Tired of the two-hour ride on the Metrobus from your house in Hialeah Gardens to your job in downtown Miami? Well, if you have a credit score that terrifies financing companies, consider visiting the used car sales staff at Latin Motors in Allapattah. You won't have to worry about any Don Ready clones who live by the credo "Live Hard, Sell Hard" here. The salespeople are easygoing folks who are sympathetic to the situation of people down on their luck and trying to get some decent wheels in order to survive in auto-dependent Miami-Dade. With a couple of pay stubs and a utility bill, you will get approved. Latin Motors even promises to refinance your deal in six months if you hold up your end of the bargain by paying your monthly installments on time. The year-old dealership carries a varied inventory, from simple sedans such as Honda Civics and Volkswagen Jettas to pricier models like BMW roadsters and Hummers.

Chevron

From bustling Biscayne Boulevard, it looks like a regular gas station and car wash. But saunter inside and — boom — this Chevron station slaps you in the face with sleek, immaculate luxury. Flat-screen TV sets everywhere. Fresh pastries behind glass. A gaudy espresso machine, complete with real ceramic miniature cups. A lounge with comfortable seating and armchairs covered in the type of upholstery that still resembles the spotted cow it came from. (Don't know why that's classy, but it is.) Free wireless Internet. Friendly employees. And the gas prices hover near the county average. Forget filling your jalopy or getting it washed. You might start frequenting this gas station just to get some work done and hang out.

Don't you hate those shady mechanics who don't give a crap about you, let alone your '97 Honda Accord? How about the grease monkeys who sell you things you don't need, like seat-belt insurance and door-handle user guides? Well, at J & M Auto Doctors, they care for not only your car but also your safety. The best antidote to that cynical mechanic hatred bubbling up in your stomach is honest, reliable, and speedy service — from minor repairs like a flat-tire fix, to the extremes of a blown-out engine. J & M has been in business for more than 13 years and will be around to work on your kid's car too. Another perk: If you have to leave your ride there, there's a rental car agency a half-block away.

Whether you drive a '94 Saturn with a sagging roof or a luxury Italian speedster with leather detailing, at Executive Car Care, every vehicle is treated like a Ferrari. The shop is nothing more than a tent in the middle of a parking lot next to a Burger King, but don't judge a book by its cover. There are several wash options, but even the cheapest — just $18 — buys you a loyal team of workers who scrub every inch of your jalopy by hand, inside and out. For vans and SUVs, Executive charges $20 and $25. For 45 bucks, you can get the works: a wash and wax, a generous coat of Armor All inside and out, a good scrub for your plastic floor mats, an interior vacuuming, and air freshener. Executive's employees might not speak the best English, but they are beyond fluent in the language of making your car kick ass.

Living on South Beach means fearing the fickle wrath of the flash-flood gods. Take a walk around the neighborhood after a heavy rain and you'll find half a dozen people furiously bailing out their cars and cursing at the heavens. Assuming your vehicle starts, the best bet to salvage your ride is to take it across the causeway to Just Right Car Wash in Wynwood. For $25, Just Right employees will drain your vehicle of the foul-smelling liquid sloshing around your feet. For $65, they'll vacuum your car's crusty crevasses and shampoo it from glove-box to trunk, leaving you with the fleeting, false impression that you have a new whip and not a 2005 Honda Civic with more miles on it than Joan Rivers. Speaking of ladies, Just Right offers them a discount every Tuesday. Check out the company's website for other special offers. And in case your car isn't the only thing that needs work, Just Right is located next door to a barbershop where you can get some pimping too.

Owning a dog or cat is a joy. That little bundle of fur just oozes unconditional love and devotion. But it's not all fun and games. Pets, unlike that carnival monkey you won by spraying water into a clown's mouth, need shots and medication. And, like humans, they get sick. So what do you do when Fido is filled with fleas or Tiger is yakking all over because she ate a bad lizard? You take your little friend to the Coconut Grove Animal Hospital. It's been around since 1965. One look at the wood paneling reveals that nothing has really changed since then — including the old-fashioned care you would have expected 40-some years ago. Dr. Michael Marmesh Jr. and his daughter Dr. Kate Marmesh attend to your darling with the gentleness of a small-town vet who stepped out of the pages of the Saturday Evening Post. The clinic is open six days a week and you don't need an appointment (except for surgery, dental work, and boarding), which means that if you forgot to renew Minky's rabies tag the day before your big vacation, you can just waltz her right in and be seen. Don't you wish your shrink had the same open-door policy?

Shopping on Lincoln Road brings a mismatch of national retailers and cheesy tourist traps. That's why Alchemist easily stands out. With two locations on either end of the pedestrian mall, Alchemist doesn't need to advertise with double-D-size mannequins. Instead, it takes a minimalist approach — think Paris or New York — with its layout and décor, which, while stunning, isn't noisy and doesn't overwhelm the selection of both men's and women's clothing, accessories, and shoes. Our favorite location is the carefully curated store at 1111, inside the flashy designer parking garage, that affords a view of Miami Beach and beyond from its fifth-floor perch. Labels and designers such as Rick Owens, Dries Van Noten, Lydia Courteille, Alaïa, and Givenchy can be found here. That also means you better have disposable income or a credit card with a high spending limit if you plan on taking anything home — prices range from $225 for a top to $45,000 for jewelry. However, the salespeople are friendly and helpful to everyone who stops by, meaning you won't get shooed away if you don't look the part. There's a bonus attraction too: If you are shopping at the 1111 location, look up. Those mirrors above you do more than give off a reflection. Installed by rAndom International, the 44 mirrors are part of a kinetic installation that moves as shoppers walk around the store, making a visit to Alchemist a true interactive experience.

Dog Bar
Nicholas Olivera

Talk about full-service! Where else can you go in Miami for a cut, blow-dry, and pedicure before shopping for an entirely new wardrobe? Oh, and while you're at it, pick up food for the week, some treats to nosh on, plus something for that annoying butt itch! Did we mention those things are all for your dog? In all seriousness, pampered pets dress better than their human counterparts. Take a walk down Lincoln Road any Saturday afternoon and you'll find Chihuahuas in tiny Juicy tracksuits, spaniels in Ed Hardy shirts, and poodles in Pucci. See that Yorkie in the tiny Heat jersey? His mom bought that at Dog Bar. How about the bulldog in the "Bitches Love Me" tank? Yep, Dog Bar. This place has a fashion for every clotheshound — from the Dalmation that's a dominatrix (in a leather studded collar) to the terrier for Trayvon (in a dog hoodie). Add in designer bedding, nutritious foods, a grooming salon, and a holistic remedy selection where everything from flea bites to separation anxiety is addressed, and you have yourself the Bal Harbor of bitches.

Waggle Bros Pet Resort & Spa

We let our dog write this one: Hi! My name is Rocco! You don't have any chicken, do you? I like chicken! I like my family! Sometimes they leave me. Why do they leave me? Do they not love Rocco? Was I bad? Did they find that turd behind the couch? I thought that was the perfect crime! But it's OK that they're leaving me! Because I like the place I go when they leave! There are no cages! There are lots of buddies and room to play! There's a bunch of stupid cats in another room! The people are nice to me! It's called — I don't know what it's called. I don't know where it is. I just get there by getting in the car! I don't know how much it costs! I don't even know what costs means! I forgot — did you say if you have any chicken? I like chicken! (Ahem: It costs $37 to $44 nightly.)

Guns! Guns! Guns for everyone! Guns for the whole family! How about a Taurus .40 for you, sir? A song at $449.99. And what about a sweet piece for your sweet piece? She'll be the envy of her friends at Junior League when she's packing a hot-pink Taurus .380, hers for only $349.99. We have the ammo too, but maybe first you might want to get her one of these nice engagement rings like she's been asking for. Treating yourself? We have a wide variety of AR-15 semiautomatic rifles — starting at $499 to keep in your weekend bag and up to $1,299 for this honey of a conversation starter. Guns aren't your speed, you say? Not even antique pistols? What about swords? No? What about this fotocopiadora here for $375? It used to belong to a little old lady right here in Allapattah who used it only a few times to copy her ass cheeks. Fine, then how about a rocking horse for five bucks? A Ms. Pac-Man arcade game in near-mint condition for $999? You'll stay up all night playing it, but that's no problem because we have several dozen coffeemakers for only $9.99 each. What's that, sir? Good eye. You've spotted the small sign behind my bulletproof glass here. Yes, "We Have XXX Movies." Things are bad for masturbators in this economy, but their loss is your gain. Name your price, but don't go so low that you turn something beautiful into something cheap. ATVs for $925 apiece? Guitar Hero III for ten smackers? Most of our adding machines are $14 to $16, but you can have this one for six bucks — as is, of course.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®