Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Sarasota: The Columbia Restaurant

Justin and Caroline's rehearsal dinner was at the Columbia Restaurant, in St. Armands Circle on Lido Key.  The Columbia is apparently a Florida institution; the Tampa location was established in 1905.  The rehearsal group was seated at four round tables in a cozily ornate enclave, and there was a pretty wine cellar along the back wall.

Warm loaves of bread with butter to start, along with sangria:

Salad in a garlicky dressing:

Tostones and platanos for the table.  It's hard to go wrong with fried and caramelized plantains:

Paras and I shared two entrees.  One of them was the shrimp with garlic, olive oil, and chili pepper; sauteed vegetables; black beans and rice:

Snapper with hearts of palm and sun-dried tomatoes, served with "good rice" (rice sauteed in butter with parsley, oregano, salt and pepper):

Elyse had the vegetarian platter of rice, black beans, tostones and platanos, yucca, and sauteed vegetables:

We all ate heartily and were stuffed by the time dessert was served, but we made good use of the fact that humans have a dedicated dessert stomach (which I'm looking forward to studying in gastrointestinal system lectures and in anatomy lab).  Flan:

Churros with raspberry, dark chocolate, and caramel dipping sauces (the dark chocolate sauce was definitely my favorite):

Max made some lovely churro art:

This was a fabulous meal on all fronts: delicious food, friendly and well-paced service, and most importantly, dear company gathered under the very happiest of circumstances.  Thanks to Justin and Caroline for including me in the wedding, thanks to their families for a truly memorable dinner (and weekend), and congratulations, with all best wishes, to the newlyweds!