The Best $10 You Will Ever Spend

by Mercedes J

Bright lights, loud music, free drinks, and people dancing their asses off. No, we aren’t at an NSU undergrad house party, we are playing bingo. But not your Nana’s type of bingo, a new wave of energetic, glow stick fist pumping fun called Cosmic Bingo at The Seminole Casino Hollywood.  Every Friday night at 10pm, ten bones will get you 12 bingo cards and two free drink tickets.  Proclaim “Bingo!” simultaneously with a fellow competitor and expect to dance your way to win the cash prize. The bingo dance party attracts quite an eclectic crowd and it is an experience you definitely don’t want to miss. Here are some of the highlights from my recent visit to Seminole Hollywood Casino:

What I love about Cosmic Bingo:

  • Tons of prizes and free stuff – Twelve bingo cards means 12 games and 12 cash prizes worth $100 each. Not to mention they host two general dace offs for anyone who wants to give it a go, one at the beginning of the night and one at intermission for a cash prize. As previously mentioned, you also receive two free drink vouchers.  Be sure to check the floor – you are likely to find more blue stubs warranting you additional booze. But that’s not all; the energetic DJ will throw 100s of free glow-in-the dark jewelry from his ivory tower to your grasping hands.

  • The Dance offs – If you tie a competitor during a bingo game, you will need to win over the audience with your best dance moves in order to claim the cash prize. When I was there, the first bingo tie resulted in a dance off between a 20 something male and a 50 something woman. The DJ introduced the dueling couple as “woman versus you, the dude who has no chance.”   The second dance-off was between an 80-year-old man wearing suspenders who dropped it lower than the interest rates of 2005.  How he didn’t break a hip continues to astound me, but he won $300 for those moves.

  • Smoking – Bring your favorite pack of ciggies, because you can smoke your face off at the Casino. There is an ash tray every four feet and one on every bingo table.

  • Clean toilets – I heart a toilet with an automatic rotating plastic thingy, one can rejoice in the fact that you can sit on the john without any sanitation worries. But I have one question, is there an endless supply of clean plastic in that automatic rotating thingy or is the plastic seat cover just going around in circles? Let’s hope for the former.

  • Great elbow room at the spacious tables – I couldn’t get over how much space each individual had at the long rectangular tables. Even if you weigh 1000 pounds, you will not touch the person beside you. Think of it as your own personal dance/bingo zone.

A few cons:

  • The doors to the bingo room remain closed until 10pm. This means that droves of eager bingo players are lining up and anxiously waiting to get their groove on.  As I impatiently stood in line to enter the room, I had a horrific flashback of the similar cow herding that occurred during my last flight on Southwest Airlines. Yuck.

  • I hate to complain about free booze, but I need to be honest about the alcohol at Cosmic Bingo.  The putrid libations will leave a bitter taste in your mouth, literally.  Remember the handle bars of Aristocrat that as an underage drinker you convinced the homeless guy standing outside of the liquor store to buy for you?  Yes, the alcohol at Cosmic Bingo is that bad — similar to that of a REALLY low budget wedding, keg beer and all.

As my Cosmic Bingo evening came to a close, I looked across the table to my new friend Mindy, as she yelled “This is the best $10 I have ever spent!”  I agree Mindy, Cosmic Bingo is the TRUTH!

Seminole Casino Hollywood

4150 N State Rd 7, Hollywood


The Bonnet House Museum & Gardens

by Mercedes J

The Bonnet House

Ninety-one years ago, Hugh Taylor Birch gave a lavish wedding gift to his daughter and new son-in-law; the grounds to a tropical 35 acre estate.  One year later, the couple began construction to build a unique oceanfront winter retreat for their family.  In 1983, the last surviving owner of the home, Evelyn Fortune Bartlett made the largest charitable donation in Florida’s history by donating the home to the Florida Trust for Historic Perseveration.

The home’s architectural theme was intended to capture creativity without the lavishness of comparable homes in the area. Their artistic and eccentric dwelling is now known as The Bonnet House.  According to tour guides, the appellation came from the sight of alligators peeking their heads from the waterways along the front of the home.  When the alligators surfaced, flowers and lily pads often clung to their heads, resembling a bonnet hat.

Today the historic home is open as a museum and whimsical locale for special events. The Preservation society strives to conserve the integrity of the home by featuring original artwork, furnishings, and décor. Visitors will not only find avant-garde artwork from home owner — the late Frederick Clay Bartlett, yet also various paintings and sculptures the family collected. The grounds house five separate ecosystems in addition to the beautiful gardens and courtyards. Tours of the property are offered Tuesday-Saturday 10:00am to 4:00pm and Sundays 11:00am to 4:00pm.  To tour only the grounds costs $10.  A guided tour is $20.00 and there are special discounts for seniors and young children. From August 12-September 5 you can view the exhibit of artists: Sandra Camper, Barbara Dix, George Dolan, and Sandy Dolan.  Check the Bonnet House website for other special events, exhibits, and additional information –

The Bonnet House Museum & Gardens

900 N. Birch Road

Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304

The Grateful Palate – Yes It Is

by Kate and Mercedes J
The Grateful Palate on Urbanspoon

Every now and again, the high faloutin’ members of the FTLC enjoy some posh winin’ and dinin’.  Recently, Kate and Mercedes J took pleasure in each other’s company at the intimate and swanky restaurant, The Grateful Palate.  Tucked inside a strip mall off 17th Street Causeway, we were surprised to find such a culinary gem located beside a pawn shop and a Subway sandwich shop.

The Ambience

Upon entering the Grateful Palate we were greeted with a welcoming smile from the host who escorted us to a table.  The gorgeous restaurant is small and intimate with warm earth tone décor, dim lights, and lounge-esque furniture. The eatery is separated into two halves with one being a wine bar and lounge, the other a small dining room with approximately 10 tables.  We were seated in the lounge section at a cozy table for two which was almost too comfortable. “It’s like sitting atop a soggy marshmallow,” Mercedes J remarked regarding the plush seat cushions.


5 Spots for after 5 o’ clock

by Mercedes J.

The finish line from the hectic work week rat race is just within sight. Yet, instead of being handed a refreshing Gatorade as you sprint across the proverbial vocational finish line, imagine the end flowing with glasses of beer, wine, and appetizers. The FTLC recommends 5 spots for this Friday after 5 o’ clock.

The Riverside Market Café

608 SW 12th Avenue

In celebration of the North Fork New River Bridge reopening after a year long repair, the Riverside Market Café is hosting a gourmet food and craft beer pairing this Friday evening beginning at 6pm until 8pm. Join the neighborhood celebration with delicious noshings and microbrews for $15.00 entry fee.

Himmarshee Bar and Grill – Side Bar

210 SW 2nd St

Swanky restaurant and bar, Himmarshee Side Bar, is hosting a special summertime “Appy Hour” which includes $2 appetizers such as ancho guava glazed chicken wings or blue cheese stuffed dates along with buy one get one free drinks from 5-8pm.  Although the apps portions are somewhat minuscule, you can order five and still only spend $10! Not too shabby.

Las Olas Gourmet and Wine

111 SE Eighth Ave

Every Friday beginning at 7pm, this food and wine market offers an all you can drink wine tasting featuring large selections of wines for $40 per person.  The friendly owners typically offer some of their mouth-watering food along with great company and music.

Bamboo Beach Tiki Bar @ Ocean Manor Resort

4040 Galt Ocean Mile Dr

Along the pristine beach of Galt Ocean Mile is the beautiful Ocean Manor Resort. Poolside at the Tiki Bar, enjoy your favorite island libation at a reduced rate for (happy hour 5-7pm) while listening to waves crash on the sandy Ft. Lauderdale shore.

Southport Raw Bar

1536 Cordova Rd

Rustic Southport Raw Bar offers food and beer specials from 4-7pm. After you disembark your private yacht (most likely named Aquaholics) at the free boat dock, kick your feet up on the patio and enjoy $3 bottle beer or $6.50 pitchers along with $6 clams, shrimp, and wings.

Monk Parakeets…the Spawn of Satan?

by Mercedes J

The devil himself

Last Saturday morning at approximately 7:30am, I groggily rolled over on my comfy king size bed and relished the fact that it was the weekend.  Since I did not have to get up to do anything of significance, I relaxed and starfished across the mattress.

*Squawk! Squawk! Squawk!* What the hell is that God awful racket? I tried to return to my peaceful slumber but the raucous cacophony from some mysterious creatures continued. The noise proceeded for the rest of my once peaceful morning until I finally went outside to my balcony only to see a flight of unidentifiable green whoosh past me. I soon realized that my home was being raided by a flock of Monk Parakeets, aka little tiny spawns of Satan.

Monk Parakeets look innocent enough and some Ft. Lauderdalians may even describe these feral birds as cute.  These small green and white siblings to the parrot are native to Argentina and surrounding South American countries. This species of bird was brought to South Florida in the late 60s for the pet trade.  However, many of the parakeets escaped bird sanctuaries during storms and/or were intentionally released by their owners. Now, South Florida is estimated to house over 100,000 of the birds.

The Monk Parakeet is the only parrot that builds a stick nest in a tree (or the side of one’s apartment complex), that could potentially reach the size of a small car.  A small colony of screeching parakeets are currently hard at work building the home of their dreams directly above my boudoir window.

It is not suggested that anyone try to destroy a Monk Parakeet’s nest by themselves, as the birds are likely to reconstruct their homes as soon as it is taken down. The best solution for preventing parakeet communities from being formed in your area is to notify a bird removal/critter control agency to remove the nests as soon as you notice them.

If these parakeets are going to continue to wake me up at the crack of dawn, then I am going to play music as loud as possible while they are asleep at night.   While I wait for a peaceful removal of my new unwelcome neighbors by critter control, a war of woman vs. parakeet has begun.