This past week I was able to enjoy the sunny, warm weather on the Gulf Coast of Florida. Friends of ours were married last weekend on the beaches of Longboat Key. It was a beautiful wedding with their closest family and friends. Unfortunately I was unable to attend the wedding due to the fact I was in a wedding myself in New York. However, I joined everyone the day after and was still able to spend time with friends and the newly married couple.
The week consisted of about twenty or so of our friends and family relaxing on the beach, witnessing breathtaking west coast sunsets, and just enjoying the company of each other. It truly was a great vacation. So great that we all decided it should be an annual occurrence for the gang to get together and make a trip down to Florida.
Now of course there was lots of eating involved. That typically happens while on vacation. Diet and exercise go out the window. Why not? We were indeed on vacation! Anyways, I figured I would share with you a few of my favorite spots that we dined at.
1. Joe’s Eats & Sweets
Bradenton Beach, FL
I had been here once before during a previous visit to Bradenton. As soon as we drove by the rainbow colored building and realized just how close it was to our condo, I made it a mandatory destination during the upcoming week. Joe’s is a delicious ice cream shoppe right off of Historic Bridge Street in Bradenron Beach. They make all of their ice cream on site, along with many other delicious confections (chocolate dipped Oreos and cheesecake to name a few). The first night I devoured a large chocolate dipped waffle cone full of chocolate peanut butter fudge swirl ice cream. The second visit I went with my old stand by of mint chocolate chip, also in a chocolate dipped waffle cone. Both of these treats were delectable. I highly suggest you pay this fun beach side shoppe a visit.
2. Sage Biscuit Cafe
We were lucky to have this little treasure within walking distance of the condo we stayed at. The immediate group that stayed with us found ourselves here on a daily basis for breakfast. It is a quaint little cafe tucked into a strip mall. They offer outside seating if you wish, inside seating is just as nice. The staff is super friendly and very accommodating. What put this place over the top was their delicious fare. As a whole, we tried almost everything on the menu throughout the week and not once were we disappointed. Their trademark item is, as you would guess it, their sage biscuits. In one way or the other they can be incorporated into your meal. Whether as a base for a salmon eggs Benedict, a side to go with your Mediterranean egg skillet, or as part of the main event in the sage biscuits and gravy. Sage Biscuit Cafe is a must if you are staying in the Bradenton area. Just over the bridge on Cortez Road. You will not be sorry.
3. Bella’s Italian Cafe
Towards the end of the week we drove two of our friends to the Tampa airport. We were more than whiling to taxi them to their destination, especially since we would be able to pay a visit to the restaurant we had been craving since we booked the trip. On a previous trip to Tampa for another wedding weekend, Nick and I came across this little Italian eatery by just searching through Yelp. We left more than satisfied. Nick had chosen his old stand by of tortellini Alfredo. I however wanted to try something new. My attention was immediately drawn to the pear sachet dish. It is simply a little pasta pouch filled with cheese and pears. The sachets are then tossed in a saffron cream sauce and peas. It sounds so simple, but it is absolutely delicious. The sweet pears mixed with the rich saffron is unlike anything else. Since our first visit, we had been dying to go back. We took this opportunity of being in the Tampa area to return to Bella’s and of course, all ordered the pear sachet dish.The staff here is also very friendly and the atmosphere is relaxing. We sat on the outdoor patio during this visit which allowed us to people watch while waiting for our meal. If you are ever in Tampa, pay a visit to this restaurant and order the pear sachets. It will blow your mind. You can also take a nice walk along the little streets to the shore afterwards to enjoy a beautiful bay side sunset.