Norma Jeans Steak House Grill Room – Venice, FL

We had a phenomenal experience tonight at the Norma Jeans Steak House Grill Room! I never expected to find something so upscale in a tiny strip mall. The interior is warm and welcoming, with the soft sounds of Sinatra in the background. Who knew something like this would be hidden behind a sports bar!

Our Night at Norma Jean’s Steak House Grill Room

Let me start by saying that our server, Alberto, was superb. Not only was he extremely knowledgeable about the menu, he recommended a few dishes and let us know about slight changes that may have affected our selections. He was friendly and provided some of the best service we’ve had in Venice.

Fresh Bread and Lobster Bisque

Alberto brought over a wooden cutting board with a fresh, hot loaf of bread served with an herb butter. The bread had a great crust and the butter had a delightful freshness from the herbs. It made a nice pairing for our first course, which was a crock of the lobster bisque. We were in awe of the considerably large chunks of lobster that contributed beautifully to the rich flavor in every bite.

For our entrees, I had the 8 oz sirloin, cooked medium-well, with asparagus and creamed spinach. Juicy and seasoned well, the steak was cooked just to my liking with perfect grill marks. The creamed spinach was made with fresh spinach, cooked down in a flavorful cream sauce that I would happily order again. As you may have guessed, I loved every part of my meal.​

Jason ordered the 14 oz boneless ribeye steak, ordered medium, and cooked just as he likes it, with the same great flavor and perfect grill marks. He agrees with my assessment of the creamed spinach.

His other side was originally macaroni and cheese, however, we both found it to have a strange sour note which Alberto said may have been the result of a new recipe from the new chef.

​He graciously traded it for a sweet potato with brown sugar and butter, which hubby liked much better.​

Little princess went for chicken tenders and rice… and as any child would, she loved it.

​As a mother, I have to make the point to say that I really appreciate how kid friendly they are! It was so nice to feel like I could have a really nice, quality dinner with my husband and know that there was something on the menu that our little girl would enjoy too!

As a treat, he sent us home with some delicious lemon Italian cream cake… which we all took a bite of when we returned home. Light, fluffy, with a sweet cream filling and subtle lemon flavor that (almost) overwhelmed my willpower against sweets. (Thank goodness for husbands that will take care of the temptations by finishing off the treats!)

All in all, we will definitely be adding this to our list of places to return to.
​We highly recommend you all give it a try before season starts!

A Day At The Venice Farmer’s Market

It has been a while since my schedule allowed me the opportunity to visit the Venice Farmer’s Market. Every Saturday, this awesome market sets up in the parking lot in front of City Hall in Venice. There are so many vendors selling everything from fruits and vegetables to gift items, fresh jellies, flowers, baked goods and more. Keep reading to discover some of the awesome vendors I found during my outing!

The Venice Farmer’s Market

The Venice Farmer's Market selling fresh produce

The Venice Farmer’s Market is located in the City Hall parking lot at 401 W. Venice Avenue in Venice, FL. From October to March, this market is open from 8 am to 1 pm, the rest of the year the market closes at 12 pm. As I mentioned above, there is so much to do and see, you simply have to experience it for yourself.

If you or someone you know receives EBT benefits, otherwise known as SNAP or Food Stamps, this market is a real treat. Thanks to a grant through the state of Florida, every $1 spent at the market counts for double up to $40. Meaning if you spend $40, you would receive $40 in red chips to spend anywhere they are accepted in the market. Then you would also receive another $40 in green chips to be spent on Florida grown products. It’s an amazing program to help struggling families eat healthier!

Just wait until you see all the goodies at the market though! I’ll start with one of my favorites…

Stamper Cheese

Stamper Cheese in Venice Fl

My first stop at the Farmer’s Market was Stamper Cheese. A sweet woman named Mindy called me over to sample a small piece of raspberry bellavitano, which had a subtle sweetness that I think would pair deliciously with a glass of wine. She was a wealth of knowledge and seemed to genuinely love talking with people and sharing the taste of various cheeses.

​She continued to tempt me with various samples: an aged manchego, a dry sheep’s milk cheese with an almost caramel, nutty flavor like a brown butter; From dill cheese curds to applewood smoked gouda, there wasn’t anything on that table that I didn’t like. I could have spent the afternoon just at this booth alone and been completely satisfied. My favorite though? The pistachio roll. A creamy cheddar and blue cheese rolled in crushed pistachios. Stop by and grab a sample, you’ll be glad you did!

Leah’s Lemonade

The Florida sunshine can be rough when you have been walking the Venice Farmer’s Market all afternoon, especially for me. After several years of having limited mobility because of my health, the fact that I can spend the afternoon walking up and down the street at the market is a HUGE win for me! So, my reward after my successful day of activity is a delicious, ice-cold glass of Leah’s Lemonade.

The best part about this lemonade stand is that they have the option to have it sweetened with Stevia! As a diabetic, I can appreciate that they have sugar alternatives. I also love that it is fresh-squeezed lemonade infused with bright fruity flavors like strawberry, mango or peach. You could even add a zing with ginger or basil! I have a love of ginger, making my choice clear.  A small ginger lemonade sweetened with Stevia! 

Thirsty yet? It’s amazing!

Chef Chasky and his Gourmet Products

Chef Chasky in Venice Florida

I can always count on Chef Chasky and his wife to be serving up something delicious for lunch using his specialty seasonings that he infuses with essential oils for healthier meals. Today was no exception, he was making a delicious risotto which I happily sampled as I looked through his other offerings.

I made sure to pick up a grinder of Sea Salt infused with CBD oil… My husband is a huge supporter of CBD and the healing properties it can have on the body. We are big believers in our house!

Let me take a moment to address the topic of Cannabidiol Oil or CBD oil. It can be a controversial topic because of the confusion that surrounds what it is and what effects it has on the body. Marijuana has both THC and CBD, but when the psycho-active portion, THC is removed, the CBD is left behind. The medicinal benefits that marijuana promotes are still there in the CBD without the mind-altering drawbacks from the THC.

How’s that for a little education? Chef Craig Chasky is all about educating the public about the benefits of Infused Cuisine, and not just with CBD. He uses pure therapeutic grade essential oils in his cooking!

Definitely stop by his booth and check out all the seasonings and sauces he has to offer. You won’t be disappointed.

Busy on Saturdays? Here are the other Farmer’s Markets near Venice!

  • Braves Farmer’s Market
    • CoolToday Park
      18800 South West Villages Parkway
      Venice, FL
      Wednesdays from 8 am – 12 pm
  • Dearborn Street Market
    • 348 W Dearborn St
      Englewood, FL
      Tuesdays from October-May 9 AM – 2 PM
  • SWFL Produce Co-Op
    • This is a special pop-up event on Sundays. Pre-orders are necessary, but worth it! SWFL Produce is a co-op farm out of Punta Gorda and they work with other local farms to bring the freshest produce and products into their customer’s hands. Join our group to learn more. Venice Foodies and SWFL Produce
  • White Picket Produce
    • Have your produce delivered right to your door or your office! Read more here.

Private Dinner at Blu Island Bistro – Venice Foodies Event

There is nothing that I love more than getting together with friends and enjoying a great meal. It’s even better when it’s an amazing restaurant like Blu Island Bistro. I wanted to have an event for our Venice Foodies to be able to get together and make some new friends while enjoying some of the best dishes that Venice has to offer. I was so grateful to Kim for reaching out and offering to not just host an event for the Venice Foodies, but to have an exclusive DINNER event! 

Private Dinner at Blu Island Bistro

Private Event in Venice FL

Blu Island Bistro is typically only open for breakfast and lunch, although in the past they were almost infamous for their dinners. Now, dinner entrees are reserved for special events and catering. If you are looking for catering in Venice, this is definitely a spot to consider.

The Main Event

The menu for this event was absolutely delicious. Chef Alan is a culinary mastermind and the dishes he put together were a great representation of his best flavors. This event was set up with fantastic live chef stations, which kept the buffet line moving in a fun way. It also brought in another local chef and a friend of Chef Alan’s, Chef Tony from Suncoast Cafe!

Chef Tony at Suncoast Cafe helping out for catering in Venice FL

We are big fans of Chef Tony as well, Suncoast Cafe in Venice is one of our favorite breakfast spots!

Blu Salad

To start our meal off, the salad offered was their signature “Blu Salad”. This is on their regular menu at lunchtime, and happens to be one of my favorite dishes on their menu. Naturally, it was the first dish I grabbed. It starts with fresh greens, juicy berries, craisins, pecans and finishes with a sweet strawberry balsamic dressing. The balance of flavors with the sweetness and freshness of the produce is the perfect recipe for a healthy indulgence. If you are dining in there during the week, I recommend adding on a piece of grilled chicken breast to add a delicious protein boost.

The Reuben Bar

Chef Chad was a delight as he prepared the mini Reuben sandwiches at his live chef station. I often end up with a soggy sandwich when they are prepared for an event in advance, so I appreciated that each sandwich was assembled as guests were moving through the line.

The rye bread was grilled to golden crispy perfection with just the right balance of saurkraut to corned beef ratio. The Russian dressing gave it the sauce factor that I was craving without causing the bread to soften or to just be a source of dripping mess. This wasn’t the only sandwich to tempt us however, the Reuben was only the beginning.

The Whiskey BLT Bar

The whiskey bacon is a dish typically served on their weekly menu. Thick slabs of pork belly fried up to have crispy edges and then drenched in a sweet whiskey infused glaze. It is my husband’s absolute favorite dish on the menu. For this event, they took it to a whole different level by turning it into a BLT slider. Grilled brioche buns with thick slabs of juicy tomatoes and a crisp hunk of iceberg lettuce paired well with the crunch and sweetness of the bacon. Chef Miranda expertly built sandwiches just like the Reuben bar so that everyone received a perfect slider.

Shooters, Scallops and Tacos

The next few stations were small bites, but still packed with flavor. The shooter and scallop station had so much flavor packed into such tiny bites. A plastic shot glass filled with fresh shrimp in a perfect gazpacho-tequila combination… and then a little spoon with a cucumber and dill salsa topped with a blackened scallop… YUM!

Everyone loves a good taco station and this was no exception. Fresh mahi-mahi and my favorite grilled chicken with cilantro-lime slaw and pico de gallo… I opted to have it without the soft tortilla shell, and still it had an abundance of flavor. 

Lollipop Lamb Chop Station

The final entree on the menu, Lamb chops. Tender, New Zealand lamb chops expertly cut into lollipop style portions and cooked to tender perfection with a savory feta-herb crust, it was easily a main dish worth waiting for. My husband, Jason, happens to love lamb. Unfortunately, it’s not something I serve often at home so he ended up going back at least twice for more!

Banana Foster and Ice Cream Station

No meal is complete without a sweet bite and this evening was no different! The flames were rising at the Bananas Foster station as Chef James from Sysco helped out to serve caramelized bananas served hot over a scoop of simply delicious vanilla ice cream.

Need Catering in Venice?

As you can see from how incredible our event went, Blu Island Bistro is an incredible choice when you need catering in Venice. They offer dinner events but also catered dishes for other locations! In fact, during Thanksgiving, they are very popular for their full dinners!

Contact Blu Island Bistro for all of your catering needs, or stop by for a delicious meal anytime!

Blu Island Bistro is located at 625 S Tamiami Trail, Venice, FL 34285

Phone: (941) 485-8200

Thanks to Ms. Tula Watt, for sharing these incredible photos from the event!

Breakfast in Venice: Our Favorites

When the sun comes out and it’s time to find breakfast in Venice, where do you go? Are you craving a tradition plate of bacon, eggs and toast or perhaps something more upscale like a eggs benedict? There are a wide variety of restaurants that provide a delicious breakfast plate. This guide will tell you all you need to know to find restaurants serving breakfast nearby.

breakfast in Venice FL, breakfast near me, breakfast on venice island,

Hunting for Breakfast in Venice? Start with these 5 places.

Blu Island Bistro

625 S Tamiami Trail, Venice, FL 34285

Nestled into the front of a motel, Blu Island Bistro is located on Venice Island. This local favorite is owned and operated by Chef Alan Laskowski, originally from Philadelphia. He has had a very successful career including award-winning dishes and a feature on the Food Network. While there is a menu that is available every day, the real treasures always lie on his specials that change on a daily basis. On the weekends, Chef Alan makes his famous donuts that are rolled in cinnamon sugar before being drizzled in icing and topped with fresh strawberries.

whiskey bacon at blu island bistro
Crab cake Benedict at Blu Island Bistro

Our Choices:

Jason: Whiskey Bacon – A thick slab of pork belly served crispy with a sweet whiskey glaze. I always steal a bite because it is just an incredible dish.

Alyssa: Crab Cake Benedict – Thick cut, fluffy English muffins topped with a flavor-packed crab cake, a poached egg, and a slightly spicy remoulade hollandaise sauce.

Suncoast Cafe

400 Airport Ave E, Venice, Florida

We love hidden gems and Suncoast Cafe is no exception. It is located inside the Venice Airport and if you don’t know what you’re looking for, you could miss it. However, this is not a place to miss. Chef Tony brings Caribbean flair and a sunny personality that makes you feel like family as soon as you walk in the door. The kitchen is wide open so you can watch everything being prepared along with windows around the back and side of the restaurants to view planes that may be taking off or landing. They serve their own house blend made by Venetian Coffee Roasters for their coffee and it is full of flavor. The signature of this restaurant seems to be the artistic detail of the cucumber, which I just love looking at!

Good breakfast in venice

Our Choices:

Jason: Biscuits and Gravy – This is Jason’s go-to meal for breakfast. This is a no frills, stick to your ribs, southern staple at its finest.

Alyssa: The classic breakfast of crispy bacon, rye toast and perfectly cooked eggs. While it’s simple, it’s also a great breakfast!

Biscuits and Gravy at Suncoast Cafe

Le Petit Jardin Cafe

​1500 E Venice Ave, Unit 401, ​Venice, FL 34292

Take a trip out to East Venice Ave to find this cozy cafe, Le Petit Jardin, tucked into the Galleria Plaza. This is the place to go to find a high-quality meal without the high price tag. They have seating both indoors and outdoors, depending on your preference. For a real indulgence, start your meal off with a sweet, bubbly, refreshing peach bellini! From offerings including various crepes, quiche, french toast or a simple croissant, there is a little something for everyone.

breakfast in venice biscuits and gravy
crepe with fruit breakfast in venice

Our Choices:

Jason: As per his usual, he loved their special of biscuits and gravy served with scrambled eggs and a side of sausage.

Alyssa: The Le Crepe Delacroix! A scrumptious crepe filled with ham, eggs and melted swiss drizzled with a champagne mustard sauce that will have you fighting the urge to lick the plate clean.

Yummies Donuts & BBQ

2001 S. Tamiami Trail, Venice, FL 34293

While this may not be a sit-down restaurant, Yummies does have tables inside to sit and enjoy a breakfast treat. Cases are filled with fresh-made donuts, bagels, loaves of bread and pastries as soon as you walk in the door. Owned by Allen and Karen Tines, they put their heart and soul into building this small town staple. Allen makes these delectable treats every day from scratch from only the highest quality ingredients. If you choose to come later in the day or on a Saturday, you can also get a taste of his BBQ sandwiches! One, in particular, is his claim to fame, the Sticky Pig, which was featured in Food Network magazine, is a pulled pork sandwich served on a glazed cinnamon bun.

Apple Fritter at Yummies Donuts and BBQ

Our Choices:

Jason: You guessed it, Yummies has a signature biscuit bowl overflowing with sausage gravy. Not only is it his favorite breakfast, but our daughter also loves it even more than the donuts.

Alyssa: The apple fritters are unlike any you will find in other stores. Not only are they larger than your hand, but they are also soft and moist, with a sugary outer crust and juicy apple chunks inside.

Flapjacks Cafe

810 E. Venice Ave, Venice, FL 34285

When you’re looking for comfort food, Flapjacks Cafe is the place to go. The chef hails from my old stomping grounds in New Jersey, so that’s already a plus in my book. Family owned and operated We happened to win a gift card for breakfast and we enjoyed the small-town feel of this little cafe. As we were enjoying our breakfast, we witnessed another table paying for breakfast for a homeless couple sitting outside. This is the type of family restaurant for that you can walk in for breakfast and leave with a new friend!

Along with traditional breakfast dishes containing eggs, breakfast meats, and a side, there are also omelets, skillets, benedicts and breakfast sandwiches. Breakfast is served all day long, so if you are a late-night worker that starts their day closer to lunchtime than breakfast, you can still enjoy breakfast dishes when you are ready for them!

Our Choices:

Jason: Have you figured out the theme yet? Biscuits and Gravy. “For a Jersey guy, that was a solid gravy, a lot like my mother made!” Coming from Jason, that is high praise.

Alyssa: The Jersey breakfast sandwich. Real TAYLOR HAM topped with a fried egg and cheese on a kaiser roll, the way it was always meant to be served. One bite and I felt like I was back at home sitting in a diner. The sandwich is served with fruit, but I opted for the homefries instead. A simple dish of cooked potatoes, slightly crispy and seasoned well.

Venice is home to an extensive list of restaurants, each one having a gem of their own on the menu. Trust me when I say that this list is far from complete, in fact, this is just a small sampling of what is available. If you try a restaurant for breakfast in Venice that is not on this list, write to me and tell me about it! Who knows, we might just end up there next!

Looking for lunch? Check out this post about 5 places to have a picnic lunch in Venice!

National Chicken and Waffles Day at Metro Diner

Close your eyes and imagine a large white plate filled with huge pieces of deep-fried, crispy chicken and golden waffles dripping with syrupy goodness. Are you hungry yet? This Thursday, August 8th, Metro Diner is celebrating National Chicken and Waffles Day. What gift are they presenting to the world? Their signature version of Chicken and Waffles for only $10.99! This sweet and savory dish is a combination that wows your taste buds with each bite, leaving you to crave it over and over again.

Chicken and Waffles at Metro Diner in Venice FL

Where Did Chicken and Waffles Begin?

Like many dishes throughout history, the origin of Chicken and Waffles as comfort food is a bit complicated. While it is mainly thought of as southern comfort food, there are many food scholars that argue it began in Harlem. A restaurant in the 1930’s known as “Wells Supper Club” to the privileged and Wells Restaurant to everyone else, added the now famous Chicken and Waffles to their menu, inspiring a national trend. The debate of whether this was the true birthplace of the dish is still heavily up for debate.

Random Fun Fact
Did you know you can thank Thomas Jefferson for his part in making this dish popular in America? During his time as foreign minister to France, he purchased four waffle irons in Amsterdam. This, along with recipes included in his granddaughter’s collection, only propelled the dish’s popularity.

National Chicken and Waffles Day

Metro Diner first opened in 1992 in Jacksonville, Florida but it didn’t transform into the chain of restaurants it is today until the late ’90s. With a wide menu that offers all-day breakfast, lunch, and dinner with daily specials, it is everything we love about classic diners with locations all over the country. It’s most notable dish is… you guessed it, chicken and waffles. The unique spin on this dish is the sweet strawberry butter and the spicy syrup served with the dish.

Strawberry and Spicy?

I know what you’re thinking because believe me, I thought the same thing. “WHAT?!” Hear me out. Slather on the strawberry butter into the deep pockets of goodness on that waffle, watch it melt as you pour on their spicy syrup made with Louisiana hot sauce and dive in. Your tongue might just explode from the different flavors of sweet, spicy, salty and savory all in one bite. Then, as if that wasn’t delicious enough, you get this incredibly juicy fried chicken. An entire half of a chicken to be exact. A wing, thigh, breast, and drumstick! The drumstick may just be my favorite, tearing it apart and dipping it into the syrup is a peek into heaven’s kitchen.

Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives

Diners Drive Ins and Dives Guy Fieri Metro Diner

Did you know that Metro Diner was also featured on the Food Network? One of my personal favorite TV chefs, Guy Fieri, visited a Metro Diner in Jacksonville. While he didn’t sample the chicken and waffles, he raved about their meatloaf and other dishes.

Check out the episode here.

EXCLUSIVE DEAL For Venice, Florida!

We love working with local restaurants to promote specials and events in the area. If you would like to partner up, contact me!

What part about this dish are you most excited about?

How To Eat Low Carb in Venice

Eating Low Carb While Dining Out

Low Carb Restaurant Swaps

Dining at home is easier for low carb, thanks to meal prepping in advance. Eating out while on a low carb plan can be a little daunting, but it’s easy to make simple food choices to stay on track. Even fast food places can provide options with a little thought. So many people eat low carb now most restaurants accommodate special orders with no problem. Where you choose to eat will help determine how easy it will be to find what you want and need.

Where to Eat and What to Order

When you’re craving comfort food

Diners and cafes are an ideal choice since they generally serve breakfast all day. Eggs, meat, and veggies are a filling and tasty choice. Omelets are a wonderful menu item for low carb eating. Load them with cheese, peppers, mushrooms, onions, spinach, or any other vegetable you might like. Substitute pancakes or potatoes with sliced tomatoes and skip the toast.

Local Suggestion: Venice Ale House
Try the Greek Salad or check out their specials on “Keto Thursday”

For a Special Night Out at a Steakhouse

Steakhouses are another good place for low carb choices. Grilled steaks and chops are satisfying and delicious. Skip the bread and baked potato here, and choose a salad or steamed vegetable instead. Be sure to pick a low carb vegetable such as broccoli rather than something starchy like corn. Caesar, chef, or side salads are available at nearly all restaurants. Add chicken, meat or seafood, extra veggies, boiled eggs, cheese, and nuts or seeds to amp up your meal. Take care to avoid sweet dressings and dried fruits, as they will add unwanted sugar. Keep in mind, if you want a savory dressing such as ranch or bleu cheese, full-fat versions have fewer carbs than low fat.

Local Suggestion: Chaz 51 Bistro
The Blue Cheese Steak Salad is mouthwatering, skip the croutons, you won’t miss them anyway. There’s also the sizzling naked burger, served in an iron skillet topped with cherry peppers and onions.

When You Just Want a Big Cheeseburger

American restaurants and gastropubs are fabulous for the whole family. When ordering a hamburger, ask to replace the bun with a lettuce wrap, or thinly sliced cucumber. If this is not possible, just ask that the bun not be served. Make it more of a meal by loading the burger patty with lettuce, tomato, bacon, cheese, onion, or any other topping you like. If lettuce is available, request extra so you can wrap it yourself. Rather than fries, try a crunchy vegetable like carrots or celery as a tasty side with added texture.

Local Suggestion: Off The Wagon Brewery & Kitchen
With a number of different specials that change daily, there’s always something new to try. The chef is fabulous at making adjustments when needed for dietary restrictions. Try the best burger in Venice with a side of coleslaw and just skip the bun.

When You Need to Order Takeout Chinese or Sushi

Asian food can be a bit of a challenge. The best bet is to order a stir fry with extra veggies, but skip the rice or noodles. Sushi is rice based, so opt for sashimi instead. Try to order steamed vegetables, because sauces are usually not added. Sauces are often loaded with sugar or flour for thickening. Don’t hesitate to ask if a dish has added sugar.

Local Suggestion: Star Thai and Sushi
Chef Mike goes above and beyond for his customers. Instead of rice, ask for your sushi with a cucumber wrap instead!

Mexican can be the Ultimate Low Carb Indulgence

Eating Mexican is easier than you might initially think. A lot of places have bowl meals – basically the same ingredients as burritos or fajitas without the tortillas. If those aren’t available, simply make your own. Open up a fajita or tortilla and only eat the delicious ingredients inside. Deconstructed dishes are all the rage right now. Request extra sour cream, guacamole, olives, and cheese for extra flavor and to make it more filling. Taco salads will work the same way, as long as you can resist eating the bowl.

Local Suggestion: Latin Market and Restaurant

Fight the Challenge of the Carb Loaded Italian Cuisine

Italian restaurants can sometimes be the most for difficult low carb options. Certain chains have very limited options other than pasta and breaded dishes. Look for chicken breast meals or sandwiches here, and simply order them with no bread or bun. Request Alfredo sauce and cheeses as toppings since those have very few carbs, but add lots of flavor. Surprisingly, marinara sauce can be quite high in carb count, and so should be avoided if possible. If you simply must have marinara, ask for light sauce to cut down on added sugar.

Local Suggestion: Made in Italy

The chef is very accommodating of substitutions to allow meals to be as low carb as possible. In fact, if you give advance notice, he may even prepare a cauliflower crust pizza!

When You Want to Enjoy Local Seafood

Seafood restaurants are a great choice as long as you pick grilled or broiled fish or shrimp. Lemon juice and tartar sauce can add flavor, but try to avoid shrimp sauce, as it often has hidden sugars. Order a salad rather than coleslaw due to sugar content as well.

Local Suggestion: Pelican Alley

Newly renovated and reopened after the devastation of Hurricane Irma, this beautiful restaurant has delicious grouper dinners that will delight your tastebuds. Go for the vegetable medley as your side dish and you are all set for a low carb seafood meal.

When You Want A Great Deli Sandwich

It doesn’t get much healthier than a restaurant that serves all fresh meats, cheeses and produce. However, if you are trying to limit your carb intake, it can be hard to go in to a deli and not order a nice big sandwich. Most places will allow you to simply remove the bread and have it as a large salad instead!

Local Suggestion: Shark Bites Deli

Small, family owned and operated deli on East Venice Ave. It’s a family friendly place filled with toys, games and delicious fresh meals! Try their “Picklewich” where they make any of their subs with a large Boar’s Head Pickle instead of the bread!

Think outside the box

Sometimes there just aren’t going to be many options on a menu and this is when you may have to get a bit creative.

  • You may be able to order a couple of appetizers rather than an entree to fill your needs.
  • Chicken wings are a great item, but take care to pick the right sauce or no sauce at all. Boneless wings are often breaded, so ask before ordering to make sure you know what you are getting.
  • Keep in mind not every meal must include meat. A vegetable plate can be delicious and filling.
  • Side dishes are sometimes the yummiest things on a menu and can fit your dietary needs better.
  • Don’t hesitate to ask about the ingredients used in dishes so you can make an informed decision.
  • Since so many sauces and dressings have more sugar than you want, try adding avocado, lemon juice, salsa, full-fat salad dressings, and oil and vinegar for more flavors.
  • Order raw veggies and ranch dressing as a dip rather than chips.
  • Fried meats are fine as long as they are not breaded. If you must choose a breaded option, simply pull the breading off and discard it.

With a little forethought and a trade-off here and there, you can eat out nearly anywhere without feeling too restricted. By taking a few minutes to check the menu online before heading out the door, you can be sure to get what you want without sacrificing your health.

About The Author
Raye Wiedner is an active widow, living in the Midwest. She has been a health care worker for most of her life, with a passion for trying new adventures.

Family-Friendly Dining in Venice

Family-friendly restaurants in Venice Fl

Just south of Sarasota, Venice is a small city on the Gulf of Mexico mainly known for its retirement communities. However, in recent years families have been moving in and making Venice their home. With a number of wonderful places for families to spend their day like the splash pad near Centennial Park, the various playgrounds or hunting for shark’s teeth at the beach, at the end of the day the question remains. What family-friendly restaurants are in Venice?


Two locations in Venice: 370 Commercial Ct & 525 Tamiami Trail BrewBurgers has all the makings of a hometown favorite place. With fun retro-style decor for casual indoor/outdoor dining, you can feel comfortable bringing in your kids and still enjoy an awesome meal. Serving bar and grill-type fare with a flair, they are kid and pet-friendly. BrewBurgers is well known for huge specialty burgers, and they have a large beer selection.


900 Venetia Bay Blvd.
Pincher’s is a local chain known for its fresh crabs and seafood. The kitschy decor befits the menu. There are sandwiches, ribs, and pasta offered for those who are not crazy about seafood. A kids menu is available with alternatives, as well. Bonus! Kids eat free with the purchase of an adult entree.

Off the Wagon Brewery & Kitchen

2107 Tamiami Trail
Don’t let the bar imagery fool you, while this is a local hotspot for nightlife, it is extremely family-friendly the rest of the day. With a kids menu featuring items like macaroni and cheese with hot dogs and adult entrees that will delight your tastebuds, this restaurant has something for the whole family. They serve craft burgers (voted #1 Best Burger in our Venice Foodies Community!), tacos, sandwiches, steaks and more. Come ready to be entertained, as they have live musical acts nearly every night. Early-bird specials are offered daily, and kids eat free all day every Tuesday. An added note, this is a brewery, so be sure to check out the fantastic beer selection and see how it is made right behind the glass window from the dining room!

Gold Rush BBQ

661 Tamiami Trail S.
This restaurant has a gold rush theme from the decor to the menu items. The decor includes mining supplies and rocks, and some menu items are even served on miner’s pans. There is a souvenir rock shop on site following the theme. They serve bbq, catfish, ribs, and more. There are some all you can eat specials, but be sure to ask as they change from time to time. Starting in May and going through the summer season, kids eat free on Mondays.

Shark Bites Deli

1740 E. Venice Ave.
Shark Bites specializes in fresh deli foods, such as sandwiches and salads. They have indoor and outdoor seating, with a shaded seating area. They are very family friendly and offer a special kids area with toys, puzzles, and games available. Also, kids eat free from the children’s menu with an adult entree.
Tip: If you check out our specials page, you can score a free side of their baked beans with any sandwich or salad purchase!

Kids Eat Free Bonuses

In addition to all the local family-friendly small business type spots, there are several chain restaurants in Venice offering specials for kids:

IHOP– offers kids eat free every night from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m
Denny’s – offers kids eat free every night from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Perkins – offers free kids meals every day from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Pizza Hut – offers free kids meals every Tuesday.
Firehouse Subs– offers free kids meal with the purchase of a medium sub on Wednesdays and Sundays.
Bob Evans – kids eat free after 4 p.m. on Tuesdays.

There are plenty of restaurants in Venice to suit everyone’s tastes. This is sometimes a challenge when eating out with children. Not only does Venice offer great family-friendly options, but most of the places on this list offer take out or use Door Dash for delivery! If you want to add a little adventure, there are plenty of parks and areas to have a picnic as well.

Traveling to Florida with a pet soon? Read more here.

About The Author
Raye Wiedner is an active widow, living in the Midwest. She has been a health care worker for most of her life, with a passion for trying new adventures.

7 Date Night Ideas in Venice

Date Night in Venice

After getting through a long week and dealing with all of the stressful day-to-day activities, an impending date night out on the town sounds amazing! People wait all week for date night, but when it actually gets close, they are often at a loss for ideas. In a town like Venice, you have lots of options to keep you and your honey amused, so plan ahead! Whether it be an old favorite dining spot or a new exciting activity, go out and enjoy the nightlife.

Make Date Night an Adventure

1. Venice Theatre

140 W. Tampa Ave., Venice, FL 34285

When is the last time you saw a play? It’s time to put on that little black dress you’ve been saving for a special occasion, grab your date and go experience the performing arts at this historical local gem. The Venice Theatre is one of the most active community theatres in the US, so they always have something interesting on stage! Some of their productions feature full-scale musicals, cabarets, comedies, dramas and more. Check out the Venice Theatre website for a schedule of productions and box office information to get an idea of what you may want to go see. and box office information to get an idea of what you may want to go see.

After your show, have dessert and a glass of wine Made In Italy, located only a block away. (I recommend the cannolis!)

2. Gr8 Escape Challenge

571 US 41 Bypass N, Venice, FL 34285

Are you over the club scene and have been wanting to try something a bit more adventurous? At the Gr8 Escape Challenge, you can choose from a variety of themed rooms and collaborate with your date to use your investigative ingenuity to decipher the clues, decode the puzzles, and plot your escape – in only 60 minutes! Check out current room options.

After all that excitement, treat your palate to some authentic Indian food from “Gr8” Tikka Indian Cuisine. Life is all about your experiences, so why not fill it with unique ones! The dishes may seem intimidating when you are unfamiliar with the cuisine, I suggest the Tikka Masala curry or a creamy tomato curry dish with chicken served with rice and the heat level can be adjusted to your preferences.

3. Daiquiri Deck

300 W Venice Ave., Venice, FL 34285

You’re ready for a fun, fruity blended drink to start out your weekend, right? Why not make date night a staycation, and go check out Daiquiri Deck’s wall of colorful daiquiri options. Located in historic downtown Venice, you don’t have to go far to experience one of their unique daiquiri flavors like Fudgesicle, Electric Lemonade, or Southern Peach. In addition to their extensive drinks menu, the food isn’t too shabby either. Word out on the street is that the crab cake sandwich is pretty exceptional! Check out their food and drink options.

4. Shogun Japanese Steakhouse

1219 U.S. 41 Bypass, Venice, FL 34285

If you’re into interactive eating experiences, Shogun Japanese Steakhouse is a great place for good food and a lively ambiance. If you order their Hibachi, you and your date (along with other restaurant patrons) sit at a special hibachi table while the chef prepares your dinner right before your eyes! Make an exception this one time – get out your phone and take some Instagram-worthy pictures. You are sure to see an outstanding Hibachi show with lots of tricks at Shogun.

5. The Zebra Lounge

217 Miami Ave., West Venice, FL 34285

If you are looking for something a little different for your date night, look no further. Take delight in the relaxed atmosphere and charming decor of The Zebra Lounge while listening to some engaging piano music. This piano bar offers fabulous light fare and delicious desserts that perfectly complement their extensive wine menu, featuring wines from around the world! Have a couple of glasses of wine, share a pizza, and don’t forget cheesecake, because it’s date night, after all.

6. Sharky’s On The Pier

1600 Harbor Dr. S, Venice, FL 34285

Do fresh seafood and a picturesque sunset overlooking the Gulf sound like a perfect date? Sharky’s is your spot for a fun and festive atmosphere with live music near the bar and idyllic views. Plan ahead, because this place is popular and there could be a wait, but it’s definitely worth it. Sharky’s is located right off the beach making it an ideal spot to take a romantic walk along the beach and to the pier.

7. Cafe Longet

239 Miami Ave W, Venice, FL 34285

Experience Cafe Longet’s authentic French fusion cuisine in this charming little bistro. It’s a nice change of pace from many booming restaurants along the strip. In addition to its excellent menu, Cafe Longet also has a nice selection of wines by the glass. Check their facebook for upcoming events such as Wine Pairing Dinners for an upscale twist on date night. Y

You can read about our experience at Cafe Longet too!

What adventures have you found in Venice?

Guest Post Written By:

Stefanie Resciniti is a graphic designer and marketing professional with a passion for learning, traveling and trying new things. She is excited about any opportunity to inspire creative content.

6 Reasons to Love Venice, Florida

6 Reasons To Love Venice

Are you looking for a vacation spot somewhere along the Gulf Coast? Or are you looking to relocate? Or are you just looking for a beautiful place to visit for the day to find some awesome food? Then you will fall in love Venice, Florida. It has a small town atmosphere and a vintage charm while still having the finer touches of a culturally rich city.

Amazing White Sandy Beaches

Venice is home to one of the most beautiful beaches located on the Gulf Coast – Venice Beach. It is a Certified Blue Wave Beach and is home to a large number of marine turtle nests between the months of May and October. There are also many opportunities to see dolphins, shorebirds and other wildlife as well as a scenic view of the Venice Public Fishing Pier.

Some of the Best Fishing

Looking for some fishing? You have come to the right place! Just visit the Venice Fishing Pier to catch a variety of the most popular gamefish. There is no fee or fishing license required to fish on the Pier, and if you need equipment head to Papa’s Bait Shop. If you are ready for a bite to eat then make sure you head to Sharky’s on the Pier. Both shops are located conveniently on the pier.

Everything From Fine Dining to the Pub

Venice is also home to a wide variety of food. Whether you are in the mood for some Italian food, good old fashioned burgers or some local organic smoothies, Venice has you covered. You shouldn’t have a problem finding a place everybody will enjoy. Check out the specialsto see what places are offering deals and happy hours!

Or You Can Dine-In

Not the dining out type and prefer to cook at home? No problem! Just head down to the Venice Farmers Market and browse the 51 vendors of fresh produce, freshly baked goods, fish, and other food products. They also have many wonderful arts and crafts for sale as well. The Venice Farmers Market accepts EBT and SNAP.

Family Fun and Friendliness

Need something for the whole family? How does a Shark’s Tooth Festival sound? A fitting place to go in the “Shark’s Tooth Capital of the World”.

How about Centennial Park? An amazingly beautiful park with a splash pad, picnic tables, veteran memorial, restrooms, and free parking.

If hiking or biking is more your style then be sure to check out Shamrock Park and Nature Center.


Venice is the kind of community where neighbors meet up at the local farmer’s market on the weekends, or where friendly rounds of golf are played daily then Venice is home. With some neighborhoods better suited for certain lifestyles, you are sure to find a place to call home in Venice.

Convinced yet?

If you are looking for a quaint, vintage little town with a whole lot of community and a lot to offer, then Venice is your destination. Between Venice’s beautiful beaches, its diverse variety of local cuisines and it’s family friendliness you can’t go wrong in making Venice your #1 choice in location.

Guest post written by Krissie McCoy –
Krissie is a stay at home mom to two beautiful little ones, working her way through life one baby step at a time.

5 Places To Have A Picnic Lunch in Venice, FL

Venice, Fl is a quaint spot just south of Sarasota. It really is a unique little bubble with a wealth of great restaurants, arts, entertainment, recreation, water activities, white-sand beaches, and amazing Mediterranean architecture; hence the name Venice. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, Venice is an ideal location to find your favorite foods and go picnic with family and friends. Now all you need to know is where the best are spots to have a perfect picnic lunch.

Go get your favorite take-out food and then pick your perfect picnic spot!

Centennial Park

Bodrum in Venice, FL

200 W. Venice Ave Venice, FL 34285
This park often has events going on such as a local farmers market, jazz and blues music, seafood festival, etc. You can pair your picnic with upcoming events or watch the schedule to avoid a busier day and enjoy a relaxing picnic in the park.

Centennial Park has picnic tables ideal for taking it easy or set up a blanket on one of the open grassy areas. Conveniently located in the heart of downtown, you can choose from several restaurants to pick up a picnic lunch, check out Bodrum on Miami Ave for delicious gyros, falafel, kebobs and more.

Centennial Park has benches, an interactive splash pad (fun for the kids!), ADA accessible gazebo, a veterans memorial, free parking, beautiful nature, and shady trees to relax under. There is definitely a lot to explore.

Shamrock Park & Nature Center

Sausage Express in Venice, FL

3900 Shamrock Drive Venice, FL 34293
Shamrock Park is great for picnics with its scenic nature and bountiful wildlife. Choose from picnic tables complete with grills, rent a pavilion, or lay your blanket down. If you are going during the week, stop by the food truck in front of the Lowe’s on 41, Sausage Express for a sandwich or a wrap to bring with you!

Relax and have your picnic lunch in this 80-acre park. Bask in the beauty of the butterfly gardens while enjoying your favorite fare. Check out the pet-friendly areas, playground fields, sports courts, and hiking trails which are perfect for a nice day out in nature.

Service Club Park

Wood Fired Pizza

1190 Harbor Dr. S, Venice, FL 34285
This beautiful beachfront park is a flawless spot for a romantic sunset picnic on the sand with a little vino and a wood fired pizza from Made In Italy. If you want to see a picturesque sunset, this location is matchless. There is a nice boardwalk with decks and picnic tables (some covered) if you prefer; either way, you will still enjoy the amazing view of the Gulf. Other cool things you’ll find at Service Club Park are volleyball courts, barbeque grills, walking trails and wildlife.

Maxine Barritt Park

Sushi To Go

1800 S Harbor Dr. Venice, FL 34285
Spend some time walking on the beach at Maxine Barritt Park. Then come under the shelter of one of their beautiful large gazebos. Take a walk around the park and see the fenced pond looking for birds and possibly an alligator! Then choose your favorite spot for a picnic. You can sit at one of the picnic tables with charcoal barbeques or find another hidden spot to set up your blanket and have some fresh sushi. Who said sushi isn’t a picnic food? Pick up a delicious sushi lunch from Baiyoke Thai Bistro! Being located right off the Gulf makes this park a great location for picnicking and enjoying the cool breeze. Maybe take a swim after your lunch settles!

Brohard Paw Park

Shark Bites Deli in Venice, FL

1600 Harbor Drive South Venice, FL 34285
This unique park is perfect for dog lovers. Some people may not want to leave their dogs at home so, at Brohard Paw Park, you can have the best of both worlds. It’s actually a fenced dog park with a beach, picnic tables, showers & drinking fountains for you and your furry friends. Enjoy your tasty deli sandwiches from Shark Bites Deli (check out the specials page for an exclusive coupon!) and Fido can play in the park after!

Tell Us Where You Would Have Your Picnic Lunch in Venice, FL in the Comments Below!

Guest Post Written by Stefanie Resciniti. Stefanie is a graphic designer and marketing professional with a passion for learning, traveling and trying new things. She is excited about any opportunity to inspire creative content.