The Ritz-Carlton – Sarasota, FL and Jack Dusty

Ritz Sarasota (5 of 5)

It seems as though Old Man Winter may never pack his bags and leave town this year.  With spring officially upon us, some parts of the country are still seeing snow and experiencing record cold temperatures.  Here in the South, spring is definitely lagging behind, but it’s started to make an appearance with a few daffodils popping up from the frozen ground and the Cherry Blossom trees in bloom.  Our fear is that it’s probably one of those years where we’ll skip spring entirely and land right in the middle of the scorching heat and humidity of summer.

It's time for a tropical vacation!

It’s time for a tropical vacation!

When the frigid days and winter blues have been around long enough to get you down (and I think most of us feel that way this year), then my suggestion is to head to the Sunshine State of Florida; in particular, the beautiful city of Sarasota.  Situated on the Gulf of Mexico, Sarasota is one of our favorite places to visit in the state of Florida and it’s just about an hour south of Tampa.

Views from the hotel

Views from the hotel

Sarasota is a lively and sophisticated city with a pedestrian friendly downtown teeming with great restaurants, retail shops, and galleries.  The beaches are pristine white and there’s plenty to do in the area, especially for those with an active lifestyle.  The city is quite the cultural hub with museums, history, performing art centers, theater, and music venues.  Of course, with ideal temperatures much of the year, outdoor activities, such as fishing and boating, are also plentiful.

The lobby was decorated for Christmas during our visit

The lobby was decorated for Christmas during our visit

The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota, located just minutes by walking from the busy downtown area, is the perfect hotel choice when traveling to Sarasota.  This destination resort, in typical Ritz-Carlton style, is a luxury property, yet the grandeur of the gracious hotel blends perfectly with the more relaxed Florida Gulf Coast lifestyle.  The refreshing result is a refined mix of casual elegance featuring the excellent service that Ritz-Carlton properties are known for.

Guest rooms with balconies overlooking Sarasota Bay

* Guest rooms with balconies overlooking Sarasota Bay

Views at night from the property

Views at night from the property

Guest rooms are beautifully appointed with private balconies, many with views looking out over Sarasota Bay.  There are all of the amenities you would expect at a luxury resort including one of the best spas in the country (named by Travel & Leisure) and access to golf at an award-winning Tom Fazio golf course at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club, just a short distance from the property.

The Beach Club at Lido Key

The Beach Club at Lido Key

For longer stays and family-friendly accommodations, there is also The Beach Club at Lido Key located three miles from the main hotel.  A sister property sitting right on the beach and the Gulf of Mexico, this resort takes you to the islands with the tropical feel and design of the interior spaces, pool area, and the Lido Key Tiki Bar.  Their Beach Club Grill features uncomplicated cuisine with a regional flair.  Guests of the hotel have access to the pool, beach and dining facilities at this property.

The pool area has a tropical feel at The Beach Club

The pool area has a tropical feel at The Beach Club

The Beach Club Grill

The Beach Club Grill

Dining room at The Beach Club Grill

Dining room at The Beach Club Grill

We're hangin' 10, except Beamer's hangin' 20 ;-)

We’re hangin’ 10, except Beamer’s hangin’ 20 😉

Jack Dusty, The Ritz Carlton’s new dining concept, is contemporary and fun and completely transformed what was once a very formal restaurant at the hotel.  Opening up the space and taking advantage of the waterfront views, Jack Dusty – Coastal Cuisine and Cocktails, is the epitome of the Florida Gulf Coast dining experience.  Looking out over Sarasota Bay, Jack Dusty’s bar and dining area is bright and airy.  Diners can also venture outdoors to enjoy the views of the bay, take in the Florida sunshine, or stay warm by decorative lava torches during the cooler Florida evenings.

Entrance to Jack Dusty

Entrance to Jack Dusty

Jack Dusty: Coastal Cuisine & Crafted Cocktails

Jack Dusty: Coastal Cuisine & Crafted Cocktails

Enjoying a few of the crafted cocktails before dinner

Enjoying a few of the specialty crafted cocktails before dinner

The menu looks like a Captain's log

The menu looks like a Captain’s log

The name “Jack Dusty” has a nautical history, but now is representative of a gathering place for good food and good times at the hotel.  A favorite of local residents as well as the property’s guests, Chef de Cuisine Caleb Taylor takes advantage of the beautiful fresh seafood from the Gulf and prepares it as it should be when it’s so fresh; simply, but well done.  One of the dishes we enjoyed was the gorgeous fresh Seafood Platter which included lobster, shrimp, oysters, clams, and Jack’s Ceviche.  Another specialty of the restaurant and bar is their unique craft cocktails program with nautical names such as the Purser’s Bane and Starboard Swizzle, served for two.

Seafood Platter

Seafood Platter

Fun concepts, great food, and a nice bottle of wine

Fun concepts, great food, and a nice bottle of wine

There are a number of entrees on the menu which take advantage of the region’s fresh seafood with more complex preparations such as the Sarasota Cioppino combing a selection of fish and shellfish in a citrus-scented tomato broth and of course, no restaurant in the South would be complete without their own version of Shrimp and Grits.  Jack Dusty’s recipe is served with Anson Mills Grits and Andouille Sausage.

Grilled Maine Lobster

Grilled Maine Lobster

Sarasota Cioppino

Sarasota Cioppino

This is the ideal time of year to visit Florida. With moderate temperatures (usually in the 70s and 80s), brilliant blue skies and sunshine, you will find the weather in Florida picture perfect and as we often say, like a Chamber of Commerce weekend. 😉  Whether you are looking for a romantic getaway, a quick break from the dreary weather, or a family vacation, Sarasota is a wonderful destination and the Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota a beautiful resort property for accommodations and dining.

A walk along the beach with Beamer

A walk along the beach with Beamer

The bar at Jack Dusty has shared a recipe for one of their featured cocktails, a Tidewreck Martini.  It’s 5 o’clock somewhere, so Cheers!

* These photographs and the top image have been used with the permission of The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota.

Disclosure – The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota provided a media package for our visit.  I have in no way been compensated and the opinions expressed regarding our experience are my own.

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Tidewreck Martini

A Signature Cocktail from Jack Dusty – The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota, FL

Ingredients:

For martini:
1 1/4 oz. rosemary and thyme infused vodka
3/4 oz. fino sherry (dry vermouth)
2 bar spoons Cointreau
1 bar spoon Kummel (coriander seed liqueur)

Garnish:
Oyster Shell
Thyme sprigs
Rosemary sprigs
3 to 5 herb-vermouth-infused olives,* depending on the size of shell

Directions:

Combine all of the ingredients in a small stainless shaker and then fill shaker with ice. Shake 20 to 30 seconds. Double strain into cocktail glass.

The bar serves the Tidewreck Martini in a chilled wide mouth champagne flute.

The garnish comes as “a side.”

The bar infuses Pimento Stuffed Green Queen Olives in a mixture of 3 parts dry vermouth, 1 part vodka with sprigs of fresh thyme and rosemary (1 sprig thyme and 1 sprig rosemary for every cup of olives). Let marinate 48 hours.

Jack Dusty
The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota, FL