You can skip Publix or the local gourmet poissonnerie. Go right to the source. Twice a day, generally at noon and 5 p.m., charter boats cruise in and offer the savvy a chance to buy slabs of fresh fish like dolphin, kingfish, and tuna, often for as little as six bucks a pound. If you want to captain your own expedition, you can usually book a half-day charter for about $200. But why bother when you can just drive up and pick your own tender entrée, still gaping-mouthed and flopping, and have someone else deal with all those pesky entrails?
Chefs cringe when food writers use the word fusion these days to describe their innovative fare, and no doubt corporate chef Mennen Tekeli and executive chef Doug Barnhill are wincing as we write. But there's little other way to describe the meld of Italian-Asian flavors at this relatively new, high-end restaurant without resorting to the cutesie -- Asialian? Italasian? -- which merely wind up looking like a new word for Russian cuisine. So bear up, boys. Like you, we're sure dishes such as shrimp firecrackers with chili dipping sauce, smoked salmon with lemon-mascarpone risotto, rigatoni with grilled pork loin and roasted baby eggplant-tomato ragout and herbed ricotta, or miso-glazed sea bass with wasabi mashed potatoes and preserved lemon-basil nage deserve a better label than fusion. But as long as we also tag Prezzo Affair the best, is that really so bad?

Gay restaurants are a dime a dozen in South Florida, and most of them have a life expectancy measured in months. But for more than six years now, the Hi-Life has been an oasis of stability and consistency. Transplanted New Yorkers Chuck Smith and Carlos Fernandez started out with an atmosphere-drenched, one-room eatery that quickly gained a devoted following. Fernandez worked the kitchen (pretty much by himself), while Smith worked the dining room. That hasn't changed. It's not unusual to find Chef Carlos busing tables; Smith still plays the ever-gracious host, circulating to make sure everything runs smoothly. But the restaurant has more than doubled in size to include a second room with a well-stocked wine bar, and the staff of good-looking, highly competent men has likewise expanded. The menu, meanwhile, has been honed to near-perfection, a small but versatile lineup that includes such standouts as Belgian endive topped with blue cheese, chopped pecans, and tomatoes and drizzled with champagne vinaigrette; searing jalapeños stuffed with cheese and shrimp and wrapped in bacon; chicken and penne pasta mingled with olives, capers, red peppers, onions, and tomatoes and tinged with balsamic vinegar; and a pan-grilled slab of salmon atop sautéed spinach, finished with a light Dutch Dijon cream sauce. It's the kind of place where same-sex couples can relax and be discreetly affectionate but also the kind of place you'd feel perfectly comfortable taking Mom and Dad.

If, like Virgil, you "fear the Greeks even when they bring gifts," then Yissou is not the place for you. Every item here is practically a present, from the complimentary skordalia (garlic mashed potatoes) to the rice and ground meat gift-wrapped with grape leaves and beribboned with a froth of lemon sauce. But if, like Thucydides, you "are lovers of the beautiful, yet simple in [y]our tastes and cultivate the mind without loss of manliness," then you will no doubt appreciate the hearty avgolemono soup, rich in egg-and-chicken protein. And if, like Sir Henry James Main, you agree that "except the blind forces of Nature, nothing moves in this world which is not Greek in its origin," then you will run to Yissou for the more organic dishes on its menu, including moussaka, pastitsio, and skewered swordfish -- because after all, you gotta love those Grecians.
Yes, it's a mad, mad, mad cow world. But don't let that stop you from digging into the juiciest burger you've had in years. The "inside-out" burger is a cheeseburger in reverse -- an assortment of cheeses melts inside the beef, then oozes out dramatically when you sink your teeth into it. Indeed we like this sandwich so much we respectfully suggest proprietor Paul Dias change the eatery's name. Gotrocks? Hardly. Gotcheese? Oh, yeah.
Other than your Italian relatives' house on a major holiday, this is the place to be for fresh homemade pasta. The place got its start in 1970 when Joe and Mimi Termine brought a couple of ravioli machines from New York City. Joe figured he'd make some ravioli, maybe sell a bit, and have a nice little hobby. A few years later, he was dragging his cousin, fellow Brooklynite Frank Billisi, down to Hollywood to help him with the business. Billisi then bought the shop from the Termines and has never looked back. The place now boasts all manner of strange machines, constantly churning sauces, kneading dough, and stretching what will eventually become spaghetti. As for those ravioli that gave the place its start and its name: They take Chef Boyardee, tar him, feather him, brand a big MIMI on his butt, and then toss him out of town on his ear.

Along with the tasty Jamaican specialties served up at this Lauderhill eatery -- callaloo; mackerel; jerk pork, chicken, and fish; brown stew chicken; and curry goat -- some of the spiciest yet yummiest hot sauces in the land are made at Hot Pot. This golden-red dew of the gods is full of floating seeds harvested from the Scotch bonnet pepper, each one capable of decimating an entire tongue. The rub that the Hot Pot crew slathers over its jerk meats is plenty blazealicious too, but the Chernobylesque, Three Mile Island-ish, China Syndrome-like sauce is guaranteed to make your eyes water, your scalp sweat, and your life flash before your eyes. It's that hot.

Even the bathrooms at this neon-color monument to all things fattening are deliciously tempting. People flock to the lime green-and-orange ice cream parlor to dare friends and strangers to step behind the clear glass doors of the bathrooms, which are in full view of those waiting in line for their favorite confection. Luckily for those who prefer to keep some parts of their lives private, a mere flip of the switch activates liquid crystals, making the transparent walls safely opaque. The mutable glass bathroom doors are just one reason to visit the dizzyingly cute ice cream parlor across from the public fountain in downtown West Palm Beach. The hot pink décor, which looks like a throwback to the Roaring '20s, is alive with hand-painted murals of cherubs clutching bowls of ice cream and pulling garlands filled with cakes, cookies, brownies, pies, hot fudge sundaes, and banana splits. It's enough to make even the lactose-intolerant among us drool. Lucky for the lactose dependent, relief is in sight. The 25-plus flavors of homemade ice cream, the Heath Bar crunch mousse cake, the toffee, and the caramel bars are even more amazing than the bathroom doors. And according to reliable sources, the extra weight normally generated from eating such delicacies somehow magically disappears -- like the view of the bathrooms.
OK, this place may be best known for its pizza, which blisters your mouth so appropriately. But a slice that would make any New Yorker grin isn't Poppy's only claim to fame. The pizza oven embraces an enormous steak calzone, for example, stuffed with sirloin, ricotta, mozzarella, onions, and peppers. It puts the finishing touches on a chicken, cheddar, and broccoli stromboli. And it lovingly polishes off a dozen different Parmesan dinners, including veal, chicken, sausage, and even eggplant rollatini, each of which is served with a trio of cheese ravioli or stuffed shells, or a pair of manicotti. Not convinced yet? Test Poppy's further by ordering veal Marsala or the perfectly fried large Gulf shrimp, and you'll be as impressed as we are -- and quite frankly you'll also be as full, since truth be told, Poppy is not only a paesano, he's a generous kinda guy.
When you have a taste for some authentic Jamaican fare, do what the Jamaican locals do: Stop by Aunt I's for some tasty jerk chicken, ackee and codfish, or oxtail. Don't be put off by the location, in the middle of a nondescript strip mall; Aunt I's may not have the fanciest digs (maybe that's why it does a brisk takeout business), but it has dibs on down-home island cooking, served up in generous portions with a warm smile. And it's a safe bet Jamaican native Aunt I is busy in the kitchen preparing your food.

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