Archive | 5:02 pm

Sahara Cafe Lives Up to its Name

21 Jul

I made my first (and likely last) journey to the Sahara today. Sahara Cafe, that is. You can find it on Tamiami Trail in Sarasota … just a stones throw from Sarasota High School. I had seen write-ups in local publications about the Sahara and all had given the little eatery fairly positive praise. I honestly can’t do the same after a disappointing first experience. The atmosphere inside was lacking in character and no music could be heard at all. No TVs around either. So …. I waited quietly in the deafening silence as I anxiously anticipated my gyro and baklava. Sadly, both were nearly as dry as the Sahara desert itself. 

The strips of meat cradled inside the room temperature pita bread were lacking moisture and obviously were not cut fresh off the traditional spiral  warmer you see in most Greek and/or Middle Eastern diners. The pita bread was thin & dry and quickly fell apart after my few bites. The flavor was not bad at all, yet it could not overcome the overall dryness of the dish. I guess I was just spoiled by the wonderful food I enjoyed in my youth at Knossos restaurant in Vienna, VA. It is still the standard by which I gauge other eateries of its kind.  

The baklava, seen above dusted with ground pistachio nuts, was — you guessed it — a little dry. Especially the top few sheets of filo dough on the treat. To me, the rich abundance of honey combined with the crunchiness of the filo and nuts is what makes this dessert so incredibly special. I give the baklava at the Sahara Cafe a C-plus. Not bad, but nowhere near as good as others I have savored in the past.

I will continue my quest for top shelf gyros and baklava in Sarasota. I know El Greco is pretty good — I have been there a few times before. I’ve heard that the Oasis on South Tamiami Trail is worthy of a try. That will probably be my next stop — so stay tuned for more.

Village Cafe in Siesta Village

21 Jul

We had breakfast on Saturday morning at one of our island favorites — The Village Cafe. Tom and Kay, the owners, are wonderful people and they make everyone feel comfortable and at home. Tom’s family has been in the restaurant business for a long, long time. They started in New York and migrated south to Siesta Key about 13 years ago. The Village Cafe is located on a busy intersection in the heart of Siesta Key’s Siesta Village.

The place is typically mobbed during the busy tourist season, but they have a pretty strong local following as well. Why, you ask? Well, pretty simple really. The place is always clean, the atmosphere colorful yet relaxed, the food is consistently good, and the help is friendly and attentive. What more could you ask for? Oh yes, they are also walking distance to one of the most beautiful white sand beaches anywhere in the world.

The Village Cafe is open for breakfast and lunch 7 days a week. I would recommend you try the Greek omelet — it is loaded with sausage and feta cheese. Order up a side of home fries and you’re good to go. My son Travis swears by the Mexican wrap, which is slam packed with delicious chorizo sausage. Visit the Village Cafe and find your own fave — it’s all good!

While on the Topic of Dolphins …

21 Jul

My Redskins just traded for star DE Jason Taylor.

Here is reaction from ESPN analyst John Clayton.

I hope we can get a few good years out of him before he waltzes off to Hollywood.

Let the dance begin!