Best of Broward-Palm Beach®

Best Of 2011

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Best Of :: Shopping & Services

Best Place to Donate Clothing
Covenant House Florida

Since 1985, Covenant House Florida has provided a safe haven for homeless and runaway youth, including teen parents and their babies. The Fort Lauderdale crisis center never closes the door, offering at-risk teens food, shelter, and, most recently, on-site educational services and substance-abuse programs. Covenant House then strives to help these kids transition back into the world, including finding them work. Unfortunately, in many situations, teens arrive at the center with little to no belongings, usually just what's on their backs. So you can imagine in this struggling economy how difficult it might be for someone to find a job without the proper attire. So next time you clean out your closet, stop by Covenant House Florida, a place where donations will go to good use.

733 Breakers Ave., Fort Lauderdale, 33304
MAP
954-561-5559
Best Place to Drink in Flip-Flops

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.

Best Seafood Restaurant
City Fish Market

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.

7940 Glades Rd., Boca Raton, 33434
MAP
561-487-1600
Best Indian Market
Little India

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.

2800 N. Federal Highway, Boca Raton, 33431
MAP
561-367-7980
Best Tattoo Shop
Rock-A-Billy Tattoo

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.

4576 N. University Dr., Sunrise, 33351
MAP
954-746-7570
Best Farmers' Market
West Palm Beach Green Market

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.

2ND St., West Palm Beach, 33401
MAP
561-822-1515
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Best Place to Donate Clothing: Covenant House Florida

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