Arts & Eats Restaurant and Gallery has been in business for almost 2 years! We've been #1 on Trip Advisor for Bradenton for a year now and were just recognized by Gov.Scott as one of 28 restaurants inFlorida to receive no safety or sanitation citations over the past year. We're very proud of our place and the experience that people have here. We love Manatee County and this part of Florida, but this is a seasonal business. In this, is our second off-season business has dropped by about 30%. For small businesses, that has a large impact. And it's not just us. All local independent small businesses count on local residents for support during the off-season. We can employ more people, improve our property, and contribute more in sales tax when we our businesses are thriving. Small businesses offer a unique retail and dining experience that can't be replicated in a chain or department store. We get to know you by name and treat you like family. There's no manager telling us which products, foods, or beveragesto promote and sell. We sell what people want and love. With about 300,000 people living in Manatee county during the season, and 170,000 during off-season, this translates to about 50% more potential customers during the season. So, LOCALS -- WE NEED YOU NOW! Come out and support local businesses. Arts & Eats is offering a $25. 3 course Summer Menu that includes a free glass of wine and a basket of our homemade breads. Other small businesses are offering similar off-season deals. We have an Open Mic on Wednesday nights from 6-8pm, and live music Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. We're unique, excellent, and passionate, and we want to know our neighbors. So, come out and support the businesses in your own backyard. We can't wait to see you!!!!
To follow up on the "Soups" blog, Chef Jim had me taste the most luscious and healthy soup today. It was so rich and delicious that I asked him if it had cream in it. He replied "No. Just wild rice." Yum...and Really? So dear blog readers, I asked him to describe the recipe to me so I could pass it along to you. This quantity is for a restaurant, so you might want to reduce the recipe. It will freeze well, though and you can eat it all Fall and Winter :-). Mushroom and Wild Rice Soup a la Chef Jim Copening 2 tbl olive oil 5 cloves garlic, chopped 1 large Vidalia or Spanish Onion, chopped 2 tbl fresh thyme leaves 3 lbs mushrooms, sliced (we use button, but other types are fine) 2 cups cooked rice (We use wild rice, but any rice works. Great way to use rice that's sitting in the fridge.) 3 - 32 oz cans chicken and/or beef broth (We use chicken) Heat olive oil in a soup pot or dutch oven. Saute chopped garlic and onion with thyme leaves on medium-low heat until onions are soft (not brown). Add sliced mushrooms and sauté on medium-low heat for 5 minutes, or until mushrooms soften. Add chicken and/or beef broth, salt, and cooked rice. Place mixture in blender and blend until soup is a thick puree. We serve with a little creme fraiche and truffle oil, but it's perfect just as it is. Enjoy!!! If you make it, let me know how it turns out.
We're coming into the hot Florida summer, when locals can roam free from the hum of Winter tourism. I saw a sign on a motorbike on Anna Maria Island that read "Natives Rock, Tourists Drool." I love summer evenings here. The temperature drops 10-20 degrees and you can feel the breeze from all the bodies of water that surround us. So, at Arts & Eats Restaurant and Gallery in the center of the Village of the Arts at 1114 12th Street West, we've decided to celebrate Florida Summer Nights by extending our hours on Saturday nights from 9-11pm for "Summer Jam." Jim and I are part of a musical group called Studio Kitchen. We'll perform at the jams and welcome all to join in. Bring your instruments and get ready to play...or just come to listen and have wine, beer, or a light bite from our kitchen.
Continuing from last week's post, I thought of a few more recycling ideas: Re-use zip-lock plastic bags. Believe it or not, my mom used to launder (yes -- in the washing machine) plastic bags when I was growing up. She was mostly being frugal, but it rubbed off on me. I own a plastic bag drier that works great to hanging up the bags after rinsing. Everyone should have one. As a matter of fact, I think I'll buy a bunch to give as gifts :-). It also makes a great conversation piece, because people will never guess what it's used for. Takes no time. Saves money. Bring those tote bags into the supermarket to avoid using all those plastic shopping bags. If you do use the plastic, tell the cashier or bagger to fill them up. It drives me nuts when they put 2 to 3 items in a bag. In New York City I used to carry 20 lbs of groceries from the store to my apartment building, so I think I can handle packing my trunk with a few heavier bags. Takes no time or effort. My New York City Food Shopping Adventure I went to visit my family and friends in New York City over Memorial Day. Manhattan is as crazy as ever, but it also has the best food on the planet...and the most diverse. The menu at Arts & Eats reflects our culinary experiences in New York, eating foods of a wide diversity of cultures. Chef Jim sent me to an amazing Indian grocery store called Kalustyans to get a few things we can't get in Florida. They claim to have every ingredient for any recipe from any cuisine in the world. They have for example, something like 12 types of curry. Going there is a culinary education. They also have the best bulk nuts, dried fruits and nut mixes...and yes, you can order online. Next stop, Lower East Side. This area has become very trendy over the past 10 years, but is still home to a few of the food shops that have a long history there. I shlepped through the pouring rain to visit 3 stores and it was worth getting wet (but I somehow avoided getting splashed by taxis). The first stop was Yonah Schimmel Knish Bakery on East Houston Street. My grandfather used to frequent this place when he was a young man (he was born in 1895). The knishes are like pastries -- round and filled with a variety of stuffings including the classic potato, spinach, vegetable, kasha (bulghar), mushroom and more. They're baked not fried, so you get the yumminess of the pastry and all the flavor of the simple yet delicious stuffing. Just down the street is another oldie but goodie called Russ & Daughters. They're been selling Jewish-Style delicacies since the early 1900's. The prices are high, but so is the quality. I got some delicious whitefish salad and prune hamantaschan (a triangular filled pastry for the Purim holiday) for Vivian. A trip to the Lower East Side for Jewish Style food wouldn't be complete without a visit to Katz's for a pastrami sandwich. This one's for Tony. Katz's was famously featured in the movie "When Harry Met Sally" in which Meg Ryan fakes an orgasm and a senior woman diner says "I'll have what she's having." (Actually that was Carl Reiner's wife). They've been in business since the late 1800's and the decor probably hasn't changed much since then. You get a ticket when you enter that's checked off depending upon which counter you get served at. Usually it's very crowded with tourists, but I got in and out pretty quickly...complete with pickles (sour garlic -- I LOVE them and used to pick them from a barrel as a kid in the Bronx), rye bread, lean pastrami and deli mustard. The guys behind the counter always give samples. Yum Yum! So, there you have it. Indian spices to Jewish delicacies in just 2 hours. Only in New York...
Many of us want to contribute to our communities but just don't have the time to volunteer, raise money, or attend organization meetings. There's one thing we can all do that takes virtually no time, contributes to the global and local community, and saves us money: Recycling and re-using. I have a passion for re-using and recycling materials, but I'm not an activist. You don't need to be an activist to contribute to the reduction of landfill waste and surplus of stuff that contributes to the world's energy consumption. Here are some ideas for re-using and recycling stuff: 1. No-brainer -- Recycle paper, glass, plastic and some metals using those blue recycle containers provided by the city. This web page lists the items you can recycle in Bradenton and other details about the Bradenton recycling program. Requires no time. 2. Join the community at Freecycle.org. Other members (free) post stuff they want or stuff they're giving away (that's right -- FREE). Great way to get rid of stuff you don't use or get stuff you need. Extra benefit: Saves money. 3. Sell your old stuff on Ebay or post on Craigslist. Extra benefit: Earn some extra money. Downside: Requires some time. If you download the Ebay app on your smartphone, you can take pictures of your stuff and post directly to the site to sell items. Saves time. 4. Re-use printer paper by printing on the blank side. You can sometimes re-fill the ink cartridges too. Requires no time. Saves money. 5. Use bleach, baking soda and vinegar for most cleaning tasks. Fill a spray bottle with 1/2 water and 1/2 bleach for a great disinfectant cleaner. Same with vinegar. The smell dissipates soon after use. Saves money. Requires little time. Click here for solutions for Non-toxic cleaning. 6. Re-use those envelopes that come with bills and charitable contributions (if you don't use them). If you pay your bills online, save the envelopes for stamps, money for the pool service or your kids' allowance. You get the picture. Requires no time. 7. Refill water bottles with filtered water. Requires no time. Saves money. 8. Make art projects from stuff you'd throw away. I make flowers out of plastic water or soda bottles. Here's a video that shows you how. You can use nail polish to paint the leaves. If using outdoors, use Goop glue. Requires a little time. Extra benefit: Make something pretty from things you'd throw away. Great project for kids. Another idea: if you like to sew, re-use the fabric from old clothing to make throw pillows, handbags, etc. Extra benefit: FUN!! 9. Another art project is to make mosaics from broken china. I make and sell this artwork in the Arts & Eats Gallery. If you're interested in taking a class, let me know by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I also re-use old tables by applying broken china to the surface. You can see two of these in the Arts & Eats Restaurant. 10. Shop at thrift stores. Donate to thrift stores. This helps the charitable organization that runs the shop, saves you money, and contributes to a cleaner environment by re-using clothes, furniture and other household items. The clothing and furniture at these stores can be of very high quality, depending on the store. Manatee Ave. in Bradenton is full of thrift shops. Goodwill has tons of stores in our area. The new one in Sarasota on Honore Ave. is very good. We've acquired nice tables for the restaurant there. Extra benefit: Saves money and It's FUN!! You never know the treasures you'll find. Have a great week and enjoy your contributions!!