Ay, Shangó! The business card for this metaphysical shop says it all. It depicts a cute little sand-colored kitten with a red handkerchief around his neck accenting two innocent green eyes. In big, bold Spanish letters the card says the shop has all types of animals for religious services, and proclaims in even bigger print, "Free delivery with fifty dollar purchase." What better service for the on-the-go high priest? A stroll inside the store will make non-Santerós feel like they are in the dark parts of a Harry Potter book. Iguanas, rats, roosters, pigeons, and the like are stacked up in cages that fill most of the store. Incense, religious shrines, and other "tools of the saints" can be bought here, and what they lack in stellar stock the proprietors will be more than happy to find for their clients.

You can't miss Sinbad's when driving down Bird Road thanks to its colorful mural of a rain forest on the side wall, but if it's a squawking, feathered friend you're looking for, you'd probably find your way to Sinbad's anyway. It's simply the biggest and best bird shop around. Not only is almost every species of parrot for sale, but Sinbad's takes the time to educate and prepare each customer on the rewarding responsibility they'll undertake when adopting a bird. In the showroom, talkative blue and yellow macaws, green Amazons (those smart-aleck pirate parrots), red-collared African greys, fluffy Triton cockatoos, and the Rolls Royce of birds, the royal blue hyacinth, are on display, but you can't just have any one of them. See, store owner Alfredo Sinbad, an avid bird breeder for more than two decades, insists on matching suitable companions. Sinbad's only sells baby and young birds, housed in the bird house adjacent to the shop, so they can easily get acclimated to the people buying them. That's because a parrot is a finicky pet that requires plenty of care and attention. Parrot Jungle recently closed its bird shop in response to criticism over the kind of impulsive buying Sinbad's is careful to guard against. So when the customer and bird are finally ready to live together, they ride off into the sunset cheek to beak. And if the owner needs to leave town and has nobody to bird-sit? Leave it at Sinbad's bird hotel in back of the store for about five to twelve dollars a night, depending on the bird's size. There's cage service and everything. As for the appropriate parrot supplies, they're all at Sinbad's, truly a one-stop parrot shop with enough toys and bulk foods to satisfy even the most demanding bird.

You can't miss Sinbad's when driving down Bird Road thanks to its colorful mural of a rain forest on the side wall, but if it's a squawking, feathered friend you're looking for, you'd probably find your way to Sinbad's anyway. It's simply the biggest and best bird shop around. Not only is almost every species of parrot for sale, but Sinbad's takes the time to educate and prepare each customer on the rewarding responsibility they'll undertake when adopting a bird. In the showroom, talkative blue and yellow macaws, green Amazons (those smart-aleck pirate parrots), red-collared African greys, fluffy Triton cockatoos, and the Rolls Royce of birds, the royal blue hyacinth, are on display, but you can't just have any one of them. See, store owner Alfredo Sinbad, an avid bird breeder for more than two decades, insists on matching suitable companions. Sinbad's only sells baby and young birds, housed in the bird house adjacent to the shop, so they can easily get acclimated to the people buying them. That's because a parrot is a finicky pet that requires plenty of care and attention. Parrot Jungle recently closed its bird shop in response to criticism over the kind of impulsive buying Sinbad's is careful to guard against. So when the customer and bird are finally ready to live together, they ride off into the sunset cheek to beak. And if the owner needs to leave town and has nobody to bird-sit? Leave it at Sinbad's bird hotel in back of the store for about five to twelve dollars a night, depending on the bird's size. There's cage service and everything. As for the appropriate parrot supplies, they're all at Sinbad's, truly a one-stop parrot shop with enough toys and bulk foods to satisfy even the most demanding bird.

Old designers sure knew how to make clothes. Even 50 or 60 years later, dresses drape as if scientifically created to make women beautiful. Halston, Pucci, Gucci, and Gaultier are all philosophers of form. The only thing is, the women back then were a lot smaller. So a size 8 in vintage clothes is really more like a size 4 in this supersized era. But regardless, if you want to dress like you're living in black-and-white glamour, Sasparilla is the place. From the closets of rich old (or deceased) women come vintage and designer dresses, shirts, jackets, pants, shoes, bags, jewelry, and luggage, priced from about $25 to $500. The store also will buy your vintage duds. Hours noon to 10:00 p.m.

Old designers sure knew how to make clothes. Even 50 or 60 years later, dresses drape as if scientifically created to make women beautiful. Halston, Pucci, Gucci, and Gaultier are all philosophers of form. The only thing is, the women back then were a lot smaller. So a size 8 in vintage clothes is really more like a size 4 in this supersized era. But regardless, if you want to dress like you're living in black-and-white glamour, Sasparilla is the place. From the closets of rich old (or deceased) women come vintage and designer dresses, shirts, jackets, pants, shoes, bags, jewelry, and luggage, priced from about $25 to $500. The store also will buy your vintage duds. Hours noon to 10:00 p.m.

Queen Goddess, owner of the Happy 2 B Nappy Boutique, can fix the limpest white boy's tresses into a nappy dreadlocked crown worthy of a prophet. She uses her own secret concoction of shea butter, aloe, herbs, and oils to nurture the hair and scalps of her clients while forming the ragamuffin locks they dream of. With her intricate finger work, Queen revives veteran dreads' long-neglected tassels into fabulous works of art, enhanced with shells and beads. She says her objective in the heart of Liberty City's fast-redeveloping area is to uplift locals with a rasta blast of beauty straight from the heart of Africa.

Queen Goddess, owner of the Happy 2 B Nappy Boutique, can fix the limpest white boy's tresses into a nappy dreadlocked crown worthy of a prophet. She uses her own secret concoction of shea butter, aloe, herbs, and oils to nurture the hair and scalps of her clients while forming the ragamuffin locks they dream of. With her intricate finger work, Queen revives veteran dreads' long-neglected tassels into fabulous works of art, enhanced with shells and beads. She says her objective in the heart of Liberty City's fast-redeveloping area is to uplift locals with a rasta blast of beauty straight from the heart of Africa.

This particular outpost of the national chain is housed in the space formerly occupied by a Publix -- the giant, upside-down chevron sign still marks the entrance -- and its vast stock takes advantage of an uncluttered, well-lit ambiance not generally found in granola world. Organic produce and vegan proteins are available as well as desserts, free-range beef, wines without sulfites, and cheeses from around the world. Wild Oats has an ample, respectable produce aisle, bulk pastas, rices, spices and herbs, and icy cases filled with raw ahi tuna and scallops, so the discerning, health-minded cook will be pleased. But this store is at its most usefully mind-boggling for the kitchen-impaired who nonetheless eschew fast food: A deli is jammed with ready-to-eat meatless tamales, tofu salads, and curried turkey. Grab-and-go whole grain sandwiches are stacked high with romaine lettuce, sprouts, and marinated portobellos. Spinach lasagna is available for purchase by the pan or by the slice. Beyond the capacity to keep the larder from getting low, Wild Oats offers a cornucopia of cruelty-free (read: unlike Procter & Gamble, the eyes of rabbits are not used as test tubes for these products) cleaning and bathing lines, from Burt's Bees to Avalon Organics. Finally don't miss out on snacks and meals for the pets. Wild Oats is one of the few places in Florida to purchase Spot's Stew, a canned food for both dogs and cats that can tempt the pickiest pup or most toothless old cat into a good, and healthy, repast.

This particular outpost of the national chain is housed in the space formerly occupied by a Publix -- the giant, upside-down chevron sign still marks the entrance -- and its vast stock takes advantage of an uncluttered, well-lit ambiance not generally found in granola world. Organic produce and vegan proteins are available as well as desserts, free-range beef, wines without sulfites, and cheeses from around the world. Wild Oats has an ample, respectable produce aisle, bulk pastas, rices, spices and herbs, and icy cases filled with raw ahi tuna and scallops, so the discerning, health-minded cook will be pleased. But this store is at its most usefully mind-boggling for the kitchen-impaired who nonetheless eschew fast food: A deli is jammed with ready-to-eat meatless tamales, tofu salads, and curried turkey. Grab-and-go whole grain sandwiches are stacked high with romaine lettuce, sprouts, and marinated portobellos. Spinach lasagna is available for purchase by the pan or by the slice. Beyond the capacity to keep the larder from getting low, Wild Oats offers a cornucopia of cruelty-free (read: unlike Procter & Gamble, the eyes of rabbits are not used as test tubes for these products) cleaning and bathing lines, from Burt's Bees to Avalon Organics. Finally don't miss out on snacks and meals for the pets. Wild Oats is one of the few places in Florida to purchase Spot's Stew, a canned food for both dogs and cats that can tempt the pickiest pup or most toothless old cat into a good, and healthy, repast.

For serious cinephiles looking to feed their home video jones, there have always been only two choices. Those living in the Coral Gables area flocked to Lion Video (thankfully resuscitated after some financial troubles), while Miami Beach-ers hit New Concept Video. For those residing somewhere between the two, New Concept gets our nod for remembering that in a world of satellite television, hundreds of new cable channels, and the flowering of video on demand, it's the hunt for obscurities and underground faves that makes us leave our homes. Looking for Lord of the Rings? Sure, Blockbuster has that as well, but just try finding the bulk of New Concept's sprawling collection of gay-themed flicks there. Likewise for this store's separate room of adult videos -- for both gay and straight tastes. We could go on: Wowed by Denys Arcand's scathing take on baby boomer intellectuals in The Barbarian Invasions when it played theaters this past winter? Try renting a copy of his 1986 film The Decline of the American Empire, featuring those same characters in their preening prime. It's out of print, and yet to hit DVD, but you can still find a VHS copy here. How about the hilarious BBC series The Office, or the wryly ahead-of-its-time HBO series The Larry Sanders Show? Both are at New Concept. But don't take our word for it -- Beach residents are clearly voting with their wallets. At a time when mom-and-pop video shops are increasingly beleaguered, New Concept has opened up a second DVD-only location on West Avenue. That's the kind of commercial expansion we'll gladly give a thumbs-up to.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®