Grandpa's in town for the season, and it's clearly time to get the old coot married off again. You could pour through Google listings for Golden Years dating services, but here's some advice: the 70-something eye candy at Old Florida Seafood House ought to give him an excellent excuse to refill that Viagra scrip. This three-decades-old Lauderdale institution, complete with busy raw bar, stuffed sharks on the walls, and threadbare carpet, is a favorite with the finest local ladies of a certain age, who arrive on a Sunday evening decked out in their best duds, coifed and manicured and presumably perfectly weddable. You and Gramps can discuss their assets over an appetizer plate of shrimp Florentine ($8.95) and a bowl of oyster stew ($8.95), an entrée of freshly caught fish -- broiled, baked, or sautéed ($18.95 to $21.95), or a plate of sautéed veal with lobster tails (in season). The early-bird special is rather pricey between 4:30 and 5:30 (the three-course meal costs $17.95 Monday through Thursday, $19.95 Friday through Sunday), but it does give the erstwhile ladykiller ample opportunity to linger long enough to get noticed.

The cousin-from-Camden contingent has arrived, half a dozen nippers in tow, and by day six, you've stage-managed everything from airboat rides in the Everglades to daytrips to Disney. Worse news is in store: Your loud-mouthed sister-in-law has dropped in for a surprise inspection. Drastic times require drastic measures, so raise the salty old ghost of Cap Knight. Cap's Island Restaurant, which is set in two 80-year-old buildings on an island at Lighthouse Point, can be reached only by ferry. And it boasts enough nostalgic charm and locally caught seafood to stifle the in-laws -- at least for as long as it takes 'em to down a glass of chablis at the hand-built bar, peruse a couple of hundred old-Florida photos, and read all about how Cap and his wife ran a gambling and bootleg rum operation on the premises. If you still need a little distraction, introduce them to the Knight family -- a sister and two brothers who still run the place. Then all of you can polish off a plate of broiled dolphin ($24.95) and a slice of lime pie ($5.95). Sate them with histories, stuff them full of house-made fish dip, and for pity's sake, send them home on the next 747.

Ulysses and his hearty crew sailed the dark canals of Broward County. As they approached Pembroke Pines, Ulysses ordered his men, good and true, to lash him to the mast. For they approached Pitios, whose siren scent of deliciousness called to the stomach and could drive hungry men mad. The crew stuffed beeswax in their nostrils, and Ulysses ordered he not be released under any circumstances. As they passed Pitios, Ulysses caught a whiff of the Greek sausages, gyros, imported feta cheeses, and phyllo-wrapped spinach pies. "In the name of Zeus!" Ulysses gasped as he worked against the leather bindings. Then he beheld the pita bread: freshly baked, soft on the inside, with an ever-so-slight crunch on the outside, just like his mom, Anticleia, used to make. "Agamemnon, free my anxious maw!" he yelled to the heavens. Change jingled in his toga, surely enough to buy any one of the affordable entrées that run from $3.25 to $9.25. Owners Michael and Katerina Giannomoros stood waving. "Oh, Styx," he groaned, "cheap and authentic Greek food."

You'd never dream of setting foot in an Olive Garden, much less a Red Lobster, but that doesn't mean their parent company, Darden Restaurants Inc., is giving up on you. Darden introduced a high-end, low-cal restaurant this year that's drawing yuppies as inexorably as a Prada close-out sale -- Seasons 52. Here's an idea whose time has come: delicious, elegantly plated little morsels, grilled in olive oil rather than butter, incorporating seasonal ingredients, whole grains, and lightly cooked vegetables -- promising a caloric content below 475 per dish. Among those we recommend: grilled deepwater sea scallops, cedar plank salmon, and mesquite roasted pork tenderloin. Prices range from $8 to $21.75. And, get this: If you're vegetarian, vegan, or on any kind of fad diet -- like the amazing new chocolate and vodka diet (it really works -- call us and we'll fill you in!) -- Seasons' kitchen will accommodate you without flinching. OK, so the thimble-sized desserts, gargantuan wine list (more than 60 wines by the glass), and plush Intercontinental Hotel-flavored setting don't have the personality of your Aunt May's frayed living-room rug. But heck, it's even better this way. So tuck your oh-so-precious politics in your back pocket, relax, and enjoy, enjoy, enjoy.

Our American romance with Asiatic foodstuffs shows no signs of slowing -- and now some genius has dreamed up a gigantic, all-you-can-eat Eastern food complex adapted to our very Western waistline -- Super Size Me-San. At Crazy Buffet, a budding Florida franchise with outlets in Orlando, Tampa, and West Palm, discerning diners can fork over $19.99 to begin at the sushi bar, which features 50 kinds of sushi, sashimi, and rolls, a lineup stretching as far as the hand can reach. A full dinner plate of dragon rolls, rainbow rolls, kimchee rolls, chunks of glistening raw tuna, yellowtail, and salmon is just a little something to whet the appetite. Next stop: the seafood table, for snow crab legs, shucked oysters, cold boiled shrimp, marinated mussels, seared scallops. And for a little variation, the salad bar offers cold comforts. A fourth course entails tough choices: pick your own beef, chicken, and bean sprouts for the chef to stir-fry, have a steak or a mess of shrimp grilled on the hibachi, or both. Or all. Just don't forget to stop by the Peking duck-carving station on the way back to your table. Finally, it's crucial to save a little room, maybe roughly the size of your small intestine, for a dessert table laden with cakes, pies, and ice cream -- because there will be no taking home leftovers in doggy bags -- you gotta live for the moment.

The top views in Hollywood come courtesy of the ocean-facing tables at Hasan Kochan's 13-year-old restaurant on the Hollywood Broadwalk. Those tables have withstood annual flocks of snowbirds, the gentle if charming weirdness of the area, and a handful of hurricanes. But taking the long view must be Kochan's talent. The Broadwalk is coming in for a big revitalization that's bound to pay off for him -- that is, unless somebody decides to plunk down a high-rise next door. In the meantime, you can take advantage of those tables, particularly offseason, for the panorama they offer of the skaters, bikers, and scallywags who ply the two-mile walkway. The food is homemade and moderately priced ($3.95 to $9.95 for small plates, up to $16.95 for entrées). Among our favorites are the feta- and parsley-stuffed cigars, the little Turkish pizzas topped with lamb and vegetables, and the dish of fried sardines with a side of thick cacik -- a yogurt and cucumber salad as mild as an ocean breeze.

The state of dining in many museums is disappointing. You're part of a captive audience. What a pleasure, then, to know that after you've strolled the goldfish ponds and other loveliness of the Morikami's gardens, some fine and affordable Japanese food is waiting at Cornell, which overlooks all the flora and babbling brooks. Start with the seaweed salad, a plentiful plate mixed with sesame seeds and mild hot peppers in a vinaigrette sauce for $4.50. Tuna, shrimp, grouper, and salmon rolls run $4.50 to $5.50. But it's the luncheon specials that make the day. For the budget-minded, the beef bowl, at $6.95, is a meal in itself, with strips of stir-fried beef, onions, fresh mushrooms, and carrots. Jumbo shrimp in Asian leek sauce is a steamed delight that includes rice and vegetables for $8.95. For vegetarians, there's Asian eggplant with garlic sauce for $6.95. For the true Japanophile, there's the eel bowl, in which this favored seafood is baked in sauce and ladled over rice. Cornell is open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Admission into the museum is $9 for adults, $8 for seniors, and $6 for kids.

Across from the comfy half-moon couch in a corner of this roomy caffeine bar hangs a large black-and-white drawing of a rhinoceros. The animal's eyes glare menacingly, and his nostrils flare. Hasn't had his coffee, obviously. Or perhaps he just hasn't found the right place to drink it. Relax, big boy, you're at Boomerang, which is a bona fide coffeehouse, the kind the Northern folks take for granted. There's conviviality between patrons and staff that makes this a warm place to come. There is, of course, the lengthy and varied menu of coffee drinks, from the basics -- a cuppa joe for $1.51 or a single espresso for $1.42 -- to the more specialized concoctions, like a white mocha, which is espresso, white chocolate, steamed milk, and whipped cream, for $3.35. But it's the atmosphere that makes this a "house." On a recent Saturday morning, a jazz guitarist set up his laptop computer, which served as a backup band, and then began strumming a soothing sound. One young woman read a book as she reclined on the sofa. Others chatted quietly at tables. Of course, the rhinoceros was none too happy with the whole thing. But what the hell; he's only a picture.

Ladies who shop and then lunch have enjoyed leisurely afternoon tête-à-têtes at Belle and Maxwell's for years; it's time they scooched over their Chanel-clad fannies and made room for the rest of us. In the heart of West Palm's Antique Row, where uniformed chauffeurs keep the Bentley running while Madam dickers over the price of a Louis XIV end table, Belle & Maxwell's is an excellent place to lean back with a pot of Earl Grey and forget for the moment that the social contract is crumbling around us. The space is surpassingly luxe, calme et volupté, full of flowers and plump pillows; a back door opens onto a tiny, sunlit patio. Try the pear and gorgonzola salad ($9), a brie baguette with apple and walnuts ($8), or a slice of homemade quiche with gazpacho ($9), but damn it, don't skimp on the sweets! They're homemade by the ladies who run the place: key lime pound cake, chocolate croissant bread pudding, an almond joy tart, apple praline pie, chocolate espresso truffle cake. Ten bucks buys you a "sampler choice of four." Go get your just desserts. Open Tuesday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

To embrace Middle Eastern culture is to learn to enjoy overeating. Liberate yourself from those blindered Western values by throwing on a flowing, figure-concealing thobe and heading for this cultural island out west. The menu and service at al-Salam epitomize Middle Eastern generosity and hospitality in spirit, if not in the exact details; rather than press upon you a roasted filet of camel, Salam's gracious servers ply you with familiar Mediterranean dishes and a few scrumptious things that you probably haven't stumbled upon lately. Begin with a complementary starter of dates, olives, and pickled turnips. Move on to appetizers like kibi, hummus, and koddsieh ($3 to $7.49), then settle into the heart of your meal with selections from the evening buffet, which includes potatoes with tahini sauce, stuffed tomatoes, red peppers, and cabbage, chicken soup, and hummus ($11.99). Or try an order of shawerma ($7.99). It's considered polite to eat and pass plates with your right hand, so feel free to count calories with your left. A cup of cardamom-laced Arabic coffee is final proof of Allah's beneficence.

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