On Our Radar



     
 
Coffee Worth Your Time
Business/Location: Cafe Demetrio
Address: 300 Alhambra Cir
City: Miami
State: FL
Zip Code: 33134
Phone: 305-448-4949
Website: www.cafedemetrio.com/

Posted by:  MacGregor Thomson
Photo:  MacGregor Thomson
   Cafe Demetrio
Considering the pleasant weather nine months out of the year, I've always felt that Miami could do so much better when it comes to outdoor cafes. I don't deny that yes, there are some decent Starbucks with outdoor seating, but really Miami? Are we going to let a bunch of corporate jocks tell us how to use your weather best? Sadly, in most cases it turns out that the corporations are quite keen, but if you keep your eye out, you'll find some local gems. Cafe Demetrio should certainly be on your list if you know what's best. Blocks from the Miracle Mile, it's a great place to end a leisurely stroll in and around downtown Coral Gables. The cold drinks can only be described as decadent, but immensely satisfying (albeit they come at Starbucks prices). And of course the best part of Cafe Demetrio is the outdoor patio. Chess players at one corner, web surfers at another, all enjoying the shade from the canopy trees and lush surroundings. The patio isn't huge, but it is a great place to sit and relax for a while so long as it doesn't get too busy.


A Film Buff's Dream
Business/Location: Miami Beach Cinematheque
Address: 512 Espanola Way
City: Miami Beach
State: FL
Zip Code: 33139
Phone: 305-673-4567
Website: www.mbcinema.com

Posted by:  MacGregor Thomson
Photo:  MacGregor Thomson
   Miami Beach Cinematheque
If you feel like watching a movie, but you are tired of the ubiquitous and bland experience offered at standard theaters, try out the Miami Beach Cinematheque located on the quiet end of Espanola Way. The establishment is dedicated to presenting lesser seen films, and is one of the pioneers of supporting cinema as a cultural beacon in this town where it can get awfully lonely for those of us seeking characters with substance. Upon entering you will feel relieved to have discovered the place. The theater walls are lined with books on film, and among the fifty or so theater seats is a comfortable chaise lounge for one or two lucky viewers to enjoy. Most admirable about this place is the clear dedication to supporting each film presented, no matter whether it draws 50 or 4 attendees. The owner introduces each film with little known facts and background information. Sometimes directors and actors are invited to attend the screenings to comment and answer questions at the end. Often there are retrospectives of classic directors or actors presented throughout the month. Aside from all of this, most of the films screened here are not shown in any other theater in Miami. When friends from New York tell me of the new masterpiece they just saw at the IFC, we've got it too, right here in sunny Miami.


Moderately Adequate
Business/Location: Miami's Best Pizza
Address: 1514 S Dixie Hwy
City: Miami
State: FL
Zip Code: 33146
Phone: (305) 666-5931
Website: www.miamisbestpizza.com

Posted by:  John Sklba
Photo:  John Sklba
   Miami's Best Pizza
To call yourself the best is almost always a recipe for disaster. Competition is rampant in every field and even the slightest things can ruin your reputation. Whatever Miami's Best Pizza's marketing plan is, they might want to consider the importance of not over hyping yourself in naming. Moderately decent Pizza in Miami perhaps is more accurate. The oddly shaped veggie pizza placed in front of me dripped with fresh toppings and it was consumed quickly for lunch, but nothing beyond that part of the experience was memorable. While the prices were decent at best, the ambiance could use a lot of retooling. While no cockroaches were ever visible, if one scattered out it would have fit right in. Worn wooden benches, stained walls with yellowed photos, expired containers, an old arcade console, and ugly floors certainly don't paint the picture "best" in my mind. The community board is a nice touch however. Bar food is usually suspect at best, Miami's Best Pizza sides on decent with every bite. So if it's two am, you're drunk, and have that pizza craving, Miami's Best is a step up from most places you'll find. If you're unaware Papa John's delivers too.


Reader and Dog Approved
Business/Location: The Cafe at Books & Books
Address: 927 Lincoln Rd
City: Miami Beach
State: FL
Zip Code: 33139
Phone: (305) 695-8898
Website: booksandbooks.com

Posted by:  Laine Doss
Photo:  Laine Doss
   The Cafe at Books & Books
Books & Books, located on the SoBe shopping and dining center of Lincoln Road, is not only the place to get your beach read on, but it's a really wonderful cafe. The Cafe at Books & Books serves up paninis, large salads and has one of the few extensive vegan menus in South Beach. Instead of bread, servers bring a plate of black bean hummus with bagel chips (sometimes they forget so ask for it and tell them you want the free portion because it's also on the menu). Salads are huge and the paninis come in good and unusual combinations, like the roast turkey, pear and brie or the CLT (chorizo, lettuce and tomato). Vegans can choose from many dishes, including mushroom stir fry, vegan curry chicken salad. The Cafe serves beer and wine and really good lemonades. The people watching is really good and tables are close enough so you can eavesdrop on your neighbors. Books & Books is also one of the most dog-friendly cafes on Lincoln, so don't be surprised if you're fellow diner is a pug.


Garage of Jazz
Business/Location: Transit Lounge (closed)
Address: 729 SW 1st Ave
City: Miami
State: FL
Zip Code: 33130
Phone: (305) 377-4628
Website: www.transitlounge.us

Posted by:  John Sklba
Photo:  John Sklba
   Transit Lounge
(closed)
Image an auto mechanic marrying his high school sweet heart, an artsy chick who digs jazz. Together they open up an establishment with a mood catering to all their friends while feeling displaced amongst a landscape that says Grand Theft Auto more than beatnik paradise. In a nutshell, that's how it feels walking around in Transit Lounge. The grease monkey memories inhabiting the garage inspired bar area are time distortions compared to the contemporary art on the walls which remind your senses its 2010. If you're near thirty and a semi-hipster you wouldn't be alone here unlike the broke '80s arcade machine that sits in the corner. The music is at perfect rock out levels near the stage while a slightly loud conversation across the room is possible. In between sets, the bar connects to an intimate jazz lounge offering an infusion of friendly staff and large portions to give a feeling that good poetry could be inspired from within this room. While not quite the perfect marriage of two different different minded people, Transit Lounge still comes across like a world where where Kerouac and Burroughs might have been found expressing ideas late into the night over drinks.


Doin' It in the Museum
Business/Location: WEAM World Erotic Art Museum
Address: 1205 Washington Ave
City: Miami Beach
State: FL
Zip Code: 33139
Phone: 305-532-9336
Website: weam.com

Posted by:  Laine Doss
Photo:  Laine Doss
   WEAM World Erotic Art Museum
Go through the unassuming doorway, sandwiched between Tattoo parlors and t-shirt shops, up the elevator and transport your self into a world of dirty little things. The WEAM is a collection of erotic art, memorabilia, and trinkets from all over the world. Serious Picassos, S&M figurines, and tribal phallic gods co-mingle with nude Art Deco ladies and tiny Japanese figurines showing couples in positions it would take years of yoga to be able to do. There's even a psychedelic drug-inspired full-frontal portrait of the Beatles (I'm sure that was John's idea). How many times can you look at dirty pictures and tell your mom with a straight face that you spent the day at the museum?


Wild at Heart
Business/Location: Miami Metrozoo
Address: 12400 SW 152nd St
City: Miami
State: FL
Zip Code: 33177
Phone: 305-251-0400
Website: miamimetrozoo.com/

Posted by:  Laine Doss
Photo:  Laine Doss
   Miami Metrozoo
Miami Metrozoo was almost totally demolished by Hurricane Andrew in the '90s. Zoo Director Ron Magill became something of a local celebrity when he saved many animals by herding them in the various zoo bathrooms. Now, almost two decades later, the Miami Metrozoo is consistantly voted one of the top 10 zoos in the United States. Sectioned into Africa, Asia, Australia, and Amazon, this huge zoo is home to rare white tigers, Australian singing dogs, and lowland gorillas. Channel your inner kid for the day (or bring a real kid). You can also feed giraffes, ride a camel and watch meerkats build tunnels and generally look adorable. The newly opened Amazon and Beyond exhibit features bats, snakes and a stingray petting tank. The zoo gets really hot so plan accordingly and stop for a blue icee.


A Tiny Escape
Business/Location: Miami Beach Botanical Garden
Address: 2000 Convention Center Dr
City: Miami Beach
State: FL
Zip Code: 33139
Phone: (305) 673-7256
Website: mbgarden.org

Posted by:  Laine Doss
Photo:  Laine Doss
   Miami Beach Botanical Garden
Across the street from the Miami Beach Convention Center and a block from the shops and restaurants of Lincoln Road lies possibly the teeniest Botanical Garden ever. The Miami Beach Botanical Garden is probably the best five minutes you'll ever spend in South Beach--a quiet oasis from the pretentious posers and painfully hip and trendy lounges and restaurants. You won't hear any trance or techno music blaring--just the sounds of the birds and the bees. A small sculpture garden is worth checking out. With free admission, this is the perfect place to bring a book or a coffee and chill out with nature and just relax. Because sometimes you just want to get away from the wannabes and self important people and just watch things grow.


Spicy & Spanish
Business/Location: Tapas y Tintos
Address: 448 Espanola Way
City: Miami Beach
State: FL
Zip Code: 33139
Phone: (305) 538-8272
Website: tapasytintos.com

Posted by:  Laine Doss
Photo:  Laine Doss
   Tapas y Tintos
If you can't afford a ticket to Barcelona, then Tapas y Tintos might be a perfectly acceptable substitite. Tapas y Tintos is located on Espanola Way, a little two block part of south Beach lined with shops and cafes, designed to make you think you're in Barcelona. To add to the authenticity, most of the waitresses can't speak English--so point at some dishes, get a pitcher of sangria and go with the flow. The potatas bravas is spicy and pairs well with a seafood dish, like the white beans and mussels. I die for the baked goat cheese, which comes with crusty bread for dipping. Come Monday for free tango lessons or Thursday for live world music.


Sophisticated Invasion
Business/Location: Art Basel
Address: 1901 Convention Center Dr
City: Miami Beach
State: FL
Zip Code: 33139
Phone: (305) 674-1292
Website: artbaselmiamibeach.com

Posted by:  Laine Doss
Photo:  Laine Doss
   Art Basel
When an event is self billed as "the most important art show in the United States, a cultural and social highlight for the Americas," I tend to throw up a little in my mouth. From December 2-6, South Beach is visited by the art crowd who ohhh and ahhh over art installations that are scattered all over the city. The mostly free events are fun to walk through and include such non-art as porcelain clowns with painted black tears, heaps of plastic bags blowing in the wind, and a collection of broken toys. The highlight of Art Basel is, of course, the parties and the people watching. Serious art is located at the Miami Beach Convention Center, but the beach and 22nd Street is a particular hot spot. Ship containers are painted bright colors and turned into art galleries and a stage produces Avant-garde (strange) entertainment and films nightly. There's a cash bar (doesn't all serious art come with a $20 mojito?) Break out the weirdest clothes you have, bring a camera, and practice lines to use, like "this is an interesting use of spacial dimension and color palate" or "obviously an intricate portrait of man's inhumanity to chickens."