Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Time for the Sign?

Hello there food lovers, here's another restaurant you should be checking out while you're on Anna Maria Island: The Sign of the Mermaid.
The restaurant has been open for 15 years in what is an old fisherman's cottage, built in 1912. It still has a green tin roof, antiques and mismatched furniture inside and the sort of homely feel you just don't seem to get anymore.
The menu features food from Florida and Europe and the wine and beer menu does the same. Don't miss chef, and co-owner with husband Ed, Andrea Spring's famous Key Lime Pie, but in truth everything on the menu is worth opening your mouth for.
Located at 9707 Gulf Drive in the north of the island, you should call ahead on (941) 778 9399 to make sure of a reservation.
Happy eating, and if they ask, tell them we sent you...

Friday, 24 April 2009

Eat out on the sand

The Sandbar, located on the north end of Anna Maria Island, has for decades been a favorite for locals and a great place to impress your out of town guests. Enjoy our inside dining room or relax before a sunset on the Gulf front deck.
What better way to experience fine Florida dining than to pair it with live entertainment - With exceptional local artists performing at our restaurants on almost a nightly basis, you can be assured that our food won't be the only thing you'll be talking about after you leave.
The Sandbar is also considered the perfect beach location for your wedding, reception, next corporate luncheon, business meeting, after hours function or family get together.

Here's a bit of history about the place from their website.
The tradition of entertainment and relaxation at the Sandbar dates back as far as 1913. In those days Anna Maria was only accessible by boat. Many people came from Tampa, landing on the bay side and making the short hike to "The Pavilion," a favored meeting place for local and tourist alike, and on whose site the Sandbar Restaurant now sits.
In the 1930s a diving platform was erected on pilings, approximately 100 feet offshore and connected to the beach by a cable that met the 'more adventuresome' could make use of, minimizing the chance of falling prey to sharks that inhabited the area waters. Local fisherman still refer to the platform, now marked only by three submerged pilings and visible only at low tide, as the "wire."
A mysterious fire engulfed "The Pavilion" in 1946. A 'bucket brigade' was formed to protect the surrounding buildings, but legend has it that the owners didn't waste much water on the blaze. They subsequently placed two old army barracks on the spot and the Sandbar was born.
The Sandbar was traded around a bit in the following years. One owner, Mrs. Bernice Enaux, Linkadded a dance floor in the late 40s which did more to enhance the Sandbar's reputation.
The hurricane of 1950 did extensive damage to the building and wiped out what was left of the platform. Mrs. Enaux, not to be deterred, rebuilt and strengthened the building. After being sold by Mrs. Enaux in the early 60s, it once again saw a period of ownership by many. Extensive remodeling, done in the early 70s removed the bar from the south side and added a new bar and lounge on the north side.
In July of 1979, the Sandbar was purchased by its present owners. It is our intention to remain here for many years to come. We can achieve that goal by constantly providing good food, fine spirits, and polite courteous service. If at any time you feel that we are not maintaining those standards, please let me know. I consider it very important!

Check out the Sandbar here

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

The best place for food there is

If you like Florida food, then you could do much worse than click on over to the Sun Sentinel website section dedicated to it. Click here to read some interesting articles, recipes and news about forthcoming food fairs and shows.
With deals, tips, a cookbook and lots of advice you might want to bookmark it straight away.
Why not click here for an interesing recipe for Asian-inspired meatloaf.

Happy cooking!

Friday, 17 April 2009

Have a Banana

If all that Floridian food gets too much and you just want something different, Anna Maria Island can cater for that need as well. One of the most popular choices for those seeking a change is Banana Cabana, which serves up what it calls 'Floribbean cuisine'.
Step away from Bradenton Beach and into a little piece of the Caribbean. Fill up on conch chowder, conch fritters, plantains and mango crab cake and wash it down with a large selection of Caribbean beers.
They say: 'Frequented by actors and athletes. Noted in many magazines around the country. When you enter, you feel like you are in the Caribbean.'
Denzel Washington said: 'Great food!'
So why not check out Banana Cabana and see for yourself.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Oysters ahoy!

If you’re looking for a terrific Florida seafood restaurant, family dining, reasonable prices why not drop in on the Anna Maria Oyster Bar?
If you're in the mood for oysters, lobster, King Crab Legs, steak, shrimp, ribs, burgers, fish & chips, calamari, salads, chicken or pasta they have got the food to fit your mood. The restaurants' fun, relaxing atmosphere and great service will make your dining experience even more enjoyable.
The Anna Maria Oyster Bar also has the best drink prices in town. Happy Hour all day, every day! Whether it’s the giant great white shark on the building of Landside, the tropical tiki bar at Cortez, or the spacious outside waterfront dining at Ellenton, each of the three Anna Maria Oyster Bar locations offers the same great food and consistent service.
The restaurants are open seven days a week, from 11am for lunch and dinner. Sunday to Thursday from 11am-9pm, and Friday and Saturday from 11am-10pm.
Check out the website at www.oysterbar.net/

Friday, 10 April 2009

Don't throw out Easter leftovers

Well, it's nearly Easter folks, and you know what that will mean come Monday - leftover ham.
But never fear, here are some tasty alternatives as suggested by JM Hirsch of AP, to try out and give your tastebuds a real treat.
Easter is done, but the ham isn't. What next?
Ham leftovers are an easy way to crank out fast meals that pack tons of flavor. Just be sure to go easy on the salt. Most hams are cured and brined, which crank up the sodium in the meat. Taste the finished dish before adding more salt.
A frittata is an easy choice. Cut the ham into small chunks, then saute with diced onions and bell peppers. When the ham is lightly browned, pour several beaten eggs over it. When the eggs have set on the bottom, top it with cheese and broil for several minutes.
Or try ham and cheese on pasta. Toss fine-chopped ham and grated fontina (or other good melting) cheese with warm pasta and just a few tablespoons pasta cooking water for an all-but-instant mac and cheese. A splash of hot sauce gives a nice finish.
Ham also is delicious used in place of chicken in a basic chicken noodle soup. And for a nod to the classic sandwich, you could even top the soup with croutons made from cubed rye bread drizzled with olive oil and toasted.
Or if you'd rather stick with an actual sandwich, try this delicious culture clash. Ham and cheese are paired with thin-sliced pear and mango chutney inside a gently toasted and pressed panini.
Ham Panini With Smoked Gruyere and Pear

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Take a light bite...

You don't always want a full meal, especially when it's so hot outside. But never fear, Anna Maria Island caters for you too. There are a number of small cafes and coffee shops dotted around the island, but here are two of our favorites.

Mad Pastry Café
Not really a restaurant, almost a diner, but way more than just a coffee shop, the Mad Pastry Café is a pretty unique experience on Anna Maria Island. With a mouth-watering array of cakes, pies and pastries all freshly made you might never want to eat a brownie again/

Anna Maria Café
Part bakery, part garden furniture store, and with an internet café tacked on for good measure, there are many reasons to stop by Anna Maria Café. Jane E and her staff will whip you up a coffee and a wide choice of frittatas, quiches, muffins, scones, bagels and sandwiches.

Friday, 3 April 2009

Good eating, good times

Here's a couple of real local favorites on Anna Maria Island, Sharkey's and Rotten Ralph's. Both offer up some real good home cooking and thirst-quenching drinks but it's that certain little extra something which makes these two just a little bit more special.
Sharkey's is a great place for live music, and if you drive past on the main road which runs from north to south on Anna Maria you'll go past it just after the main shopping center in Holmes Beach (the one with Publix in it). Carry on south for Rotten Ralph's which calls the renovated Bradenton Beach pier home. Come for the wonderful breakfast as the boats chug past you out to sea and enjoy the quiet of an Anna Maria morning. You won't regret it.
Check out their websites below, and don't forget to tell them we sent you...

Sharkey’s Sea Grill
Offering great food for reasonable prices in a relaxed atmosphere, Sharkey’s is a big favorite with the locals. And it’s not hard to see why, with five different fish each day and specials including Seafood gasparilla, Michigan pork chops, Key West grouper and lobster tails. http://www.sharkysseagrill.com/

Rotten Ralph’s
Open for lunch and dinner seven days a week, Rotten Ralph’s offers simple, hearty food to locals and tourists alike. Enjoys the views from their open-air deck or through the huge windows surrounding the restaurant. http://www.rottenralphs.com