Here at the Bijou Café things are crazy hectic during the season and particularly during the Opera season. After we bid the snowbirds adieu we take a deep breath and make our game plans for the long and sultry summer.
Appetites tend to wane as the temperatures climb so we offer a menu with small plates and light fare
Called “J.P.’s Bar Bites”, the menu features a selection of small plates to enjoy at the bar or outside, share with friends or as a simple meal. Some of the most popular “Bites” include:
Trilogy of Soups- 3 mini cups of today’s soups, hot, chilled and bisque, Pepper Steak “Frikadelles”- mini beef meatballs in spicy sauce, Crabcake Sliders- with fresh arugula and remoulade sauce and Boerewors “Stukkies”- house made South African sausage grilled and served with mango chutney.
The Bombay Sapphire Girls sample Bijou Cafe's Boerewors!
Summertime is perfect for quaffing a crafted brew so we offer a selection of tasty beers from small artisanal brewers. Innis & Gunn “Rum Cask” from Scotland, Coronado “Orange Avenue Wit”, from San Diego, Highland “Gaelic Ale” from Asheville North Carolina, and Erie Brewing “Railbender Ale” from Erie, Pennsylvania ,are just a few of them.
We like to see people shift to lighter wines in the summer and love the look on their faces when they try a dry rosé for the first time. A far cry from the cloying sweetness of a white Zinfandel, rosé wine is produced with the skin contact method. Black-skinned grapes are crushed and the skins are allowed to remain in contact with the juice for a short period, typically one to three days. The must is then pressed, and the skins are discarded rather than left in contact throughout fermentation (as with red wine making). The skins contain much of the astringent tannin and other compounds, thereby leaving the structure more similar to a white wine. The longer that the skins are left in contact with the juice, the more intense the color of the final wine. Toad Hollow from Sonoma makes a Pinot Noir rosé called “Eye of the Toad” which is absolutely delicious.W e offer it by the glass as well as the bottle.
So make plans to join us at the Bijou Café soon for some summer fare!
A balmy Sunday afternoon and wife Shay, and I prepare to head for Selby Gardens where we will spend a few delightful hours in the shade of the Banyan trees listening to music. Joining friends, we set up our natty folding chairs and tables and lay out a mini buffet of fresh guacamole, bean and corn salsa, mini tea sandwiches and cookies. A delightfully chilled bottle of sauvignon blanc from the Bijou Café appears out of nowhere and sets the mood for the cool jazz and blues of the Venturas. In support of the Selby Gardens we also purchase a few beers and glasses of Chardonnay from the catering booth while eyeing the fat and juicy grilled sausage sandwiches. (Next time!)
The constant pleasing breeze from Sarasota Bay keeps us comfortable as the afternoon heats up. A few folks kick up their heels and dance in the grass, while giggling kids chase after each other clambering over the octopus roots of the Moreton Bay Fig tree. At the Koi pond a courageous trio of ten year old boys are dipping their toes in the water luring the giant goldfish to check them out! Back at our chair spot a large Barred Owl has perched directly above us high in the banyan. It seems to be enjoying the music, but our immediate concern has turned to how soon the owl will be letting us know what it had for lunch!
The music ends, we bid our friends adieu until next Sunday and we pack up our belongings just as a gentle rain starts. How sweet of Mother Nature to wait on us!