Our #1 Resolution for the New Year Doesn’t Involve Exercising

Ritz Carlton Beach Club

It’s getting close to planning New Year’s Resolutions. While you may want to start exercising or giving up carbs, ours is not as daunting. We simply want to make friends with members of the Ritz Beach Club in Sarasota, FL. They don’t even have to be really good friends or want to spend a lot of time with us. Just throwing our names on the guest list every once in awhile would qualify.

Recently we had the opportunity to dine and drink at their re-invented beachside restaurant, Ridley’s Porch. It’s billed as having “casual elegance and seaside charm”. They nailed it.

Ridley Sea Turtle

Ridley Sea Turtle

The Ritz-Carlton company is a master of story-telling. Nothing is named, designed, or created without a purpose and a reason behind it. Take for example, the name Ridley’s Porch. Did you know that a Kemp Ridley sea turtle is not only one of the smallest turtles and critically endangered but it can be found nesting on the Ritz’s private beaches? (I wonder if they count as members? I’ve always been a friend to turtles.) So the Ridley part of the name ties into our local environment. The second part, porch, is meant to capture that feeling of relaxing on a porch. The local team had a lot of input into the name, and coming from a marketing background, I think they did a fabulous job.

Ridley Porch Food

During our visit we sampled several different food plates including such items as Shrimp Cerviche, Barbequed Octopus, and Prosciutto Bruschetta. The Cast Iron Sea Scallop with creamy risotto, roasted cauliflower with red beet fondue was one of my favorites. And the dessert was reminiscent of something out of Dr. Seuss – fancy cotton candy that melted in your mouth!

Ridleys Porch Old Rocking Chair

Old Rocking Chair

And then there were the fun cocktails….. once again they capture the “feeling” and local flair with a drink called “Old Rocking Chair”. It’s served in a mason jar and made with Mote Marine Laboratory (located in Sarasota) Sun Brewed Tea with a choice of bourbon or vodka. Of course, we tasted both. They also added fresh squeezed lemonade and flavors of hibiscus, coconut, rose petals, apple and pineapple. If you ever need an excuse to order a second one, they are donating proceeds to benefit Mote and help save the Kemp Ridley turtles.

Ridleys Porch Watermelon Spritzer

Watermelon Spritzer

Another craft cocktail we tried was the Watermelon Spritzer. Now, watermelon is usually my go-to summer drink so I was surprised they were introducing it this time of year. But the combination of gin, aperol, soda water, and prosecco make it so refreshing that I put away all my summer judgement. Why do I do that anyway? We should always drink what we want, when we want. Just like wearing white after Labor Day, right?

Scorched Jalapeno Margarita

Scorched Jalapeno Margarita

The final cocktail we tried, the Scorched Jalapeno Margarita, was my favorite.  Partly because who doesn’t love mezcal?  But the presentation was just plain cool. They torch a Jalapeno pepper! Check it out:

Along with the mezcal they use Cointreau, Fire Roasted Jalapeno Pepper, Fresh Lime, and topped with a Bruleed Jalapeno garnish. Just the right amount of kick!

If you haven’t figured it out yet, Ridley’s Porch is only open to members of the Ritz-Carlton Beach Club or hotel guests. If you don’t have friends that will take you there, I highly suggest booking a room. The experience of dining at Ridley’s Porch is worth it.

Cheers!

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