Traveling at home

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Sometimes we forget how nice it is to be where we live. Sarasota has a huge “season” where people come from the cold to visit and relax. We get our share of “spring breakers” although, admittedly, they are a slightly different type than Panama City. But even living here, I sometimes forget that it is a tourist place with lots to see and do and eat.

Friday, after and long a tiring week, Bob and I decided to check out a new restaurant downtown. Made is in the same space as the old Belgium restaurant. It opened relatively recently and after seeing “bacon wrapped corn dogs” Bob had to try it. I am not sure what I was expecting – probably descent food – but whatever it was, the actual restaurant exceeded those expectations.

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The decor was modern, a little on the loud side (style-wise) and casual. The waiter was super friendly, very good with explanations on dishes and even warned me about they corn on the cob (marinated in mayo, which I hate!) So, nice atmosphere, friendly service … but what about the food and drinks.

The wine menu isn’t extensive, but it has some solid wines on it. I can’t report on the beer since I didn’t even look. Bob and I picked out a Zinfandel (Rebellion – I had to to do it) that was simply fantastic. Smooth, lots of layers of flavor, and great finish. It was a 2009, so I was thrilled since that is, in my humble and non expert opinion, of of the best years for zins.

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While Bob had his bacon wrapped corndogs. I went with the duck empanadas. Wow. That’s it, just Wow! There was so much flavor in these, I could not believe it. I could have made a meal out of them with the corn and apple relish and the dipping sauce. The pastry was light enough to fade but heavy enough to be a real part of the dish. That makes no sense, but it does. Really. Point here being, very hard to pull off the perfect savory pastry and Made did it.

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Somehow we have had several discussions involving chicken and waffles lately. I’m not sure why, or who started them, but they have been there all the same recently. So Bob went with the chicken and waffles and I went with the puffy tacos.

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Yet another explosion of flavor in those. The slaw on top paired perfectly with the pork and made just about the perfect mouthful. I didn’t really need the salsa, but it did make a nice addition to a few bites.

Today, when heading out to the pet store and butches we stopped by a local BBQ joint, Smackdaddy’s. They specialize in pork BBQ and Bob and I decided to split a Flying Pig sandwich. Pork loin, wrapped in pork belly, smoked, sliced, fried with bacon and piled with pulled pork and bacon on a bun. Yep – the waitress described it as everything except the ribs and a heart attack on a bun. She was right on both counts, but what a way to go. Splitting the sandwich was perfect for lunch.

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Just taking a little time to travel in our own home city.

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