Locals at the north end of Beneva Rd., Sarasota were thrilled to bits when "Alma's Kouzine" opened up in a Plaza on Beneva Rd., (north of Fruitville and South of 17th Street)
It was just the kind of neighbourhood and unpretentious place with terrific food which we all longed for.
I, and very many of my local pals, were frequent visitors to Alma's Kouzine where we could be certain to enjoy delicious, inexpensive, and healthy foods for breakfast and lunch (and sometimes for dinner).
More than the food, we were blessed to encounter Alma herself, and her fabulous cook and husband Benny. They knew that good food is not great unless there is also a top-notch hospitality.
I liked it so much that I took my niece Beth and her partner Jordan to Alma's three or four times in 2015 when they visited me from the U.K..
More that that, when my sisters Maureen and Jean (with their respective husbands Bern and John) also visited later in 2015, I made sure that they too savoured the delights of Alma's Kouzine.
THEN (such a cruel blow!) Alma and Benny sold. They received an offer which they could not refuse.
Gloom and doom all around. Woe wuz us.
But wait there is more!
See this story from our local rag, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune
With that in mind drove myself down to Venice FL to have lunch with an old Pittsfield friend (Judy Grise Tallet), there to have lunch at what is now Joy's Kouzine.(539 U.S. 41 Bypass in Venice).
Alma greeted me with utter joy, She remembered my sisters and my niece, and she asked after them.
Benny was shopping at a local farm when we arrived, but as soon as he returned he greeted me with a hand-shake, which turned into a hug.
Both Alma and Benny were saddened to learn of the death of my dear friend Ben Morse. Whenever Ben M went to Alma's (when it was local) he took a can of beer, and presented it with all due ceremony "from one Ben to another".
Cities do not have to be cold and impersonal. They can also be places of warmth and grace.
City life can be places of fear and suspicion about and for immigrants.
They can also be places in which immigrants such as Benny and Alma enrich our lives. That's the way to go! I would not have it any other way. (Of course, I am also an immigrant to the U.S.A.)
My lunch time companion was Judy Grise Tallet. She and I knew each other for 16 years when I was the Rector at St. Stephen's, Pittsfield, MA. I officiated at her marriage to Frank Tallet; at her daughter Suzanne's wedding, and at the Baptism of Suzanne's three children.,
It was only a few weeks ago that I learned that Judy had retired to Venice,FL, and she learned that I had retired to Sarasota FL.
Our reunion at "Joy's Kouzine" was filled with joy.
|Judy and ,me|