Candace West

All right. Here's what you can't do. You can't double-dip. You can't scoot it closer to you. The bowl has to stay equidistant from all dippers. You can't mix salsa into it. You can't use more than 60 percent of the chip to dip. You can't talk about how it's not as good as the kind you make. We've tasted yours. This is better. You can't dip more than once while I'm in the bathroom. You can't refuse to pay for it if you've had more than 10 percent. You can't waste chips; they are a precious resource. You can't dip twice unless at least one other person has dipped in between your dips. You can't take the last bit without the table's consent. And you can't complain about how full you are if you're still eating. You can, however, enjoy it. Because guacamole is perhaps the best thing that has ever happened to your mouth.

Candace West

Street food should be easy to eat, straightforward to make, packed with flavor, and in close proximity to copious amounts of alcohol. Tacos are the epitome of said food group. And while not strictly Mexican, this global comfort fare spot has some of the tastiest around. Several fillings are offered, but the steak tacos ($10) are the clear winner of them all. Warm house-made flour tortillas are filled with skirt steak, queso fresco, grilled onions, salsa fresca, and crema for a handheld dish that hits all the right spots; it's savory, dripping with juice, and it soaks up the booze in an instant. Yeah, this place might be a bit fancier than your average roadside shack or cart. But it's freaking delicious — and right smack dab in the middle of downtown Lauderdale.

No one wants to eat subpar food. Some items, however, are bearable. Crappy pizza is doable. An uninspiring burger is perfectly consumable. A bland chicken sandwich: You probably had one this week. But mediocre fish is the absolute pits. No matter the preparation, there's no overcoming shoddy seafood. And when it comes to a fish taco, it's serious business. It combines the best of the food world in one easy-to-eat package. When it's good, it's an enlightening experience — if it's bad, you're probably getting sick. Jojo's Tacos' Cathy's Catch ($5.50) hits every taste receptor with a bang. Fresh fish is flash-fried to create the perfect crisp exterior without the grease. It's topped with a heaping portion of sweet and zesty cilantro honey lime slaw and crunchy pepitas (pumpkin seeds). The heat is added with a bright and creamy serrano tartar. It all sits atop a perfectly toasted soft-shell corn tortilla; this thing is so chock-full of flavor and toppings, one could constitute an entire meal by itself. Just try finding such a well-thought-out taco on the side of the road.

This mobile venture started nearly two years ago in Fort Lauderdale and has picked up so much steam that owner/founder Christopher Lee is expanding and taking applications for would-be dog slingers. Now, that's packin' some meat, bro. What is it about these darling dogs that made the list? Well, first off, hottie Lee wears an adorable '50s-era uniform, a nostalgic hat and a tie, and chats up customers while he tops off each dog. His cart is decorated with a nod to bygone days and offers a romantic throwback to a more innocent time. Now, let's talk menu. Creativity is a must. Items like the Swanky Frankie ($5), loaded with caramelized onions, cheese, and barbecue sauce, is served up oh so nicely. The "Claaassic" ($5) is dressed up with avocado, chili, potato sticks, French-fried onions, and a secret sauce. Oh, and if that doesn't make your mouth water, pick your own toppings, from pine­apple to sriracha to hummus. Beef, vegan, and vegetarian options are available, so bite in, baby. Follow @FrankieDogs on Twitter and Facebook to track 'em down.

There seems to be a new burger joint opening up every other day. Each has its schtick: from special cooking techniques to famous owners to cheap and easy, something is always supposed to stand out. At this point, it's not even really news when a new place stakes a claim in Burgerland. Unless, of course, you head to Burger and Beer Joint in Pembroke Pines. The Broward outpost of the famed Miami Beach hangout offers suburbanites the same glorious meat-patty sandwiches that can be found at the original digs. Gourmet burgers come with interesting topping combinations. The Hotel California ($13.99) features a half-pound of Angus beef with guacamole, grilled Vidalia onion, jalapeño relish, cilantro sour cream, sharp cheddar, and sunny-side-up fried egg tucked between a brioche bun. The Mustang Sally ($16.99) takes  a brioche bun and stuffs it with eight ounces of Wagyu beef, red onion marmalade, Brie cheese, and sliced prosciutto. Everything is big, but it's not all about the beef here. The Turning Japanese ($19.99) puts five ounces of seared rare ahi tuna, avocado, watercress, jalapeño relish, and spicy garlic mayo on an onion bun, served with tempura onion rings and jalapeño-cheddar sauce. And there's always a perfect beer to pair; the craft brew list could rival some of the best microbrew lists in the area. Good brew, great burgers, and no gimmicks.

Side dishes have been relegated to the less-respected part of the plate since the dawn of time. From sad salads to soggy baked potatoes, these accompaniments are often considered mere afterthoughts. Most of the time, no one seems to mind — or even notice; however, it's a deep sense of injustice when a cold, flaccid French fry turns up on your plate. Such an incident should never become of such a glorious, noble vegetable as the potato. And it will certainly never happen at Best French Fries. The Palm Beach County-based food truck proffers its perfectly crisp-on-the-outside, fluffy-on-the-inside fried potatoes at roundups and special events around the region. For four to six bucks, guests get to choose from an assortment of "fries," cooking methods (healthy folk can opt for baked), and two dozen dipping sauces (such as aioli, spicy horseradish, wasabi ginger, curry ketchup, and ancho chili lime). Owner Debbie Harris has upgraded the humble French fry (or, really, Belgian frites) to a meal in and of itself.

Scuola Vecchia is Italian for "old school," which is exactly what you'll get. Recipes are straight from Italy, which means this is as close to authentic Neapolitan pizza as South Florida can get. The small restaurant uses only homemade ingredients, from hand-pulled mozzarella using imported Italian curds to seven-grain dough and fresh San Marzano tomatoes. But it's the Acunto wood-fired oven — brought straight from Napoli, Italy — that makes for a truly transcending slice. Inside, volcanic stone allows for temperatures that reach an astounding 1,000 degrees, baking each pizza in as little as 90 seconds. It yields just the right amount of dough, char, and crunch to the signature Regina margherita, a combination of imported buffalo mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, extra-virgin olive oil, and basil. Throw in pizza-making trainer Roberto Caporuscio, president of the American chapter for the Associazione Pizzaiouli Napoletani America (a pizza-making association that determines which pies are legit Neapolitan) and you're pretty much guaranteed pizza perfection.

Barbecue might be the only original American cuisine, but the U.S. is a melting pot — Americans like to change things up. Set in the former site of Texas Hold 'Em BBQ, this spot serves a bit of smoked meat — or just sides — for everyone. The latest endeavor from Coconut's, Foxy Brown, and G&B Oyster owner Elliot Wolf, this barbecue restaurant offers an array of animal parts and creative sauces. Texas-born chef Steve Shockey spends days marinating and smoking his high-quality cuts of meat in an attempt to fuse together the juxtaposing 'cue palates that make up South Florida. Looking for Lone Star-style brisket? No problem. Carolina pulled pork? Got it. Kansas City sauce? You're covered. The Eat Meat Combo ($21) comes with two meats and two sides, all of which are served in heaping portions. Selections range from the Stack Beef Ribs (Wagyu beef brushed with pomegranate molasses) to dry-rubbed pork spare ribs. Sides span from healthy-ish cauliflower mash to hush puppies and mac 'n' cheese. And just like any barbecue joint, save room for the corn bread. Red Cow's iron-skillet rendition ($9) is out of this world.

Zachary Fagenson

Convincing a friend to try falafel for the first time is kind of a hard sell: "They're these balls of ground-up chickpeas and tahini — Oh, tahini is sesame seed paste! Yes, like on the buns at McDonald's. Anyway, they take the balls and they fry them, and then you put tzatziki sauce on it — it's a yogurt sauce. No, not like Yoplait. It's good; just eat it!" The best thing to do is just take your pal somewhere that makes really good falafel and get him to take a bite. But don't take him just anywhere — the falafel has to be just right. Falafel Benny and Schwarma in Hallandale Beach serves falafel the way it should be — still warm from the fryer, wrapped in soft pita bread, drizzled with tzatziki sauce, and topped with onions and diced cucumber. It's everything a falafel should be and kosher to boot. Bonus at Benny's is the tall cut of beef — the schwarma turning on its spit all day, just waiting for you to order a slice.

At some point, the banh mi will go mainstream and be offered at Subway. But until then, one must search high and low for the delicious Vietnamese sandwich that is a byproduct of French colonialism. Served in a crispy baguette, it combines French tastes (pâté) with Vietnamese ingredients (cilantro, daikon, pickled carrot). Fortunately one must travel no further than Hollywood Boulevard to find a perfect example. Pho VI has three varieties on the menu: grilled pork, chicken, and Vietnamese ham. The servers will also gladly make you a vegan option with tofu replacing the meat and holding the pâté. The hearty sandwich is priced at $5.95 and in Subway parlance is somewhere between the size of a six-inch and a foot-long. It is packed with so much flavor that if Subway spokesman Jared were to get his hands on the recipe, he might soon be morbidly obese again.

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