Tacos zvnnao

Moist, tender and toothsome, the braised al pastor “shepherd-style” tacos at Maria's ($2 apiece or 4 for $6) aren’t the traditional spit-grilled pastor you might expect, but they’re porky marvels nonetheless--and totally worth the trip to Bradenton's Red Barn Flea Market.

Feeling blue? Looking to treat yo self? Spend a morning at Buttermilk Handcrafted Food devouring one of the shop's diesel-sized sweet rolls ($5.50), huge swirls of cinnamon-scented dough that are moist, buttery wonders. They taste even better when paired with a ginormous cup of Buttermilk's burly drip coffee ($3.50).

If you're stopping at Michael's on East for happy hour, don't miss the outstanding house-cured salmon on crunchy crostini with sweet roasted yellow beets and rich Montchevre goat cheese, drizzled with caper oil. It's the perfect companion for any of the restaurant's creative cocktails.

Feeling a little, um, bloated post-holiday? Stop by Crop Juice for a delicious smoothie and enjoy feeling healthy. Our pick: The Almond Joy ($12), made of raw coconut water and coconut meat, almond milk, raw stoneground almond butter, dates, cacao and Himalayan sea salt. It tastes like a milkshake but it's good for you. Win-win. 

BrewBurgers, a two-location Venice burger business, sizzles up meat for locals and blister-skinned tourists alike. The long, polished-wood bar at the original location, an old Waffle House, provides direct views of the deep fryers, the flattop and good-natured staffers who know how to cook a burger medium rare. Whether decked out with basics like lettuce, tomato and onion or with fancier ingredients like barbecue sauce and blue cheese, the restaurant’s beef starts at just $7.75 and packs a punch. Feeling thirsty? BrewBurgers also serves a solid selection of local beers. 

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Editor’s Pick

Michael's On East

$$$ European, New American 1212 S. East Ave.

Sarasota’s only AAA Four-Diamond Award restaurant, this fine dining destination boasts American-Continental cuisine, an adventurous wine list and a comfortable, clubby piano lounge.