Urbanize your pizza experience at Urban Crust

With more young professionals moving away from the city, Downtown Plano is moving from the down-home country atmosphere and bringing in a younger, cooler crowd. The new-ish pizzeria, Urban Crust, brings in both the family-oriented diner as well as the young drinking crowd with a big family-style interior and a rooftop bar, complete with 32 degree beers and an ice bar to keep your cocktail chilled. When it comes to the food, they serve up Neapolitan style pies with gourmet touches to either feed the whole family or soak up all that ice cold beer. Favorite pies include a four cheese pizza drizzled with truffle oil and the Urban Amore, featuring fig preserves, prosciutto, goat cheese, and arugula, as well as a slew of starters and delectable salads served family style.

Enjoy Tex-Mex favorites at the Blue Goose

The Blue Goose Cantina offers up Tex-Mex favorites at five locations across the metroplex. The menu boasts all the favorites: enchiladas, fajitas, tamales, and of course a big ‘ol bowl of chile con queso. They also have rotating weekly specials, including specials during hatch chile season. The Blue Goose additionally offers a weekend brunch menu, complete with a Bloody Mary bar and is one of the few places in town that offers Machacado con heuvos, a shredded dry beef in a scramble. It’s also not Tex-Mex without a darn good margarita, and their ritas are award winning. Try their classic house margarita or for something a little sweeter the mango and prickly pear margaritas do not disappoint.

Holy Aioli! Si Tapas serves up Spanish classics in a cozy setting

Si Tapas in Downtown Dallas is one of those house-turned restaurant gems nestled in the State and Thomas neighborhood. In addition to cozy interiors, their patio seating is exactly that: tables on a quaint house patio. Enjoy Spanish favorites such at Tortilla Espanola (a spanish tortilla omelet), fried calamari, ham croquettes and a few exotics such as veal sweetbreads or baby eels in garlic sauce, all served up with a healthy helping of Spain’s most celebrated condiment: aioli. Si Tapas’ happy hour is one of the best kept secrets in town, featuring a $3 tapas menu and $12 pitchers of Sangria. Happy hour or not, Si Tapas is the perfect place to spend a relaxing afternoon sipping sangria and noshing on Spanish treats.

Eat, drink or catch a concert at Victory Park

Victory Park is the one area in Downtown Dallas proper to find great entertainment other than staring at office buildings. Victory Park is home to American Airlines Center and the House of Blues, bringing in sports fans and concert goers alike, and offers a whole host of activities for pre and/or post partying. Grab a pre-event meal or cocktail at the Hard Rock Cafe or Victory Tavern, or make your own post-party at the W Hotel’s famous Ghost Bar. Victory Park’s plaza also hosts a variety of events from concerts and sports watch parties during away games, to summer movie nights and the biggest New Year’s Eve party in town.

The Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre takes classic theater outside the box

The Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre is part of the AT&T Performing Arts Center located in the Arts District of Downtown Dallas. The theater was built so that their main performance hall is surrounded by three glass walls, creating a unique experience for the audience. The architecture of the building (designed by REX/OMA) in conjunction with an extensive pulley system creates a stage space that provides a lot of freedom for directors to work with many quickly changing sets. It’s like a playground for contemporary theater. The building is a work of art in and of itself with the 12-story building standing seemingly suspended three stories up with only one supporting wall. Check with the Dallas Theater Center for performances and showtimes.

Revamp your interiors at the Dallas Design District

The Dallas Design District, located just west of Downtown Dallas, consists of a series of shops, vendors and art galleries and is known as the go-to place for professional interior designers. In the past few years the showrooms have opened up their doors to the public, foregoing their former “strictly to the trade only” policies. While the showrooms have a reputation of being on the pricey side, the Design District is a great place to find that one stellar piece that brings a whole space together or to deck out a whole room or abode for the loftier budgets. The showrooms also vary in aesthetic, from classic or modern to utterly eclectic, providing high quality furniture, accents and art for all interior tastes.

The Bishop Arts District combines an indie flair with a cultural spirit

The Bishop Arts District is located in Oak Cliff, the neighborhood south of town trying to overcome its historically bad rep for being a “bad part of town.” Luckily, a little bit of gentrification has gone a long way without sucking the character out of Oak Cliff and the Bishop Arts District serves as the thriving central cohesion for this part of town. The Bishop Arts District is hands down the best area to find indie boutiques with one of a kind, hand made garments and the like. Picture a brick and mortar version of Etsy. A good collection of small, local restaurants add to this area’s charm as well as the Kessler Theater (a music venue) and the Texas Theater (an old movie theater playing flicks once again) make the Bishop Arts District one heck of a shopping destination.

The Lion and Crown is Addison Circle’s newest old English pub

The Lion and Crown at Addison Circle is a traditional English style pub. Don’t be fooled by reviews of bad service; the original concept was to create a pub just like in England, where everything (food included) is ordered at the bar. As Americans don’t exactly understand or appreciate this way of doing things they have since added some wait staff to take your orders. The draft selection offers the usuals (Guinness, Bass, etc) as well as a few others (including Strongbow), the bottle selection is a healthy selection of imported favorites and the menu dons traditional pub food. The atmosphere hits the nail on the head with the English pub ambiance, with wood aplenty and some fantastic antique pieces, like old altar seats.

At Paddy Red’s, everybody knows your name

Paddy Red’s is Downtown Fort Worth’s token Irish pub in a basement setting that’s cozy and comfortable. While the staunch regulars give this watering hole a Cheers-esque quality, new comers won’t get the stink eye upon entry; the more the merrier is the attitude here. In addition to the usual Irish pub selection on tap and over 100 bottles to choose from, Paddy Red’s also has a healthy selection of whiskey, scotch and vodka. They also have pool tables, darts and shuffleboard to complement any night out. For as “bar-ie” as this bar is, they also have extremely nice restrooms. Don’t come hungry, food does not grace their menu.

Keep it low-key at the Mckinney Avenue Tavern

The McKinney Avenue Tavern, aka “The Mat” is Uptown’s laid back sports bar that’s as unpretentious as their drink prices. The Mat is a no-nonsense kind of place with TV’s for watching any big game, a full bar and your generic (yet still tasty) bar menu with buffalo wings and pizza. Picture that old college hangout, except for young professionals. They are also big on events, hosting special events (along with food and beer specials) for big sports games, holidays, parades, the odd live show thrown in for good measure and they’ll even shuttle you to the State Fair on weekends. A nice patio space and karaoke rounds out the Mat into one dang good bar.

Become one with nature at the Heard Natural Science Museum

Getting a little tired of the concrete jungle? Head out to McKinney’s Heard Natural Science Museum and Wildlife Sanctuary for a day appreciating the outdoors and all it has to offer. The 289-acre wildlife reserve offers 6.5 miles of nature trails, a native plant garden and a butterfly garden. The sanctuary also hosts a number of science exhibits that serve as “edurtainment” for the kiddos, like a honey bee observation hive, a ropes course and dinosaur life-sized animatronics. The Heard Natural Science Museum is a great place to picnic or just enjoy the outdoors and the beautiful nature North Texas has to offer.

Get your Texas on at Billy Bob’s

The self-proclaimed “World’s Largest Honky Tonk,” Billy Bob’s Texas in Fort Worth is the number one way to get that real Texas experience. Most locals end up at Billy Bob’s to catch a country show, but this is no ordinary venue. In addition to excellent music lineups on a regular basis, Billy Bob’s is a playground for just about every Texas stereotype. They have both a mechanical bull and live bull riding shows, dance lessons and barbecue. And of course beer. Lots of beer. With the uber western ambiance, it’s no wonder patrons randomly break out in the two-step. Seriously, it’s just like movies.

Dance without pretenses at The Slip Inn

The Slip Inn is Dallas’ quintessential unpretentious, divey-but-not-dicey dance club and bar. Their claim to fame is cheap(ish) drinks and excellent rap and hip hop music. While the DJ’s vary, the general consensus is that they all rock (and start playing at 10 pm). The Slip Inn is also known for a diverse and friendly crowd and provides a more casual atmosphere than most dance clubs. Despite the casual atmosphere, dressing up is still allowed. Located right off Greenville, The Slip Inn is the bumpin’ place for weekend post partying, although showing up early is also encouraged as the tiny L-shaped establishment is, well, tiny and L-shaped.

Put a little Austin in your taco at Torchy’s

Austin taco chain Torchy’s Tacos has branched out to Big D with a location in North Dallas, bringing its famous tacos with it. Torchy’s is a breath of fresh air, considering how few really good taco stands call DFW home. Torchy’s takes gourmet ingredients, mixes them up in clever combinations and wraps it all in a tortilla. The Mr. Pink (Ahi tuna and chipotle sauce), the fried avocado (self explanatory), and the brush fire (Jamaican jerk chicken, with mango and grilled jalapenos) are a few favorites on the menu. Torchy’s is also open for breakfast, with a special breakfast taco menu (though they will let you order off any menu whenever you want). Add to that four house-made special salsas to choose from and green chile queso that is dabomb.com. Warning: consumption of Torchy’s Tacos tacos can lead to a condition often referred to as “taco coma.”

The Smoke Pit: 2 inch pork chops on Fridays, need we say more?

The Smoke Pit, just outside of downtown Fort Worth, is kind of the local barbecue version of Hooters. Scantily clad waitresses take your order and try to talk to you as you dine on their fine barbecue menu and guzzle down a cold one. They actually have a bikini top day. At The Smoke Pit, however, people actually do go for the food. The menu is simple: sliced barbecued meat sandwiches and baskets with various side options. It’s barbecue at it’s best, simple and delicious. What really sets The Smoke Pit apart is the Friday special, a two inch thick pork chop served with fries and beans. People can’t get enough of pork chop day at The Smoke Pit.

Pay a visit to the Neiman Marcus flagship store

No one has really had a shopping experience in Dallas without visiting Neiman Marcus’ historic flagship store in downtown. Opened in 1907, Neimans downtown location has all the latest fashions with that old-school, Chicago Mag Mile department store ambiance. In addition to their quality clothing, enjoy the classic window displays, their renowned excellent service and lunch at the Zodiac Room. Their downtown location is especially nice during the holidays, as they go all out with decorations and displays. Neiman Marcus is a staple both to Dallas and the fashion world at large, making their downtown location great for shopping and browsing alike.

Get a good dose of edur-tainment at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History

Recently re-opened in a brand-spanking-new building, the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History offers hundreds of thousands of scientific and historic artifacts from Texas and the Southwest. They also host a range of temporary exhibitions and house a planetarium, an IMAX theater and a 6,000 square foot studio space full of interactive activities for all ages. The museum also participates in ongoing paleontological digs in the region for dinosaur fossils. Located in the heart of Fort Worth’s Cultural District, the museum makes a great addition to a day of art, culture, and history, especially for those with a couple of kids in tow.

Find out who shot JR at Southfork Ranch

What better way to get the Dallas experience than to visit the museum dedicated to the TV show that practically put Dallas on the map. Tour the Ewing mansion, check out the grounds, and reminisce about a less plastic Heather Locklear while touring the beautiful grounds. Southfork is also home to a museum featuring images and memorabilia from the filming of the internationally renowned television show while experiencing the famed theme song on a loop. Southfork is also a top destination for weddings, parties, corporate events and a murder mystery dinner. Don’t forget your Patrick Duffy postcard as you exit through the gift shop.

Feel like you’re at a discoteque at the Kismet Lounge

The Kismet Lounge, attached to cafe Izmir on Greenville Avenue, is a great little club with an international flair. At first glance the venue appears to have no dance floor, until you realize it’s just one big dance floor. They play a lot of European and Latin dance music and offer bottle service as well as hookahs to smoke for those looking to chillax it. The Kismet finishes off its ambiance with Moroccan-inspired decor and hosts various international nights throughout the week. They also have an amazing and coveted patio. This is the place to go for those looking to add a little spice to the daily bump and grind. Tables are available for reservation.

Club Dada: where cool music happens

Deep Ellum’s Club Dada is one of the best venue’s in Dallas to catch an indie show. They are one of the few music venues that has (mostly) held the fort down during Deep Ellum’s transitional period. They have a pretty good selection of beers on tap that’s always served with cool music and a cool atmosphere. It’s safe to say the folks at Club Dada are cool people. This is a great place to check out some of DFW’s best local talent or even an occasional poetry slam or old movie projected onto the wall. They also have an awesomely large patio with a stage.

Dance the night away at Plush

As one of Dallas’ premiere dance clubs, Plush is a three level Vegas-style nightclub in the heart of downtown. Plush always keeps it lush with special touches like a nitrogen cooling system for the dance floor, a 25 foot LED wall, impeccable decor and excellent cocktail service. Add to mix a lineup of talented DJ’s and a world class sound system and you have a dance floor never quite. A strictly enforced dress code means everyone is dressed to impress (so leave your Timberlands at home). For an extra special night, or if you’re just feelin’ like a baller, order bottle service or rent a private room.

Buy something fancy for someone special at the Galleria

The Galleria in North Dallas is upscale shopping at its finest. The Galleria is home to numerous designer storefronts, boutique shops, upscale department stores (Nordstrom’s, Macy’s and Sak’s) and even an art gallery. Perusing the window displays while strolling under the Galleria’s vaulted glass ceiling makes for a relaxed and enjoyable shopping experience. They also have one of the nicest ice skating rinks in town (you know, for the kiddos). After working up an appetite with a day of shopping you can then sit down to upscale casual dining or even treat yourself to some fine dining at The Grill on the Alley or Oceanaire.

Eat me at Fuzzy’s Tacos

DFW’s beloved Fuzzy’s Tacos serves the metroplex Baja-style Mexican food that’s always fresh, and with a slogan like “Eat me!” every order always comes with a small side of attitude. After gaining a following at their original location on Berry Street in Fort Worth, Fuzzy’s has since expanded with several locations across DFW, the state and even the nation. While everything on the menu is good, most patrons visit Fuzzy’s for their Baja tacos (especially of the shrimp tempura or crawfish variety). They also have ample TV’s set up for your sports viewing pleasure, keep the margaritas and beer flowing and make some of the best chile con queso in town.

Be kind to our fine feathered friends at the Trinity River Audubon Center

Recently built just south of downtown in the Great Trinity Forest, the Trinity River Audubon Center is a living classroom and nature center dedicated to education and conservation initiatives. The center’s main building (which serves as a portal to the rest of the reserve) was built with the environment in mind, using mostly renewable and recycled building materials, a vegetated roof and even windows angled just right so birds won’t fly into them. The Audubon Center is also the first LEED-certified building built by the City of Dallas Parks and Recreation Department. Use the main building as a launch point to experience nature trails, hiking, bird watching and hands on exhibits.

Giddyup at the Roundup Saloon

Once hailed “The Best Galdanged Gay Bar in the U.S. of A.,” the Roundup Saloon off Cedar Springs has been dubbed the home of good times and good people since 1980. Scoot your boots every night of the week at one of the only remaining country and western gay bars in the nation. They have karaoke Monday through Thursday, free dance lessons every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, Friday and Saturday drink specials and and excellent dance floor for two-steppin’. Country not your thang? Check them out on Sundays for Retro Man Candy nights and dance to some oldies but goodies from the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s.

Find something funky at Lula B’s

Lula B’s is a spacious little antique mall in Deep Ellum touting “cool stuff for cool people,” and with good reason. Over 80 vendors specialize in items from the 50’s 60’s and 70’s and sell everything you need (and everything you didn’t know you needed) that’s vintage, retro, antique, collectible or just plain cool and funky. From farmhouse kitchen gadgets and designer clothes to vintage cowboy boots and vinyl, Lula B’s makes it hard to leave empty handed. A trip to Lula B’s is no “quick trip” kind of deal – make time to get lost amongst the brick-a-brack. As an added bonus, Lula B’s has expanded to two locations with another store in the Dallas Design District. Can we say oozits and whatzits galore?

Get some killer sushi at Pirhana

Pirhana Killer Sushi is a clever little local sushi chain that started up in Arlington. Pirhana always has impeccable interiors; fashionable and sophisticated yet welcoming with a keen sense of detail. While the ambiance is a nice touch, people really go there for their killer sushi. While you’ll find a few old favorites on the menu (like all the classic rolls, ie: spicy tuna, California, etc), the main attraction is in their specialty roll selection jam-packed with creative rolls, cleverly named. A few favorites are the Bullet Roll (spicy salmon mix, cucumber, shiso leaf, avocado, escolar, cilantro puree) and the Marry Me Roll (shrimp tempura & ginger cream topped with avocado, tuna & strawberry), with the Vietnamese Summer Roll to give things a twist (salmon, tuna, crab, greens, mango & asparagus wrapped with rice paper). Wash it all down with some sake or one of their specialty cocktails and make a night of it at this sushi joint that over delivers.

Experience Southwest cuisine with an upscale twist at Stephen Pyles

Long hailed as one of the founding fathers of Southwestern cuisine, Stephen Pyles in his namesake restaurant combines culinary expertise with his down-home, west Texas roots. Stephen Pyles combines the flavors of Mexican, Tex-Mex and Creole cuisine into a category of its own with international influences and even a little molecular gastronomy thrown in for good measure. (Like with his Tamale Tart with Roast Garlic Custard, Peekytoe Crab
and Smoked Tomato Sauce or anything from the “ceviche bar.”) Located in the Dallas Arts District, Stephen Pyles offers a dining experience that is big on flavors from the world over while providing gentle reminders here and there that yes, we are still in Texas.

Look at something fishy at the Dallas World Aquarium

Opened in 1992, The Dallas World Aquarium provides a little look into marine, freshwater and even terrestrial ecosystems. The aquarium itself houses a coral reef, kelp forest and even a 20,000 gallon walk through tunnel and features an array of marine life from around the world, including sharks and other marine life from the Yucatan Peninsula. The various terrestrial exhibits feature the biodiversity of wildlife from Borneo and the South American Rainforest. The aquarium also offers an educational component with hands on exhibits, touch screens and special programs for children. They’ve even been known on occasion to have a diver hold up a “Will You Marry Me” sign; you know, for the romantics.

Nosh on sushi in a casual environment at Tampopo

Sushi doesn’t always have to be swank. Tampopo at Lovers and Greenville is a great little no frills Japanese cafe that hits the spot when you’re craving sashimi but looking for a place that’s fast, casual and reasonably priced. The inside is clean and unpretentious but pleasant for an order-at-the-counter establishment. The menu is pretty simple but dons the basics: sushi, a small selection of rolls, sashimi, teriyaki and tempura. Their bento boxes make for a perfect little lunch and they always have some variety of Udon noodle soup written on their specials board. They also serve beer, wine and hot sake.

Find discounts on designer labels at the Allen Outlets

Oh, outlet malls; you’d love to hate them and hate to love them but when it comes down to it all your favorite stores and designer labels are represented and the prices are all discounted, sometimes deeply. The Allen Premium Outlets live up to all that outlet malls promise and more. Charlotte Russe, Juicy Couture, Coach, even Le Creuset calls your name and whispers sweet nothings in your ear about lower prices and the current season’s trends. You can even join their VIP club to receive special coupons and promotions for over 100 outlet stores. They also usually have big sales around national holidays that yield three day weekends.

Find foliage at North Haven Gardens

North Haven Gardens has been a plant and landscape shopping destination in Dallas for over 60 years. Whether you just need to spruce up an apartment, are looking to grow a vegetable garden or planning some serious landscaping, you can find what you need at North Haven Gardens. A friendly and supportive staff is always around to answer any questions and they offer garden coaching for those that could use a little extra help. The organic garden coaching is a particular favorite of patrons. North Haven also has a variety of free classes and talks of all things gardening every month from discovering heat hardy plants to floral design to gardening 101.

Chat with cool kids at the Chat Room

The Chat Room on Magnolia is probably Fort Worth’s coolest dive. The staff is friendly and the drinks are cheap and large (you’ll often get your cocktail in a pint glass), and they are one of the few places in DFW/Texas/the world that offers a vegan White Russian. The dance floor is small but present so people can dance to the jukebox that has better taste in music than your favorite cool-kid. The inside is smoke-friendly with little effort to ventilate, so show up early enough to grab a picnic table outside if smoking ain’t your thang. If you don’t go for the cheap drinks or the jukebox, go for the pinball machine or the free internet (it does say “internet pub” on the sign, after all).

Matheson Hammock Park gives glimpse of Miami past

The drive to Matheson Hammock Park is just as gorgeous as the natural setting that surrounds the actual park. Located on scenic, tree-lined, woodsy Old Cutler Road, the park is a wonderful glimpse into Miami’s past.  

Opened in 1930, the original idea of preserving the natural beauty surrounding the park remains today and is evident in the beautiful expansive view of Biscayne Bay. The man-made atoll pool, one of the park’s highlights which is flushed naturally with the tidal action of the Bay.

The sea breeze is ideal for picnicking at their pavilions, enjoying their nature trail or perhaps grabbing lunch in their coral stone restaurant. Kayakers and canoers love visiting here for a rest stop and grabbing lunch and relaxing before heading back.

Matheson Hammock Park is located at 9610 Old Cutler Road, 305-665-5475 , www.miamidade.gov/parks/Parks/Matheson_beach

Catch an art-house flick at the Texas Theatre

The Texas Theatre in Oak Cliff is most infamously known as the place Lee Harvey Oswald was caught by police after (allegedly) shooting President John F. Kennedy. Over the years the theater has been neglected, demolition threatened, and, finally, saved by both the Oak Cliff and the film community. The Texas Theatre is now one of the only places in DFW to catch a real independent, art-house film. If obscure films, documentaries, old restored movies or just a really awful B horror movie is your cup of tea, the Texas Theatre is your kind of place. They also have bar for enjoying cocktails during the movies, as long getting up to visit the facilities in the middle of a movie doesn’t bother you.

Discover unique art and cool boutique finds in Deep Ellum

Deep Ellum was once the destination where the freaks came out at night, and folks visited for shows, drinks and to watch (or be) said freaks in scores every weekend during the 80’s and mid 90’s. After a little bad press about the safety of Deep Ellum, the neighborhood has undergone a bit of a transition. While no longer necessarily the “it” place to be on the weekends, the artists in the Deep Ellum community haven’t let a little bad press scare them away from their beloved neighborhood. Now, eclectic boutiques and art galleries still adorn the three-street strip in addition to a sprinkling of music venues, restaurants and clubs that have held their own through thick and thin. Patrons that remember the good ‘ol days can now appreciate a more laid back atmosphere, less hooliganism and free and ample parking.

Enjoy authentic South Indian cuisine at Madras Pavillion

Oft-hailed as one of Dallas’ best Indian restaurants, Madras Pavillion offers a healthy variety of South Indian (also all vegetarian) delights. While the sag paneer and ghobi mancurian never disappoint, most people show up for the dosai, a giant crepe rolled with your choice of filling (the potato onion filling is the most popular, and they offer spicy or non spicy for those with a more sensitive palate). Afraid you’ll find yourself in an Indian restaurant with no idea what to order? No worries, either order one of their sampler platters or show up for the lunch buffet any day of the week to try a variety. The lunch buffet usually even includes an order of dosai.

Get your jazz and martini fix at The Balcony Club

The Balcony club, conveniently attached to the Lakewood Theater, is one of those small and dark jazz clubs with a speak easy vibe that’s often only seen in the movies. They have live jazz every night of the week and regulars show up any night of the week to unwind and chillax. If you’re looking to be rowdy and shoot Jager-bombs, this is not the perfect joint for your night out. If quality music and a laid back atmosphere is your cup of tea, this is the place to be. The Balcony Club is also known to make a really good martini. Hey, when in Rome…

Have a fireside picnic with alcohol at Lee Harvey’s

Oh, Lee Harvey’s. While having a Pabst at Lee Harvey’s may be on the Dallas Hipster to-do list, this 50-something year old bar has been drawing all kinds of crowds to its laid back atmosphere and picnic tables for decades. This patio dive has a full bar, ample picnic table seating, and a butt-load of character. Fire pits warm patrons on chilly evenings, they usually have live music on the weekends, dogs are welcome on the patio every Sunday and the food is actually good. The menu dons tacos, burgers and paninis and changes up from time to time so there’s always something new and delicious to try. Pay a visit to old Lee Harvey’s and wax philosophical over the fact that the cool kid sitting next to you is actually younger than the neon beer signs.

Gotta love-a that pizza pie: Miami’s top five

Thin New York style, thick Sicilian, stuffed Chicago style, cheeseless or nouveau — the variety of pizza styles seems endless and when it comes to the slice or the pie, seems like everyone’s a connoisseur and has their favorite.


In Miami for example,  most of the best pizza joints are downright institutions, loved by diehards who have been loyal to their favorite spot for countless years.So…(drumroll please), here’s a list of Miami’s top five, in no particular order:

  • Steve’s Pizza in North Miami on Biscayne Boulevard and NE 121 Street. The joint’s been a neighborhood institution for more than three decades because they’re still churning out authentic New York style pizza, giant slices at that, in a no-frills, no-nonsense environment. Just great pizza and all the traditional favorite toppings. (Or not!)
  • On the complete opposite end of town in the South Miami-Dade Kendall neighborhood at 8080 SW 67 Ave. is The Big Cheese. This family-style restaurant has fantastic pizza and it’s obvious by the immense wait lines that form on the weekends. It’s their loyal customers who can’t get enough of the place. It’s traditional NY style thin pizza here too. 
  • In the heart of Miami it’s easy to find the best pizza spot, it’s Casola’s at 2437 SW 17 Ave. where all the Miami cops and paramedics go for lunch. Their slices rival Steve’s in size (and taste) and best of all, they always have a slice or two cut up into tiny bite size pieces for nibbling while waiting to order. Lines are long but it’s worth it.
  • A newer kid on the block than those three, but giving them a run for their money is Andiamo Brick Oven Pizza on Miami’s Biscayne Boulevard and 56 Street. The brick oven flavor makes the pizzas here unique, as do the array of fantastic, nouveau toppings available. The cool, triangular shaped location makes for great alfresco or indoor dining in a very hip area of town. At just a decade old, Andiamo packs ’em in week in and week out and has legions of fans.
  • Finally the newest kid on the block but a force to be reckoned with is star chef and Miami’s pride and joy, Michael Schwartz’ Harry’s Pizzeria at 3918 North Miami Ave. in the Design District. Named after his son Harry, Michael’s not deviating from his farm to table concept used at his Michael’s Genuine. He’s growing his own herbs in front of the restaurant and using delectable ingredients like short ribs, rock shrimp, roasted pork and non-traditional pizza cheeses like cave aged gruyere, fontina and manchego.  

By no means is this meant to be a comprehensive list but these are just some suggestions and these restaurants are the ones getting it right.

C Madeleine’s: Quietly hidden, big name designers

Vogue, Elle, Daily Variety and Lucky Magazines have all hailed C Madeleine’s in North Miami as the hidden gem that all fashionistas must find, trouble is it’s quite discreet, tucked quietly into a small spot along Biscayne Boulevard and NE 137 St. that’s almost not visible, even though there is a sign.

Fashionistas will go crazy for the vintage and couture clothing, bags, accessories, shoes and jewelry that range from the 1900s to even present day. At C Madeleine’s they take pride in offering customers quality, custom made items that make add a unique element to any wardrobe. The items sold here are either one-of-a-kind or one of only a few manufactured.

With a selection like this, it’s no surprise the place is a celebrity haunt, attracting the throngs of them that descend on Miami for jetsetting to events and weekend getaways.

C Madeleine’s is located at 13702 Biscayne Boulevard, 305-945-7770, www.cmadeleines.com

Lanvin Fall 2012 Collection

2012 marks Alber Elbaz 10th anniversary as creative director at French fashion house Lanvin. Jessica Alba, Dita Von Teese, Pharrell Williams and Tilda Swinton join the celebration. For the Fall collection; elegant clothing with an avant garde edge. Lux embellishments, sharp shoulders and jewel tones rule the runway.