You have ten minutes for lunch, you need energy and nutrition, and one hand is occupied steering the car… what a conundrum. Not if you're close to a Smoothie King. The first store opened in New Orleans in 1973 and has now franchised into more than 180 locations nationwide, including several in the Broward/Palm Beach area. The delicious frozen drinks offer something for every "body." Looking to bulk up? How about a "Hulk"? The 953 calories and extra protein help pack on the muscle. Feel a cold coming on? Smoothie King's "Immune Builder" includes vitamins C and E, echinacea, an herbal blend of nutrients, and antioxidants. Their number-one workout smoothie, "Power Punch Plus," is good before or after a workout, and the two grams of fat won't weigh on your mind. Available in more than 40 flavors, the original recipes, using fresh fruits such as bananas, papaya, blackberries, and crushed pineapple, taste good and are good for ya.

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One of the pleasures associated with Greek dining is the way customers get to view their food before ordering it. At some restaurants that entails a journey into the kitchen to investigate bubbling pots and check the eyes of the fish -- if they're clear, the critters are fresh. At Culinaros the trip is somewhat abbreviated, as fish are displayed in a deli case near the entrance. And the eyes are bright, no question, making the snapper and swordfish dishes some of the kitchen's best. That's not to say, however, that just because meaty lamb chops are on the menu, baby sheep are also for show. In fact the only dish that truly ruins your appetite for a main course is the appetizer platter for two, comprising tzatziki, hummus, roasted eggplant dip, and spinach pie; it's big and tasty enough to suffice for dinner.
You've polished your riding boots to a soft sheen, reserved a space alongside Palm Beach Polo's main playing field in Wellington, and invited a few acquaintances from the social club to join you on Sunday for a Gold Cup qualifying match. But if you want to upstage your finger sandwich-serving neighbors, you'll need a serious spread, preferably one you won't have to chip your nail polish putting together. Boulevard Gourmet Catering can make your picnic posh with baskets priced at $400, $600, or $800, packed with an assortment of four to seven dishes such as poached salmon, roasted tenderloin baguettes, smoked pheasant, grilled lamb chops, caviar, and lobster tails with lemon mayonnaise. You choose three to five desserts from a list that includes chocolate-dipped strawberries, Bahamian coconut tarts, guava cheesecakes, and Medjool dates stuffed with toasted almond cream. French-Canadian caterer Dany Thibault hand-delivers your tailored menu to the Polo Club in an extra-large wicker picnic basket with linens, china, silverware, glasses, and a flourish of palm fronds and fresh flowers.
Every chef has his or her own definition of fusion cuisine, it seems, but we think the Grill's executive chef Gianni Respinto describes it best: Global-American. In other words anything goes, as long as it tastes good. And, boy, his honey-pecan-crusted catfish, served with Peruvian potato mash, wilted spinach, and bourbon-barbecued beurre blanc sure fits the bill. As with most fusion chefs, Respinto can be tempted to excess -- a little bit of this, a lot of that. Fortunately he has consulting chef-partner Oliver Saucy, mastermind of the long-running New World restaurant Cafe Maxx in Pompano Beach, and partner Darrel Broek, to keep his Global-American mind on track. Or, more precisely, on tangent.
The main draw at Flanigan's is the food, and how do we like it? Fried. Flanigan's best-kept secret may be their French fries. Big Daddy Joe serves up those spectacular spuds curly style, and they're never greasy or soggy but always crispy and seasoned just right. No need for salt- and peppershakers either; these fries get their great taste from seasoning salt alone. But if you're the type that simply cannot eat French fries without globs of ketchup, fine. We found that the honey mustard and barbecue sauce are great additions as well. With or without condiments, those golden corkscrews are always satisfying. (If you want, you can even order a Flanigan burger or grilled fish entrée to accompany them.) Not only are the fries delicious, they're fun to eat too. We're not telling you to play with your food, but at Flanigan's it's OK.
East Emerald
Ask not what you can do for your neighborhood Chinese restaurant but what it can do for you: deliver. If you live out of range, however, it behooves the salmon lover to hoof it on over to East Emerald and pick up an order of Emerald salmon with black bean sauce to go. By the time you get home, the bean sauce has soaked into the fish, rendering it a bit moister than you might actually get in the restaurant. Chef Kevin Ong also excels in undercooking vegetables just slightly, so food packed in cartons is perfectly done, steamed to ideal consistency. The restaurant will even pack up a Peking duck, which in our opinion goes above and beyond standard takeout fare. But then, East Emerald isn't named after a precious stone for nothing.

Eduardo De San Angel
It's tough to figure out how burritos and fajitas came to represent Mexican food in the United States when restaurants like this one are around. Run by the Pria family, this elegant hacienda serves regional Mexican cuisine that raises the level of dining in Fort Lauderdale. Can't bother with burritos? Try the appetizer crepes stuffed with cuitlacoche -- a corn fungus that tastes like mushrooms -- and napped with squash-blossom sauce. Don't care for chicken fajitas? Order the main course of rock Cornish hen glazed with mole. Follow up your food with mango crème brûlée, and any preconceived notion you had about Mexican food will melt faster than fried ice cream.

There's something terribly addictive about the cheap Midwestern slop they spoon over spaghetti at Skyline Chili, a Cincinnati-based chain that serves a sweet and spicy ground beef chili and not much else. Texas fire this stuff ain't, but for our money it beats the best chili con carne we've had in these here parts. Chili Ohio-style is ordered by numbers -- three, four, or five-way (adding various combinations of beans and cheese and chopped onions to your heaping plate of pasta with meat sauce). We like to amble up to the counter and order it with the works, piled high with shredded cheese and doused in Skyline's own hot sauce.

One of the criticisms of New World cuisine -- the combination of local flora and fauna with Caribbean, Latin, and Mediterranean influences -- is that it tries to accomplish too much: too many components in a dish, too many side dishes on one plate, too many competing flavors. Pineapple Grille does New World cuisine the way it's meant to be prepared: simply. The dishes, while Floribbean-influenced, certainly aren't overdone or overwhelmed by dozens of ingredients. The roots of the Bahamian seafood chowder are updated with, well, roots -- specifically, sweet potatoes. Pan-fried yuca cakes are garnished with a simple chicken satay and tangy tamarind sauce. Ravioli is removed from Italy by way of a black bean, feta, and andouille sausage stuffing. Duck is glazed with a mixture of key lime and ruby red grapefruit juices. The breezy, colorful décor helps the digestion of this simple, flavorful stuff, though the raucous parrot in the corner can be a distraction. Perhaps Pineapple Grille will consider competing for an award to be debuted next year: the "best dish made with parrot" prize.
You could probably judge a Brazilian restaurant by the fervor of the soccer fans who frequent it. That means that Feijao Com Arroz already beats out the competition hands -- or should we say feet -- down. But the Brazilian tag counts for more than a World Cup championship here. The rice and black beans for which the restaurant is named are always perfectly cooked -- not lumpy, not mushy. Tender steaks and fresh fish fillets, often featured on the specials board, are sure shots. Light, fruity desserts make your meal a hat trick. And the staff does some fancy footwork to keep you in water, napkins, and utensils all night long. But the real attraction just might be the live Brazilian bands that perform here, and the block parties the restaurant sponsors in the parking lot during important soccer matches. Just one caveat: Should Brazil be the unlikely loser of a game, the party's over early.

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