We’ve never liked “Best Of’’ issues here at City & Shore Magazine — but our contributing editors and writers know what they LIKE.
Rebecca Cahilly, Dining Writer
Ocean2000 at the Pelican Grand Beach Resort, Fort Lauderdale, Pelicanbeach.com/ocean2000
Our family has always loved this charming resort, but the newly decorated Ocean2000 restaurant and new menu under the leadership of Executive Chef Todd Lough mean there is finally a place, directly on the beach, that not only provides an amazing oceanfront ambience but, most importantly, fresh, locally sourced ingredients comprising dishes that are truly superb.
Virginia Philip Wineshop & Academy, West Palm Beach, virginiaphilipwineshopacademy.com
Where I go when I want to learn more about the wine I love — or discover new wines recommended by a renowned master sommelier. The shop offers great classes, from food pairing to exploring regional varietals that make for a fun evening out for the novice and aficionado alike.
Cafe Boulud/Boulud Sud, Palm Beach, bouludsud.com
Quintessentially Palm Beach, the idyllic courtyard at the Brazilian Court Hotel will be home to Boulud Sud, a summer pop-up concept offering Mediterranean-inspired dishes in an equally inspired Provençale ambience. This is a very special and beautiful place now serving fabulously light, summertime dishes and heavenly desserts.
Slice of Florida
The Le Tub Saloon, Hollywood, theletub.com
Laying claim to the “best hamburger in America,” Le Tub is simply a great Florida spot with its on-the-water tables, eclectic décor and no frills, don’t-mess-with-the-menu service. Sit back, crack a beer and enjoy your burger, salad or steamed clams — life is good. (Note: Not the best place to take very young children; no high chairs available.)
Jaxson’s Ice Cream Parlour, Dania Beach, jaxsonsicecream.com
What can I say, I’m a sucker for old Florida, antique ice cream shoppe charm. Established in 1956, Jaxson’s is not only the place to go for ice cream on a warm summer night, it’s great for lunch, dinner or late-night summer revelry. The kids love the popcorn and old-fashioned candy and we love the huge banana splits and milk shakes.
Five-Star Summer Treatment
Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa
100 S. Ocean Blvd., Manalapan
“From the Eau Spa and the Eau Spa Cuisine, where a summer afternoon can be spent sipping a spritzer while lounging in the sun, the former Ritz Carlton, now named the Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa, is my definition of quiet luxury. Sommelier Don Derocher never fails to impress with the evening’s wine recommendations.”
Doreen Christensen, Beauty & Shopping writer
SolScents Sun Care
Get a whiff of this bright idea: Scented sunscreens from South-Florida based SolScents. Protect your skin from the harmful rays of the sun and smell delicious to boot. The broad-spectrum, SPF 15, 30 or 50 formula comes in seven yummy fragrances. The velvety, lotion-like texture and soft scents makes you want to apply sunscreen as part of your morning routine. We especially loved Vanilla Silk and Raspberry Dream flavors.
Lilac & Lilies Boutique
Find super-cute, unusual jewelry, accessories and haute fashions from up-and-coming designers at this trendy, 1,700-square-foot boutique in Fort Lauderdale. We especially love the Kendra Scott necklaces and earrings, which start at $60. L&L gets bonus points for exceptional personal service and styling from owners and fabulous fashionistas Michelle DiMarco and Kelli Krystynak.
It’s a 10 Miracle Dry Shampoo & Conditioner in One
$20, at salons and mass retailers
Dry shampoos are nothing new. This new hair-helper from our fave Fort Lauderdale brand shampoos and conditions, no water needed. Stretch that expensive blow out with a few shots of this oil-absorbing, Keratin-enriched formula. It leaves hair clean, soft and fresh.
Full of Promise Eye Duo
$68 at Macy’s, macys.com
Nothing makes you look older than tired, baggy eyes. Fight back with Philosophy’s new dynamic duo. It’s a super-hero for upper and lower lids. Give droopy upper eyes a lift with one end. Use the other to tighten lines and banish under-eye bags.
Jake Cline, Assistant News Editorfor entertainment
Miami City Ballet
So-called high culture is rarely as relatable or as entertaining as the work done by the MCB, which in the past year has garnered a new artistic director in Lourdes Lopez, cast former New York Mets slugger Mike Piazza in a piece by George Balanchine and turned a certain arrhythmic, lowbrow entertainment writer into a fan.
Art and Culture Center of Hollywood
The name of this venue may seem like an oxymoron, but given how much attention its staff and curators pay to visual arts, music and community with exhibitions such as this past year’s Antonia Wright and Ruben Millares: Love on an Elevator and the forthcoming Charles M. Schulz: Pop Culture in Peanuts, a case can be made that it is the only true art and culture center in Broward County.
Brew Urban Cafe, two locations in Fort Lauderdale
Nothing against Starbucks, whose coffee I may as well drink intravenously, but Brew serves the best cup of American joe in South Florida. Redolent of chocolate and tasting less acidic than its competitors’ coffee, Brew’s house blend resists being mucked up by milk and sugar. Just drink it as it’s served and keep the tongue-twisting requests to yourself.
Island Water Sports, Deerfield Beach
If you’re not a surfer, you’ll want to be after a visit to this long-standing skate and surf shop, located a short walk from the Deerfield Beach pier, and more important, the peaks located just to the north of it. Of course, waves don’t break often enough in South Florida, but when they do, IWS will let you know, via its live web cam and daily surf report. The store, recognizable for the great white shark protruding from its roof, carries an impressive selection of long- and shortboards, skateboards, gear and apparel. Beyond that, IWS is a great hang, offering a friendly staff and a sanctuary in which to daydream about past and future swells.
Flanigan’s, 22 locations throughout South Florida
With restaurants from West Palm Beach to Pinecrest, this locally founded chain wears its Old Florida credentials like a permanent suntan. The food is served fast and fried, with service to match; and the atmosphere ranks somewhere between chaos and pandemonium during major sporting events. Come for the madness, but stay for the beer, ribs and fish dip, which is among South Florida’s finest.
The Local, Coral Gables
“Cool” and “Coral Gables” are anything but synonymous, but damn if this sliver of a neighborhood bar isn’t out to change that. The Local’s selection of craft beers is dizzying in every sense of the word, and the kitchen serves the best burger on the block. And when you’ve had your fill of beer and beef, you can feed your head by waddling over to the iconic Books & Books, located one street away.
Bob Hosmon, Wine & Spirits writer
Seventh Street Wine
Ask wine enthusiasts (including other wine merchants) in and out of South Florida, and they’ll tell you Fort Lauderdale’s Seventh Street Wine is a remarkable concept in retailing, a place where customers can taste hundreds of wines before buying any of the shop’s 2,500 labels in stock. It may be called “Seventh Street,” but new and long-time visitors call it “seventh heaven.”
A well-stocked Fort Lauderdale boutique wine shop with unique selections and great prices, this long-time favorite also has a well-informed, helpful staff. Indeed, Andrew is a walking, tasting font of knowledge. Just ask him anything. Could you ask for anything more? Well, Wine Watch also sponsors regular wine dinners at Café Maxx. Yum!
The Best Cellar
Richard Steller oversees this user-friendly wine spot, and he does it so well, it’s worth a drive to Wilton Manors no matter where you live in South Florida. Specializing in small estate selections, the special draw here is the weekly sit-down wine tastings. Go on line, check out the next event, and make arrangements to be there. You’ll be glad you did.
Total Wine & More
The first visit to any Total Wine warehouse-like space can be overwhelming. But don’t fret; a sizeable, well-trained staff is ready and more than willing to help you with whatever questions you may have. Every Total Wine carries thousands — yes, thousands — of wines at price points that any wine lover can love. I like to try the wines I’ve never seen before, especially those that are exclusive to Total Wine.
I visited a 67 store in New York before I knew they also had a presence in South Florida. It’s a small chain, and perhaps that helps keep the feeling that each shop is your special, dependable neighborhood place. The wine selection isn’t huge, but it’s well chosen, and the staff is exceptionally knowledgeable and friendly. Enjoy yourself; you’re at home here.
Nancy McVicar, Health & Fitness writer
Surgery without cutting
Gamma Knife and CyberKnife, which use targeted radiation to destroy otherwise inoperable tumors, are saving lives in South Florida. Although both have been around for several years, refinements have been made that provide pinpoint accuracy, protecting healthy tissue while blasting the bad cells. Both perform radiosurgery, but in different ways, with Gamma Knife more often used for brain surgery while CyberKnife can target lesions in other parts of the body.
Breast cancer treatments
South Florida breast cancer specialists are among the first to offer new treatments when they become available, such as the Intrabeam radiation therapy performed by Dr. Joseph Casey at Holy Cross Hospital. Given just after a lumpectomy while the patient is still in the OR, the treatment can reduce by several weeks the usual radiation follow-up. And the newest drugs are offered by Dr. Charles L. Vogel, director of the Women’s Center at Sylvester at Deerfield Beach, a pioneer in expanding clinical trials to oncologists’ offices.
For women undergoing chemotherapy for breast or other cancers, Chuck Alfieri salons in Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton, Miami and New York City specialize in hair restoration, offering amazingly natural wigs, and once hair starts to grow back, specialists can speed up the process, getting new growth of six inches within nine months instead of the usual year and a half, says owner Chuck Alfieri. “We are a salon/clinic with three doctors on staff, and we work with oncologists all over South Florida,” he says. “These women are ready to conquer their disease, and we are here to restore their self-esteem.” The salons accept insurance, and for patients who don’t have it, “we make it affordable for everybody,” Alfieri says.
Hernando Olivares, Contributing Entertainment writer
Flaunt, West Palm Beach
Every Thursday night fashion and music enjoy a honeymoon at Flaunt, one of South Florida’s longest-running dance parties. Located on West Palm Beach’s Respectable Street, the place features a crowd who wear their trendiest attires and ornaments, while hitting the dance floor and shaking away their cares. Live bands play their music loud, and the party gets hot. Folks also have the option of the patio, a great outdoor-area for networking.
Romeu’s Cuban Restaurant
South Florida’s long-established veneration of Cuban cuisine has a new sanctuary in which to worship: Romeu’s Restaurant, at 6800 Dykes Road in Southwest Ranches/Weston. If you are a foodie who likes to taste the authentic old-style Cuban flavors, your senses will be pleased in this place, where the fare is fattening, but tastes amazing. The staff is very courteous and the restaurant has a nice ambience. The palomilla steak and the rest of the menu items are very affordably priced.
Living Room Theaters
You no longer need to wait for your annual film festival or surf movie channels to watch foreign and indie films. Most of the winning entries at Sundance and Cannes are running at Living Room Theaters at FAU in Boca Raton. This very intimate and comfortable place serves a tapas menu and a decent wine and beer selection (microbrews, too). Coffees and teas are also available; so sip and munch while you catch a film or attend a Q&A with top-tier filmmakers.
SunFest, West Palm Beach
The spirit of Woodstock comes alive for me each year at SunFest, Florida’s largest music and art festival. With the waterfront in downtown West Palm Beach as a perfect backdrop, this year’s festival was attended by upwards of 200,000 enjoying music by a multitude of front line rock and reggae bands. Over five days each year, in late April, early May this delightful outdoor venue also offers art shows, craft booths and plenty of food.
The Paladium Nightclub
Fans of Celia Cruz, the Fania All Stars and the Mambo Kings keep their legacy alive at the Paladium, a venue in Margate for salsa and other Caribbean rhythms all night long. On Saturday night, an endless stream of salseros shows up and leads you to two dance floors where bodies in the good-looking crowd are grinding and gyrating. The party is fueled with live music played by well-known national bands, while bartenders serve an assorted selection of shots.
Rochelle Oliver, Contributing Travel writer
Built around the fresh waters of the Crystal River, this three-mile long town became a worldwide destination after Elvis Presley filmed his ninth movie, Follow that Dream, inside its Citrus County Courthouse. The limelight hasn’t changed its quaint charm. Today, Crystal River and its surrounding area is surrounded by oaks draped with Spanish moss. The rivers are an attraction year around. In winter, you can swim with manatees; and, in summer, snorkel for fresh-water bay scallops.
When the Wynwood Art District was founded in 2003, warehouse walls were transformed into makeshift canvases for graffiti artists. The result? Sixteen blocks of wall-to-wall artwork that have brought life and business to a downtown district located between 20th and 36th along I-95 in Miami. Today, the Wynwood Art District has coffee shops, restaurants, bars and more than 70 museums and galleries; and includes acclaimed works such as the Margulies and Rubell Family Collections. Wynwood Art Walk takes place on the Second Saturday each month from 7-11 p.m.
Anastasia Island is quintessential Florida. St. Augustine’s 18-mile barrier island has pristine beaches, salt marshland, shops, restaurants and is home to the city’s amphitheater, which seats more than 4,000 people. The island is also home to the St. Augustine Lighthouse, which is recognized as the state’s first lighthouse. The Spanish originally constructed it as a watchtower in the 1500s. The lighthouse, situated 165 feet about sea level, is one of the best places to observe an unobstructed view of a Florida sunset and moonrise.
Turks and Caicos
Turks and Caicos is a relaxing getaway that sits in the Atlantic 550 miles southeast of Miami. Like the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos is English speaking; and, like the Bahamas, its 40 islands and cays are wrapped in pristine turquoise warm waters, eight of which are inhabited. Even though this island is considered a British Overseas Territory, the U.S. dollar is the official currency, which makes buying coconut rum cocktails while relaxing on the white-sand shores a bit easier.
Charlyne Varkonyi Schaub, Design writer
Restaurants are more than just food. Service and design also make the experience special. One of the most intriguing aspects of the design at Pinon Grill at Town Center Mall in Boca Raton is the countertop that is reminiscent of the priceless walls of the Amber Room in St. Petersburg, Russia, which were presented to Peter the Great in 1716 by the King of Prussia and stolen by the Nazis in WW II. Pinon’s 3-inch thick countertop of poured resin with indirect lighting was custom made by Atta in New York City for the commercial interior design firm ID & Design International in Fort Lauderdale.
Homes with high ceilings require accessories that don’t get lost or look like they are in miniature. What we need are pieces that are tall and memorable. Two of my favorite examples are the resin statues of a male and female found at Sklar in Boca Raton that resemble statues in a promotion for Art Basel in Switzerland. The statues, 13 by 16 by 84 inches, would make a grand statement in a great room or an entry foyer.
Going in circles
Mirrors have come a long way from simple circles, rectangles, ovals and squares. One of the most intriguing is a mirror by Christopher Guy that I first saw in a Delray Beach home designed by Patty Gilbert of Brown’s Interior Design in Boca Raton. The spyrograph mirror intertwines three single ribbon rings with the complexity of hand-carved twists. It comes in three sizes – 44 by 44 inches, 51 by 51 inches and 57 by 57 inches.
I may be a traditionalist at heart, but I still can appreciate good, sleek modern design. Eric Dyer, a Hallandale Beach architect/designer known for his clean contemporary style, has designed a furniture collection that meets his clients’ desires for comfort. His made-to-order Arthur Collection was created with a European modern aesthetic combined with Asian proportions. Shown is the 144-inch long Rotterdam sofa that sits on a rift cut oak base, but it can be ordered in various lengths. The Shanghai cocktail table has a brushed oak top and mirror polished stainless steel ends with integrated storage wells. The legs are reminiscent of stilettos.
Giorgio Armani not only designs clothing with elegance, his furniture line also echoes the same aesthetic. Now South Floridians can find his furniture in his Armani/Casa store in the Miami Design District. The D’Alambert armoire is available in brushed oak, brushed brown oak or brown mahogany and is accented with a round handle with the GA logo reminiscent of a Chinese wedding chest. Metal accents are placed on top and bottom of the chest. Three options are available – a small wardrobe with drawers, a home office or a multi-purpose storage unit.
John Tanasychuk,Dining writer
La Mia Focaccia, Fort Lauderdale
Chiara Troccia’s sandwiches start with her fresh bread rounds, which are filled with such made-in-house ingredients as grilled eggplant, roasted red peppers and chicken marinated in the fresh herbs she grows out back. Sandwiches don’t get any fresher.
Racks Fish House + Oyster Bar, Delray Beach
While the oysters shouldn’t be missed, Chef Matthew Danaher’s shrimp and grits made with green chile and jack cheese along with andouille gravy will revive your appetite for this Southern staple.
Riverside Market, Fort Lauderdale
Owner Julian Siegel calls his beer emporium and cafe a combination of man cave, living room and “a tribute to old Florida.” I call it a Fort Lauderdale piece of heaven. With 550 different bottles and 20 on draft, it also has the best beer menu in South Florida.
Marcello’s La Sirena, West Palm Beach
The building looks as if it once housed a fast food joint. (It didn’t). Once inside the tight dining room, the team of expert servers in white jackets plus the magic from the kitchen will remind you why we go to restaurants in the first place.
Kaluz, Fort Lauderdale
My favorite setting on the Intracoastal Waterway is this glass homage to Frank Lloyd Wright, on the water at Commercial Boulevard. A perfect perch to enjoy cocktails and watch the yachts pass.
First at Sunfish Grill and now at Sea, chef and owner Tony Sindaco is one of the best seafood chefs in the region. His tuna Bolognese features meaty pieces of fish and a tomato-based sauce with just a bit of butter. Incredible.
buccan, Palm Beach
Everyone’s serving small plates, but nobody does it better than chef Clay Conley. Or with such a sense of humor. Hot dog panini anyone? Short rib empanadas, lamb meatballs and grilled octopus salad top my best-of list at this bustling island eatery.
Phillip Valys,Contributing Entertainment writer
LaSpada’s Original Hoagies
At this local sub staple, there’s a symphony to be found when one of LaSpada’s sandwich makers tosses a fistful of deli meat across the room, which then lands, like a catcher’s mitt, into a spread-open hoagie. The generous deli cuts – be they capicola or ham – are then tucked into the sandwich, forming a kind of meat blanket over the toppings. The “Monster” sub – a trifecta of ham, roast beef and turkey – is a personal favorite, as is the meatball marinara, one of LaSpada’s rare hot subs. The hoagie joint recently added their fifth outpost on Southeast 17th Street in Fort Lauderdale, with other locations in Coral Springs, Davie and Boca Raton. Their flagship perch, however, is in Lauderdale-By-the-Sea, catering to Broward’s loyal legion of starving beachgoers.
Everglades National Park, 305-221-8776,
Twenty miles west of the Turnpike along Tamiami Trail, a 15-mile loop road carves through a wedge of the Everglades. That would be the Everglades National Park known as Shark Valley (note: despite the name, there aren’t any sharks), which is home to red-shouldered hawks, banded water snakes, green tree frogs, ospreys, the white ibis and other native wildlife. We haven’t forgotten alligators, known to crawl up from the drainage pipes lining either side of the loop road to catch the South Florida sun. Shark Valley offers guided tram tours and a gift shop for first-time families, naturally; but the more-adventurous can walk or bike the entire trail. (Bike rentals are $8.50 an hour.) The halfway mark of the loop road is anchored by a 65-foot-tall Observation Tower, standing just above the tree canopy, where a majestic view of the Sawgrass prairie opens up for miles around.
90 NW 29th St., Miami
In October 2012, Wynwood’s popular arthouse cinema expanded to a second, 330-seat outpost in Miami Shores, ensuring that obscure movies, rare documentaries and grindhouse-horror alternatives continue to have a place among South Florida’s glut of multiplexes. Their Wynwood location (you’ll know it by the storefront’s graffiti- and cartoon-heavy façade) has a semi-regular dinner-and-a-movie event paired with new screenings, weekly showings of underappreciated cult films (ever hear of Blood Feast?) and a monthly film series dubbed I’m Not Gonna Move to L.A., where local directors screen their shorts for audience awards. The local cinema, operated by Kareem Tabsch since 2011, is a regular contributor to the area’s well-attended monthly Artwalk.
F.A.T. Village Artwalk
between Northeast Fifth and Northeast Sixth Streets,west of Andrews Avenue.
At four years old, Fort Lauderdale’s warehouse arts district is hardly in its infancy, filled as it is by a sharp fleet of businesses catering to creative types. There’s C&I Studios, a music and graphic design firm; Helium Creative, a graphic design studio; and several art galleries. Anchoring all this vibrant activity is the last-Saturday-of-the-month Artwalk, where the warehouses collectively roll up their bay doors to unveil new projects gestating in the minds of local artists. The highlight of a recent Artwalk was a technology-themed exhibit, featuring a helmet-shaped device that renders random computer-generated art using brainwave patterns. Near the dozen galleries is local Irish pub Maguires Hill 16, so art-lovers have another place to, uh, paint the town after strolling the district.