Amazing how much better a cherry tomato can taste  if you pick it yourself right off the vine. Between the bountiful acres of strawberries and the indoor farmers' market, there really is something for everyone at Bedner's. Kids can mine for gold or pet a goat; then adults can walk them through a vast field of green and red peppers and have fresh dinner on the plate later that night. Bedner's is a festival you can go to every weekend, with food trucks and specials that constantly take place, even when it's not picking season. Farmers' markets are cool, but playing farmer for a day is even cooler.

With a craft-beer selection that never disappoints and its lively staff, Duke's has been a fast-rising restaurant for a while now, but this past year, its popularity has soared. The increased attention is a mixture of things that make Tucker Duke's special — and one of those things is definitely the fried PB&J bonbon appetizer. The PB&J balls-of-goodness are made up of fried peanut butter, seasonal jam, and a milk shooter; yeah, it's legit. The fun-sized app goes down perfectly with a dark beer while you're waiting for your meal or doubles as a dessert once you've worked up the munchies.

A few years ago, cupcakes became a "thing." They were the go-to, trendy dessert that dethroned self-serve frozen yogurt as the hot young sweet on the block. Now, both cupcakes and froyo are still around, the same way that Britney and Christina are still around. But if you want to be eating the chicest new portable dessert, these days you reach for a macaron. Every stylish avenue in South Florida boasts a macaron shop, and well they should. No place does them better than Bakery of France, a lovely Gallic café and bistro offering quiches, pressed sandwiches, pastries, café, and even escargots. It serves an exquisite Sunday brunch on its elegant patio, and it is all just lovely. But whatever else you eat, do not leave this establishment without a small white box of macarons. Far from a humble cookie, macarons should have a fragile shell glazing the outside, protecting the airy interior of the two pastries sandwiching the smear of creme in the center. And that is exactly how Bakery of France prepares them. You could get them in more familiar américain flavors (chocolate, vanilla, etc.), but don't. Go full French and order a pistachio, a rosé, a lavender, and a café sans regret.

Cherry Smash
Courtesy Photo

You would be hard-pressed to find an ice cream shop that is more fun than Cherry Smash. First and foremost, the ice cream is tremendous. That said, once you step inside Cherry Smash, you find out exactly why everyone is talking about it. From vintage train sets zipping around on the ceiling to old vending-machine fortunetellers all the way to the back area, where the curtains open up to a magical viewing area that is always themed to the most current holiday, Cherry Smash is different. You almost feel as if you have entered a local store that has re-created a Disney World ride — it's that special.

Misha's Cupcakes likes to say they make "life sweet," but until this past year, residents north of the Miami-Dade County line had to drive a bit to sweeten their lives. That all changed when Misha brought her goodies to Pembroke Pines. Whether you're into chocolate ganache or just have a simple craving for a cupcake topped with vanilla icing, Misha's is the holy grail of bakery-style cupcakes. Misha began cooking cupcakes in her kitchen for friends and quickly realized the demand for more was so off-the-charts, she was going to need to expand. After amazing success with her Coral Gables, London Square, Miami Lakes, and Aventura locations, Misha has finally come to Broward County, and for that, we thank her.

Mojo Donuts

Oh Mojo Donuts, we hail to thee

Salty, crunchy, and sticky sweet.

When I'm on Pines, I must stop by.

Your bacon bar just makes me cry.

Sometimes I go in and then just stare.

Man, there are so many flavors there!

Five, ten, 13 or 20...

I sure wish I had more money.

I'd buy all the donuts in the shop

But then I might get shot.

I stepped on up to take a gaze

But I couldn't choose between the Key lime or the glazed.

I'll have a guava, a monkey, and a sugar patch kids.

Just eight more to pick, I'll be done in a jiff.

Pembroke Pines, you're my kind of town

I'll erect a donut tower and turn you around.

No one will ever say anything bad about you again.

I'll pray for more Mojos, then say an amen.

Fort Lauderdale, you've been caffeinated — thanks to Warsaw Coffee Co., which opened earlier this year. The 3,800-square-foot space has indoor and outdoor lounge spaces, an onsite pastry kitchen, walk-up and drive-through barista bars, and rentable office "flex" space. Inside, pastry phenom Jason Morale creates from-scratch delicacies: cookies, biscotti, and tarts to scones, muffins, and cakes. Sample the guava and cheese pastries or homemade Pop-Tarts — complete with frosting. Or try the affogato, a coffee-based beverage typically made with ice cream or gelato and a shot of hot espresso. Of course, coffee is Warsaw's main focus, offering fresh-roasted beans prepared by nearby Argyle Coffee Roasters. The drink menu includes espresso shots and the standard selections like Americanos, macchiatos, cappuccino, and lattes. If you're looking for fresh-brewed offerings, take your pick of various pour-over methods including Clever, French press, and Kalita. The cold brew even comes in concentrate to take home.

Readers' Choice: Subculture Coffee

Jaxson's Ice Cream Parlor Restaurant
Christina Mendenhall

Sadly, last June, Monroe Udell — the man who founded the iconic Dania Beach mecca of sweets, Jaxson's Ice Cream Parlour & Restaurant — passed away. Many South Florida residents owe Udell a great thanks. Since 1956, he had been giving us a wonderful place to bring our children, parents, friends, and first dates. Jaxson's is a South Florida landmark, both for its nostalgic interior and for what comes out of the kitchen. Udell would be proud to see that Jaxson's is still flourishing and still pumping out the best ice cream in the South. Stop in next time you're in Dania Beach. Sit, grab a handful of complimentary popcorn, and order one of their classic milkshakes, served in 24-ounce shakers, topped with a swirl of whipped cream. Don't be shy. Get some toppings too. Monroe would recommend it.

Mamacita's Mexican Bar and Grill

It's nice that the proprietor, Maria Narvaez, learned to cook by watching her mother in their pueblo of San Luis Potosi, Mexico, and that after a stint in Houston, she and her husband, Jose, ran a restaurant in Chicago named after their son, Marlon. It's even nicer that they moved to Florida and opened an affordable, authentic joint on the Hollywood Broadwalk, naming it after the first words that spilled out of Marlon's mouth when he saw the fine-looking ladies passing by on the beachfront: mamacitas. Today, it's nicer still that this chill establishment offers sports on TV and live music four nights a week (salsa, merengue, bachata) and that a spontaneous dance party is likely to break out on the sidewalk as you wolf down a giant whole fried snapper. But these details are all best enjoyed when sipping on the signature drink, a tequila-drenched frozen margarita topped with lime, a straw, and an upside-down Corona. This concoction is called a "Rompe Nalga" ($15 for a medium, $23 for a large), which translates literally as "break buttock" but means, essentially, it'll kick your ass.

Sweetwater Bar & Grill
Christina Medenhall

Sweetwater in Boynton Beach, what could be considered the catalyst of Palm Beach and Broward counties' craft cocktail movement. The year 1933 has special meaning here, not just as a nod to the year Prohibition ended but also to the good times that ensued. Owners Clint Reed and mixologist Sean Iglehart don't want you to think of their establishment as a speakeasy; it's just a good, old-fashioned watering hole where you're meant to kick back, relax, and toss back some damned good drinks. Here, the bar program is second-to-none, run by a staff of highly skilled bartenders who collaborate on a rotating menu of seasonal specials that changes every few months. The menu also offers a number of signature concoctions, each expertly crafted with house-made syrups, bitters, liqueurs, and a rainbow's worth of fresh herbs, fruits, and spices. Behind the bar, you'll find everything from an authentic wooden swizzle stick to a topnotch arsenal of rare, expensive, or small-batch liquors. Pull up a bar seat, and let the show begin.

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