Saturday, December 21, 2013

Mom's Kitchen, Greenacres, December 21, 2013

It is a thing of gourmet legend -- a hole-in-the-wall diner that has excellent food, great service AND it's cheap. Some people say such a place is merely a myth to entertain children (and old people, who are basically children with more money and incontinence). But I tell you, that place exists. And that place is Mom's Kitchen at 7478 Lake Worth Road, in Lake Worth, Florida.

Mom's is a place you can drive by for decades and never visit, because how good can it be, eh? It looks like a crappy box-diner on the outside, uncomfortably close to busy Lake Worth Road and next door to a motel that's a shoe-in to be a location filming spot for the Florida version of "Breaking Bad."

But once we got inside, we were pleasantly surprised. Mom's Kitchen is small. But it's very clean. It's style is rustic and kitschy, but the old-timey sentimentality isn't overwhelming.  The service was excellent, and we were seated very quickly even though we arrived after 9 am on a busy Saturday.

The menu is lengthy.  All your favorites are probably on it, and if not, the kitchen takes requests. Breakfast is served all day, but they have a good lunch and dinner menu, too.

Coffee is served hot and plentiful. Ice water comes in a large glass -- Mom's knows its customers are thirsty.  The food arrived FAST!

Cindy had a ham, spinach and cheese omelette. They were happy to add spinach to the ham and cheese omelette on the menu. She also had a huge helping of hash browns (very good!) and a biscuit.

 The biscuit wasn't  great -- a little spongey -- but it did a great job of soaking up the extra gravy on Sean's plate.

Sean had a Southern-style Eggs Bendict, which is poached eggs and sausage on a biscuit smothered in gravy.  Home fries came on the side, and Sean ordered bacon as well, because BACON!

The bacon was the kind of big, chunky bacon that doesn't come out of a supermarket package. The Southern eggs benedict was absolutely delicious. And Mom's has its own hot sauce, which is spicy without being scalding. And the hot sauce goes very well with home fries, mmm-mm!

The service was fast and friendly.  And you can pay with cash or by credit card.  Even better, the food is very affordable, so you won't be paying that much.

Inevitably, we'll have to draw comparisons between Mom's Kitchen and another local institution, Deli Inn Diner.  You know we love the Deli Inn Diner.  It's your best chance in Palm Beach County of having a waitress dressed as a superhero, or whatever fun theme they have that week. But the Deli Inn Diner is showing its age, and its food just isn't as good as the offerings at Mom's Kitchen.  Between the two, our tastebuds cast their vote for Mom's.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Revisiting Pete's Place, Greenacres, November 27, 2013

Pete's Place is a classic diner, no frills, excellent food and fast, friendly service.

It's also on the way to my office. So, I asked Cindy to join me.  I usually have the chicken portabella omelette, but something about Cindy's eggs over medium with home fries and biscuit sounded delicious.

There were two differences. Cindy had hot chocolate topped with a mountain of whipped cream ...

And I had bacon with mine. I like to put the eggs on my home fries, which I also dosed with hot sauce, because that's how I roll ...

All in all, it's a great breakfast. But I have to say, Pete's home fries were a step down from their usual "Food of the Gods" status.

Some of Cindy's home fries were only partially cooked. That's a big no-no, and something I haven't seen before at Pete's.  Perhaps it's because we were some of the first people there.  A steady stream of law enforcement officers followed us in the door. 

As for mine, I found them a bit under-seasoned, which is the first time that's happened at Pete's. That's why I used hot sauce. 

Well, you can't hit a home run every time. The coffee was hot, the service was fast and the waitress was sassy in a nice way.  And it's cheap. Pete's remains one of my favorites.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Millie's Cafe, Sarasota, October 27, 2013

Millie's is a diner that lays on the folksy charm in thick layers, and it has an enthusiastic local following.  On a Sunday morning, the crowd spills out of this restaurant's lobby onto the sidewalk outside.  This being Sarasota, the crowd is composed mostly of the nearly dead. But I can't blame them for coming to Millie's for their (potentially) last meal.

We would have had to wait 15 minutes, but a table for 6 opened up just as we arrived. Hooray!

I had one of the specials, an Italian omelette. It had Italian sausage and cheeses, and was smothered in gravy. 

The omelette was very good. It comes with Millie's "home fries." I think of home fries as chopped up potatoes cooked with onions, maybe some peppers, and spices.  Millie's home fries are closer to hash browns, and I find them a little bland (that doesn't stop me from dosing them with Cholula hot sauce and eating them). I also got a biscuit which was cooked just right.

Cindy got an omelette with spinach, ham and cheese that looked awesome.  She said it tasted as good as it looked. Cindy here: I loved this omelet. This is becoming my "go to" order on our breakfast adventures. This was a little light on spinach, but good flavor of ham and cheese. Eggs were fluffy. I didn't mind the bland, pepper-less potatoes, cause I like bland and pepper-less. I loved the crispy crunch blended with the creamy almost-mashed inners. I had no problems with the potatoes at Millie's but I agree, they weren't what you'd call home fries. The biscuit was delish.

Ellie got Millie's "special sandwich," which contained ham, cheese, bacon and lettuce. She told them to hold the tomatoes. I had one bite, it was excellent. Normally, Millie's special sandwich comes with french fries or soup, but it was too early in the morning for french fries (according to Millie's kitchen staff) so Ellie went with the home fries. She got a big pickle, too.

Peter got three huge chocolate chip pancakes, and if he'd sat closer to me, I would have helped him with those. They looked delicious. The chocolate chips weren't cooked in -- just scattered on top. Peter liked them, but spent too much time reading out loud from the magazines I brought to keep him occupied, and didn't finish his three pancakes.

Nana got two fried eggs and sausage. The sausage is superb, I'm told.

And Papa ordered corned beef hash and lightly poached eggs. I've had Millie's corned beef hash before, and it's excellent. Papa complained though about the potatoes not having any onion.

Service was very good.  If you order hot tea, it comes in a china tea pot, which is a nice touch. The waitress kept us well supplied with drinks and what-have-you, even though the restaurant was very busy.

 I would recommend Milie's to anybody if you're looking for good cooking, folksy charm, great service, and reasonable prices. 

3900 Clark Road
Sarasota, FL

Monday, October 7, 2013

Nick's Diner, West Palm Beach, October 6, 2013

Nick's again. Mmmm. We've both been thinking about their omelets since we were last there. Sean wanted to take his mom somewhere special, and while John G's is the expected place, and she'd love the Paris Bakery in downtown West Palm Beach, we knew she'd love the food here at Nick's.

Their menu says it all: If you can find a better diner, you should eat there!

So since we've been to Nick's before and raved about it, and we've been busy, it's taken us nearly a week to write this review. Short and sweet: we are glad we came back. Service was good, though my mother-in-law did have to wait a bit for a coffee refill. Restaurant is clean and spacious.

I had the exact same meal: ham, swiss and spinach omelet. It was deeelish. I was full until dinner. Biscuit (not pictured) was great too. 

My mother in law had the special omelet, which, darnit, I forgot what it was. But it obviuosly had tomatoes in it (which is why I didn't get it). You can see her biscuit here.

Sean had the meat lovers omelet PLUS a side of bacon. He has supernaturally good cholesterol so he can do this. He also didn't eat again until dinner though! He declared it fabulous and the biscuit terrific. Maybe he'll add his own flair to this review later. He had no opinion on the coffee this time, as he's drinking tea lately. He was disappointed to (re)find out that they do not do home fries. Which is kinda weird for a breakfast place. They do a decent shredded hash browns, and the omelets and biscuits about make up for the lack of home fries.

Our daughter as usual had lunch for breakfast. Here's her grilled cheese with bacon. She was too hungry to let me take a photo of the whole meal -- but you get the idea.

Again, really love this place. Definitely part of the regular rotation.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

David and Dad's, Baltimore, Maryland

So this morning, I had a long, long, LONG walk to the Oxford Club office in Baltimore.  For some reason, they put us up in a hotel all the way across town. Probably for the view of the harbor. 

Anyway, I don't take that as a reason to take a taxi. I take that as a walking challenge.

Most of the "breakfast" places along the way served nothing but sandwiches. But then I found "David and Dad's".

And here are the breakfast specials on a white board outside.

I decided to go with the Meatlover's Omelette. It looks like this ...

The omelette is loaded with meat and melted cheese, and the potatoes are superb. I'm not even seasoning anything, which is unusual for me. The biscuits were nice also, and the vanilla coffee I had was pretty standard.

The staff is curteous and helpful. the coffee is self-serve, with a bunch of different flavors, and you pay after you eat, even though the ordering set-up is cafeteria style. 

I think I've found my breakfast place in Baltimore. If you know of any place better, let me know.


Saturday, September 28, 2013

Dune Deck, Lantana, September 28, 2013

Dune Deck is one of our long-time faves. Can not beat that ocean view, nor the ocean breeze right through the open dining area.


Lantana public beach, with the Dune Deck to the right.

The kids, Sean and I shared a breakfast appetizer of beignets. My daughter said, "It tastes like funnel cake!" Well, yeah, it's fried dough with powdered sugar, it just has a fancier name. These were not as light and fluffy as Sean remembers from New Orleans, but somehow we managed to suffer through 6 of them as a family.

Authentic or not, they went fast. Barely got a photo of two of them before they all looked like this one above!

I ordered two eggs over medium, and thought they were a touch too done, but that's the risk of over medium. Potatoes were fine, picky eater that I am, I ate around the peppers and onions. The whole wheat toast was yummy. Sean and I both wanted biscuits but Dune Deck doesn't serve them.

Ellie as usual got a lunch meal for breakfast. Her fries were fabulous according to her and to Sean. Her bacon cheese hamburger was the best thing I ate all morning, when she let me steal 3 bites. Usually Sean eats the pickle, but he said that didn't sit right as a breakfast food.

Peter had massive chocolate chip pancakes. They brought out three, and he said he could eat three, but after eating one (also after 1 1/2 beignets), he declared himself stuffed to bursting. The rest came home for a snack or two later.

Sean had corned beef hash and eggs. And will add his comments and photo later. He cleaned his plate pretty well, so it couldn't have been too bad!

Our waitress was lovely and attentive and interested in how we were doing. She tried to engage comic-book-reading Peter with tales of her own comic book faves, but the boy was having none of it. Some day he'll care when a pretty waitress talks to him, but not today.

Our waitress was also good natured when Sean declared he'd ordered coffee when she brought out hot tea. I corrected him and said, yes he did order tea.I noticed because he rarely does. Later the waitress ribbed him by making sure I was listening when he ordered his breakfast. A good-natured waitress can make a good meal better.

The tables along the edge of the eating area can get a lot of sun despite the awning and table umbrellas. We avoided that, but sadly we ended up parked under a wind tunnel fan which made talking difficult and keeping a napkin on the table impossible. Avoid that table at the top of the short stairs if you can. We certainly will next time.

For now while the Lantana bridge is still under repair, you can get to A1A via Boynton Beach bridge or Lake Worth bridge. Supposedly only a couple more months of this.... Thankfully, like John G's across the way, Dune Deck doesn't appear to be hurting for customers.

Great place to take out of town guests to show off why you live in Florida.


100 N Ocean Blvd
Lantana Beach, Florida. 33462

Dune Deck Cafe

Monday, September 23, 2013

Hamburger Heaven, West Palm Beach, September 21, 2013

So we had to drop our daughter off for a beach cleanup on the island of Palm Beach. I thought this'll be a great time to try out some Palm Beach eatery. But when I looked up their menus online, I just could not get excited about spending $24 for a plate of eggs. Oh, I'm sure it'd be delicious, cooked by highly trained French chefs, with eggs from golden chickens. In fact, I worried, what if it is so good, it ruins me for all other breakfast places? Didn't want to take that risk.

Then I remembered the *former* Palm Beach diner, now located on this side of the lake, Hamburger Heaven. It's on Clematis, just down the way from World of Beer, the fountains, and Palm Beach Drama Works. I haven't eaten there since they moved into West Palm, and per their web site, they do serve breakfast. My husband had never eaten there, so it was a chance for me to surprise him again.

One warning about that website: It says Hamburger Heaven opens at 7:30 each morning. Well, when we arrived on Saturday morning, the sign out front said they open at 9:00 on Saturday and Sunday. Luckily we were not early birds, and we were their first customers at 9:01. The waitress explained that the every morning breakfast is only during season, so soon enough, we can all get this fabulous breakfast every day.

Oh, that "fabulous" was some foreshadowing. Because Hamburger Heaven's breakfast is exactly that. Both our meals were terrific.

Sean and I both had home fries, which were served extra crispy. I'd never had home fries prepared like these and I loved 'em. They were probably clogging my arteries, but oh what a way to go. Deelish. My cardiologist will not want me to go back.

I ordered an omelet with ham, swiss cheese and spinach. Usually the egg is just a carrier, and I focus on how much I like the stuffings. But this omelet had the fluffiest eggs I have seen since starting this breakfast adventure. Befitting the name of the restaurant, these eggs were like a cloud. The stuffing was good too.

Meanwhile, Sean had a fruit craving, and indulged in a tower of blueberry pancakes. They smelled divine on my side of the table. Look at all those blueberries inside.

Unbelievably we were the only customers the whole time we were there. What's wrong with you people? It might be named Hamburger Heaven, but they serve up a heavenly breakfast as well. There are several hamburger themed items on the breakfast menu, but we didn't try any of those. The prices were totally realistic and appropriate for those of us living on the mainland. I am sure a breakfast this good, the Palm Beachers are making the journey over the bridge to visit their old favorite haunt.

This place is totally going on the repeat list. To be honest, we are already planning our return visit. So remember how I said I didn't want to risk going to the fancy French Palm Beach eatery because what if I didn't want to go anywhere else? Um, well, Hamburger Heaven turns out to have been more of a risk.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Jupiter Donut Factory, Jupiter, September 19, 2013

Quick trip to Jupiter Donut Factory, to introduce it to my daughter's school mate. Daughter got red velvet, same as last time, and declared her love for it again. I and our friend both got Boston Cream. Delish. While there is a definite sugar buzz -- hello, it's a donut -- but somehow these donuts are more satisfying and filling than the standard commercial chemical filled ones. Mmmm, mmmm. Good donuts.

No pictures, because we were running late, even though it was late-start day for the high school. 

We'll start 15 minutes earlier next time, because I think this trip just became a monthly late-start-day tradition!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

John G's turns 40

Forty years of breakfast. I think they are getting the hang of it. Maybe they finally be heard of....

Proseccos, Palm Beach Gardens, September 15, 2013

Disclaimer: Prosecco's is owned by friends and former neighbors of ours. Further disclaimer: I am a lousy friend, because it took me years to finally get here and I am kicking myself for that.

Had lunch here last week and it was great. Yummy spinach and feta quiche with a side of roasted sweet potatoes. And I indulged in a decadent dessert afterward, that took all day to finish, and left impressed. So when I realized the birthday of a friend who likes Prosecco was coming up, I proposed meeting here for brunch.

Prosecco's was pretty full on a late Sunday morning. We got a table right away but service was slow. My friend, who is a regular, said that's pretty normal on busy weekends. But the place has a European cafe feel on purpose, and who needs to be in a rush on a Sunday morning.

Our group started with a bread basket, which is full of a variety of delicious breads -- some cheesey, some with dried fruit, some whole grain. And yeah, I didn't get a picture fast enough before most of the bread was snarfed. The bakery really is the star of this cafe.

I also started with a mimosa, which was fine. How can you mess up o.j. and sparkling wine?

After drooling over all the options on the menu, I ordered a Florentine Andi since I'd already tried the quiche. An "andi" is a small sandwich, coming from the Italian "andiamo," meaning "we walk." This breakfast sandwich came on a low-calorie multi grain bread that was delcious, with egg whites and spinach. To be honest, I was a little disappointed, but admittedly it's partially my fault. Egg whites are boring, so the sandwich was a bit bland... at least after the first few bites. The first few bites were incredibly salty. I suspect my sandwich touched something salty, or someone's hand slipped in the kitchen and one end of the eggs got extra salted.

My other concern for this sandwich is -- not that I was planning to walk around -- there's no way anyone could walk around eating this drippy, messy sandwich. The egg whites were much bigger than the bread. I ended up using a knife and fork to keep the food off my fingers and clothes. Meanwhile, the sweet potatoes were excellent again.

The birthday girl had quiche lorraine, and let me have a bite. Mmmm, that's when I fully realized my disappointment with the Florentine Andi was just the nature of the bland choice. The quiche was fabulous and delicious. Excellent crust, but not too thick, and very flavorful filling. She chose the salad as a side.

Her daughter ordered the four cheese quiche and ate it up. Afterward, she thought perhaps she'd gotten a spinach feta quiche by accident, because there was more green in it than justified by a few herbs, but obviously she didn't complain. And since I didn't take a photo of her meal, we will never know what it was!

My daughter ordered a "fancy Italian ham and cheese" as I called it. With prosciutto and thick slabs of mozzarella, it seemed straight out of a cafe in Florence. Sadly, girl child's tastes aren't quite Italian, and she felt it was too much mozzarella, but she did love the prosciutto. She also enjoyed a chocolate chip volcano cookie afterward.

The birthday girl's husband ordered the All American, which was a ham and cheese omelet with potatoes, salad, and a side of bacon. So there are options for those whose tastes aren't so continental. Though, wait, omelets were originally French...? Oh I am so confused.

Service was fine, once we finally got to ordering. Water glasses filled often enough. No one had coffee, so we won't have Sean's coffee review this time. I bet it's good though knowing Alison and Avi!

I recommend this place. It was terrific at lunch, and a mixed bag at a busy weekend brunch time. I plan to take my husband here on a less busy weekday morning to try it again. And I will doubly make sure to order something from the bakery.


4580 PGA Blvd
Palm Beach Gardens, FL

Prosecco Cafe

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Benny's on the Beach, Lake Worth, Sept 14, 2013

Benny's on the Beach is a Lake Worth tradition. It's been on the Lake Worth Pier for years, and during many of those years it competed with John G's which was right across the street. So how did Benny's compete? With arguably the best view in Palm Beach County, and delicious food at reasonable prices.

John G's has since moved, but Benny's is still there -- and we went there for breakfast this morning. Diners at Benny's start with three choices -- eat inside, eat outside on a deck/porch, or eat on the "upper deck," a kind of Florida room (large, screened-in windows that are open to the breeze) on the top floor.

For me, the view in the Florida room is the best, and, it has the advantage of being a little cooler than the porch on hot days -- and this was a hot day -- and the seagulls can't come by and poach your food.

I had two eggs over easy, corned beef hash, home fries, whole wheat toast and a slice of melon. It was delicious -- the home fries especially are done expertly. And the melon is perfectly ripe. The corned beef hash was good but not especially memorable.

 However, as good as it is, it is NOT as good as the "heaven on a plate" at John G's.  So, it's safe to say the biggest winner in John G's move south to Manalapan was Benny's. 

Cindy here: I ordered the stuffed croissant -- which is a toasted croissant split, and stuffed with eggy, hammy goodness, with a dollop of cheese sauce over the top. I had the same thing at John G's, and yeah, of course Benny's wasn't as good. I don't know what John G's does, must be magic, but it's not fair to compare other restaurants with whatever they are doing at John G's. John G's is gone from Lake Worth Beach, and Benny's should be considered on its own. And this stuffed croissant was absolutely delicious. I ate it all up, Weight Watchers points be damned!

I also had potatoes, but the croissant was enough for me, and I shared most of mine with Sean.

back to Sean: Cindy and I also shared some biscuits and gravy. Benny's was good, but not as good as the biscuits and gravy at the Deli Diner Inn.  Deli Diner Inn's biscuits and gravy is so good I expect we'll learn one day that at least one of the ingredients is illegal.  Benny's was okay. Thankfully we only got a half serving to share as they were fairly swimming in over-peppered gravy.

Ellie ordered off the lunch menu, and the waitress had no problem with that -- always good news if your kids can be somewhat finicky. Ellie had a beef quesadilla and frieds. The fries were delicious, Sean and Ellie say. Ellie liked it well enough... but was a bit disappointed by the presence of green pepers in it that hadn't been mentioned in the menu, She managed to pick around them.

The coffee was good and hot, and the waitress was generous with refills. I could hear the sea from my window seat, but my daughter, seated further inside the room around the table, says she couldn't hear the waves over the whir of the electric fans.

Overall, I'd say come to Benny's for a good breakfast, and you'll really enjoy the view. If you have time, you can take a nice walk on the beach as well. The best thing about Benny's is the location, and the food is good, too.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Toojays, Lake Worth, September 5, 2013

Toojays is a chain, but it's a South Florida chain. And also, they make good consistent breakfast, so that's where I went today.

The dangerous part of Toojays is their fabulous dessert case that you have to walk past to get to the dining room. And after you order, the waitress hands you a dessert menu, even though you ordered breakfast and it's only 10 a.m., and she kindly prompts you that you can get something to go for later. And then she'll ask two more times before you leave to make sure. Their desserts are to die for, but my pal and I managed to escape without any desserts.

I had a spinach, ham and swiss omelette. Even though that wasn't an option on the menu. I appreciate a kitchen that will accommodate. The waitress gave me a long list of options that included home fries and grits and tomatoes, but before I chose, my pal let me know that if I ask, I can get a potato pancake. Wheee! This is a good friend -- she didn't even know I love potato pancakes. And so I did...

My potato pancake was delightful -- crunchy on outside and creamy potato-y on the inside. I ate it up along with my chock-full omelette and it was delightful in each bite. My friend had eggs, poached medium with homefries and a bagel. We both pretty much cleaned our plates.

We chose Toojays today for its location and good food, but also because on a slow Friday mid-morning, we knew they wouldn't rush us out. We dawdled quite awhile catching up, and other than repeated suggestions of visiting the dessert case, we weren't hassled by the waitress. I unfortunately do not have a photo of the dessert case to impress you with, because if I'd looked, I would've bought....

A good time was had by all for less than $15. Toojays is a great spot all over South Florida and up the Treasure Coast for a consistent great meal at decent prices. And if you are ready for dessert, in the restaurant or to take home, they are more than willing to make you happy!

All over!
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