BridgeStreetBistro AW smallBridge Street Bistro Bill Herlihy OwnerBridge Street Bistro

The grilled mahi tacos from Bridge Street Bistro—with their decadent four-cheese blend and fresh fish filets—made a savory splash at Forks & Corks 2016.
“This is a simple, delicious dish, and what makes it special is that everything is so fresh,” says Bill Herlihy, Bridge Street Bistro’s president and general manager. “The mahi has a mild, sweet flavor, and the blackening spice adds the perfect amount of heat. I also love the contrast of the warm fish, tortilla and cheese with the cool accompaniment


24 ounces fresh mahi filet
3 ounces blackening spice
8 flour tortillas
8 ounces shredded cheese blend (Manchego, Mahon, Monterey Jack and cheddar)
1 cup diced tomatoes
1 cup romaine lettuce, shredded
4 ounces sour cream
4 ounces pico de gallo
4 ounces guacamole
2 limes, freshly squeezed
Slice the fish into 16 1-inch-by-3-inch strips. Dip the fish into the blackening spice on a plate. In a sauté pan with oil, cook the fish on both sides and reduce the heat after the initial flip. In a baking pan, spread the cheese mixture onto the tortillas. Then place tortillas in a 350-degree oven and let the cheese melt. Place 2 pieces of fish in the middle of each tortilla, add the tomato and shredded lettuce, and fold. Top the tortillas with lime juice. Serve the sour cream, pico de gallo and guacamole on the side for dipping.

Bridge Street Bistro | 111 Gulf Dr. S., Bradenton Beach | 941-782-1122 |

Author:  Abby Weingarten

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bijou cafe 18 51 smallJean Pierre JP Knaggs Owner The Bijou CaféBijou Cafe Logo
Chef/restaurateur Jean-Pierre “J.P.” Knaggs of The Bijou Café in Sarasota is a fan of all things Cajun and Creole. So, when Forks & Corks 2016 came up on the January calendar, he hoped for a cool day in which to serve a savory gumbo. He got his wish.

“The gumbo was very well received by the crowd,” Knaggs says. “It also went well with a lot of wines—from a hearty Syrah to a dry rose or even a peppery Zinfandel. We accompanied it with tiny, homemade habanero honey biscuits and white rice


Ingredients for duck stock:
2 whole bone-in ducks
8 quarts water
2 large onions, quartered
4 stalks celery, quartered
3 bay leaves
3 cloves garlic, diced
½ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
Combine the ingredients in a large stockpot, bring it to a boil, and simmer uncovered for 2 hours or until tender. Remove the ducks, let them cool and set them aside. Discard the bones and skin. Chill the stock until the fat solidifies on top, then remove the fat and discard it. Reserve the stock.
Ingredients for gumbo:
2 cups flour
1½ cups canola or vegetable oil
2 cups Andouille smoked sausage
2 cups onion, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
1 cup green pepper, chopped
8 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon thyme
4 quarts duck stock
1 cup red wine
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon oregano
2 tablespoons Tabasco sauce
3 cups cooked okra
In a large heavy pot, make a dark roux with oil and flour. Add the vegetables and cook for 10 minutes until they are tender. Add the seasonings and stir. Add the stock, wine and Tabasco sauce, and then simmer for 15 minutes. Add the duck and sausage, bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer on low for 1½ to 2 hours. Add the okra and simmer for another 10 minutes. Serve over white rice and a sprinkle of green onions.

The Bijou Café | 1287 First St., Sarasota | 941-366-8111 |

Author:  Abby Weingarten

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Local Dish Season 2 AThe Crows Nest Steve Harner Owner Matt Green ManagerCrows Nest

Two dishes, equally mouth-watering and savory, were on the Crow’s Nest menu for Forks & Corks 2016: braised beef brisket, and stone crab mac and cheese.

With the latter, chefs at the Venice eatery incorporated a mix of fresh seafood, hearty pasta, and creamy cheese flavors that generated instant wows and raves.

“Everyone loves mac and cheese,” says restaurateur Steve Harner, “especially when you add a little local stone crab meat to it.”


1 pound orzo pasta
4 cups milk
¼ pound salted butter, solid
¼ cup all-purpose flour
8 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
8 ounces Parmesan cheese
½ cup coarse Japanese breadcrumbs
1 pound medium stone crab slaw meat
Cook the orzo pasta until it is al dente and set it aside. In a saucepot over medium heat, bring the milk to a simmer. In a separate pan, melt the butter and add the flour to make a roux. Combine the roux with the simmering milk and bring it back to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the stone crab claw meat to the milk and simmer for 5 minutes. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cheeses, pasta and sauce to taste, and add a pinch of salt. Transfer the mixture to an 8-inch-by-8-inch baking dish, top with panko bread crumbs, and place it in a 350-degree oven for 25 minutes.

Crow’s Nest Marina Restaurant |1968 Tarpon Center Dr., Venice | 941-484-9551 |

Author:  Abby Weingarten

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SKOB 18 17 SmallSiesta Key Oyster Bar Beth Keith Cipielewski Ownersskob logo

Seasonal, fresh and savory, the sesame-seared wahoo from Siesta Key Oyster Bar (SKOB) was one of the standout seafood dishes at Forks & Corks 2016.

“The idea was to use more local and seasonal products,” says SKOB chef Aaron Chavarria, who combined the wahoo with roasted root vegetables and orange-white balsamic vinaigrette. “Fall/winter is one of the most amazing times to play with food, and it is the time when Florida is blooming with exquisite, colorful root vegetables.”


1 pound fresh, local wahoo (cut into 5-ounce pieces)
2 ounces black sesame seeds
2 ounces white sesame seeds
1 lemon (zest only)
1 lime (zest only
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Combine the wahoo with the remaining ingredients to form a crust, and sear in a hot pan.
For the herb oil to go with the root vegetables:
12 ounces extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon oregano, chopped
1 teaspoon thyme, chopped
1 teaspoon Italian parsley, chopped 
2 ounces fresh garlic, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Cut 3 ounces of each of the following root vegetables into quarter-inch pieces: red beets, yellow beets, carrots, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, turnips and parsnips. Mix the herb oil ingredients with the vegetables and roast for 25 minutes at 350 degrees.
For the balsamic vinaigrette:
4 ounces freshly squeezed orange juice
3 ounces white balsamic vinegar
1 ounce fresh shallots
½ teaspoon fresh garlic
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Extra virgin olive oil
Place the ingredients in a blender and serve with the final dish. 

Siesta Key Oyster Bar (SKOB) | 5238 Ocean Boulevard, Sarasota | 941-346-5443 |

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Author:  Abby Weingarten


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Salute AW SmallSalute Chef Laszlo Co OwnerSalute            

A traditional and beloved Italian recipe, the Agnolotti from Salute! has been one of Laszlo Bevardi’s go-to pasta dishes for decades.

It was a no-brainer for Bevardi to select this favorite for Forks & Corks 2016, and to serve it alongside some fresh Bruschetta Pomodoro.

“The Agnolotti is a simple yet delicious and light pasta dish. I have been making this in restaurants for over 20 years. My costumers call it ‘cheesy heaven,’” says Bevardi, who serves as both the chef and owner of Salute! in downtown Sarasota. “It is a half-moon-shaped pasta filled with fresh ricotta, mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses, and chopped fresh spinach. The key is to prepare a very thin and light pasta, and to use high-quality ingredients for the filling. Diners appreciate this classic dish when it is done right.”


Ingredients for the filling:
¼ cup fresh ricotta cheese
¼ cup grated mozzarella cheese
¼ cup blanched spinach, chopped
¼ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
Pinch of nutmeg      
Salt and pepper, to taste
For the pasta dough:
3½ + ½ cups all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon olive oil
For the sauce:
½ quart heavy cream
1 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
¼ cup blanched spinach, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
Make a mound of flour on a large wooden cutting board. Make a well in the middle of the flour, and add the eggs and olive oil. Using a fork, incorporate the flour, starting with the inner rim of the well. Keep the well shape as you expand. When the dough comes together, start kneading it with both hands. Flour the cutting board as you knead the dough three or four times. Continue to knead until the dough is elastic and not sticky (about 10 to 15 minutes). Wrap the dough in plastic and allow it to rest for 30 minutes. To make the filling, combine the ingredients and refrigerate. To make the agnolotti, roll out the pasta with a floured rolling pin. With a cookie cutter, cut the pasta into 5-inch rounds. Place a small amount of filling in the center of each of the pasta rounds. Brush the edge of each pasta piece with a beaten egg and fold it into a half-moon-shaped agnolotti. Pinch the pasta edge with your fingers to make a good seal. To cook the pasta, bring six quarts of water to a boil. Add one tablespoon of salt and oil. Boil the pasta for three minutes. In a heavy skillet, bring the heavy cream to a boil, add the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and salt and pepper. Reduce the cream by one-third. Add the spinach and agnolotti. Coat the pasta with the cream sauce. Sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and serve.

Salute!:| 23 N. Lemon Ave., Sarasota | 941-365-1020 |

Author: Abby Weingarten

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