Ft. Lauderdale Vacation

8 Sep

I went to Ft. Lauderdale for the first time this past weekend to celebrate my friend Jen’s birthday!  I flew in and Jen and another friend Tracy drove down from Orlando.  I wasn’t sure what to expect from Ft. Lauderdale, I was expecting a little more pretentiousness than I got (and I was happily surprised).  Either way, I knew that I’d have a great time with these two ladies.

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We got there on Thursday afternoon and after checking into our beautiful hotel (the Westin Beach Resort) we headed out the door in search of a very late lunch.  Just out the door to the left, we kind of went in the first place that we found.  It was called the Deck Restaurant and Lounge.  Knowing nothing, we just went there because they had outdoor seating looking at the beach and there were more than 4 people eating there.  It was basically beach bar food.  Fish sandwiches and such.  I got a lobster burger that was really good and Tracy and Jen shared a grilled fish sandwich and a salad.  It was fine, nothing to write home about but someplace that provided what I needed at the time, food and a frosty drink!

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We decided to go to a movie on Thursday night since neither Jen or Tracy had been to see one in a while.  We saw Blue Jasmine.  I’ll do a separate post on it later this week.

On Friday it was beautiful so we got up and after a very nice buffet breakfast at Shula’s (in our hotel) we headed for the beach.  Around 1 or so we decided to head up to the pool for a drink and a snack to tide us over until dinner.  The pool bar/restaurant, Waves, had fun drinks and a bar menu.  We opted to share a quesadilla and I got myself a Miami Vice (part Pina Colada and part strawberry daquiri).

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After the sun hid behind the building, we went upstairs to get ready for our night out.  After an adventure with a new taxi driver and trying to go to a place that our breakfast server had told us about that turned out to be less than great, we found Los Olas Blvd and lots of restaurants.  We really wanted sushi and after the recommended place was a bust we had to search one out.  Luckily, Tracy stopped some locals to ask where to go and they pointed us to Wildeast Asian Bistro.

We had their tempura fried dragon, Korean Tuna, Pineapple Tropic, Volcano and Salmon Cali rolls.  They were all amazing.  I wasn’t sure I’d be all that into the Pineapple one, it had grilled pineapple chunks on top.  It was fantastic.  Of course I forgot to take a picture until we’d already dug in!

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So that is truly, the aftermath.  We really liked everything, it was all super fresh and the service was really good.

After dinner, we went searching for a place to have a drink or two.  The first place we tried had good music, but was so crowded we couldn’t even find a place to stand at the bar (what I refer to as too hot).  The next place had a blues singer and was in this cute little hotel, but we were the youngest people in the bar by about 30 years and there weren’t many people at all.  So after one glass of wine, we left that place (what I’ll refer to as too cold).  We didn’t want to walk too far, and happened upon this lounge/restaurant Voodka.

I’ll call this place just right (after too hot and too cold).  It wasn’t very busy yet (it was still kinda early, before 10 pm).  The decor was very nice, they had candelabra’s at the dinner tables and comfy huge leather couches around tables in the bar area in addition to high tops and bar seats.  We opted for the comfy leather couches!  Our server ended up being one of the bartenders.  He was really fun and recommended some awesome drinks.  We each choose drinks from the cocktail menu for the first round.  They were all really good, I got an Acai berry cocktail (that isn’t on their new menu, they literally changed it today I think).  It was fruity but not too sweet and very refreshing.  Since our server was kinda looking at us funny when I took this picture:

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Tracy told him that I had a food blog.  So he told us that for our next round he’d make us something from the new menu!

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So for the second round he gave me what I think is the Cucumber Ginger Chill.  It was very well done and again was very refreshing.  The cucumber flavor is subtle and goes really well with the lemon and ginger flavors.  I’m not sure which one he gave to Tracy, but it had some great fall flavors.  It just had some warmer flavors in it and was also excellent.

Saturday was our last full day there and it was overcast (boooo).  After another great breakfast at Shula’s, we went shopping then headed home to get ready for dinner at YOLO.  Yet another great meal in a very nice restaurant.  We started with their szechual calamari, which our server said was a house specialty.  It was sweet and spicy and cooked perfectly.  I often find calamari way too chewy, but this was done perfectly.  I remembered to take a picture before we killed the whole plate this time.

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Tracy ordered the salmon and it had this shallot fennel mixture on top that was just amazing with the salmon.  I think it was basically caramelized fennel and shallot.

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Jen ordered the nightly fish special, swordfish with a great tomato sauce and orzo.  It was very light and flavorful.

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I opted for Coriander-Seaweed crusted Tuna.  It was cooked perfectly and served with noodles, kimchi, bok choy in a shitake miso broth.  It was really well done and I loved the presentation.

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The whole meal was just fabulous.  Since this was Jen’s birthday dinner, we debated getting desert there, but we remembered seeing an Italian bakery/gelato place down the road so went in search of that instead.

I unfortunately can’t remember the name of it, but it was about 3-4 blocks down the street (toward the ocean) from YOLO.  I got a caramel gelato to eat there and got this yummy goodness to take back to the room to share.

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It’s tiramisu and a mini canoli.  It’s hard to tell in the picture, but that canoli is about 3 bites, just enough for one bite each.  The tiramisu was really good.  The cake was very light.  As Tracy and Jen pointed out, often tiramisu can feel heavy if the lady fingers have absorbed too much espresso.  I loved the canoli.  I’m not usually a huge canoli fan, but the filling in this was very light, I really enjoyed my one bite!

We had to say goodbye Sunday morning unfortunately.  I saw about 20 other places that I really wanted to try while I was there.  Ft. Lauderdale is definitely a place I’d like to visit again!

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One Response to “Ft. Lauderdale Vacation”

  1. Mike Peters September 9, 2013 at 3:36 pm #

    Looks like you really enjoy your food, and your movies! We used to have a dinner and a movie special here in Bridgeville with the old Destinta Theatres, but they sold to another company that isn’t in partnering with us. Next time you’re going out for dinner and a movie maybe you can stop in at Peters Place. Entertaining blog, keep up the good work!

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