Anna Maria Island Vacation Rental Cooking

Anna Maria Island vacation rental cooking is easy and delicious if you know how. Home chefs with even the most basic of cooking skills can create fresh, convenient and enjoyable meals. Anna Maria Island is a great vacation spot for beach fun, but also offers great local ingredients for meal time. While visiting the island you’ll find fresh seafood, local produce and local made craft beers.

Anna Maria Island Vacation Rental Cooking Guide

Follow these easy tips, and you will have a week worth of creative easy meals you won’t forget!

Get seasonal

Before making your way to an Anna Maria Island vacation rental, get an idea of what is in season. Food can be a factor when picking a vacation destination. Every region of the world is known for a unique seasonal food, so if you plan to cook, plan on enjoying what is readily available. Picking foods at their seasons peak is the best way to enjoy eating.

Popular Seasons on Anna Maria Island

Spiny Lobster –  Begining of August through March.
Stone Crab Claws – Mid October through mid May.
Mullet – Peaks in the Fall; Thanksgiving through January.
Tomatoes – Year round except July, August and September.
Strawberries – December – April.
Citrus – All year with the exception of summer months.

Learn more about when and what is growing in Manatee County here.

Go Local with Anna Maria Island vacation rental cooking

Eating seasonally is only part of what makes a great vacation rental cooking experience. You must also shop local. Anna Maria Island is home to several specialty shops run by locals. Check out Anna Maria Olive Oil Outpost, The Island Fresh Market and Starfish Market to find a variety of specialty items. From fresh off the boat seafood to fresh baked bread these locals run specialty shops are a big hit.

Keeping it Simple and One Pot Meals

Save fancy fussy meals for dining out when staying in an Anna Maria Island vacation rental. Keep meal time easy, so you don’t become stressed out. Fight the urge to try out a new complicated recipe, and let professionals wow you instead. Complicated and messy meal preparation doesn’t lend to the laid back style of the island.

Preparing large dishes that can last through the week is a smart option.

For breakfast try make ahead options like quiche using a store bought pie crust. Make quiche ahead of time, and simply re-heat in the morning. A large batch of chicken salad can create beautiful sandwiches, or simply sit on top of a bowl of dressed greens for easy lunch options.

Try one pot meals for dinner time. 

There is nothing easier than throwing some fresh local ingredients all in one pot. You can create many delicious meals, and have little to clean up when you try out these great one pot meals from Martha Stewart.

Take a kitchen equipment inventory

When you get to your Anna Maria Island vacation rental take an inventory of what kitchen equipment is available. You may want to inquire what is available ahead of time if you decide to bring food with you. Some dishes require special equipment. Inquiring is also a good idea if you have a particular dish you’ll be making. This way you won’t have to buy special equipment for your stay.

Splurge on Quality

You’re on vacation, so treat yourself like it! Splurge on buying quality ingredients, and not just the generic or less expensive versions of items. Vacations are about relaxing and enjoying things you don’t usually experience, so go all out.

Avoid bargain bulk buys

Often when shopping for groceries, shoppers will buy the items with a great bang for buck ratio. Doing so leads you to buying large portions of individual items. This practice may not be appropriate for a vacation rental kitchen. After your week long vacation you probably don’t want to transport food home, so consider buying smaller portions from the grocery store. Only what you need during your stay. The exception to this rule would be for those vacationing with very large groups.

Grill out with your fresh catch

Anna Maria Island is the perfect Florida vacation destination for a fishing excursion. With access to the Gulf of Mexico, Tampa Bay, Sarasota Bay and Intracoastal Waterways, fishing is great on Anna Maria Island. Many of the Island Real Estate vacation rentals offer propane or charcoal grills. A Florida style backyard barbecue with your fresh catch is a vacation tradition for many. If fish isn’t really your forte, then try grilling up some nice steaks for dinner.

Local Craft Beer

There are many craft beer breweries within an hours drive from Anna Maria Island, but you don’t have travel to find great beer. Find beers from Tampa, St. Petersburg, Bradenton and Sarasota on Anna Maria Island. Visit Publix shopping center, Walgreens liquor store, or Hurricane Hanks liquor store to find local craft beers. All these retailers are in Holmes Beach, but restaurants along the entire island offer local brews.

Recipes for Anna Maria Island vacation rental cooking

Restaurant Style Smoked Fish Dip

Fish Tacos with Mango Salsa

Grilled Mahi Mahi with Pineapple Bark

Anna Maria Island vacation rental homes with gorgeous kitchens

Island Real Estate offers Anna Maria Island vacation rentals and beach houses with great kitchens! Whether you just need a small kitchen for a few guests, or you need to accommodate a large group with a big kitchen. Island Real Estate has the perfect Florida vacation rental to fit your needs. Reserve your Anna Maria Island today with Island Real Estate!

Anna Maria Island vacation rental cooking
Anna Maria Island vacation rental Bay View Inn 202 offers a perfect cozy kitchen for 4 guests. Click on the image to learn about this updated Bradenton Beach vacation rental home.
Anna Maria Island Vacation Rental Cooking
The kitchen at Anna Maria Island vacation rental Neolinda spaciously accommodates 6 guests! Click on the image to learn more about this Anna Maria Island, Holmes Beach Vacation rental.
Anna Maria Island vacation rental cooking
SeaShell Sunsets is a gorgeous Holmes Beach, Anna Maria Island vacation rental with a kitchen accommodating 10 guests. Click on the image to learn about SeaShell Sunsets.

Find the perfect Anna Maria Island vacation rental, and enjoy eating during your Florida vacation! You may not be the worlds most creative chef, but follow this guide for Anna Maria Island vacation rental cooking ideas!

Loggerhead Turtles visit Anna Maria Island

Anna Maria Island – Loggerhead Turtles are the most common found nesting on our shores from May through October every year. There are five different species of Sea Turtles that can be found swimming in the waters around Anna Maria Island.

Loggerhead Turtles and More

Among Loggerheads the Gulf of Mexico is also home to Hawksbill, Leatherback, Kemp Ridley and Green Sea Turtles. Occasionally on Anna Maria Island we have had Green Sea Turtles nest, but most nests are from Loggerheads.

According to Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shorebird Monitoring the 2015 Sea Turtle nesting season brought Anna Maria Island 356 nests with 441 false crawls, or crawls not resulting in eggs, and a total of 12,571 hatchlings sent off to the Gulf of Mexico and Tampa Bay.

Loggerhead turtles have a large head and powerful jaw suited for eating the hard shelled organisms that make up most of their diet. In addition to eating mollusks, whelks and conchs, and sea urchins Loggerheads feast on Jellyfish and are predominantly carnivores. After hatching, baby turtles make their way to the safety of sargassum, or large patches of floating sea grass, to feed on tiny floating organisms and invertebrates.

Loggerhead turtles
A loggerhead Sea Turtle released from a rehabilitation facility.

Loggerheads aren’t just found in Florida waters, but have a very large range including the sub-tropic and tropic regions of the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans. Occasionally Loggerheads have even been seen off the coast of Oregon, but do not nest on those coasts. These turtles can be found hundreds of miles off shore in open water, around coral reefs, as well as inshore lagoons, bays, salt marshes and large rivers.

About Loggerheads

Loggerhead turtles, also know by the scientific term as Caretta caretta, have almost heart shaped shells with a red tinged top and yellow underside. Males have a longer tail with their carpace, or top shell, narrowing towards their back end. Baby Caretta caretta have a dark grey or brownish carpace with a pale yellow underside, and their flippers are dark brown with white edges. This species of turtle is typically in the 200 pound range as adults, but can grow to 400 or more pounds in weight. The adult Caretta caretta has an average length of 36-38 inches with babies hatching at just a couple of inches.

Turtles and Ecosystem

Sea Turtles play an important role in their ecosystem, with their biggest threat coming from development of habitat. It is important to be mindful when visiting the beach during nesting season. Turtles need to navigate the coastline uninterrupted. Female Loggerheads usually come up on to the shore after nightfall to nest. Often they visit the same beaches where they were hatched. Caretta caretta nests can hold around 100 eggs, but are susceptible to predation from animals foraging on the coast.

When visiting gulf beaches between May and October it is important to flatten sandcastles, fill in sand holes and remove beach equipment and garbage. This is to ensure turtles and hatchlings don’t become entangled or trapped. For tips on sharing the beach during turtle season read our “Rules to Live by during Turtle Season“. If you see a turtle or hatchlings stay back, give the animal space so they don’t become stressed.

Loggerhead turtle hatchlings
Baby Loggerhead Turtles make their way to the Gulf.

If you see an injured sea turtle or unmarked nest please contact the Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch at 941-778-5638. Also contact Florida Fish and Wildlife at 888-404-3922. If you find any type of injured wildlife contact Wildlife Inc. at 941-778-6324.

 

Anna Maria Island Beach Front Accommodations

Island Real Estate offers a large selection of beach front vacation rentals to choose from, so plan your stay today!

Anna Maria Island vacation rental
La Casa LaMar offers direct beach front accommodations for up to 5 guests! Click on the image to learn more about this beautiful home.

Anna Maria Island Sustainable Seafood – The Sunray Venus Clam.

Anna Maria Island – All over coastal Florida the Sunray Venus Clam is gaining recognition as a sustainable, and delicious new addition to the state aquaculture market, and Anna Maria Island has hopped on this new trend.

The Sunray Venus Clam has a softer shell than most farmed clams making it a little pricier on the current market. These Clams have a sweet briny conch like taste, and a large tender meaty foot. When frozen fresh Sunray Venus Clams have an almost 100% open rate; much higher than most species. Sunray Venus Clams grow from South Carolina to Florida and get to be about 3 inches long. They have a beautiful shell that turns a pink salmon color when cooked.

Recently Bruce Barber a Professor of Marine Science at Eckerd College has started research on Sunray Venus Clams around Anna Maria Island’s bay side. In July Barber received an $82,000 grant from Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer service’s Division of Aquaculture to specifically study the eating and reproductive habits of Sunray Venus Clams. During the year long project, Barber will be studying a natural population of the clams just south of the Anna Maria City Pier to gain information to better inform shell fish fisheries like locals run Bay Shellfish company.

In Florida all submerged coastal land is state owned. Currently only 2,250 of 280,000 acres of this submerged land are leased for aquaculture. With such a great deal of available space there is a lot of potential for growing Sunray Venus Clams that could be a great boon to the Florida shell fish market.

Anna Maria Island restaurateur and partner at Bay Shellfish company Ed Chiles is on the forefront of supplying the Island with this delicious bivalves. Currently the Sunray Venus Clams can be found at all three of Chiles restaurants The Sandbar, Beach House and Mar Vista Dockside.  Chiles believes Tampa Bay waters to the north of Anna Maria Island are the perfect area to grow Sunray Venus Clams because of water temperature, quality and nutrient content.

Next time you visit Anna Maria Island be sure to support local aquaculture and try out Sunray Venus Clams.

Sunray Venus Clam
Sunray Venus Clam photo Credit: http://pureflorida.blogspot.com/2011/03/st-josephs-peninsula-state-park.html

Resources:

Tampa Bay Times, “Sunray Venus clams could be Florida’s next big aquaculture crop“, online edition August 22, 2015.

Solo Travel Girl, “Florida Aquaculture: Learning About Sunray Venus Clams in Charlotte Harbor

ChefsResources.com, Venus Sunray Clams

 

 

Crocodiles and Alligators, friend or foe

Anna Maria Island – Florida has an amazingly complex eco system home to everything from the Florida Black Bear to the majestic manatee, but a little known fact is that Florida is one of the only geographies that can support both alligators and crocodiles. So do these scaly reptiles pose a threat to the average vacationer?

croc
“Nile Crocodile” Native to Africa – you will not find this type of croc in Florida.

Well let’s look at the facts; alligators are not naturally aggressive creatures. There were only 10 fatal alligator attacks in the US between 1970 and 2000 (compared to the 25 fatal attacks by house hold dogs just between 1970 and 1980). This works out to be about .3 per year and several of these reports were of people who started out with harassing or feeding alligators in their natural habitat. Crocodiles however claimed over 50 lives between 1990 and 1994. Having said that, NONE of these attacks occurred in the US furthermore these attacks were all credited to the freshwater crocs (like the one in the picture to the left) found in southern Africa and Australia, not the much more docile saltwater crocodiles found here in Florida.

In addition to this the American Alligator is known as a “Keystone Species” or one whose presence can affect the entire ecosystem. For example before the endangered species act alligators were hunted because local fishermen thought this would improve the numbers of game fish in the water. The outcome was an overpopulation of a type of fish called gar, and what is the meal of choice for gar? You guessed it, game fish and this caused a steep decline in their numbers. So at the end of the day the odds of an alligator invasion of your vacation rental is highly unlikely, if you leave them alone they’ll probably do the same. But if you find yourself yearning for an up close encounter they can be found at the Myakka State Park and viewed up close and personal from airboat tours.

 

Wally Lambs – Beach Reads Anna Maria Island

“We Are Water” by author Wally Lambs is a heart warming novel about family, marriage, and how strong a human can be in a time of a tragedy.

Wally Lambs We Are Water

This alternating character perspective book will have you glued to your chair in your own world. You’ll forget you’re even on vacation at all! This story truly grabs the readers attention and will have you hooked on the first page.

Told from many character’s perspectives, this book is thrilling to read. Dealing with family, divorce, marriage and understanding you won’t want to put this down.

To read a full description check out the Amazon page, I don’t want to give any of this novel away! Wally Lambs We are Water

With toes in the sand, there is nothing better than a good beach read. Just make sure you put on plenty of sunblock too!

For more great beach reads check out the IslandReal.com local scene page. From time to time we update our blog with great things locals are reading.

Outdoor Dining Anna Maria Island – Dine and Drink El Fresco!

Outdoor Dining Anna Maria Island is the quintessential way to hang out in beautiful tropical climate! There’s nothing better than when going out to grab a bite to eat or drinks, having the warm island breeze surrounding you. Some of the wonderful restaurants I’ve listed below have beautiful water views of either the crystal clear Gulf or Bay, or an open-air setting directly across the street from the beach.

The fresh air of AMI always makes your food taste that much better and your drinks that much tastier, bringing you relaxing vibes that will be sure to lift your spirit. I have suggested different places from smaller and more quant spots, to casual any-time spots, to romantic night spots.

Outdoor Dining Anna Maria Island

Sandbar – 100 Spring Ave, Anna Maria

Direct Gulf front

Sandbar

The Waterfront – 111 South Bay Blvd, Anna Maria
Bay views

Waterfront

Anna Maria Pier – 100 South Bay Blvd, Anna Maria
Out in the middle of the Tampa Bay

Pier

Bridgetender – 135 Bridge Street, Bradenton Beach
Direct bay front

Bridgetender

Island Time Bar & Grill – 111 Gulf Drive South, Bradenton Beach
Open-air setting, across the street from the Gulf

Island time

The Beachhouse – 200 Gulf Drive North, Bradenton Beach
Direct Gulf front

Beachhouse

Coquina Café – 2650 Gulf Drive South, Coquina Beach
Direct Gulf front

Outdoor Dining Anna Maria Island

Anna Maria Island Wedding Festival – A Great Resource!

The Anna Maria Island Wedding Festival is a great resource! There is no better way to walk down the aisle on your special day than with toes in the sand. Enjoy the island breeze dancing on your skin with the captivating Gulf of Mexico as your back drop. Truly a romantic experience.

Anna Maria Island wedding Festival

Anna Maria Island has many festivals and events happening annually throughout the year. However, one of those festivals is Anna Maria Island’s Chamber of Commerce Wedding Festival! Meet with photographers, venues, caterers, florists, hair and make-up professionals and other wedding vendors. These folks can all help in planning your dream-come-true day!

There are prize giveaways including a wedding package which will has many of the amenities for a wedding. Examples of the prizes include dinner gift certificates, spa services, beach or wedding portraits, floral arrangements, music or DJ services, jewelry, island business gift certificates, complimentary resort stays, water sport certificates and sailing certificates too!

Upon check-in, you will receive a complimentary wedding festival tote to collect information in throughout the day. Also an island map to all the vendor sites and a schedule of activities and events happening throughout the day. You can then travel by the island’s free trolley or a mode of transport of your own to visit with vendors that interest you. In the evening, everyone will meet at a beach location for the Grand Finale. Additionally, food, prize giveaways and a mock wedding are just some of the events planned for this festival!

 

feature-weddings

beach-wedding-setup-ideas-lagaoth9 Anna Maria Island wedding festival wedding

Havana Cabana, Anna Maria Island's Cuban restaurant

 

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The Havana Cabana Grill is a Cuban restaurant situated on the Marina Drive, Holmes Beach on Anna Maria Island. The restaurant has a large selection of dishes available for people eating in and ordering out. The food served is a mixture between Greek, Italian and Cuban traditional dishes and there are a variety of others. There are dinner specials available and for the adventurous spirits out there the catch of the day will offer a delicious fresh meal. Be sure to ask what it is!! There is a relaxed atmosphere in the restaurant and one immediately feels at home and welcome.

On my visit to the Havana Cabana I had an authentic Cuban sandwich and my aunt had the Sopa del Dia, both of which were extremely good. I would recommend any of the sandwiches that are made with Cuban bread. There is so much to choose from and I will definitely be going back. The restaurant is owned and managed by John Droukas who is also the chef, you can be sure one of the better chefs on the island. The best way in testing the theory is by testing the food. We were served by a kind lady by the name of Michelle Ruiz del Vizo who was very knowledgeable of the state of Florida and its cultural heritage. We learnt from her the meaning behind the term ‘cracker’, used to describe people who are born in Florida. The term derived from the crack of the whip above herds of cattle that were being herded by the first Floridian residents, early pioneers of the region. She is a proud Cuban cracker.

To view what is available you can visit http://www.havanacabana.net/ which is a website containing the menu and contact details.

Now, enough reading for you and time to crack on to the Havana Cabana grill to experience the culinary delight that awaits you.

 

Havana Cabana Grill
5904 Marina Drive
Holmes Beach, Florida 34217
941-254-4999

World’s Longest Conga Line This Weekend On Anna Maria Island

Worlds Largest Conga Line
Come And Join The World’s Longest Conga Line This Weekend
Mike Sales and other Anna Maria Island organizers are attempting the world’s longest conga line in Bradenton Beach on Anna Maria Island this Saturday. This event will take place from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 23, on the beach behind the Moose Lodge, located at 110 Gulf Drive S., in Bradenton Beach, just north of the Bridge Street.
Festivities will start earlier in the day.  The gathering point is Bradenton Beach roundabout at Bridge Street. (Moose Lodge)

11:00am The Moose will be open for beverages and we will have music. Our very talented local artist, Cheeta, will be performing “Live Sand Art”

12:30pm-1pm  Begin to line up for Conga

1:00pm-2:00pm  CONGA!!! Will include live music by Mike Sales, a video will be shot for a music video. Aerial Photos to be taken.

The proceeds from the event will benefit the Moonracer No-Kill Animal Rescue founded by Lisa Williams. Moonracer No-Kill Animal Rescue has started a no kill animal campaign for Manatee County, and locals are starting to get on board, I know I am.
Save the animals they have rights too! See you all in Bradenton Beach on Saturday at 1p.m. so we can all be a part of the world’s longest conga line with original music played by Mike Sales.

Music For Everyone This Spring – Downtown Bradenton

Music Slam Header
MUSIC SLAM!

This spring downtown Bradenton & riverfront community will be alive with events that showcase music.  Shop, dine, and celebrate Bradenton’s unique mix of arts, culture, and heritage downtown along the riverfront this spring.

Take a look at the Music Slam event list for April and May below.  If you would like more information on this spring’s Music Slam or any other events in Bradenton, Sarasota, and Anna Maria Island, contact Island Real Estate.

Saturday, April 16th 1-2:30pm

History & All That Jazz

Palmetto Historical Park & Manatee County Agricultural Museum.

Enjoy a free Jazz Ensemble, and guided tours of the park’s historical buildings.

Thursday, April 21st 6-10pm

Get Down Downtown

Old Main Street Downtown Bradenton.

Head downtown, and hang out with your friends, eat some food, and grab a drink while listing to live music in the streets of Bradenton.

Wednesday, April 27th 2:30-7:30pm

Musical & Fashion Show

Desoto Historical Society Bradenton Municipal Auditorium.

You do not want to miss the 2011 De Soto Heritage Musical Festival which will feature skilled dance routines.

Saturday, April 30th 6 & 7:30pm

Classics at Ortygia Ristorante

The Village of The Arts.

World renowned tenor Joe Spinella will sing in the Ortygia Courtyard, and Chef Gaetano Cannata will delight you with classic food and wine.

Wednesday’s, May 4th, 11th, 18th & 25th

Courthouse Square Concerts

Realize Bradenton

Free live concerts in May at the Historic Courthouse in downtown Bradenton featuring Henry Lawrence, Michael Mac, & a Jazz Ensemble.

Thursday, May 5th – Sunday May 22nd

Signin’ In The Rain,

The Manatee Players

This musical is a return to the old fashioned showbiz glamour and big dance numbers.

Friday, May 6th 6-9:30pm

Musical Chairs Art Walk

The Village of the Arts

Art and Music everything from bluegrass to an interactive musical sculpture.

Saturday, May 7th 3-7pm

Rock ‘n’ Art

Art Center Manatee

Rock N Roll concert and cool art activities; don’t miss the family fun featuring local bands and artists.

Saturday, May 7th 4-8pm

Sing into Spring!

South Florida Museum

Sing along with your favorite musical kids flick and put on your own Karaoke show. Food will be available at normal price.

Every Saturday In May 9am-2pm

Farmers Market

Old Main Street Bradenton

Fresh produce and live music in the streets of downtown Bradenton.

 

Saturday May 14th 11:30am – 2pm

Jazzy Ladies

ArtCenter Manatee Courtyard by Marriott

Luncheon & Fashion Show, with fashions from Irene’s in Holmes Beach.

Thursday, May 19th 6-10pm

Get Down Downtown

Old Main Street Downtown Bradenton.

Head downtown and hang out with your friends, eat some food, and grab a drink while listing to live music in the streets of Bradenton.

Friday, May 20th Sunset

Reels at Rossi free film

Rossi Park Bradenton

Don’t miss this family musical with heart, and food will be available for purchase.

Saturday, May 21st 7-11pm

Party on The Plaza Manatee Young Professionals and Realize Bradenton

First Bank 1301 6th Avenue West Bradenton

Join your friend’s downtown Bradenton for live music, drinks, and delicious appetizers under the stars.

Saturday, May 28th 8-9pm

Sonic Art With Paul Ramshaw

Palmetto Art Center

Paul Ramshaw’s electro-acoustic compositions are created from micro-samples of live orchestral and operatic vocal sources.