The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 11 No. 34 - May 25, 2011


Fielding strikes twice

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Rebound in a crowd of E Training Solution
and A Paradise players

The Sun sports Game of the week was a dramatic double overtime division I basketball game between Eat Here Restaurant and Holy Cow Ice Cream Store. The game took almost an hour and a half to play, but for players and spectators, it was worth every second.

Both teams matched up really well, player for player, with size and speed. During regulation time, neither team could pull away from the other. In the second half, each team shared the lead multiple times, and it looked like whichever team had the ball last was going to win or, in this case, tie.

With 10 seconds left in the game, Holy Cow was up by three points. Eat Here was taking the ball out of bounce under its own basket. On a designed play, Kieran Grumley sent a long bomb pass to Fielding Goodwin. Goodwin caught the ball just past half court, took two dribbles, shot and swished the long range three-pointer to tie the game.

As fate would have it, the end of the first overtime period played out the same. With only four seconds left in the game, Grumley sent a long pass again from under his basket. Fielding struck again as he caught the ball at half court, took one dribble, shot and banked in the longer three-pointer to tie the game again. The Center's gym erupted with cheers, excitement and gasps, "He did it again!"

In the second overtime period, Eat Here was ahead by one point with only eight seconds left. This time it was a chance for Holy Cow to win the game. It took the ball out of bounce under the basket, passed it in and was able to get two good shots off before the buzzer sounded. Eat Here's defense held strong and kept the one point lead for the double overtime.

Where to dine on veggies

Since my diet is plant-based for health reasons (mom, aunt and both sisters had breast cancer, for starters), I often get asked, where do you eat local vegetarian food? It is actually much easier than you think. I'm still surprised that no serious vegetarian restaurants have opened here. I know many who would support it as they have at Leafy Greens in St. Petersburg. Their desserts leave most saying, "Vegan? Really?!"

At first, I thought that living almost literally between two fishing piers, it would be impossible to find options. But some of the best vegetarian entrees have been at The Waterfront across from the Anna Maria City Pier. I have eaten a vegetarian burger there that tasted like it was freshly made, although I was told it had been ordered in bulk pre-made.

That is common for most restaurants. Many veggie burgers are made with an egg filler to keep it together. For vegans, those who don't eat meat or dairy for ethical and/or medical reasons, eggs are off the food list. If you don't eat eggs, you have to ask for the ingredient list, which many restaurants are happy to share.

Once at Disney World, I got tired of explaining what a vegan is to waiters, so I just said, "I'm allergic to dairy." Faster than you could say, "Cinderella," a chef appeared with a form that he read which basically stated that all foods were made in a kitchen that had something that probably touched dairy, nuts, shellfish or anything else that might cause a food allergy. I had to sign the form acknowledging I understood. Having known many lawyers and as a former consumer reporter, I knew that forms like this only exist because somebody, sometime had filed a lawsuit.

Humor aside, I found that just saying I was allergic to dairy and didn't eat meat was always a good way to tell the wait staff what I wanted without having to put my poor hubby through another discussion with a stranger about what eating vegan means.

Another favorite place to eat vegan is at the Beach Bistro and it's side-kick Eat Here. They did not pay me a penny to say this, but every time I've been there, I say, "Whatever the chef can make that's vegan is great!" I have done this several dozen times and have never been disappointed. A restaurant with experienced, talented staff can put this together no problem.

At these two restaurants, I've been delighted with a spread of seasonal root vegetables, fingerling potatoes of vibrant colors, brilliantly colored greens and any other vegetables of the day. The key to more flavor is gentle seasonings and vegetables sautéed in a light garlic, dairy-free oil or glaze. When we go out with guests, it is not uncommon that they ask to taste my dish.

Even at the city pier, or other fish-heavy restaurants, I choose salads. Most restaurants offer a house or Greek salad that I order without cheese and croutons and dressing on the side. The BeachHouse offers my favorite Mediterranean Cruise which consists of tabouli (cracked wheat, parsley, tomatoes and dressing), Greek olives on lettuce and hummus for pita.

As well-known vegan doctor John McDougall says it is perfectly fine to, heaven forbid, skip a meal until you can get home. Another trick is having a bowl of cooked beans and/or brown rice in the frig. If I know if we're going somewhere I can't eat veg, I'll throw a bowl together with some salsa, and I've got quality protein and a full stomach.

Mexican, Thai and Chinese restaurants abound with many options. Off the island, Carrabba's has some meatless/dairy-free salads. Tomato-based sauces for pastas are a great option at any restaurant. Larger restaurants like the Olive Garden and Bonefish Grill usually offer 1 or 2 vegetarian choices. If you ask for pasta and vegetables, most restaurants will oblige. With salads, I'll just say, pile on all the vegetables you have. Restaurants want to please so that you'll tell your friends and come back.

Island resident Ellen Jaffe Jones is an accomplished endurance runner, cookbook author, Aerobics and Fitness Association of America certified personal trainer and RRCA certified running coach. For coaching or training, she can be reached at or 941-704-1025.

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