The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 9 No. 7 - November 5, 2008


Southern Belle welcomes you

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

SUN PHOTO/LIZA MORROW Dawn Dugger and Andrea Spring get ready
for tea time at Southern Belle Bakery and Cafe in the Manatee West
Shopping Center at Manatee Avenue and 75th Street in Bradenton.

Andrea Spring is finally doing a bakery.

Spring is best known for her pies. Usually these pies are baked along side her husband, Ed, and daughter, Serena, at their family owned restaurant, The Sign of the Mermaid, in Anna Maria.

Last year Spring entered the National Pie Competition sponsored by Crisco and took first place in the “other” category with her Chocolate Espresso Explosion Pie. She also was awarded top prize in the citrus competition with her key lime pie, which ultimately captured the title of Best Overall in the entire event.

This year Spring won first place in the nut category with her Macadamia Crunch Pie and honorable mention with her Apple Oatmeal Crunch Pie. That really got people talking.

"Everybody kept asking me to sell my pies,” she explained. “So we opened a Web site to do just that. I was only looking for a storefront in Bradenton to support the orders online but it turned into this café.

“Now I’m so busy that I really haven’t worked on the Web site at all. I don’t even know how to get my e-mails from it.”

In September, Spring, her sister, Dawn Dugger, and mother, Connie McClure, opened the Southern Belle Bakery and Café, which has many local food critics buzzing about their Southern bistro cooking. A true family affair with Dugger out front greeting the guests, Spring running the kitchen and mother keeping everyone smiling.

"Dawn and I used to go to lunch to catch up with our children, our lives and each other,” Spring said. “She volunteered to be my assistant at the first pie competition. That was the beginning.

“Since we opened the Southern Belle we don’t have much time to go to lunch together anymore. So we decided to turn this bakery into our lunch spot. We can eat the food we love most for lunch here," she said.

Don’t expect only Southern food at Southern Belle. This is a contemporary menu of sandwiches, subs, salads, soups, pressed sandwiches and appetizers, along with all kinds of pastries and sweets. Especially noteworthy is the home-spun appetizer of spinach dip with water chestnuts, sour cream and scallions.

Another beginner is the pimento cheese dip, a bowl of zingy cheesy dip escorted by baguette slices, rolls and crackers. Other lunchtime standouts are the bayou chicken gumbo, absolutely exemplary and spicy, but not too hot, and the classic Southern blue crab soup spiked with sherry.

One of my favorite ways to dine at lunch is to start with lots of appetizers and leave room for dessert, or in this case, desserts. I can worry about entrees later when the night is cooler and hearty appetites return, which brings us to Spring’s forte – her sweet creations.

I can fault none of them, but my personal favorite is the Macadamia Nut Crunch Pie, a warm puffy pineapple macadamia nut pie. The pastry is crisp and golden; the filling is firm and full of flavor, slightly golden on the edges, topped with a chubby squiggle of real whipped cream.

Raves are also in order for the rich chocolate torte layered with dark oozy chocolate sauce and the chocolate mousse – a devilishly intense combination of a hardened flaky chocolate exterior covering layers of rich dark mousse.

Irresistible, so why resist? Eating all these dishes for lunch should have elicited at least a twinge of guilt. After some soul-searching the only regret was not having more dining companions to order more. That’s exactly what Spring likes to hear.

"How could I have just made pies? she asked. “Impossible when there are so many delicious things to eat. That is exactly why we are adding tea time to our regular menu.

“The sharing of pots of tea and nibbling on small plates full of tiny sandwiches and sweets is something I am really looking forward to bring to Bradenton. Tea is relaxing and fun."

Southern Belle’s Macadamia Nut Crunch Pie


• 1 c. dark karo syrup
• 1 c. sugar
• 3 eggs, beaten
• 1/4 c. melted butter
• 1 tsp. vanilla extract
• 1/2 tsp. rum
• 1/4 c. coconut
• 1/4 c. crushed pineapple drained
• Half of 5-ounce jar macadamia nuts, chopped


Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Mix all ingredientsd and pour into prepared crust in a 9-inch pie pan. Bake for 25 minutes. Check pie and if still liquid in center, cook up to another 20 minutes or until puffed and not liquid in center.
Serve with fresh whipped cream.

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story
Investment Corner

Fat pitch investing

In baseball, a "fat pitch" occurs when the pitcher makes a mistake, and the ball appears to the hitter as being so fat there is no way he can miss it. In the realm of investing, a fat pitch opportunity occurs when market emotions have become so extreme that an asset class is totally mispriced and presents almost a no-miss scenario for the investor willing to step up to the plate.

I believe we have several of these opportunities facing us today and they are worthy of your review and consideration. While the recent market correction has created tremendous opportunity in stocks of high quality companies, today I will focus on other market segments

Municipal bonds

Normally, municipal bonds issued by city, county or state governments provide a lower yield than comparable U.S. Treasury bonds due to their tax-free status. Presently, 10 to 30 year U.S. T-bonds yield about 4 percent +/-. You can earn close to 5 percent tax-free in a portfolio of medium and high quality municipal bonds. This is the equivalent of earning 6 to 7 percent in taxable bonds.

Selling by hedge funds has forced prices lower and yields up, creating an opportunity for investors to lock in tax-free rates, which are very favorable compared to treasury bonds of equivalent maturities. A good quality mutual fund can provide instant diversification across many issues, minimizing the risk of having too much in any one bond. While defaults are rare in good quality municipals, there is still a risk which is minimized by diversification.

Corporate bonds

Corporate bonds are classified in two basic groups. High quality bonds, those rated A, AA or AAA by rating agencies, are issued by companies with a very stable financial status, and the bonds may well be secured by assets of the corporation. These higher quality bonds tend to pay yields a small amount, usually 1 to 2 percent, above the rate offered by U.S. T-bonds to compensate for the fact that no corporation can be as secure as the government of the U.S.

High yield corporate bonds are issued by companies with lower credit ratings, and investors demand additional compensation, in the form of higher interest yield, to purchase these riskier bonds. Typically, the spread in interest rates for high yield bonds is 4 to 6 percent above the U.S Treasury bond yield.

Today’s credit crisis has spread fear of default to the point where high quality corporate bonds are yielding about 5 percent more than T-Bonds, and high yield corporate bonds are at an astounding 15 percent spread over Treasury’s. Even if you assume default rates double or triple the norm, or even as bad as the defaults observed during the Great Depression (not likely in my opinion), you would still earn a higher total return over the next several years by owning both high quality and high yield corporate bonds, compared to buying a 10-year Treasury bond yielding about 3.8 percent.

Perhaps even more so than with municipal bonds, I believe corporate bonds are best owned through a fund or exchange traded fund structure to gain the benefit of diversification, professional management and analysis of the credit quality of the issuing corporations.

Fat pitch investment concepts are not an exact timing method, nor do they imply zero risk. They are concepts which we believe the odds of success are stacked in your favor as the emotion of fear causes prices to be driven downward in an unjustifiable fashion.

Tom Breiter is President of Breiter Capital Management, Inc., an Anna Maria based investment advisor. He can be reached at 778-1900. Some of the investment concepts highlighted in this column may carry the risk of loss of principal, and investors should determine appropriateness for their personal situation before investing.

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