Oct 7: Sexy Shells

Posted on October 7, 2015 11:16AM

Posted by LauderBLOGGER

South Florida has some very smart people. And some very stupid turtles. Some unusually sexy coconuts too, evidently. The smart people admire our many coconuts and sometimes eat them. The stupid turtles chase coconuts with lust in their tiny turtle-hearts. Once before I saw this same thing happen in the small lake outside my condo in Dania Beach - and I was sure I'd never witness it again, so comically surreal was the moment. I even wrote a blog about it back then to share the experience with my readers. That was a few years ago. Yes, folks, it's happened again - this time caught on a grainy video taken from the third floor through a screen. Not ideal, but you still can see the coconut bobbing in the water as the turtle ... Well, let me back up and set the scene for you. As my colleague Dave Barry often says, "I am not making this up."

About a week ago, I looked down at my lake where herons and egrets, ospreys and anhingas often fish for breakfast. It's an active pond with turtles and iguanas and a variety of other creatures as well. On this morning, I spotted a peculiar movement in the water. Then I saw a small green coconut floating like a cork.

And then I saw ... the turtle. And I thought, "You have got to be kidding me!" No, I wasn't kidding me. I grabbed my phone, rolled a short video and watched. And giggled quite a lot, as I recall. This smitten and very persistent turtle was swimming passionately toward the coconut, which appeared distinctly uninterested - and determined to get away. Who could blame her ... uh, or him. Whatever the coconut's gender, that wet green shell clearly was irresistible to this near-sighted turtle. Again and again, and again, the turtle pursued. The coconut still played it cool, though. Hard to get and all. Each time the turtle took his shot at romance with the coconut, it only bobbed away from him. At one point, the turtle actually worked the coconut against the lake's bank and gave it a go. All to no avail. Admittedly, I've seen some strange things in South Florida, but I couldn't believe this actually was taking place in front of my eyes a second time. Amazing. As before, I had to admire the sheer determination of the randy turtle - he may not possess the animal kingdom's keenest mind but he sure knows what he wants. I watched the action for about ten minutes before I had to leave, wishing the turtle better luck in future. Hey, we've each had to deal with rejection. Poor guy. As it happens, the tall palm that dropped this tempting coconut into the water is shedding fruit like crazy just now. I counted 21 coconuts on the ground only yesterday. For the sake of the near-blind turtle and any of his kind in that lake, I can only hope the coconuts stay right where they are, safely ashore. Because if very many of those coconuts somehow roll downhill into the lake, wow. I‘d hate to think what might happen.

Oct 5: Good Morning Weather

Posted on October 5, 2015 8:50AM

Posted by LauderBLOGGER

The first hints of autumn weather arrived over the weekend. And they made nearly everyone smile. The temperature dropped a few noticeable degrees. The humidity level dipped too. As I sat munching a pumpkin doughnut in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea I saw that the blue sky was closer to the color of the town's tall "sky wall," a mural depicting a pretty South Florida sky. The summery haze in the atmosphere was clearing a bit. Fall was in our air. Ah. This is our version of the crisp autumn chill that sweeps through New England and parts north each autumn. Nothing crisp about it here, of course. Just pleasant, just smile-inducing. It's the kind of weather that helps you overlook the minor annoyances and inconveniences of daily life. Good weather can do that for you.

The organizers of the past weekend's big Duende festival must have prayed very effectively to the weather gods. Or they have built up a fine karma indeed. At a time of year when rain is still common in South Florida, they managed to pull off their three-day event under lovely conditions.

The same with the pro volleyball tournament on the Fort Lauderdale beach. No sign of the big tropical storm that missed Florida completely, only to dump tons of rain on other sections of the east coast. I know that my sister in North Carolina got some nasty weather. But here? Here the outdoor temperature reading near noontime Sunday was only 84 degrees. Here the beach was as busy as I've seen it in many weeks. Here folks rode around town with convertible tops down, car windows and sunroofs open. I was one of them. The sea was as languid as a lake, shades of gentle teal and jade green and violet stretching to the horizon. The boaters were boating on the quiet ocean, the waverunners were running. And alongside, on A1A, the walkers were happily walking nowhere in particular. Everyone was feeling refreshed in some way, I think. I surely was. When I awoke Monday morning to find some rain had fallen during the night, I wondered if the humidity had returned with the precipitation. It hadn't. I stepped outdoors to a fresh breeze. Oh, we aren't into the winter cooldown yet. More hot and humid weather will come our way before that happens. But this was the beginning, the promise of something better if only we'll all wait just a while longer. Patience. Even when it comes to the weather, patience sometimes is needed. (Photo courtesy of

Oct 1: Wow Week

Posted on October 1, 2015 7:33AM

Posted by LauderBLOGGER

The Super Moon was the start of a Super Week. At least in Greater Fort Lauderdale … I mean, think about it. We began with that rare celestial event and we’ll end with an event that’s even rarer: the 100th birthday party for Broward County. Then there’s a world-class volleyball tournament and more. The total eclipse of the Super Moon was an appropriate harbinger of a very big week indeed. Our South Florida skies were clear enough on Sunday night for neighbors to gather outside, snapping phone pics and peering through binoculars. That’s what happened at my condo for the Super Moon – and I have to say, we all thought the sight was pretty super, the fading full moon mysteriously brown with tinges of some heavenly shade of reddish orange. Wow, for sure. 


Then there was National Coffee Day this week as well – can’t forget that. And on Sunday, we should chow on Mexican food for National Taco Day. True, technically Taco Day isn’t during this week but why quibble? The next time it happens within days of a Super Moon’s total eclipse we’ll be 18 years older, so I say let’s celebrate now just to be safe. 


The rest of the nation could whoop it up along with us during the Super Moon and those days set aside to swill coffee and munch tacos with extra appreciation. But our fellow Americans outside South Florida don’t get to enjoy this weekend’s volleyball tournament – the Swatch FIVB World Tour Finals at the Fort Lauderdale beach. Nearly 20 Olympic volleyball champs will join about as many other top pros on the sand along A1A and Sunrise Boulevard. Best of all, it’s free. Here’s a link for more info: Of course the main event around these parts this week, the most super of the super stuff, is Duende. I’ve been blogging about that for weeks and, yep, finally it’s arrived. If you don’t know yet, Duende is Broward’s very artsy celebration of the 100thbirthday I mentioned. Another “wow” is called for here – Broward County is 100 years old. Doesn’t look a day over 35, if you ask me. The party should be something to remember. Music and dance, theater and visual art, all to launch Greater Fort Lauderdale into the next 100 years. For details, just click: See what I mean about this week, and this weekend? From Super Moon to Super Java to Super Sports to Super Par-tay! With a helping of Super Mex tossed in. Not a bad eight days by any standard. And a  super way for Greater Fort Lauderdale to kick off its new century.


Sept 28: Dining Out

Posted on September 28, 2015 11:04AM

Posted by LauderBLOGGER

I dined out with Dine Out Lauderdale last week. Ah, what a meal. It was Gwen's birthday and she suggested doing the Dine Out thing at a place we've long wanted to try - but for some reason, still hadn't. Le Bistro in Lighthouse Point is a highly regarded restaurant that's been around for many years. Located on Federal Highway just north of Sample Road, Le Bistro is a little hard to spot tucked into a small strip shopping center. But look for it. And consider making it the destination for a Dine Out Lauderdale meal. Le Bistro offers an intimate charm, with something like a dozen or so small tables. Their Dine Out menu is unusually varied, with ten entrée choices on the night we visited. The service was friendly and attentive. And the food was superb, really. Both of us were so pleased with the experience that we want to go back.

If you're not yet familiar with Dine Out Lauderdale, it's the annual promotion of some of the top restaurants in our area. For a fixed price of $35 per person, plus tax and tip, you can sample any of the 42 restaurants taking part in Dine Out 2015. If you look at the complete list, you'll spot some other impressive names alongside Le Bistro:

At Le Bistro, Dine Out diners get four wonderfully generous courses. Gwen and I made the same choices for our appetizer and middle course: a scrumptious cabernet gazpacho for the starter, followed by a large fresh salad of mixed greens. The gazpacho is a good example of Le Bistro's creativity. It was made with, yes, red wine along with Florida orange, melon, heirloom tomatoes, grapes and toasted pecans, very much resembling borscht in the bowl. Fabulous, and like nothing we'd ever eaten before. For her entrée, Gwen tried the veal scallopini and I had steak frites, a 10-ounce New York strip steak perfectly seared on the outside and perfectly red inside, exactly as I'd ordered. The potatoes with my meat were terrific too - handcut, fried and salted lightly. Gwen was just as happy with her meal, which naturally I had to taste. Tender and flavorful, that veal. For dessert, the apple tart (with a birthday candle) for her, the chocolate parfait for me. Again, each was a winner. Along with bottled Italian still water and two glasses of a very good cabernet that we bought on the side, the final bill including tax came to just over $100. Our server was so good that I left him a $25 tip, money well deserved for excellent service. When we returned to her place for gift-opening, we poured cocktails but had no interest in any other birthday dessert. Le Bistro was satisfying at every level. And yes, we'll be back, for sure we'll be back.

Sept 25: Good Timing

Posted on September 25, 2015 8:33AM

Posted by LauderBLOGGER

I've often said that South Florida has a rhythm all its own. Next weekend, this will be more true than ever. That's because Duende finally takes the stage here in Greater Fort Lauderdale, a three-day celebration of all things Broward County. It's a party 100 years in the making. Yes, that's right - the 100th birthday party for us. And the birthday and the party will combine into a rhythmic affair indeed. The beat begins on Friday, October 2, with a street bash in Fort Lauderdale. Listen for a drum battle along SW 2nd Street. Listen also for rock music and jazz and hip hop, tune into the flash mobs. On Saturday and Sunday too, much more music, many more rhythms of all sorts.

This appeals to me for lots of reasons, not least being my own background in music. I've played drums since I was 10-years-old, still have a drum set sitting prominently in my home, still perform on drums and other instruments regularly. So a drum battle to me - oh wow, how cool is that?

I also notice that Sammy Figueroa is playing on Sunday in Pompano Beach. I've heard this fine percussionist live and he's most definitely worth checking out, a performer who's recorded and toured with some of the best musicians. Miles Davis, Sonny Rollins, David Bowie among them. All this Duende drumming will blend with poetry and dance and theater, with visual art and general art-making throughout the weekend. For more details, just click on this link: And then head on over to the Duende festival for some very rhythmic fun. The drumming will help get us moving well into the second week of autumn, a season of the year when temperatures begin to drop and people pick up the pace. The drumsticks and drum skins together will offer a fresh pulse as the percussionists battle it out on stage, each competing to prove their musical chops are the finest on that Friday. The timing is good for all this playing in time. Summer in South Florida is languid, a little lazy as the long sweaty days roll on. But in the fall - we start to feel a new energy. In 2015, that energetic surge will get a boost from Duende, a first-of-its-kind celebration of Broward County's past, present and future. Our special rhythms, our unique vibe, will be there for everyone to hear during that weekend. Listen for them. They are the drumbeat of a community moving ahead.

Sept 22: Almost Autumn

Posted on September 22, 2015 7:13AM

Posted by LauderBLOGGER

It's a little different here, the autumn. Coconuts fall off our trees, not yellow leaves. But it's a fun time, all the same. Up north, the leaf-peepers string out along colorful highways, stopping at apple orchards to sip tart cider. Way way down south, along the sunshine streets of South Florida, snowbirds begin their migration toward winter homes, stopping at coffee shops to sip pumpkin spice lattes. In the northlands, they will need warm sweaters soon and warm jackets soon after that. In the southlands, we may need a light sweater before the winter solstice - or we may not. Right now, not. Definitely not.

It can feel a little peculiar getting all autumned-up with temps in the 90s, our pumpkin decorations and all the other fun fall things coming out of boxes and going up on tables. But in a place of endless summer, you must learn how to celebrate autumn. It takes some practice. And so on Saturday, yep, my own box of pumpkin decorations and faux fall leaves and such items came out of the closet. My home now has orange lights and glass pumpkins and plastic pumpkins and plastic yellow and red leaves, all tastefully rendered of course. Well, at least I think so. Ahem.

Listen, it's almost officially the fall and I love the fall and I want to enjoy it, even in South Florida. So like many of my neighbors, I decorate appropriately. I also buy those pumpkin spice lattes. And a six-pack of pumpkin ale and probably a six-pack of Oktoberfest beer too. I'm not a big beer-drinker these days but some things simply must be done. You know what I mean? Gwen and I often throw a small Oktoberfest party, entertaining friends with real German sausage and homemade sauerkraut and potatoes. Yum. That's on our agenda for later in the fall. Before that, we'll be heading to a lovely upscale restaurant for a fine Dine Out Lauderdale meal, $35 fixed-price per person at one of the best spots in town. The Dine Out thing is another of our autumn traditions - something you can enjoy as well. Check out this link for details: As during the holidays, fall in South Florida can be charming with a little extra effort and a little imagination. You don't actually need to sip a pumpkin spice latte if you don't want, or a pumpkin ale for that matter. You don't have to put up orange lights and glass pumpkins and faux colored leaves to enjoy the autumn fully in this part of the world. But it helps.

Sept 18: Greater Fort Lauderdale: The Hub for Top Black Achievers

Posted on September 18, 2015 6:36AM

Posted by Kitty Oliver - guest blogger

Greater Fort Lauderdale is becoming a relaxing, upscale, hospitable hub for some of the most prominent African American groups and high-profile personalities in media, social justice, business and sports.

The recent National Urban League Conference attracted near record-breaking attendance of visitors. During its first visit to the area, the event featured speakers such as UL President and CEO Marc Morial, presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush, Bernie Sanders and Martin O'Malley, and dynamic leadership summits for young professionals and youth.

The Multicultural Business Development office of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau also partnered with the prestigious Trumpet Awards for a star-studded weekend event celebrating the 85th birthday of Awards founder and television pioneer Xernona Clayton. Since 1993 the Trumpet Awards have honored the contributions of prominent African American achievers in such areas as health care, social justice and entertainment.

Past winners and supporters including Ambassador and civil rights legend Andrew Young, musical impresario Dr. Bobby Jones, and a variety of top level African Americans in major U.S. corporations gathered on Fort Lauderdale beach to honor Atlanta-based Clayton, who worked with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and broke racial and gender barriers as a broadcaster and a high ranking executive for Turner Broadcasting System. The Trumpet Awards are televised annually and distributed internationally.

Black Enterprise Magazine brought the Women of Power Summit to Fort Lauderdale for the first time earlier this year for one of its biggest events ever. In September, the Fifth Annual South Florida Women of Color Empowerment Conference convenes at the Bahia Mar Beach Resort. Speakers include TV star Judge Glenda Hatchett, African Ancestry co-founder Gina Paige, author and social entrepreneur Felecia Hatcher who was honored by the White House as a 2014 Champion of Change, and Donise E. Brown, Corporate Counsel for Starbucks Corporation:

Coming up, the American Tennis Association, the oldest Black sports organization in the U.S., prepares to celebrate its landmark 100th anniversary in 2016 in alliance with the CVB, including presentation of the family-oriented 99th National Championships in Fort Lauderdale July 31-Aug. 5. Historically the ATA has been closely aligned with African American Greek organizations in the U.S., providing a social network for amateur players. Leaders of historic Black Greek organizations are playing a major role today, supporting the ATA's youth development programs and the plan for a permanent ATA home in Greater Fort Lauderdale.
For more information visit,

Sept 16: Flash Drive

Posted on September 16, 2015 10:52AM

Posted by LauderBLOGGER

If you're around our community for long, you'll notice them. Those flashy drives, by which I mean very expensive automobiles. I've never come across any stats, but based on my experience I have to wonder: Does South Florida have more high-priced cars on the road than anywhere else? I dunno, maybe not. Or maybe so. I was reminded of this the other day when driving my own perfectly delightful Mini Cooper - small, sporty, fun. I found myself following a perfectly expensive Maserati for a couple miles, which then turned off to reveal a Mercedes Benz in front of it. Somewhere in here a spectacular (and very very expensive) sports car rounded a corner near me at a stop light. I think it was a Lamborghini. Whatever it was, this machine looked ready to race the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Gorgeous.

After the Lamborghini, guess what? There's another Maserati tooling along in front of me now - not the same one. See what I mean? I spotted all those incredibly pricey cars within a few miles on Federal Highway on a normal weekend day. This kind of thing happens to me often in South Florida. Impressive.

And in case you're wondering just how incredibly pricey these particular cars might be, let me give you a ballpark. According to the info I found online, Maseratis start at $100,000. A Lamborghini? About double that price or more. They're not exactly giving away those Mercedes either. I also see many Ferraris when I'm bopping around town. Pricetag: From about $190,000 up to $400K and beyond. Then there are those stodgy but high-priced Rolls Royces, starting at more than $200,000. And the Bentleys, costing almost as much as a Rolls. And of course the many plain old garden variety cool rides, things like BMWs and Jaguars. Every one of those models I just named is fairly common here. I've been to Dubai and not seen the same thing. Nor in Paris or London or Hong Kong or Tokyo or you name your favorite rich-people city. Not in the same way I spot those flashy cars everywhere around these tropical parts. So what's my point? I suppose only to show the amount of wealth that has taken up residence in South Florida, something you also can notice from our waterways as you motor past the massive mansions. And I suppose also to simply say, "Wow." Like our mansions, our cars in South Florida are something to see. While you're doing all that seeing, though, please pay close attention to your driving. Bumping into the back of a Lamborghini just might take all the fun out of your day.


Sept 14: Sprucing Up

Posted on September 14, 2015 12:55PM

Posted by LauderBLOGGER

Things are looking good around town. As I drove along A1A north of Sunrise Boulevard this weekend, I noticed the huge construction project there is nearly done. Brick sidewalks are bricked, the seawall is walled, the bike lanes are, uhm, laned. Or something like that. Anyway, you catch my drift. This work in Fort Lauderdale has been going on since Superstorm Sandy revealed the need for some changes along that stretch of oceanside highway. I'm not certain when everything will be finished. But judging by the look of it, I'd imagine workers should be out of there in time for the busiest part of our tourist season. A short drive from all this, the old Ireland's Inn is gone now - with a pretty green lawn in its place for the moment. A luxury condominium building is planned for that lovely spot.

Construction of condos and apartments is going on around downtown Fort Lauderdale as well. All over, really, if you look for it. Buildings are popping up as Greater Fort Lauderdale focuses on the years ahead. Despite all the work and workers, though, yes our community is looking good.

As it should. We are getting ready to pick up the pace with major events, larger crowds, a busier airport and seaport. Hotel rooms and restaurant reservations soon will be in even more demand. Just take a look at what's coming before long, starting with the very cool Duende festival in only a couple of weeks. This cultural event brings together many forms of art to celebrate Broward County's 100th birthday in fun, creative ways. Find out more here. Then of course we'll host the world's largest boat show, as happens each year. In 2015, look for the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show from November 5-9. You can expect the art festivals in our streets and the music festivals in our parks. Christmas on Las Olas and the grand holiday boat parade. Summer is almost behind us and cooler, more lively days are nearly here. So all that sprucing up is timely. Fixing up and washing up and making final repairs. Planting new trees, trimming hedges, mowing the thick summery grass. On A1A and in downtown Fort Lauderdale and throughout the county, we're preparing for the fall and winter seasons. Just halfway through the month of September, things most definitely are looking good, very good. By the time you arrive, they should be looking great.

Sept 9: All Yours

Posted on September 9, 2015 1:25PM

Posted by LauderBLOGGER

So I was talking earlier this week about Dine Out Lauderdale, the big annual restaurant promotion in Greater Fort Lauderdale. You know, that thing with the $35 fixed-price menus? All offered by some of the area's top restaurants? Yep, that's the one. And I was pointing out that you can take your significant other to any of these great spots without worry that you'll look cheap. The folks at Dine Out's restaurants want you to enjoy yourself. But now you have to decide where to go, assuming you don't have the time or means to check out every one of them - more than 35 restaurants this year. Actually, the exact number is 42. I counted them three times to be sure. Of those, 20 are in Fort Lauderdale, the rest scattered around Broward County. That's a lot of options.

Okay, so let's narrow them down a bit. Are you in the mood for seafood maybe? I can personally recommend 15th Street Fisheries, for instance, where Key West snapper is on the menu. Or you may want to consider one of the Dine Out spots like the Sunfish Grill, which lists grilled Scottish salmon among the entrees. Mmmm.

Looking for a good steak? How about giving The Capital Grille a try, where you can choose between filet mignon and aged New York Strip among other dinner options. Or there's Morton's The Steakhouse or Ruth's Chris Steakhouse or ... It's easy enough to find that steak you crave. Perhaps you might prefer something more exotic. I'd consider going the Mai-Kai route, always a blast with Polynesian atmosphere and tasty island-inspired food. For Cuban, think about Bongos Cuban Café in Hollywood. For Argentine cuisine, there's Las Pampas Grill & Bar in Oakland Park. Le Bistro in Lighthouse Point offers an extensive Dine Out menu, including roasted grass fed lamb chops, cajun jumbo shrimp and braised oxtail. You can do Asian too, or Brazilian. Too many choices to name them all, of course. I'm just trying to make a point here. And that point is this: Dine Out Lauderdale has a broad range of dining choices this year. Very good choices. To see the complete list, head on over to this link: Then make your pick. You're likely to be well treated by the staff and well pleased by the meal. As for me, well, Gwen and I haven't made any firm decisions yet. But we're working on where we'd like to go during Dine Out 2015. Maybe one of the places I just mentioned, maybe one of the others. Wherever we end up, I hope we make it there relatively soon. If reading about fine food makes you hungry, imagine how writing about it makes you feel.