With his hands Daniel Tong transforms hemp, nylon, and cotton into knotted masterpieces. He weaves black, green, yellow, and red ropes to create Rastafarian icons on wall mats, floor mats, and room partitions. Tong, a member of the Nyabinghi order of Rastafarianism, began experimenting with macramé work as a teenager. He expresses his faith with each twist. A magnificent seven-foot-long wall mat titled The Glory of the King took him more than a year to complete. Tong says his first viewing of the completed work was a religious experience. Miami Rastafarians wear Tong's belts and religious regalia on holy days. He also makes planters and baskets, which take him only a day to complete. Prices range from $35 for the simplest pieces to $1000 for the most complex.
All that glitters is not gold; sometimes it is marcasite with Austrian crystals. Heck, it was good enough for Granny to wear to the theater. And now granny's 21-year-old great-granddaughter wants to don the stuff for a night at the clubs. Before the young hussy steps out the door, she should visit Chrisalyn. The rings, necklaces, and bracelets in the display cases glimmer beside other inexpensive gems: amber, rainbow moonstone, rutilated quartz, lapis, onyx, labradorite, and more. And for the six-foot great-grandson with a stylish sense of fashion, there's that long-coveted billfish tie clip and cuff links with five rows of fake diamonds. Most items cost between $18 and $80. Some rings and beaded necklaces go for five bucks a piece.
This one-of-a-kind children's beauty salon is equipped with Snoopy hair dryers and even a wooden ship where toddlers and kids can play at being pirates while they wait for a trim. Moms can get makeovers and manicures without worrying: Stylists attend to junior's every need. The only conventional barbers' chairs here are used by grownups. Kids sit in fantastic cars, jeeps, horses, and dune buggies while their manes are sheared. Your child's imagination will kick into overdrive as the stylist quickly snips. Tears are unlikely, but if your kid freaks out at the sight of falling locks, don't despair. At Kids' Only there are plenty of gumball machines. When the ride has ended, some children are even presented with My First Haircut certificates. A lock of hair is sometimes attached.
So you're leaving town for a while and the age-old question of what to do with Fido is again rearing its ugly, scruffy head. You could try to con your best buddy into walking and feeding the mutt, but that almost torpedoed your friendship last time. Besides, when you returned, your floppy-eared companion seemed thin and attention starved. Fortunately there is a kennel that is trustworthy and probably will treat the pooch better than you do. Because El Saba started out as a dog breeding outfit, its facilities are a sight nicer than your average doggie-overnight joint. The pups are housed in seventeen-foot-long runs equipped with sliding doors that lead to air-conditioned sleeping quarters. Each run also includes a ceiling fan. Although hounds are locked up every night, during the day they are allowed to frolic in two ample back yards. The runs and feeding bowls are cleaned with bleach every day. The proprietors also know every vet in the area. (House rules require that dogs be vaccinated against kennel cough and canine tracheobronchitis before they arrive.) Daily prices are proportionate to the dog's weight; they range from $10 for those up to 45 pounds to $20 for visitors that tip the scales at 117 pounds plus. But be forewarned; there is only room for 38 dogs. Major holidays and summertime are booked months in advance. And if you're a cat person, don't despair. They take felines, too.
Pregnancy is wonderful when there's an entire warehouse full of clothes to fit your moods, which, by the way, rise and fall like a yo-yo. At this manufacturer's outlet you'll find everything from the slinky and sensual to the obviously pregnant. Racks of cool eveningwear stand near stacks of Peter Pan collar shirts in floral prints and pastels. There are even work clothes and office suits for expectant women who run on more than a biological clock. Saleswomen can help build your wardrobe. But the best part is the prices. The most expensive blazers cost $40, twill shorts are $11.99, dresses go for $24.99, and shirts start at $10.99. Just think, with the money you save you can indulge whatever weird craving is consuming you.
The wet T-shirt contests? Gone. The spring-breakers toppling into the pool with brewskis in their hands? History. In fact the pool has gone the way of South Beach crackhouses and disappeared completely. Resurrecting Fort Lauderdalian bacchanalia never really worked for Miami, where the action is a more sophisticated version of sleazy. So rather than continue the bikini-contest beach life and big-fake-boobs volleyball games that made it infamous, Penrod's has shifted gears. It now caters to South Beach regulars, families, and happy-hour drunks who would rather gather with friends than frequent trendy hotel bars. The sand here comes right up to the back door of the restaurant and is planted with tepees, hammocks, and beach chairs. Grab yourself a piña colada from the 'tender at the tiki hut, enjoy a fruit salad at an intimate table for two next to a cabana, and enjoy the peace and quiet. No one will kick you out, demand that you purchase another drink, or ask the make of your watch -- if you're wearing one, that is, since time has a way of slipping away in this hidden sanctuary.
"I can't even begin to describe Fahrenheit," says Keila Crucet, manager at Alberto Cortes. But after taking a whiff of the sample stick soaked in Christian Dior's hawthorn and sandalwood fragrance for men, she finds just the right words: "It's very out there." Besides offering such eloquent descriptions, Crucet will advise you on when to apply a certain eau de toilette. For instance Yves Saint Laurent's Opium is a winter fragrance that should not be worn in the mornings. "It's very overpowering; you would kill everyone around you," she cautions. She'll also acquaint you with the liquors, herbs, spices, and flowers stored in bottles and flacons, which are blended to rouse intoxicating, olfactory emotions. Boucheron Pour Homme includes orange, basil, sage, moss, and patchouli, among other ingredients. Lolita Lempicka, a floral eau de parfum, smells of violets, ivy leaves, vanilla, and more. Escada Pour Homme, a fragrance that evokes the Orient, is made from cognac and musk. For children Givenchy's Tartine et Chocolat is a fresh, sparkling scent of plum, peach, mango, and marigold. Most of Crucet's customers are South Americans who were referred by friends. At Alberto Cortes not only can you call upon a knowledgeable staff, but you can buy aromatic essences for about 50 percent less than retail.
Short of having a tailor make your clothes, it's hard to look good when you are a big or tall man. Let's face it, most stores catering to large gentlemen feature mostly T-shirts emblazoned with moronic slogans about the "big dog." Not Rochester Big & Tall, which opened its Aventura store in February 1999. Style and fashion are the guides here. Rochester offers a huge selection of designer suits and casual business attire, from big names such as Versace, DKNY, Burberry's, Tommy Hilfiger, and Pronto. Their sales staff is knowledgeable and professional. Their prices are high, but quality doesn't come cheap. The average price for a suit is between $800 and $1200. And, hey, if you must have a tailor, Rochester's also offers more expensive suits, which can be made to your exact specifications in just thirteen days.
Joe Corbett greets customers while wearing a belt with fish embroidered on it and a button that reads, "I'm protecting what's in my genes. Are you?" Corbett thus models his two main passions: vitamins and fish. Most people know Corbett for the latter. The walls of his store are decorated with photographs of happy customers and their prize catches, mostly monstrous mahi-mahi. Also filling the place are numerous lures and a collection of antique rods and reels. The display counters and stands are replete with a wide variety of fishing accouterments, from maps to tools for constructing flies. In the back a family member expertly repairs fishing gear on a little workbench. Nearby several freezers are stocked full of frozen ballyhoo, silversides, menhaden, and other species. Two water tanks teem with live shrimp that are sure to entice fish onto your hook. And if you visit Kendall Bait and Tackle, chances are, with a minimum of prompting, Corbett will preach the gospel of a happy life through vitamins.
Worldwide is a perennial winner for the simple reason that it's hard to imagine poking around the store's carefully arranged array of international newspapers, glossy magazines, and offbeat cultural rags, and leaving empty-handed. There's simply a mind-boggling wealth of reading options. Looking for a take on Northern Ireland that differs from the mainstream media? Try a copy of the Irish Voice, which features a weekly column straight from the eloquent pen of Sinn Fein head honcho Gerry Adams. Out-of-the-ordinary music more your speed? How about snagging the Beat, which focuses on world grooves; No Depression, which covers the altcountry universe; La Banda Elastica, a colorful chronicle of the latest in rock en español; or the hoary punk-rock bible Maximum Rock and Roll? Sure, Worldwide also carries popular faves such as The New Yorker, Rolling Stone, and (ahem) Miami New Times, but isn't the hot-off-the-presses issue of the Hemp Times precisely what's missing from your life?

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®