I have a feeling that Rocco’s Taco’s will be the busiest restaurant on the boulevard today! Will Rocco himself be there? At time of writing, he isn’t saying, but I would be willing to bet that he’ll put in an appearance. If you can’t get into Rocco’s don’t worry, there are plenty of other fine places on the boulevard.
Unless you are tonight’s designated driver, it’s almost obligatory to have a shot of tequila this evening so try Mangos, Tundra, Preston’s Bar or the Golden Lyon.
What else is happening this weekend? Here’s a replay of the weekend guide …
Happy Cinco de Mayo!
Breakfast: Let’s start at Indigo this morning. If you’re an early riser, you’ll find that their breakfast starts at 6.30. And you really should be an early riser when you’re on the boulevard – there’s a lot to pack in this weekend. No – every day!
Tip: The very best thing to do after breakfast at Indigo is to walk the few steps to the Laura Ward Plaza and watch the water traffic go by. I do this just about every weekend. You’ll see that the Stranahan House is right there too. It won’t be open for tours until this afternoon (tours are at 1, 2 and 3pm) but seeing the house from the plaza gives you a flavor of this to come – or should I say a flavor of times gone by.
Tip: Have you got tickets yet for next week’s Burger Battle? If not, there’s still time!
Tip: Las Olas Boulevard is like a village. In fact, it IS a village with neighborhood stores, a village green, a post office … hang on. Yes, we have a post office but it is in danger of closure. Locals people are fighting to prevent this and at noon, attend a fun event to highlight this cause. Make your way to All Saints Church on Tarpon Drive. This is going to be a fun event. Everett Osceola and Pedro Zepeda of the Seminole Museum will take mail, by canoe, from the Stranahan House which was Fort Lauderdale’s first post office. Fort Lauderdale Mounted Police will imitate the Pony Express and Boy Scouts will be in procession. The event finishes at 2 with the Seminoles performing a Friendship Dance. There may have been an event of Las Olas like this before but if so, it was before my time – sounds like fun!
Tip: Another event you’re probably planning this weekend is Mother’s Day. I know, I know, it was only Christmas yesterday but that’s how fast time goes. If you haven’t ordered flowers yet, call in at Ann’s Florist. Mother’s Day is THE day of the year for eating out. Where on Las Olas are you going to choose? You’ll want to make reservations though, so make your choice today if you can. Whatever type of cuisine you like, you’ll find it on Las Olas – Italian, American, French, Greek, Asian and of course today of all days, I have to mention Mexicano!
Lunch: Which is making me hungry … what about lunch today though? An essential for a weekend is a pizza. There are many pizza places on the boulevard but this week, I think Caffe Europa is a good idea. It’s a great restaurant with a lovely outdoor dining area and it gets my vote today because one of its specialty pizzas is called the Las Olas Pizza. Nice …
Tip: If you’re thinking about gourmet gifts for Mother’s Day Las Olas is the perfect place to shop. Try EVOO Market for wonderful specialty goods. Cheese Culture is a cheese lover’s paradise. A little further east you’ll find the Eten Food Company which is one of the most stylish emporiums on the boulevard. Further east again, check out the Spice Quarter.
Tip: Oh, so you’re looking for sweet goodies? That’s a good idea indeed. We have you well covered on that one too. Kilwins is always a treat – they have fabulous gift baskets too. You’ll even smell the chocolate as you approach the store! Another chocolate option is Schakolad (which I have just discovered how to spell after all these years). For gorgeous baked goods, go to Gran Forno, Pane Dolce or East End Eats. And while you’re shopping enjoy a treat yourself – I suggest one at each venue but I’m greedy. Remember, treats are obligatory on Las Olas at weekends!
Tip: A water taxi ride is a great thing to do in the afternoon. Just walk up the street at the side of Mangos and you’ll see the water taxi stop straight ahead. Remember to keep the stubs – see the sidebar for the discounts available to you.
Tip: This afternoon, join Cinema Paradiso for their Cinco de Mayo celebrations. Starting at 1.15 the party features ice cold cervezas, burritos and the movie Chico and Rita. What’s more, there’s a two-for-one special on the ticket price. I haven’t seen this film but I imagine the music is terrific – read this: “Chico is a young piano player with big dreams. Rita is a beautiful singer with an extraordinary voice. Music and desire unite them as they chase their dreams and each other from Havana to New York to Paris, Hollywood and Las Vegas. With an original soundtrack by legendary Cuban pianist and five-time Grammy-winning composer Bebo Valdes, Chico & Rita captures a defining moment in the evolution of history and jazz, and features the music of (and animated cameos by) Thelonious Monk, Charlie Parker, Cole Porter, Dizzy Gillespie, Woody Herman, Tito Puente, Chano Pozo, and others.”
Tip: If you’re bargain hunting today call in to see Pat at Las Olas Gifts, Carol at Bohemian Style and Roger at Las Olas Mini Mall. Each is an Aladdin’s cave of goodies!
Tip: It’s also Kentucky Derby Day. here’s how it started: 1872, Col. Meriwether Lewis Clark, Jr., grandson of William Clark of the Lewis and Clark expedition, traveled to England, visiting the Epsom Derby, a famous race that had been running annually since 1780. From there, Clark went on to Paris, France, where in 1863, a group of racing enthusiasts had formed the French Jockey Club and had organized the Grand Prix de Paris, which at the time was the greatest race in France. Returning home to Kentucky, Clark organized the Louisville Jockey Club for the purpose of raising money to build quality racing facilities just outside of the city. The track would soon become known as Churchill Downs, named for Meriwether Lewis Clark Jr.’s relatives, John and Henry Churchill, who had provided the land for the racetrack. Officially, the racetrack was incorporated as Churchill Downs in 1937. The Kentucky Derby was first run at 1½ miles (2.4 km), the same distance as the Epsom Derby. I bet you’re glad I told you that – bore your friends!
Tip: It’s so exciting when new businesses are coming to the boulevard. We have businesses here that first opened their doors in the 1930s and new businesses make the boulevard a great mix of the old and the new. When you go to see Nick at the iPhone accessory and repair store (Telemico) step outside and within seconds you’re at the Floridian, one of our oldest businesses. Coming soon we have an exciting new gallery – this will be a flagship gallery for a very well-known artist. Las Olas just gets better and better! (Oh and the gallery is hiring – see our Facebook page for details – work on Las Olas – couldn’t be better!)
Tip: Also new on the boulevard – Hair Couture. They are located at 1233 ELO and watch out for upcoming special events. The salon is open Tuesday through Friday between ten and eight and on Saturdays between ten and six. Call in and say hello to Toby and welcome Hair Couture to the boulevard.
Tip: If you’re from out of town and thinking about visiting Las Olas between now and September, check out sunny.org for summer offers. There are some 2-for-1 deals from the Water Taxi, the Riverside Hotel, Fort Lauderdale Historical Society, the Museum of Art | Fort Lauderdale, the Museum of Discovery and Science, Planet Massage, Indigo, Preston’s Bar and the Golden Lyon! And if you fancy coming to the boulevard by paddle board, there are deals for lessons and board rentals.
Tip: Join the Saturday Wine Club at the Riverside Hotel. You’ll get 30% off bottles of wine over $75 at the Golden Lyon, Preston’s Bar and Indigo.
Dinner: Well, there’s only one choice for tonight, isn’t there? The Cinco de Mayo celebrations will be in full force at Rocco’s Tacos. And it’s going to be busy! If you vcan’t get a table, walk a little further east and you’ll find other dining options close by but good luck, let’s hope you can get in at Rocco’s tonight.
Evening: This evening Florida Grand Opera presents Roméo et Juliette at the Broward Center starting at eight. There are films to see at Cinema Paradiso and IMAX (Wrath of the Titans sounds fun). Tonight we will be able to see a ‘super moon’ – the largest and closest full moon of the year. Watch for it! Stroll along the boulevard, call in at a restaurant or bar for a glass of wine or party the night away ay Vibe or Mangos.
Breakfast: East End Eats is a great place for breakfast. On the menu you’ll find breakfast sandwiches and wraps, omelets and some very tasty parfaits. Then it’s just a short walk to …
Tip: Stroll along Las Olas to the Sunday Farmer’s Market (near Las Olas Chemist at 1201 ELO). At the market you’ll find a full selection of fresh produce; gourmet pasta; plants; ceramics, herbs, grinders and textiles, garlic grater bowls; fresh seafood; olive oils, fresh mozzarella, coffee beans; Florida honey and honey products; fresh baked goods …. Last week there were so many new vendors – I wonder who’ll be there this weekend? The market starts at 9am and closes at 3, but it’s a good idea to be there early – about 10am is the perfect time. I do all my weekly food shopping at the market – organic fruit and vegetables, gourmet pasta, bread and bakery goods, organic eggs sauces, organic tea and coffee bean, salsas and fresh olives and pickles. If you eat meat, you’ll find grass fed beef too. Buy vegetables, gourmet pasta and fresh mozzarella for an almost-instant tasty and healthy meal.
Tip: There are some exciting new vendors at the market. Say hello to Monica, the new produce supplier. She tries to make sure that all her produce is bought locally – and we all know how important it is to shop local. The new baker, Louise, has a gluten free range now available and if you love olives (yum yum yum yum) you’re in for a treat.
Tip: For the perfect Sunday Las Olas lunch al fresco – buy gourmet goodies and fresh fruit at the market, cross the boulevard, and walk down Tarpon Drive to Colee Hammock Park. Picnic and watch the boats go by. I recommend this every week because it’s the perfect boulevard lunch.
Tip: It’s Jazz Brunch Day! Head to the Riverwalk area to enjoy live music on the River. A great way to get there is by Water Taxi or Sun Trolley but it’s a great walk too. Walk west on the boulevard and turn left onto the unremarkable little street just after the Stranahan House. Soon you’ll see the boats and the river. The jazz event finishes at 2 so make your way back to the boulevard for more fun.
Tip: There’s a Asian-Pacific American Heritage Celebration at the Museum of Discovery and Science today. May is Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month — a celebration of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States. Join us May 5 and 6 for a celebration of their culture, traditions, and history. Special presentations will take you on a journey to the Pacific islands of Hawaii, Tahiti, New Zealand and Samoa and Asian countries including Japan, Korea, and China. Take surf lessons with Hawaiian surfing legend Kali “da Big Kahuna” Montero and get a few pointers on hanging ten.
Enjoy dance shows and cultural crafts presented by Polynesian Proud Productions. Learn about Asian cultural traditions including Chinese calligraphy, Japanese origami, martial arts, tai-chi, and much more!
Tip: At 2:30pm join a Historical Walking Tour. The Fort Lauderdale Historical Society is pleased to offer walking tours of the original neighborhood of the city built along the New River prior to the 20th century. Hear stories about Old Fort Lauderdale and the early Pioneers, learn about Henry Flagler and Florida East Coast Railroad and visit some of the oldest buildings in the city. Tours begin at 2:30pm in the lobby area of the New River Inn and admission is free, but donations are greatly appreciated
Tip: This afternoon and evening at the Riverside Hotel bring your best friend to ‘Canines and Cocktails’ starting at 5pm. There’ll be half price cocktails, half price appetizers and free organic, 100% natural treats for your dog. Meet and mingle with other dog owners.
Dinner: As this is Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month then it has to be Asian food tonight. Once again, we have a choice to offer you. Asia Bay and Wild East are both located on the water with lovely waterfront dining areas. A little further to the east (appropriately) is Sushi Rock. Enjoy!
Evening: At 7.30 why not meet a few ghosts? Well, you can try. In conjunction with the Water Taxi, the Stranahan House runs ghost river tours every Sunday evening. (Would mom like to do that next week?)
Tip: If you’ve been visiting us from out of town, we hope you enjoyed Las Olas. Please come back to see us again! Keep an eye on our weekend guide to help you plan your next visit. We publish new information every week.