spices were fantastic! We liked the laid back old Florida tiki-hit style ambiance of Walt’s that made us feel like we were on the beach, despite it’s shopping center location.

I think one of our favorite things about moving to the Gulf coast is having such a fresh array of seafood to choose from no matter where we go. On to further research! To read more about Walt’s, check out their website: http://www.waltsfishmarketrestaurant.com/

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Bring on the Buttermilk Baked Goods!

Buttermilk Handcrafted Food is handcrafting our hearts.

Every once in a while, we have a real hankering for a sweet treat (and by “every once in a while”, I mean “I once filled a quart-sized Gatorade bottle with cinnamon roll frosting because I love sweets). Alternatively, we have a crippling weakness for savory biscuits and breakfast sandwiches. To qualify this statement, in 2013, we were issued the honorary title of “Duke and Duchess McMuffin” by a local McDonalds morning shift. Certificates and paper crowns were awarded; it was a real to-do. But I digress. Needless to say, when we happened to hear about the opening of Buttermilk Handcrafted Food via the Sarasota Magazine’s Instagram account, our culinary curiosities were piqued. We made the trip out for a quick stop-over, and we’re so grateful we did! Buttermilk is the perfect blend of savory and sweet, and they happen to specialize in biscuits and cinnamon rolls. And cookies. And pie. And bread pudding. And savory rolls. And coffee. And if you haven’t been there, go now!

Everything was made fresh, and the ambiance is very Joanna Gaines (a personal fave). We recommend the pimento cheese and ham breakfast biscuit and the vanilla oatmeal pie!

This place is so cool they don’t need a website, but check out their Instagram for hours, location, and drools: @buttermilkhandcraftedfood

Best of Brunch: Bacon, Bloody Mary’s, and Brisket!

Breakfast at MADE Restaurant downtown

If you couldn’t tell from our last post, we can’t get enough breakfast. We truly feel that Sarasota is a booming brunch town, and it’s our goal to try it all! One of the best brunches we’ve had thus far is at MADE Restaurant downtown. It’s a modern, Americana-themed, casual restaurant with a touch of class. We started with the Bloody Mary’s, featuring “Billionaire” bacon, which is crispy caramelized bacon that basically tastes like a peppery, smokey, sweet dream. We ordered the “Chicken Fried” which consisted of crispy chicken and peppermilk sausage gravy. Amazing! We also tried the “Brisket” eggs Benedict (pictured) which was hands down one of the best things we’ve ever eaten:  a delightful blend of brisket, “Billionaire” bacon, peppermilk sausage gravy, roasted corn, and chipotle hollandaise. I think we fell in love all over again while eating this meal! There were so many other brunch entrees that sounded incredible- must be why other people speak very highly of the MADE Restaurant brunch. The dinner menu looks excellent as well. Needless to say, we will definitely be back!

Check out http://www.maderestaurant.com to look at their full menu, and make sure to stop by if you’re looking for a fantastic brunch on Main Street!

Breakfast Sensation at the Station!

So many pancakes, so little time.

We are huge fans of Station 400 breakfast and brunch, and have been there quite a few times. We prefer the downtown Sarasota location on Lemon Avenue strictly for ambiance, but there is also a location in Lakewood Ranch. Station 400 is one of the places where we order way too much food. How could you not? The prices are super reasonable, and there are far too many delicious options to choose from; we’ve also had excellent servers with awesome recommendations.

For starters, their mimosa menu is fantastic. They offer at least 4 or 5 seasonal flavors. Lauren’s favorite is the “Elderflower, Cucumber, Lemon” mimosa, and Eric prefers the “Blackberry Bramble.” They make the most delicious, right out of the oven, buttery croissants that are served with fresh jam. You MUST get one! We are also big fans of the “Waffled Sausage” starter, which is basically a breakfast sausage waffle corn dog. How could you go wrong?

When we brunch, our go-to game plan is for one of us to order a sweet entree, and one to order a savory entree, to get the best of both worlds. We are not amateurs. Our favorite savory breakfast at Station 400 is the “Truffle Eggs Benedict” (pictured) because, well, truffle. The “Biscuits and Gravy” on jalapeno cheddar biscuits with chorizo gravy is also obviously fantastic.

We’re big into pancakes and keep going back to the same two pancake entrees because we can’t get enough, though the other options sound super scrumptious. We love the “Cinnamon Roll” pancakes with cream cheese frosting and vanilla maple syrup (pictured), as well as the “Bacon & Salted Caramel” pancakes with the salted caramel drizzle and orange butter. Is your mouth watering yet?

Make sure  Station 400 is one of your breakfast endeavors! For more information, check out their website at http://www.station400.com or @station400srq on Instagram.

Polpo Pop-up Pizza Packs Peppered Punch

Not your average pie!

SRQ’s own Polpo Pizza scored big points this week. We’ve been on the hunt for delicious pizza since moving down to Sarasota, and have only had a few note-worthy pies and slices (details to come). Polpo is a food truck that pops up around town at different restaurants, festivals, private events, and farmer’s markets,  etc. The truck is typically located at Mandeville Beer Garden on Lemon Avenue downtown Sarasota on Tuesday nights for Trivia, as well as the Phillippi Creek Farmhouse Market off 41 south Sarasota on Wednesday afternoons, which is where we spotted the truck and couldn’t resist. We had the “Spicy Margherita” pie (pictured). The peppers were zingy and salty, which added a unique flavor to an otherwise scrumptous pie! Their other pies sound delicious too, especially their signature “Bee Sting” which features calabrese and hot pepper honey.. yum!

Lauren studied abroad in Italy where her love affair with pizza began. She swears that the crust is how you tell a delicious pizza from a mediocre pizza. Eric is a toppings guy. Both of us agreed that the toppings and the crust were excellent! We will definitely be following Polpo’s around to get our hands on more of these pies.

For more information about Polpo’s Pizza Co., visit their website at http://www.polpopizzaco.com. Also, be sure to check out the Phillippi Creek Farmhouse Market, filled with many more food trucks and produce stands, at http://www.farmhousemarket.org.

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