We were leaving Cutler Bay for an extra day of family vacation in Hollywood, where we had rented a room at the Westin Diplomat, right on the beach.
I set the GPS for my driver, and as we were heading north on the US1, I suggested to her that perhaps we should ignore the GPS direction and keep driving north on the Federal Highway, actually avoiding the I-95 to drive the scenic route, through downtown Miami and Fort Lauderdale, all the way up to Hollywood. During this vacation, we drove the entire US 1 from Mile 0 to Mile 178. Only 2199 more miles and we were in Canada.
We figured it would take longer, giving just enough time for the Waffle Jr. to have a good nap, while not driving in heavy traffic, it being Sunday. It was a good plan and an enjoyable drive. But soon enough, we were hungry. But we had to wait for the backseat passenger to wake up. When she did, we had reached North Miami Beach and we pulled into the parking lot of the first joint we saw: Gourmet Diner.
A classic, stainless steel diner, long and narrow wagon, decorated 50s retro, with an eclectic comfort food menu mixing Country-Style French cuisine and American Diner Traditional Fare.
Daily specials are on a whiteboard, which the waitress will put on a chair next to your table, giving you extra options. Although many of them were the same as their regular or their special 29th anniversary menus. Sides options would differ, you’d get a coffee or tea included, but price would be the same. And despite it being past noon, the breakfast menu was also available.
The place, which opened in 1983, was not really busy, so our server had to come back three times (to her annoyance, despite the very polite front) before we were ready to order. So many options! Hot Dog, Cheeseburger, Brisket? Celery Root Salad, Trout Meunière, Frog Legs? Penne Veal Bolognese, Churrasco Chimichurri, Chicken Kabob? ”Just Bon Cuisine”`, the menu stated, giving us a hint that perhaps the French picks were the way go. If you didn’t care about grammar.
Still, tough choices to make, except for the Waffle Jr. who got a Grilled Cheese with fries ($4.95), one of her favorites.
Mel ordered the Chicken Piccata ($14.95, veal also offered), thin slices sautéed with capers in a lemon butter sauce, from the Anniversary menu, which meant she could get a soup or a salad. The soup of the day being Black Bean Soup, Mel elected to go with the Caesar Salad.
For my part, I hesitated a lot but ended up ordering the Lamb Shank ($16.95), braised in red wine with onions, carrots and tomatoes. I could pick two sides from Vegetable Soufflé, Mashed Potatoes, French Fries, Baked Sweet Potato, Basmati Rice, Sweet Potato Fires, Steamed or Grilled Broccoli or Asparagus, or Apple Sauce.
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