Dine by Your Sign

Hints for dining under the stars

Having a hard time deciding where to dine? Not sure what you want to eat tonight? Try turning to your astrological sign. It gives dining under the stars a whole new meaning. Astrologer and columnist Sydney Omarr, along with the late chef Mike Roy, put together a cookbook of culinary constellations, Cooking With Astrology. Using Omarr's tips on food to fit the heavens as a starting point, here's a horoscope for your next meal.

Aquarius (January 20-February 18): Those born under this air sign make light meals out of salads, enjoy cold foods like yogurt, and get kicks out of packaged convenience foods eaten on the run. Ruled by Uranus, Aquarians are frequently perceived as eccentric and avant-garde and have a fondness for anything made with lemons, oranges, tomatoes, or avocados. They snack frequently, on cheese in particular. Quality Quirk: The Water Bearer? Nonsense. The favorite Aquarian drink is champagne. Fatal Flaw: These highly verbal folks may be more interested in dinner conversation than dinner. Ultimate Eatery: The menu at Black Orchid Cafe (2985 N.Ocean Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, 954-561-9398) is as eccentric as an Aquarian, with items like grilled ostrich, loin of Canadian elk, and wild African game pheasant. This elegant place will never bore the Water Bearer.

Pisces (February 19-March 20): Pisces are born under Neptune, what Omarr labels "the planet of illusion." Sensitive, perceptive, and dreamy, Pisceans appreciate fare that has been veiled when cooked -- fish steamed in parchment paper, for example. The subtle flavors of shellfish are irresistible to the average Pisces, as are delicate broths, stocks, and dishes that focus on one ingredient. Quality Quirk: They put their emotions into every meal; watching a pleased Pisces is as satisfying as reading a good book. Fatal Flaw: The Piscean longing for simplicity can come across as picky. Ultimate Eatery: A Pisces dish doesn't have to be cooked -- just fresh. Which they are at Tokyo Delite (61 S.Federal Hwy., Deerfield Beach, 954-571-7181). Order the Love Boat -- a combo of sushi, sashimi, and rolls -- for the Pisces you adore.

Aries (March 21-April 19): Aries is associated with Mars, the planet that represents action, leadership, aggression -- and the color red. Fire-sign eaters enjoy blood-hued food, including tomatoes, beets, and red wine. The Aries diner likes to choose the restaurant and order for the table. Quality Quirk: Good decision-making skills. Give Aries the menu and the check. Fatal Flaw: Becomes impatient and has difficulty tolerating incompetence, from a wait staff or a dining companion. Ultimate Eatery: Say it with me: "Steak house, steak house, steak house." New York Prime (2350 NW Executive Center Dr., Boca Raton, 561-998-3881) fits the (rather pricey) bill to a T bone, with service that includes plenty of satisfying pandering and beef that muscles out the competition.

Taurus (April 20-May 20): Taurus is associated with the planet Venus. Born under an earth sign, Taureans are direct, practical, and blunt. They appreciate beauty as long as it serves its purpose. The basic bull considers eating a necessary business and likes to get his money's worth. Generous Taureans are also "substance abusers" -- skimpy portions piss them off. Quality Quirk: More versatile than you might think. Fatal Flaw: Insatiable appetite. Ultimate Eatery: At Sally O'Brien's (BeachPlace, 17 S. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, 954-522-4641) Taureans will delight in the huge bowl of creamy potato soup garnished with cheddar cheese and bacon, the lamb stew rife with chunks of lean meat and potatoes, and the shepherd's pie, seasoned beef topped with -- what else? -- mashed potatoes.

Gemini (May 21-June 20): Talkative and energetic, Gemini-born diners have a good sense of humor and a healthy dose of curiosity. They don't enjoy eating repetitively; Gemini customers make poor "regulars." Something of a nosher, the peckish Gemini is sustained by variety and small portions and is sporadic in tastes and unpredictable in appetite. Omarr notes that Geminis have "an affinity with buttermilk… [and] coleslaw is a specific Gemini dish." Quality Quirk: Knowledgeable about food and drink without being pretentious. Fatal Flaw: The aftereffects of consuming a lot of buttermilk and coleslaw aren't always appetizing. Ultimate Eatery: España Tapas (Royal Palm Plaza, 309 Via de Palmas, Boca Raton, 561-361-7576) allows Geminis to sample away. Cold tapas include goat cheese rolled in pecans or octopus marinated with peppers and sherry. Hot tapas include dates wrapped in bacon with red-pepper sauce or grilled oysters rolled in freshly cracked pepper.

Cancer(June 21-July 22): Cancer is the gourmet's sign. Those fortunate enough to be born under this sign savor the crab that symbolizes it, as well as just about any other foodstuff cultivated by man. Cancers live to eat and entertain; they are nurturers, the Jewish mothers and Cuban grandmothers of gourmets everywhere. Quality Quirk: Generosity of spirit translates into "eat, bubbelah, eat." Fatal Flaw: Cancer is also the gourmand's sign; some crabs use food as consolation, and many have weight problems. Ultimate Eatery: Konakai (2640 N.University Dr., Sunrise, 954-746-9793) is a Peruvian-Chinese joint that offers pork lo mein alongside papas àla huancaina, boiled potatoes smothered in cheese sauce -- a bicultural experience no grandmother could ever forget.

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