Here are some random thoughts on the eateries I visited last week:
Flakowitz, Federal Hwy @ 20th St., Boca: The bagels are way too soft, but the breakfast specials are a great deal. And the chocolate babka is outstanding.
Lucille's Bad to the Bone BBQ, Linton Blvd., Delray: Oh, those sweet potato fries! The chopped brisket sandwich was too soggy for my taste, but I suspect it's quite popular among the denture-wearing set.
Sushi Yama, Powerline @ Palmetto Park: Average sushi. Question: why do so many Asian restaurants in this area need to offer food from more than one country? Stick to Thai, Japanese, or Chinese, folks.
Samba Room, Las Olas Blvd, Ft. Lauderdale: You'd never guess this place was owned by the people who own TGI Fridays! It's quite hip and very good. The dinner specials are a great deal. I got a tasty Argentinian skirt steak and a big pile of pupas fritas (i.e., fries) plus a good-sized wedge of ancho chili-chocolate cake for $18. And that cake is a winner! the mojitos are also very good and go down way too easily.
Fran's Chicken Haven, Federal Hwy. @ 20th St., Boca: This place has been on my list to try for years. I think my stops in the Carolinas have spoiled me when it comes to fried chicken. Fran's was fine, but didn;t blow me away. The fries probably look just like they did when the place opened in '64; they were good.
Mario's Tuscan Grille, Federal Hwy., Boca: Finally got to try this place too. It's excellent, fully deserving of the plaudits it gets. Swordfish was cooked perfectly. And, it's on idineprime, which helps ease the sting of the prices.
Augy's: Boca Raton Blvd (2nd Ave), Boca: very popular Italian joint. The linguini with white clam sauce was too oily for me, but I've had enough good meals there to give them another shot. Cash only.
Charlie's Bar-b-que, Federal Hwy, Dania: Good brisket and other meats. The sampler platter was a ton of food: four meats plus two sides. An alternative to the oft-praised Tom Jenkins and Ernie's.
Dairy Belle, Federal Hwy., Dania: OK, here is the find of the trip: This place is run by Canadians, for Canadians, and THEY HAVE POUTINE! Yes, poutine. I have now tried poutine. The verdict is poutine is perfectly fine. It's cheese curds -- which taste like very bland jack cheese -- on a pile of fresh-cooked fries, covered with brown gravy. It's a very filling snack. The menu also offers some other unfamiliar Canadian treats.
Canton Garden, Spanish River Blvd., Boca: standard neighborhood Chinese. The Sun-Sentinel review in the window from 1990 is a clue to the non-cutting edge nature of the place. Perfectly fine if you want the usual suspects.