YOLO Restaurant and O Lounge

Sure, maybe it's a sign that food trends have gotten a little out of hand when we begin ordering $10 platters of potato chips at tres chic eateries. But you only live once after all, so who gives a flip if potato chips are considered cliché, fattening, or pedestrian? Sort of like transforming an uninspired bowl of ice cream to a champagne granita, YOLO's version of the homemade potato chip breathes new life into the fat kid's after-school snack. Each slice of crispy fried potato is topped with melted dollops of blue cheese. These tasty suckers are completed with a liberal daub of crisp salty bacon and flecks of rosemary and thyme. Our chubby inner child is squealing.

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There are so many factors that make this timeless diner along Dania Beach's antique row a worthy breakfast pit stop. For starters, the place has been baking its own breads, cakes, pastries, and pies since it opened in 1957. Slide into one of its age-worn booths and order breakfast (served any time of day) and the first thing that happens is the waitress will serve you a complimentary order of Grampa's famous fresh-baked danishes. She'll pour you a tall, hot cup of coffee and treat you as sweet as a slice of Grampa's cherry pie. The breakfasts too are a kind of no-fuss perfection: two eggs over easy, crisp bacon, crunchy toasted rye bread with plenty of sweet cream butter; fluffy blueberry pancakes bathed in syrup and butter; colossal omelets with all manner of meat, cheese, and veggies; eggs Benedict, homemade biscuits with sausage gravy, and some damned fine French toast. Did we mention Grampa's also has a bar? Two, in fact: One has wine and beer; the other is the sort of diner-style counter top you might share with a guy in a trucker hat who swears he's been eating here every day for 15 years. Man, you can almost taste the nostalgia. Now that's a breakfast.

St. Bart's Coffee Company

Why spend Saturday morning eating freezer-burned waffles in front of the telly when you could watch some hardbodies play volleyball while you stuff your face with banana French toast? St. Bart's Coffee Co., located in two great people-watching locations on Fort Lauderdale beach, offers a better way to start your day. If you're not a morning person, have no fear: A massive mug of the café's hazelnut cappuccino will have you up and at 'em in no time. The restaurant has a variety of menu items, from hangover-curing smoothies and egg croissants in the a.m. to fresh Greek salads and tasty prosciutto wraps in the afternoon. Whether you are recovering from a long night of partying or gearing up for a mind-clearing jog on the beach, St. Bart's has got you covered.

Pelican Grand Beach Resort
Courtesy of Pelican Grand Hotel

A brunch riddle for you: What has an unobstructed view of the Atlantic, an omelet station, a carving station, and unlimited drinks and costs only $34? Brunch at the Pelican Grand. It takes the phrase "have it your way" to new levels if "your way" includes several bloody marys, sweet pillowy cheese blintzes, steaming hot eggs Benedict, freshly carved ham, and a seafood display with shrimp and smoked salmon. And the woman at the omelet station is a sweetheart! If you have guests in town or if you want the most elevated brunch for your buck while on staycation, this is the perfect spot to keep in your back pocket.

Kubo Asiatic Cuisine
Candace West

Calling Kubo chef Roy Villacrusis' exquisite creation "Liver Surf 'n' Turf" is like calling Queen Elizabeth "Lizzie" or the Hope Diamond a mere hunk of compressed carbon. This double-barreled shot of terrestrial and seafaring opulence unites two of the most luxurious ingredients you could ever put in your mouth, gilding them with the kind of breathtaking creativity that has earned Kubo this year's Best Restaurant in Palm Beach and Villacrusis Best Chef honors. "Turf" is Hudson Valley foie gras, a quickly seared lobe with a plush, almost molten texture set in a pool of spiced chocolate sauce flanked by twin marbles of caramelized banana. "Surf" is monkfish liver — foie gras of the sea — with a delicate briny flavor and rich, creamy texture, both accented by a citrusy yellow miso sauce and a scattering of feathery microgreens. Don't call it Liver Surf 'n' Turf.

Call it Unspeakably Delicious.

Jaxson's Ice Cream Parlor Restaurant
Christina Mendenhall

(Sing to the tune of "My Favorite Things")

Chocolatey syrup and marshmallow fluff

Handfuls of ice cream with mounds of yummy stuff

Sparklers light up this dessert made for kings

The Kitchen Sink has everyone's favorite things.

Homemade flavors topped with whipped cream

This dessert concoction is truly a dream

A few bites will cure any ice cream cravings

The Kitchen Sink has everyone's favorite things.

When your hunger calls

When your stomach stings

When you're feeling sad

Take a bite out of the Kitchen Sink and then you won't feel so bad.

Indus Indian & Herbal Cuisine
Candace West

The word buffet conjures unappetizing images of blue-haired old ladies and no-haired old men doddering around a giant steam table piled with muddy-colored substances that might once have been food. There's nothing unappetizing about the lunch buffet at this swanky-looking Indian eatery, though, especially not its all-you-can-pig-out-on-for-a-penny-squeezing $10 price tag. The dozen or so dishes lined up on long tables at the bar taste fresh and well-made and are replenished often. There's good variety too, from a basket of puffy, garlicky naan to rajma masala (a deftly seasoned stew that turns the humble kidney bean into the uncommonly plush-textured Legume of the Gods) to the classic chicken tikka masala, which bathes chunks of tender clucker in a riotously flavorful tomato and cream-based sauce so indecently rich and luxurious that it would cause your average French saucier to set fire to his toque... while he was still wearing it. You gotta admit, that alone would be worth ten bucks.

Mama Asian Noodle Bar

Coconut Creek's Mama Asian Noodle Bar rises high above the humdrum Thai restaurants populating strip malls all across South Florida. That's because its owners, Mike and Lisa Ponluang, have been serving the chili- and lime-inflected cuisine of their homeland to hungry South Floridians for more than 16 years. Sure, the place sports your usual assortment of curries, pad Thais, and kaffir-infused salads, each brimming with enough slow-developed flavor to make anyone's ma proud. But much like the couple's Coco Asian Bistro in Fort Lauderdale, Mama takes traditional Thai dishes and gives them a modern twist. Here you'll find pan-seared Chilean sea bass with bok choy over delicate miso broth or juicy pork chops marinated in lemongrass and garlic. Crisp fried spring rolls filled with shiitakes and chicken are a star — just as they were when Ponluang began serving them at his legendary restaurant Thai Pepper back in the mid-'90s. And when Mama steps out of the Thai mold, look out. Its wide range of noodle dishes give a sly nod to the warm street fare of Southeast Asia, from excellent Vietnamese pho scented with basil and anise to panko-coated kutsu chicken over waves of pipping-hot ramen. Add in chic décor and wallet-friendly prices and Mama really is the mother of all local Thai restaurants.

From the short-rib tacos of Kogi BBQ in Los Angeles to the funky fusion of New York-based Korilla, Korean-inspired street food has long been at the heart of the food truck craze. And now with Dim Ssäm à GoGo, the mobile extension of Miami's Sakaya Kitchen, chef Richard Halles has elevated Asian-inspired street fusion to the next level. What makes Halles' attractive, inked-up truck so great is the balance he achieves between modern restaurant cooking technique and munchie-inducing street fare. Take his duck banh mi, made with crisp-skinned, sous vide duck breast and served on a mayo-slathered baguette — we could eat that shit in a five-star restaurant or sitting on a curb at 3 a.m. Or how about the chunked-up tater tots? Covered with zesty cheese sauce and spicy ssam­jang, it's basically stoner food — until you consider the lovingly crafted, tender, short-rib slices that grace the top. Until recently, us northerners had to trek down to Miami to find this Korean monster. But thanks to recent truck gatherings up in West Broward and Boca Raton, mobile food hounds in Broward and Palm Beach can now enjoy their Dim Ssäm (a play on Chinese "dim sum" and the Korean word for wrap) on the go-go.

Whether you have been craving classic Jamaican jerk chicken, oxtail, curry goat, fried fish, ackee, or some good, old-fashioned cowfoot (don't hate), old Auntie I has got you covered. She opened her first location back in 1987, and Auntie I's now has three in South Florida. Expect friendly service, along with delicious Jamaican food that's prepared using original family recipes yet maintains a modest price. This joint is perfect for lunch (there are always great daily specials), takeout, or a fun family outing. It's about time you break it off with your weekly habit of diluted wonton soup and stale, misleading fortune cookies.

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