Northwood threw itself a block party on Saturday April 22nd to show off their new businesses. Mayor Jeri Muoio was there, along with sidewalks bustling with vendors, new cafes, music and murals.
Wanderer Bracelets have a new prime store location at 415 Northwood Road right next to the lot with the huge blue fractal mural. After seeing the lines whenever Wanderer Bracelets had a stand at various festivals, it’s great that they now have a new permanent home. The bracelets are a multi-eco winner as they are made in the jungles of Bali from water buffalo bone by artisans working from artistic traditions. The income supports the community, an important factor in keeping families together so that members no longer have to leave their villages for bigger cities to find work. The handmade unique bracelets use symbols of anchors, peace signs, hooks, feathers, and other potent images. They are carved from the bone and then attached to colored durable nylon thread.
The vibe is surfer hippie cool, with cords wrapped multiple times around the wrists with different colors. They can be stacked and mixed, and every symbol has a story behind it, or they can custom make a marker bracelet with the location of a favorite place. With prices starting at about $20 each, they are an affordable, fun, eco- friendly buy. The happy vibe at the opening included music, videos, fruit juice and chocolate croissants from Bistro Bakery across the street.
Venturing down Northwood, I arrived just in time to see Mayor Jeri Muoio cut the ribbon out front to officially open Alicia’s Latin Cuisine with the owners. The eatery has been open a few months and I had stopped by on a recent Taste History Food Tour to try the empanadas filled with beef and spices. Other chef specialties include the Parraillada with steak, chicken, ribs, sausage, chimichanga sauce, asparagus and French fries. A majorly hearty dish that easily serves a few people. There is also a Sancocho, a type of Colombian soup served with rice.
Another new exotic cuisine restaurant opened with Chalakos Peruvian Bistro at 511 Northwood Road. Peruvian food has been sweeping South Florida the past few years with its familiar ingredients prepared in a whole new way. A lively band was playing South American dancing music in the back patio while waitresses bustled about from the back to the sidewalk tables. A semi-open kitchen showed the chefs hard at work crafting the ceviches, tiraditos, rice dishes and special sandwiches.
I tried the dish pictured on the front of the menu – the mixed seafood ceviche. Artfully presented, this unusual seafood salad mixes warm and cool, crunchy and chewy, tangy and mellow. A slice of warm sweet potato sits next to a chunk of corn on the cob made with extra large kernels. These same kernels are toasted and salted for a crunchy side snack. The main event is the seafood salad – a mixture of mussels, white fish, shrimp and purple ringed octopus topped with sliced red onion and tossed with a peppery vinegar mix. It was a quite delicious though the octopus was a bit chewy and the sweet tea I ordered was about two thirds sugar and way too sweet for my taste. A cold Corona beer with a slice of lime would probably been a better choice. Still the vibe was upbeat and festive and all the tables were filled with diners exploring the menu with other dishes like the steak sandwich made with homemade French bread, sautéed steak, red wine, onions and tomatoes.
When I lived in Los Angeles about ten years ago, the best thing to do on a weekend – or anytime I needed de-stressing – was a trip to the Thai massage place. For a reasonable price you got a foot massage and then a full body massage from little Thai ladies who not only used their hands but also used their knees and feet to climb on and massage your back and legs. Once you got over the surprise it was incredibly invigorating and relaxing. Now Thai Buddha Spa has opened on Northwood Road and offers the same treatments mixed in with traditional Swedish massage. This is the second location with Love Thai Massage located in Fort Lauderdale. Owner Ty has been practicing massage therapy since 2007 and believes that the “energy work” of massage therapy reduces stress for a peaceful life.
Walking around the corner to 25th Street I was disappointed to see that Arthouse 429 had closed and the space is for lease. They had some great artists and exhibits there, not to mention a spacious garden exhibit space next door. Across the street a new business – Vintage Journey – has opened with one of a kind retro finds.
The Village is always changing.
“Northwood Village is on the cusp of a new beginning,” said Lourdes J. Sanchez, Northwood Village Main Street Executive Director. “People are looking for unique experiences that support the local community and Northwood Village provides a unique and wonderful respite from the typical entertainment hubs. The collaboration with merchants, artists, and city is showcasing the Village and ensuring our neighborhood thrives.”
Also happening in Northwood is the summer green market offering a new home for some of the area’s favorite vendors once the downtown market closes up for the summer months. The market will take place on Saturdays, May 13 – June 24, from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at 2509 N. Dixie Highway between 24th and 25th Streets.
In addition, the Northwood Village Art Night Out event will continue on the last Friday of each month throughout the summer with special activities each month including brand new outdoor murals.
For details and happenings each month, visit the Northwood Village page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NorthwoodVillageFanPage/