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?
Years ago, when a New Times writer was in graduate school in North Carolina, she took an independent-study course on Latin-American women writers. And no place in the United States did a better job of delivering the works of the most exhilarating escritoras than Juan Manuel Salvat's Little Havana shop. When the New Times writer headed south to teach graduate school in Colombia, Salvat provided a semester's stock of Spanish translations of English works by U.S. Latino writers. In business more than 30 years, the Salvat family has developed a bibliographic expertise helpful to scholars and dilettantes alike. Although Universal specializes in Cuban books, the shelves also include a wide selection of everything else imaginable. Squeezed in alongside the complete works of Lydia Cabrera and José Martí are treasures ranging from Argentine classics to daring new works from Spain. Best of all Universal hosts monthly Saturday-afternoon visits from the writers published by Salvat's press, Ediciones Universal. The lively discussions provide living proof that Universal is a bookstore for people who not only love to read, but love to think.
Granted CD Warehouse is a chain of stores. Yet unlike Home Depot or Bennigan's, the four used-CD peddlers in Miami-Dade County reflect their communities. This is true because their suppliers are their customers. Ergo the CD Warehouse in Miami Lakes has a high concentration of Latin music, which mirrors the salsa-loving population in the north end of the county. In Kendall kids trade CDs of Gothic and industrial music. The Coral Gables store, located near the University of Miami, carries numerous alternative and hip-hop discs. Our favorite is the Biscayne Boulevard location, which boasts a fine collection of Motown, reggae, blues, and plain old rock and roll. Here you can find everything from rarities to your favorite greatest-hits compilation. And there is enough turnover that a weekly visit is worthwhile. Check this out: When you buy ten discs, the eleventh is free.
"The orange suit will work," says Rochell "Raquel" Greene, assisting a customer in her small Washington Avenue boutique. "The one in your hand ... not for you! Don't even bother trying it on." For three years Greene has been selling Brazilian bikinis and high-end Italian lingerie to the fashionably svelte denizens of South Beach. An expert on fit, Greene appraises the figure of every woman who walks in and steers them toward ensembles that best suit their body type. If a bikini fails to flatter, she refuses to sell it. "If someone leaves my store with a suit they don't feel comfortable wearing, they'll never come back. It makes business sense to make my customers happy." Such exceptional service allows her small shop (the entire place is no larger than a walk-in closet) to survive Washington Avenue's boom-and-bust economy. She discounts her designer underwear, but style comes at a price; a frugal customer could save money at Victoria's Secret, though that's a purchase Greene would lobby against. "Their stuff is garbage," she says with a sniff. "Garbage!"
El Palacio doesn't look like a palace, but then your body doesn't really resemble a temple. At this rustic little produce market, you can juice up en estilo muy Miamiense. The menu includes squeezings from a spectrum of tropical fruits, including maracuya (passion fruit), tamarindo (tamarind), guanábana (soursop), papaya, mamey, and guayaba (guava). Also available: melón (cantaloupe), sandía (watermelon), coco (coconut), naranja (orange), and manzana (apple). The seriously healthy juice-hound can request zanahoria (carrot) and remolacha (beet). If you've been searching for the nectar of the gods, try a papaya colada, a blend of coconut and papaya juices (liquor not included). All juices cost $1.25 per glass, or $4 for a gallon jug (except mamey, which costs $5).

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®