On a mission to extinguish ashtrays and lighters, Viper Vapes offers smokers a wealth of alternatives to the traditional tobacco routine. Like a buffet for foodies of nicotine, the shop features a bounty of flavorful e-liquid oils that fit inside its stock of sleek electronic cigarettes. Inhalations from Viper Vapes allow customers to enjoy a relaxing escape wherever they go while averting the unsettling shriek of secondhand-smoke alarms.
Bottega La Dolce Vita stocks its shelves and fridges with fine pastas, sauces, pestos, cheeses, and deli meats from all regions of Italy. Like a wormhole to the Mona Lisa's kitchen cupboard, the mouthwatering spread of imported fare brings a tiny piece of the Old World to America, loading pantries with silky chocolates, creamy pecorino Toscano, and all-natural pork salami. Among the store's charming cloth-clad tables, owners Franco Di Blasi and Joan Bavaresco guide visitors through a culinary tour of Italy, allowing them to sample fine cheeses as they peruse the selection of cookies, olive oils, and homemade pestos and sauces.
At more than 1,000 Mattress Firm locations around the country, shoppers sink into plush mattresses, recline on firm beds, and belly-flop onto pillow tops. Knowledgeable staffers can help customers create an ideal bedtime environment by dispensing advice based on sleep preferences and illuminating the difference between the many kinds of mattresses. And to the delight of their customers, much of Mattress Firm's bedding wears the label of a premium brand, such as Sealy, Serta, Simmons Beautyrest, or Stearns & Foster.
The Miami Wine & Food Festival shares a litany of libations and local eats with curious sommeliers and gourmands. The chic, outdoor Taste & Toast event introduces gustatory glands to wines from around the world. As taste buds hobnob with fruit and oak notes, guests intermingle with one another while snacking on gourmet treats from local restaurants and listening to the bluesy sound of the Jay Blues Band. Winesplorers can stick around after the tasting for a Glenfiddich “Music to Drink Whiskey By” after-party at 9 p.m., where a DJ and whiskey-tamer rest on hand to answer questions and dispel myths about using whiskey as cologne.
A smart and smoke-savvy two-woman team runs Lit Cigars, indulging clientele with a cozy, contemporary lounge chock-full of high-end cigars and imported libations. Mahogany shelves teem with a spread of smoke-ready cylinders, including Perdomo Champagne Robusto ($6), Arturo Fuente Hemingway Classic ($9.75), Don Pepin Garcia Black Figurado ($10.15), and selections from Nestor Miranda, Padron, and other brand-name lip logs. The beverage list pairs pourables and puffables, offering spirited sips of Blackstone merlot ($24 bottle; $8 glass), Bercial Spanish chardonnay ($28 bottle; $8 glass), and Valdelana Spanish rioja ($20 bottle; $8 glass), helping lighten the mood during a heated game of dominoes or while arguing over who has the best Columbo impersonation.
The Florida Running Company, a store completely staffed by runners, finds people the fittingest shoes using a process similar to the one speed daters use to find future mates—taking measurements, assessing stance, and playing back video of them running on a treadmill. The shop carries top running-shoe brands such as Asics Gel Kayano ($140) and Nike Air Pegasus ($85). Runners can complement their kicks with Nike Tempo track shorts ($28) or swaddle their feet in a pair of Balega socks ($10), as soft and comforting as group hug from every grandmother on the block.
The siren call of allCanes' massive collection of Miami Hurricanes clothing, memorabilia, and accessories entices not only fans to wander its spaces, but also pro athletes of the past and present. Since converting from a sporting goods store to a Hurricanes-only shop in the mid 80's, football greats have brought family and friends to outfit them in green and orange. NFL players, such as Willis McGahee and Ken Dorsey, walked between racks of gear where greats including Warren Sapp, Ray Lewis, and Jessie Armstead once signed autographs.
While big name players may draw crowds, it's allCanes' stock that wins the day. From the front door to the back wall, every inch of wall, shelf, and rack space teems with Hurricanes apparel from brands such as Nike and My U. Hurricanes baseball caps line racks set in between panoramic shots of the stadium and beanies, while racks hold popular fan t-shirts, such as "The U Invented Swagger." In all, around 1,000 UM-related items call the shop home during football season.