There are very few things John Tanasychuk will eat twice in any given month. A restaurant critic and Food Editor of the Sun Sentinel, John grew up in a multi-ethnic household where dinner might be pot roast or venison, roast chicken or stuffed cabbage, veal Marsala or chile. His mom grew up in a small town, his dad on a farm. So he learned early the importance of eating seasonally. He’s been eating professionally for more than two decades. He’s no slouch when it comes to cooking at home: Italian, Indian, barbecue, vegetarian. Cooking is his favorite way to relax. His Dining blog is linked at www.cityandshore.com.
Mason Jar Café, Fort Lauderdale
Everyone loves chicken pot pie, and no one does it better than chef Ernest Rado at Mason Jar Café. His ratio of chicken to sauce to vegetables is dead-on. His flaky pastry crust is divine. Pure comfort food.
Ernie’s Italian Chophouse, Lighthouse Point
In the age of the corporate restaurant chain, it’s heartening to know that some restaurateurs still believe in putting their name on the door. Ernie Patti of Ernie’s Italian Chophouse not only puts his name on the sign, but makes a point of introducing himself and letting you know he’s the man in charge.
Cosa Duci, Boca Raton
Biscotti made Cosa Duci. But it’s owner Giovanna Fausto’s $10 lunches that will make you feel like you’ve traveled to Italy. There’s no menu, just whatever Fausto feels like cooking. Here’s a sample: focaccia with pecorino and oregano; tomato bread soup; farfalle with asparagus, mushrooms and peas; roasted eggplant and zucchini Caprese. Splendido!
Gran Forno, Fort Lauderdale
Rosettas are Italian rose-shaped dinner rolls – and no one does them better than Gran Forno bakery. Crisp on the outside, soft on the inside, I can’t get home with these rolls without eating at least one in the car.
Lola’s on Harrison Street, Hollywood
Coca-Cola BBQ beef ribs from Lola’s on Harrison Street are the creation of chef and owner Michael Wagner who serves these sticky/tender bones slathered in house-made barbecue sauce with buttermilk onion rings and herb cream yellow corn.
Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza,
You either love or hate the well-done crust at Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza. I love the stuff, especially when it’s topped with cauliflower that’s oven-roasted with garlic and oil and then put on the pie with seasoned bread crumbs, mozzarella and romano cheese.