Tucked away in a little strip mall, Judaica Enterprises has pretty much everything you'd expect -- bins full of kippoh, educational Jewish children's games, menorahs of all varieties, and shofars of various lengths. What sets Judaica Enterprises apart is its extensive stock of Jewish texts -- more than 7000 titles, according to owner Joseph Bronstein. In the store and its nearby warehouse, you'll find books about Jewish cooking, Hebrew-language instruction, humor, Jewish history, marriage and relationships, Jewish travel, and a solid selection of Spanish-language Judaica. Bronstein and his staff will go out of their way to help you find what you're looking for. "People who work here are usually knowledgeable," Bronstein says with a sly smile. If you don't want to schlep out of your way, they'll ship your order to you. Judaica Enterprises is open Sunday through Thursday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., and it's closed Saturdays and Jewish Holidays.
It's Saturday night, and you want to get wasted. Not just giggling, slurring-your-words wasted -- your mission is to become intoxicated past the point of being in control of your bodily functions. Well, then King Liquors has what you need. Walk past the seemingly endless wine racks, which are laden with an incredible assortment of wine, champagne, and sake. Pass the wall of schnapps and curaçaos. Ignore the Johnny Walkers, which come in red, gold, green, and blue. Don't waste your time with the multihue cognac-laced beverages, the Alize, Envy, Hypnotiq, Destinee, and X-Rated liqueurs. You're looking for something different tonight. Something that looks like trouble. And there it is, sandwiched between Dooley's Toffee Liqueur and Jägermeister. Absente, Absinthe Refined. The real stuff has been illegal in America since 1912, but this dazzling, emerald green French import is distilled with Southern wormwood and still packs a 110-proof wallop. A mere $43.99 for a taste of la fée verte and the glamour of belle époque Paris sounds like a bargain. Quick, stock up on minibottles and a few six packs of beer for your less courageous buddies. Next stop is the nearest convenience store to score some sugar cubes.
These sister shops, which sit ten blocks apart on Calle Ocho, carry a wide variety of inexpensive yet tasty wines. They also offer some specimens so rare and prized they'd make the most seasoned sommelier salivate. Stashed behind Best Time's counter, for example, is a bottle of 1967 Château d'Yquem ($700) -- one of the most choice vintages from a famed Bordeaux vineyard that hand-selects each grape. The stores' uncommon vinous medley comes care of Philippe Douriez, their gentle-mannered French proprietor. Not only does he cultivate variety by rotating his stock, but he also searches out coveted vintages and welcomes new wines from little-known vineyards. In addition, he buys in bulk, which allows him to offer among the best prices in town. But customers say value and variety are just a part of the stores' appeal. Both locations have a low-key, unpretentious vibe and delightfully funky décor. (At Happy Wine, the carpet is tattered, the walls are covered with graffiti, and the water-stained ceilings resemble a giant Rorschach test.) And around lunchtime both morph into lively cafés serving tapas to a spirited, mostly Cuban crowd that clusters around tables crafted from wine barrels and rickety crates. Happy Wine also offers live music five nights a week, which brings merengue and salsa dancers out en masse and occasionally spawns conga lines. Note that Fridays are by far the liveliest, but they're also the most crowded, so it's best to arrive early if you want a table.
Schnebly Redland's Winery
That's right: no grapes. You've gotta try it before you judge. The Schneblys make some delicious little wines from a local tropical harvest that includes mango, guava, and passion fruit. The clean, crisp nature of the carambola (star fruit) wine ($13.95) makes it the most reminiscent of a traditional white. The yummy litchi and mango varieties are basically dessert in a glass ... dessert plus eleven percent alcohol, natch. Schnebly is a tiny winery, with a pretty coral waterfall, that's within spitting distance of Everglades National Park. That makes it the southernmost winery in the continental United States, at least as far as we can tell. So yes, you have to trek to Homestead to sip. But there are advantages. After tippling, you can stop by Robert Is Here and pick up some juicy tidbits with which to enjoy these luscious, syrupy finds. Try the guava wine with cheesecake, and prepare to swoon.
Miami has beautiful women and wonderful weather. And trust that we're no slouch in the killer bud department. Our fair city might not have the stonerific rep of Humboldt County in California, Hawaii, Alaska, Oregon, or anywhere in Canada, but damn, if you know where to look and your pockets are deep enough, you can score some blueberry yum-yum good enough for a rap song. Tasty Mary Jane demands a quality smoking apparatus -- preferably a water pipe with an ice chamber to chill the smoke and filter the flavor on the way to your lungs. The best place to get a bong like that is High Tide. A random afternoon stroll through the spacious store can reveal a fascinatingly diverse variety of customers -- old hippies with gray ponytails, seasoned local veterans, and giggling, glassy-eyed University of Miami sorority girls all cluster around the glass cabinets. Laid-back attendants help you figure out the difference between a sherlock and a sidecar, or explain the finer differences between Philly, Dutchies, and Garcia y Vega blunts. Best of all, the prices are just right. You can buy a simple hammer pipe for $30, or invest in an ornate, display-worthy bong adorned with hand-blown glass butterflies for $300.
Dozens of pairs of two-dimensional eyes greet you as you walk into the dimly lit downtown establishment. Fruit and nude bodies garnish the deep-red walls. Friends and lovers lean in to listen more closely to the words escaping their companions' lips as they settle into plush, rosy furniture. A raven-haired woman sips a martini at the bar, absorbing the certain lustiness that pervades the still air. But just as the name suggests, Red Bar Gallery is not a burlesque, but a place to buy art and cocktails. Owners Danny Baez and Courtlandt McQuire have created a venue where affordable drinks and local art combine in a warm, living-roomlike environment. "We wanted to provide a local drinking establishment that wasn't trendy with a velvet rope. Anyone, whether they're dressed in a tuxedo or flip-flops, can come here," says Baez. The art, painted by mostly local artists, with a few internationals thrown in, ranges from lifelike portraits, abstract oddities, and geometric shapes that go for $500 and up. The talents of paintbrush slingers Daniel Osorno, Roberto Valera, BoDo, Mano, Marcy Grosso, and others can be admired along with a pair of mysterious paintings by an unknown artist. Every second Wednesday of the month, art connoisseurs have the pleasure of meeting with the painters. "We wanted to provide a venue for local artists while bringing the art community to Brickell," says Baez. Even if your artistic knowledge is limited to Picasso and some other guy you can't recall, the weekend DJ and tasty drinks are motivation enough to make Red Bar your partying destination. It's open Monday through Thursday from 4:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m., Friday from 4:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m., and Saturday from 7:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m.
There is plenty of feng shui and good mojo going on in this delightfully aromatic shop to keep your Buddha buddies happy. The shop has all the incense, candles, and beautiful statuary you need to create your own sacred meditation altar in your home. Friendly Bagua staff members are quick to tell you more about the one-of-a-kind handmade bags and clothing they carry (which are earthy without being too hippielike), and they will be happy to help you find the perfect book or CD for your friends who really need to relax. You will also find unique gifts for new moms and babies, like irresistibly soft teddy bears and floppy dogs that are filled with soothing lavender and can be heated in the microwave to provide a comforting warm friend in the crib ($15 to $28). Then there's the fizzy and bubbling elixirs to add to the bath (starting at $5). What we really love are the parties held every Friday night from 8:00 to midnight. With music, dancing, tarot readings, and free wine and snacks, this little shop is sending its good vibrations throughout the Buena Vista East neighborhood.
Rik Rak Salon, Boutique & Bar
This fashion and beauty barge opened in 1989 with a handful of stylists and a couple of manicurists. The little shop grew into a bustling full-service salon, spa, and boutique that has never lost its charm. (Rick and his wife Raquel are the charming couple at the helm.) Rick knows hair, he knows what look is right for you, and he isn't afraid to tell you. He has Edward Scissorhands-like speed and precision, as well as the talent of a master chemist with the colors. "Reds can be tricky," we've heard him say, as he explains that the copper red, rather than the Merlot hue, is a better choice for one lightly freckled client. "But not everyone can pull off a red; you need to have the right skin tone." Rick spends quality time with you and makes you feel special when you are in his chair -- he is there to take care of you. "Would you like some wine?" he is always quick to ask. "We have a nice Pinot Grigio ... or do you want a snack?" And he makes sure you're happy and tells you you're gorgeous before you leave. If only we could get all men to treat us this well.
Look around your bathroom. There's something about the Softsoap dispenser, the Ivory in the shower, and the Barbasol shaving cream that's simply depressing. Concern about smelling good, after all, demarcated humanity's rise to civilization. The art of perfume has been considered a delicate and careful process since man was practically rolling around in horse manure. But judging from a typical cosmetics shelf, we have succeeded only in emanating a faint odor of baby powder. The Boys can help. They specialize in European lines like L'Artisan, Diptyque, Lothantique, Hierbas de Ibiza, and D'Orsay. They carry one scent, in a squat terra cotta jar, that has been manufactured by the same Italian monks for centuries. They also offer free, gorgeous gift-wrapping. Perusing their shop, a cool refuge on Miracle Mile, is to be surrounded by delicate bottles and floral labels. The packaging of a set of Portuguese soaps makes your heart melt -- some cultures understand that beauty should extend to even the most quotidian objects. Eau de toilette, perfume, soaps, cosmetics, grooming products, room sprays, candles ... whether you prefer lilacs or lilies, sweetness or spice, you will leave here smiling.
My Skin Institute
The Skin Institute has been doing facials for fifteen years, and it offers some fourteen different versions, each tailored to specific skincare problems. While some treatments sound more like something you would want to order at a bar rather than slather on your cheeks (The champagne caviar facial? The tequila facial?), each concoction is developed for maximum effect. "They work too," assures director Sheila Treadway. "They're not just gimmicky." All the facials, including serious ones to treat clinical acne or sunspots, are priced from $60 to $80. "We try to assess what kind of skincare problems someone has beforehand, and we want the patient to decide based on that, not because one is cheaper than another." The Skin Institute takes a holistic approach as well -- suggesting changes in lifestyle to bring crazy skin under control. Best of all, there is no hint of snooty spa attitude: They've even been known to offer discounts to teenagers with bad acne.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®