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.
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.
Aquaknots Dive Center
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.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®