Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Top 10 Cheap Eats of 2015

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Top 10 Cheap Eats of 2015

Article excerpt

DINING

After more than two years at the table and 130 restaurants, truck stops and roadside stands, Cooper Levey-Baker stopped writing the weekly Cheap Eats column in Wednesday's Food & Wine section a few weeks back. Since he's gone, we picked ten of our favorite spots he reviewed this year, with selections from his reviews. Find more at ticketsarasota.com/dining.

Brick's Barbeque

At the Sarasota Farmers Market, along State Street, from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Saturday; 941-323-1942; bricks-bbq.com

Brick's isn't joking when it names one of its primary ingredients as wood, because the first thing that hits your mouth when you take a bite of the brisket sandwich is smoke. But the smoke doesn't kill the other flavors brought out by cooking the cut slowly and allowing the collagen and fat in the meat to melt and soak into the meat. The texture is incredible--the cut broken down into small, loosely connected little fingers of meat. The Brick's sauce is on the sweet rather than spicy side of the equation, but there's a subtle tang that cuts into the richness of what's between their buns.

Webber's Hot Dogs

3590 Webber St., Sarasota; 941-922-8189

I like my dogs pretty basic, so we start with Webber's "jumbo kosher style" hot dog ($4.49). The heat has blasted open the skin here and there and blistered the meat black. The cylinder comes set inside a basic bun, with the toppings I picked: bright white diced onions, stripes of yellow mustard and a slathering of Webber's "special hot relish." This hot dog is delicious. The charcoal makes a big difference, bringing a smokiness to the meat that a gas grill just can't provide.

Big Water Fish Market

6641 Midnight Pass Road, Siesta Key, Sarasota; 941-554-8101; bigwaterfishmarket.com

The moist fish breaks apart into thin ridges of flesh; it's perfectly juicy and the flavor tastes spot-on. Mixing that undersea wonder with the almost mushroom-like earthiness of the spinach is genius. When I polish off the sandwich, my hands are dripping and I've got stains on my shorts. I couldn't care less.

Fuzzy's Taco Shop

2515 University Parkway, Sarasota; 941-822-8933; fuzzystacoshop.com

The beef tastes strong and grassy, way better than the home taco nights of yore. My wife, Rachel, is sampling Fuzzy's selection of breakfast tacos. A chorizo, egg and cheese taco ($1.99) in a chewy flour tortilla tastes right on -- perhaps the best breakfast taco I've encountered in these parts.

Sage Biscuit Cafe

6656 Cortez Road W., Bradenton; 941-792-3970; sagebiscuitcafebradenton.com

Those same biscuits make a special guest appearance on Sage's stupendous jalapeno bacon and fried green tomato eggs Benedict ($10.99). Quivering, hollandaise-drenched eggs rest atop a structure held together by bacon, two discs of fried tomato and two biscuits. …

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