Well… it is close to the sea, about 2 blocks, but it’s the old-time diner experience and honest food you’ll remember. A smallish storefront restaurant that really is like a diner once you walk through the door. The menu has the usual list of items for breakfast and lunch, but it’s the prices that make you think you’ve gone back in time. The portions of food are generous and the staff is homey and friendly enough to prod you along with your order if you can’t decide. Expect it to be busy on the weekends and many evenings.
OB-House/Old Fort Lauderdale Breakfast House- 333 Himmarshee St, Ft Lauderdale- http://o-bhouse.com/
Occasionally my family is conscripted to be the staff of alanEATS. Therefore, whenever I need to know about new hip places I look to my savvy nephew. Recently he’s been going on about OB-House, a new breakfast place in Himmarshee. Initially, I admit, I was skeptical, but it became clear to me the place had a devoted following so when the name kept turning up I figured it was time to see for myself. OB is a restaurant that specializes mainly in breakfast. I’ve visited there about four or five times so I guess I’m as ready as ever to give you my take. First of all it appears that a lot of time was spent thinking about how to raise-the-bar on the first meal of the day. To accomplish this they use the best quality & freshest ingredients, new interpretations, and some say, a little self-indulgence. Look…you’re just going to have to dig a little deeper into your pocket for this mornings “feed bag,” but it’s worth it! So clip on your iPhone and tell the secretary you’ll be a little late to the office. One quick word of advice… according to the menu, peanut oil may be used in the preparation of some items. Ask your server to point them out if you have that allergy.
I usually start with a glass of the pulpy fresh squeezed Orange Juice and a cup of OB Coffee about which the menu states, “ That’s not Folgers in your cup.” I don’t know whose coffee they’re using, but it’s served hot and it’s good. First time in I tried the Standard OB-House Breakfast with two Free-Range Eggs, Thick Sliced Bacon and Yukon Gold Potatoes served with thick cut 6-Grain Toast. The over easy eggs were perfect and basted, a method of cooking eggs without turning them over. My eyes next went to that thick cut bread. I confess I finished it all. On another visit I decided to take the advice of my nephew and order the popular OB Oven Pancake. This nicely sized pancake is baked in a cast iron skillet and served with a choice of filling; Pineapple Pecan, Banana, Blueberry or Strawberry. The pancake is moist and the light inside reminds me of a soufflé. It’s tasty enough to enjoy even without the portion of real Vermont Maple Syrup that accompanies it. This is so good it deserves to be on everybody’s bucket list. On subsequent visits I’ve enjoyed the OB Batter Toast made with slices of the same thick cut OB-Bread and side dishes of Maple Chicken Link Sausages and the Country Pork Sausage. Meals here are quite good and filling…so in an attempt to be a little less decadent, and keep my waist size stable, I resigned to try the healthy and House-made Granola Parfait with Yogurt and Strawberries. I will admit healthy tastes good too! Also on the healthy side were the two Specials of Poached Eggs on a bed of Spinach with potatoes & bread and Scrambled Eggs served with a cup of Fresh Fruit & Yogurt and a Muffin. No…I did not eat the muffin! I passed it along to my nephew as a reward for finding the place.
The American Diner is much maligned for it’s greasy image, which many don’t deserve. They are today still loved and enjoyed by many for their cavernous menus, large portions, late hours and very reasonable prices. If you follow me on Twitter/Facebook you know I frequent many of these places. I was reminded of this today when my foursquare check-in app awarded me the “Greasy Spoon Badge”, for my check-in at the Peter Pan Diner. This also reminded me that I haven’t paid any attention to Diners on this Blog, despite my numerous visits to them. An oversight I intend to correct now. The Peter Pan Diner has been around for over 38 years. My memories of the place go back a mere 20+ years. After a night of partying with friends, the 24/7 Pan was always there for a good breakfast. Today it remains virtually unchanged from those days. It’s still 24/7 and able to serve up all the dishes from their huge menu almost any time you wish. Breakfasts are exceptional on the limited early bird menu and very reasonable thereafter on the regular menu, with all manner of omelets, sandwiches and sides. My favorite special is the #4…eggs, tasty link sausages and two fluffy pancakes. The dinners here are very good as well. Try the Rumanian Skirt Steak and the half Chicken. The seafood is excellent for the price with many broiled selections. I tend to order the locally sourced stuff when available like Snapper, Mahi, Sea Bass, etc. The early dining specials include salad, entrées of some of their most popular dishes and dessert. Diners like the Peter Pan are friendly places that serve up honest good food. No greasy spoon!
Tropics restaurant is synonymous with Wilton Manors and “the drive.” Sunday Brunch started out here many years ago as a once a month thing and became more frequent as time went on. Now every Sunday the restaurant transforms into one of the most extensive Breakfast Buffets around. Everybody goes there including “alanEATS.” After years of Sunday brunching at Tropics, I have a plan of attack for this monster feast. First, as with all buffets…get there early to avoid the crowds of the uninitiated buffet eaters…those are the ones that scurry around piling on the food. I prefer to gently graze and enjoy the experience. So here’s what I recommend. You’ll want to grab your breakfast stuff first. Choices range from Eggs Benedict to an assortment of Quiche. The usual scrambled and fried eggs are there too, accompanied by Bacon, Sausage, Corned Beef hash and Potatoes O’Brian. There’s even some tame Sushi Rolls with all the extras. You’ll also notice a tray marked French Toast. It actually tastes more like Bread Pudding, so I usually pick some up later to enjoy with a cup of coffee. Now on to the main dining room buffet for Salads, Shrimp, Nova Lox and a Carving Station, which can include; Roast Beef, Ham, Pork and Turkey. In addition, Chef Nate and his staff prepare three main dishes that change weekly. Some favorites you may find are Lasagna, Kielbasa and Sauerkraut, Chicken Purses, Fish & Chips, Beef Pot Pie, Stuff Shells and Jambalaya. Let’s not forget about dessert. These are plated and are lined around the main bar. Here you’ll find an assortment of cakes, pies and cookies. Some are done in-house so please ask your waiter to point them out. All of the above with two beverages will run you under $20. Amazing! Reservations are a must. In season you may have reserve several days in advance.
Update-December 2011- The Tropics Omelet Station is back! Returning this year is omelet Chef extraordinaire Danny, equipped with double burners and an assortment of omelet fillings to make your perfect meal. Just this alone is worth the price of admission. I order one with spinach, bacon and cheese…yum. The omelet station is only here during the winter season so catch it before Chef Danny packs up his pans and heads north.