People & Places

  • Best Mafia Hangout

    Café Martorano

    Owned by relatives of famed Philly mobster Raymond "Long John" Martorano, this pricey ristorante serves up some fine pasta. Just ask our finest suspected local mobsters. Wiseguys like "Sideburns" Cerrella, Vinnie "The Fish" Romano, and Jimmy Tortoriello have all frequented the place, according to intelligence reports from organized-crime detectives. We wondered why the Sinatra tunes were played at high volume;… More >>
  • Best Place To See Someone Feed Alligators (Though it's not a good idea to feed alligators)

    Buffalo Tiger's Florida Everglades Airboat Tours

    Buffalo Tiger's is a little shack by the side of the Tamiami Trail on the Miccosukee Indian Reservation. They give a fine airboat ride, complete with fancy maneuvering and a stop at an abandoned Miccosukee village on an island. The real thrill, however, comes when you're waiting for the ride. Stand by the dock, make some guttural grunting noises (or… More >>
  • Best Venue for National Acts

    Sunrise Musical Theatre

    Once we discovered this concert venue, we vowed never to go to one of those megastadiums where you need binoculars to see the act -- on the screen! With just 4000 seats, this theater provides an intimate setting in which all ticket holders can actually see the performer. We think there isn't a bad seat in the house.… More >>
  • Best Daily Newspaper Writer/Palm Beach County

    Paul Reid

    Paul Reid is The Palm Beach Post's big hitter -- and deservedly so. He does what he wants and does it well. We still recall a Reid piece on cockfighting from a couple years back that was as beautifully raw as a peck to the eye. His prose is elegant, concise, witty -- in short, everything… More >>
  • Best Scandal

    Tonya Whyte's run-in with the morality police

    Whyte got the shaft (pun intended) when sheriff's deputies busted her and others doing their thing at Athena's Forum, a swingers' club, in January 1999. Whyte claimed all along that she was engaged in nothing more lewd than a little suggestive dancing with her fiancé. Two undercover cops lounging clothing-free in a nearby hot tub, however, claim they saw some… More >>
  • Best TV News Anchor

    Ben Mankiewicz

    If a good newscast is aired in a sensation-drenched market and nobody watches, did it really happen? While you're pondering that one, tune in to WAMI at 10 p.m. on a weeknight for The Times. Though often uneven, The Times never suffers from a lack of ambition. Better yet, the show displays that rarest of TV-news qualities: a sense of… More >>
  • Best Public Art

    Accordant Zones

    No, the term "Best Public Art" isn't necessarily an oxymoron, even though a lot of what passes for public art in South Florida may be public but is hardly art, or at least good art. We used to wonder what on earth possessed the county to spend money on Accordant Zones, the pair of 1995 coral-rock sculptures by Ned Smyth… More >>
  • Best Political Gaffe

    Jeb Bush uncensored

    The governor wins this easily for getting caught on camera saying, "Kick their asses out." It's not so much the words, which aren't exactly governorly, but it's that he said it at a sit-in at Bush's executive office suite while two black legislators protested his "One Florida" plan. Jeb made his remark while the camera was rolling. Our friend, Jon… More >>
  • Best Flack

    Mike Reed

    Police departments in general are notoriously secretive and manipulative with their information. Some of the secretiveness is for good reason -- if a crucial fact in an ongoing investigation gets out to the press, it could hurt the case. The manipulation comes into play when a key fact could make the cops look bad. Like the fact that… More >>
  • Best Political Battle

    Broward County's strong mayor proposal

    It had all the ingredients of an epic: A diminutive wannabe dictator (Ken Jenne) angling behind the scenes for a colossal power-grab; a protectionist gang of ethically questionable politicos who will stop at nothing to retain their preeminence (county commissioners); and a horde of profiteers angling on both sides of the issue (lobbyists and contractors). In politics, battles are almost… More >>
  • Best Daily Newspaper Writer/ Broward County

    José Lambiet

    Admit it. You read Lambiet's "South Florida Insider" in the Sun-Sentinel. Everybody does. (That's why The Herald tried to lure him away, unsuccessfully.) While the rest of the Sun-Sentinel aims for -- and usually achieves -- a sleepy weave of the banal and irrelevant, Lambiet's writing is solid, punchy, and fun. It may carry more cachet… More >>
  • Best Correction

    Sun-Sentinel, November 23, 1999

    One has to ponder the reliability of a newspaper when it gets the name of its own employee wrong. Makes you wonder exactly how badly the daily hacks butcher the name of your average Joe Blow whose house burns down or who gets busted for snorting coke off the toilet seat at his local dive bar. So, for posterity's sake:… More >>
  • Best Politician

    Stephanie Kraft

    The best -- and worst -- politicians are the renegades, the ones who challenge the good old boy system and aren't afraid to be impolite. The best of these generate a better and more just government, while the worst simply hem and haw at everything while getting absolutely nothing accomplished. School board member Stephanie Kraft falls… More >>
  • Best Political Activist

    Pete Brewer

    Since tasting outrage at his first glimpse of that circus otherwise known as the Hollywood City Commission some three decades ago, Brewer has led a plucky group of activists who keep an eye on the often questionable dealings at Hollywood City Hall. Some politicians brush aside Brewer, a Tennessee native with a deep Southern drawl and a sweep of white… More >>
  • Best Local Boy Gone Bad

    FBI Agent David Farrall

    Some are undoubtedly on a power trip, but most people who choose law enforcement as a career do so out of some sense of community service. That puts them on the ladder of humanity a rung above the apathetic masses. But it doesn't mean they're perfect, and when they use or abuse their positions of authority, they're even worse than… More >>
  • Best Place To See A Virgin

    DiVito by the Sea

    We're not talking about some long-limbed nubile tourist girl who's down for the season and looking to get deflowered. We're referring to the real deal, the blue-robed diva of Catholicism, the Mother of all mothers. For roughly 40 years, the DiVito motel and its Virgin Mary statue have hosted tourists, ever since original owner Antonio DiVito decided to erect a… More >>
  • Best Mile Of Broward/Palm Beach

    SW 136th Avenue, south of I-595

    You were expecting us to say A1A, Las Olas Boulevard, or Clematis Street. But we're contrarians to the core, so we're going to impart a warm sense of confusion by naming this out-of-the-way residential through street as the finest little drive in our neck of the woods. Before you get all apoplectic, hop in the jalopy and check it out.… More >>
  • Best Place To Beat The Heat

    Broward County Main Library

    There's a reason you can get really cheap flights to Fort Lauderdale in, say, mid-August: The weather sizzles. It's not that the weather here is significantly worse during the summer months than it is in any other East Coast city south of the Mason-Dixon Line, but it seems to go on forever. In South Florida summer runs from April to… More >>
  • Best Place To Walk Your Dog

    Poinciana Park

    It doesn't look like much, just a big square of vacant land with a few benches thrown around, but for your pet this park is like doggy Disneyland. Cooped up all day while their owners are making a living to keep them in Kibbles, the canines are turned loose at Poinciana Park. There is no snobbery, cliquishness or breedism among… More >>
  • Best Rich and Famous House Tour

    Royal Palm Yacht & Country Club

    Why wait till next season for the heavily attended Boca Raton Historical Society's annual house tour that'll cost you big bucks (that's because it's a fundraising event) when every Sunday at the non-security-gated Royal Palm Yacht & Country Club in Boca Raton, you can casually walk through at least four open houses. Call it a self-guided tour through lavish homes… More >>
  • Best Place To Poll God

    Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church

    It's here that the people of Broward County, and indeed all the world, can come to find out God's stance on all the hot political issues of the day. The good Rev. D. James Kennedy calls his white, towering church, "God's house," and that's where the Creator lets his political views be known. Gay rights? Not on your eternal life.… More >>
  • Best Tourist Trap

    Jungle Queen Riverboat

    You, too, can get taken -- in this case for a three-hour ride on a river no wider than a couple of back yards, past some houses owned by rich people (and known as Millionaires Row) and a couple of thatched-roof buildings known as "Indian Village." It's all very nice and safe, and the big double-decker boat waddles… More >>
  • Best Place for a History Lesson

    The vacant lot at the northwest corner of Tamarind Avenue and 25th Street

    Before the sign went up, most people drove past this vacant lot and didn't give it a second thought. Shame on them. Actually, shame on all of us. Shame on the South Florida history we never learned and still don't teach. This is no empty lot. This is a mass grave -- unmarked -- where almost… More >>
  • Best Website

    You Don't Say

    Are you convinced that illegal drugs are a Chinese plot to destabilize American society? That public schools are nothing but indoctrination camps for liberal ideology about gays, premarital sex, and revisionist American history? Do you think the United Nations is Satan's presence on Earth? Then you need to pay a visit to Fred Gielow's Web page, You Don't Say. Based… More >>
  • Best Name For A New Business

    Crime Scene Clean-Up

    Nothing like being direct, we always say. This Broward County business has a moniker that, emblazoned on the side of its van, certainly inspires curiosity from other motorists. Walter Philbrick, a former Hialeah police officer who worked in homicide, decided to cash in on an untapped market when he retired. It seems the last thing relatives want to do after… More >>
  • Best Hotel/Palm Beach County

    The Breakers

    Your first glimpse of the Breakers' history of indulgence comes as you approach the imposing Italian Renaissance structure from the driveway. Walk past the limos and into the lobby, where Venetian chandeliers and gold leaf ceilings accentuate the feeling of opulence. The tapestries and fresh flowers further confirm it. This is old money. The original hotel was built more than… More >>
  • Best Place To Spot Tight-Bunned Boys

    The Coliseum

    Yeah, there's a hint at a Greek motif because of the sporadic temple columns jutting from floor to ceiling, but club revelers care less about décor and more about where the boys are. And some of the hottest are grinding ass on the bar with barely a shoestring dividing one glorious cheek from the other. Saturday's the main night, with… More >>
  • Best Hair On The Air

    Jennifer Gould

    Let's start by categorically dismissing all male news dudes. When it comes to hair, there's really no variety at all to be found on their heads. (We will reserve comment on what's in their heads.) The only approved style, apparently, is close-cropped. Just once we'd like to see a guy sporting a luxuriant 'fro detail the tragic results of a… More >>
  • Best Place To Watch A NASCAR Race

    Freddie's Anchor Sports Grill

    Don't let the anchors, saltwater aquarium, or back-lot dolphin mural fool you. It's not the nautical motif that packs the house on weekends. It's Freddie's reverent devotion to all things NASCAR that keeps local motorheads coming back for more. Three big-screen televisions and 23 regular-size ones dutifully show high-speed action and frenzied cheers of NASCAR, Busch, and Winston Cup races.… More >>
  • Best Pro Athlete

    Alonzo Mourning

    One syllable. Two letters. Six feet, ten inches of lean, sculpted muscle. ZO! Lots of great athletes have earned their single-name recognition: Michael, Shaq, Sweetness, Magic, the Babe. And although achievement generally precedes such recognition, this year Miami Heat center Alonzo Mourning took a huge leap forward in both realms. Zo spent his first few seasons here carrying the weight… More >>
  • Best Florida Panther

    Pavel Bure

    Even watching at home on an 18-inch television screen, peering through cigarette smoke and sipping beer, this much is clear: Every time Pavel Bure touches the puck, the game is demonstrably altered. Number 10 seems to explode across the ice, gathering the puck at the blue line and snapping it past another unsuspecting goalie before you can say, "Holy perestroika,… More >>
  • Best Reason To Live In South Florida

    The light

    So many reasons from which to choose… the weather, the cornucopia of exposed flesh, the fact that a Dunkin' Donuts is never more than a block or two away. Yes, these are nice things you can't find in Cleveland, but what really sets us apart down here is the quality of the light. Natives say you can tell the season… More >>
  • Best Florida Marlin

    Preston Wilson

    Forearms with tendons that resemble banyan roots, only they move. A cool and collected toughness that spells B-I-G T-I-M-E. Just 7 percent body fat on a musculature that is at once drop-jaw beautiful and downright frightening. Be afraid. Yes, be very afraid, because it's Preston Wilson, a young man simply dripping with uncanny talent and blockbuster potential. Last year as… More >>
  • Best Jockey

    Jorge Chavez

    They call him "Chop Chop," and not necessarily with admiration. In the blueblood circles of horseracing, Jorge Chavez has long been looked upon with a wary eye for his demonstrative (some would say brutal) use of the whip. But at four feet, ten inches -- tiny even by jockey standards -- Chavez leverages every ounce of… More >>
  • Best Weekend Getaway

    On the Banks of the Everglades Bed and Breakfast Inn

    If you're like us, you're repelled by the very idea of a bed-and-breakfast. Who in his right mind can relax in somebody else's house while surrounded at the breakfast table by a bunch of overfriendly yahoo tourists? Ugh. A friggin' Motel 6 sounds better than that. But the Banks of the Everglades is a different kind of bed-and-breakfast. You get… More >>
  • Best Hotel/Broward County

    Hyatt Regency Pier Sixty Six

    When we pulled into port and took a turn to starboard, there it was: 16 floors of rest and respite from the seas. We had brought our 148-foot yacht (The Lucky Journalist) in from a winter tour of the Caribbean. Our captain, Raphael, thought it best to bring the ship to the mainland before hurricane season and give the crew… More >>
  • Best Bed-and-Breakfast

    Hibiscus House

    There's something for everyone's taste and budget at Hibiscus House, built in 1922 and situated in the quaint historic Old Northwood section of West Palm Beach. There's the garden room with its four-poster bed and private terrace; the burgundy suite with its own private staircase that leads to an elegant sitting room with wet bar and an equally elegant bedroom.… More >>
  • Best Place To Spot Celebrities

    Mar-a-Lago

    In 1985 Donald Trump bought this famous mansion on the Atlantic, added lots of gold plating, and turned it into a private club and spa for very special people. Sort of a bed-and-breakfast for the well-to-do. Mar-a-Lago is open to just about anybody who can pony up the $100,000 membership fee without jeopardizing the kids' college fund. If you are… More >>
  • Best Matchmaker

    Betsey Chesler

    Before there was online dating, Betsey Chesler met her husband through a dating service. Now he's her ex-husband. "So, I know how not to match people," Chesler likes to say. When she decided to start her own online dating service, one of the only ones that also offers video dating online, she researched the field to find what the authorities… More >>
  • Best Place To See What's Left Of Broward's Undeveloped Coastline

    John U. Lloyd Beach State Park

    Egad. Two hundred and fifty three acres of primo Broward coast with nary a condominium or strip mall in sight? Yep. John U. Lloyd unfurls its sands and native Florida flora and fauna between Dania Beach and Port Everglades with a narrow tidal waterway winding through the park's length. Rent a canoe and you can cruise through this creek's mangrove-fringed… More >>
  • Best Scenic Drive

    Hollywood Boulevard between Young Circle and the beach

    Hollywood founder Joseph Young planned one part of this city right: You'd be hard-pressed to find a prettier place in all of Broward County to whiz by than this stretch. We despise those treacherous circles, but once you navigate your way through them, you reap the reward: four spacious lanes lined by 30-foot palm trees and stately pastel houses. There… More >>
  • Best Local Landmark

    Stranahan House

    If you live here, you've heard this name many times, sometimes as the subject of political squabbles and usually as a place commanding the respect of history lovers. The politics seems typical: a developer wanted to put up a 38-story high-rise on the site of the market next door, and Stranahan House lovers fought the plan, taking it to the… More >>
  • Best Place To Take Out-Of-Towners

    Heliflight Helicopter Air Tours

    Let's get serious -- driving your visitors around the crowded roads of Broward or Palm Beach county to get to the beach or the restaurant or the Everglades is OK if you like traffic jams and they don't mind not seeing it all. But there is a way around that which we figure is cheap at the price:… More >>
  • Best Tacky Florida Kitsch

    The Finger

    It's hard to believe that this monument to bad taste has been with us for so long already, but it was back in April 1998 that Al Goldstein, publisher of the fine skin mag Screw, installed the giant stone sculpture of a disembodied palm and fingers in his back yard. Now on view to all who pass by his million-dollar… More >>
  • Best Church on the Other Side of the Tracks

    Greater Trinity Baptist Church

    Greater Trinity Baptist is literally west of the railroad tracks that separate Dania Beach's haves from the haves-not-as-much -- the traditionally white part of town from the black. In one year Rev. Louis Sanders drove off the drug dealers who used to lurk behind his church, scaring parishioners and forcing a momentous decline in attendance. Then he resurrected… More >>
  • Best Little-Known Attraction

    Treasure Coast Wildlife Hospital

    It pays to have friends up north (i.e., Martin County). Otherwise we would never have found out about the Treasure Coast Wildlife Hospital, which provides short- and long-term care for wounded, sick, or orphaned critters 24 hours a day. More than 100 permanently impaired animals call this 25-year-old place home, including a one-winged bald eagle, a one-eyed pelican, and a… More >>
  • Best Park

    Snyder Park

    This is a tough category in a county with such gems as Markham Park in Sunrise and the great beach parks maintained by the state, John U. Lloyd and Hugh Taylor Birch. Our pick is Snyder, an unpretentious city park of 93 acres that offers everything you need in a park, and all on a city budget. Snyder has two… More >>
  • Best Sign Renovation

    Don Bailey Carpets sign

    Last year in this space we kind of goofed on Don Bailey, who is now a senior citizen but posed nude on his carpet at the age of 40 and has used the resultant painting to sell his wares ever since. You've seen the signs, where Bailey is propped on his side, wearing a slightly suggestive smile and little else.… More >>
  • Best Alternative Medicine Man

    Robert D. Willix, Jr., M.D.

    When was the last time your doctor prescribed laugh therapy? Or spent one-and-one-half to two hours with you on your initial visit? And really listened to more than just the beating of your heart? Robert Willix does. Sure, it'll cost ya -- $375 to $500. (Follow-up visits, usually four to six weeks later, cost $75.) And no, your… More >>
  • Best place to bury a pet

    The City of Boca Raton Animal Shelter Pet Cemetery

    It's so peaceful here. So serene. So well cared for. Some people, like 78-year-old Malka Lewin, come every day to visit their dearly departed pets and to tend to the décor they've created at the little gravesites: plants, photos, statues. A lot of credit goes to cemetery manager Jim Kovalcik, who has been working here for more than 13 years.… More >>
  • Best Yoga Instructor

    Vera Paley

    If you've never done hatha yoga before, instructor Vera Paley is your gal. She specializes in teaching novices (though she teaches intermediate levels too) in a way that's, well, awe-inspiring. Watch Paley do the shoulder stand, the frog, the fish, the spinal twist, and you'll be saying, "Hey, if she can do it, I can too." After all, Paley, our… More >>
  • Best Place To Contemplate The Unbridled Development Of South Florida

    The Palms

    Looming precariously over A1A like a Jenga tower ready to topple, the bright pink, perpetually-under-construction Palms is visible from Lauderdale-by-the-Sea down to Port Everglades. Viewed from an airplane, the high-rise condo reaches upward like a rosy flare, warning that you are about to touch down in a jungle of over-development. But the Palms is notable not just for its questionable,… More >>
  • Best Radio Personality

    Scott Kaplan and Sid Rosenberg

    Take a wisecracking sports junkie from Brooklyn whose accent makes De Niro sound like a Harvard grad, team him with a former college and NFL place-kicker who may be the Doogie Howser of pop culture, and you have the two-headed morning-radio monster affectionately known as Scott and Sid. Their unique mix of sports commentary and a youthful sense of humor… More >>
  • Best Place To Kill Two Birds

    Blackstone Liquors

    The grueling workweek is done, and you have that measly little crumpled paycheck in your back pocket. That small piece of paper represents your toil, your sweat, your blood. And it's barely enough to keep a leaking roof over your head. So what do you do? You take it to Blackstone's, where you not only cash the check (minus a… More >>
  • Best Weathercaster

    Bill Kamal

    It's not his 21-year résumé as a TV meteorologist, his two Emmys, or even his batting average in predicting hail versus heat that singles out Kamal. It's his style. His hair's always plentifully gelled, his tightly tailored suits gleam with a pseudo-sharkskin veneer, and his tie is exquisitely knotted in just the right spot. All of that gives Kamal the… More >>
  • Best Romantic Getaway

    Harborfront Inn

    Spend the night in a king-size bed in a spacious suite with Jacuzzi and private deck overlooking the St. Lucie River. Imagine candles around your whirlpool tub -- or walk-in shower for two; breakfast (ambrosia-stuffed French toast, perhaps) in bed or on your deck -- at noon or anytime. Owner JoAyne Elbert prides herself on the… More >>
  • Best Junkyard

    U-Pull-It

    There's a dichotomy inherent in junkyards. On one hand, they're brooding, melancholy places filled with the ruins of other people's lives. You never have to look far to find a head-size hole in a windshield or car seats heavily stained with black splotches of dried blood. On the other hand, junkyards are monuments to the possible. An artist turned loose… More >>
  • Best Private School

    The Sagemont School

    Weston's the quintessential safe American suburb -- critics call it an escape from reality -- but don't make the mistake of thinking that your small children will miss out on the rich diversity of American culture if you send them to an expensive private school there. They won't. The Sagemont School offers classes from preschool to… More >>
  • Best Place To Meet Members Of The Opposite Sex

    Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale

    Praise Jesus! On Saturday nights at Calvary Chapel, the place is literally swarming with hundreds of beatific young hotties in the throws of passion. Of course they're all hot and passionate about the big J.C., but don't let that dissuade you. Just think: What would Jesus do? We think he would've scored. Remember Mary Magdalene? Anyone sucked in by the… More >>
  • Best Public Bathroom

    Weston Hills Country Club

    We shudder when entering most public bathrooms (think any Greyhound bus station toilet). But we found one we want to move into. Check out the ladies' lounge at the Weston Hills Country Club next time you're out west. (Yes, they'll let you use the lounge even if you're not a member.) You'll understand why it's part of the tour all… More >>
  • Best Landed View Of Broward County

    The Tower Club

    For a landed view, it's best to land among the landed gentry, of course. You can do that in this little corner of the wealthy universe high atop the Bank of America Building. How high above the earth is 28 stories, the altitude of the Tower Club? About a million miles for those of us who toil the streets below,… More >>
  • Best Miami Dolphin

    Zach Thomas

    Imagine you're the personnel director of an NFL expansion team and you have the opportunity to pick any player from the Dolphins roster for your new squad. Cornerback Sam Madison is one of the best in the league at his position, and wide receiver O.J. McDuffie led the league in receptions a year ago; either would be a good choice.… More >>
  • Best Place To Speed

    Alligator Alley - CLOSED

    South Florida is congested as hell. Yet it seems that every other car on the road is a Corvette, Porsche, or some other high-horse ride that was born to run. What to do? You can take the tack most do around here and drive like a freakin' idiot from stoplight to stoplight, or you can point that pony west and… More >>
  • Best Place To Break Up

    Queen of Heaven Cemetery

    Love, sex,… and death. So you're gonna drop the bastard, eh? You're gonna, what, tell a good woman it's not really her, it's you, you're the problem, so don't worry while you just tear her heart out? You're gonna let him know -- you feel suffocated. He's a great guy, he has changed the landscape of your heart.… More >>
  • Best Place To Make Up

    Colee Hammock

    No more beautiful city site awaits your need for resurrection -- the resurrection of old love into new, perhaps -- than this flawless and tiny park, awash in history. Here the Colee family was massacred (no need to bring this up) on January 6, 1836, unleashing the Second Seminole Indian War. The Seminoles and the U.S.… More >>
  • Best Place To Find A Dinner Date

    Sushi For Singles at the Palm Beach School of Cooking

    Who needs singles bars -- or, for that matter, sushi bars -- when there's Sushi For Singles? The brainchild of Doreen Moore, owner of the Palm Beach School of Cooking, Sushi For Singles is a series of three-hour monthly (sometimes bimonthly) cooking classes in which singles learn how to make five different kinds of sushi rolls.… More >>
  • Best Reason To Watch The Miami Fusion (On Television)

    Ray Hudson

    Perhaps sportscaster Ray Hudson is the reason the Fusion can barely get a paltry 8000 fans into the seats at Lockhart Stadium. Instead of shelling out $12 to sit in the hot sun, everyone's at home in the a/c watching and listening to Hudson's overheated commentary on the Sunshine Network. We wouldn't blame them. The shaggy-haired Brit and former Fort… More >>
  • Best Place To People-Watch

    Balcony of the Elbo Room

    High up in the bird's nest better known as the second floor of the Elbo Room, the world is a fishbowl. A fashion show. A freak show. Nowhere in Broward and Palm Beach counties is the people parade more entertaining. Grab a beer, pull up a seat, rest your elbows on the railing, and take a gander down at the… More >>

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