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Di Valles Cucina Italiana & Wine Bar Fort Lauderdale   Leave a comment


After discovering the 22 year old gem Ferdo’s I figured that would be it for the year but within a month we found another gem called Di Valle’s. On the small side it looked romantic even in the afternoon light!

I have been looking for a good, old fashioned Shrimp Scampi for awhile now and after 4 different restaurants I had given up. One place breaded the shrimp, another put it in a heavy sauce and I still haven’t figured out how the other place made it.

As Keyrl, the server, put the bread and bruschetta down in front of us—which by the way was perfect with the outside of the the bread crunchy and the inside soft–I told her I was sort of hoping I would find Scampi on the menu and without hesitation said the chef could make it. He did and it was excellent with a very good garlic and oil sauce and 6 large shrimp on a bed of linguini that melted in my mouth as I took bite after bite!

Allen ordered the Stuffed Spinach Ravioli which they didn’t have and the chef offered the Stuffed Lobster Ravioli instead, at the same price. Allen’s complaint wasn’t about the ravioli but that there weren’t enough of them so he made it up by eating more of the bread!

We had a groupon so the check came out to about $20 each with tax and tip, which is average for lunch in COVID days!

The service and food was excellent, the surroundings pleasant and now that Nabu has closed the huge parking lot is more than adequate.

Posted October 15, 2021 by greatmartin in FORT LAUDERDALE, RESTAURANT REVIEWS

October 2021 Surprises   1 comment

October 2021 started off with a surprise when Chuck called to say he and Terry would be in on Monday October 4 around 4 PM to spend the week. I hadn’t seen them since Leap Year 2020 and since then they had moved from Memphis, Tennessee, to Port Richey, Florida, about 280 to 300 miles from Fort Lauderdale so I was hoping I would see them more than once every 4 years

The main things we did was talk, eat and drive around. We ate at Peter Pan’s Diner, Ferdo’s, Osha’s and stopped at Kilwin’s for some ice cream. Between Tuesday and Wednesday we went for a drive down to Hollywood and up to Boca Raton. Seems construction is going on all over this State! Unfortunately they got a call from a neighbor of theirs that water was leaking out of their new home so they had to cut their trip short and left early Thursday. I was disappointed but was really glad to see them!I had another really unexpected, very pleasant surprise at about the same time that Chuck told me they were coming here.

Long story short–In 1979, shortly after I arrived in Fort Lauderdale I met Emir, we became friends and he ‘disappeared’ in the late 1990’s–a couple of weeks ago he ‘found’ me on facebook and since he was coming to South Florida to visit his mother we arranged to get together for dinner. When I opened my door I saw the Emir I knew 42 years ago. My mind knew that wasn’t possible but it is the same with Chuck who I met when he was in his 20s and now in his 60s that is the Chuck I see.

I haven’t been out on a Saturday night in a long time but I was surprised at how hard it would be to have dinner and talk leisurely as most places take reservations and, in addition, stopped serving at 9 PM! We finally went to IHOP where we had the place to ourselves! Since he comes to see his mother every month I hope our getting together will be a regular thing.

By the way you are never too old to learn as I learned! The second picture in the top row on the left there is a blue reflector which I didn’t realize are all over the roads in the city and didn’t know what they are for until Chuck/Terry told me they were as a signal to fire trucks that a fire hydrant is nearby.  “While you might not notice them while you are driving around, they are useful for vehicles attending a fire because they can quickly locate a source of water.”  Now I see them wherever I go! Does your city/state have them?

And on another note–I have never seen Matt Amadio, the contestant, who won 38 nights in a row and $1, 519, 601 on Jeopardy as I stopped watching after Alex Trebek died and they started having all those different hosts. Last night I decided to watch him and called Allen and told him that if the guy loses he can blame me. Guess what? YES!!! He lost!

All in all the start of October has been great–well, maybe not for Matt–and I am looking forward to seeing Emir again and more trips from Chuck and Terry!

Posted October 12, 2021 by greatmartin in LIFE, LIFE EVENTS

STREAMING REVIEWS OCTOBER 2021 PART 2   Leave a comment


1) “Diana The Musical” film of Broadway show to open next month–Netflix–1 hour & 57 minutes–after not hearing ONE thing good about this musical I had to watch it–I may be the only one who enjoyed it!–the music, lyrics, the precision choreography, the cast, the magic of changing costumes on stage as show progresses–who cares if they ‘pick’ a little on Diana, a lot on Charles and even the queen and who really knows who said what to who–it’s fiction loosely based on fact–FORGET IT IS ABOUT HER & ENJOY IT–IT IS NOT A CLASSIC BUT ENTERTAINING AND THEATER MAGIC

2) “Ella Fitzgerald: Just One Of Those Things”–Netflix–a documentary–1 hour & 30 minutes–there is only one Ella Fitzgerald–she could work magic with lyrics whether it is jazz, blues, scat, bop–whether it is a ballad like “But Not For Me” or using her voice as an instrument singing “High High The Moon” she owns the songs–I was surprised to hear about Marilyn Monroe—MARILYN MONROE!!–gets credit for her becoming a success in nightclubs–A MUST SEE BY A MUST HEAR SINGER

3) “Dear White People”–Netflix-series–season 4 and end of series–10 episodes–5 hours & 46 minutes–the first 3 seasons really held my interest but the musical sequences that takes up so many of the episodes in season 4 takes away from what is happening and what may happen to them in the future–WATCH THE FIRST 3 SEASONS AND SKIP ALL THE MUSICAL NUMBERS IN SEASON 4

4) “The Guilty”–Netflix–movie–1 hour & 31 minutes–Jake Gyllenhaal is a policeman being ‘punished’ and is assigned to the 911 station–I have always thought Gyllenhaal was/is underrated though his reviews are always get raves whether he is in a film or doing a play or musical on Broadway but he doesn’t seem to be a “STAR”–HE IS EXCELLENT IN THIS WHERE HE IS ALMOST ALONE ON SCREEN MOST OF THE TIME

5) “Birds of Paradise”–Prime Amazon—1 hour & 53 minutes–Kate, poor and on a scholarship, and Martine, wealthy and spoiled who has lost her brother and the scholarship is in his name, are competing for the only spot open for a dancer with the National de Paris opera company–they couldn’t be any more different (except I kept on getting confused who was who!) and for a world of male dancers who are stereotyped as being gay you would never know it from this film–BOTH THE 1977 FILM “THE TURNING POINT” AND EVEN THE 2010 “BLACK SWAN” WOULD BE WORTH SEEING AGAIN INSTEAD OF SEEING THIS ‘DRAMA’

6) “Cocaine Cowboys: The Kings of Miami”–Netflix–documentary–limited series–6 episodes–4 hours & 30 minutes–Augusto Falcon and Sal Magluta are larger than life and made billions of dollars running drugs in the USA–they are smart high school dropouts and almost command the story but Marilyn Bonachea, Sal’s girlfriend, steals the documentary–THE GUYS MAKE “SCARFACE” LOOK LIKE AN AMATEUR AND MARILYN HAS TO BE SEEN TO BE BELIEVED!

Posted October 11, 2021 by greatmartin in Documentaries, ENTERTAINMENT, MOVIES, Streaming

Food!   Leave a comment


I hope ‘they’ are wrong but I just read that Marchi’s, my favorite restaurant in the whole world, which is in New York City, has closed after 91 years in business!!

In any case while the last post was about restaurants this one is more about food! When I want a certain food or I have guests from out of town that request something special there are restaurants I recommend.  In the last post I said, “There are a few restaurants I go to for specific items such as the Quarterdeck for Jambalaya, the IHOP for a cheese omelet with a short stack, the Outback or Gilbert’s for cheeseburgers, not to forget Subways for a turkey hero and, yes, the Cheesecake Factory for cheesecake, especially their Godiva’s chocolate cheesecake.

The list goes on from there such as Catfish Dewey’s for all you can eat Fried catfish every day, in addition shrimp on Monday and Tuesday and, believe it or not on Wednesday the best beef ribs! For higher scale fish dinners the 15th Street Fisheries on the water where they have all kinds of fresh fish plus the best bread or the Sea Watch on the beach.

As far as Italian restaurants we have many but, in my opinion, the best are: for upper scale home made Italian food tops is Cafe Vico while for your neighborhood restaurant and the best pizza it is Big Louie’s. For Mexican food there is Tequila Sunrise for fajitas, Jalisco for their Macho Combo and The Tipico Cafe for stir fry. The Chima Brazilian steakhouse with their every item buffet is going strong

A restaurant I love, and tried all of their 20+ lunch specials, is the Peruvian Cabo Blanco with a shrimp and noodle dish that melts in your mouth. Honestly I haven’t been there since COVID-19 closed most places as their second store is a bit away and the first one we went to was shut a couple of years ago but I am ready.

There are two excellent delis one being called the NY Deli and the other Pomperdale’s but—and don’t laugh—when I want a corned beef sandwich I will go to Arby’s!!

I recently discovered, after passing it by for 22 years, a gem called Ferdo’s known for kebobs and haven’t had a bad kebob yet!

It has been years since I have found a restaurant serving good Prime Ribs on the bone since 2 I used to go to have closed, the last turned into a seafood restaurant!  Their are over 30 barbecue rib restaurants in the Fort Lauderdale area but not any that I can’t do without though I keep on looking. We do have old fashioned diners such as Lester’s and Peter Pan along with chains such as Denny’s, Morton’s, Ruth Chris’s, Shake Shack, of all kinds.

We have restaurants from every country in Broward county and I haven’t gotten into German, French, Chinese—just to name a few countries represented here–but if you have a special type of food you like such as sushi we have it here. I believe the last figure I saw was that there are 2,000 restaurants in this area so I have a few more to try to eventually book for my 22nd Leap Year birthday party on Thursday, February 29, 2024!!

Posted October 10, 2021 by greatmartin in FOOD, FORT LAUDERDALE

Restaurants   1 comment


It is no secret that I LOVE food plus eating out and if I could I would eat out 3 meals a day 365 (366 Leap Year) days a year.  I am not a snob when I eat out and can just as easily eat at a fast food place as I can eat at a 5 star restaurant. I have favorite restaurants in each category but COVID-16 knocked out quite a few though new ones are coming along every day.

An irony involved with me and restaurants is that I don’t have a good record of restaurants staying opened after I have celebrated my Leap Year there!!  In 2020 when I turned 21 I invited my guests for dinner at the Nabu American Fusion buffet and though no one got sick because of the virus it still was one of the first to close for good! Sweet Tomatoes, The ZanZbar on Los Olas, the Marrott Marina hotel restaurant and The Ark all shut their doors while only Cafe Vico has improved by opening another restaurant! I am now starting my hunt for my Leap Year party restaurant on February 29, 2024, so I am making sure not to mention any of those places when I inquire about booking my party at a new place.

I, accidentally, found a gem of a restaurant that for 2 decades I have passed by without taking notice of until they got an eye-catching marque and since then I have been eating at the Fredo’s Lebanese restaurant known for their kebobs, slowly working down the lunch menu with the 15 specials. Also, the Jalisco Mexican restaurant, right across from Winn-Dixie where I have been shopping the last 21 years caught my eye and I have found a few new dishes there so added it to the Tequila Sunrise and Tipico restaurants when I want south of the border food.

There are a few restaurants I go to for specific items such as the Quarterdeck is my go to for Jambalaya and the IHOP for a cheese omelet with a short stack, the Outback for cheeseburgers not to forget Subways for a turkey hero and, yes, The Cheesecake Factory for cheesecake.

I’m jumping ahead of myself as I am going to talk about restaurants for particular items in another post! Not to forget restaurants I make sure out of town guests go to for pizza or seafood or pasta—now if I only can find a restaurant that serves prime rib on the bone since the one I loved has gone out of business, the second one to do that, where I didn’t have to get a bank loan for dinner.

That is something else I have noticed as a result of the epidemic–restaurant prices have gone sky high! Whereas before a lunch in a full service with linen tablecloths cost about $10-12 now it is about $20 plus tax and tip!!

“No Time To Die”–Movie Theatre Review   Leave a comment


Ironically “No Time To Die” runs a LONG TIME—2 hours and 43 minutes! Sure it is a James Bond movie and you expect car/boat/plane chases but a couple could have been cut, time saved, just as instead of Bond, by himself, killing hundreds of enemies he only killed one hundred and halving the number of special effects would have cut the movie by 30 minutes at least.

In Daniel Craig’s last appearance as James Bond in 5 films  altogether is smart, a little different regarding the love interest and a bit disappointing regrading the ‘toys’ he gets to play with but he delivers the goods. There is a hint as to who might replace him but I wouldn’t bet on the clue!

As always the scenery at times is breathtaking as are some of the chases and we see a sophisticated Bond who harbors no nonsense when it comes to dispatching of the enemies and still has his martini with a pretty woman.

The women such as Lea Seydoux, Lashana Lynch and Naomie Harris are strong as is young Coline Defaud as the child of one of the ladies. The men such as Ralph Fiennes as M, Ben Whishaw as Q and Jeffrey Wright as Felix Leiter give Craig good support with, in my opinion, Rami Malek a disappointment in the long list of villains.

You know what to expect walking into a James Bond movie and “No Time To Die” delivers with a smart sendoff for Daniel Craig if not a bit too long in doing both. The production aspects are first rate  as they are in most Bond films along with the soundtrack but the opening song is weak as written and sung by Billie Eilish.

Daniel Craig is going to be a hard act to follow and he leaves his fans satisfied even with one or two many fights and/or chases.

Posted October 8, 2021 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINER, FILM REVIEWS, MOVIE REVIEW

“A picture is……”   Leave a comment

A picture is worth a thousand words definition is – —used to say that it is often easier to show something in a picture than to describe it with words.


Chuck and Terry came down from Port Richey to spend a couple of days in Fort Lauderdale.According to the old saying the above pictures add up to 6,000 words but since when do I let pictures speak for themselves?
Not only did their being here give me a chance to have some Kilwin’s chocolate ice cream which I haven’t had in a long time (at least since March 1, 2020!) but we drove up and down A1A and, like most cities, there have been a lot of changes and there are a lot of buildings being torn down and new ones built in Lighthouse Point, Delray, Pompano Beach, Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale, Dania Beach and Hollywood.Okay, 117 words–only 5,883 words (and many more pictures) to go!

Posted October 6, 2021 by greatmartin in FRIENDS

Dogs, a baby, weather & Mother nature October 2021   Leave a comment


1) Dark clouds are the warning we will be getting our daily rain–for 10 minutes or, maybe, longer!

2) My October Calendar dogs

3) Gateway’s latest charmer–Payton’s baby brother

4) Bette Davis changes her outfits as much as Mother nature changes the weather—and both are right!

5) Jeff, who is legally blind. is in the process of having his guide dog trained–she is a beauty but, I think, a little too big for a studio apartment–hopefully he will be able to move to  a larger bedroom though it might be easier for him to handle a smaller space–right now she is too friendly with all the neighbors so I guess that will be part of her training–it is an interesting process to observe.

6) The purple and white orchids are really a standout on the tree–hope no one picks!October is starting off beautifully and hope it continues that way but until ‘hurricane’ season is over we don’t know.

Posted October 4, 2021 by greatmartin in animals, FLORIDA, FORT LAUDERDALE, GATEWAY, MOTHER NATURE

Streaming Reviews October 2021 Part 1   Leave a comment

1) “Closer”–Amazon Prime–movie–1 hour & 44 minutes–somehow or another I missed this Julia Roberts 2004 movie and I was glad I got caught up with it if only for that Roberts smile scene–based on a play it really only has the 4 stars as the players with one minor role–it looks at the love lives of 4 people intertwined with odd ideas of ‘love’–the 4 stars are excellent–movie okay–ANY MOVIE WITH A JULIA ROBERTS RADIATING THAT SMILE IS WORTH SEEING

2) “Jack Whitehall: Travels with my Father”–Netflix–season five–2 hours & 3 minutes–Michael, Jack’s father, has been the STAR of the series from its opening segment and he brings the series to a close with his effortless charm–MICHAEL’S REACTIONS TO HIS SON’S EFFORTS WILL HAVE YOU LAUGHING OUT LOUD

3) “Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins”–Amazon Prime–movie–1 hour & 54 minutes–a 2004 film is just a big cliche from beginning to end–DON’T WASTE YOUR TIME

4) “Britney vs Spears”–Netflix–documentary–1 hour & 33 minutes–I wouldn’t know a Britney Spear’s song if I heard it and she sang it in front of me–haven’t been following this whole conservatorship deal until the last couple of months and while I write and watch this I think anyone who has worked as hard as she has the past 8 years putting shows together has to have it together–WORTH WATCHING TO FIND OUT WHAT THE WHOLE LEGAL FIGHT INVOLVES

5) “Attack of the Hollywood Cliches”–Netflix–documentary–58 minutes–the title says it all except for the fact that Rob Lowe, who narrates the film, really makes a fool of himself–WATCH IT ONLY IF YOU NEED BACKGROUND NOISE WHILE YOU DO SOMETHING ELSE

6) “Worth”–Netflix–movie–1 hour & 58 minutes–based on real events of 9/11–Michael Keaton plays Kenneth Feinberg who is the mediator regarding financial settlements for the survivors including Charles Wolf (Stanley Tucci), who lost his wife, and Frank Donato (Chris Tardio), who’s brother, a fireman, raced back into the buildings to help save people and didn’t make it out alive–this is a hard film to watch as families tell specific stories of lost relatives–HOW MUCH MONEY IS A LIFE WORTH ? WATCH END CREDITS TO GET SOME IDEA–A NOT EASY TO WATCH BUT A MUST SEE FILM

Posted October 2, 2021 by greatmartin in Documentaries, ENTERTAINMENT, MOVIES, Streaming

Crafty Crab Restaurant Review   1 comment

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Chris, our server, was excellent as was the food and upon our entering the host greeted and sat us immediately. All in all, except for 2 negatives which I will get to later, a good experience.Allen had the 6 scallops in garlic butter , which looked and tasted fine  and he also had the chicken strips with fries, again giving a positive response while I had the fried shrimp with onion rings and wasn’t a bit disappointed with the size of the shrimp, the breading and taste. Allen had a soda while I stuck to water. The check with tax and tip came to $50 which is a bit high for lunch but more and more about par for the course in full service restaurants

.Now to the negatives which may or may not have been noticed by other customers but having been a server for 38 years I pick up on these things.There was a table across from us that was dirty when we walked in and was still dirty when we left.  The floor was strewn with garbage and the table a mess and the baby chair gave me a hint a kid had been there!!

As far as I could tell the servers were responsible for cleaning and resetting their own tables as I had observed Chris doing just that  with his tables and he verified it when I asked. The other server was still being seated though they didn’t clean their tables never once taking a dish or glass or anything each time they walked back to the kitchen going empty handed in spite of carrying a bar serving tray. I didn’t see anyone who might have been a manager so that might be the problem.

Another problem is just a guess on my part. There had been another restaurant there which had been very good–great Prime Rib specials–but the entrance-way to the rear where the parking is can be very quickly passed by unless you know where you are going and don’t go on a rainy day as there is no way to let someone off at the front door and you will get wet walking/running/going to restaurant entrance!

Don’t know how to solve that problem but the original architect wasn’t really thinking right with the design.

Posted October 1, 2021 by greatmartin in RESTAURANT REVIEWS, RESTAURANTS

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