Archive for the ‘RESTAURANTS’ Category


                                            (Left to right–Michael, Me, Chuck)

Sometime in the 1990s (Chuck doesn’t remember and I am too lazy to go through the diaries of the 1990s) the three of us went to dinner at the Historic Bryan Homes Restaurant–obviously I didn’t have a cell phone or digital camera as there are no food pictures!–and I still have that picture taken that evening—it is on my dresser draw–and I see it every day and smile.

The restaurant has been closed for a few years, which always surprised me, as it is on a beautiful spot along the river so I was glad they are opening again and I hope this time it lasts at least until Chuck gets down here again so we can enjoy it.

Mmmmm–just thought that it might be a great place to celebrate my 22 birthday on Thursday, February 29, 2024

Very surprising that this is the  one of the few old places—over 100 years old that hasn’t been torn down and made into condos!

For the whole story of the River House and the new restaurant:

Another version:

Posted August 12, 2022 by greatmartin in RESTAURANTS


Every 3 months I get enough points on to get a $25 gift card (#1) for The Cheesecake Factory–a particular favorite restaurant of mine for many reasons though 2 cheesecake and 2 coffees ‘eat’ up that $25. The service is always good, the portions a good size and though, like many restaurants, they have gone up a bit in price they aren’t that high–plus they offer lunch portions on most items at a lesser price. With the dark bread (#4), the Shrimp & pasta dish (#6) plus the Godiva cheesecake it more than a satisfying lunch, especially at $15 each including tax and tip minus gift card!

There has been a lot of talk about expanding the tunnel on Federal Highway and putting a park above it all and they are finally getting around to it. #10 is where they are expanding the tunnel to give them more land for the park while #7 is right outside The Cheesecake Factory where they used to have their outdoor dining though I am sure they will probably get some of the room on the park. Don’t know how long it will take but if you look to the rear that is where they are (or have already) building 3 new high rises which even with the expansion of the tunnel will cause a lot of traffic tie ups as it already does as it is!

At least they are putting in a park, more greenery, instead of just tearing down old buildings and building high—very high–condos/rentals. I don’t know how easy it will be getting in and out of The Cheesecake Factory but I will let you know when they are finished!

Posted August 6, 2022 by greatmartin in RESTAURANTS

EATING OUT—-NO MORE?!?!   1 comment

Anyone who knows me knows I LOVE eating out! How, why, when did it all start? I don’t know the real answer but I remember, as a kid, looking forward to my father coming home on a weekend because 1) my mother cooked  (mainly boiled) everything until it was well-done and then 15 minutes more! I knew when my father was home it would be hot bread and bagels from the bakery, fresh salmon and cold cuts from the deli and then, after going to the Paradise Theatre to the movies , it was a Chinese dinner. To this day I remember my dad taking me to the Sun Luck West Gourmet Chinese restaurant in mid-town Manhattan and ordering me a frozen Daiquiri (without the rum) though I don’t remember the occasion!

Wherever I traveled I remember the restaurants I ate at including the Lloyd’s Coach House–a steak restaurant–where I ate a 72 ounce steak, a shrimp cocktail, salad, baked potato and cake Ala mode all for free because I ate it in less than an hour (and I still have a picture of the bill!)–in Laguna Beach, California, the Hawaiian Luau, in New York City Marchi’s (my favorite restaurant of all time), Piccolo’s in Miami Beach in the late 1950s, where I worked as a waiter for a couple of years, Big Louie’s here in Fort Lauderdale for pizza and Cafe Vico where I had one of my best Leap Year birthday party ever. I have never forgotten Pappy’s Lobster Shack in Memphis, the King’s Cross restaurant in Sidney, Australia and I could go on and on and I have pictures of restaurants over 60 years that I ate in.

What brought this all up? Allen and I had lunch at Catfish Dewey’s which opened in 1984 and was a big favorite of mine for their all you can eat Shrimp Monday & Tuesday night plus, yes, in a fish restaurant, all you can eat beef prime rib ribs–I honestly don’t remember what the shrimp cost but I think under $12 and the ribs were about $15. I looked at the prices when we went for lunch this past Friday and those items were double the price. As it was since neither item was on the menu for Friday so I ordered a seafood platter which was $30 and very not worth it. Allen had scallops for about the same price so by the time his (soft) drink taxes and the tip were added we paid $40 each—for lunch!!

Little by little, though still shocked, I have been getting used to the rise in prices due to Covid, shortage of supplies because of the Russians war on Ukraine, inflation, though an average of $15-$20 per person for lunch in a full service restaurant can certainly hit/hurt the budget!! In fact the cheapest ‘meal’ (well a ‘treat’ after the lunch) was a one scoop ice cream cone at Dairy Queen!

Like most people I find the budget getting tighter, prices of everything items going up and, yes, inflation is hurting.  When Covid first hit we stopped going to the theatre and eating dinner out plus it was awhile before the movies reopened and going every Friday and sometimes a Tuesday wasn’t important anymore nor were movies.

Theatre going is gone–movie going is fading–is eating out next? Can I give up jambalaya at the Quarterdeck? Garlic rolls at Big Louie’s? Fajitas at Tequila Sunrise?  Cheese Omelet with a side of pancakes at IHOP? A NY Strip at JMark’s?

How can I not try out restaurants for my 22nd birthday? WHAT? NOT HAVE A LEAP YEAR DINNER PARTY?!

Posted June 14, 2022 by greatmartin in RESTAURANTS

Weather and Food–I can talk about both all day every day!   Leave a comment

1)  The charts talk for themselves–except for one day with rain it has been great down here for the kids (and adults) on Spring break and today is another warm, beautiful and sunny day!

2) One win and one loss—Organic Apple Banana Crush can be either frozen or not but in both cases neither are good! The Mozzarella and Tomato salad is very good but a bit high on the calorie side. Both are from Trader Joe’s which I got at The Pantry—love the latter!!

3) Allen and I eat out lunch on Thursday after going to the Dollar Tree, CVS, Winn Dixie and, occasionally other places and we need to replenish our energy so it is off to lunch usually alternating between full service and ‘fast’ food. This is a favorite spot of ours, Big Louie’s, and generally we have a pizza but Allen had pasta with meatballs, a salad & garlic rolls (Yes, I stole one!) and I had Stromboli which is a pizza rolled up in disguise!!  And Sheila is still one of the best servers in town!

4) As most of you know I didn’t have a birthday this year being born on February 29 but the ‘freebies’ came in anyway! How could I refuse any sandwich of my choice, fries and shake at Arby’s? They have one of the best Reuben sandwiches, including those in delis! We had 2 shakes, 2 Reubens, 2 fish sandwiches, 2 fries and 2 sodas (and with other coupons) the whole bill came to $18+ change! $9 each for lunch? Unheard of these days!! More important, the meal was good and Darlene behind the counter with a long line waiting to order and the drive through lined up with cars did a great job!

Have you ever had a Canari Melon from Guatemala? That’s new to me and trying it tonight –well let you know in the future how it was. Another ‘gift’ from The pantry!

Posted March 19, 2022 by greatmartin in FOOD, FORT LAUDERDALE, RESTAURANTS, WEATHER

Food and me NOW!   1 comment

Anyone who knows me knows I have always loved food! There is no such things as ‘bad’ pizza even if frozen and I can easily be bribed with carrot cake. In fact in all my years I have only found one food that I wouldn’t eat again which is oyster plant! (I had to try it on Weight Watchers–what I didn’t do to lose weight!)

Strangely, this mysterious illness I have has had a weird affect on my appetite. It was either that or the food in restaurants isn’t tasting as good as it did before I got sick or COVID has invaded what we eat! I do know I have been having ‘sticker’ shock with menu prices! Emir and I went to the 15th Street Fisheries last Sunday–it was the first time I had been there in about 3-4 years and the prices were almost doubled while the portions looked like half the size! Even–and I say this for the first time in 30 years–when Allen and I went to The Cheesecake Factory the food was disappointing not to mention a ‘lunch’ portion costing $21! (Without cheesecake!)

The only restaurant we went to where I wasn’t disappointed (and we had a 2-4-1 coupon so the price was right!) was the Tequila Sunrise Mexican restaurant which I have been going to over 25 years. Their Seafood Medley (see picture) was tasty, varied, large and a reasonable price! 

I have less than 2 years to find a restaurant for my 22nd Leap Year birthday on Thursday, February 29, 2024, but I will continue to look for that special place (though of the last 4 birthdays 3 of the restaurants went out of business so I might not be that welcome by an owner!)

Oh yes, the box of English biscuits that Emir gave me—belated Christmas present–were delicious so my taste buds are still working!

Posted February 9, 2022 by greatmartin in FOOD, RESTAURANTS

Spielberg’s “WSS” second viewing, Big Louie’s and Cathy!   1 comment

(See my complete original review of THIS version  )

“I was very apprehensive of seeing the new movie version of “West Side Story” as I saw the original 1957 Broadway production 7 times–don’t know how many times I have seen the 1961 movie–plus how many remakes can you say are even as good as the original let alone better but I’m just a ‘Broadway baby’ so I was keeping my fingers crossed that it would completely surprise me. It did surprise me even possibly more than when I saw  “West Side Story” the first time on stage or on film.”


This is my second viewing of the Spielberg version of “West Side Story” and for some reason of all the stage productions I have seen and all the times I have seen the first version I was most deeply affected watching it today–a beautiful film which I do want to see again and again!


Before the movie Emir and I met Allen at Big Louie’s as I wanted the two of them to meet–we had a large pizza with olives, pepperoni, onions, mushrooms and sausage–each had 3 slices–delicious as always!


To top it all off when I got home Cathy had made a plate of meatballs, sausage and rigatoni for me for supper!

Some days are better than others and this was one of the better days of the past 4 months!

Posted February 6, 2022 by greatmartin in MOVIE REVIEW, MOVIES, RESTAURANTS, Uncategorized

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!!

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

The Eye, restaurants, peppers, weather August 7 2021   1 comment

Though not completely clear the eye is almost clear of red so that, with the conclusion I don’t need a pacemaker, health news is good!

I don’t know how old that pepper plant is now—at least a few years–and still sprouting peppers, red, yellow and green!

Thursday Allen I went to Tipico Cafe for lunch after shopping and, as always, it was good. Allen had the combo stirfry while I had the Ropa Veja.

The next day, after seeing “Swan Song” it was Subways and though Allen had his usual meatball and and I had my usual turkey I made a mistake by ordering both on one of their new wrap breads which we both didn’t particularly care for as it wasn’t toasted nor did the wrap bread taste good–next week back to the garlic cheese bread!

So far yesterday and today has been rain free and full of sun and now at 6 PM the sky is clear so we may not get those evening showers!

Life is good!

Posted August 7, 2021 by greatmartin in FORT LAUDERDALE, RESTAURANTS, WEATHER

Getting back to ‘normal’!   1 comment

Little by little ‘normal’ is coming back in my life though at the same time it can be shocking as in this case eating out in restaurants. Prices have almost doubled in most places and even lunch is now getting into the $25-$30 per person.

After not accomplishing anything at the hospital and Rion having to sit around for 5 hours I took him for lunch and we went to the new Tacocraft without knowing it was Taco Tuesday (all tacos $3) or that Margaritas were $5. We both had 2 tacos (I had the shrimp–and it lived up to its name!) and he had a Margarita. The check was around $20 plus a tip based on what it would have cost. I was very disappointed for a couple of reasons, such as not being given napkins, but the main reason was that the tacos were so small I hope they don’t have these servings when at regular price. Were they good? I am serious when I say that they weren’t big enough to get any taste! Oh, did I mention they serve water at room temperature?

For a late lunch one afternoon Allen and I went to JMarks where they have a special lunch menu but we were too late for that and ordered off the regular menu. He usually has the 10 ounce NY Strip steak which costs $19 at lunch and $24 at dinner. I have been looking for a good ‘old-fashioned’ Shrimp Scampi and so far haven’t had any luck though this was close. So far in the restaurants I have tried it they have either breaded the Shrimp or cooked it in a heavy sauce if they even sauteed it! Though this one wasn’t cooked in JUST garlic and oil (had a light lemon cream sauce) it did taste okay. The price was $26 so with tax and tip it was a fairly expensive lunch.

Last, but not least, we went to Big Louie’s after the Friday movie to have pizza and, as always, didn’t disappoint. We had the medium—yes, medium, not large!–12 inches with 5 toppings for $15.99 plus tip and tax and a soda we got away for less than $20 each and with 4 slices of pizza each more than satisfied—though I can remember back in the ‘old days’ I could eat a large one all by myself and have dessert after. LOLOh, yes, the first picture is of Jordan, Becky’s great-grandchild, and one of the very few times he wasn’t smiling. Next time I will catch his priceless smile which makes everyone who looks at him smile back!By the way, the other baby is me—smiling and not!

Posted June 17, 2021 by greatmartin in RESTAURANTS

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