Howley's
C. Stiles

When it comes to longevity, this place is king. Sitting at the same West Palm Beach location for more than half a century, Howley's opened its doors the same year the modern credit card came into existence (1950) — who would've thought both would still be so relevant today? While the essence has remained much the same, the spot has had some upgrades since Patrick J. Howley's days; in 2004, Sub Culture Group (owners of Dada, Kapow!, Tryst, and more) took over the property, restoring it to its original glory while bringing in some modern comforts, like a digital jukebox, flat-screen TVs, live music, and, more important, a full bar. Even so, it still boasts diner classics at a price tag that's not going to break the bank — in the 21st Century, anyway — with dishes like steak and eggs ($11.75), Momma's Hot Cakes ($5.95), and country fried steak ($14.95).

Master Cake Bakery
Sara Ventiera

Everyone was attempting the croissant-doughnut hybrid invented by that famous bakery in New York City, but Master Cake has one that will put you in a sugar coma. Large, flaky, deep-fried, and absolutely covered in sugar, the "dossant" (not Cronut — that's trademarked) is a carbaholics dream, but it's far from the only thing the kosher Master Cake Bakery has to offer. Run by Israeli-born, European-trained pastry chef Mickey Grunberger, Master Cake opened in September 2013 with a wide variety of pastries, custom cakes, breads, and other baked goods ranging from danishes and croissants to rugelach and challah bread. Sunday through Friday, the bakery also serves breakfast, lunch, and coffees — complete with kosher milk.

Bombay Cafe

So you want to get away from your office, but you don't have a lot of time. You want to sit down to a hot meal, but you don't want to pay for the service. Most important, you want something beyond the usual fare you'll find at most speedy lunch service spots. A good (read: cheap) buffet can split the lunch-quandary atom perfectly, and Bombay Cafe in Fort Lauderdale is just the spot. This is some of the best, authentic Indian cuisine you'll find in these parts — including vindaloo, marsala, butter chicken, and curry — and from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. every weekday, you have access to the entire buffet for about ten dollars. You'll indulge your inner foodie on the cheap, hidden in the cool, dark recesses of the restaurant and then suddenly jet back out into the sunlight, back to work and real life.

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With the advent and subsequent proliferation of the croissant-doughnut hybrid, the humble fried pastry ring has gotten a haute makeover this year. In fact, gussying up the working man's foods has become quite the trend in general — just look at the popularity of chicken and waffles, not to mention truffle fries. But some things are better left alone, and the doughnut is one of them. It should be a highly caloric, artery-clogging, diabetes-inducing round pastry of fried heaven. If this is your idea of the perfect doughnut, Grampa's Bakery should be your destination. Family-owned and -operated since 1957, just the name inspires confidence that this doughnut will be the real deal, not some highly paid chef's interpretation. The entire menu is classic American dinner-table fare, from roast chicken to meat loaf. But we're not here for protein — we're here for carbs. The doughnuts are made fresh — as is everything in the pastry case — on the premises daily using old-fashioned equipment and from-scratch mix.

Doc's All American
Liz Dzuro

Today's happening downtown in Delray would be as unrecognizable to time travelers from 50 years ago as it will probably be to us 50 years from now. But a few things remain delightfully constant, and Doc's All American is one of them. Doc's has been serving classic Archie Comic Book-esque foods like burgers, hot dogs, and fries since Frankie and Annette were still making those endless beach movies — that's 1951, if all of those references are too old for you. The staff has had decades to perfect the milk shake, and boy, has it ever! You can have your shake made from the soft serve or the hand-dipped ice cream, with flavors like pistachio, cookie dough, toasted coconut, Snickers, and double-fudge brownie. Mix-ins abound, and — most important, if you give a damn about classic authenticity — the place actually has malteds.

32 East

Dessert used to be a special treat you had only on certain occasions. To the delight of our taste buds and the demise of our waistlines, this no longer seems to be the case. Even fast-food value meals come complete with dessert these days. So it takes a special treat that's hard to come by to delight our jaded palates. While it's not always on the menu, Ana Rivera's passionfruit Valrhona white chocolate vol au vent is the culinary equivalent of a dreamy cumulus cloud. Sweet yet slightly tart passionfruit filling is encased in lofty layers of buttery puff pastry. It's rounded out with the smooth and creamy texture of high-quality Valrhona white chocolate, which adds just a hint of fresh milk and vanilla. The mix of flavors and textures is just ethereal.

El Camino

Everyone has a version of the perfect margarita. Some say it's as simple as fresh lime juice, a touch of agave, and a shot or two of good tequila. Others prefer fruit-infused simple syrups and bold flavors to make a high-end, sophisticated drink. For us, the real secret to a good margarita is balance. If the proportions are right, it can be one of the most seductively delicious cocktails you'll ever taste. And the newly opened El Camino in Delray Beach has the margarita mastered. If you're split between old-fashioned or fancy — or if you desire variety — you'll get it all here. The bar features more than 200 tequilas, everything from small-batch boutique labels to big-name favorites. When it comes to margaritas, the menu offers several takes, from the 50/50 (a smoky mescal and blanco tequila paired in one) to a spicy little chili-rubbed mango number (served with a dried chili pepper). The strawberry and guava takes are just as good, but the best remains the tried-and-true original. The classic is bar manager and co-owner Brian Albe's secret weapon, equal parts agave nectar, fresh lime juice, house lime bitters, and blanco tequila. When happy hour strikes, there's one — or three — calling your name at just $5 a pop.

Original Fat Cat's

A dark hole in the wall, this cavernous dive is a craft-beer geek's respite from the dude/bro-overrun area that has become Himmarshee Street. With close to 90 brews available, it's one of the largest collections around town. Anyone and everyone can find something to tickle their taste buds: The selection encompasses all areas of the beer world, with 17 on tap (14 of which are craft) and at least 65 bottles. Miller Lite, Bud, and all the mass-produced commercial brews of the U.S. and beyond? They've got 'em. Crafts from California's Stone and Michigan's Founders? Yup. Local favorites like Funky Buddha, Wynwood, and Due South? This place has it all. You'd have a hard time finding a better place to get together with your high-brow, micro-loving sister and your philistine Heineken-fan dad. Here, it's come one, come all; no one's going to judge.

Funky Buddha Brewery
Photo by Doug Fairall

Rice krispy treat, French toast, peanut butter and jelly, sweet potato casserole, blueberry cobbler, maple bacon coffee... No, this is not your dream 2 a.m. buffet list. These are real beer flavors brewed close to home at the Funky Buddha Brewery. This lineup of culinary-inspired liquid creations (ranging in price from $5 to $7) is putting South Florida's beer scene on the map — a massive feat, considering how far behind Florida has been on the craft-beer train. While the Funky Buddha name and bevs have been on the tips of hard-core beer fans' tongues for years, since the original Funky Buddha Lounge & Brewery began brewing small batches in Boca Raton, this mammoth, 18,000-square-foot brewery opened just last year and immediately garnered a thirsty following. The new brewery provides the bigger space necessary for hosting bottle-release festivals and equipment big enough to crank out kegs for distribution. While the rest of the country is clamoring to get its paws on some of the famous Maple Bacon Coffee Porter, we get to sit back, relax, and take a sip.

Tanzy

In South Florida, ordering a frozen drink for us natives has completely lost its thrill. If you're looking to add an element of dramatic performance to your cocktail experience, then tap into Tanzy inside the iPic theater in Boca Raton. Here, mixologist and master sommelier Adam Seger — dubbed the "spirits guru" by Food & Wine magazine — offers a taste of something unique. His master creation is the Tanzy Liquid Nitrogen -189° C, a drink named for the temperature at which liquid nitrogen boils. What happens when you use this mysterious ingredient to create a cocktail? Instant. Frozen. Drink. The bartender starts by whipping liquid nitrogen into a metal bowl with a whisk, slowly adding a laundry list of liquor, including Moët & Chandon Imperial, orange and Key lime sour, Grand Marnier, and Belvedere vodka infused with Rare Tea Cellars lemon peel. As the liquid nitrogen begins to boil and smoke, it creates tiny crystals, a texture much finer than those created using a standard blender and ice. The result: a smooth, creamy cocktail delivered with show-stopping mixology performed right in front of your eyes. Forget the movie you came to see.

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