BEST VALUE ON OCEAN DRIVE Miami 2004 - Front Porch Café
Despite the hordes of tourists clogging Ocean Drive -- and the tourists traps that have sprung up to serve them -- a few pockets of sanity still exist on that once fabled street. None is more treasured by brunch-seeking locals than the Front Porch Café. While your out-of-town visitors trudge off to the heart of the strip for their obligatory snapshots of the Versace mansion, grab a seat on the outdoor patio here. It's the perfect spot to tuck into a huge stack of pancakes while watching the parade of South Beach humanity traipse by. At $7.65 this meal may be a tad pricier than the fare at IHOP, but these pancakes are twice as big, twice as fluffy, and with bananas, sugar, and maple syrup on top, the ultimate in morning comfort food. If a similarly humongous plate of cinnamon-spiked challah French toast (also $7.65) still seems too self-indulgent, try the egg-white omelets ($6.55), a favorite among the buffed gay crowd that flocks here, many of whom spend more time ogling their own waistlines than those of any passersby. But whatever your tastes, in diet or dates, be sure to reward yourself with a smoothie ($3.95), or as they fashion them here, a "Front Porch Flip." It's a blend of freshly squeezed orange juice, nonfat yogurt, heaps of strawberries and bananas, and a shot of honey. Yes, dealing with Ocean Drive can be a headache-inducing trial, but with Front Porch's menu in sight, you won't mind quite as much.