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Our Favorite Hidden Gems

New Times staff is sad about the closing of Charcuterie Too!, the oft-visited lunch spot in the Broward County Main Library downtown. The small mom-and-pop restaurant will close as a result of a renovation project on the library and the financial strain on owner Ymelda Luna Singh.

Count Charcuterie Too! among a handful of hidden gems in quirky locations. Though none listed will replace our beloved lunch spot, perhaps these will satiate your quest for eats in unexpected environs. After the jump, our picks for hidden gems.

6) The Pelican in Lake Worth
Beach-themed thrift-shop

art frames the walls of this eclectic Lake Worth cash-only diner, open during the day (with Fridays-only Indian dinner). The breakfast menu lists standard offerings of blueberry pancakes; Italian

omelet with sausage, onions, and peppers, served with grits or home

fries; and the eggs Benedict of the day. Halfway down the list,

things turn strange: eggs nissa? Curried chicken and spinach

omelet with nan and raita? As terrific as the standard fare may be, for Indian cooking, it's a destination.

5) Thai on the Beach in Fort Lauderdale

Perched above Primani's on the beach, this restaurant affords a stunning view of the Atlantic Ocean away from the maddening crowds. The food is Thai-flavored fuel that's all the more satiating after a half dozen Sapporo.

4) Islamorada Fish Co. in Dania Beach
Housed in the Bass Pro Shop off the highway, the 450-seat restaurant that's part Wally World, part Pleasantville overlooks a man-made lake. With deliveries daily from Islamorada, the restaurant promises "the best in Florida seafood," from -- you guessed it -- coconut shrimp and Maine lobster to smoked wahoo fish dip and roasted mahi-mahi. The restaurant is a semi- surreal stopover after your Outdoor World shopping spree for rods and reels.

3) Eleventh Street Annex in Fort Lauderdale
A charming lunch spot tucked away in a former pastor's home at Trinity

Lutheran Church, the restaurant run by two sisters, Jonny Altobell and

Penny Sanfilippo, has hidden in the annex for ten years. In a nod to

childhood nicknames, the Ugly Sisters riff on their sense of humor that

pervades the spirit of the place. A chalkboard lists the day's five

features, which include homemade soup, a rotation of sandwiches, and

variations on mac and cheese. A plus for picky eaters: The sisters

accommodate vegan and vegetarians as well as food allergies, so be sure

to give a heads-up. And don't hesitate to stop in for a fly-by coffee or

tea and something for a sweet tooth.

2) Direct From Philly in Deerfield Beach

Soak in the gas-station surroundings once you finally find this cheese-laden gem housed in a Chevron. Go for the Pat for Cheese-Wiz authenticity, or diverge from convention with one of nine other varieties of Philly cheese-steak choices.

1) Pelican Landing in Fort Lauderdale

Though it's not necessarily secret, this deck is certainly tucked away down the length of parking lots and twists and turns of dock avenues. The more casual sibling to Pier 66 is worth a visit for satisfying bar fare and a terrific view of yachts and their lovely staff.

What have we missed? Leave suggestions in the comments, or head over to Facebook to weigh in on your favorites.

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Food Critic
Contact: Melissa McCart

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