The Return Of Food And Wine And Pine Promises Fun Times

Let’s face it: pretty much every day in Anna Maria is amazing. There’s really no bad time to visit here (or live here, for that matter). But there are certain days that are just a little more special than most. One of those is coming up on Saturday May 3rd, 2014 as Islanders and visitors alike welcome the return of the Food and Wine on Pine event.   Image source: Facebook.com/PineAvenueAnnaMariaIsland Food and Wine on Pine (now in its fourth year) has quickly distinguished itself as one of the most impressive culinary festivals in the state, if not the country. The entirety of Pine Avenue will close down from 11am to 6pm so that festival attendees can enjoy fine wines and craft beers, as well as tasty cuisine from over twenty-five independently-owned local restaurants. Image source: Facebook.com/PineAvenueAnnaMariaIsland And this is way more than your standard food festival. Art lovers will enjoy fun, amazing sidewalk chalk drawings, as well as work by more than forty juried artists (including Linda Heath, whose stunning Gyotaku fish rubs are a personal favorite of ours). History buffs will appreciate encountering volunteers dressed in period costumes depicting characters from throughout Anna Maria Island’s storied past. Children will be thrilled with a special area just to entertain them. Music aficionados of all genres will have a blast listening to live musicians throughout the day. Fashionistas will have a blast participating in the Kentucky Derby Hat contest organized by our friends at Relish Café. There truly is a little something for everyone. Image source: Facebook.com/PineAvenueAnnaMariaIsland Food and Wine on Pine will take place on Pine Avenue on Saturday, May 3rd, 2014 from 11am-6pm. Crosspointe Fellowship and the Anna Maria Island Community Center will offer free parking for festival attendees, and free trolleys will be available to ferry people from parking lots to the festival. Proceeds from the festival will benefit local art and children’s charities. For more information visit the Food and Wine on Pine Facebook event page. 

A (Slightly Early) Waterfront Thanksgiving Message

A lot of major retailers have been drawing headlines lately for their decision to push Black Friday even earlier by opening their stores on Thanksgiving Day. Some won’t open until later in the evening, but some are really pushing the boundaries: Kmart, for instance, will open at 6am on Thanksgiving Day and stay open around the clock until the end of Black Friday, meaning they’ll be open for 42 hours straight.   Waterfront Employee Natalia and Waterfront Diner Amy Quinlan Swanson (Photo courtesy of Amy Quinlan Swanson) Obviously a restaurant is a little different than a retail store. If we were to stay open, it would be so families could have a place to relax together without putting in the major effort a holiday meal like that entails, or so people who don’t celebrate the holiday would have a turkey-free zone to escape to. But as much as it seems a lot more justifiable for a restaurant to stay open on Thanksgiving (and plenty will be) we won’t be numbered among them. We’re open 363 days out of the year, but we choose to keep our doors closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas so that our hardworking staff can relax and enjoy their holidays with their own family and friends. Waterfront Diners Kathy and Dick Bishop (Photo courtesy of John Damato) Speaking of Thanksgiving, we have a lot to be thankful for this year. We’ve undergone some major changes, and we owe them all to the strength and support of our community. We have finally succeeded in our efforts to champion a spirits ordinance that allows longstanding, responsible restaurants to have the opportunity to serve alcohol besides just beer and wine. We have created a unique specialty craft bar that serves innovative, refreshing, and tasty drinks that just so happen to be made from local and sustainable products whenever possible. We‘ve also updated our décor and expanded our bar area in order to create a welcoming space for our patrons. Waterfront Diners Bob and Mag Dyer and John and Cathi Cox (Photo courtesy of John Damato) Perhaps most importantly though, we’ve committed ourselves to showing more transparency when it comes to discussing our inventive, sustainable cuisine. For the past six months we’ve been blogging about local and worldwide sustainable trends on our website on a weekly basis. We’ve also been making regular updates to our Facebook page where we showcase pictures of our daily specials, talk about our favorite local and sustainable finds, and link to informative articles on sustainability, especially as it pertains to the food world. Waterfront Diners Brenda Zamudio and Pauleen Fleischer (Photo courtesy of John Damato) This started out as an effort to share with you just how passionate we are about providing you with the freshest, most high-quality ingredients as we craft our creative cuisine. We’ve been so thrilled by all the support and input we’ve gotten from our Facebook fans. If anything, you have inspired us to examine our actions and see if there are any ways we can become even more ethical and environmentally-conscious. You’re appreciation makes us strive to be better, and that’s one of the greatest gifts we could receive. Your support and involvement in our growth humbles us every day: it’s just one of the many reasons we are thankful for you. 

On The Cutting Edge: When It Comes To Knives, Sharper Than New Is Sarasota’s First And Best

Okay, so you’ve read our blog and you’re fully embracing the sustainable lifestyle. You’ve started shopping at the farmers’ market and purchasing seasonal and locally-grown produce. You’re buying fish fresh off the boat of a local fisherman and using the bones to make fish stock. You’re whipping up delicious dinners that are super-fresh and have a low carbon footprint. Everything’s going fine until that fancy chef’s knife you bought doesn’t seem to be as sharp as it once was. It’s okay. Don’t panic. Everything is going to be fine. All you have to do is pack up your knife and bring it with you next time you go to the Downtown Sarasota Farmer’s Market and visit Sharper Than New. Image source: Ediblesarasota.com (Raychel Hessler) There are other professional knife sharpeners in the area, but Krystina Muller is Sarasota’s First and Best. She eschews electric knife sharpeners and instead does everything by hand. Not only is this a more eco-friendly way to sharpen knives, it’s more challenging and more precise. Knife sharpening isn’t just a craft – it’s an art, and Krystina is an artisan of the highest order. Krystina doesn’t just focus on knife blades either. She has an affinity for scissors and gardening shears as well. These days, there are lower-range scissors and shears that are so inexpensive that people don’t feel bad about just throwing them away when they’re dull and buying a new pair. But people might be surprised by how well a sharpening improves the performance and lifespan of even an inexpensive pair of scissors. Plus, holding onto those blades an extra couple of years is much more ecologically-responsible since you’re minimizing the need for production and keeping them out of landfills.   On non-market days Krystina’s on the road visiting her various clients at restaurants and stores all over the area and she doesn’t have a storefront yet, so if you want a face-to-face meeting with this resourceful knife-sharpening artist you’ll need to visit her at the farmer’s market or make an appointment. Be sure to check out her website and Facebook page for more information on her services and remember: next time you’re admiring that perfectly fileted and cooked piece of fish at your favorite local restaurant, odds are the blade that prepared it was done sustainably by a true local expert.