Best Prepared Foods - 2004
What most "gourmet" markets fail to understand is that the finest foods needn't be fancy; they just have to taste good. Laurenzo's Oceanside lets the competition focus on the fusion of multitudinous, multinational imports, instead carving a nice niche for itself as the best purveyors of old-world Italian specialties -- truth be told, the only store in South Florida to do as good a job is the original Laurenzo's in North Miami. It's not that there is anything wrong with pistachio-crusted meatloaf with wasabi mashed potatoes, but if you want a takeout dinner to lend the comfort of home cooking, might as well get the real thing. Like manicotti, stuffed shells, and lasagna prepared with Laurenzo's ricotta and mozzarella cheeses. Like Italian sausage and peppers, eggplant parmigiana, and meatballs that would make Tony Soprano cry. We're talking one-stop shopping too, as you can turn your main course into a full meal by picking up some antipasti from the prepared foods section, freshly baked Italian bread from a North Miami bakery, a bottle of appropriate wine from a well-priced selection, fruit and salad greens from the produce department, and freshly stuffed canolis for dessert. Yes, it's all a bit pricey but still a bargain compared to what you'd pay for the same dinner in a restaurant.