tsunami 14 60 SMTsunami Samuel Ray OwnerTsunami Logo SM

It was a three-for-one showing at Forks & Corks for Tsunami this year, with a trio of dishes that made a collective splash.
One was the Ahi Tuna Tower with avocado, rice, spicy mayonnaise and eel sauce. “All the fresh, raw ingredients are skillfully stacked into one savory bite,” Tsunami chef/owner Samuel Ray says about the dish. Then, there were the Emerald Squares with asparagus, cucumber and avocado. And finally, patrons adored the tempura-battered Stuffed Shrimp with crabmeat, cream cheese and sweet chili sauce. “We love taking the Stuffed Shrimp to events because it is such a seamless fusion of Asian and American cuisines,” Ray says. 
12 frozen jumbo shrimp
1 cup shredded crab 
½ cup cream cheese
1/8 cup sesame oil 
Salt and pepper, to taste
½ cup flour
1½ cups water
Oil for frying
Start by preparing the shrimp stuffing. In a shallow bowl, combine the shredded crab, cream cheese and sesame oil. Portion the crab mixture into 1/8-cup pieces, top the mixture with shrimp, and press. Cover the dish and let it cool for at least 4 hours. Add the oil to a large frying pan and set the burner to medium-high heat. Whisk the flour and water in a separate small bowl. Roll the shrimp in the batter and carefully place each shrimp in hot oil. Cook the shrimp in the hot oil for about 4 minutes, let each one cool, and serve with sweet chili sauce.

Tsunami Sushi & Hibachi Grill |100 Central Ave. #1022 | Sarasota | 941-366-1033 | tsunami-sarasota.com

Author:  Abby Weingarten

Photo Credit http://www.dinesarasota.com/

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LDS2 Amob OystersAMOB John Horne PresidentAnn Maria Oyster Bar Color

Grandma Georgie’s Grilled Chipotle Oysters—the Anna Maria Oyster Bar (AMOB) chosen dish for Forks & Corks 2016—has a 30-year history.

According to John Horne, the restaurateur/chef behind the four AMOB locations:

“The recipe goes back to my grandmother Georgie, who was my adopted grandmother from Memphis, Tenn. About 30 years ago, the sweetest little old lady came into the restaurant I was working in and we met. She kind of adopted me and I adopted her.”

The two corresponded for decades. They sent birthday and Christmas cards. Georgie took Horne to Graceland. One night, they went out to dinner together in Memphis.

“We walked into this oyster bar and they were cooking these incredible oysters,” Horne recalls. “We ordered six and we asked what was in them. They gave us the ingredients. We brought the recipe home and tried it out. That’s how it all started.”


2 pounds salted butter, softened
1/3 cup fresh garlic, minced
1/3 cup fresh curly parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon lemon juice
3½ ounces chipotle pepper/sauce puree
12 freshly shucked oysters
6 teaspoons grated Parmesan cheese
Mix the first four ingredients in an electric mixer. In a blender, puree a 7-ounce can of chipotle peppers with the sauce, and then strain the mixture thoroughly. Use 3½ ounces of the pepper mixture, blend it with the butter mixture and set it aside. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Shuck the oysters carefully and leave them in the deep sides of the shells. Arrange the oysters with 1 teaspoon of the chipotle butter and a heavy dusting of grated Parmesan cheese. Place the oysters in the oven and bake (or grill) them until the cheese and butter start to bubble (about 5 to 7 minutes). Remove and serve immediately.

Anna Maria Oyster Bar Landside |6906 14th St. W. | Bradenton | (941) 758-7880 | www.oysterbar.net

Author:  Abby Weingarten


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 enRich Rich Knowles chef ownerLD enRich Bistro S2EnRich

Rich Knowles, the chef/owner of enRich Bistro in Bradenton, is fast becoming known for one grab-and-go dish that is a surefire hit at festivals like Forks & Corks: his savory Thai pork tacos.

“It combines the Asian flavors I love and the best braised pork, in my opinion,” Knowles says. “People remember it. They ask for it. So, now, it’s kind of becoming our thing. You want your dish to stand out at big events, and this one definitely does.”

Handheld, vibrantly colored, and imbued with a mix of crunchy and creamy textures, the tacos cover every flavor base and always incur stellar feedback.


For the slow-braised pork:
1 3-4 pound pork butt
1/3 cup salt
2 tablespoons ground cumin
½ gallon mojo sauce
5 bay leaves
3 tablespoons garlic powder
For the Thai slaw dressing:
2/3 cup teriyaki sauce
1 cup Mae Ploy sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon fish sauce
¼ cup Mirin
1 lime, juiced
1 lemon, juiced
½ bunch cilantro, chopped
2 tablespoons Yuzu extract
½ cup mayonnaise
Romaine lettuce
Napa red cabbage
Red onion
Bell pepper


For the pork, add water if needed and braise, covered, for 4 to 6 hours at 275 degrees. For the slaw, chiffonade the vegetables and toss with the combined liquid ingredients. Place the pork and slaw in a warm flour tortilla, and drizzle with the slaw sauce.

enRich Bistro: 5629 Manatee Ave. W | Bradenton | 941-792-0990 | enrichbistro.com.

Author:  Abby Weingarten

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The Lobster Pot Medeiros Family OwnersIt’s not difficult to find a seafood restaurant in the Gulf Coast area: you could toss out a fishing line and hit a dozen places that serve up delicious fresh Florida catch. But in order to find the best of our local seafood showcased alongside authentic New England seafood, you must visit The Lobster Pot restaurant in Siesta Key.

The Lobster Pot celebrated its fifteenth anniversary this month, but its story begins long before then. Glen Medeiros’ parents owned and operated a restaurant also called The Lobster Pot in Provincetown, Massachusetts. They started their business in 1939 and ran it until they retired in 1979. Medeiros, who graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in New Haven, Connecticut in 1968, was determined to keep the family tradition alive.

“My passion was to open a restaurant like my parents, and now my two sons and I manage the restaurant with my wife up front as a hostess,” Medeiros says. “I also have my two daughters-in-law working for us now. We are a proud third-generation family owning and operating our business.”

Medeiros’ vision was always to own a seafood restaurant, but to give the genre its own distinct twist by serving well-loved family recipes as well as more modern takes on seafood using the freshest local product available. They purchase fresh fish daily from local fisherman, and their lobsters are delivered live straight from Bar Harbor and Boothbay in Maine.

Doing fresh takes on classic dishes has served them well: the signature baked stuffed Lobster Duchess, The Seafood Portugal, and the Salmon Rockefeller have all been award-winning dishes at “The Taste of Sarasota” competition.

However, the real secret ingredient behind the success and longevity at The Lobster Pot is clearly family.

“I collaborate with the chefs and family to work as a team. They all have had culinary experience to create fresh wholesome daily specials.”

This collaborative effort is on display in the front of the house too, as the whole family dedicates themselves to their goal of providing excellent customer service.

“The best compliment we have ever received is we are extraordinary in food quality and service,” Medeiros says. “When we hear compliments from our guests we know we're doing something right.”

The Lobster Pot: 5157 Ocean Boulevard | Siesta Key Village | 941-349-2323 | www.sarasotalobsterpot.com

Author: Kate Wight

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CafeVenice WEBSince she was a little girl, Kay Kropac knew what it took to turn a restaurant into a "second home."

Her mother owned and operated the historic Hellriegel's Inn in Painesville, Ohio for 48 years, where Kropac grew up learning how to make patrons feel like extended family members.

This mentality stayed with Kropac when she relocated to Southwest Florida to work as a server for Café Venice. When the owner decided to sell, she bought the venture in December 2006.

"I don't think there was ever another option for me other than this business," Kropac says. "My family and home has grown to include Cafe Venice, my staff and my regulars."

It is a combination of Kropac's warmth and Café Venice's décor that makes the eatery seem like a residence. The Tuscan motif, the 100-plus bottles of vino, the beer and wine bar, and the live acoustic concerts make Café Venice a cozy hotspot for downtown Venetians.

"My vision for the restaurant was creating a friendly place where anyone could come to get great food, good wine and service," Kropac says. "I love knowing all our guests' names and favorite drinks."

Executive chef Joel Sardinha whips up signature items like the Grilled Romaine Salad with feta, yellow onions and balsamic reduction; the Crab Cake Sandwich with homemade remoulade; and the Chicken BLT Sandwich with sweet chili mayonnaise on a ciabatta roll.

Kay says, "I am proud to be a part of The Originals. My favorite thing about the group is that they cater to the independent restaurant owner and support each other."

Kropac will never forget when a guest once told her: "It's not only the quality of food that keeps me coming back; it's the environment you have created. You make everyone feel like family."

For Kropac, her regulars are her relatives.

Café Venice Restaurant and Wine Bar: 116 West Venice Avenue | Venice | 941-484-1855 | www.cafeveniceontheisland.com

Author: Abby Weingarten

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