Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sarasota...Beautiful Beaches, Fabulous Food!

We finally left Tampa and moved a little further on to Sarasota. I love the west coast of Florida and I love Sarasota. My husband is an east coast of Florida boy, and therein lies the rub.

He wants to buy something in Florida and we can never agree where to do it. My Aunt Edith and Uncle Frank used to live in Sarasota and I love the beaches there;

Siesta Key, Longboat Key...
the color of the sand, the warmth between your toes, the beautiful birds along the shoreline,

what could be bad????

As we drove around to check out the area we came across this beautiful statue called "Unconditional Surrender - The Kiss" commemorating the
famous World War II picture of a soldier returning home taken in New York's Times Square

This is my version featuring Rae and Steve :)

When my cousin Frank heard we were heading back to Sarasota he reminded me that we had to eat at Yoder's, a local Amish restaurant. He used to stop there all the time when my Aunt and Uncle were alive and always brought pies back to Fort Lauderdale on his trips. He said they make the best pies in the world, and he's right. We decided that we would have dinner at Yoder's our first night in town.

Yoder's has been in Sarasota for over 30 years, beginning as a small 10 table and 8 counter eatery in downtown Sarasota, and run by Amanda and Levi Yoder. They had come to Sarasota from Nappanee, Indiana, where Amanda baked on their farm from the time she was nine years old.

The eatery was so succcessful that they opened a second location Yoder's Too in 1892. They sold the smaller eatery to concentrate on the new location. Amanda retired, but her daughter-in-law Mary learned all the secrets, and learned them well. Yoder's is still family run, and grandson Brian runs the day to day operation. At the end of the post, Brian provided two recipes from Yoder's for your enjoyment.

If you are in Sarasota, don't miss the opportunity to eat at Yoder's, you won't be disappointed. You may want to starve yourself however, so you have room for dessert!

As you enter Yoder's you won't be in awe of the decor as with many high end restaurants (you know the kind I mean, great decor, lousy food), you will be met with down home simplicity, and fabulous home cooking and the most reasonable prices. The average entree is $10.95 - $13.95 range.

You can buy their products in the restaurant as well

We met this wonderful couple Mik and Diana Merritt
from Battlecreek, Michigan
who have been coming to Sarasota and Yoder's for years
and told us exactly what to order

It's amazing what this kitchen can put out!

Here are some fun statistics before we get to the food...
Yoder's once served 1500 in one day
They bake an average of 100 pies a day
They have served over 850,000 pies since 1975
They sell well over 3000 the day before Thanksgiving
The customers most favorite pies are
Chocolate Peanut Butter, Peanut Butter, Coconut Cream and Strawberry...

Sitting down and enjoying the feast

Rae got the hot turkey dinner

Steve the pot roast

Marc also enjoyed the hot turkey

one of the sides was a delicious cucumber salad

and I got the Fried Chicken (mind you this was the small portion)

The breast was bigger than Dolly Parton's, and then there was an
enormous wing next to it. It was served with two
delicious potato pancakes and in the upper left you see a side
of hot apples, that were wonderful! I only ate the wing and
one pancake and I was done (took the rest to the hotel for a midnight snack)

and then it was the moment of truth and time for the pies...

Steve chose the Apple Crumb

The Banana Cream - so delicious, the flaky crust was amazing

The Carrot Cake

and our neighbors from Michigan took
a chocolate peanut butter to go

They weren't kidding, those were the most delicious pies I have ever tasted,
whatever you do, leave room for dessert or take it home with you...don't miss the pies!

The waitresses were wonderful, warm, and kind

Kathy and

Carol, who was our waitress

Make this a stop on your next visit to Sarasota, you won't be disappointed.
In fact, I'm hoping that Yoder's will swing the scales on Marc's
decision of West Coast vs. East Coast...

It's been weeks and I am still tasting and craving pies....Yummmmm

With sincere thanks to Brian for allowing me to reprint these recipes :)

Yoder's Peanut Butter Pie

Pudding Mixture:

1-cup cold milk
½ cup cornstarch
1-teaspoon salt
1-teaspoon vanilla
3 egg yolks
3 cups milk
3 tablespoons butter
2/3-cup sugar
Mix cornstarch, salt, 1 cup milk, eggs yolks and vanilla with a wire whisk until smooth. Set mixture aside.
Heat 3 cups milk, butter and sugar till scalding, stirring constantly. Add cornstarch mixture to hot milk while stirring with a whisk. Cook till thickened. Remove from heat before boiling. CHILL.

Crumb Mixture:

1 cup powdered sugar
½ cup crunchy peanut butter
Baked 9-10-inch deep pie shell
2 cups whipped topping (sweetened)

Mix powdered sugar and peanut butter till small crumbs form (with mixer).
Place ½ crumbs into pie shell. Spoon chilled pudding on top of crumbs. Place remaining crumbs on top of pudding, reserving a little to sprinkle on top. Top with whipped topping.
Enjoy! Serves 6 at Yoder’s (or 12 small pieces)

Yoder's Peanut Butter Pie on Foodista

Yoder’s Chocolate Cake

(Originally named Wacky Cake. They double the cocoa and mix theirs in a mixer because they make a larger batch)

Wacky Cake Original Recipe

3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1/8-cup cocoa (unsweetened)
1 Tablespoon vanilla
2 Tablespoons vinegar
¼ cup vegetable oil
2 cups cold water

Preheat oven to 350º F.
Place the sugar in the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch baking pan. Mix together flour, soda, salt and cocoa and sift over the top of the sugar. Make three wells in the mixture. Put vanilla in the first well, vinegar in the second and oil in the third well. Stir with a fork only, just until large lumps are gone. Bake at 350ºF. for approximately 25-30 minutes.

Chocolate Icing:

3 cups powdered sugar
1 stick (1/4 pound) butter, softened
¾ cup cocoa (unsweetened)
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix together in or with a mixer until the desired consistency. Add a little milk to make it thinner.

yoder's wacky cake on Foodista

Please let me know if you try either of these recipes and mail me a picture and I'll post them on the site.

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  1. Love the bird photos! The food looks fabulous too. It was really nice of them to share a couple of recipes with you.

  2. The birds were so beautiful and so friendly, they just about posed for the pictures :0 They people at Yoders were just great, and the food was really delicious. It may not have been plated like The Capital Grille, but the taste was unbelievable. I don't know about you, but this is how food really looks in my kitchen...I may not always through a spring of rosemary on everything (which is a standing joke with my husband) but it sure tastes good.

  3. We are so glad to find your site with this recipe for the Peanut Butter Cream Pie! My husband is a born and raised Sarasota boy and we don't live to far from there, but he got a pbc pie for fathers day (he really loves them)and said how he wished he could make them whenever he to the internet. I thought we wouldn't have any luck finding the actual Yoders recipe (for they are the best out of any of the Amish restaurants - the rest are too commercial now) and here we are. I was glad to hear that you had a nice visit to this area as well. Thank you...Tara

  4. Dear Tara,

    So glad you enjoyed the post. I hope the pie turns out as good as you hope it will. We love Sarasota. Let me know how it turns out.

  5. I am soo glad that I found this recipe for peanut butter pie! It is my dad's birthday in a few days and I plan to make it for him. I'll tell you how it turns out. (If it's anything like Yoders' it'll be amazing!)

    p.s. I love your site! So happy I found it :)

  6. Hi Amanda
    I'm glad you found us too. I hope the pie turns out well and your father has a great birthday. I got it from Yoders, so it should be good. I haven't been posting too much as I am revamping the blog and trying to move it to Wordpress, so look for lots of changes.