Best Of :: Shopping & Services
The Japanese Market is a great one-stop shop for people adept at cooking Asian food — but it's an especially excellent find for the culinarily challenged among us. A sushi bar in the back serves affordable nigiri, sashimi, and rolls that are too tasty and beautiful for their styrofoam plates. Then again, it's a humble joint, and that's part of the draw — you eat seated on dingy wooden stools that match the raw wood countertops overlooking the parking lot of the Gateway Shopping Center. The salad roll is a perfect weekday dinner — lettuce, tomato, avocado, and carrot wrapped traditionally and served with ginger dressing. Order a few pieces of nigiri to round it out. The market also has the traditional fixins — noodles, sake, and snacks in all varieties — even Kikkoman instant miso soup, actually quite delicious.
Flip-flops are the quintessential shoe choice for most Floridians, but when alcohol is involved, they're not the safest. Feet are stepped on, toes get stubbed, broken glass causes all sorts of debauchery... it's just not a good situation to be in. But when drinking beachside, wearing sandy sneakers isn't so ideal either. This is where the Water Taxi swoops in to save the day. The Water Taxi offers all-day transportation by sea to various shopping, dining, and beaches in Fort Lauderdale and Hollywood. For the tourists, these things sound delightful, but let's be honest — this city is nicknamed "Fort Liquordale" for a reason. So for the local lushes, the Water Taxi provides an excellent service, a DUI-free form of transportation where we can drink onboard between bars and not have to worry about our toes.
All right-thinking people can agree that restaurant chains are an abomination before God, man, and Bobby Flay. Boca's City Fish Market is, yes, a chain restaurant, one of two City Fish Markets of the Atlanta-based Buckhead Life Restaurant Group and one of the firm's 14 upscale eateries in Georgia and South Florida. On the other hand, you can't argue with what's on the plate. (Actually, you can, but that makes you an idiot.) And what's on the plate at City Fish is just damned good. Whether posh oysters Rockefeller or crisp-fried calamari with a Thai-style chili sauce, a slab of meaty yellowfin tuna simply broiled with extra-virgin olive oil and lemon juice, or Parmesan-crusted Scottish salmon served with a crispy basil-flecked potato cake that alone is worth the price of admission, the seafood here is fresh and exactingly prepared and will make you rethink the notion that this chain, at least, is an abomination.
The first thing you notice is the wide, brightly lit aisles. This is an ethnic grocery with a definite Boca flair. Everything you desire is lined up in neat, clean rows: chana dal masala spices, mango pickles, beet root and ginger chutney, roti. There are snacks called "bitter gourd spicy chips" and jalapeño chakri. Everything is so abundant, you don't have to worry about finding the best assam tea or the proper spice for your shahi paneer. Peek into the refrigerated sections and you'll find blocks of plain paneer cheese and enticingly fresh okra, cilantro, Japanese eggplant, and green chilies. There's even a selection of Bollywood DVDs displayed behind the counter. Just try to leave this place empty-handed.
Once upon a time, the tattoo industry was associated with a few things: sailors, bikers, and criminals. But oh, how the times have changed. In today's society, tattoos have become a pop-culture trend appearing on everything from clothing to even our own moms. But tattoos are more than a trend; they're a lifelong decision to decorate your body with beautiful pieces of permanent artwork. So why waste that opportunity (or the artist's time, for that matter) on being "that guy" with just another tribal armband or some Chinese letters that mean who knows what? Choosing the right shop is important, and with the ever-growing popularity of the industry, tattoo shops are popping up quicker than pain clinics. For more than a decade, Rock-A-Billy Tattoo's artists, all well-rounded in a myriad of styles, have provided the local area with original tattoos and quality work. Owner Dave Poole's stunning Asian-inspired pieces, P.L. Serrano's detailed portraits, and Steve Wittenberger's knack for traditional styling are just a few examples of the talent bursting from the hands of Rock-A-Billy's artists. So when tattoo time comes for you, take a visit to Rock-A-Billy's Lauderhill location, and don't forget to snag a look at the enormous collection of original artwork adorning the shop's walls.
It's not California, but for South Florida, it ain't half-bad. Actually, the West Palm Beach Green Market, which in May completed its 16th season of bringing its farm to your table, is pretty goddamned good. As local palates evolved and eating fresh, local, and seasonal became more than just a cliché, the market evolved too. Though purveyors of quality artisanal foods are still outnumbered by restaurantish booths dishing everything from delicate French pastry to groaning breakfast burritos, there's plenty of fresh, flavorful "product" to satisfy any hungry locavore. Among the highlights: the just-picked produce from Loxahatchee's estimable Swank Farms, Walter Ross' three varieties of tasty heirloom tomatoes, sumptuously fresh eggs laid by happy chickens on Robert and Paula Farriss' Palm Beach Gardens ranch, and the amazing array of organic teas and spices from West Palm's own Maria and John Vitale. Also unlike California: no earthquakes.