Lil' Ole Caboose

If a hot dog is this food critic's forbidden fruit, then a fast-food hamburger is the apple that doesn't fall far from the tree. And the joint that comes closest to Eden is Lil' Ole Caboose(204 S. Powerline Rd., Deerfield Beach, 954-428-1597). "Home of the Boxcar Burger," the Caboose cooks up square sandwiches like its more famous competitor, but the beef -- 100 percent USDA graded -- is an improvement over that of White Castle. Plus, while the Lil' Ole 49-cent price is hard to beat, the Caboose manages to do just that: If you buy a dozen burgers, each will run you a mere 44 cents. Wash them down with a 94-cent birch beer for a sack-and-cupful of cheaply earned heaven.

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