We had no actual plans for Saturday, so we headed out on a mission to find a few things friends had asked us to bring back to Finland. On the same adventure we also did some more shopping for ourselves at Pembroke Lakes Mall and the Shops at Pembroke Gardens. While there we enjoyed a spot of lunch at RA Sushi Bar Restaurant. After lunch and a partly futile search for requested souvenirs we decided to drive back to downtown Fort Lauderdale and check out the Riverwalk. I am sure the Riverwalk would have been a nice experience haven’t it been for all the construction going on. We started at Esplanade Park and checked out the old buildings of History Fort Lauderdale but trying to venture further down the river we had to go around one construction site and once we got back to the river it wasn’t long before we encountered another construction site and decided to turn around and head back to our car.
Saturday evening, we had a dinner reservation at Boatyard. When we arrived at the restaurant and checked in with the hostess, I was a bit taken aback by how loud the restaurant seemed. However, we were seated outside on the patio, which was much quieter so we could actually carry on a conversation while dining. Once again, we kicked off the night with drinks; I tested something called Minty Melon (Absolut grapefruit vodka, jalapeño, watermelon, mint) and hubby stuck to his trusted Dry Martini. For starters we ordered the jumbo lump crab cake with oaxacan mole, avocado crema and sweet corn, and the tuna tacos with yellowfin tuna, mango, hot and sour sauce and crispy wonton. Both were excellent. For mains we chose the grilled bronzino & gulf shrimp with fingerling potatoes and roasted tomato-fennel sauce, and the grouper piccata with wilted spinach, cured tomato, caper berries and lemon chardonnay butter both accompanied with a glass of pinot grigio. The mains were delicious even though the bronzino dish was far too big and I had to leave almost all potatoes uneaten and hubby had to eat a few of the shrimp. The service at Boatyard was friendly and professional, the food was tasty, and the setting was nice, so I would recommend the restaurant for any seafood lover.
On Sunday, we kicked-off the morning with another breakfast at the Courtyard Café after which we returned to Sawgrass Mills as we realized we had forgotten to look for a few clothing items. Our supplement shopping was successful and once back in Fort Lauderdale we had planned to visit Bonnet House. However, when we arrived, we found out that the guided tours were already fully booked until 3:30 pm, which did not fit our schedule as we had a linner (lunch + dinner) reservation already at 4:30 pm. The option would have been to tour the grounds without a guide, but we felt the USD 10.00 price per person to enter the grounds without any access to the house seemed a bit steep, so we skipped the entire experience and headed back to the house. Our linner reservation was at El Camino, one of the two Mexican places we tried unsuccessfully to visit on Friday. The reason for such an early dinner was that we had booked a Holiday Lights Cruise with Riverfront Cruise that started at 7 pm. We started with a couple of margaritas while studying the menu. As we saw food being served at other tables and realized the portions were big, we decided to skip any starters. We ended up ordering a smoked brisket burrito and chihuahua cheese enchiladas. When the food was served, we ordered a second round of margaritas. The food and margaritas were excellent, and the service was super friendly, the only small complaint would be the noise level but that is something you would expect at this type of laid-back place.
After dinner we walked to the new river and stopped for a drink on the way at the Royal pig pub. Once we arrived at the riverfront and it was time to board the boat, we were told we should have exchanged our online reservation printout for some kind of chip at the Riverfront Cruise “office”. There were no instructions to do this anywhere (not on the website, the reservation printout nor outside the entrance to the boat), so we were a bit surprised at such a procedure. The man checking the chips was kind enough to let us board the ship and take care of our “registration” for us. We never really understood the purpose of having to get a chip but maybe it was to make the boarding procedure easier for the crew. The cruise itself lasted two hours, there was a cash bar onboard and plenty of upper deck seating. We cruised around on the New River ogling at the houses on the millionaires’ row and their Christmas lights. The cruise was fun, but it would have been interesting to learn something about the area we were cruising in and the houses we saw but I understand the regular 90-minute cruise includes commentary.
One more Florida post to come.