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SRQ DAILY Aug 29, 2023

Tuesday Dining and Food Edition

Tuesday Dining and Food Edition

"Mexico is immense every part of it has different flavors, like here in the states. "

- Gino Calleja, Chef and Co-owner of Kolucan Mexican Bar and Grill

[The Dish]  Journey across Mexico at Kolucan Mexican Bar and Grill
Laura Paquette, laura.paquette@srqme.com

When Gino Calleja, the chef and co-owner of Kolucan Mexican Bar and Grill, conjured up the concept for this new Mexican restaurant, he was aiming to bring something fresh to Sarasota’s dining scene. Calleja, best known for his other local spot Reyna’s Taqueria, partnered with his friend and fellow chef Jose Rojas to bring Kolucan to life.

“Kolucan had been in my head for many years,” says Calleja, who named the establishment after San Lucas Colucan, the Mexican city from which he and his family hail. “I always liked strong words, and I thought it would be cool to pay homage to the town and my parents,” he adds. When translating many words in Nahuatl, a language indigenous to Mexico, the letter “k” is used, so Calleja added a linguistic twist to the eatery’s name.

Calleja and Rojas bring the same level of creativity to the dishes offered, which draw inspiration from the cuisine of a variety of states across the country. “Mexico is immense, and every part of it has different flavors, like here in the states,” he says. “We want to be unique and offer things from our backgrounds and roots without leaving out the most important components and original flavors, but presenting them in a different way.” Sample the Huachinango a la Veracruz, a fried wild-caught snapper with onions, peppers, jalapenos, capers and vino blanco sauce, served with roasted garlic-epazote potatoes and cilantro chimichurri. Calleja recommends trying the Tostadas de Tinga, three crispy corn tortillas with refried beans, chicken tinga, lettuce, radishes, crema, queso fresco and avocado, a fan-favorite from Reyna’s presented in a different way. Don’t miss the vegetarian Chiles Rellenos, made up of two poblano peppers stuffed with potatoes, mushrooms, onions, confit tomatoes and roasted carrots in vegetable mole with cashew sour cream.

Aside from a delicious meal, guests can enjoy the Frida lounge, decorated with works by artist Lipstick Lex, who will paint live at Kolucan once a month. With the growing diversity of people moving to the Sarasota area, Calleja is excited to introduce them to the richness of Mexican cuisine, with lunch and brunch options soon to come. “When you have that passion and keep focused on what you want to present, then people will respond,” he says.

Kolucan Mexican Bar and Grill, 6644 Gateway Ave., Sarasota, kolucan.com. 

Pictured: The Callo de Hacha de Colima, featuring pan-seared sea scallops with street corn huitlachoche risotto, serrano peppers, cotija cheese and chili powder. Photo courtesy of Kolucan Mexican Bar and Grill.

Kolucan Mexican Bar and Grill

[Hurricane Preparation]  MAI Unveils Innovative Web App for Disaster Recovery Assistance

Making An Impact (MAI) has proudly launched an innovative web app version of its Disaster Recovery Resource Guide, strategically timed to address the escalating risks faced by residents during the peak of hurricane season in Southwest Florida. Renowned for its Community Connections Resource Guide, a trusted reference tool for essential needs, the organization originally introduced its Disaster Recovery Guide in both print and flipbook formats last year in response to Hurricane Ian. Following a comprehensive update for the 2023 hurricane season in June, MAI has now unveiled the new web format, poised to assist the community in preparation for impending Hurricane Idalia.The MAI Disaster Recovery Resource Guide is a comprehensive resource encompassing 29 categories, housing over 100 listings of organizations and agencies offering services and programs frequently sought after major disasters. This vital resource  is now accessible around the clock through a user-friendly searchable web app. Additionally, limited quantities of printed guides, QR code wallet cards, and informative signage are available to further support the community.  Making An Impact’s Disaster Recovery and Community Connections Resource Guides are available both in print and online, providing critical emergency and essential need information for Sarasota and Manatee counties. For immediate access to the new online MAI Disaster Resource Guide via a user-friendly web app. Please visit https://disasterrecovery.making-an-impact.org/ or explore the organization’s website at www.Making-An-Impact.org 

[Airport News]  Inclement Weather Notification from SRQ Airport Communications

Airport Operations is monitoring Tropical Storm Idalia. The storm is currently expected to make landfall as a category 3 hurricane near the gulf coast of Florida. The SRQ airport is currently just outside of the cone, but we can expect wind and rain Tuesday evening into Wednesday morning. PLEASE SECURE LOOSE ITEMS, CONSTRUCTION MATERIAL, LUGGAGE CARTS, ETC., PRIOR TO TUESDAY EVENING. PLEASE CONTACT AIRPORT OPERATIONS (941) 359-2770 X4300 or SRQOPS@SRQ-Airport.com TO REPORT CHANGES IN YOUR OPERATIONS SUCH AS CANCELLED FLIGHTS, CLOSED OFFICES / BUSINESS, ETC OR TO REPORT ANY DAMAGE. 

[Arts & Entertainment]  New Directors of Development and Marketing Join Asolo Rep Theatre

Asolo Repertory Theatre announced today that Sarah Johnson has been named the theatre’s new Director of Development and Eric Pugh has been named Director of Marketing and Communications, both are now serving in these capacities. Asolo Rep's Managing Director, Ross Egan said, “As Peter Rothstein and I begin our tenure, we believe these two experienced and creative individuals will play a key role in leading Asolo Rep into its new beginning." About Sarah Johnson: Sarah Johnson holds two Bachelor degrees in Criminology and Investigations and Communications Studies from West Virginia University. She also holds an Associates Degree in Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management but has somehow found herself fundraising in the non-profit world for the past thirteen years. Sarah spent more than seven years working at the UNHCR- United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, a job that took her all over the world raising funds and advocating for displaced people. Over the course of her career, she has raised more than $115 million dollars and is eager to make an impact at Asolo Rep. Sarah joined as the Associate Development Director in February 2022 and now as Director of Development, she is excited to build a strong team and contribute to the success of the organization. “I look forward to continuing to connect with our incredible supporters and to engage with the Sarasota community that has proved passionate about embracing the performing arts,” stated Johnson. About Eric Pugh: “I am honored to lead the marketing and communications efforts, working alongside Ross and Peter, at this historic and beloved theatre,” said Asolo Rep’s Director of Marketing and Communications, Eric Pugh. “I am looking forward to becoming reacquainted with the Sarasota community and strengthening the Asolo Rep’s commitment to community.” Eric Pugh joins Asolo Repertory Theatre, after most recently serving as the Director of Marketing for America’s oldest and largest outdoor theatre, The Muny, where he led audience redevelopment after the pandemic. Pugh’s successes have included increasing ticket revenue at the Fulton Theatre in Lancaster, Pennsylvania by over $2.3 Million or 70% during his tenure, which also includes an increase in subscriptions of nearly 4,000 or 60%. He has held similar positions, with comparable results at Cleveland Play House, STAGES St. Louis, Florida Studio Theatre and the Carousel. An avid theatre fan, he feels blessed to be doing what he loves. When not at work, he can be found at a local theatre, or in New York, checking out the latest productions.  

[Arts & Entertainment]  The Nancy And David Bilheimer Capitol Theatre Presents Judy Collins On January 18

The Nancy and David Bilheimer Capitol Theatre presents Judy Collins on Thursday, January 18 at 8 pm. Tickets go on sale Friday, September 1 at 10 am. In her 50-plus years in music, Judy Collins has always exhibited impeccable taste in song craft. On her landmark 1967 album, Wildflowers, she curated a stunning collection featuring originals alongside songs by not-yet household names such as Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen, and adventurous selections by Jacques Brel and Francesco Landini. Her discerning palette, and her literary gifts, have enabled her to evolve into a poetic, storyteller songwriter. Now, in her 6th decade as a singer and songwriter, Judy is experiencing a profound level of growth and prolific creativity. The cultural treasure’s 55th release, Spellbound, released February 25, 2022, finds Judy enjoying an artistic renaissance. The 13 song album is a special entry in her oeuvre. It marks the first time ever she wrote all the songs on one of her albums. It features 12 new recently-written modern folk songs, and a bonus track of her evergreen, The Blizzard. Spellbound is an introspective and impressionistic album. It unfolds as if Judy curated a museum exhibit of her life, and welcomed us into a retrospective of her most formative moments, some big and public, and some intensely personal and intimate. In Judy’s eloquently written liner notes, she dedicates Spellbound to folk masters Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie. On the album, she furthers their traditions of generously sharing their lives, loves, and personal reflection. Also, in her notes, Judy relates the origins of her songwriting—a story some know, and a testament to how gloriously unpredictable art and the muse are. Story goes that in 1966 Leonard Cohen made a special trip to Judy’s apartment to play her his song, Suzanne, and, while there, asked her why she wasn’t writing her own songs. Her response was to sit down at her Steinway that very day and write, Since You’ve Asked. Judy has been writing ever since then. In the studio, Judy worked with a trusted family of musicians, including co-producer Alan Silverman and singer-songwriter-guitarist Ari Hest. Ari has worked closely with Judy for years, and, in 2016, Judy and Ari were nominated for a Best Of Folk Album GRAMMY® for their duet album, Silver Skies Blue. In the studio the core group of musicians on the album are multi-instrumentalist Thad DeBrock (Duncan Sheik, Nelly, Jonas Brothers), bassist Zev Katz (Marc Anthony, Elton John, Billy Joel), and drummer Doug Yowell (Suzanne Vega, Joe Jackson, Duncan Sheik) – additional musicians on album are detailed within the album’s liner notes. In a life and a career brimming with milestone moments, Spellbound is a high watermark of artistry and personal evolution. Though Judy has been writing for half a century, her new album ushers in an era of unbridled creativity. "I always knew I was going to be a late bloomer," she says, cracking up with laughter. Tickets priced at $65, $49 and $35 are available at The Raymond James Central Ticket Office at Ruth Eckerd Hall, by calling 727-791-7400 or visiting www.RuthEckerdHall.com. The Raymond James Central Ticket Office at Ruth Eckerd Hall is open Tuesday through Thursday, from noon to 6 pm, Friday, from 10 am to 6 pm, and Saturday, from noon to 6 pm. The Bilheimer Capitol Theatre Box Office opens two hours prior to show time. 

[Fundraising Event]  All Star Children's Foundation and DreamLarge Launch State of Mind Event

All Star Children's Foundation and DreamLarge are thrilled to announce "State of Mind: A Trauma Informed Experience," a half-day event curated to raise awareness among community leaders about the profound impact of trauma on individuals and society. This event serves as a catalyst for open and thought-provoking discussions on the importance of trauma-informed approaches. The conference will take place on Thursday, September 21, 2023 from 1pm to 7pm at Florida Studio Theatre. Tickets are on sale now for $75 and can be purchased online at dreamlarge.co/som or StateofMind.org Through the lenses of nationally-recognized speakers, State of Mind aims to shed light on the transformative power of trauma-informed care, fostering greater empathy and understanding in our community. This gathering serves as a platform to equip attendees with insights into how trauma affects communities and facilitate discussions on why adopting trauma-informed approaches is crucial. State of Mind is created by All Star Children’s Foundation and DreamLarge. With a deep commitment to evidence-based, trauma-informed practices, All Star Children’s Foundation aims to address the complex and diverse needs of these children while recognizing the intergenerational nature of trauma. DreamLarge, the first benefit corporation on the Gulf Coast of Florida, is dedicated to cultivating thoughtful and creative solutions for large community challenges. For more information or to purchase tickets, please visit StateofMind.org. 

[Visit Sarasota County]  Discover Natural Sarasota - Caspersen Beach

Caspersen Beach

There’s just some-fin about Caspersen Beach, also known as the shark-tooth capital of the world. Tucked away in quiet South Venice, the beach is home to crystal clear gulf waters and amenities such as a pavilion, playground, restrooms and showers, picnic tables and boardwalks. Enjoy two miles of shaded hiking trails with cut-through paths to the waves. 

4100 Harbor Drive S., Venice.

Check out more on this feature!

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Sarasota Cars and Coffee at University Town Center , March 11 – December 9, 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.

This monthly gathering of car enthusiasts brings together automobile lovers from every walk of life, not to mention a wide array of spectacular cars. Bring your own vehicle (all makes and models are welcome) to show off, or check out the hundreds of cars on display. Each month, the event sponsors a different charity, and attendees are encouraged to donate $10 to benefit the charity. The event, occuring on the second Sunday of each month, will feature live music, complimentary coffee and more. To learn more, visit facebook.com/carsandcoffee941. Sarasota Cars and Coffee, The West District at University Town Center near Ford’s Garage, 295 N. Cattlemen Rd., Sarasota.

[SOON]  FOOD: SIN Nights at Geckos on Hillview , May 12 – August 31, 10 pm to midnight

Enjoy SIN Nights for Geckos Hospitality and Service Industry Colleagues. Join Geckos on Hillview Street in Southside Village and let us serve you late at night after your shift on Friday and Saturday nights. We will keep the light on late for you and offer Geckos food and drink specials just for you from 10-Midnight. Come in wearing your uniform or bring in your schedule and enjoy the camaraderie of friends at Geckos on Hillview. 1900 Hillview Street, Sarasota, www.GeckosGrill.com.

[SOON]  FOOD: Amore Restaurant Wine Dinner , August 29, Restaurant dinner hours

Amore Restaurant, which specializes in delectable Portuguese and Italian cuisine, will host a five course wine dinner. A specific wine will accompany each course. Dishes will include salted cod, beef Wellington and vanilla creme brulee. $130.00 per person all inclusive with drinks, and $100.00 per person all inclusive without drinks. Visit amorelbk.com to learn more.

[SOON]  FOOD: A Journey of Flavors at Tzeva , August 31, 6:30 pm

Gather with friends and family at Tzeva on Thursday, August 31 for A Journey of Flavors, a four course wine dinner accompanied by the storied wines of Castello Banfi. Created by Executive Chef Ken Shiro Lumpkin, the menu will feature Mediterranean dishes packed with flavor starting with Court Bouillon Poached Flounder paired with La Pettegola Vermentino 2022 and rounding out the evening with a decadent Chocolate Torte paired with Excelsus 2018. Guests will also be delighted to taste Coriander Duck Breast while sipping Magna Cum Laude 2019 as well as savor Stuffed Lamb Saddle with Brunello di Montalcino 2018. A Journey of Flavors will begin at 6:30 PM, and tickets can be purchased through Eventbrite. Tickets are $75 per person, or upgrade to include a room package and enjoy a stay at Art Ovation Hotel after the delicious evening for $175. https://www.eventbrite.com/e/a-journey-of-flavors-tickets-699278339337?aff=oddtdtcreator

[SOON]  FOOD: Sarasota Opera Food and Wine Festival , September 23, 1 to 4pm
On Saturday, September 23, 2023, from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. the Sarasota Opera Food and Wine Festival will take place at Sarasota Opera House. Local restaurants will gather to serve tasty bites, wine, and other treats as a benefit for Sarasota Youth Opera. Throughout the event, there will be performances from the Youth Opera chorus and Sarasota Opera artists, as well as raffles and other activities. Tickets are now available for $75 per person and can be purchased online at www.sarasotaopera.org/foodandwinefest, or at the Box Office located at 61 N. Pineapple Avenue, Sarasota, FL 34236, or by calling the Box Office at (941) 328-1300. All proceeds go to support the Youth Opera and Education programming. This season, Sarasota Opera events are produced by Mary Kenealy Events. Restaurants interested in participating in this event can find registration information at www.sarasotaopera.org/foodandwinefest-registration.
[SOON]  GALA: 21st Annual Buddy Walk with Bringing Up Down Syndrome , October 28, 10 am to 2 pm

Bringing Up Down Syndrome will hold its 21st annual Buddy Walk on Saturday, October 28th from 10 am to 2 pm at Bayside Community Church, located at 15800 FL64 in Bradenton, Florida. This exciting event is the largest Down syndrome awareness and celebration experience in the area. This event will feature live music with celebrated vocalist and DJ, MoTown Ross Brown, silent auction, carnival games, a 50/50 raffle, food and beverages, and a variety of other family friendly activities. All donations support programs and services offered to over 250 families across Manatee and Sarasota counties. Register now at manasotabuds.org.

[SOON]  FOOD: Taste of New Orleans at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens , October 28, 5:30-7:30pm

Taste of New Orleans will take place on Saturday, October 28th at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens. This event has developed an exceptional reputation, providing guests with hors doeuvres, live entertainment, and an unforgettable bayfront setting. Taste of New Orleans sponsorships are available at a variety of levels. Proceeds support Truly Valued programs, that increase confidence and better decision making skills through changed behaviors of the youth and families that we serve. Visit https://trulyvalued.org/taste-of-new-orleans to purchase tickets.

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: The Ringling Art of Performance Season Kickoff Party: White Hot Fête , October 20, 7pm

Secure your tickets to our Art of Performance Season Kickoff Party: White Hot Fête on Friday, Oct 20 featuring La Dame Blanche. White Hot Fête is Sarasota’s hottest party. Put on your stylish glow and celebrate the opening of the cultural season in your finest all-white attire! General admission includes a pre and post-show DJ, live concert with La Dame Blanche, as well as food and beverages for purchase. Tickets for general admission are $35 for non-members and $31.50 for members. VIP admission includes priority entrance to the venue at 7pm, a private VIP Section, open bar and buffet, as well as VIP parking access. VIP tickets are $125 per ticket. Be sure to buy your tickets soon, VIP tickets are limited. 5401 Bayshore Rd., Sarasota, www.theringling.org.

[SOON]  MUSIC: Key Chorale Bachtoberfest , October 13 – October 15

Bach and Beer-a perfect combination! Key Chorale Chamber Singers and the Church of the Redeemer presents its unique take on Oktoberfest, with a 3-day festival celebrating the music and genius of Johann Sebastian Bach from October 13-15. Enjoy four amazing concerts featuring the stunning virtuosity of soprano Mary Wilson, trumpeter Aaron Romm, vocalists, and chamber orchestra. Concluding with a Biergarten Experience of German food, beers from Calusa Brewing, and music from Bill Milner’s Oompah Band, featuring guest artists Aaron Romm, Mary Wilson, Thea Lobo, Matt Morgan and David Tinervia. Ticket prices include a $200 three-day pass that includes all four concerts, as well as a Biergarten experience pass. For single concert tickets, prices range from $15-45, with student tickets being offered for $10. All concerts and experiences will be located at 222 S Palm Ave., Sarasota. For more information visit www.keychorale.org.

[SOON]  FOOD: Loire Valley Wine Dinner at Mademoiselle Paris , September 28 – September 29, 6:30 pm

Mademoiselle Paris will host the Loire Valley Wine Dinner at their University Town Center and Anna Maria Island locations. As wine lovers, we organize every month a wine tasting, on a specific region of France. The menu is designed by our chef Arnaud Wallet and related to the region. During this wine tastings we introduce the specific region or grape, talk about tourism and the vineyard. We introduce each domain, trying to pick family businesses, and every wine. Each time we also introduce a restaurant we recommend in France and we share a little bit of France Culture and history. We use a PowerPoint support to illustrate with pictures and graphics and to give more interest in our presentation. As the cherry on the cake, we have a quiz and we offer bottles of the wine tasting to the best participants. Reservations required. Reserve your spot at mademoiselleparis.com/winetasting.

[SOON]  SEMINAR: State of Mind: A Trauma-Informed Experience , September 21, 1-7pm

Join us on September 21st for State of Mind: A Trauma-Informed Experience, an enlightening half-day event designed to raise awareness among community leaders about the profound impact of trauma on individuals and society. Come to the esteemed Florida Studio Theatre for an empowering experience that will shape a more compassionate and trauma-aware society. At the heart of this initiative is All Star Children's Foundation, guided by a steadfast mission: to cultivate brighter futures for children in foster care through innovation, science, and compassion. To bring All Star’s vision to life, they have partnered with DreamLarge, a pioneering benefit corporation dedicated to inspiring community impact and cultivating a brighter tomorrow. Together, All Star Children's Foundation and DreamLarge bring their collective strengths to create a space for shared commitment, and open, thought-provoking discussions on the importance of trauma-informed approaches. Throughout the conference, speakers will offer insights into the essence of trauma and its far-reaching effects. Engaging presentations will provide essential knowledge about trauma-informed care, inspiring enlightening discussions to foster empathy and understanding. Tickets for the event are $75. The event will take place from 1-7pm at Florida Studio Theatre, 1241 N Palm Ave., Sarasota. For more information visit www.dreamlarge.org.

[SOON]  GALA: Whip, Sip and Mingle! , September 16, 7pm

Get ready for a night of fun, laughter, and mingling at the exciting event, Whip, Sip and Mingle with Truly Valued on September, 16! Whip, Sip and Mingle is all about bringing people together in a relaxed and informal setting. This event offers a great chance to connect with like-minded individuals, and make new friends. Do not miss out on this exciting event! The event will start at 7pm and will be located at 6127 26th Street W, Bradenton. Tickets may be purchased at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/whip-sip-and-mingle-tickets-687507101247.

SRQ Media Group

SRQ DAILY is produced by SRQ | The Magazine. Note: The views and opinions expressed in the Saturday Perspectives Edition and in the Letters department of SRQ DAILY are those of the author(s) and do not imply endorsement by SRQ Media. Senior Editor Jacob Ogles edits the Saturday Perspective Edition, Letters and Guest Contributor columns.In the CocoTele department, SRQ DAILY is providing excerpts from news releases as a public service. Reference to any specific product or entity does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation by SRQ DAILY. The views expressed by individuals are their own and their appearance in this section does not imply an endorsement of them or any entity they represent. For rates on SRQ DAILY banner advertising and sponsored content opportunities, please contact Ashley Ryan Cannon at 941-365-7702 x211 or via email

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