The British navy ran on rum.
Winston Churchill was at one time the First Lord of the Admiralty.
When asked to make a toast to the “Great Traditions of the British Navy”, Churchill scowled and toasted “To rum, ……., and the lash”. (Ask me about the second one when you see me.)
By the mid-1700’s a sailor’s ration of rum was a half-pint per day.
It was mixed with lime as a precaution against scurvy and with water as a hedge against mutiny.
While Sir Francis Drake was scouring the Caribbean coast looking for stuff to steal, he was sitting on the afterdeck sipping a cocktail named after him - the “Draque” - rum, lime, and sugar - a Daiquiri.
The rum that Drake was drinking was probably Cachaça - a Brazilian rum made from sugar cane. When the British learned they could make rum from sugar cane they began to ship slaves to the Caribbean to grow the cane. The rum was cheaper than Dutch gin or French brandy and the trade in rum and slaves took off.
Rum sowed the seeds of rebellion in the North American colonies. By the mid-1700’s America had hundreds of distilleries making rum from molasses and competing with British distillers. The Brits did not like the competition and decided to tax the colonies’ sugar and molasses.
The American colonists began grumbling about the taxes over their rum punches. The rum enthused them to toss a bunch of tea into the harbor and we were off to the races.
During the American Revolution, British Navy Rum was passing through Nova Scotia in big barrels.
The barrels were sold as “almost empty” to the Nova Scotians. The barrels held dregs and drippings and rum that had soaked into the oak and pine.
The Noveys poured in a couple of gallons of hot water and rolled the barrels up and down the hills to dilute the dregs and soak up the rum from the wood.
In Nova Scotia the dreadful concoction was called “Swish” and in Newfoundland it was called “Screech”.
The name Screech pretty much says it all.
I had buddy who drank a boatload of Screech on a Saturday, woke up on Tuesday and could not hear until Thursday. We had to talk him out of joining the priesthood.
When the British army got kicked out of Boston it went to Nova Scotia. Then it left again to link up with Cornwallis to attack New York. When the army left, the Nova Scotians rose up and attacked a British fort.
Two war canoes loaded with gunpowder were sent from Maine to help.
The Mainiacs in one of the canoes got into the rum and didn’t make it. The Nova Scotians ran out of powder, the uprising failed, and the Noveys went back to their Swish.
Churchill’s was known to nip a little rum himself. It helped with his oratory. He was the greatest orator in modern history. To be fair, McCain looked good last week.
My favorite Churchill story treats of his opposition to the “appeasers”, the financial elite and fascists in Britain who wanted to make a truce with Hitler.
Lady Astor was a leading appeaser.
In the House of Commons Churchill attacked Lady Astor and her appeaser friends.
He said they would make a deal with the alligator if the alligator agreed to eat them last.
Lady Astor was not pleased.
That night Churchill was her guest at dinner at Astor House.
Lady Astor was pouring coffee.
When she poured Churchill’s coffee she said to him, “Winston, if you were my husband, I would put poison in your coffee.”
Churchill replied, “Lady Astor, if you were my wife, I would drink it.”
The coffee would have been better with a little rum.
The poison might have been Screech.
The milestones of my life have been marked by rocks.
Sounds redundant, but it is true.
I grew up on the rocky shores of Nova Scotia.
Nova Scotia is just one big rock sticking out into the North Atlantic. The native peoples were Micmac. “Nova Scotia” is Micmac for “Land of Big Rocks and Little Trees.”
(No it's not. It's Latin for “New Scotland” - but the Micmacs can't be blamed for not knowing Latin.)
My first memory is of rocks and water.
I was swinging from a rope hanging off a rock wall.
The incoming tide had me in its sights.
My mom had put me in a harness and tied me to a tree near the rock wall to play. The rope was a little too long. I had toddled over the edge of the wall and was swinging to and fro above the rising waters when my grandmother found me.
Some wish she had left me.
Others claimed that the swinging from a rope was a precursor to a later, fitting judgement.
I grew up on the cove with about forty cousins.
The cove was surrounded by rocks the size of Volkswagens that we climbed on and smaller rocks that we threw at Protestants.
Slate rocks were the best chucking rocks for distance but they would swerve and change direction. If your Protestant had a good head start you just whipped one out there and asked the Holy Ghost for guidance.
The best stones for medium distance accuracy were flat round beach stones. There are lotta guys wandering Nova Scotia with little dents in their heads from those smooth stones.
A major milestone in my life was being able to throw a rock across the cove.
We spent entire days throwing rocks across the cove. I can still remember the satisfying clink as that first rock cleared the water.
Another milestone was swimming across that rocky cove. You were not a “made” cousin until you swam the cove and you weren't tough until you could swim it while the other cousins threw rocks at you.
One of the more recent milestones in my life is about another kind of rocks.
The Beach Bistro – Eat Here team has opened a craft cocktail bar. A lot of thought has gone into the rocks in the cocktails.
Opening a craft cocktail bar is a natural extension of operating an award-winning restaurant. Like any great culinary creation, a truly wonderful cocktail requires exceptional, authentic ingredients crafted by a skilled artisan. A great cocktail has become an integral part of a memorable dinner with loved ones sharing life’s milestones - first dates, engagements, weddings and anniversaries.
And great cocktails are all about the rocks.
The rocks in cocktails have three purposes...cooling, diluting and presenting.
Different cocktails are inclined to different rates of cooling and degrees of dilution.
Small-batch bourbon is happy to cool slowly and disdains dilution. Beachy Margaritas are best cold immediately and diluted to reduce the inclination to wander dazed in the hot sun.
The “presenting” is the rocks biggest impact. A giant sphere in your aged rum is not only cooling but looks cool.
A cylindrical rock with pretty flowers frozen inside will make your mojito go “wow”, and inspire you to send pictures back home.
My favorite rock is the perfect sphere made in a heavy, metal ice baller. The weight of metal in the two halves of the baller rapidly melts a cylinder of ice into a perfect sphere right before your eyes.
The melting may not improve the efficacy of the sphere but the theatre is amazing.
They also throw well.
So far, I have been able to launch one of the spherical ice rocks damn near the length of Becky’s lumber yard next door.
And the evidence is gone by morning.
Summertime and the living is easy...and hotter.
Shorts are dress-up wear - and maybe the only appropriate wear - in Florida in Summer.
So I thought it would be nice to try some on....shorts that is…from the Beach Bistro's 32 years.
Annette has been with the Bistro family since its inception. Years ago a patron enquired of Annette...”What is the difference between the Scampis and the Scallops...?”
JP was presiding over the Dining room and had just served a beautifully prepared and presented Rack of Domestic Lamb....the best lamb in the world.
The gentleman patron leaned back in his chair...spread his hands as if in sacramental pose and proclaimed...
"I wonder what the poor people are doing tonight...?”
"We are waiting on you sir."
Steve Carini was the wait staff’s senior player.
He was very caring and attentive to two elderly lady patrons.
They became sufficiently enamoured of him to ask …"You are such a good waiter young man. Is it your ambition to own your own restaurant some day?”
Steve smiled and replied...
"No M'am. It is my ambition to stop working in this one."
On Steve’s last night, while opening the last bottle of wine he would open as a waiter, his corkscrew of twenty years broke off at the screw.
Just like that Steve was a retired warrior with a broken sword.
A young man with his ambition accomplished.
My favorite bartender in the whole world…?
I know some incredible bartenders. Fred and Brianna at Beach Bistro and Chris and Kaleigh at the Doctor’s Office but one day in Philly my favorite was working at the Black Bass.
I was early for a reservation at a pretentious place down the street. To kill time I sat at the bar and ordered some oysters and a glass of Sancerre.
The bartender opened with… “Where are you from….?"
Almost all bartenders open with. “Where are you from?”
Gets patrons talking about themselves and asks a question they know the answer to.
“I am from Anna Maria Island.”… I said
“Really,,,?” he said.
“My favorite restaurant in the whole world is on Anna Maria Island.”
All my senses tuned to high alert.
“And what restaurant would that be...?” I asked.
“A little place called the Beach Bistro.” he said.
“Well,” I said. “You just became my favorite bartender in the whole world.”
Last week I got a new favorite travel writer. Jan Tuckwood was writing for the Palm Beach Post, one of the Florida’s top newspapers.
Jan wrote that her favorite restaurant was the Beach Bistro, and that it was “the best restaurant in the state.”
She also loved the island's new bar - the Doctor’s Office.
Of The Doctor’s Office she wrote that it was “the cure for your old dull self”.
Sounds like a good way to start a hot summer.
Sean Murphy is the Head Coach of the incredibly talented team that runs the Beach Bistro, it’s little sister Eat Here, and their new craft cocktail bar, The Doctor’s Office.
Canada's two greatest exports have a shared heritage.
I am talking Poutine and Hockey.
They both came from rinks.
I was born in Canada and lived there a good chunk of my life.
That means that I can say outrageous things about Canada and get away with it.
It is like being Donald Trump. I can't be held accountable for what I say.
Poutine is basically French fries and gravy. The curd part is a variation from rural Quebec where they did not know how to get rid of curds.
Fries-n-gravy was a Canadian staple. It was hot and cheap and could be prepared anywhere there was an old stove. It was cold a lot so we didn't need much in the way of refrigeration.
We all know Canucks are crazy for hockey. As kids growing up we spent hours every day in hockey rinks. When we weren't playing on the ice we were playing in the corners with pop cans and tennis balls.
We lived in rinks.
We smelled like rinks.
Grownups called us “rink rats”.
These rinks were nothing like the Lightning palaces that Americans attend to watch NHL games.
These rinks were just big frozen tin cans. Some had outside toilets. They didn't stink until they thawed out in the spring.
Every rink had a “canteen”. The "canteen" in the rink consisted of an old stove and a kettle.
The kettle was for tea. Canadians love tea. They love drinking tea while watching hockey.
The stove was for poutine. It generally had an oven and one or two working burners on top.
The fries were dumped on a sheet tray and cooked in the oven.
The gravy was generally Franco-American Beef Gravy that was heated in a pot on top of the stove.
One of the rink ladies scooped the oven fries into a paper cup and slopped some of the gravy on top. And that was poutine.
Fries-n-gravy was a big chunk of the menu for high school kids.
Across from my high school, St Patrick's High School, (Catlick), there was a greasy spoon diner that sold a ton of "fries-n-gravy".
Marie and Flo presided over the lunch counter.
One day my buddy found a hair in his "fries-and-gravy".
He lifted the guilty specimen from his plate and announced to Flo that he had found a hair in his fries.
Flo plucked the gravied tendril from his fork, studied it, and proclaimed…
"It ain't mine. Must be Marie’s".
I used to marvel that the poutine served to me in rinks and honored by Marie with selections from under her hair net could be treated with such gravitas by foodies.
I came to realize that I am grateful for fries-n-gravy.
I could not have survived my misspent youth in rinks and high school without it.
My chef staff and I determined to express that gratitude by creating a helluva poutine for Eat Here.
We needed a phenomenal gravy. Our favorite light bulb went on…Foie Gras.
The best demis and gravies in New Orleans are called “debris” demis because they have bits of debris from the braising pan floating in the gravy. In our Eat Here version the debris is chunks of our pot roast and pieces of Foie Gras.
Because nobody really likes curds we garnish with an aged parmesan.
And that is how you make a helluva poutine.
When I was a snotty-nosed kid clunking around the rink in my rubber boots - hockey stick in one hand and a cup of poutine in the other - I never woulda guessed.
Bartenders are listeners.
You sit at the bar. You drink. The Bartender listens.
The topics can be tricky.
The patron’s ex-wife.
This one is real tricky.
The bartender has to try to kill this conversation because the person to the left is somebody’s ex-wife and the guy to the right is going out with an ex-wife.
The patron talking about his ex-wife is not a happy guy. He gets a couple of drinks in he will get morose and then the bar will get morose and morose people tip poorly.
Politics. Not good right now. Republicans are morose.
Religion. Fire and damnation. Morose.
The Floridian’s Favorite Warm Coat. This is one of my favorites.
Every Floridian has one warm coat he wears during those coupla weeks in December when the Canadians slip us a couple of those too-dam-cold “Canadian Cold Fronts.”
This week that one warm coat is heading to hibernation in the back of the closet but next October it will be back again.
By October we will be sick of the heat and overjoyed to welcome that first, refreshing cool front.
People will laugh and drink and dance naked in the streets.
By December some of those cold fronts will get fiercer and colder and more belligerent.
There will be bitterly cold “Canadian Cold Fronts”. Dam Canadians.
Those warm coats will climb back out of their closets and the locals and their warm coats will march into the bar like critters marching into the ark – arm in arm – two by two.
On those cold nights it is as if every bar stool has two guests – the patron and their coat.
The coats are introduced to the bartender and the other patrons in the bar.
“I got this coat from my sister’s ex-husband - he played football at Notre Dame. SOB is still behind in alimony and I’m keeping the goddam coat.”
“I got this coat from the mayor of Buffalo – we got raided in a poker game and he had to rush out without it.”
“I got this coat in Failene’s basement for a dollar in ’72.”
There is always a lady in a great big fur – testimony to acres of forest denuded of small animals.
The lady with the fur loves her coat – as martinis slide down she begins to slide deeper into the fur and the warm, romantic memories of her lost youth.
“Ralph gave me this coat after he got back from Vegas”.
A guilty fur coat.
I’ll miss the winter coat talk. Memories of winter coat convesations will keep me cooler in the hot days from now until the next “big chill” in October.
One dog day in September, when the heat is cruel and relentles and crushing, I will dig around in the trunk at the back of the closet for my special warm coat.
I will slide into it like an old boot and go sit by the pool in the white hot sun and I will dream of cold fronts and all my friends around the bar in their special coats - shiny suede, broken zippers, mismatched buttons and matted sheepskin collars.
I will look forward to cooler days again and I will wonder what Ralph did in Vegas that was so bad he had to buy that fur.
Anna Maria St. Patrick’s Day Parade: the Biggest Southeast of Savannah
The Beach Bistro’s 18th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade will be unleashed on Sunday, March 19th at 4:00 pm in Holmes Beach on Anna Maria Island.
As in all great things Irish, the idea for the parade was hatched in a bar. Bistro owner Sean Murphy and journalist Vin Mannix were toasting St. Patrick’s parades of their ill-spent youth and they resolved to have a parade of the island’s own.
The Beach Bistro Parade is now the biggest St. Patrick’s Day Parade south and east of Savannah, Georgia. It may also be the only St. Patrick’s Parade south and east of Savannah, Georgia.
The parade will proceed from Eat Here near the corner of Marina Drive and Gulf Drive and proceed north along Marina Drive and then and Palm Drive and winds up at 79th St. in Holmes Beach.
The parade will feature high school bands, pipe bands, and floats and the mascot from the Pittsburg Pirates – an associate sponsor of the Parade.
The Parade is led by Holmes Beach Mayor Bob Johnson and World War II Veteran Bob Schweiger. Mr. Schweiger was in the second wave at Omaha Beach on the Allied invasion of Normandy on D-Day.
In memory of “Judy” the circus elephant, a former star of the parade who passed on last year, her long-time companion Mr. Bones will be leading two camels in the parade. Camels are a mystical creature for the Irish – they can go for weeks without drinking.
When questioned about his motivation for creating and continuing the parade, Sean Murphy responded:
“I did it for my kids when they were little. It was great fun for the family to have its own parade. Now we do it for all the kids and all the families. At some point in the parade, Fred Sullivan and Vin Mannix and I stop and look at the crowd and the bands and balloons and we marvel at all the chaos we have created without getting thrown in jail.”
I grew up in Canada. We were pretty much a one sport country.
Hockey, hockey, hockey.
It was easy to get a kid hooked on hockey.
Teach him to skate and pretty soon he is going 30 miles an hour.
Then give him a stick and tell him that he is allowed to hit the other kids with it.
Little boy heaven.
Understanding sports in this country was an adjustment.
At first blush baseball seemed courteous and cerebral. The use of the bat was baffling. Guy has a perfectly good stick in his hands and he is not allowed to hit anybody with it.
Football suffers long periods of inaction. Everyone runs like hell and smashes into each other for a few seconds and then they stand around for a couple of minutes talking about it and thinking what to do next.
The fans are crazy.
Paint your body and then dance around naked in the freezing cold with cheese on your head. Makes even the wildest Canadian hockey fan look civilized.
Everything is football at this time of year. All talk is about offense and defense and valuable players.
Restaurant kitchens are a lot like football. It is a team sport. Kitchens have quarterbacks, running backs and receivers and on any given night you are only as good as the guys and gals on your team.
During play the head chef in the middle of your line is your quarterback signaling orders to his grill guys and sauté guys - calling plays according to patron orders charging at him like crazed defensive linemen.
Sauté guys are the kitchen’s receivers. They are all about great reflexes and speed. Sauté chefs work multiple burners with lightning hands and precision timing. Try cooking seafood in ten pans on ten flaming burners at one time - then try doing it for five or six hours at a stretch.
Grill guys are running backs - the heavy lifters. Constantly working twenty pounds of the world's best beef and lamb on and off the grill and in and out of 450 degree ovens to precise timings of doneness. Miss a steak by a minute and it's not medium rare any more.
Plating requires the execution of a perfect pass play. Multiple preparations of vegetables and garnishes and sauces and proteins all at varying degrees of doneness and cooking times hitting one plate at precisely the same time - while different plates for the same table are being perfected simultaneously.
And the play is repeated again for another table seconds later.
Special teams are your pantry - salads and desserts that have to be precise and perfect because they open and finish the game for you - first impressions and lasting ones -
game changers and memory makers.
The best defense is preparation. To face an onslaught of diners with low blood sugar and high expectations you need a great prep team. Whole fresh fish and shellfish, procured, cleaned and portioned, meats trimmed and cut, bread baked fresh, sauces finished to velvet, and luscious desserts nurtured to nirvana.
All of this incredible work is accomplished in an environment as dangerous as any football field.
The chefs are constantly dodging and weaving through hot ovens, flaming burners and flashing knives.
There is one, last, ironic parallel that kitchen teams share with football teams.
At the end of the Super Bowl game they give the trophy to the owner.
I get to watch this fierce and exquisite interplay of talent and athleticism from the owner’s box and at the end of the game the critics give me most of the credit.
And all I did was find the players.
We are proud to announe that our craft cocktail bar, The Doctor's Office, is now open on Anna Maria Island!
For many years the space now occupied by The Doctor’s Office bar was in fact the real doctor’s office for the island’s communities.
Good things happened here. Medications were dispensed and procedures performed that made people’s lives easier, healthier, and happier.
We hope that this bar will follow that tradition.
The teams at Beach Bistro and Eat Here are also committed that this bar will follow the tradition of excellence forged by the Beach Bistro over the last 31 years.
A heritage of making people happier through their enjoyment of the very best in culinary offerings and libations.
The Doctor's Office is open nightly from 5:00pm to midnight and serves crafted cocktails, great bar fare from the Bistro team of chefs, and artisanal beer and wine.
Browse the menus: The Doctor's Office website.
Beat the crowds of Black Friday with Bistro gift certificates and treat yourself to a visit to Sean's new bar, The Doctors Office.
Sit at the bar’s beautiful reclaimed California redwood bar top, sip a superbly crafted single barrel bourbon Manhattan and congratulate yourself for being smart enough to stay away from the mall.
You can also receive Eat Here gift certificates as a bonus Bistro gift for buying Beach Bistro gift certificates and take the family out for some "Florida’s Best New Restaurant" tacos, pizza and pot roast.
A mirrored opportunity is in place for Eat Here gift certificate shopping.
Buy the relatives an Eat Here gift certificate and reward yourself with a celebratory evening out with dinner at the Bistro or a crafted cocktail evening at The Doctors Office.
Your Beach Bistro and Eat Here "smarter-than-the-mall" shopped gift certificate purchases will be rewarded with a 15% value on your pick of Beach Bistro, Eat Here or The Doctors Office bonus gift certificates.
Treat yourself and treat your friends and relatives to the bonuses of Beach Bistro smarter shopping.
Gift certificates can be purchased online, in person or on the phone...
*offer expires December 26th*
The weather has cooled and all the baby turtles have found their way safely to the sea...so we are now again serving dinner and cocktails on the sand. There is no better backdrop for a fabulous meal than the sun setting over the Gulf...
Menu highlights include the world's best Rack of Lamb, Thai'd Bouillabaisse, Gulf of Mexico Grouper and Prime American Tenderloin. View the full menu here.
Please call for reservations. 941.778.6444
The team is creating new cool and authentic Bistro dishes for the last legs of summer.
Chefs Clay and Ezio and Robby have been masterminding light-plate, cool summer seafood crudos and cool creamy pâtés for the lighter summer palates and plates of our September diners.
Summer catches of local Mangrove Snapper and Pompano are keeping company with great Gulf Grouper and seasonal Soft Shell Crabs.
The Thai'd Bouillabaisse and tropical Caribbean-spiced Prime American Beef Brochettes are stunning summer diners as the headliners of our lighter Summer Tasting menus.
The chefs are offering up great new Cuban Sandwiches and Cuban stews for bar patrons and Roberto, as ever, is crafting super cooled salads with sorbet vinaigrettes for both venues.
We are introducing summer diners to our menu with a cooling cocktail sip to settle you into your evening of America’s best food bounty accented with authentic taste treats as part of our summer theatre performing the celebratory arts.
“Sure is Hot” Summer Cocktailing
Classic Summer Lunch Cocktail from Canada…The Caesar
2 oz. vodka
1 oz. Clamato juice (half clam juice and half V-8 is better)
Salt, Pepper, and Tabasco to taste
Celery salt on the rim
This cocktail is the favored summer cocktail in Canada.
They think it is hot there when it gets in the 80’s.
There is a shortage of days in the 80’s and a shortage of AC.
The accoutrements can make the drink spectacular…think celery, bacon, hot peppers, dill pickles….
Gin and Tonic - Improved
The “hot” cocktail for the British Empire was the “gin and tonic” savored on verandahs the world over. It had the added benefit of delivering quinine - the malaria combatant.
The recipe is just your favorite gin and tonic and lime. 2:1:1
Try varying the tonic…Seagrams and Canada Dry are the usual favorites but try Fenteman’s or “Q” if you can find it …or even customize your own from an online recipe.
Best Cocktail in a Heat Emergency…?
Any cocktail with big ice and your favorite coolie cup.
The bigger the ice, the longer the cool before the drink is diluted.
If it is September and you don’t have a favorite coolie cup…then you are new here and you should get one.
We are all talking about it.
We all know.
There is Hot … and there is Florida Hot … and then finally, ultimately, there is Florida September Hot.
Florida September Hot is when it has been too damn hot already for too damn long and we have no more patience for the damn heat.
It is pretty hot inJune but it has not been that hot for that long and June is June … pretty hot and we know what is coming but we still have some patience left.
For much of July it has been 93 degrees every day and we are getting pretty tired of it and the weather guys are saying it feels like 104 and we know that but we don’t need to hear it every day, but we are still hanging in and it's OK.
By about the fifteenth of August we are losing our sense of humor about the heat. There is some patience left but not much.
But by mid-September every scorched, sweating fiber of our being is screaming … ENOUGH! It has been too damn hot for too long and now it is September and it is worse because it has a name and it is called September Hot and that's it we have had enough and it has been too damn hot for too damn long and everybody knows it and there is no point in being patient with anybody or anything anymore.
We have become as merciless as the heat. We look forward to saying “Sure is Hot!” in the line at the hardware store or the drug store because we think it is funny to watch adults break down and cry.
We spend our days inside chilled boxes peering out at the white searing heat.
Stuff is dying in the yard and we just don't care.
We drive from one chilled box called “home” to our chilled box at work by travelling in little chilled boxes on wheels.
We spend evenings looking online at places that are cooler than us and trying to figure out how to get there and who will cover our work while we are gone and there is nobody to cover us because they already had the good sense to leave.
There is some good news.
September Hot means that if you walk into the Bistro Bar or Eat Here and you say... "Sure is Hot" ... then the first one is on us.
We are happy to buy you that first drink because you are suffering just like we are and the Bistro team is gratified that we can inject some joy into these dog days.
All we ask is that when you come into the bar and you cheerfully proclaim, “Sure is Hot!”... please close the damn door so the AC does not get out.
Sean and Susan and the whole Beach Bistro team received some lovely news this week. Zagat has just redone their rating system, changing from their years-old 30 point system to one of 5 stars. Beach Bistro received 4.9 in food, the highest Zagat rating in Florida, and one of only a handful in the country.
We first received this news Tuesday, from Good Day Tampa Bay on Channel 13.
Imagine our delight watching Russell Rhodes and Laura Moody discussing Beach Bistro with a reporter from New York, who told them, ‘Beach Bistro is the restaurant to go to.’ (See the video clip here.)
We are a team at Beach Bistro. This score reflects on everyone on the team, from those who arrive at 7:30 am to begin that day’s prep, to those who finish up in the wee hours each night – it’s the chef staff, the serving staff, those who clean and wash dishes, the day staff who organize the front of the house and answer phone calls and emails.
All of us here at Beach Bistro are grateful to all of you who come in to dine with us. Over the past 30 years, you, our customers, have become our friends and are as much a part of the Bistro family as all of us. Together, we all have a special little place perched on the edge of the Gulf of Mexico, where life’s moments like marriage proposals, anniversaries, birthdays, and graduations are celebrated, and where people come to relax and enjoy their favorite foods and wines with their friends.
To be recognized by Zagat in this way, is sort of like icing on the cake. We were having a great time with you already. We just have something new to celebrate with you now.
For the next little while, when you come in, just mention ‘4.9’ so we can share some bubbly together.
The Beach Bistro Team
Canada's two greatest exports have a shared heritage.
I am talking poutine and hockey.
I was born in Canada and lived there a good chunk of my life.
This means that I can say outrageous things about Canada whenever I want.
It is like being Donald Trump - I can't be held accountable for anything I say.
Poutine is basically French fries and gravy.
For Canadian kids it was a staple.
It was hot and cheap and easy. It could be served anywhere there was an oven and a hot plate.
Every one knows Canucks are crazy for hockey.
As kids we spent hours every day in hockey rinks.
We ate in rinks.
We lived in rinks.
We smelled like rinks.
Poutine was hockey food.
Every rink had a “canteen”.
The canteen in the rink had an oven and a hot plate and a kettle. The oven and the hot plate were for poutine and the kettle was for tea.
The poutine fries were dumped on a sheet tray and cooked in the oven.
The gravy was generally Franco-American beef gravy from a can that was heated on the hot plate.
The hockey moms drank tea from the kettle and served up poutine in paper cups with gravy on top.
I am grateful for fries and gravy. It is doubtful that I could have survived my rink days and early years without it.
My gratitude shows in the serious attention that our Eat Here chef staff spends on the
“Helluva Poutine” that we have been serving there since our opening.
Fresh cut fries.
Duck fat in the oil.
Crowned with house made “debris” demi-glace and a clutch of aged parmesan.
We know that the original Quebec poutine had “curds”.
But curds attract spiders (Little Miss Muffett) and we don’t like them much so we picked aged parmesan for our Eat Here poutine.
The “gravy” in the Eat Here poutine is a beef and port “debris” gravy.
In N’awlins they toss bits of meat into their gravy and it gets to be “debris gravy” because it has “debris” in it.
You pay extra.
The debris in Eat Here demi is pot roast pieces.
Our Eat Here poutine is great, but as good as it is we are going to take it to even greater heights as a new Beach Bistro Bar offering.
For our Beach Bistro poutine we are going to start with duck fat roasted creamer potatoes and then anoint them with our Bistro port demi-glace.
Next we are crowning the potatoes and demi with a clutch of crumbled award-winning Prince Edward Island Avonlea Clothbound Aged Cheddar.
Avonlea cheddar just won a prize for the “Best Cheese in Canada”.
Brad Richards won the Conn Smythe Award for MVP when the Lightning last won the Stanley Cup. Brad is also from Prince Edward Island.
How is that for Canadian hockey poutine paternity.
We are going to take our poutine over the top with…(drum roll please)…Foie Gras…for the lushest, richest poutine anywhere.
To further celebrate our poutine’s Canadian heritage we are going to charge twenty Canadian dollars for it.
That’s sixteen US bucks today.
And the price will vary with the Canadian dollar.
We hope it goes up.
To further celebrate poutine’s hockey connection, when the Lightning win the Stanley Cup, we are giving it away.
Poutine was one of the things even my mom could cook.
Lovely lady, my mom - but culinary exceptionalism was not her strong suit.
Mom was a dedicated disciple of the Irish Cooking Bible, “Take everything that flies, walks, swims or crawls across the face of the earth and boil the living bejeezuz out of it.”
This Mother’s Day I am going to sit with my hockey stick and watch the Lightning playing in the Stanley Cup playoffs and enjoy some Beach Bistro Poutine.
I will think of my mom and all those Canadian moms and their poutine and I will be thankful.
Be thankful for the moms in your life.
Treat them to a Beach Bistro Mother’s Day Gift Certificate and we will throw in a bottle of Champagne*.
*complimentary Champagne only available when gift certificates are purchased in person at Beach Bistro.
The Beach Bistro's Gulfside dining room opens at 5:30, the Bar at 5:00 and now the Bistro is also offering a beach cocktail service from 5:00 at a handful of tables on the beach out front.
The beach cocktail service features our wine, champagne, and craft cocktails – both timelessly classic and newly inspired.
Culinary offerings are perfectly suited to a cocktail hour on the beach.
Stick your toes in the sand and recharge with a tasty beverage and savor a bite from our Beach Menu ...
Classic Bistro Caesar, a Big Shrimp Cocktail with Real Gulf of Mexico Shrimp, a Potted Prime American Beef and Foie Gras Rillette crafted by our Chefs,
or a Cheddar plate of Prince Edward Island Avonlea Dairy cloth-bound aged Cheddar kissed with truffled Anna Maria Island honey.
There is no more beautiful cocktail spot on the planet to sip and savor a light repast.
No extra charge if the dolphins show up.
Please click here for the Beach Bites Menu and Cocktail List.
We are honored to have a highlight of our Bistro Bar Menu - The Real Grouper Sandwich - featured as one of the most memorable dishes of the year according to The Tampa Tribune's food series "WTFork." Read Denise Parker's "Top 10 Dishes of the Year" here. Denise's original article "Beach Bistro not just for the rich and famous anymore" heralded the new Bistro Bar Menu as a way to "dine at one of Florida's top restaurants without taking out a second mortgage." Read that full Bistro Bar article here.
Sarasota Magazine’s latest restaurant piece “Exactly Where to Eat in Sarasota
Depending on Your Mood” pairs local restaurants with all moods. Highlighting
Beach Bistro as the go-to place if you’re in the mood for “something romantic”
the article notes that “It’s easy to fall in love if you’re gazing at each other—or at
the indulgent offerings on your plate—inside the intimate little Beach Bistro…”
Read the full article here.