Two wandering academics, Mary from Britain and Martin from the States, met and married in Kosovo in 1976. Within a year they decided to move to South Florida and set up an orchid ranch. Just another typical South Florida story. Today the sight of thousands of orchids in one of the couple's several shady sheds is an overwhelming life experience; nothing can truly prepare an observer for the sensual onslaught of the speckled tangelo, the fire of Motes flamboyant, or the emotion created by dozens of other compelling breeds and hues. After more than twenty years in business, Mary and Martin primarily sell their own line of orchids, which has been cited by experts for fragrance, color, and frequency of bloom. The farm is open to the public one day per month and by appointment.
Much like the fabled jazz label from which it takes its name, Blue Note Records remains an easy reference point when seeking quality sound. Sure, other shops around town may dig a tad deeper into their chosen niches, but as a one-stop destination for all the music that truly matters, Blue Note reigns supreme. Indeed it's a testament to owner Bob Perry and his quest for inventorial breadth that Blue Note is three separate stores. The front room is devoted largely to R&B in all its historical permutations, from mint vinyl copies of Funkadelic's 1970 tweaked-out masterpiece Maggot Brain to the latest bass-flavor hip-hop CD from Juvenile. Mosey past a respectable blues section through a doorway into a second room, and you're in a guitar freak's paradise. Even better is the attendant staff, equally versed in the fine points of Eric Clapton-ology and Sonic Youth's postpunk squall. Finally there's the backroom, devoted to jazz in all its myriad forms, from Forties bebop to Sixties free jazz to contemporary honkers and blowers. True, you could probably hit the Internet and order many of these releases online, but what music fan would pass on the sheer joy of losing oneself amid all these great records?
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.
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.
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.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®