Ten Best South Florida Food and Drink Lists of 2014
Lists. They're what the internet is made of. Readers love clicking on them, reading them, commenting on them, and sharing them. We love researching and writing them.
So, after taking a tour of our 2014 lists we began to feel very Tolkien-esque. We thought, perhaps... One list to list to rule them all?
Think of this, our precious, as a sort of year-in-review for all things food and drink related in Broward and Palm Beach counties.
So here you have it: the definitive top ten list of top ten lists form 2014. Now say that five times fast with a mouthful of mac n' cheese.
What would this list be without a top ten countdown of the best new restaurants of the year? 2014 proved to be quite bountiful, with tons of new concepts in both Broward and Palm Beach County. Even more have signed on since this list was compiled, proving once and for all that the South Florida dining scene -- however mutable -- is one of the most dynamic facets of our multi-faceted communities.
Ah, the Buffalo wing. Or is it just chicken wing? Hot wings? Does it even matter? Because, let's be honest, there's pretty much nothing better than a good fried chicken wing. Some say in order for it to be a true "Buffalo" wing, the chicken should be deep fried and tossed in a vinegar and cayenne-based hot sauce. But like so many other famous foods, over the years grilled and breaded versions with special, exotic sauces have popped up, winning the hearts (and stomachs) of so many Americans nationwide. This list for Palm Beach County proved good wings don't have to come from Buffalo, New York -- thy can be found right here in Florida.
Let's face it: five years ago you'd be hard-pressed to find a craft anything, let alone an entire menu dedicated to drinks with muddled herbs, specialty bitters, small-batch liquor and fancy names. Yes, the cocktail scene in South Florida has grown up, and behind this new era of imbibing are a few genuinely talented mix masters who are inventing fresh new ways to shake up a drink. There's talented mixologist Angela Dugan at Boca Raton's Kapow! Noodle Bar, Sean Iglehart at Sweetwater in Boynton Beach, and many more.
Though we don't discriminate in terms of meals, the three daily ones each have their place and purpose. Breakfast is a great way to start what will become a busy day; lunch is the opportune time to bond with friends (hate to break it you, but lunch dates sway toward the friend zone); dinners out are intended as a relaxing way to end the day, whether with a romantic partner, close friend, or family member. But brunch -- especially in South Florida -- presents the ultimate time to de-stress. You don't have to rush back to work; you don't have to get home to go to bed; it's one of the few occasions in life when it's all right to just chill out with some comforting food and a daytime cocktail and totally decompress.
The hamburger, one of America's quintessential comfort foods, has seen a resurgence of late. After all, there's just something to be said about a hunk of ground beef between two slices of bread, a sandwich that is universally loved -- and endlessly customizable. From fast-food restaurants to trendsetting gastropubs, each place has its own version of the "best" burger. Both Broward County and Palm Beach got their own lists, so finding the perfect burger in South Florida isn't a difficult task -- it just depends on how you like it done.
Breakfast is said to be the most important meal of the day. Dinner, and the evening drinks that accompany it, are best for relieving workplace agitation. Brunch is for weekend partying. But lunch? Who cares about lunch? South Florida cares about lunch, that's who. And whether you're into meat-filled indulgences, exotic dishes, or something just light and fresh, we compiled a list of the ten best workday-appropriate lunches in Broward County.
Pizza may be one of America's favorite foods. And it certainly seems to be the case for Clean Plate Charlie readers, too. In South Florida, we have it all: there's New York-style, Chi-Town-style, coal- or wood-fired, and Sicilian. Some bake up with a thick, doughy crust, while others are prized for being thin and still others for the characteristic char they get around the edges. To help navigate Broward County's selections, we searched out some of the area's best pizza joints, from the old-school mom-and-pop spots to the rustic coal-fired ovens that produce some stellar gourmet slices.
It's no secret that South Florida loves a good happy hour. In the land of 24-7 sun and surf it's the only place to be come 5 p.m. Sure, you could hit the gym, run some errands, or hey, even make yourself a nice home-cooked meal. But let's be honest, you don't actually want to do any of that. Everyone knows, postwork drinks are the best way to wind down from the workday, which is why our list of the best watering holes in Fort Lauderdale helped you pick the best spots to do it.
If you've been following Clean Plate Charlie for the past 12 months, you've heard the voice of our dedicated beer blogger, Doug Fairall. He's pretty much seen -- and tasted -- it all, sampling Florida produced beer that he features weekly on his Florida Beer Friday post. In 2014, it proved a valuable archive for culling a list of the best Florida brews.
This year proved -- without a doubt -- to be the year of the sandwich in South Florida. Broward and Palm Beach County residents just can't seem to get enough of the sammie, that perfect marriage of bread, meat, cheese, veggie, and condiment into one easy-to-eat vessel. If you're looking for lunch, any one of these bad boys can help curb your appetite and craving all at once.
Nicole Danna is a food blogger covering Broward and Palm Beach counties. To get the latest in food and drink news in South Florida, follow her @SoFloNicole or find her latest food pics on Clean Plate's Instagram.
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