The ceviche and tacos at Sarasota's La Brisa Tacos Y Mariscos are tough to pass over whenever we stop in, but on a recent occasion we resisted the urge to order our old standbys and instead ordered the eatery's enchiladas. (A lunch special with two goes for $5.99.) Served in high Tex-Mex style with rice and beans and punctuated by spoonfuls of perfection from one of the region's best salsa carousels, a pair of these gooey guys makes for a splendiferous midday repast.
Whatever else you order at Tommy Bahama, be sure you’re getting yucca fries ($5). Roasted to a slight crisp outside, their flavor resembles a very mild sweet potato. The thick, yellow batons of meaty, starchy goodness are served with a spicy remoulade--just the thing to balance out your sweet tropical cocktail.
Whether you're vegan or not, don't miss the beet carpaccio ($12) at Louies Modern. It's a stunning plate of thinly sliced beets, sunchokes, cucumbers, radishes and shaved fennel, gently touched with chili-lime vinaigrette, which gives just the dish a pop of spice. It's a show-stopping presentation.
Full disclosure: the goat cheese from Yolkers Wilde Hatchery and Dairy Goats (available at the Central Sarasota Farmer's Market on Saturday mornings) is intended for pets because it's unpasturized, but the goat cheese (and other products) make pungent additions to human meals.
At Sardinia, don't leave without ordering the culurgiones, Sardinian ravioli stuffed with pecorino cheese, orange zest, and sauced with a dollop of tomato. They're Victor Hazan's favorite, and for good reason.