Thursday, February 24, 2011

Heart Rock Sushi Restaurant of Fort Lauderdale

Sushi is not really about flavor as much as texture. Everything is usually made bite-size you can eat it in one bite, which is more proper.
                                                                                         -Tim Hoffman

No matter where I go in the world (which is almost always near the ocean), I always try to find a sushi place. Over the past 8 years, I have been to "Heart Rock Sushi" in Fort Lauderdale a number of times, and have always been pleased.
Many of you may remember Ivan, who helped us out at Ogunquit Beach Inn from 2005, 06 & 07. Ivan now lives in Fort Lauderdale and attends Broward College as an architecture student. I haven't seen Ivan this winter yet, so I thought it would be great to spend some time on the Fort Lauderdale  beach and then grab some sushi nearby...
Heart Rock Sushi is located on East Sunrise Avenue at the Gateway Plaza, next to Victoria Park.  The plaza is a hip destination with a real  record store, Japanese market, mid-century furniture stores, gift stores and other restaurants. Its also close to the uber cool Gateway Theatre, which features first run alternative themed films. So its always a great place to start an evening with plenty to see and do.

We decided to get the Sushi Boat for two which featured 12 pieces of assorted sushi, 16 pieces of sashimi and two rolls with miso soup (price $46 for two). We were hungry!

Heart Rock also features Thai food and other Japanese favorites. The restaurant is popular with the local crowd and gets busy in the evening. There is a bar where sushi is made fresh or you can sit at a table or booth. The Sushi was fresh and plentiful with yellow fin tuna. The sashimi was delicious!!!
The Details:
Heart Rock Sushi
1970 E Sunrise Boulevard (Gateway Plaza)
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304
Atmosphere is casual with a Tokyo Rock n Roll vibe. Service was excellent, Prices are modest  with few specials. Atmosphere is 1960's mid-century shopping plaza close to beaches and trendy Victoria Park. The restaurant features a full liquor license and has busy lunch crowd. The restaurant also has outside dining.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Swim Practice.....

Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air… 
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
50 Yard Short course, Pompano Aquatics Center

Swim practice with the Hammerheads reminds me of summer camp in Maine when I was a kid: A bunch of guys in the pool with a coach giving us an exhausting workout. I ran just five miles today on the beach at a slow pace. I didn't want to wear myself out for the noon workout.

Coach John Grzeszczak started the workout with a warm-up of  75 yards x 9 at 1.30 minute intervals.
We then went to  50 yards x 12 at 1.20 minute with  pull buoy ( which gave us some needed rest).
The next set was 100 yards x 3 plus a 50 yard at 2.15 minute interval three times, all out!
We ended with a 100 yard cool down.

Just like summer camp, its time to have chow in the mess hall! ( Basically cookout at Jay's house!)

(Photos courtesy of Tim Luznar)

For more information about Hammerhead Aquatics visit:

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Harp Seals in Ogunquit

We forget that the water cycle and the life cycle are one.
Jacques Yves Cousteau

        (Photo courtesy of Sharma Damren)

While walking Ogunquit beach, you'll never know what you may see. Beachcombers, seagulls, and other marine life frequents this unique stretch of sand in the north Atlantic.
The weather is fickle in Maine during the winter, but today highs reached 50 degrees (10c), and a harp seal decided to sun herself on Ogunquit beach. Yes, I said "herself". Harp seals are native to the Arctic and Canada. During the latter winter months stretching into spring, some harp seals will migrate to Maine waters and sun themselves. According to Lynda Doughty of Maine Marine Patrol Hotline, this was uncommon 10 years ago.
Harp seals coats are thick with blubber, and are quite adaptable to cold weather. They are more solitary than harbor and gray seals. If you happen to see a seal on the beach, do not be alarmed. These large mammals will play dead, and are not in distress according to Maine Marine Patrol.

Map shows migration patterns of harp seals. Seals are now migrating further into Maine waters.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Vintage Fort Lauderdale, 100 years in the making

Fort Lauderdale celebrates its centennial birthday this year. Its hard to believe how much this city has evolved in 100 years. This birthday memorial stands proudly on the beach.

In 1892 Dade county authorized a rock road between Palm Beach and Lemon City (now North Miami). An overnight camp and ferry crossing was established at the New River ( downtown Fort Lauderdale). At the mouth of the New River a flourishing trading post was established with the local Indians and a few Anglo families that lived in the area. By 1896 The Florida East Coast Railway reached southward to Fort Lauderdale. This opened up more trade with people and allowed more goods and construction items to enter this part of Florida. By 1911 the little trading post increased in size and was incorporated as the City of Fort Lauderdale.

The scenery has changed and evolved. Agriculture, Army Corps of Engineers and developers have made and impact on this city. Here are some mid-centry photos of Fort Lauderdale beach.
This art deco hotel still stands, but has been redevloped.

 This mid-century view is of the Fort Lauderdale Yacht Club from the Bahia Mar. During the 1950's this was the world's largest yacht basin. Fort Lauderdale is often called the Venice of America because of all the canals and waterways.
This is Fort Lauderdale beach looking north from Las Olas Blvd in the mid 1950's

This is a modern view of Fort Lauderdale beach looking north.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Quality Diner of Fort Lauderdale Review

Its a ritual that takes place all over the USA:  a big Sunday morning breakfast! My buddy, Jay was raving about the "Quality Diner" of Wilton Manors. So, Mike and I decided to meet Jay at the "Quality" for a hearty breakfast after our morning run on Fort Lauderdale beach!
Over the years, I never got a chance to try this place out. The generic marquee sign with the standard pizza-box-caricature-chef turned me off....But to my surprise, the inside of the diner was modern, clean and well lit. The diner is Greek owned, so there are faux Doric columns and wonderful pictures of Greek villages that adorn the walls.
I tried the "turkey" omelet. I was quite happy with the omelet. According to the menu, all omelets are made with four eggs, and fresh ingredients. The turkey was fresh chunks of white turkey meat! The meal was accompanied by a side of home fries, wheat toast. Coffee was bottomless!!

My buddy Jay tried the "country fried steak" with homemade biscuit and gravy on the side.,....

All in all, the quality diner is good. Its a good value. Prices are moderate and actually relatively cheap during the weekdays with various specials. Menu is extensive with lunch and dinner with many "Greek-American" favorites. There is a turkey dinner special that I would like to try for only $9.95.

The Details:
1417 Northeast 26th Street
Wilton Manors, FL 33305
Telephone 954-564-2858
Prices are cheap to moderate. Located next to Wilton Station near "Five Points" in Wilton Manors. Servers are friendly and chatty. Will go again, just to try the turkey dinner!