The eclectic dishes of Venice's downtown restaurant scene await taste buds on The Taste of Venice, a three-hour tour celebrating the town's considerable gastronomic, musical, and artistic resources. Though billed as a tour, the event takes place in a three-block stretch of downtown Venice, so attendees can maintain a leisurely pace as they sample the epicurean offerings of the area's finest gourmands. Each locally owned venue offers two portions of their menu, and chefs make themselves available to share their cooking methods so guests don't waste time tearing apart ravioli in search of hidden secrets. As they treat their palates, spectators also take in music, art, and the area's Italian Renaissance-style architecture.
If you don't know where you are in the U.S., buying a local hot dog might help you find out. Cities from Chicago to New York each put their own stamp on the uniquely American food. Fortunately, you don’t need to get lost on a hitchhiking tour of the country to experience them all. For their menu of signature dogs, the grill masters at Mad Dogs Hot Dogs assembled more than 20 of their favorites from across the nation. They add an extra kick to the Seattle Splitter with jalapenos and BBQ sauce, while crowning the Arkansas Turkey Dog with mozzarella and balsamic dressing.
Of course, they also customize their franks for those not bound to geographical formulas. To create their own meal, customers begin by selecting a dog from 13 options, including bacon-wrapped dogs and the foot-long, half-pound "Monster." Then, they choose from 20 complementary toppings, such as spicy mustard and neon relish, before getting really adventurous with 21 additional toppings that include roast beef and cream cheese.
Legend has it that during a high-stakes poker game, Johnny Leverock threw down the winning hand and won a 7-acre Tampa Bay oyster bed. The bed held a surplus of oysters—15,000 bushels a year—leading Johnny to open up his own oyster bar in 1948, which served the seafood-centric recipes his wife Bertha had perfected. Years later, new owners dubbed the eatery Leverock’s Restaurant in homage to the man, keeping the same clam-chowder recipe served on the original menu in 1948. Other standouts include sesame-seed-crusted mahi-mahi, north Atlantic snow crab, and housemade bread pudding. In line with the maritime theme, oversize fish hang from the ceiling in the dining room, and floor-to-ceiling windows provide panoramic views of Palm Island and the Intracoastal Waterway.