Sometimes, all you need is a good meal, a cold beer, and a clear view of the game. In times like these, a visit to Hott Leggz will be nothing short of therapeutic, especially if you're a fan of Chicago sports. The laid-back, Chi-town bar just a mile or so from the beach is a favorite among locals for ending a day or beginning a night. Vintage Vienna Beef signs litter the walls, but the menu is not limited to hot dogs. Bayou favorites like gumbo and poor boys, an array of burger selections — including a delicious roasted veggie burger — and crab legs are among the most celebrated items. Wash down your meal with two-for-one drinks while seated at a high top equipped with a personal, high-def, flat-screen TV.

Guinness is a beverage all about time. It should be imbibed the same way it's poured — with steady efficiency and a sense of purpose. Just the way it comes at Maguires Hill 16 in Fort Lauderdale. The first sign that you're getting a proper Guinness is that it takes at least twice as long to arrive as it does the rest of the drinks at the table — as well it should, since it takes 119.5 seconds to properly pour one. If you want a show with your drink, order your Guinness at the bar and watch how it's built. If it's still foaming when it arrives, wait for the head to fully settle. You want to palm the glass firmly and finish the pint in about ten manly swallows. Don't rush through it, but no sipping either. Just tell the bartender you're there to learn to appreciate Guinness. She'll teach you. It just takes time.

Situated in the heart of Wilton Manors and exemplifying that happily beating heart, Matty's is known and loved for its friendly atmosphere, which only gets friendlier as the cheap drinks go down. A favorite happy-hour spot, the bar serves two-for-one drinks daily until 9 p.m. and lots of party beyond that early hour. Although each night offers different specials on booze and tasty menu items, Wild Wednesdays is Matty's claim to fame. To ensure that everyone makes it completely over the hump, 75-cent drinks are offered until the wee hours of Thursday morning. More important, what is offered every day is an environment where you can relax. Pop in to enjoy a martini, shoot a game of pool, dance your ass off, or watch Glee. If you've not become acquainted already, you will quickly makes friends with this inviting Wilton Drive locale.

Anthony Cave

We know, we're not surprising anyone with this one. Yeah, the line stretches out the door around lunchtime on Saturday, and they retail their sauce in bottles. Yeah, at certain times of the day, it's not as good (though it's your fault if you expect great barbecue at odd hours). But goldangit, Tom Jenkins' and all of its carbonized, log-cabiny kitsch is just the most fun and satisfying place to get your rib-stickin' meat in this fair county. The building was repurposed and renovated years ago by the owners (neither of whom is named Tom Jenkins, despite the congratulatory letters addressed to him that are framed on the wall). Step inside and you're basically in the barbecue pit already, soaking up the smells as you stand in a line past rustic wooden tables and vintage kitsch. Once you get your meal, the magic is revealed: the burnt ends on the chopped pork border soft, pink morsels with just enough fat; ribs don't fall off the bone so much as gracefully pirouette into your mouth. The sauce, a tangy, just-sweet-enough concoction, isn't really necessary but a welcome compliment. Sides, like collard greens and baked beans, are dependable, and you get a hunk of corn bread for dippin'. Just as it should be.

If smiles are at all contagious, there is one clear, sparkling reason that New Moon is a favorite "gayborhood" hangout for ladies who love to show off their pearly whites. Owner Carol Moran, whom one loyal patron describes as a "peach," sports a perma-smile bright enough to light the pages of a Jeanette Winterson novel, and regulars at the bar always add to the light. To infect those outside of their Wilton Drive headquarters, the folks at New Moon consistently show support for others in the area who are working to improve life for the LGBTQ community and beyond.

Knowing the origin story of a food doesn't inherently make it taste any better. That's usually just a pleasant side effect. The lightly beer-battered squash blossoms from Max's Harvest are born at Green Cay Produce in nearby Boynton Beach, but it's not the proximity to the source that makes these so delicious; it's the preparation. Executive chef Chris Miracolo's blossoms are stuffed with an airy mix of goat and feta cheese and set upon upland cress. The kicker is a tomato-olive vinaigrette that you'll be damned-near tempted to lick off the plate.

2 ripe avocados, scooped out with a fork

1 tomato, chopped

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 jalapeño pepper, seeds removed, finely chopped

sprig of cilantro, chopped

juice of one lime

Add salt to taste.

Put in a bowl and stir like mad. That wasn't so hard, was it, big boy?

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