Meals Behind the Wheel

Broward County's drive-thru joints are diverse both in ethnicity and quality

Ostensibly for picking up orders that have been phoned in, the window also functions as a drive-thru. The drawback is the amount of time you'll wait for your order, because all the food here is cooked to order. The benefit is the food itself: massive cheesesteak sandwiches ($6.95), the beef scrambled with onions, mushrooms, and the perfect amount of hot peppers, stuffed into a hoagie roll, and topped with melted cheese. Spanky's packages these sandwiches, which it calls "sammiches," in Styrofoam containers with holes to let the steam escape, a practice that prevents the crisp crust of the bread from wilting. And just for the record, while the cheesesteak sammiches are served with a triple-handful of French fries, you should still compound your cholesterol-laden sins with an order of juicy, batter-dipped, deep-fried mushrooms ($3.95) or a bowl of succulent all-beef chili ($3.95) garnished with cheddar cheese and onions because they're just too good to pass up.

Skot Olsen

OK, so Spanky's dominant ethnicity is Philadelphian. (The city's blue-collar accent is spelled out phonetically on the menu.) But the fare is so far from healthy no mom in her right mind would pick it up for dinner. (I would, but no one ever considers me to be in my right mind.) Thus I headed over to Healthy Bites Grill (1538 E. Commercial Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, 954-776-9985) to taste-test the hummus wrap ($4.75), the black bean burger ($4.50), or the tofu Reuben ($4.50). But after waiting behind another car that didn't even roll down its window in the 15 minutes I lingered in second place, I came to the conclusion that the most important part of the drive-thru experience is convenience rather than the conservation of either health or wealth. Although you can locate a drive-thru, ethnic or otherwise, just about anywhere in America, as one local business on Oakland Park Boulevard notes, "Lost time is never found again."

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