BEST BARBECUE - 2004
Everyone pretends to visit Everglades National Park to commune with nature. But every local knows we really go for the food -- and not the alligator sushi, either. Not far from the park's main entrance down south, the temptations for detours come from Knaus Berry Farm's sticky buns and the strawberry or key-lime milkshakes from Robert Is Here. But on the road trip out Tamiami Trail to the park's northern entrance at Shark Valley, the smoky barbecue aromas emanating from the Pit's wood cabin stop drivers more effectively than a police roadblock. Ribs are juicy, flavorful, fabulous. The double pork sandwich -- featuring mounds of what might be the best pit-cooked, pulled pork to be had south of the Carolinas, topped with crunchy sweet slaw -- is even better. Sides are also superior to most BBQ joints: tangy baked beans, lightly floured real onion rings, and to wash it down, imported Beck's beer. The eclectic redneck-to-reggae jukebox is big fun, too.