Perfect weather, best game of golf I’ve played in years, and a great time overall on the gulf side of sunny Florida! I was very spoiled by my amazing golf buddy (who I like to call Dad) and was treated to a stay at the Ritz Carlton Sarasota. It’s a little bit of a drive from the Tampa airport, but at check in, they give you a glass of champagne to start your relaxation off right – and the lobby smells like eucalyptus. Ahhhhh.
I had a great view of the pool, marina, and bay from my balcony. Beautiful!!
Our first evening, we were supposed to dine at the restaurant in the hotel, but our reservations were messed up, ending up making things even better – we changed them over to the restaurant at the Ritz’s Beach club, Ridley’s Porch. Serendipity!! This place was great. It sits above the lovely Lido Beach. A short shuttle ride, we arrived at the beach just in time for sunset.
Going, going, gone. Do you say that as the sun sinks into the water too, or is it just me?
Great service at the start at Ridleys Porch. We first ordered the burrata (I looove burrata – if you haven’t had it, it’s like mozzarella stuffed with ricotta).
With a nice balsamic drizzle and a basil essence oil, this was delish. We also got the shrimp ceviche which comes in a halved coconut shell!
This too was so yummy! And served on a bed of brown sugar to make it look like the sand. Such a nice touch!
We shared the filet Mignon, cooked perfectly to a mid-rare and chose the port wine reduction as our sauce – this was utterly scrumptious.
I couldn’t help but indulge in the fresh baked bread, also useful in soaking up the port wine sauce!
I loved the presentation of everything! We nixed dessert here in order to relax back at the hotel with some coffee (or Bailey’s over ice, my favorite after dinner drink!). As we finished up, they brought out some fresh house made sun tea with amazing fruit and spice flavors served in baby mason jars!
They also brought a lovely plume of cotton candy to share!!
So cute and tasty! We thoroughly enjoyed our experience at Ridley’s Porch and is definitely recommend it if you’re in Sarasota and want some good beachfront dining. The restaurant at the hotel, Jack Dusty’s, is great for hanging outside for some music and relaxation in the evening, where we spent the remainder of the night before I konked out.
Our golf days were perfect weather-wise, but I played much better at the Ritz Carlton’s golf course. Perhaps because I was treated to a caddy. It was beautiful!!
We even made a friend along the way!
This was one of the smaller gators there, said our caddy. But I still kept a close eye out when I was shooting near the water!! If your ball gets too close to one of these guys, probably best to just let it lie.
After our first day golfing, we were treated to a sumptuous home made Italian dinner, courtesy of a dear friend who has made Sarasota her home. She set a gorgeous table, invoking Beach scapes and beauty.
I usually skip this part since I rarely make a seated dinner for more than just me and the hubs, but it’s definitely an added touch that makes your guests feel luxuriously welcomed. The homemade lasagna was delicious and the sauce was incredible. I’ve got to get the recipe!!
I was stuffed to the max and only wished I could have eaten more because it was so good!! In spite of being so full, I still had to have dessert – warm bread pudding (best I’ve ever tasted) and chocolate cake! Oh boy!!
We sang and danced it off and had an awesome evening. Nothing beats good times with friends and family. Be sure to take the time to enjoy that. Frequently. Like stop what you’re doing now and go do that instead. It’s rejuvenating, invigorating, and absolutely priceless.
I had some precious rare opportunities to totally relax on this trip. My friend insisted on me taking the leftover wine from dinner the night before back to the hotel with me, so I enjoyed some after my second day of golf on my balcony, along with a nice salad and a book overlooking the lovely views below.
Sigh. I needed that relaxation, as I sit here on my delayed train at 7:00 am beginning the daily grind of the first day after a long weekend. No, back to the vacation!!
Our last night in Sarasota, we took to Siesta Key Beach, the best Beach in the country according to polls. The sand is quartz and really is the softest I’ve ever felt. It doesn’t even get hot in the sun! On Sunday nights, a drum circle gathers to welcome the sunset and boy does it draw a crowd!
The sunset was of course beautiful! I’m a sucker for sunsets.
Be sure to cap off your evening at Siesta Key with some amazing ice cream at Big Olaf’s!!
Thank you, Sarasota, Ritz, Mother Nature, my dear friend for showing us her town, and my unbelievably generous Dad for taking me on this great golf getaway!!