Best of Miami®

Best Of 2000

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Best Of :: Shopping & Services

Best Florist

A rose by any other name? Easy enough. Call Karla, Karla Dascal to be specific, the innovative designer behind aromatic floral arrangements such as Jungle Love, Jungle Passion, Papayas, Grapes, and Manzanas. Dascal might be better known in some circles as florist to the stars, because she has delivered blooms to Madonna, Steven Tyler, and Sylvester Stallone, to name a few. Dascal has even been quoted as saying, "Basically all of my clients are famous in one way or another." But we less-than-famous folks also can appreciate the blossoms she imports and puts together. Her petal-filled vases are almost decadent; they look and smell so good. When it began in 1993, Roses by Karla wasn't open to the public. It still isn't a store in the normal sense, though walk-ins are welcome. And Dascal is as selective as ever about whom she graces with her art. Dascal has a Website, so give her a shot; log on and tell her why you deserve roses.

Best Barbershop

Blink and you'll drive past this quaint barbershop tucked away in a dingy strip mall on the northern edge of the City of Progress. Want to take the pulse of Miami-Dade's second largest municipality? Plop down on one of the three red-vinyl barbers' chairs, grab a macho car magazine, and engage owner Manuel Perez in conversation. The tonsorial artist will boisterously complain about local politicians, critique a new restaurant, and tell tall tales of his latest fishing expedition. While he is snipping and clipping, a cast of local characters ranging from the neighborhood drunk to the beat cop will walk in to greet the middle-age barber, who sports a full head of salt-and-pepper locks. Spend a little time and you'll get not only the scoop, but a good cut for a measly $12. And Manny will even shave those pesky hairs from the back of your neck.

Best Hip-Hop Barbershop

An unlikely combination in an unlikely place. During the day this little storefront, wedged between an antique shop and a plumbing-supply store near the Miami-Coral Gables frontier, is mostly a haircut hangout. Nelson, an affable, experienced barber, dispenses 'dos and relationship advice, in both English and Spanish, to customers who recline in two barbers' chairs. DJ Flex Perez devotes one wall to baggy jeans and T-shirts the size of pup tents. Perez also oversees a rack of vinyl for party-spinning (heavy on rap and house), a few CDs, some caps, and some videos for sale. But the place's real genius lies in the crossmarketing. On his business cards, Perez emphasizes Nelson's scissors skillz, including "Fadez," "Caesars," and "Close Cuts." If you're kickin' it old-school, Nelson offers a half-price senior-citizen discount on weekdays -- five bucks.

Best Barbershop

Blink and you'll drive past this quaint barbershop tucked away in a dingy strip mall on the northern edge of the City of Progress. Want to take the pulse of Miami-Dade's second largest municipality? Plop down on one of the three red-vinyl barbers' chairs, grab a macho car magazine, and engage owner Manuel Perez in conversation. The tonsorial artist will boisterously complain about local politicians, critique a new restaurant, and tell tall tales of his latest fishing expedition. While he is snipping and clipping, a cast of local characters ranging from the neighborhood drunk to the beat cop will walk in to greet the middle-age barber, who sports a full head of salt-and-pepper locks. Spend a little time and you'll get not only the scoop, but a good cut for a measly $12. And Manny will even shave those pesky hairs from the back of your neck.

Best Skate Shop

The in-line skater brings home a new set of wheels. They are too big. This bothers him. He returns to Universal, where he purchased the wheels a day earlier. Returns are no problem, he's told, even though he'd opened the packages. "Where do you skate?" he is asked. A nearby rink, he replies. "Oh, really? I used to skate out there. These wheels are too hard for that surface. You'd be better off with something softer, such as these," the clerk says, holding out a new package of wheels. Not only is the clerk's selection the proper size and better for the intended purpose, it also costs a lot less money. The clerk wraps up the new wheels, signs a form, then reaches into the register for a twenty-dollar refund. The customer is bothered no more. In fact he is delighted. Service like this is rare, he thinks to himself. Service like this is why Universal wins the Best Skate Shop award year after year. Universal is the best, hands down.

Best Place To Style The Pooch

It's that time again. Fido is a mess, and you're in no mood to wrestle him into the tub. For 40 years Dog Charm has catered to the needs of area pet owners. At a cost of just $25, these canine lovers will bathe shaggy manes and brush them to groomed perfection. And they'll throw in a good nail-clipping. For $60 they'll perfectly shave him so he can withstand the brutal Florida summer. And this is no cost-cutting trim; these dog charmers are as sensitive to mutts' allergies as the little beasts themselves. Forget about ticks and fleas. One visit to this place and that annoying morning scratching will be a distant memory. Bring the pooch in early and you'll get him back by afternoon. Appointments are recommended.

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Best Florist: Roses by Karla

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