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Another Siesta Key Celebrity

20 Aug

De Day of Siesta Key Fitness

I never watched this show, so I had no clue that De Day was featured on American Gladiators. Eileen and I have met her and her husband — they run the fitness club here on the key. Nice folks! As for her name, I believe it really is her real moniker. Hard to believe, I know.  The brief blurb seen below was pulled from a Tampa Bay area blog —

Maybe she was just too nice to win. Or the gods decided Florida didn’t need another reality TV superstar. Regardless of the cause, Siesta Key fitness trainer De Day came up short Monday night in her quest for a new Toyota truck and status as a victor on American Gladiators — unable to finish the final leg of the show’s grueling Eliminator obstacle course before her opponent, Tiffaney Florentine, a 25-year-old business consultant and former military police officer from Royal Oak, Michigan.

Troyer’s Dutch Heritage

20 Aug

Some of you may remember my somewhat negative blog about Yoder’s Amish restaurant in Sarasota. I felt bad about trashing them, but my first experience just wasn’t a good one. But Yoder’s isn’t the only Amish eatery in our area. Troyer’s Dutch Heritage is located in the same general neighborhood and I was determined to give them a fair shake.

Troyer’s is a pretty massive place — an Amish compound of cuisine!

Troyer’s offers a lunch buffet for $8.89 each Monday – Thursday. I figured this would be a good way to get a reasonably quick and affordable overview of their food offerings. The entree choices today were BBQ chicken, roast beef, Sloppy Joe mix, and broasted chicken. I stuck with the chicken (both varieties) and found them each to be enjoyable if not outstanding. The chicken breast was a touch dry (this often happens when kept warm in a chafing dish) and the crust was flavorful but not very crispy. The BBQ bird was shredded white meat with very little fat or gristle. I was impressed by that. The sauce was sweet rather than spicy. I’m guessing they don’t make their own BBQ sauce here. The green beans were OK, although I think they could have used a little more smoked pork flavor. Hey, I’m just a good old boy at heart!  

I also loaded up my platter with some chicken salad and ham salad. You don’t see ham salad that often in restaurants thee days. It was really popular back in the ’50s and ’60s. It was just OK at Troyer’s — probably because it had too much mayo and not enough lean ham. The chicken salad tasted better, but lacked the firm texture I enjoy (in other words, it was a tad mushy for my finicky palate).

The salad bar was really nice — and included some rather unusual choices. Perhaps the most bizarre were the pickled beet and mustard soaked hard boiled eggs. And I do mean HARD! These babies were overcooked and tough … like super ball tough! It took some elbow grease to carve into the center yolks and to say the eggs were chewy would be an understatement. I would suggest they take them off the salad bar and save them for next year’s Easter egg hunt.

The cole slaw was outstanding — no complaints at all. My salad was made with romaine lettuce and the honey mustard dressing was nice (not too sweet). The salad bar condiments were highlighted by the “Amish Peanut Butter” and Troyer’s homemade Apple Butter. Their peanut butter is actually a strange mix of peanut butter, melted marshmallows, and Karo syrup. Tasted sort of like a PB and honey blend. Interesting, yes – but I still prefer good old Skippy or Peter Pan. The Apple Butter was more like a spicy apple sauce — not the same smooth and creamy Apple Butter I remember growing up with in Virginia. 

In a nutshell, Troyer’s is bigger, better, cleaner, newer, and more reasonably priced than Yoder’s. That’s the good news for Troyer’s. Would I return for another meal? Probably not. Although I will surely stop back in for dessert, which sadly was not included in the buffet price. The fresh Peach Pie looked promising and the baked goods (especially the sticky buns and the molasses cookies) were calling my name as I stepped back out into the FL sunshine.

DC Area BBQ is Hard to Find

20 Aug

My brothers Mark and Bill are also big BBQ junkies. They live in the Northern VA area and authentic Southern BBQ is not easy to find. They once enjoyed Red Hot and Blue (a Memphis style joint) but Mark tells me they have fallen off a bit in his estimation. However, they have found Willard’s BBQ in nearby Chantilly, VA. Whether you like BBQ from North Carolina, Texas, St. Louis, Kansas City or even Jamaica, they’ve got you covered at Willard’s.

My younger brother Mark digesting outside of Willard’s BBQ

Take a look at Willard’s menu by clicking on the link seen below: