Born in Beirut, Lebanon, Chef Federico Elkarout traveled across the Mediterranean Sea to hone his culinary skills in Italy. At Sirocco Mediterranean Restaurant & Lounge, he fashions local produce, tender meats, and fresh seafood into a menu that fuses the cuisines of the two countries. He grills halumi cheese infused with basil, tomato, and balsamic vinegar, tosses spaghetti with seasonal vegetables and lamb ragu, and serves fillets of wild-caught salmon with persimmons and seaweed salad. Careful presentation makes each dish appetizing to the eyes, which may fill with saliva rather than tears.
The restaurant's subdued lighting casts a glow over persimmon-orange walls, and white ceiling tapestries frame a central chandelier. Sips of wine and mixed drinks complement dinners and desserts such as housemade cheesecake and baklava.
During the boisterous shows at Sopranos Dueling Piano bar, pianists take the stage and play popular tunes as audience members clap, dance, and sing along. Meanwhile, bartenders dole out 24 varieties of beer and an array of colorful cocktails—including the frozen margarita lauded by reporters from South Florida Sun-Sentinel for providing "the perfect amount of pucker." Servers bustle about the tabletops in the dimly lit space, balancing trays of wings, burgers, and coconut shrimp with sweet-chili dipping sauce.
Flamingo Road Nursery owner Jim Dezell is used to the surprise on people's faces when they come to the nursery for the first time. "People commonly come in and say, ‘Wow, I never knew there was a garden center like this,’" he says. Maybe they're wowed by the park-like landscaping, complete with display gardens designed to inspire shoppers with ideas for plant combinations. Maybe they're blown away at the fountains, statues, and thousands of pieces of pottery. Or maybe they've just seen the pond surrounded by colorfully painted "shops" and palm trees. It's a "true experience" that's as much about shopping as it is about creating "memory and traditions", wrote Today's Garden Center in 2011, when it picked Flamingo Road Nursery as the most revolutionary garden center in the nation.
In addition to helping shoppers navigate the selection of flowers, trees, and other plants, the knowledgeable staff can also help them complete landscaping projects with outdoor artwork, waterfalls, and more. "It's professional advice here," says Jim. "We really try to understand our customers' needs and offer solutions that will both excite them and provide long-term enjoyment." He even recommends people bring in dimensions and photos of their space so the staff can get a better idea of what will grow well there. Flamingo Road Nursery offers delivery and complete installation services. Other garden-centric items, such as fountains and colorful adirondack furniture, give customers more chances to enjoy their outdoor living spaces.
The nursery also hosts an on-site Farmers Market shop, which hosts a large assortment of fresh fruits, vegetables, and artisan foods—some of the produce is even picked at the nursery itself. On the weekends, a beekeeper visits the store to explain how bees make honey to visiting kids, using the in-store observation beehive as a teaching tool. The nursery holds seasonal celebrations as well, including an annual fall festival with pumpkin patch and a Christmas festival replete with sleigh rides, Santa visits, and a Christmas tree forest.
Once Upon a Quilt empowers needle wielders with quilting, knitting, and crocheting classes and a stock of more than 2,500 bolts of fabric from brands such as Amy Butler and Hoffman Batiks. Students in the seven-week Beginning Quilting class cut their quilting teeth on a pattern specially designed for first-timers ($100), while the Writers Block Quilt guides more experienced needles to stitch a two-color quilt ($35). Alternately, develop crocheting skills in Crochet 101 for later use crafting hats or breaking world records with 20-ton hacky sacks ($35).
Fabric gurus at Tiffany Fabrics draw upon 37 years of textile savvy to transform interiors with more than 7,500 bolts of imported fabrics. The vast selection ranges from classic oriental and paisley patterns to modern-day animal prints and binary codes. Staff happily consult with customers to discern the best fabrics for their home-accessorizing needs, and match fabrics with thousands of trimmings, tassels and tiebacks. Once clients home in on their ideal fabric, Tiffany Fabrics' carpentry crew can fit it to furniture of all sizes.