Started off in St. Augustine and hit Gypsy Cab Company. Great place to take kids, noisy and friendly. Food was high caloric vacation fantasy food. Even the shrimp mediteranean was covered in cheese! All good, but no better. At South Beach Grill in Crescent Beach (20 mins. south) had the blue crab-corn chowder. Thick, lots of chunky vegetables. Well prepared, with only a hint of crab flavor. OK. Rest of the menu is burgers, etc. Terrific for families. Nice beach/ocean view made it worthwhile. Also stopped for lunch at the Spanish bakery in the Spanish Quarter. Empanadas, picadillo, beans and sausage. Only a few items, very homey, you eat at picnic tables outside. Lovingly prepared, though not particularly tasty.
In Deland, ate at Sherry's soul food buffet in a former fast food location. Everything decent, maybe the succotash and fried chicken more than decent. Two adults, two children got out of there stuffed silly for $16 bucks including salads, desert, tax. Also went to Brian's BBQ. Ordered the jumbo ribs. They were good, wish they weren't room temperature, though.
At Deleon Springs State Park (which is gorgeous), went to the Old Spanish Mill Pancake House. This old mill grinds the flour for the pancake batter that you cook at your table. Old Florida tourism at it's best! Lots of fun, four stars. Could you eat better pancakes elsewhere? Of course, but that's not the point.
In Coral Springs, Ft. Lauderdale area, ate at the upscale Gold Coast Grill. Three orders of fish, all excellent. Had the Trout stuffed with shrimp and crab, grouper italian style, and the mahi coated with almonds. Kilwin's chocolate next door was smooth, but more expensive than good. Also, had a wonderful arepa at El Buen Gusto in Tamarac, a family bakery noted on this board by S.M. Koppelman. The highlight of the trip and a five star Chowhound find! Gorgeous roast corn aroma, gooey from natural sweetness. Absolutely delicious, Thanks!
Ended up in Miami at Sergio's on Coral Way for Cuban. Great festive atmosphere, a real treat for Northerners looking for something different. I used to live in Miami, and was taken there by my Cuban sister-in-law. Everything was good. Had the rabo encendido (oxtail stew), vaca frita (shredd beef with onions). Platanos were dead on perfectly cooked. Best in show. Avoid the other latin dishes like tamales or empanadas.