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A four-star last meal

My morbid assignment?

Choose my last meal from the hundreds of South Florida restaurants I've dined in over the past dozen or so years.

My favorite restaurant menu items and meals are forever changing. So are restaurant menus.

But Valentino Cucina Italiana in Fort Lauderdale makes an outrageously good roasted-scallop appetizer served with butternut puree, Brussels sprouts, leek fondue and roasted chestnuts. I'd follow that up with any of chef Giovanni Rocchio's handmade pastas served in his sauce of ground cuttlefish, scallops and shrimp with white wine, baby leeks and peas. Superb.

Cuban might do the trick. That would mean Versailles in Miami could serve me tostones, which I'd dip into garlic sauce. Roast pork with black beans and white rice would follow. I'd end my meal with flan.

More likely, however, would be a meal pieced together across the region: cheese biscuits from the Grille on Congress in Boca Raton; tomato salad with freeze-dried coconut ice from Eating House in Coral Gables; duck confit from Michelle Bernstein's Michy's in Miami; lamb chops from Greek Islands Taverna in Fort Lauderdale; and the incredible Key lime baked Alaska from Steak 954 on Fort Lauderdale beach.

My choices are innumerable. Thankfully, I've so far been able to dodge the law. or 954-356-4632

ONLINE: Log on to for a photo gallery featuring 20 of our restaurant critic's choices.

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