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BOO 2012

Goods & Services - Staff Picks

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Best indie convenience store

Handy Pantry
522 E. Amelia St., 407-423-8954

In the brave new world of Aldis, Super Targets and Walmarts (not to mention 7-Elevens), Handy Pantry, located in the middle of Lake Eola Heights, recalls the charm of old-timey corner stores like those still found up in New Jersey or Massachusetts. Literally a mom-and-pop shop – a mother and father practically live there seven days a week – Handy Pantry offers a decent selection of wine and beer to accompany your typical snack-bag fare. But the real treat is the homemade sandwiches; the deli counter offers a variety of them named after downtown streets (our favorite is the Cathcart!), which you can eat there or rush home with in your laundry-day sweats. They also play host to the neighborhood association's annual block party, which is more fun than it might sound.


Best museum store

Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art
445 N. Park Ave., Winter Park

Technically, there are probably more adventurous museum gift shops out there – ones that sell a wider variety of the tchotchkes and trinkets and coffee mugs and so forth that have become de rigueur at most museum gift shops. We like the gift shop at the Morse because, like the Morse itself, it's true to form. It focuses on American arts-and-crafts inspired pottery, glassworks, jewelry and bowls, stained-glass panels and accessories modeled on the designs of Louis Comfort Tiffany, to whom this museum is dedicated.


Best place to buy local art in your underwear

Twelve21 Gallery online store

Twelve21, already rockin' it since 2010 with exhibitions of local art stars and lesser-known discoveries, has added online shopping to the mix with their new website. Check the store, put some art in your cart, and choose shipping or local pickup: easier than Amazon. (Actually, there's no good reason you couldn't go to one of the openings in your underwear. Just don't tell them it was our idea.)

Best relocation

Sam Flax
1800 E. Colonial Drive
407-898-9785, samflaxorlando.com

We were sad when we heard last year that Sam Flax was moving out of its longtime location on the corner of Shine Avenue and Colonial Drive. In our minds, that was the Sam Flax building: Quirky and loud from streetview, complete with a portrait of the business' founder and a mural by Orlando artist Andrew Spear painted on the side, and packed to the hilt with paints, easels, pastels, canvases, portfolios – a working artist's store if ever there was one. But then we saw what they had in store for the new space, just up the road in an old furniture gallery on Colonial. Lots of room to browse, an expanded retail space for gifts and stationary, plenty of floor space for demos, workshops and classes and art markets in the parking lot on weekends. And if we missed the artwork on the old building, the new artwork is even more impressive: Spear's company, Metro Finishes, painted the facade of the building to make it look like it was inspired by Mondrian, and three more murals by local artists – Spear, Swamburger and Charles Marklin – grace the wall next to the store entrance. It's a welcome jolt of color and energy on an otherwise dull strip of Colonial Drive.

Best of Orlando 2012
  • Local Color - Reader' Picks This year's Best of Orlando issue was written, edited, tallied, combined and compiled with the blood, sweat and tears of Marcus Griggs, Holly V. Kapherr, Faiyaz Kara... | 7/18/2012
  • Local Color - Staff Picks Gracing the cover of Orlando Weekly's 2012 Best of Orlando issue is no sweat, when you're Jose Melendez. Better known as Orlando's Mr. Gold, Melendez is the... | 7/18/2012
  • Goods & Services - Reader' Picks Best adult entertainment store 1st Fairvilla Megastore, 1740 N. Orange Blossom Trail, 407-425-6005; 7631 | 7/18/2012
  • Goods & Services - Staff Picks Nameplates! Doorknockers! Gucci bamboo hoops! Cuban links, herringbones, dookie ropes! Medallions! Dog tags! Caps and grills! On strictly utilitarian... | 7/18/2012
  • Food & Drink - Reader' Picks Best Caribbean 1st Bahama Breeze, multiple locations, bahamabreeze.com 2nd Mama Millie's, 12273 University Blvd., 407-382-3570, mamamillies.com | 7/18/2012
  • Food & Drink - Staff Picks Best attention-grabber beverage Beet & green apple juice from Café 118 | 7/18/2012
  • Music & Nightlife - Staff Picks If you're afraid of heights, stay away: Aptly named after its striking 180-degree view of downtown Orlando, this chic sanctuary sits at the top of Amway Center's... | 7/18/2012
  • Music & Nightlife - Reader' Picks Best Club DJ 1ST Baby Lac, @djbabylac 2ND Lemy Currey, facebook.com/lemycurrey 3rd Jimmy Joslin, facebook.com/JimmyJoslin | 7/18/2012
  • Arts & Culture - Reader' Picks Best Arts Event/Festival 1st The Orlando International Fringe Theater Festival, orlandofringe.org 2nd Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival, wpsaf.org 3rd Nude Nite Art Exposé, nudenite.com | 7/18/2012
  • Arts & Culture - Staff Picks Best public art that doubles as a weapon "Symphony," 1989, by Paul Marco Mennello Museum of American Art 900 East Princeton Street 407-246-4278 mennellomuseum.com If you've ever thought of an "ice knife" as the perfect murder weapon (it melts! No finger | 7/18/2012
  • Sports & Recreation - Reader' Picks Best billiards hall 1st Sportstown Billiards, 2414 E. Robinson St., 407-894-6258, sportstownbilliards.com 2nd Cue-Phoria Billiards and Café, 2050 Semoran Blvd., Winter Park, 321-972-1867, cuephoria.com 3rd Trick Shots Billiards, multiple locations | 7/18/2012
  • Sports & Recreation - Staff Picks First word we received about this Gaelic jumble of a sport was when Orlando Hurling Club hosted their Clash of the Ash tournament last September. | 7/18/2012
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