Anna Maria Island in Florida
I recently visited Florida’s Anna Maria Island and fell in love with the area. Anna Maria Island is a quaint barrier island nestled in the Gulf of Mexico with beautiful white sand beaches and turquoise waters. The Island is 7 miles long and Beach access is available on both the Gulf of Mexico and Sarasota Bay.
The island has a convenient and free trolley service that travels the entire island. Trolley stops are between 2 and 4 blocks apart and timing is between 15-20-minute wait between each trolley. If for some reason the trolley is not running according to schedule, I recommend calling Uber as the ride will be less than $10 because the island is only 7 miles long.
Long Table at the Station
While on the Anna Maria Island, I attended the exclusive “Long Table at the Station” dining experience at the Downtown Bradenton Transit Station. The event featured a locally sourced, six-course, fine-dining experience with award-winning chefs, fine wines and local craft beer pairings at Bradenton's longest table surrounded by spectacular public art.
The food was amazing and we were able to hear from each chef on how the food was prepared and all ingredients involved that brought together the amazing flavor combinations of each dish they prepared.
Realize Bradenton produces this annual event with the help of local sponsors in the area. This year’s sponsors included Visit Bradenton, Realize Bradenton, and City Grille. Realize Bradenton is a nonprofit organization that promotes redevelopment and economic growth in downtown Bradenton by transforming places, engaging people, and realizing possibilities. As a community-benefit organization, they work with others to continually strengthen the social, cultural, and physical assets in the Bradenton area.
Prepared by Chef Dave Shiplett's of Bird Rock Taco Shack.
Florida Avocado Smash and Grilled Florida Rock Shrimp Tacos.
Paired with Placido Pinot Grigio
Prepared by Chef “Guy” of Gaetano Cannata of Ortygia
Sweet and savory stuffed Baby Bell Peppers with Fennel Bread Pudding with apples and pancetta in an asiago cream.
Paired with Lola Chardonnay
Prepared by Chef Jim Copening of Arts & Eats Restaurant
Japanese-inspired local Gulf of Mexico Grouper filet, rice blend, bok choy, white miso sauce and a sesame seed garnish.
Paired with Loosen Riesling
Prepared by Chef Remo Mambelli of Arte Caffe
handcrafted Borsellini – purses of pasta- stuffed with mixed cheese and white truffle in a sauce of light cream and onion topped with fresh locally-grown arugula.
Lola Pinot Noir
Prepared by Chef Paul Mattison of Mattison's City Grille
Braised High Plains Bison Short Rib paired with boniato potatoes, sautéed rapini, mustard seed-grape relish, and crispy onions.
Paired with Darwin Brewing Company’s Stout.
Paired with 5th Grayson Cabernet
Chef Dana Johnson of Sugar Cubed Pastry Lab
Guava Brûlée – organic guava from Island Grove Wine Company paired with a Dakin Dairy vanilla bean custard, toasted meringue, and 3 Keys Brewing Company’s chocolate porter caramel sauce.
Bradenton Farmer’s Market
Proceeds from the Long Table at the Station event benefited the Bradenton Farmers’ Market for the 2017–2018 season, allowing the market to expand educational activities for children and families, and cooking demonstrations by local chefs.
All five of the participating chefs in the Long Table event own their restaurants. If you are in the area, you should definitely make a reservation and experience their culinary expertise for yourself! Bird Rock Taco Shack, Ortygia, Arts & Eats, Mattison's City Grille, and Sugar Cubed Pastry Lab.
If you twisted my arm and made me pick a favorite course of the evening, I would have to say the handcrafted Borsellini stuffed with mixed cheese and white truffle sauce in a sauce of light cream and onion topped with fresh locally-grown arugula prepared by Chef Remo of Mambelli of Arte Caffè. I have an obsession with truffles! The taste of truffles on or with anything is just amazing to me. Add the truffle sauce with the locally-grown arugula together in Chef Remo's dish and you get an amazing flavor combination! Shhh, just don’t tell the other chefs that I picked a favorite as literally, each dish was divine.
Thank you to Bradenton Area Convention and Visitor's Bureau for sponsoring my trip! My reviews and opinions are my own.
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