You'd never dream of setting foot in an Olive Garden, much less a Red Lobster, but that doesn't mean their parent company, Darden Restaurants Inc., is giving up on you. Darden introduced a high-end, low-cal restaurant this year that's drawing yuppies as inexorably as a Prada close-out sale -- Seasons 52. Here's an idea whose time has come: delicious, elegantly plated little morsels, grilled in olive oil rather than butter, incorporating seasonal ingredients, whole grains, and lightly cooked vegetables -- promising a caloric content below 475 per dish. Among those we recommend: grilled deepwater sea scallops, cedar plank salmon, and mesquite roasted pork tenderloin. Prices range from $8 to $21.75. And, get this: If you're vegetarian, vegan, or on any kind of fad diet -- like the amazing new chocolate and vodka diet (it really works -- call us and we'll fill you in!) -- Seasons' kitchen will accommodate you without flinching. OK, so the thimble-sized desserts, gargantuan wine list (more than 60 wines by the glass), and plush Intercontinental Hotel-flavored setting don't have the personality of your Aunt May's frayed living-room rug. But heck, it's even better this way. So tuck your oh-so-precious politics in your back pocket, relax, and enjoy, enjoy, enjoy.

Our American romance with Asiatic foodstuffs shows no signs of slowing -- and now some genius has dreamed up a gigantic, all-you-can-eat Eastern food complex adapted to our very Western waistline -- Super Size Me-San. At Crazy Buffet, a budding Florida franchise with outlets in Orlando, Tampa, and West Palm, discerning diners can fork over $19.99 to begin at the sushi bar, which features 50 kinds of sushi, sashimi, and rolls, a lineup stretching as far as the hand can reach. A full dinner plate of dragon rolls, rainbow rolls, kimchee rolls, chunks of glistening raw tuna, yellowtail, and salmon is just a little something to whet the appetite. Next stop: the seafood table, for snow crab legs, shucked oysters, cold boiled shrimp, marinated mussels, seared scallops. And for a little variation, the salad bar offers cold comforts. A fourth course entails tough choices: pick your own beef, chicken, and bean sprouts for the chef to stir-fry, have a steak or a mess of shrimp grilled on the hibachi, or both. Or all. Just don't forget to stop by the Peking duck-carving station on the way back to your table. Finally, it's crucial to save a little room, maybe roughly the size of your small intestine, for a dessert table laden with cakes, pies, and ice cream -- because there will be no taking home leftovers in doggy bags -- you gotta live for the moment.

The top views in Hollywood come courtesy of the ocean-facing tables at Hasan Kochan's 13-year-old restaurant on the Hollywood Broadwalk. Those tables have withstood annual flocks of snowbirds, the gentle if charming weirdness of the area, and a handful of hurricanes. But taking the long view must be Kochan's talent. The Broadwalk is coming in for a big revitalization that's bound to pay off for him -- that is, unless somebody decides to plunk down a high-rise next door. In the meantime, you can take advantage of those tables, particularly offseason, for the panorama they offer of the skaters, bikers, and scallywags who ply the two-mile walkway. The food is homemade and moderately priced ($3.95 to $9.95 for small plates, up to $16.95 for entrées). Among our favorites are the feta- and parsley-stuffed cigars, the little Turkish pizzas topped with lamb and vegetables, and the dish of fried sardines with a side of thick cacik -- a yogurt and cucumber salad as mild as an ocean breeze.

The state of dining in many museums is disappointing. You're part of a captive audience. What a pleasure, then, to know that after you've strolled the goldfish ponds and other loveliness of the Morikami's gardens, some fine and affordable Japanese food is waiting at Cornell, which overlooks all the flora and babbling brooks. Start with the seaweed salad, a plentiful plate mixed with sesame seeds and mild hot peppers in a vinaigrette sauce for $4.50. Tuna, shrimp, grouper, and salmon rolls run $4.50 to $5.50. But it's the luncheon specials that make the day. For the budget-minded, the beef bowl, at $6.95, is a meal in itself, with strips of stir-fried beef, onions, fresh mushrooms, and carrots. Jumbo shrimp in Asian leek sauce is a steamed delight that includes rice and vegetables for $8.95. For vegetarians, there's Asian eggplant with garlic sauce for $6.95. For the true Japanophile, there's the eel bowl, in which this favored seafood is baked in sauce and ladled over rice. Cornell is open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Admission into the museum is $9 for adults, $8 for seniors, and $6 for kids.

Across from the comfy half-moon couch in a corner of this roomy caffeine bar hangs a large black-and-white drawing of a rhinoceros. The animal's eyes glare menacingly, and his nostrils flare. Hasn't had his coffee, obviously. Or perhaps he just hasn't found the right place to drink it. Relax, big boy, you're at Boomerang, which is a bona fide coffeehouse, the kind the Northern folks take for granted. There's conviviality between patrons and staff that makes this a warm place to come. There is, of course, the lengthy and varied menu of coffee drinks, from the basics -- a cuppa joe for $1.51 or a single espresso for $1.42 -- to the more specialized concoctions, like a white mocha, which is espresso, white chocolate, steamed milk, and whipped cream, for $3.35. But it's the atmosphere that makes this a "house." On a recent Saturday morning, a jazz guitarist set up his laptop computer, which served as a backup band, and then began strumming a soothing sound. One young woman read a book as she reclined on the sofa. Others chatted quietly at tables. Of course, the rhinoceros was none too happy with the whole thing. But what the hell; he's only a picture.

Ladies who shop and then lunch have enjoyed leisurely afternoon tête-à-têtes at Belle and Maxwell's for years; it's time they scooched over their Chanel-clad fannies and made room for the rest of us. In the heart of West Palm's Antique Row, where uniformed chauffeurs keep the Bentley running while Madam dickers over the price of a Louis XIV end table, Belle & Maxwell's is an excellent place to lean back with a pot of Earl Grey and forget for the moment that the social contract is crumbling around us. The space is surpassingly luxe, calme et volupté, full of flowers and plump pillows; a back door opens onto a tiny, sunlit patio. Try the pear and gorgonzola salad ($9), a brie baguette with apple and walnuts ($8), or a slice of homemade quiche with gazpacho ($9), but damn it, don't skimp on the sweets! They're homemade by the ladies who run the place: key lime pound cake, chocolate croissant bread pudding, an almond joy tart, apple praline pie, chocolate espresso truffle cake. Ten bucks buys you a "sampler choice of four." Go get your just desserts. Open Tuesday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

To embrace Middle Eastern culture is to learn to enjoy overeating. Liberate yourself from those blindered Western values by throwing on a flowing, figure-concealing thobe and heading for this cultural island out west. The menu and service at al-Salam epitomize Middle Eastern generosity and hospitality in spirit, if not in the exact details; rather than press upon you a roasted filet of camel, Salam's gracious servers ply you with familiar Mediterranean dishes and a few scrumptious things that you probably haven't stumbled upon lately. Begin with a complementary starter of dates, olives, and pickled turnips. Move on to appetizers like kibi, hummus, and koddsieh ($3 to $7.49), then settle into the heart of your meal with selections from the evening buffet, which includes potatoes with tahini sauce, stuffed tomatoes, red peppers, and cabbage, chicken soup, and hummus ($11.99). Or try an order of shawerma ($7.99). It's considered polite to eat and pass plates with your right hand, so feel free to count calories with your left. A cup of cardamom-laced Arabic coffee is final proof of Allah's beneficence.

If heaven exudes a fragrance, it's the one that awaits when you step into Da Mee Rak. Korean barbecue is the specialty of the day here, with marinated beef, pork, and seafood sizzling and snapping atop each table-top grill. Once you've partaken of this distinct Asian cuisine, you'll wonder why there isn't a K-BBQ joint on every street corner. For first-timers, the best bet is the BBQ for two for $33.95, which includes your choice of three beef, chicken, shrimp, and pork plates. It's served with 12 side dishes -- many of them variations of kimchee, which is vegetables pickled in garlic, red pepper, and ginger. As you nosh on this bounty, the first plate of raw meat grills before you; you can tend it yourself or, if you want to concentrate on eating, leave the work to the skillful wait staff. For the more adventurous, there's beef tongue for $16.95 and marinated conch for $19.95. After you become a regular, try the octopus, eel, and "marinated intestine of cattle." Obviously, it pays to dine here as a group to get a wide tasting of meats. Wine and Korean beer are available for $3 to $4. Reservations are recommended.

Quick, name your favorite Filipino dish. If you're stumped for a response (roasted poodle is not an answer), it's time to go back to foodie boot camp for a refresher course in delicacies like dinguan and bulalo, the national dish of the Philippines. The outré ingredients of Filipino cooking have been denigrated by some, and you may have to screw up your courage as you scan the menu at Pegasus Pinoy. But if entrées like pork cooked in pork blood ($6.50) and deep-fried pork belly ($6.95) don't satisfy your yen for authenticity, nothing will. In fact, as exotic as it may sound to cook a beef stew of coconut milk, onions, bell peppers, green peas, and olives, one taste of kalderetang baka ($7.50) makes you wonder why you haven't been whipping up a pot of the stuff every Sunday morning. Even the wildest dishes are tamed by the spicy, sweet, and sour dipping sauces -- like one made from vinegar, sugar, and liver paste. Real men eat daing na bangu, grilled milkfish marinated in vinegar, garlic, pepper, and salt. But even the faint of heart will tremble with anticipation when a plate of peppery pancit guisado ($6.95) -- wheat noodles with sautéed shrimp garnished with julienned carrots, celery, cabbage, and green beans -- is put down in front of them.

Though the raw (and cooked, for that matter) fish is stellar, Kiko is best-known as perhaps the region's finest -- only? -- country-style Japanese restaurant. Instead of the flashy, neon-drenched techno-meal you'd find in the hip sections of Tokyo, this clean, bright space in the Fountains Center offers food you'd discover a farmer serving to guests in the old country. Ramen and other noodle dishes are outstanding, as is the deep-fried pork cutlet with panko breading ($13.95), a true comfort food. Try nabemono, with vegetables cooked together in a clay pot, or yakimono, with various samplings of meats or seafood in different sauces. The provincial fare is heartier and less delicate than what Westerners are used to -- some of the menu is a rather radical departure from our usual strip-mall sushi spots -- but it's authentic and served with artistic flair in a Zen-like realm. Kelp salad, brown rice, and tofu galore set Kiko apart, but on those rare, cold and rainy subtropical days, nothing warms body and soul like a steaming hot bowl of udon soup with fat, chewy noodles, Japanese cabbage, and big chunks of chicken (starting at $6.95).

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