Brisket tacos ($8.95). They're so good we wish the two Nancy's Bar-B-Q locations served them every day instead of just on Fridays. Filled with deeply browned little nibs of beef, two tacos make for an exceptional lunchtime treat. Thin ribbons of red onion, roughly chopped cilantro and a few lime wedges brighten up the flavor, and a dose of tomato and jalapeño salsa helps the dish take flight. Be sure to sit outside. Tacos, a bright sun, a cool breeze, a good book. That's a recipe for a perfect lunch.
It had been ages since we ventured into the venerable Columbia on St. Armands, and after sampling the red snapper "Adelita" ($28) we wondered why it had taken so long to return. The ample portion of grilled fish comes topped with artichoke hearts, hearts of palm and sun-dried tomatoes, and it had a just-spicy-enough kick to make things interesting. Plus, on a bustling Friday evening, the Columbia was truly restaurant as theater, great for people-watching, with a nonstop parade of tourists. We'll be back soon.
This week, we just couldn't resist a guilty pleasure: Five Guys, the burger chain that just opened a new location on Fruitville Road. Our go-to order is a double cheeseburger ($7.09) with lettuce, tomato, pickles, mayo, raw onions and jalapeños and an order of fries ($4.99) big enough to feed a brigade.
While you’re enjoying a classy after-work cocktail at downtown Sarasota’s Duval’s, do yourself a favor and order the grilled cheese and candied pepper bacon sliders ($9 or $7 during happy hour, 3-7 p.m.). The sandwiches themselves are everything a grownup wants in a grilled cheese, including crispy, buttery bread and gooey melted filling. But the real kicker here is the tomato dipping sauce, a thick, sweet concoction that brings everything together. If you want to finish the leftover sauce with a spoon—or straw—we certainly won’t judge.
We can't hit up the downtown Sarasota Farmers Market without making a pit stop at Empanadas By Stef, the small 'nada stand affiliated with Peperonata Pasta. $3 will get you one. $5 will get you two. This past Saturday, we devoured six, with an array of flavors like the sweet caramelized onion and cheese, a classic breakfast mix of eggs and sausage, and one shaped like a triangle and stuffed with ground lamb.