What more can be said about Sarasota’s premier food and wine event?
What more can you say about the best food and wine event in Sarasota that hasn’t already been printed or spoken? Yes, there is fantastic food. And, yes there are countless cases of silky smooth Chardonnay’s. So, where does that leave us? Right back at the Ringling.
This year’s version of F&C has all the hallmarks of past years gluttonous gatherings. A beautiful setting and weather that was so outstanding that I’m now certain Michael Klauber sold his soul for it. It’s just an idyllic backdrop for the day’s festivities.
This brings us to the situation at hand. I’m tired, Tired of dreaming up superlatives to spew about Forks & Corks. So, I will just leave it at this. Next year, set your alarm and buy your tickets early. The ticket sales record set this year is sure to be broken for the 2014 get together. I can assure you that you will only complain about it if you’re late to the dance and shut out again.
So, in lieu of me going on and waxing poetic about this sauce or that presentation, let’s do a best in show countdown. That’s something that’s never been done in Sarasota before (wink, wink, nod, nod). It’s usually not my thing, but, this kind of food fest screams rate me!
Here we go my 2013 Best in Show dishes from this year’s version of Sarasota’s very own Forks & Corks. Boy, this is uncomfortable. But, anyway…
10 – The Beachhouse (Tuna Nachos)
An aesthetically pretty plate of food. And, tasty too.
9 – Anna Maria Oyster Bar (Salmon Crostini Pastrami Style)
Delicious and refreshing on a warm January afternoon.
8 – Cosimo’s (Crostini with Pesto, Plum Tomato & Roasted Shrimp)
Another great warm weather dish. Apparently, crostini is in this season. This time from a restaurant that isn’t even have a open yet. Look for the new Cosimo’s to very soon in Palmer Ranch. If this is a sample, we’re in for a treat.
7 – Ceviche ( Ceviche De La Casa)
A refreshing mix of shrimp and scallops. These small cups of deliciousness went pretty quickly.
6 – Café Venice (Chicken Salad)
A new twist on and age old favorite. The outdoors, the Ringling courtyard. Just seems like a place for a picnic. Picnic = Chicken Salad. At least in my book.
Now we’re into the top 5. And, honestly all of the remaining dishes could be interchangeable at 1 through 5. See, this is what I HATE about list making. Oh, well, on we go…
5 – The Crows Nest (Florida Scallop Salad)
A delicate scallop on a bed of seasonal strawberries. This dish is “exhibit A” when it comes to local freshness.
4 – Polo Grill (Sweet & Spicy Shrimp Skewer)
Another home run for the Polo Grill. Every year they have brought some new and interesting to the party and this year was certainly no expectation.
3 – Café Gabbiano (Osso Bucco Ravioli)
The flavor in this little pasta bundle of joy has to be experienced. Honestly, it was so rich and flavorful that just a single ravioli left you licking the plastic fork. I can only imagine how great this is when served with customary cutlery.
2 – Michael’s on East (Marinated Flank Steak Sandwich)
OK, first off I was thinking, “Why doesn’t Michael mix it up a little? He’s a talented restaurateur with a big culinary repertoire” He served this same sandwich at last years event. Why? I’ll tell you why. Because it is a hit! It’s one of the larger portions of the day and cooked to absolute perfection. I guess if Michael comes next year with a Tuna Tartare I’ll be saying “Where the hell is that awesome flank steak, I want it!”. Don’t mess with a good thing.
1 – Madfish Grill (Pork Belly with Sweet Soy Drizzle)
I’ll just say it. Using pork belly is cheating. Well, not officially. Everything is better with bacon. We all know that. And, there was no shortage of pork belly dishes this year. But, the Madfish folks did it better than all the other belly contenders. Not only was that plate loaded with flavor, but, it was eye pleasing too. No small feat when your base is black plastic.
Oh, yes. There were corks to go along with those forks. You didn’t think I had forgotten about the wine had you? They were all pretty darn good too. Here are some, in no particular order.
There you have it. Your 2013 Forks & Corks wrap up. If you were there, I know you had a fantastic afternoon sipping and sampling under a beautiful Sarasota sky. If you weren’t there, you’ll just have to live vicariously until you have another opportunity next January.
If you happened to be at Ringling on this particularly glorious Sunday and have your own top 10, please tell us about it in the comments section. After all, yours is the opinion that matters most!