Cravings Blog

Cravings: your source for all things food in Bradenton and beyond

Bradenton Herald business reporter Janelle O'Dea bites into a bacon cheeseburger at the Cattlemen's and Cattlewomen's booth at the 2015 Manatee County Fair.
Bradenton Herald business reporter Janelle O'Dea bites into a bacon cheeseburger at the Cattlemen's and Cattlewomen's booth at the 2015 Manatee County Fair. Tiffany Tompkins

Welcome to the “Cravings” blog, where I’ll keep you updated on Manatee County’s restaurant and brewery scene, all local cooking contests and how residents in the county’s food deserts are coping, to name a few.

In a continuing series, I’ll visit with the many new restaurants that have opened recently in Manatee County to see how the first year in business went (or not.) I’ll post pictures of recipes I try at home in my apartment’s little kitchen (though they may be a cautionary tale of trial and error more than anything). I’ll alert you to events featuring your favorite local chefs and restaurants and where to find the best craft beer in town.

This blog is meant to enlighten, delight, tempt and stoke your taste buds. If there’s something I’m not writing about that you think I should cover, please drop me a line through email or Twitter.

A little bit about me: My interest in food, where it comes from and its journey from field to plate began in college, and has become even more of a personal interest since I moved to Florida one year ago. Plus, I come from a small Illinois town where corn and beans are our bread and butter —pun intended.

Next to my passion for investigative journalism, I’ve always loved writing about food. During my time at the University of Illinois, I wrote for two different food publications while I worked at the daily student newspaper and Champaign-Urbana’s local investigative nonprofit.

But don’t let my interest in fresh, quality food fool you. It doesn’t mean I’m a complete food snob — I’m not at all picky, and I can easily destroy a plate of chicken wings in record time — but I find food is more enjoyable if I know where it comes from and how it was grown.

During the 2015-2016 Florida growing season, I volunteered at Geraldson Community Farm, an all-organic farm operating on a community-supported agriculture model. I learned how to plant, grow and harvest vegetables, some of which I’d never even heard of before. Right now, I’m exploring what the heck I can grow in a pot on my third-floor lanai in Florida’s intense summer heat. I haven’t killed anything yet, and I’ll let you know if that changes.

Keep up with me while I take a bite out of all things food in Bradenton and beyond.

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