Breweries are great for many reasons—chief among them the fact that you can bring your kids. Amid the weekend rainstorms, we took our tykes to Calusa Brewing, Sarasota's newest brewery, to let them run wild while we sampled a couple drafts. Both the Skeleton Man double IPA ($6.50 for a pint) and the Dissonance Breakfast Brown ($5.50) tasted outstanding. We also gorged on a meaty dinner served by Colbert Concessions, one of the brewery's rotating series of weekly food trucks and vendors. Our 4-year-old loved his grilled Italian sausage. We loved getting out of the house for an evening with friends.
The Modernist kale Caesar ($9) at Libby's Cafe + Bar is a near-perfect salad: tender kale is tossed in a lemony Caesar dressing along with Tuscan white anchovy, shards of Parmesan and crunchy croutons. Add a piece of grilled salmon and you've got a lunch that's healthy, hearty and, most importantly, delicious.
We admit it, we've totally polished off an entire jar of CROP Juice's Cinna-Nana Oats (which can be divided into two or three servings) in one sitting. But we're sure you can see why: CROP combines almond milk, oats, cashew butter, chia seeds, maple syrup, banana, cinnamon, vanilla and Himalayan sea salt to make a breakfast dish that's sweet, creamy and healthy. $8/jar.
When was the last time you treated yourself to a Hob Nob hamburger? The historic downtown drive-in (and yes, you can call ahead and they’ll bring your order to your car) still slings juicy, thin-patty burgers heaped high with lettuce, tomato, white onion, pickles, mayo and mustard—just messy enough to call for a second napkin. Get a basket with crinkle-cut fries and cole slaw ($7.75).
Michael's On East's bar bites are some of our favorites--we're particularly partial to the outstanding house-cured salmon on crunchy crostini with sweet roasted yellow beets and rich Montchevre goat cheese, drizzled with caper oil. Enjoy at the bar with a glass of wine or a craft cocktail and you've got yourself a great happy hour.