Restaurants – Sarasota wiki vacation part 5

This is part five of the Sarasota Wiki Vacation series. This trip to the Sarasota barrier islands yielded a large number of pictures which I’ve added to various Wikipedia articles. The unusually-long post I wrote became too long and unfocused. It is about 90 pages long. I am now breaking it up into specific posts by location and theme.

This one is about restaurants we we stumbled upon in this trip. I loved them, and their food. In the order we visited them: Mar Vista, Phillippi Creek Oyster Bar and Ophelia’s on the Bay.

Ophelia's on the Bay

Mar Vista

We took a drive through Longboat Key, to eat at the dockside restaurant Mar Vista which a friend had highly recommended.

Mar Vista Water View

Mar Vista with tables under a Banyan tree

Patrons came by boats and dock at the pier. Some came in jet skis. We drove to Mar Vista. Yet others just walked in.

We gorged on the famed Florida stone crab. It was so good that we actually came back the day after to have the same again. We were told that stone crabs were declawed and returned to the sea to regrow their claws. And that’s why only claws are served.

A happy customer enjoying stone crab

A happy customer enjoying stone crab

Some new folks sat down at the empty table next to us, shown in the picture above. And one of them handed his credit card to the waiter to forestall his friends from paying for the lunch. I heard him, and yelled, “hey, put our lunch on his tap, too, please.” An adjacent table called out the same joking request. It turned out that our good guy James the retired-physician now-cowboy had then instructed the waiter to do exactly that. We were most surprised and humbled when I asked our waitress for our bill.

Good guy James, retired-physician, now a cowboy

Good guy James, retired-physician, now a cowboy

We then moved our chairs over and crashed their lunch. We had a jovial conversation about us liberal Yankees and the rural conservative cowboys. I did not know being cowboy was a thing still, in Florida. I’d been now learned. Had our trip been longer we would have taken up James’ invitation to corral his cows with him, on horses. Maybe one day.

James' family and friends

James’ family and friends

It seemed like James’ friends managed to pay for his lunch after all, in the midst of the confusion about our bill, and us crashing their lunch and engaging him in a long conversation. I guess we will just have to “pay it forward” like these good folks did.

Phillippi Creek Village Restaurant & Oyster Bar

Another restaurant our friend recommended was Phillippi Creek Oyster Bar.

Phillippi Creek Village Restaurant & Oyster Bar

While waiting for a table at the bar, we asked the bartender what to order. He unconditionally recommended the Creek Combo Pot for 2 people.

Phillippi Creek Oyster Bar Creek Combo Pot Steamed Oysters

Combo pot with two dozen steamed oysters, plus shrimps, etc.

Years of shucking raw oysters at home paid off. I honestly did not think I would have to shuck these steamed oysters, before they brought that pot to me. After all, steamed clams opened up as they screamed bloody hell and got cooked alive. But these steamed oysters were determined to make life difficult for gourmet dinners. I happened to know how to shuck oysters without stabbing my own hand, but I was sure that this place saw its fair share of tourists that ordered steamed pots, and then looked at these dead but recalcitrant oysters in shock.

Phillippi Creek Oyster Bar Creek Combo Pot - Shucking Steamed Oysters

Pointing at the point of entry

Phillippi Creek Oyster Bar Creek Combo Pot - Shucking Steamed Oysters

Don’t stab my own hand, don’t…

Phillippi Creek Oyster Bar Creek Combo Pot - Shucking Steamed Oysters

A tiny drop of lemon juice

Phillippi Creek Oyster Bar Creek Combo Pot - Shucking Steamed Oysters

I could barely stop drooling

I thought the waitress was exaggerating when she brought us a big plastic bucket earlier.

Phillippi Creek Oyster Bar Creek Combo Pot Steamed Oysters

The last holdout in the pot

But she knew what she was doing.

Phillippi Creek Oyster Bar Creek Combo Pot Steamed Oysters

Bucket full of shells

Ophelia’s on the Bay

We found ourselves near Turtle Beach on Siesta Key at sunset. We stumbled upon a restaurant with a great menu and an excellent view of the sheltered Little Sarasota Bay between the Key and main land: Ophelia’s on the Bay. This place sports a newly-printed menu with different courses every day.

Ophelia's on the Bay

Ophelia's on the Bay

Ophelia's on the Bay

Seared tuna and duckling in three styles

As we were dinning, something in the far distance caught my eye. It was an osprey returning to its nest to feed its young. I grabbed the phone and fortunately got a few usable shots.

Osprey landing at its Nest

Osprey landing at its Nest

Osprey landing at its Nest

Osprey landing at its Nest

Osprey landing at its Nest

This is part five of a series. It follows part four: Siesta Key. The full series can be found here on this 90-page-long post.

About Xinhai Dude 辛亥生

The name Xinhai Dude 辛亥生 is a pun in Chinese, as it means both “he who was born in Xinhai” as well as “he who studies Xinhai”. I had an ambitious plan to write something about the great Xinhai Revolution of 1911, thus my blog https://xinhaidude.com. But after an initial flurry of activities the initiative petered out. One day I will still carry it through. But for now, this website has turned into a conglomerate of my work on various topics of interest to me, including travel pictures, RC model airplane flying, ice skating, classical music composition, science fiction short stories, evolution and atheism.
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