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7/14/2005

Culture > Feature

Goods and Services
Writers' and Readers' Picks

 

BEST PLACE TO CRAP YOUR PANTS
Barnes & Noble Booksellers

2418 E. Colonial Drive, (407) 894-6024

Given the heady, laxative combination of coffee drinks and literature, the presence of a fecal need is a given at most bookstores with cafés. But at Orlando's largest Barnes & Noble bookatorium, where thousands of people arrive but never seem to leave, the poop factor is elevated. Add to that the lazy hygiene of an ever-present transient population, and the limited number of actual stalls (two for boys, four for girls), and you've got a situation threatening enough to turn your eyes yellow. Tellingly, the whole lavatory hallway frequently suffers from eau de awful, so an already socially humbling experience can quickly turn into something you'd rather just avoid. Or better, do(o) unto yourself and just clean up later. (Sh)it happens, you know. — Billy Manes

BEST PLACE TO SHOP IF YOU'RE BULIMIC
Sacks Grocery Outlet

6013 Edgewater Drive, (407) 447-4495

Not every scarf-'n'-barfer has the deep pockets of a Rollins girl. For the rest of us looking to pack in the snacks, there's Sacks, a junk-food-binge dream come true, where mounds of cookies, chips, crackers, granola bars and more cookies are heaped on the first aisle, just inside the door. Oh, they've got canned stuff and hundreds of weird condiments too, but the main event is the snack aisle. Cookies that go for $4 or $5 at Whole Foods run as low as $1.29 here; high-end munchies like blue-corn chips and wasabi rice crackers might set you back 79 cents on the right day. (For some reason, a lot of the stuff is organic; make of that what you like.) If you look closely, you'll see that almost everything is slightly past its sell-by date, but with prices like this, who cares? Besides, the preservatives in this stuff make sell-by dates irrelevant. And for some of you, sicking it up is the point.

— Jessica Bryce Young

BEST SIGN OF TRUST
Coffee can at Panera Bread

227 N. Eola Drive, (407) 481-1060

Just drop a dollar in a can, head for the coffee station and you're out of there. Works for us.

— Lindy T. Shepherd

BEST PLACE TO BE A SPOILED BRAT
Westin Grand Bohemian

325 S. Orange Ave., (407) 313-9000

When you feel a demanding-diva mood descending upon you, this is the place to go. The Grand Bohemian is heavenly enough on its own – by my completely unscientific data-gathering, they have the deepest bathtubs in town – but more importantly, they're invested in keeping you happy "only limited by your credit card," says head concierge Patricia Clifton. "As long as it's legal." In-suite Jacuzzi? Check. Evening hors d'oeuvres in the exclusive concierge lounge? Yep. Massage by the (gorgeous) pool? You bet. Lobster bisque and crème brulée at 3 a.m.? No problem. Need a limo ride to the Mall at Millenia? They'll line it up. Champagne, chocolate-dipped strawberries, big fluffy white robes? Yawn. Try to come up with a real challenge, can't you? (Just try to remember that it's not nice to snap your fingers at people.)

— Jessica Bryce Young

BEST REASON TO DRIVE TO ATLANTA
Ikea

441 16th St., Atlanta, Ga.; (404) 745-4532

Forget that rumor about an Ikea opening in Orlando – it ain't happening. If they come to Florida at all, they're bypassing us for Miami: "We recognize the customer base in Central Florida," said Ikea spokesman Joseph Roth in the April 8 edition of Orlando Business Journal, "but South Florida has a larger customer base with its population." (How do you say "screw you" in Swedish?) The global conspiracy to get you to buy semi-disposable Scandinavian furniture has, however, extended its tentacles into Atlanta, where the newest Ikea in the United States opened June 29. It's easy to scoff at a duvet named Brčnkrissla, but when you realize that you can't buy a 100 percent cotton duvet anywhere for less than $60 (not even, shudder, Wal-Mart), and the Big I will sell you Brünkrissla for a mere $19.99, you start to see the point. I'm not saying you should drive up there just for the cheap bookshelves (Kilby, 6 feet high, $29.99) – but if you're headed that way anyway … could you bring me back a new magazine rack (Skrissel, $6.99)?

— Jessica Bryce Young

BEST HEAD SHOT ARTIST
Caroline Ross

617 29th St., (407) 769-5897

She doesn't call herself "the working actor's photographer" for nothing: Caroline Ross is also a card-carrying thespian, director and playwright, which helps to explain the deep trust she builds with her clients. Performers of all success levels have long since learned to depend on her keen eye when seeking head shots they'll be happy to thrust under the noses of indifferent casting directors. But just as important is Ross' disarming, delightfully uncensored personal style, which emboldens her subjects to truly let their hair down (especially the stars of riskier, racier fare like 2004's The Blue Room, whose poster shot was a typical example of her more provocative work). To hear an unexpected barrage of cheerfully salty language tumble out of a head that's topped by an explosion of red corkscrew curls is a profoundly liberating experience – like going on a three-day bender with Raggedy Ann. Plus, Ross is an adept amateur psychologist, spurring her clients to their best poses by loudly praising the fine facial features they may or may not actually possess. Hey, it's all about getting the shot.

— Steve Schneider

BEST PLACE TO GET SMALL
Ron's Miniature Shop

751 W. Colonial Drive, (407) 841-9333

Need an Oriental rug that will fit in your wallet? How about a ficus tree as tall as your finger? Or a pizza the size of a quarter? Actually, "need" doesn't describe the fascination some people have for the tiny goods available at Ron's. If you want to see a little girl's eyes light up – even the tomboy-types – take her to Ron's and turn her loose in the museum section up front, where dozens of dollhouses and shadowboxes are crammed together. There's a Chinese pagoda, a Victorian theater (with yawning audience, actors changing backstage, and a tiny Phantom abducting a tiny Christine in the cellar) and my personal favorite, a spooky-ooky Addams Family mansion. Those for whom shadowboxing does not involve jabs or fancy footwork can find everything they need to create, God-like, a minute replica of the real world – from furniture and figurines (OK, dolls) all the way down to bitty little newspapers and replica Roseville vases. Imagine the sick possibilities: a dinky re-creation of Marilyn Monroe's death scene, complete with minute Pucci scarf, itsy box of hair dye, tiny vodka bottle and a spill of microscopic pills.

— Jessica Bryce Young

READER'S PICKS

Best bartender
Holly Jackson

Independent Bar, 70 N. Orange Ave.,
(407) 839-0457

Best liquor store
ABC Fine Wine & Spirits

Multiple locations

Best wine shop
Tim's Wine Market

1223 N. Orange Ave., (407) 895-9463

Best adult-entertainment store
Fairvilla Megastore

1740 N. Orange Blossom Trail,
(407) 425-6005

Best fetish-fashion shop
Fairvilla Megastore

1740 N. Orange Blossom Trail,
(407) 425-6005

Best tattoo/piercing parlor
Inkredible Ink

7215 International Drive, (407) 370-3101

Best smoking & accessories shop
Pipe Dreams

2921 S. Orlando Drive, Sanford,
(407) 302-1717;
6325 N. Orange Blossom Trail,
(407) 445-3939

Best cigar store
Cigarz

6000 Universal Blvd., (407) 370-2999;
333 S. Park Ave., Winter Park, (407) 647-2427

Best hobby shop
Colonial Photo & Hobby

634 N. Mills Ave., (407) 841-1485

Best bookstore
Barnes & Noble

2418 E. Colonial Drive, (407) 894-6024

Best video store
Blockbuster

Multiple locations

Best comic-book store
Coliseum of Comics

Multiple locations

Best stereo store
Best Buy

Multiple locations

Best musical-instrument store
Sam Ash

912 Lee Road, (407) 599-1222

Best vinyl-records store
Rock 'n' Roll Heaven

1814 N. Orange Ave.,
(407) 896-1952

Best new-CD store
Park Ave CDs

528 S. Park Ave., Winter Park,
(407) 629-5293;
UCF Student Union,
4000 Central Florida Blvd.,
(407) 282-1616

Best used-CD store
Park Ave CDs

528 S. Park Ave., Winter Park,
(407) 629-5293;
UCF Student Union, 4000 Central Florida Blvd., (407) 282-1616

Best furniture store
Rooms to Go

Multiple locations

Best gardening store
Home Depot

Multiple locations

Best antiques store
Renninger's Antique Center

20651 U.S. Highway 441, Mount Dora,
(352) 383-8393

Best farmers market
Winter Park Farmers Market

200 W. New England Ave., Winter Park, (407) 599-3358

Best butcher shop
Petty's Meats

2141 W. State Road 434, Longwood,
(407) 862-0400

Best health-food store
Whole Foods

1989 Aloma Ave., Winter Park,
(407) 673-8788

Best eyewear store
20/20 Eyeglass Superstore

965 E. Semoran Blvd., Casselberry,
(407) 767-5600

Best flea market
Sanford Flea World

4311 U.S. Highway 17-92, Sanford,
(407) 330-1792

Best vintage-clothing store
Dechoes Resale Emporium

2114 Edgewater Drive, (407) 648-7480; 3207 Curry Ford Road, (407) 898-9791

Best thrift store
Goodwill

Multiple locations

Best hair salon
Metro Men Spa

336 N. Orange Ave., (407) 843-5505

Best nail salon
Metro Men Spa

336 N. Orange Ave., (407) 843-5505

Best spa
Metro Men Spa

336 N. Orange Ave., (407) 843-5505

Best fashion boutique
Tuni's

301 S. Park Ave., Winter Park,
(407) 628-1609

Best shoe store
DSW

375 E. Altamonte Drive, Altamonte Springs, (407) 831-1152;
4021 Conroy Road,
(407) 903-0832

Best skate shop
University Surf & Skate

Multiple locations

Best surf shop
Ron Jon Surf Shop

5160 International Drive,
(407) 481-2555

Best bicycle shop
Orange Cycle

2204 Edgewater Drive,
(407) 422-5552

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