BEST JUNK Stone Age Antiques 3236 NW South River Drive

Miami

305-633-5114

www.stoneage-antiques.com Tired of looking all over the county for that 20,000-year-old mammoth tusk you simply must have? Follow the cramped pathways inside this ancient little warehouse on the bank of the Miami River and you'll find at least one in stock (for just $4500). Owners Gary and Ryan Stone (father and son) dedicate themselves to keeping the place -- floor, walls, and ceiling -- well beyond cluttered. The preponderance of human artifacts here are actually younger than the Stone Age but definitely of the Pre-Plastic Epoch. The plethora includes wood boxes, wood canes, kerosene lanterns, aluminum Coca-Cola and Pepsi-Cola coolers, brass bells, old hats, older portholes, a bowsprit maiden or two, a boar head here, an antelope head there. African masks, African drums, African stools. You might resist a $395 three-foot-tall red lobster statue and a small $550 "handmade" replica of Pilar, a boat Ernest Hemingway owned in Cuba in 1938. But maybe not a blue or red glass bowling-ball-size float wrapped in rope netting for $20 to $30, or an old wicker fish creel for $35. Some things are too precious for even junk sellers to part with. On the premises is a Shure model 555 Unidyne Dynamic broadcast microphone from the Forties for rental only, because the Stones can make more money repeatedly renting that piece of junk to prop masters than selling it.

BEST LAUNDROMAT Miami Coin Laundry 1569 NW Seventeenth Avenue

Miami

305-549-6670 That guy selling the limited edition Fantastic Four comic book on eBay only accepts money orders, your laundry pile is looking like the Trash Heap on Fraggle Rock, and all you really want to do is play some Galaga. The solution: A trip to Miami Coin Laundry. This place is the Wal-Mart of laundromats. There's a snack shop stocked with frosty beverages, the usual candy bar and salty chip fare, and homemade goodies packaged in Saran Wrap. Bins of dollar-store items such as plastic handcuffs, seat belts, vanity license plates, and ceramic knick-knacks line the length of the space, as do higher ticket items, like a violin (could be a viola) priced to sell at $97. Video games are in the back -- Galaga, Tekken, and a few others -- as is a miniature car the kiddies can ride. Detergent and money orders at the counter. Oh yeah, and while you're there, you might as well do your laundry.

BEST LEATHER Recycled Blues 1507 Washington Avenue

Miami Beach

305-538-0656 This haberdashery of vintage clothing and accessories could easily double as a dressing room for Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, or Jimi Hendrix. Hundreds of worn, torn Levi's jeans hang from the walls. Hawaiian shirts, surf jams, plaid golf pants, bowling shirts, fluorescent polyester dresses and dress suits, old-school T's, and track suits complement the denim inventory. Of course nothing beats Recycled Blues' leather goods collection, a mish-mash of suede and black-leather rocker jeans, winter parkas lined with animal fur, bomber jackets, trench coats, and rad outfits only a glammed-up superstar should wear. Styling an individual look for yourself won't break the bank: Prices start at $25, with the most expensive item retailing at $150. Recycled Blues is open daily 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.

BEST LIQUOR STORE Crown Wine and Spirits Various locations in Miami-Dade County

786-621-9463

www.crownwineandspirits.com If you've ever dreamed of indulging in a Nicolas-Cage-in-Leaving-Las-Vegas-style liquor shopping spree, there is no place better for it than Crown. Patron Silver Tequila? They've got it. Jagermeister? Uh huh. Whaler's Pineapple Rum? That too. Johnny Walker Blue? Oh my, yes. Plus all the fancy chasers, key lime cookies, imported chocolates, pâté, cheese, and other gourmet treats a discriminating party thrower could want. With their inspiring collection of exotic beers and a wine aisle straight out of a sommelier's dream, Crown is nirvana for the unabashed lush.

Readers´ Choice: ABC Fine Wine & Spirits

BEST MALL North Miami and Aventura strip-mall tour Biscayne Boulevard from 135th Street to 206th Street You've schlepped through many a shopping mall. And let's face it, they're all pretty much the same. Take a break from the mall-rat race to appreciate the booming development along Biscayne Boulevard in North Miami and Aventura. Here's your itinerary:

1. Keystone Plaza at 135th Street for Starbucks, Jamba Juice, Ben & Jerry's, Chicken Kitchen, or Einstein Bros., because you'll need the fuel.

2. On My Own clothing boutique at 180th Street for unique (albeit pricey) finds, like colorful embroidered tunics from India.

3. Pier 1 Imports at 186th Street for decorating inspiration. (It's hip and affordable.)

4. Loehmann's at 187th Street for top-of-the-line designer duds at rock-bottom prices. Barnes & Noble for a snack and for posing as an intellectual.

5. Bed Bath & Beyond at 192nd Street for bathroom accessories (because, admit it, your bath towels are downright ratty!). DSW Shoe Warehouse for inexpensive shoes and Old Navy for casual basics.

6. Circuit City at 206th Street for your partner, who's been so patient. The Birkenstock shop, Michael's craft store, and Marshall's, for yourself. (Prowl the discount racks and explore the improved home furnishings and accessories section in the back.)

7. And finally: the bar at Chili's at 199th Street for an El Niño Margarita, because a stiff drink is the only proper way to end a day of consumer frenzy.

See? Urban sprawl ain't so bad after all.

BEST MATERNITY BOUTIQUE Mommy's Place 5845 SW 73rd Street

South Miami

305-663-5636

www.mommysplacematernity.com When your belly is expanding, your feet are swollen, and you're not feeling like your usual sassy self, you still want to wear stylish (but comfortable) clothing. And because you never know when the next mood swing will kick in and you'll suddenly find yourself irrationally hating plaids or polka dots, you want the clothing to be affordable. Mommy's Place has eveningwear, swimsuits, lingerie, casual, and career clothing from hot maternity designers such as Olian, Tummi, Japanese Weekend, and Belly Basics, plus sexy denim from Earl Jean. And with tops and dresses priced from $40 to $150, you can be a cool mom with some change left in your pocket.

BEST MODEL TRAIN STORE Ready to Roll 831 NW 143rd Street

North Miami-Dade

305-688-8868

www.readytorolltrains.com Models from Z to G! No, these are not the words of a confused alphabetizer, it's what you'll find at Ready to Roll. The store has the widest selection of model train supplies in South Florida. Tracks, gravel, paints, even tiny trees, materials to build your models from scratch and prefabricated scale buildings can all be found at this shop. Five operating layouts in various scales are the highlight of the store. The O-scale model is as large as an average bedroom. Locomotives travel over bridges and through tunnels as miniature people stand nearby. The HO layout is smaller and more likely to fit in most homes. It has beautiful detailing, gravel specks and street signs, even a little fisherman, with rod in hand, standing in a sparkling lake. The staff at Ready to Roll will help with all your modeling needs -- special orders, layout advice, even custom paint jobs. And if it's a repair that you require, they can help you get your train back in perfect shape.

BEST MODEL TRAIN STORE Ready to Roll 831 NW 143rd Street

North Miami-Dade

305-688-8868

www.readytorolltrains.com Models from Z to G! No, these are not the words of a confused alphabetizer, it's what you'll find at Ready to Roll. The store has the widest selection of model train supplies in South Florida. Tracks, gravel, paints, even tiny trees, materials to build your models from scratch and prefabricated scale buildings can all be found at this shop. Five operating layouts in various scales are the highlight of the store. The O-scale model is as large as an average bedroom. Locomotives travel over bridges and through tunnels as miniature people stand nearby. The HO layout is smaller and more likely to fit in most homes. It has beautiful detailing, gravel specks and street signs, even a little fisherman, with rod in hand, standing in a sparkling lake. The staff at Ready to Roll will help with all your modeling needs -- special orders, layout advice, even custom paint jobs. And if it's a repair that you require, they can help you get your train back in perfect shape.

BEST MUSICAL INSTRUMENT STORE Sam Ash Music 5360 NW 167th Street

Miami Lakes

305-628-3510

and

11421 NW 12th Street

Miami

786-331-9688

www.samashmusic.com Sometimes bigger is better when it comes to a great music store, as it's all about selection, a place where both newbie guitarists who don't know the difference between nylon and steel strings and dudes who have Flying Vs older than said newbies can get their hands on anything and everything required to rock out. Crobar meets New World Symphony meets Churchill's in this 46,000-square-foot space, which houses everything from orchestral instruments and sheet music to DJ gear to all the drums, guitars, basses, and amps your inner Metallica can handle. The store also holds periodical clinics -- guitarist Alan Holdsworth and bassist Jeff Berlin are on the schedule -- and yes, you are allowed to play "Stairway to Heaven" (if you must).

BEST NEW MUSIC STORE Sweat Records 2320 NE Second Avenue

Miami

305-573-5681

www.sweatrecordsmiami.com This brand spanking new independent record store had its grand opening in Wynwood in March, and more than 500 people showed up to give a symbolic high five to its owners, former Poplife and Revolver DJ Lauren Reskin and former WVUM-FM (90.5) DJ Sara Yousuf. Posters of Napoleon Dynamite and Interpol watch over CD bins filled with everything from Yo La Tengo to Bloc Party. Within its turquoise walls, Sweat also sells used CDs, albums by local bands, DVDs, underground music mags, Japanese toys, vinyl, and works by area artists. The space boasts a back-yard patio as well as a DJ station sporting the latest equipment, which spinners can sign up to use any time -- that is, when Sweat isn't hosting one of its many in-store hootenannies. "Notice there is no ö.99' in our prices. That's because we know you're not stupid," reads a sign taped above the CDs. You would be stupid, however, if you didn't check out Miami's latest attempt to keep it real.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®