BEST PLACE TO DONATE YOUR CLOTHES SoBe Thrifty 1435 Alton Road

Miami Beach

305-672-7251

www.careresource.org Where can you pick up dominatrix gear, metal walkers, Guillermo Alvarez Guedes LPs, and free condoms in one unassuming little store? Okay, so the donated stock does vary from week to week (except the free condoms), but this thrift store tucked away on the "wrong" side of South Beach certainly has a very intriguing clientele. All the above disappeared rather quickly. Proceeds go to Care Resource, the oldest HIV/AIDS service organization in South Florida and the folks who also throw the White Party. Did we forget to mention the fabulously large selection of gay-interest books?

BEST PLACE TO MEET INTELLIGENT MEN Books & Books 265 Aragon Avenue

Coral Gables

305-442-4408

www.booksandbooks.com Reading is sexy. And men who read books are really sexy. And no, Maxim and Stuff magazines don't count as books. Spend a Thursday evening or a Saturday afternoon strolling through the stacks to see who's interested in the same subjects you are. Maybe that hot guy in the travel section is in need of a backpacking companion, or the handsome gentleman rifling through the cookbooks could be looking to add a little more spice to his bachelor life. The redhead in politics and current affairs is a nice catch if you like the challenge of a good argument, but perhaps the blond holding a copy of The Poetry of Pablo Neruda is just the romantic type you've been looking for. Just steer clear of the self-help section -- you came here to find intelligent men, not needy men.

BEST PLACE TO MEET INTELLIGENT WOMEN Synergy Yoga Center 435 Española Way

Miami Beach

305-538-7073

www.synergyyoga.org If engaging conversation is what you desire from a potential mate, perhaps a jolt to the proper chakra will soothe that yearning heart. Bring your mat and position it strategically in the center of the studio room. Get there early and show lots of enthusiasm by learning the difference between hatha funyasa and jivamukti yoga. Pretty soon you'll be surrounded on four sides by fit, limber women who'll look with interest at a man who shares their interest in things metaphysical. The center offers studio classes day and night, or you can opt for lessons right on the sand at the beach nearby. Prices range from $5 to $14. That's a lot cheaper than an audition date would cost. Short of an IQ test, this is the best way to encounter a woman who at least is smart enough to take care of her body, mind, and soul.

BEST PLACE TO MEET SINGLE MEN Marlins games Dolphins Stadium

2267 Dan Marino Boulevard

Miami

305-623-6100

www.floridamarlins.com If you're looking to meet men, you need to go to them (they're not knocking on your door, right?), even if it means watching sports. Put on a sassy aqua tank top and some sunscreen and say to yourself: "I love baseball!" As long as the game isn't called because of rain, it will be raining men at every home game this season. Whether you're waiting in line for beer and dogs or saying your "excuse me's" to get back to your seat, you'll find plenty of men willing to share their baseball wisdom with you. And if you have a few well-researched facts to toss back, these baseball fans will put you at the top of their batting order. You could even rip a triple to deep center: You meet a great guy, he buys you a cute hat to protect your pretty face, and you might realize you actually like baseball. Don't worry about hitting a home run just yet; you've got the whole season to score. Tickets range from $8 in the fish-tank section to $42 for club-zone seats, but everyone is equal in the concession areas.

BEST PLACE TO MEET SINGLE WOMEN www.eHarmony.com What's the hardest part about meeting women? They're pretty much always on the defensive. Internet match sites may not eliminate feminine defensiveness, but the good ones can reduce it significantly by giving women (and men) power to accept or reject at will. eHarmony.com is among the good ones, mainly because of extensive screening at the front end. More than 400 questions in almost 30 categories helps build a detailed profile that increases the chances you'll hook up with someone compatible. It's not the cheapest match site ($50 for one month; $250 for a year), but eHarmony boasts it has put together more engagements and marriages than any similar operation. (But who's keeping track?) The site is the brainchild of relationship guru Neil Clark Warren, a psychologist who has also written many books on the subject.

BEST PLACE TO PEOPLE-WATCH Chili's 19905 Biscayne Boulevard

Aventura

305-682-9898 When you've had enough of the fake tits and tans on South Beach, head north on a Saturday night to indulge yourself in a cross section of real people to watch. This joint is jumping -- there's always a crowd outside waiting for tables -- but head to the bar area for the first-come, first-served seating and an ideal view of the entrance. From high school kids heading to the prom (yes, their dates really did take them to Chili's), to twentysomething partiers getting loaded up on reasonably priced two-for-one cocktails before heading to the clubs, to European tourists and senior citizens, there is a never-ending supply of characters from central casting to watch, admire, or make up crazy stories about.

Readers´ Choice: Lincoln Road

BEST PLACE TO TAKE OUT-OF-TOWNERS Hoy Como Ayer 2212 SW Eighth Street

Miami

305-541-2631

www.hoycomoayer.net Your visitors can spend the day basking on Miami's beaches, spending cash in its shops, trekking through the Everglades, catching boat rides from Bayside, or feeding the birds at Parrot Jungle. However, the quintessential Miami experience awaits as you take them through the doors of this magical Little Havana club on a Thursday, Friday, or Saturday night. The nostalgia of old Cuba permeates the air as locals imbibe rum drinks, smoke fine cigars, order platters of Cuban tapas, and dance to live music by some of Cuba's best (exiled) musicians: Albita Rodriguez, Malena Burke, Luis Bofill, Cristina Rebul, Esencia, Sarabanda, Leslie Cartaya, and special guests. Photos of artists from Cuba's cultural past and present decorate the walls, reminding us that today, like yesterday, the island's music is irresistible.

Readers´ Choice: South Beach

BEST POLITICAL COMEBACK Justice Leslie Rothenberg Third District Court of Appeal Talk about comebacks! Rothenberg keeps popping up in the most influential places, defying all expectations and, some would say, reason. First she quit her job as a circuit court judge to run for state attorney. (Her tenure on the circuit court had its fair share of controversies; she had to recuse herself several times for displaying bias against defendants.) While campaigning for state attorney, she snuggled up to the Christian Family Coalition by publicly vowing to oppose while in office most anything that aided or abetted homosexuality. But alas, she was trounced in the Republican primary and limped off to the private sector. But wait! Gov. Jeb Bush himself plucked her from her ignoble fate as a private lawyer and whisked her up to even greater heights by appointing her to fill a vacancy on the Third District Court of Appeal. Her openly anti-gay position could prove troublesome as issues related to sexual orientation make their way through the court system, a prospect that apparently didn't faze the guv.

BEST POLITICAL CONVICTIONS OF THE PAST TWELVE MONTHS Jacques Evens Thermilus and Richard Caride It didn't start out as a political case. It began as an inquiry into a simple heist -- albeit a long-running one. For years employees of private companies that work at Miami International Airport were stealing the valuable jet fuel by the truckload. When a multiagency team of investigators cracked the case, though, they uncovered a hive of politically connected companies and individuals fraudulently billing the airport for work that was either never done or vastly overpriced. As a result, several defendants pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with the State Attorney's Office. Jacques Evens Thermilus took a plea and led investigators to a similar scheme he was working with Miami City Commissioner Arthur Teele, who was then arrested. Another MIA defendant, Richard Caride, pleaded guilty and told investigators about scheming with businessman Antonio Junior to defraud the airport, and also about Junior's close ties to county Commissioner Barbara Carey-Shuler. Consequently authorities have opened another investigation.

BEST POLITICAL COUP Carlos Alvarez In late July 2003, when the director of Miami-Dade's police department entered the race to become the county's second executive mayor, no one gave him a chance against the other political war dogs in the contest. Many saw Alvarez as a fifth-place finisher behind José Cancela, Maurice Ferré, Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, and Jimmy Morales. Yet Alvarez's grassroots campaign, supported by the state's largest police union and enabled by public campaign funds, inflicted serious damage on the well-oiled electoral machines operating in 2004. He obliterated Cancela, Ferré, and Diaz de la Portilla in the August primary. November 4 he clobbered Morales with a margin of nine points. His success could encourage other outsiders to take aim at one of the most entrenched political institutions the world has ever seen -- the Miami-Dade County Commission.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®