In an age when nonstop, homogenized hip-hop thumps from virtually every FM station in Miami 24/7, Zeta's morning duo gets mad props for pushing the boundaries of bad taste: encouraging alcohol and drug abuse, subjecting women to ridicule and degradation on Wednesday's popular "Love Connection," enthusiastically promoting wholesale sexual deviancy. Paul and Ron began their "hectic revelry" shtick in 1990 on WSHE (now Miami's latest rap and R&B station). In 1995 Clear Channel, which owns both stations, moved them to Zeta, where their deliciously boorish behavior has been a fixture for the past eight years.

Readers Choice (tie): Kenny and Footy, Y-100 (WHYI-FM 100.7) and Paul Castronovo and Young Ron Brewer, Zeta (WZTA-FM 94.9)

Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami
Courtesy of the Museum of Contemporary Art
Last year MoCA featured a large exhibit of works by Jack Pierson, a midcareer American conceptualist in his early forties. While certainly grateful for the attention, Pierson expressed surprise, even embarrassment, at having a museum retrospective so early in his life. But that is exactly the sort of thing we've come to expect from MoCA. Museum director Bonnie Clearwater has made a commitment to show and acquire works by emerging artists such as Pierson, and in doing so has become a national trend-setter, not to mention creating the most dynamic art museum in South Florida. MoCA also has made a commitment to our local community of young artists, and has provided them with exposure and experience they couldn't hope to find in most large metropolitan areas. Not every MoCA venture has met with universal praise, but we applaud the willingness to take risks.

Einstein Bros Bagels
Two words: after workout. A South Beach body cannot live on liposuction alone. After a strenuous ab workout, a girl's gotta eat -- and this brightly lit carbohydrate refueling station is just a brisk walk from Gold's, Crunch, Ironworks, Idol's, and David Barton -- making it a favorite meeting place for the aerobics-enhanced. Remember, for nearly an hour after vigorous exercise she will be flushed with endorphins and look on all around her with love. Good thing Einstein Bros. is always so crowded. Is this seat taken?

The searing image from this year's Fiesta Bowl was the collision that left Willis McGahee's knee twisted 45 degrees the wrong direction. The mighty Miami Hurricanes never fully recovered from losing their top rusher and scorer, a runner who demolished team records with 1753 yards and 28 touchdowns this season. Worse was McGahee's apparent personal loss. Before the gut-wrenching hit, he was slated to go early in the first round of this year's NFL draft, where big-money contracts are guaranteed. After the accident it seemed he might not ever play again. Fortunately McGahee had taken out a $2.5 million insurance policy shortly before the accident. But after just fifteen weeks of rehab and a miraculous recovery, he didn't need to collect on that policy. In the draft, the Buffalo Bills couldn't pass up this kid despite the blown knee. Why? No one came up bigger for the Canes in critical games last year. He made the Gators look hapless on the way to 204 rushing yards. He ground out 159 yards against Tennessee. And he found the end zone six times in the Virginia Tech game that catapulted the team to the national championship.

Readers Choice: Ken Dorsey

Picture an enchanted jungle village with coral walkways leading to cozy stone cottages with arched doorways and Spanish-tile roofs. Picture flowers and birds and some fairy tale only you could write. Gladys Margarita Diaz and Ray Jourdain live here in this secluded estate, built from native rock in the Twenties, and they rent the smaller cottages. But they and all their tenants will move out for anyone who wants to rent the whole place and its Eden atmospherics. Built by Ohio banker and real estate developer Warren W. Zinsmaster, this lushly landscaped relic of a grander age also includes an open dance floor, a 30-foot coral rock tunnel, and a pond.

It's that unmarked warehouse in the warehouse district, down the street from the cluster of services for the poor and homeless. The one that had a show with a giant flamingo made of bubblegum prostrate on the floor, the sole artwork in the otherwise barren space. The one with exhibits titled "Pigs and Lint" and "The Night Crazy Legs Went GQ: New Projects by Miami Artists." The one that is a nonprofit founded by three intriguing young artists: Weston Charles, Elizabeth Withstandley, and Cooper (one name only). Now it's also the one with an assistant director who is another fascinating artist, Gean Moreno. The one that shows alternative works from alternative artists consistently and interestingly. The one that greatly helped form our electric emerging art scene. The one that deserves to be called Miami's best gallery this year.

On May 6, 2003, by a unanimous vote of the U.S. Senate, Altonaga became the nation's first female Cuban-American federal judge. President George W. Bush personally nominated her, sidestepping a list of South Florida candidates forwarded by the state's two senators, Bill Nelson and Bob Graham. The move provoked cries of foul. It's clear Bush wanted a Cuban female in the position, and in Altonaga he found a winner. The Yale-educated Coral Gables resident was a career prosecutor with the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office until she became a county court judge in 1996 and then circuit court judge three years later. Even Nelson and Graham, two Democrats, conceded the point of her qualifications and ended up backing the president's pick.

Readers Choice: Gloria Estefan

Your night out is over. You step out of the club's raging din and onto the sidewalk, where the relative silence is as shocking as a slap in the face. Head spinning, you realize you might not be up for the drive home just yet. Stumble over to Puerto Sagua for a no-frills Cuban meal in an atmosphere easygoing enough to enable a soft landing when you come back to earth. The restaurant -- a South Beach institution for more than 30 years -- stays open until 2:00 a.m., perfect for clubland's early exits, and it won't break the bank, assuming you have some bank left after those double-digit cocktails.

Front Porch Cafe
Located at the more sedate, northern end of this beachfront strip, the Front Porch dishes up fair-priced, hearty portions from morn' till night. The best seats in the house are, as the name would suggest, on the front porch, where the scenery stretches from Lummus Park to the dunes to the Atlantic. Or lower your gaze slightly to watch the parade of pedestrians without anyone sashaying into your salad. Weekday breakfasts or late lunches are blessedly peaceful, but expect a wait on the weekend as locals line up for the bounteous brunch. And with a full bar, it's also an ideal spot to quench your post-beach thirst with a cocktail in a casual but civilized environment.

Most drivers en route between Miami Beach and Miami via North Bay Village likely pass unawares through this North Beach neighborhood. Overshadowed by nearby Little Buenos Aires (Collins in the Seventies), Normandy Isle is a discrete entity, surrounded by the bay and canals, including one that divides the island in two, offering many residents water access and providing a training ground for crew teams and skullers out of the Miami Beach Watersports Center. The northern half is rooted by the Normandy Shores Municipal Golf Course while the southern half has the commercial district centered around the fountain, informally dubbed the Place Vendome (nearly all the Normandy Sud streets have French names). With sections of single-family homes and predominantly small apartment buildings dating from the Forties and Fifties, it's home to a mix of long-time residents and newer arrivals, Anglos and Latinos (of which Cubans and Argentineans are only the most visible), families and singles (straight and gay), who manage to co-exist. The area is in transition, though, as Section 8 rentals give way to condo conversions, with the accompanying dislocations. But the City of Miami Beach is also investing millions in fixing up the streetscapes and in refurbishing the Normandy Isle Park, to the benefit of all.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®