BEST SPECTACLE Demolition of the Everglades Hotel What goes up must come down. It may take a hundred years, maybe a thousand, but even the new condo towers rising in the first decade of this new millennium will one day crumble, perhaps into a rising sea. As for the sixteen-story Everglades Hotel, it endured almost 80 years before dissolving into a heap in eight short seconds, helped along this past January 23 by high-tech explosives. But even the preservationist community didn't have much to cry about; long ago the building's original Mediterranean Revival exterior had been remodeled out of existence. For example, in 1959 the cupola atop the building (which, like the nearby Freedom Tower, emulated the Giralda Tower in Seville, Spain) met the same fate as Teamsters Union president Jimmy Hoffa -- it disappeared without a trace. The union actually owned the hotel in 1959, the year architects decided the cupola had to be whacked because it couldn't accommodate the rooftop pool and nightclub Hoffa insisted on installing. In Miami money always seems to trump history. CABI Developers, which bought the hotel a couple years ago, also found the edifice a hindrance to its dollar dreams, which involve erecting two 49-story condominium towers, naming them Everglades on the Bay, and then charging ludicrously high prices for them. This time the whole building had to be whacked -- and it was a spectacular hit.

BEST TERROR ALERT October 26, 2004

Miami International Airport Mizael Cabral and Daniel Correa, two athletic, young kite surfers from Brazil, are heading back to their homeland after spending a couple of years hanging out in Pompano Beach. They check their boards, sails, assorted other gear, and luggage through the x-ray machine at MIA's international terminal. Among the gear is a small belt sander kite surfers use to shape their boards; it is cylindrical and resembles a tank. The Portuguese word for tank is bomba. So when a security agent asks Cabral, who barely speaks English, what's in one of his overstuffed bags, the 29-year-old says bomba. His 27-year-old pal Daniel, who speaks better English (his mom is a U.S. citizen and resides in Davie), comes over and jokes that it might explode -- a reference to the bag being so tightly packed. Of course they're arrested and charged with felonies: willfully or maliciously making false statements "with the intent to cause fear" and "reckless disregard for the safety of human life." Their tourist visas long expired, the surfers are imprisoned for a month at the Federal Detention Center in downtown Miami and then another month at the Krome Detention Center for immigration-law violations. Meanwhile the story hits the front pages in Brazil's national press. The governor from the surfers' province demands that Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva lean on President George W. Bush to intervene. Cabral and Correa's federal public defenders, armed with testimony from TSA officials that the guys should have been spanked and immediately sent home to Brazil, head for trial. Suddenly the U.S. Attorney's Office offers an eleventh-hour plea deal to reduce the charge to a misdemeanor for impeding a federal official in the performance of his duties. U.S. District Judge Federico Moreno sentences Cabral and Correa to time served, but knowing they had been carrying about $8000 in hard-earned cash when the incident occurred, fines them each $2000. "Ridiculous," sighs Marc Seitles, Cabral's public defender.

Go ahead, take your time, you tollbooth operator in your Jimmy Buffett Hawaiian-print shirt. I'll just be over here in my car, idling away, daydreaming of white sand and warm breezes, surrounded by these swaying palms and this manicured landscape, watching the glassy blue waters of Biscayne Bay as they gently lap upon the shores of the causeway. There's a pelican resting on a nearby pier, while overhead a flock of parrots flits from tree to tree, and I swear I just saw a fish jump out of the water. I know we gave you this honor in 2001, but you make my transition from North Miami's frenzied 125th Street to the quiet Surfside beaches a smooth one. Fifty cents, you say? Here, have a dollar; keep the change.

Go ahead, take your time, you tollbooth operator in your Jimmy Buffett Hawaiian-print shirt. I'll just be over here in my car, idling away, daydreaming of white sand and warm breezes, surrounded by these swaying palms and this manicured landscape, watching the glassy blue waters of Biscayne Bay as they gently lap upon the shores of the causeway. There's a pelican resting on a nearby pier, while overhead a flock of parrots flits from tree to tree, and I swear I just saw a fish jump out of the water. I know we gave you this honor in 2001, but you make my transition from North Miami's frenzied 125th Street to the quiet Surfside beaches a smooth one. Fifty cents, you say? Here, have a dollar; keep the change.

BEST VALUE ON OCEAN DRIVE Café Mediterraneo Deli 1501 Collins Avenue

Miami Beach

305-532-8998 While true cheapskates know to load up on food and drink before they find themselves east of Collins Avenue, there's still hope for a little cheap grub and chaser right on the strip. Tucked deep within the Ocean Steps mini mall at the north end of Ocean Drive is Café Mediterraneo Deli. More a sandwich shop and bodega than traditional delicatessen, the store offers brand-name cold cuts, ice cream, a large assortment of wine, and various sundries. For the froufrou tightwad who requires amplified flavor, there are even jars of curry paste and key lime juice. But the fun doesn't stop there. You can grab a table on the elevated patio overlooking Ocean Drive and people-watch to your heart's content. This is actually better than much of the sidewalk seating on Ocean Drive itself, where you get bumped and jostled by the moving wall of gawking humanity. Or take a picnic lunch to Lummus Park and people-watch from under the shade of a lovely coconut palm.

BEST WEEKEND GETAWAY Hollywood No, we don't mean Hollywood, California. And no, this is not a joke. Hollywood, Florida, may be only minutes away by car, but the town's two-and-a-half-mile beachfront Broadwalk is about as close to the South Beach experience as a rodeo is to a velvet-rope nightclub. Here's what to do: On a Saturday or Sunday, you and the companion of your choice head up to the Broadwalk (from Georgia Street at the southern end to Sherman Street at the north). Unload your bicycles and cruise until you come across a motel that looks just funky enough be affordable yet clean enough to be reassuring. Put money down on a room for your future Saturday night retreat. Then quickly return to Miami. Do not explore further. On the appointed Saturday, head back to your cozy motel, unload bikes and gear, and this time walk the entire length of the Broadwalk. Within minutes you'll realize you have slipped through a wormhole and are now in a parallel universe. This is a place still a bit rough around the edges, where the bars and cafés fronting the Broadwalk maintain an authentically tacky charm that lacks pretension and invites you to linger. Leggy models and buff boys? No. Gourmet dining? No. Twelve-dollar cocktails? No. Which is precisely the point.

Readers´ Choice: Key West

BEST-KEPT SECRET mia Gallery Miami International Airport

Concourse E, second level

305-876-0749; 305-869-1219; 305-876-7017

"It can hardly be a coincidence that no language on earth has ever produced the expression öAs pretty as an airport.'" British sci-fi/comedy writer Douglas Adams wrote that sentiment in the opener to one of his popular books, Long Dark Tea Time of the Soul. It is an observation never more true than at the absurdly slapdash way station of humanity known as Miami International Airport. Which is why it's surprising and yet completely fitting that MIA would not only have an art gallery (open since 1999) but would also make little effort to inform people of its existence, much less help them find it. However, those lucky passengers who do (you can't visit it unless you have a plane ticket or make special arrangements) will find a beauteous 2400-square-foot space created, airport literature explains, "for the purpose of humanizing the airport environment." The shows, smartly curated by Yolanda Sanchez, often feature some of Miami's most accomplished contemporary artists. Amid the nearly overwhelming spectacle of MIA's environs, mia Gallery is a welcome aesthetic breather.

Personal Best Nick D'Annunzio and Tara Solomon of TARA, Ink. Boutique public relations firm TARA, Ink. is the offspring of Miami Herald columnist Tara Solomon, who manages to be both journalist and, um, promoter. Solomon has long presided over Miami Beach nightlife and now, with fiancé Nick D'Annunzio, may be a little less visible in these parts as she jets among offices around the country negotiating the right kind of exposure for just the right clients.

The successful personal and professional merger of Nick and Tara makes complete, logical sense, between their complementary differences and all-important commonalities: The porcelain-skinned beauty born under the sign of Cancer is practical and reserved; the extroverted and tanned Leo is expansive and prone to dramatic gestures. Both are incredibly sweet, love animals, and are insanely devoted to their families. (Nick recently moved his mom from Las Vegas to Miami; Tara drives to Fort Myers to visit her relatives as often as she can.)

"We have been so blessed with our growth in Miami," says D'Annunzio. "We opened an office in Los Angeles and are doing major programs in New York City, Las Vegas, and other hot spots."

TARA, Ink. has five divisions: fashion, hospitality, beauty, real estate and design, and corporate.

Best place to take out-of-towners: The Forge -- it's a Miami landmark. It has the best wine and steak and, if it's a Wednesday night, the best party in town.

Best place for a first date: OLA. It's lively yet romantic, and the ceviche is an excellent aphrodisiac.

Best new fashion trend: Less about the glitz, more about the individual pieces and attitude. One great accessory can make an outfit.

Best place for cocktails: SkyBar.

Best reason to stay in Miami for the summer: Nick: The heat. It's so sexy.

Tara: More time to check out Miami museums and thrift shops.

What are the new party trends of the future? Things are getting more exclusive, but also events are moving into huge mansions. South Beach nightlife is invading all areas. Look at condominium marketing and their events. The big clubs are not as huge as they used to be. It's more about the restaurants and lounges. Lots of indoor/outdoor spaces like Pangaea, SkyBar, Sanctuary, and Sushi Samba.

Will karaoke still be around? Forever, promise or threat!

Where do you see the public relations business in the year 2025? In 2025 TARA, Ink. will have world domination. With as many offices as the Gap has stores ... just kidding. I think we will still be securing Paris Hilton to attend events, and maybe her unborn children Newark Hilton, Airport Hilton, and Baghdad Hilton. I think the world of celebrity will continue to affect PR. We see that across the board. All clients want some type of partnership with celebrities, whether it's to wear their products or attend their events.

SECOND-BEST ERRATUM April 4, 2005

Miami Herald "The e-mail address on Friday's column for öYou Got A Problem' was incorrect...."

BEST NEW TREND Pugs in public Most people realize they are mere servants to their dogs and follow their every canine command. What many civilians fail to acknowledge is that dogs collectively have a larger mission -- to eventually rule the entire world. Purebreds like schnauzers and Cirnecos dell'Etna harken back to the dictatorial pasts of their home countries of Germany and Italy to create a mongrelized, utopic vision for governments of the future. The plan begins with an infiltration of public places where humans are known to congregate, such as pubs and markets. (This has already been accomplished without resistance in the Netherlands and countries of the northern Renaissance.) The surest sign Miami is experiencing a Europeanizing, as well as Latinizing, influence is the emerging ubiquitousness of canine "companions" everywhere you go. Rugged Norwegian elkhounds stroll the hushed aisles of Anthropologie while beribboned, snowy Maltese peek out of Birkin bags at art galleries. Some dogs even command their own tables at Lincoln Road cafés and coffee shops. At Nordstrom in the Village of Merrick Park, Karin Albert, a saleswoman in the teen clothing department, reports seeing many Chihuahuas emulating Tinkerbell, the teacup pup who uses Paris Hilton as a public escort. "The dogs are usually really good, and the people with them seem patient and happier," observes Albert. "The dogs seem to enjoy going shopping as much as the girls." Apparently capitalism will remain a fixture in the new four-footed regime.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®