The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 17 No. 22 - March 15, 2017


Center announces Tour of Homes lineup

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

THE CENTER | submitted



The Center of Anna Maria Island's annual Tour of Homes is almost here.

The event takes place 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, March 18 and features five homes, an artisan boutique and two gourmet food stops. Each home on the tour was chosen for its unique style and embodiment of Anna Maria Island living.

The Center will offer complimentary transportation between the five homes and The Center, 407 Magnolia Ave., Anna Maria, as well as CrossPointe Fellowship Church, 8605 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach. Shuttles will run consistently throughout the day between the homes and both parking areas. The Center's bus is handicap accessible.

Limited parking will be available at each stop on the tour for attendees wishing to drive their own vehicles. Volunteer parking attendants will be available at each home to direct drivers to available spots.

New to the tour for 2017 is a food stop at The Center. Food will be available for purchase from Empacurious and the Traveling Gourmet. Billi Gartman also will be offering a strawberry lemonade stand at the site.

The Waterfront restaurant, 111 Bay Blvd. N., Anna Maria, will be hosting a snack stop in its parking lot featuring beef sliders. Part of the proceeds will benefit the Center.

This year, the Steinbock home located at 785 North Shore Drive in Holmes Beach, also is the host property for the Tour of Homes Tropical Treasures Boutique, sponsored by Duncan Real Estate.

The boutique will feature original artwork, jewelry, craft items and home décor from local artists along with gourmet food stuffs. Last-minute tickets will be available in the boutique for the Tour's quilt raffle at six for $5 or $1 each.

This year's quilt, titled "The Mermaid's Journey," is the 17th quilt created by the Eyeland Needlers for the Tour.

Silent auction items also will be on display in the boutique. Winners of the auction items and the quilt raffle will be announced at 3 p.m. Participants do not have to be present to win. The quilt is sponsored by Green Real Estate.

All proceeds benefit The Center.

Tickets for the tour are $20 in advance or $25 the day of the event and can be purchased at The Center, the AMI General Store, Duncan Real Estate, Ginny and Jane E's Café and Coastal Store, the Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce, Holmes Beach Ace Hardware, LaPensee Plumbing, Pools and Air, the Anna Maria Island Sun newspaper office and Crowder Brothers Ace Hardware on Manatee Avenue in Bradenton.

Tour booklets are available at The Center. For more information, contact The Center at 941-778-1908.

Ute Shaw and Mark Beggs
630 Dundee Lane, Holmes Beach

This canal front home features a professionally manicured front yard with black river rocks leading to the double glass door entryway.

The three-bedroom, two-bath home began in 2015 as a remodeling project for owners Ute Shaw and Mark Beggs. The owners enlarged the home to increase the kitchen space and add a small living area. The addition of a pool and outdoor entertaining area completed the home. Visitors may notice one end of the pool is very shallow, a feature especially designed for the couple's dogs.

Inside the house is a split floorplan with a master suite on one side and two guest bedrooms and a guest bath on the other. The home is decorated in an eclectic décor carefully curated by Shaw with artwork collected from around the world and some created by Beggs.

A separate upstairs one bedroom apartment provides a relaxing retreat for guests and overlooks Bimini Bay.

Allan and Sharon Steinbock
785 North Shore Dr., Anna Maria

A Bean Point beauty, the four-bedroom home owned by the Steinbocks also is known as La Bella Bean.

The home brings the best of nature in with sweeping views of sea oats, sand dunes and the Gulf of Mexico. The open floor plan flows easily between the living room, kitchen and dining room, which features a glass bottle chandelier full of trinkets from the sea. The main living area transitions to the outside deck and pool area.

Upstairs is a private master suite and loft living area with views of the natural island beauty surrounding the home.

Valerie Tilelli
651 Key Royale Dr., Holmes Beach

An eclectic gem tucked away on beautiful Key Royale, Valerie Tilelli's home is a showcase for the many countries she's visited.

The living room features a Buddha from Angkor Wat, a Korean medicine chest and a Chinese wedding chest, all acquired by Tilelli on her travels. The split floorplan features two guest bedrooms on one side of the expansive living area with a master suite on the opposite side with views of Tampa Bay.

A large patio built for entertaining and private boat dock offer views of Tampa Bay and, on clear days, the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.

Tilelli purchased the property in 2012 with 2013 marking the completion of the three-bedroom home.

Rick and Lyn Puskas
108 Gull Drive, Anna Maria

A wooden mermaid is ready to welcome Tour of Homes attendees to the Puskas home in Anna Maria.

The newly built canal front property offers privacy in spa-like surroundings for vacationers. A large kitchen flows into the dining area just off the main living area. The chef's kitchen features a large island with modern teardrop lighting. Each of the home's four bedrooms boats its own private bathroom reminiscent of a spa retreat.

Outdoor is a secondary living space complete with a pool, swim-up bar and wine bar. Ping pong, foosball and picnic tables also are offered under a roofed area where guests can play while also enjoying the stunning water views.

Dustin and Kelly Preston
830 South Bay Blvd., Anna Maria

The best of island living is showcased at the Preston home in Anna Maria.

Once through the glass entry, guests can view Tampa Bay and the Sunshine Skyway Bridge from multiple points in the open concept living area. An ultra-modern white kitchen features prominently in the entertaining area. This floor also features a walk-in laundry area and two full guest suites overlooking Galati Marina. One of the suites, decorated in shades of blue, is home to an interesting architectural feature — all of the walls are curved.

Journeying up another set of stairs will take visitors to a small reading loft.

Up the final set of stairs are two bedrooms, a master suite and family room with stairway access to a rooftop deck, which will be off-limits during the Tour.

Completing the home are a ground level pool deck, fire pit and private beach with access to the bay.

Tales of a craft cocktail bar

People ask me if my mom taught me to cook.

Mom was a strict adherent to the Irish cooking maxim, "Take everything that walks, swims or flies across the face of the earth and boil the livin' bejeezuz out of it."

My love of food did not start with mom. It began in New Orleans.

Almost 40 years ago I landed there as a frostback, an illegal alien from Canada.

I was hired at Arnaud's in the French Quarter and learned the waiting tables trade from some of the world's best table service veterans.

My wife and Beach Bistro partner, Susan, mastered senior bar duties at one of Le Vieux Carre's busiest and most visible bars, Le Booze at the Royal Sonesta on Bourbon Street.

During our New Orleans time, we developed a great friendship with Fred Sullivan, the popular bar master at Beach Bistro.

Every year since they were old enough to travel and until they preferred to travel without us, we packed up our children, Ben and Alexandra, and made a pilgrimage to New Orleans to visit Fred and to teach them about America's greatest culinary city.

New Orleans is the true birthplace of American cuisine. Food was celebrated in New Orleans as a uniquely American art form when restaurants in New York and San Francisco were still opening cans and hiring Frenchmen.

Our son Ben worked summers and holidays at the Bistro. He earned his stripes as a pro waiter and bartender on the Bistro staff before heading off to university. Ben further honed his bartending skills in the dorms of Connecticut College.

Our daughter Alexandra studied in America's other great culinary cities, Atlanta, Nashville and Seattle, and travelled and researched all things culinary throughout Europe, Asia and Africa.

Three years ago, Ben returned to New Orleans to attend the world's foremost chef-bartending conference, the Tales of the Cocktail, and to revisit his family's birthplace in America.

Ben's Tales of the Cocktail visit marked the beginning of what became a truly family effort to create an authentic craft cocktail bar on Anna Maria Island.

The craft cocktail movement is a revival of America's love of classic cocktails – mixology from America's earliest experiences with tavern punches and the cocktail cultures of the gay 90s and the speakeasy 20s.

It is also a celebration of the creative mixing of the very best of spirits, ingredients and authentic flavor infusions.

America has developed the best culinary product in the world by combining our increasing knowledge of world culinary skills with the world's best product – American lamb, beef and fresh seafood. The craft cocktail movement is the natural extension of our passion to excel at all things culinary. We now celebrate that passion at The Doctors' Office and are grateful to Ben and Alex for leading our way.

After I left New Orleans people asked me why I did not stay.

My response, "I feared for my liver."

When Ben was asked why he did not spend some time living in New Orleans as his parents had done he quipped, "I decided it was a bad idea for me to live in a town with no last call."

Some days, and in some ways, apples don't fall far from the trees.

AMISUN ~ The Island's Award-Winning Newspaper