One begins to hear the birds at this South Miami-Dade wonder from the parking lot long before glimpsing a single brightly colored feather. Shielded by tall wooden fences and dense foliage is an exotic avian world full of amazing hues and wild calls. Among dozens of cages spread out over the immense shaded patio are white cockatoos with yellow spiked crowns, and deep-red macaws. Inside the store are even more birds and a nursery for hatchlings. There are yellow nape amazons, chattering lorries, lovebirds, finches, canaries, parakeets, and cockatiels, among others. Prices stretch from seven dollars to several thousand. And of course, because this is Miami-Dade County, one can find parrots that speak both English and Spanish. Best of all for conspicuous consumers, amid the feathered assemblage are dozens of accessories, including an enormous selection of bird toys, seed, and an astounding assortment of cages and perches.
Someone obviously forgot to explain to Eutopia's owners that Lincoln Road -- once the repository of charming funkiness and strolling artistes -- has been transformed into a generic strip mall. How else to explain the existence of this recently opened bookshop brimming with out-of-print treasures just steps from the Gap, Pottery Barn, and Banana Republic? Eutopia has a fiction section full of honest-to-gosh literature rather than the romance paperbacks that clog several other used bookstores around town. There's also a Florida nook, where you can snag hard-to-find copies of T.D. Allman's Miami, City of the Future, John Rothschild's hysterical local chronicle Up for Grabs, and even (now here's the perfect gift for the friend who already has everything) several bound volumes of congressional testimony about Fifties FBI investigations into commie subversion in the Magic City. While this last batch of tomes is unintentionally hilarious, with J. Edgar Hoover seeing red inside every retirement home, it's also precisely the kind of historical curio that makes browsing the shelves at Eutopia such a joy.
For years Hallandale's Yardbird Records was a local fave for snagging rare vinyl treasures, making the shop's closing in late 1998 a sad day for the turntable set. With little fanfare however, Yardbird owner Michael Dean has renested behind the counter of the Beach's Esperanto Music. He's also taken over the backroom, filling it with his still-sprawling assortment of tough-to-find jazz, soul, outré Sixties folk, and Seventies prog-rock -- most at affordable prices. Don't be shy about pestering Dean for his recommendations; asking his opinion on an out-of-print Fred Neil album not long ago produced some fabulous tales of Coconut Grove late-night hippie madness back in the day, as well as the realization that Neil's bike actually was on the premises. Esperanto's heavily trafficked Lincoln Road locale means it's only a matter of time before some wealthy out-of-town record collector stumbles across this mother lode of vintage platters, and, after he picks up his jaw from the floor, simply writes out a check for the whole lot. So what are you waiting for?

Best Reason Not To Go To Cocowalk

Because it's there.
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.
A John Deere lawn mower, a pair of K2 snow skis, used IBM computers, Madonna's Erotica CD, a metal folding bed, an antique Kodak camera, silver chains, Sony cordless telephones, a Huffy mountain bike, a pair of Pioneer stereo speakers, gold watches, a pneumatic hammer, a JVC car radio, a Panasonic video camera, used Nintendo video games, and best of all: no guns.
Metal Arte is one of those places you could walk past and never notice, partly because of the distraction offered by the numerous sex-and-drug transactions in this somewhat sleazy neighborhood. But don't let the unseemly stuff deter you. In a strip of industrial buildings just north of NE 79th Street, you'll find José Trujillo, his son, and one or two helpers working away in a small garage workshop. Without visiting you could never imagine the exquisite creations that emerge from this dingy joint. But ask the Trujillos to show you. José made jewelry in his native Colombia; here he designs much larger baubles -- all sorts of furniture as well as items large and small, decorative and functional. Just about everything is fashioned from discarded metal, marble, glass, and other raw materials. Tables, chairs, candlestick holders, mirror frames, cabinets, whimsical bric-a-brac, and elegant doohickeys. Each piece is stunningly original. Prices and workshop hours are variable, but generally Metal Arte is open every weekday and sometimes Saturday during regular business hours.
Whether your game is baseball, boxing, or Ping-Pong, Midway Sports has your bases covered. This small shop is packed with gloves, bats, football helmets, shoulder pads, roller skates, and hockey sticks. The wall of balls (volley-, soccer-, basket-, foot-) even has junior sizes. Midway doesn't carry golf equipment, but hey, that's not really a sport, is it? The footwear selection is ample and includes cleats. Attendants will help you find stuff; they'll even restring your old tennis racket for about $11. Midway also caters to local teams, hence the racks of baseball pants for $16 per pair, and coaching accessories like whistles and watches. For those too lazy to actually sweat, there's an assortment of pro-team caps, jerseys, banners, and posters.
What's impressive about the beer selection at Milam's is that it's so civilized. All those nations coexisting peacefully on the shelves, waiting to be sampled by someone who likes to raise a glass and toast the merits of ale, porter, and stout. The assortment probably isn't the biggest in town, but who wants to pick through the undesirables when this midsize market has done it for you? Milam's carries a bevy of imports, including Italian Peroni, Canadian Molson Golden and Labatt Blue, Irish Guinness, Scottish Tennant's, Japanese Sapporo, and Czech Staropramen. The grocery gives good representation to our island friends, too: Kalik from the Bahamas, Blackbeard Ale from St. Croix, and Carib, hailing from Trinidad and Tobago. You'll also find Sierra Nevada, Hurricane Reef, and Pete's. A few good ciders are available as well, such as Hornsby's and Cider Jack. And don't turn your nose up at the domestics (you weren't too good for them once upon a time). Plenty of us still swear by the good ol' red, white, and blue: Schaefer, Schlitz, Pabst Blue Ribbon, and Old Milwaukee. Nice.
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.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®