One of my good friends, Katie, lives just a quick 45 minutes south of Tampa in Bradenton. Last week, she invited me to come spend the day with her exploring the downtown Sarasota area. We spent the afternoon lunching and shopping around at several of the local stores. It's such a cute area and I need to make it down there more often! We stopped into State Street for lunch, and I am so happy that we did! Upon walking in, I instantly fell in love with the look and feel of the restaurant. The interior provided an industrial feel with exposed brick, rafters and beautiful steel light fixtures. Now, onto the food, my favorite part! Katie tried the grilled reuben with onion rings and I had the chickpea and yellow zucchini burger with fries. My veggie burger was fantastic and those onion rings were the best I have tried in a while! I would love to go back for dinner and try one of their handcrafted cocktails from their bar menu.
We hopped around to several of the boutiques along the main street downtown. My favorite store we stopped into was, of course, an antique and used bookstore. Katie found a few Ernest Hemingway books for her husband while I looked through the Florida history books and fiction and literature sections for older copies of Pride and Prejudice. I could have spent all afternoon in there if she would have let me!
The temperatures were easily in the mid-80s making for an incredibly warm afternoon walking around town. We saw a snowball shop called Baltimore Snowball Factory and immediately ran in for dessert. The owner was telling us how he is a Baltimore native and had never been to Sarasota until he moved down here to open up the snowball shop. Sarasota is the home of the Orioles for spring training, so he knew it must be a beautiful place. I think he picked well ;) although I wish his shop was in Tampa! There are several snowball sizes and hundreds of different flavor combinations to choose from. You can even add marshmallow fluff and chocolate syrup to the tops of your snowball. I had the mango snowball which was incredibly refreshing and just what I needed on a typical Florida afternoon.