Obviously we would love it if you could dine with us every day. Heck, we’d be excited if you had lunch with us and then came back for dinner. But as much as we love our customers, we know sometimes you need to explore other culinary horizons. If you’ve been feeling the epicurean wanderlust, right now is the perfect time to shake things up thanks to the return of Savor Sarasota. Image source: Savorsarasota.com Every year right around this time, Visit Sarasota County works with some of the top-rated local restaurants to present specially-curated prix-fixe menus to incentivize people to check out some of the truly wonderful eateries in the area. This year, an impressive 42 restaurants are joining the festivities. Maybe that’s why this year Savor Sarasota’s Restaurant Week is actually running a full two weeks. The event kicked off on June 1st and will continue through June 14th. Many of the participating restaurants are open for both lunch and dinner, while others are open in the evening only. Restaurants serving lunch will have a three-course $15 prix-fixe menu in the afternoon, and all restaurants will offer a $29 prix-fixe menu at dinner. It’s a great opportunity to sample a variety of things at some of the best new and longstanding restaurants in Sarasota. Image source: Savorsarasota.com Ticket Sarasota has compiled a handy list of the 42 participating restaurants. Many of the restaurants are part of the excellent Sarasota-Manatee Originals organization, including Café L’Europe, Euphemia Haye, and Michael’s On East. With so many options to choose from, you’re sure to find something exciting and new to try out. And when you’re done with your culinary adventures, don’t worry: we’ll be right here awaiting your return.
In the state of Florida, stone crab is wildly popular and it’s easy to see why. If you were wondering where do you get stone crab, you’re in luck—it’s relatively easy to start fishing for them. There are plenty of recreational stone crab hunters, and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will allow any individual possessing a recreational fishing license to possess up to one gallon of stone crab claws. If there are a group of stone crab hunters on a fishing vessel, that number is two gallons per vessel. While the claws can be harvested, the crabs themselves cannot be harmed, and must be released by law. Stone crabs are typically found in West and South Florida, in locations such as Sawyer Key, Harbor Keys Bank, Oxfoot Bank, Pavilion Key, Tampa Bay, Homosassa, Cedar Key, and Steinhatchee. Florida law allows for stone crab hunters to set at many as five traps, which must be labeled and retrieved manually by law. Stone crab traps must be retrieved during the daylight hours. Those looking to get started on recreational stone crab hunting should set tracks on rock or sand bottoms, using bait such as fish heads. Traps should be recorded with GPS coordinates so that hunters can check back every 2 to 5 days. Stone crabs are called so because they live among stones, and that’s why rocky sea beds are a great place to start. Some experienced recreational hunters even scuba dive and catch stone crab by hand. Stone crabs typically live in rocky areas where they create holes to live in. Broken shells around the opening of one of these holes is a giveaway that there could be a stone crab living inside. Once the stone crab claws have been harvested, they must be stored properly. That means setting them in a cooler without ice. Ice can damage harvested claws, causing the claw meat to stick to the inner shell.
How to prepare and serve stone crab properly. Stone crabs are harvested and sold by both recreational and professional stone crab hunters. Eventually, the claws of many of these creatures end up on a plate in the form of a stone crab claw dish. The most traditional way to prepare stone crab claw is to heat up the claws, which is eventually served with either butter or a sauce. However, stone crab claw can also be served cold. Generally, about two and a half pounds of cooked stone crab claw will yield about one pound of claw meat. Florida stone crab claws in particular are notorious for their delicious flavor. Here’s how to prepare them. Stone Crab Claws Served After Stove Heating If you are going to serve stone crab claw after heating the meat on the stove, you should start by heating a pot of water with a small pinch of salt. Stone crab claws should then be placed in a steamer basket and placed in the pot of boiling water with the pot covered. The crab claws should stay in the pot for around 5 or 6 minutes, and then they should be taken out and served fresh. Stone Crab Claws Served Cold Stone crab claws are also often served cold. The stone crab claws must first be cracked open using a mallet or another heavy instrument. Towels or clothes are advised for stopping shells from splattering during this process. The mallet should lightly tap both sides of the stone crab claw’s knuckle. Once the claw is open, it is traditionally served with crushed ice on a tray with lemon wedges.
What is a Craft Bar Craft bars are unlike many traditional bars, which churn drinks out at the pace of a fast food restaurant. Craft bars are notorious for making sure that their cocktails are individually cared for and “handcrafted,” hence the name of the bar. Instead of making each drink as fast as possible, Craft bars treat mixology as a graduate level college course, using fresh ingredients, ice carved by hand, premium liquors, and more. Those manning the Craft bar are more artisan than “bartender,” and the exotic and memorable flavors created at these kind of bars have made them especially popular throughout the country. Popular liquors served at craft bars include vodka, gin, tequila, rum, whiskey, craft beer, and wine. These traditional liquors are spruced up and served with a plethora of other flavors that make Craft bars so special! Craft bar accents are generally unique in order to match the trend of the unique drinks served at the establishment. Birch accents are especially popular, as are many woodenaccents, due to the history of Craft bars serving customers in centuries past. In places such as Hawaii and Florida, tropical accents are popular for Craft Bars.
Shell Fish – Local & Sustainability Sustainability In Fishing And Sea Food When it comes to fishing, hunting, selling, and eating seafood such as shellfish, crab, and oysters, sustainability is becoming a bigger issue every year. Supporting sustainable fishing means that the species being hunted will still be able to procreate at a “sustainable” rate, and that over time, there should be increased species diversity and less scarcity. In Florida, the farming and harvesting of oysters in the Apalachicola Bay is done sustainably. By law, Florida stone crabs cannot be harvested in their entirety, only the claw can be harvested, sold, and eaten. Stone crabs grow their claws back, which allows them to be placed back in their natural habitat after capture. Stone Crab Season Florida stone crab season runs from October 15th to May 15th, which is the only time of year where they can legally be captured. Only the claws of stone crabs can be harvested, sold, and eaten. Scientists believe that only taking one claw instead of two allows for better survival rates when stone crabs are released back into the sea. Currently, stone crab populations are stable, high, and in no danger of long term issues. Blue Crab The blue crab is part of Florida’s diverse crab industry. Blue crabs are generally found throughout the Gulf of Mexico, with crabs also coming from states such as Louisiana. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission regulate blue crab fishing and limits the amount of traps allowed to be set per blue crab hunting license. There are also limits on the types of blue crab hunted, such as the seasonal prohibition of harvesting female blue crabs bearing eggs. King King crabs are generally sold from two markets—Alaska and Russia. Approximately 80 percent of all King crabs sold in the US were harvested in Russia. Alaska has stringent regulations pertaining to King crabs, though Russia generally isn’t as concerned about the long-term sustainability of the species. The North Pacific Fishery Management Council creates a report with fishing recommendations relating to King crabs each year. Snow Crab Snow crab are typically found in colder climates, such as those found in the Gulf of Alaska. While snow crab are generally associated with Alaska, they are also found throughout the Pacific Ocean near islands such as Japan. The southernmost location snow crabs are known to reside is northern California. In Alaska, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council manages snow crab fishing in-season to ensure that snow crab fishing remains sustainable.
A little info about Florida Shrimp, Oysters and Scallops. Oysters Oysters farmed in Florida’s Apalachicola Bay are considered some of the most delicious and tasteful in the entire country. In the Apalachicola Bay, harvesters use tongs from small boats to capture oysters. This relatively small region still produces about 90 percent of all oysters eaten in the state of Florida. The Apalachicola Bay feeds into the Apalachicola River, which in turn meets with the Flint and Chattahoochee Rivers. These rivers run through Florida and Northern Georgia and deliver rich nutrients to the Apalachicola Bay. Most Apalachicola Bay oysters in this nutrient rich environment grow to be three inches long. Florida Shrimp Florida shrimp fishing is regulated by the state. In order to fish for shrimp, you’ll need a Florida saltwater license. There is no size limit for individual shrimp, but there is a bag limit—harvesters can only take 5 gallons per person, per day. Harvesters are allowed to use up to 4 shrimp traps, which cannot have any external devices used to funnel shrimp directly into the trap. Florida shrimp fishing can be done in a variety of settings, some prefer fishing on the shore, but others have said fishing by boat gives more versatility and the best results. Shrimp usually move in clusters, so finding the right spot and casting a net can be rewarding. Shrimp are also attracted to light, which many shrimp harvesters use with their bait. Farmed shrimp are also produced in the Gulf of Mexico, at Gulf American Shrimp, the only commercial shrimp farm in the state of Florida. Shrimp are generally farmed in ponds where oxygen, pH levels, and water temperature are constantly monitored. Computer systems and electronic equipment act as a failsafe, automatically changing the composition of the water if a particular element, such as oxygen, drops below a satisfactory level. Scallops The harvesting season for Florida scallops runs from late June to late September. Scallops are typically found on Florida’s western coast, in what is known as the Bay Scallop Harvest Zone. Saltwater fishing licenses are required, as fishing for scallops is regulated by the state. There is also a daily bag limit for those harvesting scallops—a single pint of bay scallop meat per person.
Florida Edible Fish Grouper Grouper are typically found off Florida’s west coast in the Gulf of Mexico, but they can also be found in the Keys. Grouper have thick bodies and generally are an exciting fish draw because of the fight they put up when being reeled in. Grouper can grow as long as 7 feet and reside near the bottom of bodies of water, hence the term “bottom fishing.” Gag Grouper Gag Grouper generally swim in schools of fish numbering between 5 and 50. These fish move around rocky sea bottoms. Gag Grouper in particular are known for providing tasteful meals, which is one of the reasons why they are such a popular recreational fishing attraction. The Gag Grouper has a large, protruding lower jaw and a thick body covered in scales. The distinct, defining feature on this fish is the concave caudal fin. Red Grouper The Red Grouper is easily discernable by its color, which is a brownish red hue. This fish also has black dots circling its eyes. Like several other forms of Grouper fish, they are all born female with some Red Grouper becoming males overtime. These fish are partial to shrimp, crab, and other crustacean based baits. Sustainability Red Grouper are considered overfished, but most conservationists say that the stock of this fish is improving over time. Regulators in Florida are also doing their part—as of January 2nd, 2015, the FWC Commission’s regulations on Gulf Red Grouper fish will limit the daily limit on harvesting from 4 fish to 2 fish. Preparations – Fried, Sautéed In order to fry grouper, the fish fillets should first be peppered with spices. Afterward, the fillets should be dusted with a flour cornstarch mix so that both sides are evenly coated. Oil should then be placed in a frying pan, with both sides of the grouper being fried for a total of about 8 minutes. At the end of this time frame, the fillets should look a goldenish brown. Sautéed grouper fish fillets are also sprinkled with spices such as salt and pepper before being placed into a skillet with oil, butter, or the preferred mixture. The fillet should be cooked in this mixture, turned over several times, for about 4 to 5 minutes. Snapper Snapper are known to dwell in shallow to fair waters, but can dive as deep as 60 feet. They typically require heavy rods with durable lines since most fishing for snapper is done in strong currents at fairly significant depths. Snapper are generally small sized fish, as the average size is about 7 pounds. The largest snapper fish can weigh as many as 40 pounds. The FWC regulates snapper fishing, with the minimum size limit being 16 inches for a harvested snapper. There is also a daily bag limit of 2 snapper fish per harvester. Salmon The state of Florida doesn’t have any freshwater lakes where salmon are found. However, that doesn’t mean they aren’t popular with locals. Eating salmon promotes heart health and is a great source of nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids. Salmon are generally harvested in colder states such as Alaska. Tuna Tuna have a wide weight range, as they can vary from a few pounds to weighing more than 200 pounds. Tuna are found throughout Florida’s tropical waters, typically near ocean dropoff points. Tuna are notorious for being strong fish that are hard to reel in. For that reason, it is advised to bring a strong rod and line along for the ride. Sea Bass In the Gulf of Mexico, there are specific regulations for Sea Bass harvesting. There is a minimum size limit, which is 10 inches, and there is a 100 pound per person daily bag limit. These fish are typically found on the northern coasts of Florida, but can be found further south during the winter months. Oftentimes, these fish are caught when harvesters are fishing for grouper or snapper. Black Sea Bass in particular are known to be aggressive and can be a fairly difficult catch.
Popular Holiday Appetizer’s The holidays are about enjoying friends and family along with new seafood recipes. The good news is that there are plenty of holiday seafood recipes out there for you to try out over the holiday season and the New Year. Taste these scrumptious seafood choices and keep your family and friends coming back for more! Exotic seafood dishes and new recipes can make the holidays that much more enjoyable and bring family and friends even closer together! Chinese Pot Stickers 1. Salt should be lightly sprinkled over shredded cabbage, and then all liquid should be squeezed out. Next, all liquid should be squeezed out from the shrimp. 2. Shrimp, pork, wine, soy, onion, ginger, garlic, oil, and cabbage should all be mixed. 3. Put about 2 tablespoons of the mix on a wonton wrapper, and keep them covered with a cloth so that they don’t dry. The excess air should be pressed out leaving them tightly sealed. 4. 2 skillets can fry 16 dumplings in 1 tablespoon of oil. The heat should be on low, and the dumplings should be cooked until one side is golden, where then they are flipped over. Bacon Wrapped Scallops 1. Strips of bacon should be cut in half. 2. The pieces of bacon should be wrapped around each individual scallop, and then secured with a toothpick. 3. The scallops should be placed on a baking sheet and broiled until the bacon gets crispy. 4. Butter, garlic, and saute should be placed in a small skillet and melted into a broth. This takes about 1 minute. The scallops should then be placed in a bowl with the broth poured on top.
Eating Sustainable Seafood In The Winter Sustainable seafood practices when it comes to fishing, harvesting, and eating will keep specific species of fish, crab, lobster, and other seafood around for longer. Most states have a fishing commission which regulates the harvesting of certain wildlife. While there are definitely laws that harvesters have to follow, things are less concrete for those looking to eat seafood. Here are some guidelines that you can follow if you are looking to eat seafood sustainably during the winter months. Eat Seafood Grown Locally There are an increasing number of farms where seafood such as shrimp can be grown. This allows the harvesting process to be controlled to a greater degree than harvesting in the wild. Local foods don’t have to be shipped across country or across the world to meet quotas, which means that there isn’t nearly as much pressure on local harvesters to overfish which can tremendously hurt fish. Scallops are another sustainable seafood option when farmed locally. Best Sustainable Choices If you are looking for specific forms of sustainable seafood, there are a number of different options for you to choose from. Below is a solid list of sustainable choices. Farmed Artic Char Farmed Bass US Catfish US hook & line Cod US Stone Crab Alaskan Salmon US Sardines Farmed Scallops Farmed Shrimp Farmed Rainbow Trout Farmed Pompano Local Clams, Oysters, Mussels
Eating Sustainably In The Winter Eating sustainably in the winter months can be difficult for anyone, so don’t get down on yourself! The key is trying to figure out where you can cut out winter foods that aren’t sustainable. There are still plenty of great ways to eat foods during the limited seasons, and winter doesn’t have to hold you back. For example, you can expand your taste for produce that grows in the winter, such as onions, carrots, potatoes, cabbage, and kale. There are plenty of winter vegetables that taste great with seafood such as crab and lobster. Winter’s Farmer’s Market Not all communities have a Farmers’ Market that is open during the winter months. But the communities that are lucky enough to have one of these markets can get their produce, locally roasted coffees, and locally grown eggs, dairy products, and meats. This can be a great option for many, but most people will likely have to watch their choices of food during the winter months when they stop by the super market or eat at a restaurant. Start A Garden This is an unconventional solution, but it doesn’t make it any less fun. Starting a garden with seeds for the winter months will allow you to grow the specific produce that you want. By using seeds and growing them on your own time, you won’t be encouraging farmers to use dangerous chemicals to grow produce during out of season months. Starting your own garden can ultimately be rewarding as well, and introduce you to a host of new potential fruits and vegetables that can be on your plate next to your seafood choices in the summer months.