Rosie's is just a nice place to be. Their lanai is big and cool and blessed with a funky Hawaii-lite aesthetic that somehow demands a mimosa (which they serve in French, Italian, and Grand varieties, the last involving Grand Marnier). And at brunch-time - unlike, say, any other moment of the week - Rosie's is quiet enough that you can actually hear your tablemates. Not that you'll want to. Rosie's brunch menu is filled with things that are a lot more appealing than a hung-over attempt at conversation. Like Miss Truny's Deep-Dish Southern Style Not-So-French Toast, baked with a pecan-praline glaze, or The Nelly Frittata, an egg-white frittata with sausage, chicken, bacon, spanish onions, and red and green peppers. This is actually more delicious than it sounds, even when your stomach is doing loop-de-loops in flight from last night's excesses. Heavy fare like this has a wonderful stabilizing effect. But there's light stuff, too-fried green tomatoes with avocado, a delicious Greek omelet called The Un-Teeny Santorini, and a Belgian waffle topped with bananas, pineapple, mango, blueberries, and whipped cream that goes down like a confection and may even be healthy.
Pomodoro probably has a range of delicious appetizers, pasta, and other entrees, but the moment you walk through the front door, the aroma of cooking dough will cast its spell and your eyes will dart to the portion of the menu marked "Pizza." The dough is tossed by a man of Mediterranean descent who eschews chit-chat to concentrate on his task, and the crust he creates strikes that perfect balance between soft and crispy. The sauce is lightly applied, with a subtle mix of spices and herbs. But the revelation is the freshness of the toppings: Vegetables with just-picked splendor; meats and cheeses whose rich flavors announce their having arrived from the deli, not the freezer. You wouldn't usually call a 12-inch pie a "personal pizza," but this isn't your usual pie, and here's betting you won't be toting leftovers.
The Oompa-Loompas from Willy Wonka had the ideal job. They installed lickable wallpaper and tended to chocolate waterfalls, and occasionally acted as bouncers to pushy, whiny children. We'll never know if they also had a great dental plan. You've always thought that if you found a chocolate factory as decadent as Willy's, you would never leave. This might be how Jimmie's Chocolates has managed to stay in business since 1947. Loyal customers trust that all of their future fudge infatuations are made on location in Jimmie's Dania factory, with the historic shop tucked neatly behind it. That's where you'll find baker's shelves pleasantly packed with nugget, caramel, and marzipan. This edible fantasy world has managed to keep hold of its rustic roots while also expanding into the cute, quirky cafe in front and a second chocolate shop in Pompano Beach. Jimmie's stays competitive by combining its vintage flair with modern trends. At events like their chocolate and wine tasting parties, cocoa lovers from all generations come together to salivate. The Oompa life was a sham; why spend your days laboring in a chocolate factory when you can visit Jimmie's and nibble through its bounty? Now all they need is lickable wallpaper.
Anyone who tells you that the days of cheap fare in Fort Lauderdale are as much a thing of the past as affordable beach rentals hasn't tried Taco Tuesdays at the Treasure Trove. One lousy greenback buys you a mouth-watering, savory, soft-shelled taco in your choice of beef or chicken (we usually eat three or four before rolling ourselves home.) The shredded chicken and ground beef are both seasoned impeccably, then topped with lettuce, tomato, shredded cheese, and a side of sour cream. But no taco is complete without a little personalized bastardization. That's where the giant spice rack of hot sauces comes into play. The varieties fluctuate weekly, but you'll always find a flavor to fit your fancy. From damn-that's-so-hot-I-need-another-margarita to sweet and fruity, they stare at you like little saucy soldiers just waiting to be thrown into battle. If you're feeling flush, have a drink. Margaritas and Coronas are only $3.25. Just save a few bucks for tipping. After all, you're going to want to come back next week.
Brazilian steakhouses have fantastic salad bars. Seriously. Between the hearts of palm, array of cheeses, and various salads, pretty much any vegetarian can walk away from a meal more than satisfied. But if those skewers of beef that keep passing by seem at all appealing, this is the place to order up some meat and go out with a bang. Leave the world of rabbit food behind. After the server carves off a slab of juicy top sirloin, you can dive into the pork ribs, followed by some lamb, chicken, and sausage. Go whole hog! While a rodizio in Brazil might lead you into totally uncharted territory — think grilled chicken hearts — this stateside feast will help you ease back into life as a carnivore.
You can't find EveryBurger everywhere. If you could just stop at any corner store and pick up a pack of the delicious little Japanese cookies that masquerade as itty-bitty burgers, you'd at least spend less on gas. But our convenience stores will never be that cool. To find the best imported Asian treats, you have to go to Sasaya Japanese Market. In addition to inexpensive to-go sushi (the priciest roll is $7.50), Sasaya offers one-stop shopping for wasabi peas, lucky cat wallets, and kitchen supplies; plus extra-fancy, extra-spicy ramen noodles, and assorted sakes and curry pastes.
Let the gastronomic jetset bicker about which Chinatown restaurant serves the grossest whole flash-fried crabs, stinky tofu, 1,000-year-old eggs, or shark fin soup. When it comes to carry-out, you want your egg roll ($1.95). You want your fried rice ($4.50 small, $8.50 large). You want your string beans in garlic sauce ($10.95), your moo shu pork ($13.75), your beef chow fun ($13.95). Ten thousand New York Jews can't be wrong (even as they kvetch about the prices — $13.25 for Kung Pao chicken?): China Dumpling, now nearly a decade old, is ground zero for transplanted Brooklynites when it comes to Chinese food on Christmas Day and Easter Sunday. And it's first choice for local gentiles after they've had their fill of lambs and hams. For greasy, filling, steamy, soy-saturated fare; for that thoroughly Americanized and now classic mélange of canned bamboo shoots, baby corn cobs, cashews, sweet & sour everything, and fountains of duck sauce; for the subgum, the chop suey, and the General Tso; and for the eponymous dumplings (the dim sum basket is $13.95) — all of it best eaten planted on the couch with a Turner Classic broadcast of Whatever Happened to Baby Jane — China Dumpling nails it, right down to the fortune cookies. And forget it, they don't deliver. Dinner daily 3 to 10 p.m.
There are few rules in gastronomy as immutable as this: Everything tastes better wrapped in bacon. It's a fact that has not eluded the fine folks who flip, fry, dunk, and top the huge array of tubular beef under the yellow awning of Big City Dogs. Their signature frank, the ripper, is a testament to the beauty of excess: An all-beef dog dressed with a drape of fatty bacon and tossed in the fryer to cook till crisp. To finish it, Big City loads the puppy onto an airy bun and spoons on an orange blanket of nacho cheese sauce. The dog is actually an intersection of New Jersey's classic deep-fried ripper and a bacon-covered Los Angeles dog that's griddle-fried. The result is a crunchy, juicy, creamy mess — a meal with the prime objective of befriending your inner fatty. If that's not enough to entice you, Big City also makes about a dozen other regional dogs, including authentically topped Chicago dogs and spicy Polish franks split down the middle; Philly and Chicago-style steak sammiches, and some very capable, fresh-ground burgers.