The Frog and Toad
Given the recent political alliance between the U.S. and Great Britain, we'd say the year-old Frog & Toad has excellent philosophical timing: Each of the two amphibians, pictured in the logo arm-in-arm wearing flags as shirts and hoisting mugs of beer, clearly represent the individual countries, joining together in brewski compatriotism. Our question is this: Just who is the frog, and who is the toad? OK, that's not really the query, especially when you consider the competitive trivia games that take place here every Wednesday evening. Then the questions get a little tougher, some even hard or obscure enough to baffle aging Ivy Leaguers whose formal education was, well, a long, long time ago. Fortunately, for the fish-and-chips aficionado, the fried cod remains tender, as do items like mussels in curry sauce and steak-and-mushroom pie, and just as hard to forget as the answers to such questions as "What is the best pub in Fort Lauderdale?"
Barbecue devotees, bow down. Proprietors Tom and Helen Wright claim, via the restaurant's motto, that they "give the glory to God." We of the less-celestial stance lay the credit for their long-running success at a couple of secular doors: the plate-glass portal through which lovers of ribs, baked beans, collard greens, and rice with gravy surge on a nightly basis. Kosher worshipers can indulge in the moist and juicy chicken, smeared and seared with the eatery's signature secret sauce; the not-quite-so-strict can head straight for sliced pork, pork chops, and fried shrimp. Regardless of religious leanings, however, Tom's fans have one thing in common -- they're all true believers of the barbecue.
Originated by the slaves in the American South, "soul food" has become canonized, standing in for everything these days from the glue that holds a family together to a dieter's guilty pleasure. Let's not put too romantic a point on it. Truth is, the dishes were born out of a need for tasty sustenance -- to make palatable meals out of remnants of bones, poor cuts of meat, and vegetables that were more like weeds. They were also meant to supply people who were forced to work way too hard with enough energy to keep them going. Fortunately, we have places like Soul Food 2 Go that keep it real -- as in really good collard greens, highly caloric mac 'n' cheese, barbecue you don't need to chew, beans you don't need to fear. No icons here, just slow-cooked fare served quickly enough to be eaten at your own pace. And while soul food itself has unpalatable origins, the modern version of it proffered here is nothing but savory sustenance.
Ragin' Red's isn't much to look at, tucked away in a strip mall in suburban West Palm Beach, but its piled-on portions of Southern staples pack in those who don't give a damn about dcor. The place is a barbecue joint by definition, with three kinds of ribs and well-smoked chicken. But Red's (slogan: "Put some South in your mouth") is also chock-full of Southern dishes like collard greens, cooked with a little vinegar and a mound of pork fat, and Brunswick stew, which has a little bit of everything on the menu thrown into it. Just like your mom would've cooked if she came from Dixie, nearly everything on the menu has some kind of meat in it, including baked beans laced with smoked pork. Red's throws barbecued beef and cheese on top of French fries as an appetizer and stuffs an eight-ounce loaf of rye bread with barbecued pork and cheese for a dish called the Steamboat. You may leave Red's with somewhat narrower arteries -- and a new Southern drawl.

East China Kitchen
The single person and the takeout-Chinese restaurateur have an interesting relationship. With the barber and the mechanic, there's banter. With bartenders, there's chat. But with the Chinese takeout guy, there's not much to say. You order, "Szechuan chicken, hot-and-sour soup, and an egg roll. For one." He gives you the price. You arrive ten minutes later to pick it up. You each pretend that you don't know each other, but you do. You've seen each other before. Way too many times. This man knows your eating habits. It's a relationship as personal as the one you have with your drycleaner (the man who knows your truly disgusting secrets). At East China, conveniently located in the Hub Plaza near the Firm Fitness Center (targeting those who want to eat kind of healthy but are too lazy to cook), the food is fresh and prepared just for your order, perfectly flavored and cooked, piping hot and waiting to be consumed in front of the television. The portions are large enough to lend themselves to tomorrow's lunch. For those too lazy to cook and too lazy to pick up dinner, East China delivers within a limited area. But it's closed on Sunday, maybe because nobody eats Chinese while watching The Sopranos.
Greater+than+the+dim+sum+of+its+parts
Colby Katz
Greater+than+the+dim+sum+of+its+parts
Aroma is what is proposed, and aroma is what you get -- the endearing whiff of leek dumplings in the morning, the inescapable scent of turnip pudding, the rich perfume of chicken feet in black bean sauce, the steam therapy of pork or chicken buns. Don't get us wrong. We're not complaining -- we're rejoicing. All too few Chinese restaurants offer this quintessential, scintillating snack cuisine, and we're frankly just grateful that this shopping-plaza eatery does, not just for brunch but made-to-order at any time of day or night. The bonus is that Aroma lives up to its literal name as well as its implied one, Flavor. There is, of course, the stereotypical drawback: We're hungry five minutes after writing this item. But then, there's always the option of an early lunch.
In a rush? No groceries on hand? Don't feel like cooking even if you had the strength? Don't bother with the drive-through when you can just as easily hit up the King. Poultry lovers go forewarned with the knowledge that this takeout delicatessen in the Festival Flea Market Mall offers rotisserie fare that is neither chain-oriented nor mass-produced. In fact, there are so many options that it's difficult to make up your mind, unless it's to be healthy. From skinless fried chicken to balsamic-glazed chicken breast to spit-roasted whole birds, the King offers dozens of ways to keep your weight and cholesterol down without having to do the cooking yourself. But those who don't diet don't need to worry -- there's plenty of delicious chicken Parmesan, chicken-in-a-pot, and chicken cordon bleu to keep everyone on the home front happy.

>Where do I love Tea? Let me count on Lily's.

I love Tea to the depth and breadth and height

My soul can reach,

Which is usually up the staircase to Lily's finely decorated tearoom.

I love Tea freely,

Though I'll gladly shell out the $2.75 to $4.50 for a freshly brewed pot here.

I love tea purely,

But others might crave Lily's soups, salads, sandwiches, and quiche.

-- Elizabeth Barrett Darjeeling

Time flies when you're having tzimmes. This sibling to Miami's Rascal House celebrated its fifth anniversary this year, and Boca-ites couldn't be happier that the doyenne is still dishing up the cholent, brisket, matzo balls, and babka. Unless, of course, they've decided to sup on some corned beef-and-pastrami sandwiches, which are overstuffed enough to provide a second meal the next day. Throw some half-sour pickles and onion-pumpernickel rolls into the doggie bag and you've got tradition as well as value -- the very definition of a top-notch deli.
Remember how exciting going to the Melting Pot used to be? No? Hmm... well, fondue isn't exactly the most exciting food, especially for a meal that leaves your pockets empty. In the heart of Delray's Pineapple Grove sits Fásha, a hip, classy joint that wants you to know fondue isn't boring. Its menu includes fancy cheese fondues for any palate, from wild mushroom to Caribbean habanero chile. For the main course, dive into a delicious helping of mahi-mahi or chicken breast with mango dipping sauce. And for dessert, enjoy bananas and chocolate or a toke of apple-cinnamon flavored tobacco from a hookah. (Yes, you read that right.) Fondue just got a bit more exciting. Dip, baby, dip.

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