Okay, so Burdines isn't one of those megaoutlets that carries everything from bottles to baby-joggers. It's a department store that specializes in clothing, especially baby wear. Need booties for a newborn? Check out the Carter's display. Overalls for a six-month-old? The Osh Kosh B'Gosh rack's got the togs. And the selection of Tommy Hilfiger is so extensive it's hard not to be envious of the wee one's choices these days. Of course Burdines has the practical stuff, too: onesies and pj's and socks for all sizes of funny little feet. Best of all the goods frequently are on sale, so even the most made-poor-by-baby parents can outfit their kids to the nines.
Fruit and vegetables don't get any fresher than this. All you need to do is grab a bucket and choose the best ones. The selection here would make the produce manager at any supermarket green with envy. Amid the verdant rows that stretch for about 80 acres are basil, parsley, sunflowers, strawberries, raspberries, five varieties of tomato, cabbage, corn, five kinds of eggplant, eleven types of pepper, turnip greens, collards, cucumbers, zucchini, squash, and more. If you're fasting or even if you're a pure carnivore, fresh flowers are available for the picking. Then there's the scarecrow, whose dangling stuffed sock adds a tad of obscenity to this fresh-air activity. Strawberry milkshakes, hot dogs, and sweet roasted corn are served at a stand in front. The farm belongs to the Norman Brothers Produce company, which also runs a store at 7621 SW 87th Ave. Granma's is seasonal, opening in November and closing in early May.
Many of Aquaknots' devoted customers have been patronizing this shop since it opened in the early Seventies, and they're not about to go anywhere else. The proprietors, Manny Seoane and Mario Ginoris, have been around for quite awhile, too. Both were on the sales staff before deciding to buy the store ten years ago. Aquaknots maintains one of the largest inventories of dive supplies in town, and it's the only place specializing in spearfishing equipment. They even produce custom-made spears. Naturally Aquaknots offers classes certified by the Professional Association of Diving Instructors; the beginner course lasts two and a half weeks and includes four open-water dives.
Clothing peddlers usually triumph in this category, but for 2000 we look past the duds to Senzatempo, which means "without time" in Italian. For ten years this store has featured some of the most interesting, top-shelf, vintage material in the area. Besides stocking distinctive designer furnishings from the Roaring Twenties and the mod Seventies, this well-located place offers rare finds like a table crafted from the wing of a Forties-era DC-3 airplane. There also are unique knickknacks, such as novelty guns and unusual light fixtures. And Senzatempo carries a wide selection of vintage watches, the first love of owners Massimo Barracca and Matthew Bain. Indeed Barracca and Bain are such authorities that auction houses sometimes call for expert advice on timepieces.
Forget about all the boutiques for models, mainstream retail stores, and cool club-wear shops that have flocked to South Beach. Be truly revolutionary with your purchasing dollars. Enter secondhand-consumer mode and head for Community Family, where you'll find Kingston Trio albums, green pumps so bright they glow in the dark, and other recycled castaways from four decades of SoBe weirdness. You'll find everything you could ever need (or never need), including furniture, lamps, black-and-white television sets, sewing machines, grandfather clocks, coats too heavy to wear in Florida, and banana clips for your hair. There are even brain-stimulating products like encyclopedias and semibrain-stimulating products such as paperback spy novels. We recommend The Bunnies by John Q, the action-packed tale of an undercover agent who becomes ensnarled in a web of suspense, murder, and sex. Just so you don't forget you're still in South Beach.
Actually a Seattle-based store with a New York location, this place is a mecca of carnal commerce. The babes who own this adult toyland, Claire Cavanah and Rachel Venning, have pioneered a new concept: very woman-friendly service and products: "We want a trip to Toys in Babeland to feel like a vacation from all the negative messages our culture gives us about sexuality and gender.... Sex toys are toys, after all! They buzz, they twist, and they flutter. They make us laugh, they make us hot, and they make us think." A definite turn-on for Miami women seeking silicone sexual healing minus the leers and unwanted attention they might encounter at a male-dominated establishment. Not only does the female-staffed Babeland have a full-service Website that includes sex tips, news, a color catalogue, and even a gift registry, it also has a toll-free number so you can place an order day or night (Pacific time) without even leaving your bed (or someone else's). And you can use the eight to ten days you'll probably wait for delivery to get creative. (For an erotic emergency, try second- or next-day delivery.)
The Age of Aquarius is alive and well at the Main Street Café. Tofu, soy burgers, a salad bar, and hummus are all on the lengthy menu that accentuates the vegetarian. Fruit and vegetable juices are on tap to wash down this healthy fare. Sun lovers can sit at tables outside. But if inside is your thing, man, the walls are decorated with the work of local artists. Christmas lights also help bring the joint, uh, place, a comfortable, artsy feel. A small makeshift stage is used for music (including blues, open-mike, and folk) Thursday through Saturday. And if you're not on a health kick, the place offers roast beef, a decent beer selection, and coffee galore. The adjoining store cements the Main Street Café's flower-power ethic. Here you can find crystals, pottery, used compact discs, records, dashiki clothing, incense, and guitar strings. For those who want positive vibes with a modern twist, there are three Internet-ready computers, which rent for five dollars per hour.
Located next door to Tobacco Road and run by long-time Road denizen, music promoter, and eccentric-man-about-town Mark Weiser, Brickell News is the most ecumenical array around, short of a flea market. And this stuff is all new. Well, a lot of it is. It's as if Weiser's brain exploded all over the shop. "People come in all the time and ask what kind of store this is," says Lou Shackleford, a friend who helps mind the place. "I say, 'Look around; whatever you see is what it is.' Try and put it into words, I wish you luck." Says Weiser: "It's just stuff I like." Oh well, labels are so confining. Among the stock are incense, instruments, CDs, and teas. There's English mustard, Louisiana hot sauce, and African art. There also are used books, sarongs, earrings, and bongs. There are photos, including a framed and autographed shot of I Dream of Jeannie stars Larry Hagman and Barbara Eden. There are carved masks, candlesticks, kimonos, wind chimes, hammocks, and a green iguana named Mia, who is not for sale. Monday through Thursday the store is open noon to midnight. On Friday the hours are noon to 1:30 a.m.
"No musical prejudices" reads a handwritten sign, the first clue about the forbidden fruit that lies within Esperanto. While live Cuban music too often falls victim to local political heat and a knee-jerk emotional backlash, you can still hear it on CD, thanks to this outpost of cultural tolerance on Lincoln Road. From vintage Fifties descarga to the latest timba outfits from Havana, Esperanto features a sometimes daunting array of Cuban sounds. Fortunately the store also has a knowledgeable staff that's more than happy to school those just sampling the pleasures of son. Of course Cuban tunes are only part of the musical spectrum, which extends to Brazil (including plenty of hard-to-find tropicalismo classics from Gilberto Gil and Caetano Veloso), Puerto Rico, Colombia, and virtually anywhere else in the world people are getting funky. Free in-store appearances by touring artists are another draw. But the clearest explanation for Esperanto's appeal came recently while watching manager Carlos Suarez set up a host of microphones for a set by Buena Vista Social Club laúd player Barbarito Torres, only to burst into his own heartfelt karaoke take on one of that group's songs.
The obvious criterion for stores in this category is pornography. Lots of it. The latest foothold in Pleasure Emporium's burgeoning empire (two South Beach stores and another near Miami International Airport) makes the grade with more than 4500 titles, ranging from Spanish (Latina Debutante) to bondage (Tie Me, Spank Me, Eat Me), that line the concrete walls, which are painted dark green. For those who can't take it home, sixteen private viewing rooms featuring 100 channels of films are available. There's even a small wastebasket in each one. But what distinguishes this 24-hour-per-day porn peddler from the competition is controversy. Start with its location near downtown, in plain view of top city officials at the Miami Riverside Center. And don't forget company president Renee Feingold, the wife of former Miami Beach City Attorney Laurence Feingold. Larry, by the way, is Pleasure Emporium's attorney.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®