It's been a different experience for us to perform in Sarasota. Our shows were all early matinees not leaving any daytime to wander around, we were performing and staying in a remote area of the city next to the airport which made it really hard to discover anything randomly because of the lack of public transportation like in any other small American city and to be honest the weather wasn't at it's best considering our high expectations of being in Florida in October... That doesn't mean that we didn't have good moments though.
If you end up in the same restaurant for the third time during your ten days visit in a city you know you found something special. Discovering the southern style seafood restaurant Owen's Fish Camp in downtown Sarasota was the most important highlight of our stay. The joint is one of the six restaurants owned by an Italian family moved to Florida from Brooklyn in 80's.
All the different items in the menu we wanted to taste brought us back to this incredibly hip joint over and over. Fried soft shell crab BLT, sake bloody mary oyster shooters, oyster po'boy with bacon, remoulade and pepper jelly, pasta jambalaya with crawfish, shrimp, chicken and andouille and bourbon pecan pie with vanilla ice cream... These are only a few I can remember from their incredible menu. I am still drooling when I write them down. Even if you are not planning to visit Sarasota, this place is a solid reason to change your route to stop by if you find yourself driving and hungry somewhere in the area.
Needless to say a lot of evenings ended up at legendary Bahi Hut I also wrote about after my short visit to Sarasota last February. This place is a truly authentic old school Tiki bar which is nationwide famous about their Mai Tai and other delicious rum cocktails. We were so lucky to have this place within close walking distance to our hotel. Otherwise a lot of nights could end up pretty miserable. Those colorful cocktails definitely don't make it easier to walk after a while...
Although performing as a part of the Ringling International Arts Festival enabled us free access to the Ringling Estate with all it's museums, gardens, galleries, etc. which was literally next door to our venue we couldn't use the opportunity very well because of our rehearsal and performance schedule but at least we had some early morning walks in the gardens around gorgeous Banyan trees, could see a part of the Circus Museum and visit the Classic Car Museum across the Tamiami Trail.
But besides everything probably the most memorable moment was watching the sunset at Lido Beach. We all witnessed the sky slowly taking every possible shade and color between bright yellow and dark purple. It was so beautiful and breathtaking...
*by Dream Theater from their song The Crimson Sunset