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In was late March 2009, the day had been bright and beautiful, and the evening promised a sunset that was worthy as a grand finale as the sun sparkled on the water as it slowly started making its farewell.
The setting was romantic, pink and white striped lilies in a glass vase accessorized our table along with a bronze beaded candle holder, a soft breeze gently rustled through the palm trees, reddish orange hibiscus provocatively beckoned from the garden, along with wax begonias, bougainvillea, pink and white impatiens, tropical plants, and gorgeous orchids combining in a heady aroma that gently perfumed the night.
Isabella, our server, began our evening with glasses of François Montand, Blanc de Blancs, champagne to toast the sunset as we perused our menus. While we waited for our appetizers to arrive, Isabella brought us a basket of hot bread and a tasty spread made from potatoes, white truffle oil, garlic, and calamata olives, which was the perfect accompaniment as we watched the passing yachts, and the sun, a glowing orange ball in the sky illuminate the low slung cumulous clouds before it slowly slid from sight into the water creating a most spectacular sunset. The arrival of our first courses coincided with the lights coming on in the multi-million dollar homes located directly opposite us on the other side of the Intracoastal Waterway, and the sconces that softly illuminated the dock.
When Isabella removed the lid to my Smoked Baby Clam Chowder, its aromatic fragrance captivated me before I had even sampled a spoonful. For his second course, Edward continued with delectable Duck Breast au Poivre, which really sung, presented as ten slices of perfectly cooked duck breast that was dusted with five crushed peppercorns and pan seared with Cognac, cherry wine demi-glace, light cream, and served with roasted garlic mash, haricots verts and carrots, and was paired with a 2006 Cartlidge & Browne Cabernet Sauvignon that had ripe dark berries and cassis on the nose and palate. I had the Mediterranean Style Swordfish, which Chef G had purchased that morning, that he sautéed in virgin olive oil and garlic, with cherry tomatoes, artichoke hearts, calamata olives, and capers, in a white wine lemon butter sauce, accompanied with saffron jasmine rice and grilled asparagus. Read other articles on The Pillars at New River Sound in the Hotels and Resorts section and Chefs' Recipes, where Chef G shares his delicious recipe for Butternut Squash with Star Anise, Ginger, and Lump Crabmeat Soup. From cozy and casual to superluxe, here are the height of romance restaurants in Broward with a water view. The Pillars Hotel one of my favorite places to go for that perfectly intimate and relaxing dining experience at The Secret Garden, The Pillars private dining venue gives you the option to have your food served in our elegant dining room or at a table overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway, where you can watch the luxury yachts cruise by.
Please contact The Pillars Hotel at (954) 467-9639 for information related to Secret Garden Club membership. About Latest Posts Carmen EdelsonCarmen Edelson is the Founder and Senior Editor of Carmen's Luxury Travel. Beauty and the Feast Bar and Kitchen is tucked inside the Atlantic Hotel with sweeping views of the ocean. Marando Farms is an urban farmers market and an educational center for hundreds of visiting students each year.
Whiskey Den is upstairs at Stache, Fort Lauderdale’s premiere cocktail lounge, coffee bar, nightclub and concert hall. Luxury, ocean front steak house, Steak 954, is open morning to late night inside the W Hotel. After breakfast we headed over to Las Olas Street for a packed historical and culinary advenure with Las Olas Food Tours.
If you’re lucky enough to visit Fort Lauderdale on a full moon night, find out if the Pelican Grand is hosting one of their veranda dinners. Las Olas Food Tours introduces visitors (and locals) to the people and places that make the area so delicious. Pelican Grand Hotel, is a luxury, plantation-style oasis on the water with gracious dining options and rocking chairs on the long deck, the better to let the wave song hypnotize you.
The Fort Lauderdale restaurant tour was part of the TBEX FAM trips and arranged by the Greater Fort Lauderdale CVB. Dear Chelsea, I so enjoyed meeting you and my cousin loved the bottle of wine you recommended. Would you believe, I was based in Florida for a little over a year though never managed to make it to Ft Lauderdale. My first time exploring South Florida and I was so delighted with the area, the food and sweet people. Luxurious Fort Lauderdale, Florida with 23 miles of sandy beaches to stroll, upscale restaurants, mega yachts, multi-million dollar homes, and interesting sights to explore was the perfect spring getaway when we desperately needed sun and sand.
March had arrived and although the calendar said it was spring, the weather in New England was anything but reflective of the season. Fort Lauderdale is all about luxury, and The Pillars at New River Sound is as good as it gets when it comes to boutique luxury hotels. The hotel is a stunning gem with just 22 rooms and suites with a decidedly residential rather than a hotel feel, and although the hotel is small in stature, amenities abound from their excellent restaurant, The Secret Garden, where Chef G creates enticing recipes for hotel guests, to the kidney shaped swimming pool, attractive garden where you can relax on a chaise in the shade of a palm tree, book-lined library and drawing room where guests may read, partake of a chess game, or perhaps play the harp.
Read about The Pillars at New River Sound in the Hotels and Resorts, and Restaurants sections, and in Chefs' Recipes where Chef G shares a tempting taste of The Secret Garden with a delicious Butternut Squash with Star Anise, Ginger, and Lump Crabmeat Soup recipe.
Walking along Fort Lauderdale Beach with soft white sand caressing our bare feet felt absolutely delicious after a long winter of hibernation.
Although several families with children were playing in the waves, as well as a few kitesurfers, walking at the edge of the surf line where the waves merely lapped at our toes as we strolled along the seemingly endless beach was enough for us, as the Atlantic Ocean was still a bit chilly. The Pillars at New River Sound has its own private Water Taxi stop, which made it extremely convenient for us with the Water Taxi stopping right at our dock.
The Water Taxi makes frequent stops and we were able to board and disembark throughout the day using the all day pass making it easy to see many of the Fort Lauderdale attractions without needing to drive.
One of our favorite places to visit was Bonnet House an amazing property that was once the home of artist and collector Frederic Clay Bartlett and his family. Our guided tour of Bonnet House with Pat commenced beside the large obelisks made of coral and limestone at the entrance to the house, and when we walked through the brightly painted blue door, we felt as if we had stepped into another world. Frederic had a very interesting married life; when his first wife, Dora died, he married her best friend Helen Birch in 1919. A few of the many highlights of the tour are the Dining Room featuring a whimsical chandelier made by Frederic with etched round and tear drop shaped glass and beads, Portuguese tiles framing the entrance to the Butler's Pantry, steins, antique Wedgwood Cane Ware, Spode china, and Vaseline glass beckon invitingly from the shelves, along with mounted fish caught by Frederic and his son, Clay. The Haitian loggia features a ceiling mural by Frederic, obelisks made of embedded shells in the walls of the four corners, shells embedded around the entrances, whimsical carved wood monkey sculptures purchased from The Plaza Hotel in New York set in wall niches, and an ornate filigree lantern made from recycled Shell oil cans. Also of interest are the Shell Museum, Bamboo Bar, Orchid House, Music Room, and Drawing Room. Visiting the Stranahan House Museum was a romantic experience as Marlene, the docent, told us about the history of the house built in the Florida Vernacular Style and of the love story of pioneer visionary Frank Stranahan and his wife, Ivy Julia Cromartie.

Built by Frank Stranahan in 1901, the house is the oldest residence in Fort Lauderdale and was built completely of Dade County pine, and used as a trading post, and later as the family residence in 1906.
He met and fell in love with the lovely 18-year old Ivy Julia Cromartie, the first teacher who came to New River Settlement in 1899, whom he promptly married at the end of the school year. The house is a testament to the love and care that went into building and furnishing the home. A short walk from the Stranahan House, yet worlds away architecturally, is the Museum of Art, Fort Lauderdale, built in 1986 by American Architect Edward Larrabee Barnes. Although the downtown skyline is dotted with skyscrapers, and high-rise hotels line the beach, the Fort Lauderdale Historical Society has done their part in preserving a section of the city as it once was.
The many buildings in Old Fort Lauderdale include the Hoch Heritage Center (Research and Archives) for visitors looking for historical and genealogical information, the Philemon Nathanial Bryan House, the King-Cromartie House, the New River Inn, and the Replica School House. After looking at the New River Inn, we took a docent guided tour, led by Ellen, of King-Cromartie House, which was built by Edwin T. Ellen also gave us a tour of the one-room Replica School House that provided us with insight and appreciation for the conditions in 1899 for 18-year old teacher Ivy Julia Cromartie and her class of nine students. Although not open for tours, also on the property is the Philemon Nathanial Bryan House, built of concrete blocks by Edwin T. Another interesting museum that we visited was the International Swimming Hall of Fame, which has an extensive collection of memorabilia including that of Olympic winner Johnny Weissmuller who went on to star in the Tarzan films, Esther Williams, Greg Louganis, and Mark Spitz to name but a few, along with bathing suits, costumes, medals, Olympic flags and much more. Hugh Taylor Birch State Park, often compared to Central Park in New York, is a lovely and inviting oasis in Fort Lauderdale located on the grounds of Hugh Taylor Birch's former 180-acre estate, Terramar, where he built his art deco home in 1940. We took a walk in the park along the hiking trails, where we performed the suggested exercises at each of the stops along the way, and walked along the road where the trees arched to form a lacy canopy of leaves that before Hurricanes Katrina and Wilma had whipped through, had formed canopies over most of the trails and roads. When you want to escape from the bustling city, the park is a wonderful place to rest and relax, enjoy a picnic at one of the many tables, admire the yachts passing by on the Intracoastal Waterway, or soak up nature while walking, jogging, bicycling, rollerblading, kayaking, or canoeing.
We had an elegant and delectable dinner dockside at The Secret Garden, a well-kept secret for fortunate guests staying at The Pillars at New River Sound. Executive Chef G clearly in his element at The Secret Garden where he changes his menu daily according to his freshest ingredients that he finds each day at the market.
Read about The Pillars at New River Sound in the Hotels and Resorts section, and about The Secret Garden in the Restaurants section and Chefs' Recipes section where Chef G shares a tasty recipe for Butternut Squash with Star Anise, Ginger, and Lump Crabmeat Soup.
Executive Chef Brian Rutherford focuses his menu on the important Fort Lauderdale staples: fresh seafood, pasta, steaks and chops. Read about Bistro Mezzaluna in the Restaurants section and in the Chefs' Recipes section where Chef Brian Rutherford shares delectable recipes for Pan Roasted Yellowtail Snapper with Lump Crab, Capers, and Tomatoes; and Chicken and Italian Sausage with Rigatoni and Balsamic.
Dining in Fort Lauderdale was a most memorable experience, and fortunately, with 23-miles of sandy beaches to roam, interesting sights to explore, plus having an adventure or two, as an added incentive, Edward and I may have even lost a few pounds on this trip, now that is always a wonderful souvenir to bring home!
Read other articles on Fort Lauderdale in the Hotels and Resorts, Restaurants, Chefs' Recipes, and Adventures sections.
Sitting on the dock of The Pillars at New River Sound in The Secret Garden under a large ivory market umbrella in comfortable rattan chairs with gold cushions flanking a round table draped with ivory linens and set for two with matching Frette ivory napkins, Edward and I eagerly looked forward to watching the night unfold. When you know that a menu changes daily, one must take extra care when making your dining selections, however when she told us about the Prosciutto Wrapped Sea Scallops and the Smoked Baby Clam Chowder on the night's menu, it made our choices easier.
Edward had the Prosciutto Wrapped Sea Scallops, two large and succulent scallops wrapped with prosciutto that were pan seared in brown butter sauce to achieve a crispy crust and presented on a bed of wilted spinach and white truffle mini risotto cakes, with a scallion brush garnish, and zigzagged flavorful embellishments of red pepper coulis and balsamic reduction on the plate.
The chowder was really wonderful, generous with succulently sweet and smoky baby clams, diced carrots, celery, potatoes, and rich with cream, and I especially enjoyed the subtle smokiness, which added another level of interest. Beautifully presented, Chef G arranged the duck slices in a large fan shape and ringed them with the rich sauce, a generous serving of piped mashed potatoes enhanced with a pesto crown and a fresh rosemary plume as a garnish, and blanched harticots verts and carrots that added color to the dish. This was a stunning presentation where Chef G really worked the square white plate to its advantage, arranging crisscrossed thin stalks of asparagus in the top corners of the plate flanking the yellow mound of saffron rice crowned with pesto, with the swordfish bathed in a pool of sauce and topped with capers occupying the lower center of the plate, with stewed tomatoes and scattered calamata olives, and artichoke hearts balancing the lower corners of the plate.
Our breakfast overflowed with options – mango mimosas, platters of moist, tasty muffins and even a plate-size, baked pancake. Down the hall and to the left of the office entrance there’s an alternative universe where cold brew and about any other coffee or tea is available.
We enjoyed refreshing breezes from a table just across from the drawbridge entrance to Fort Lauderdale.
The Craft Beer Cartel shared how beer is made and we sipped several of the Native Beer labels best brews.
At Ocean 2000 you’ll dine on local seafood specialties while listening to the waves and watching the moon rise over the sea. It’s a big state but I hope you get a chance to eat your way through Fort Lauderdale one day. The posh rooms are well appointed with state-of-the-art audio and television equipment, feature luxury amenities, and the staff is professional, attentive, helpful, and welcoming.
A breeze blew through the palm trees that stood like sentinels lining the sidewalk along the beach, my hair whipped around my face, and I felt totally free bathed in warm sunshine.
Instead, we contented ourselves with admiring the shells and bits of coral that had washed up on the sand, and people watching as we walked along the pretty stretch of beach.
We really enjoyed our time out on the water where Johann and the Captain pointed out interesting celebrity homes and the many mega yachts and sailboats that we passed along the way.
Encompassing 35-acres, Brazilian squirrel monkeys play in the trees, parrots live in a whimsical aviary in the courtyard, and the house designed by Frederic Clay Bartlett, is as unique and whimsical as the furnishings and the artifacts that the Bartlett's collected over the years. When Hugh Taylor Birch gave the land that is now Bonnet House as a wedding present to his daughter Helen and Frederic, I doubt that he could have even imagined how the property would develop into a fantasy of almost fairytale proportions that began with construction of the house in 1920, which was to be their winter home.
The house is completely captivating with its collection of art and furnishings, and the gardens are exquisite. Their lifetime legacy was one of helping the community and building a relationship with the Seminoles. Of particular interest for me was the wonderful collection of clothing artfully displayed that appeared as if Ivy was about to return at any moment.

King for Philemon Nathaniel Bryan in 1905, which is the oldest tourist hotel in Broward County and operated from 1905 until 1951, and now houses the Fort Lauderdale Historical Society's Museum of History. King in 1907 of Dade County pine where he lived with his family, and later became the residence of his eldest daughter Louise and her husband Bloxham Cromartie, the brother of Ivy Julia Cromartie, whom we had learned was the area's first teacher and later the wife of Frank Stranahan while visiting the Stranahan House Museum. One of our favorite trees in the park though was the 70-year old massive lofty fig towering like a living giant overhead. Cruz Rentals in the Adventures section where we zip around the Hugh Taylor Birch State Park riding electric bicycles, Segways, and even electric scooters. Cruz Rentals at the Hugh Taylor Birch State Park, it was time for an adventure of the retail kind at the Galleria Fort Lauderdale, an upscale mall boasting many shops and restaurants. Since the luxury hotel has a mere 22-rooms, the restaurant is open for hotel guests and their invited guests only. During our stay at the hotel, we had dinner at The Secret Garden and indulged in Smoked Baby Clam Chowder, Prosciutto Wrapped Sea Scallops, Duck Breast au Poivre, Mediterranean Style Swordfish, Pavlova, and Flourless Chocolate Cake, while watching the mega yachts glide by on the Intracoastal Waterway. Located in a strip mall, it is deceiving from the outside, however once inside, and greeted by Julian, a local celebrity in his own right, it is easy to see why regulars have been steadily coming since the restaurant opened in 1993, and why I had to share their secret. This visually stunning course had exceptional flavor to match its presentation, and was well paired with a 2007 Cartlidge & Browne Chardonnay from Napa Valley, California with a clean nose and palate of tropical fruit, light oak, and a crisp finish. The Secret Garden is an exclusive experience since reservations can only be made by hotel guests or members of the hotel’s dining club. Carmen's Luxury Travel brand gives Carmen the opportunity to pursuit her itch to travel to the best luxury destinations, and experience those first class tastes from around the world. I discovered this over three, brief days while being led to a whiskey den, a hidden craft coffee spot, and dining at chic waterfront tables. A snack bar serves energizing smoothies and the wine shop is well stocked with curated choices.
Arriving by foot and an impressive display of fresh seafood greeted us inside the front door. The flat breads were inspired, our sommelier very attentive and the courtyard Bocce ball course was tempting.
The place in general looks pretty amazing, thank you for bringing me there through your blog! Tragically, Helen died in 1925 of breast cancer, and in 1931, Frederic married Evelyn Fortune Lilly.
Predeceased by Frank who died in 1929 during the Depression, Ivy continued to live in the house until her death in 1971, often renting rooms and living in the attic when the family income had dramatically plummeted in order to maintain the house that the love of her life had built.
The family remained in the house until 1968, and in 1971, the house was barged to its present location in Smoker Park. We felt as if we had taken a short break from life in the fast lane and had taken a step back in time in Old Fort Lauderdale. Family owned by the Wysocki family since 2005, Brent, his wife Nina, and their 6-year old son Mathieu, rent bicycles, tandem bicycles, canoes, kayaks, rollerblades, and for more the adventuresome, electric bicycles, electric scooters, and even offer the very popular Segway tours.
Nesta, always on the lookout for a new adventure, really enjoyed playing with the fun new toys at M.
Located a short walk from the park, the mall felt deliciously cool after spending the morning playing outside in the bright Florida sunshine.
The ambience is attractive and comfortable, the food is excellent, and it is the type of restaurant where celebrities are frequently spotted. Proud Mary is best known for our Award-Winning Signature Crab Cakes and Golden Fried Chicken.
Sure, you can buy a card, pick up some supermarket roses, or snag a box of chocolates and call it a day, but your birthday or anniversary are supposed to be special, a day to let your inner romantic come out to play.
Meeting a charming sommelier, passionate chocolate vendor, cheese connoisseur and a mom who founded a craft brew cartel were some of the highlights along with bonding with fellow foodies.
Bonnet House continued to grow and thrive in Evelyn's care, becoming a place where they spent three months in the winter painting and lavishly entertaining. Although we have seen Segways in various parts of the country, this was our first attempt and found them so easy to ride that we were reluctant to leave them at the end of our tour. Additional seafood offerings include Proud Mary Shrimp, Tilapia Crab Calypso, and Honey-Teriyaki Grilled Salmon, to name just a few of our inspired seafood dishes. You can dine outside and enjoy the spectacular view of the beach if the heat allows but if not, the swank interior is a sight in itself. No meal is complete without our Hot Buttered Sweet Corn Cake Muffins, a must with every meal. These muffins are our most requested dish and many guests often order them to-go!Only outdone by our delicious menu, the Proud Mary experience is enhanced by our swanky decor.
Walls are adorned by some of the greatest Motown Artists such as Tina Turner, Aretha Franklin, and Sam Cook to name a few. The atmosphere is set with our soulful and soothing house music, or if you come on feature nights, you can have a live music experience that is uniquely designed for Proud Mary! Sports lovers will be pleased by our wall-mounted flat screen televisions throughout the restaurant including the Tiki Bar.
With several options from Off-Site Catering, to Private functions or Carryout, we can customize a menu to fit your need.

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