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Visiting hound reports on Boca and environs

emarcus | Feb 3, 201503:01 PM

Thanks again for all your suggestions, Sunshine State hounds. Dad has already tried and enjoyed the Fish Shack.

I was just down for a long weekend and thought I’d report on what I ate:

Big family dinner at The Farmer’s Table, Boca. I couldn’t quite wrap my mind around this place, a weird mashup of locavore patter and corporate excess-—it’s like an artisanal food theme park. Nor could I fathom why a restaurant whose menu was full of meat and cheese would then turn around at dessert and get all vegan on me. Desserts were dreadful, but despite my distaste for the general fakery of the place, I enjoyed my lacinato kale Caesar (natch) and fig-glazed roast chicken on a bed of FANTASTICALLY HEALTHY GRAINS.

Small family dinner at Cuban Café, Boca. Here I had the opposite reaction. I loved the friendly, humble, garlic-scented vibe of the place but if I’m being honest, the rice and beans and maduros and ham croquetas were the best parts of the meal. The tamal and empanadas were OK, but lechon asado was bland and watery, arroz con pollo was bland and dry, churrasco was tough and flavorless and emphatically not a skirt steak. Oh, the flan was very good. But I would totally go back and have a Cuban sandwich there…because there’s no such thing as a bad Cuban sandwich!

My beloved Jalapenos Taqueria taco truck at the very Western end of Atlantic Avenue—-just south of Delray Regional Park-—was a disappointment this year. Dad’s torta consisted of a tiny bit of carnitas (though it was delicious, much better than the lechon at Cuban Café) on a really terrible roll. They forgot to give me my tongue taco and the pastor that I did get was really substandard, hard little nubbins of way-too-lean pork.

I wound up at a huge group lunch at Ruven’s Deli in Delray and had disappointing mushroom-barley soup, disappointing stuffed cabbage, pretty good kasha varnishkes. But the service was excellent and so was the cole slaw.

Burgers at Jack’s Old Fashioned Hamburgers in Pompano Beach were good, but how has that place lasted so long with those fries?

Culinary highlight of my vacation was the day we drove almost across the state and went to Taqueria San Julian in LaBelle for some really fantastic tacos al pastor.

Without me, Dad will make it his business to get to Calypso (which was closed on Sunday or we would have gone) and Scuola Vecchia. We drove by the Polish Deli in Pompano and I got a good feeling from that place. Anyone been? On LI there’s no such thing as a Polish Deli that doesn’t have great sausages and breads and hams.

Again, thanks to everyone who came to my aid. Chow!

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