Local author celebrates phenomenal local dining
by Yvette Bone
Sarah Crain has been obsessed with food for as long as she can remember. Growing up with a granny who taught her hospitality and the joy of delighting in good cuisine, Sarah speaks of good food the way some speak of true love. And what better way to memorialize love than to write about it.
In May, Sarah released her first edition of Bucket List for Foodies, 50 Southwest Florida Dishes That Should Be On Your Bucket List. Being known among her friends and family as the ultimate foodie and a woman who could always give a solid recommendation for dining out, Sarah decided it was time to turn her cell phone food journal into something more.
“The Pineapple Glazed Chilean Sea Bass on page 78 is what inspired me to write the book,” Sarah shared. “The dish is heaven, honest to goodness! Four years ago I was sitting there eating it and thought, if people knew about this, this place would be packed and there’d be no more sea bass. It is so good!”
Sarah knew that if she didn’t try going from inspiration to actual writing, she would always have regrets. Getting her husband on board was easy. The next step was finding a publisher.
“My mother-in-law bought a book at Barnes & Noble, and on the very last page it said something like, ‘Have an idea for a book?’ and I thought, ‘I do!’ So two months later I finally called and talked to the CEO of Mascot Books,” Sarah explained.
Mascot Books is a premiere independent book publishing company for authors of all sorts of books. Sarah had no clue if the publisher would even be interested in a foodie book. When she made the phone call, it was still just an idea in her head. “The CEO said to write up some information about the book and send it in, so I did. His team reviewed it and about a month later he called to say they’d love to publish it.”
Let that set in: the first publisher Sarah contacted said yes! Sarah’s food journal instantaneously turned into a manuscript.
What makes Bucket List for Foodies so desirable and unique is that it doesn’t just name our area’s top restaurants, it names the specialty each restaurant is known for. It takes the guesswork out of ordering. “A true foodie wants to know what to eat,” Sarah says, “not just where to eat.”
In the introduction of Bucket List for Foodies, Sarah states that if a dish is featured in the book, it will be “phenomenal.” She implores readers: “Trust me. It took two and a half years and ten extra pounds to find the best of the best…”
The book is laid out alphabetically in five categories: appetizers, breakfast, dessert, diner and lunch. Each dish has its own dedicated page, which includes a photo and mouth-watering description. The descriptions written by Sarah are fun and playful, and will put your craving meter into high gear. The book should feature a warning: sitting down and reading Bucket List for Foodies all the way through could spark a mental obsession with food.
Opposite the dish description and photo are details about the restaurant, including a map, whether or not it offers coupons or specials, details of the environment, other noteworthy menu items, how kid friendly it is, tips for the perfect dining experience, price points and dietary food offerings.
The sea bass that launched the book is featured at The Dock at Crayton Cove in Naples. All 50 dishes mentioned in Bucket List for Foodies are sold at locally owned restaurants from North Fort Myers to Naples. Some offer waterfront locations, and others can be found in Publix shopping centers, such as Phensri Thai Restaurant in North Fort Myers.
Sarah assures you these eateries are worth traveling to wherever they are located. “I want people to experience new things and experience all Southwest Florida has to offer. We are a melting pot and that means we have all sorts of food to enjoy. I always tell people there is no need to get stuck in a food rut. Try something new!”
Sarah hopes to write future editions of the Bucket List for Foodies Southwest Florida Edition, as well as books for Miami/Key West, Tampa, Atlanta and more. Currently, Bucket List for Foodies is sold at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Contracts are in the works for Costco and Whole Foods. Copies can also be purchased at the featured restaurants.
As part of her book signing tour, Sarah will return to her high school, Evangelical Christian, on November 5, and participate in BaconFest 2016 on November 12 at the Naples Airport. For additional book-signing dates, visit www.facebook.com/bucketlistforfoodies, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sarah is a Southwest Florida native and graduate of Evangelical Christian School. She works full time as a guidance counselor at First Baptist Academy in Naples. Sarah and her husband Jason live in Hampton Park in the Gateway community.