Best Bagel 2013 | The Amsterdam Toast at Urban Rustic Bagel | Food & Drink | South Florida

The Amsterdam Toast ($6.50) is a funny name for a bagel sandwich, but it might be the key to world peace. This bagel is filled with Gouda cheese, red onions, and hard-boiled eggs and topped with tomato sauce before it's pressed and heated, thereby merging all the ingredients together. Speaking to the server, we learn that in Israel, hot-pressing a sandwich is called "toasting it." We call it delicious — and a metaphor for making the world a better place. The simple act of "melting together" the parts of this sandwich make it better than the parts alone, and the merging of European cheese and Israeli style in a small U.S. café tells us that no matter what our geographical location, we can all agree on a good bagel.

In Pineapple Grove, just a few blocks north of Delray's restaurant-saturated Atlantic Avenue, you'll find Christina's, and if it's a weekend, you'll also probably find a wait. It shouldn't be too long, though — the staff at Christina's knows how to hustle. The bright, tropical décor is perfect for a sunny South Florida morning. The dress code is Florida casual — i.e., most diners look like they just came from yoga or the dog park. The coffee is hot, fresh, and constantly refilled, and the menu is chock-full of breakfast standards served in satisfying but not gut-busting portions. We recommend the salmon platter — a hearty helping of beautiful pink lox, cream cheese, capers, chopped tomatoes, and sliced onions served with an English muffin. If you are looking for something heartier, they also serve a mean eggs Benedict, drizzled in tangy hollandaise.

Brunch is a delicate dance. The eats must be heavy enough to absorb excess alcohol from the night before yet light enough to keep you from falling into a daylong food coma. The meal needs to serve as a cure-all for your many ills and provide proper sustenance for the day to boot. Kristof's Kafé has it down. Here, there are options aplenty to please the pickiest eater. Whatever else tempts your palate (and much will), make sure you snag an order of the strawberry stuffed French toast ($7.99). Made of thick bread crusted with corn flakes and layered with a sweet cream-cheese filling and ripe red strawberries, this powdered-sugar-laden indulgence will ruin you for other French toast forever. Or, opt for fluffy chocolate-chip pancakes, pillowy homemade biscuits and gravy, or Southern fave chicken-fried steak. No frills, just hearty weekend eats to keep you happily satiated till the Monday-morning blues roll around. Sadly, there's no edible cure for that weekly disease.

Relish may be known for its burgers, but a certain distinction should be made for its milk shakes — all 14 to 17 of them. "Rich and creamy" doesn't even begin to describe them. Made with ice cream, they're thick enough to make even competitive eaters think twice about ordering seconds. The list includes cookies 'n' cream, chocolate cherry, bananas foster, espresso bean, peanut butter cup, salted caramel, chocolate truffle, and — of course — a traditional black and white. Each one is blended just right so that each ingredient is clearly distinguishable. Take the strawberry shortcake, served with large pieces of fresh-cut strawberries and bite-sized bits of angel-food cake swirled into the mix, while the campfire s'mores shake comes dotted with marshmallow, graham cracker, and chocolate chunks. Of course, you can also customize, and feel free to add favorites like peanut butter, malt, or chocolate to any shake for just 99 cents more.

Courtesy Photo

This new ice cream parlor and dessert shop is sweet-tooth overkill. What to order? The snow cones, made with fresh-shaved ice using old-fashioned, hand-operated, ice-cutting machines? Soft-serve frozen yogurt, offered in hundreds of flavors? Or handmade ice cream cookie sandwiches? The bestsellers are the shaved ice, with more than a dozen flavor combinations like strawberries and cream or Dreamsicle. Both begin with a layer of either regular or soft-serve vanilla ice cream at the bottom, topped with layers of fresh-shaved ice and finished with any of the Hawaiian syrups mixed fresh in-house. Customizable, made-to-order ice cream cakes allow customers to pick two of their favorite ice cream flavors and add endless toppings swirled into the mix. Cakes are topped with sprinkles for a delicious, take-home treat.

Historians say the burrito as we know it came into being in California — not Mexico — sometime during the 19th Century. No one can say, "What? That's not an authentic burrito!" because the burrito is still evolving. So Taco Prince commits no culinary sin by including French fries — in addition to carne asada, guacamole, avocado slices, pico de gallo, and cheese — in its California Burrito. It kind of makes sense: Though potatoes are often thought of as an Irish food, they originally came from the Americas — North and South. So if any culture has a claim to them, it's Mexico. Whatever — just eat the danged thing. It's delicious! Besides, when have French fries ever not improved a meal?

In a place with a large population of transplanted New Yorkers, calling this yellow-school-bus-looking food truck PS561 was a pretty smart marketing move. Transplanting Sabrett hot dogs (every New Yorker's favorite) and grilling them inside said food truck was an even better move. The rather legendary 100-percent-beef dogs are the kind of links that other, lesser tubes of meat aspire to be. They'd be pretty amazing dirty-water-style on a bun with some mustard, but PS561 is a hip gourmet food truck, so there was no chance of leaving it at that — thank God. Instead, cooks split the dogs, then grill them. All menu items have academically inspired names: the FCAT (bacon, sweet coleslaw, jalapeños, barbecue sauce), the Principal Ron (goat cheese, bacon, barbecue sauce), and the Crazy Art Teacher (extra barbecue sauce, jalepeños, cheddar cheese, and Fritos chips). If you are feeling adventurous, try the Math Whiz, topped with Asian-style slaw and Sriracha mayonnaise. Animal lovers, never fear — they've got veggie dogs too. Though PS561 is based out of Lake Worth, it travels all over Broward and Palm Beach. Follow the truck on Facebook, or tweet @ps561 and ask them to bring the dogs to your business or event.

Chicken wings. They're symbolic of all things American: football, daytime drinking, the great city of Buffalo, fried food. While we love ourselves a good ol' piece of 'Murica, times are a-changin'. Wings are no longer limited to mild, medium, hot, or atomic. Kapow! Noodle Bar has ushered in a new dawn of chicken wings with Vietnamese-style treats. Rather than being smothered in fatty sauce, these little beauts take a swim in a sweet, spicy, Asian-inspired marinade and then are drained and fried dry. They're served piping hot, sprinkled with cilantro and a drizzle of the sauce, reduced to a syrup.

Not even a born-and-bred Philly-cheese-steak purist could deny the awesomeness that is Famous Phil's Steak Bomb. A mere $9.58 gets you a soft, 12-inch bun piled high with thin-sliced rib eye, provolone cheese, mushrooms, peppers, onion, and a ladleful of spaghetti sauce. Only two things result from taking on a sandwich of that magnitude: stomach-stretching fullness and a red-sauce-stained shirt. It's all worth it. Famous Phil's has been a Plantation institution for more than four decades. The standing-room-only shop has changed hands a few times since Kim Bartnick opened. Current owner Sheila DiPasquale, who worked at Phil's for 35 years before buying it in 2007, has kept everything inside the small, cash-only shop the same, including the menu, vendors, and Formica-heavy décor. If Sheila isn't the one making your sandwich, it's her daughter Ramonda Leonard or daughter-in-law Hope Matthieson.

When pho is good, it's freaking amazing. Unfortunately, it's hard to come across one that's executed well: the majority being oversalted, one-dimensional broths, filled with the basic meats, noodles, and herbs. What the pho? Not the case at Saigon City. Situated in a Lauderdale Lakes shopping mall, in the Vietnamese area of 441 — yes, there is such a thing — this spot churns out piping-hot bowls of the most delectably rich pho you can find in South Florida. For less than 11 bucks a pop, it's a deal that is — pardon our pun — unphogettable.

Best Of Broward-Palm Beach®

Best Of