Best of Miami®

Best Of 2006

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Best Of :: Shopping & Services

Best Vet for Exotic Pets

Sure. Maybe lots of vets can cure an iguana. But can they do a duck, a fish, and a rabbit along with the lizard all in one day? Exotic animal veterinarian Marc Kramer can. Dr. Kramer graduated from Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine in 1999, and joined the staff of the Avian & Exotic Animal Medical Center in 2000. Soon he built a large and diverse client list. Exotic vets "are a rare breed around here," Dr. Kramer points out. "There aren't too many who want to work with anything other than dogs and cats...." Dr. Kramer didn't find his animal calling until he was in college. "I didn't come to that realization until my last year of college. I wanted to be a biologist. I always really loved animals; I knew I wanted to work with animals.... I got to work on a lot of field projects in different states and countries ... and I worked on wild animals." Some examples of the exotics he's treated include "unusual primates, like lemurs, bush babies, and other monkeys; porcupines; skunks; and anteaters," but he wonders why someone would want an animal -- like an anteater -- that has such a specific diet. "You have to make this insect gruel for them.... A lot of problems we see are people not feeding the exotic animals right and not keeping them in the right environment." But it is that variety in the job that keeps it exciting for the handsome young doctor. "Coming to work every day is a new challenge. I'm still seeing different animals, which keeps it fresh; we're pioneers." He recently performed surgery on a Siamese fighting fish and a water frog. "You have to put a special anesthesia in the water, and then take it out of the water to operate, while dripping the anesthetic water on its skin." Such a challenging career does keep him busy. "I don't have a normal, easy schedule. I'm on call after-hours," he says. That means he puts in plenty of nights and weekends. So what does he do with his little free time? "I like to get outdoors as much as I can, canoeing and kayaking around Key Biscayne and the Everglades, and I take salsa classes a few nights a week. I've been dancing for about two years." While you would think that a vet would have a menagerie of pets around the house, Dr. Kramer prefers to keep it simple. "I just have cats and turtles now. I enjoy everyone else's pets.... I don't want to have to come home and clean up a zoo." He also spends a lot of time on his computer, moderating a discussion group for exotic vets, and he writes for veterinary magazines and does presentations at conferences. "It's important to share the knowledge since this is such a small field.... There's a growing interest in vets going into exotics since there is such a demand for it."

Personal Best

José Luis Burgos is a barber at the Razor’s Edge in Miami Shores, where he has worked for eight years.

What is your greatest triumph?

1993 I left Cuba in a small boat, but soon the motor quit. So I started rowing. I rowed for hours -- through the night. I lost all my food and didn't have much water at all, but I kept rowing. Finally, after seven days, when my water was just about gone, I spotted a small island in the Bahamas. Soon I was spotted by an airplane, then picked up by the Coast Guard. That was the most dramatic thing ever to happen in my life

Best Record/CD Store
Sweat Records

Last year we gave this little-indie-store-that-could the title of Best New Record Store. A year later, Sweat has won the hearts of all who deem themselves hip in Miami and has undergone some serious growing pains. The original location took a major beating from Hurricane Wilma, and the store was eventually relocated to a small warehouse at the back of English bar/longstanding live rock and roll venue, Churchill's. Could there be a better place for a record store? We don't think so. Fans can feast on Churchill's delectable pub-style grub and then wander into the tranquil aqua atmosphere of Sweat to rummage through racks of vinyl, CDs, and DVDs, as well as quirky toys, magazines, and locally made jewelry. Preloved records go for anything from one to five bucks, and for many of the new CDs, all you'll need is a Hamilton. Sweat opens late -- usually around 2:00 p.m. Monday to Saturday, but it closes at midnight. So after that killer local band plays its set on Churchill's stage, fans can creep back to the store to cop an EP. The store has its own book club that meets regularly to discuss edgy, well-written literary works. Plans to start craft and movie nights are in the works. A laid-back afternoon at the independent bastion finds a hipster clad in black, picking up albums by the likes of the Beta Band, Joy Division, Outkast, and Le Tigre. Lauren Reskin (nickname Lolo), the orange-haired, label-owning DJ/record store co-owner, is busy behind the counter, putting the finishing touches on the latest issue of the store's newest project, a funky, free zine named The Sweater. Late-period disco videos by Serge Gainsbourg burble in the background, screened on a gigantic TV set that dominates the small space. A hippie chick clad in paisley stumbles in, carrying an armload of old records. "Look at these! I found them in the dumpster," she exclaims, as Lolo leaves her post to shuffle through the pile. "Who would throw away records, man?" the hippie girl wonders. Old vinyl and young music lovers have found a good home.

5505 NE Second Ave., Miami, 33137
MAP
786-693-9309
Best Used-CD Store

The kind of store you find on every block in parts of Manhattan, Blue Note has dusty bins that are potential treasure troves. There's always some schmuck who bought the new Ghostface expecting hip-pop, or the Minor Threat discography because the guys from Good Charlotte mentioned them in an interview. These people can't handle musical truth, and because they have rushed to Blue Note and unloaded their barely used goods, you can capitalize on their bad taste. The only thing wrong with Blue Note is that visiting the store is a reminder that Miami lacks more like it.

Best Place to Buy Latin Music

There is no doubt that Museo del Disco has an enormous catalogue of Latin music on hand. What's not in stock is easily ordered -- which is typical these days. However, Museo del Disco offers a singular thing of value, one that is impossible to obtain from any Website: its owner, the exceedingly colorful and entertaining Hinsul Lazo. The fortysomething native of Pinar del Rîo, Cuba, is happy to talk about music -- or anything -- in prose purple enough to make a Rosetti blush. Here in his words is a description of the fantasticality of Museo del Disco: "It's in a warehouse district, and it's a gorgeous store. No, it's a beautiful store. It's like no other store in this city. Not because it's mine. That's the word from all the customers. They walk in and they're amazed it's so neat and organized. It's a warehouse but it's decorated like a dollhouse. The furniture's red, the walls are white. The light boxes around the entire store are red. It has pictures of all the old records, the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. What if you were looking for a Miles Davis CD or a John Coltrane or a Billie Holiday, some great CD? There are only two ways to find them. Either online, because that's where people go because they don't think any store's going to have them. Or you can go to my store. And you'll find it in my store. Because that's what it's about. My store's a music store. We special-order things for people. It's the old style. And by the way, nothing in my store is bootlegged or burned or counterfeit. It's all original product. From everywhere: Cuban, Colombian, Argentinean, Brazilian, Venezuelan, Mexican product. Buddy, everything. I bring in from Puerto Rico. I import directly from Cuba." So there you have it.

Best Place to Buy Vinyl

While serious vinyl fetishists might consider their post office box the hippest place on Earth, less-accessorized turntablists should mosey down to Grooveman Music to completely outfit themselves with all the necessary accouterments. You can literally walk in and purchase everything you need -- consoles, music, bags, clothing, and even sunglasses -- to play DJ in front of the mirror at home. Although this place might not have the stacks of old vinyl that DJs crave, it does have a good selection of current dance tracks both on vinyl and CD. And there are scads of listening stations. The music section is heavy with house, trance, electro, dance, and drum 'n' bass, but one is still permitted to indulge in the occasional guilty pleasure like Madonna or Depeche Mode.

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Best Vet for Exotic Pets: Marc Kramer, DVM

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