Satisfying Our Sugar Tooth at Sweet In the City
With 32 different flavors of cupcakes, wedding cakes and cookies, the master baker behind all the sugary goodness is none other than Jeanette Cando. After well over 15 years of baking, Jeanette, along with her son Javier and their newest addition, Nico, work to make Sarasota just a little bit sweeter.
Upon entering the candy-coated wonderland, we were invited to sample, not one, not two, but all 6 gelato flavors. After trying everything from rum raisin to cappuccino, I savored a large double scoop cake cone of Striatella (made with milk and bits of Belgium chocolate). It’s hands down my new favorite flavor.
Javi then explained the difference between gelato and ice cream. Did you know that gelato has 10% less fat than ice cream? Or that gelato is made more slowly and with milk instead of cream? Neither did I. All I knew was that both options proved incredibly delicious.
The Sweet in the City staff get their gelato from St. Arman's circle and it always promises to bring in a great deal of foot traffic on the weekends. Located right next to a $2 movie theater, people are often found streaming in for a snack between films.
Though the gelato and ice cream is delicious, the shops true specialty has always been a little cakier. So, our next stop was to the kitchen where surrounded by white shelves stocked with ribbons and frosting, the magic really happens. Inside we found Javi and Jeanette hard at work on a 3 tiered wedding cake.
One of their most popular theme is "The Beach", which isn't too surprising given that Sarasota is such a popular location for beach weddings. This cake was no exception from the rest and was topped off with all the typical beach fixings; blue frosting to represent the water as well as sand dollars and starfish made out of edible crackers.
While we couldn't have a taste of this work of art, we were treated to coffee by Nico. Only having worked at the pastry shop for 3 days, he bragged about how great his boss was and how fantastic it was to be surrounded by ice cream, gelato and cupcakes all day. At 16 years old, he's living the dream, (not that I'm jealous or anything).
Just think, 7 months ago Javi was still working an accounting job somewhere, Jeanette was still selling to her friends, and you would’ve been lost in your search for the perfect sugar rush. Thankfully, Jeanette, Javi and Nico offer the homemade cakey treats, creamy cones and gelato to everyone (yes, that includes you!). Don’t take it for granted. Go on and stop by, or better yet, order right now through Takeout button and snag your sweets a little sooner.
There are very few people that still smoke the old fashioned way” says Craig Gross, owner of Frankie's Patriotic BBQ. Thankfully, he’s one of them. The Takeout Button team had the pleasure to try some of that old fashioned smoked BBQ food and dive into everything from how rib tips are made to how you can get some for yourself.
During our visit, Craig gave us the grand tour showing us how a lot of the food is prepped, cooked and served. It’s different from a lot of chain restaurant’s which Craig lumps generally under “consistently mediocre”. He and his team have always tried to do better than that. For the last 4 years they have been serving fresh, delicious and amazing food each and every day. Without a freezer in sight, I’d say it’s a mission accomplished.
The first stop during our visit was to the outdoor smoker, custom built to reduce airflow and on that day, stocked full of rib tips and Texas style hot sausage. One of the many things we learned that afternoon was that rib tips come from the spare ribs with that part of the rib cut off then it turns into a St. Louis rib and they are pork. Brisket is beef.
With Brisket and pork tips as two of the restaurant's biggest sellers, a lot goes into their preparation, a process we got to witness first hand. Craig's preparation style is one of a kind and a part of his method includes a wet rub of spices and nothing but mid-western grain fed beef, Angus choice or higher. With the addition of his secret sauce and 100% oak wood for the smoker, a deliciously juicy result can be expected in just over 12 hours.
Craig says the restaurant smokes a case of the 13lb briscuits everyday and during the whole process, he doesn’t take any measurements. I suppose after 40 years of smoking, that’s to be expected.
As a gold star father, Craig dedicated the restaurant to his son Frank Gross, who died in action in 2011. The restaurant, adorned with patches, medals, American flags, and challenge coins like the one he gave to his own son when he left for the war, is just part of the way the Frankie’s crew pay tribute to soldiers and their families.
After we watched his work in the kitchen, we headed out to taste the product for ourselves and the food was superb. The soft cornbread melting in my mouth, creamy potato salad leaving its trail on my chin and the tender brisket, ribs and rib tips mixing so well with the specially made BBQ sauce.
With their friendly staff, homey atmosphere and delicious food, our visit to the BBQ’s new location in Clearwater was a lot like coming home and one week later, I’m already aching to go back.“It’s hard work”, said Craig, but that’s what it takes to do it right. If you’d like to taste some of that BBQ done right, don’t hesitate to drive over to Frankies' Patriot BBQ. Lunch time is busy, so go ahead and order ahead online with the help of Takeout Button. Be sure to look out for part two of this blog on Frankie’s Patriot BBQ and when you get to the restaurant go ahead and eat an extra piece of cornbread just for me.