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BOO 2012

Goods & Services - Staff Picks

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Best stuffed animals

Walnut Animal Society

Local artisan Lauren Alane Bradshaw, previously known to Etsyers for her needle-felted birds and custom wedding-cake toppers, has bested previous adorable efforts with her Walnut Animal Society collection. Each Wes Anderson-esque fox, bunny, bear or what-have-you is filled with sustainably gleaned kapok, exquisitely stitched and hand-finished, and costumed in removable clothing. The pristine members of Bradshaw's Society are more keepsake material than kid stuff, but they're nearly irresistible to anyone still in touch with that inner child.


Best homebrew supply

Heart's Homebrew
6190 Edgewater Drive

Heart's Homebrew, a nondescript shop in a strip mall on Edgewater Drive in College Park, is our go-to place when we get the yen for making our own beer and wine. The store has a wide range of homebrewing kits and booze-making equipment that'll suit the novice and advanced homebrewer alike.

Best expansion of the local food movement

Homegrown Food Co-op Farm Store
2310 N. Orange Ave.
407-895-5559, homegrowncoop.org

Since Homegrown has opened its storefront on Orange Avenue, it's only gotten better – more local produce, more local meats and dairy products, a wider selection of prepared treats like popsicles and heavenly homemade flans. But even better: The store is now open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., which means it's super-easy to put your money where it belongs – in the hands of local farmers and producers in our community who grow and raise the food you put on your table.

Best vegan meth

Free ice chips at Artichoke Red
1813 N. Orange Ave., 407-898-3353, artichokered.com

The candy "ice chips" given away free with purchase at Ivanhoe Village vegan supply depot Artichoke Red are homemade, tasty and, well, vegan – all traits that ought to make them unimpeachably wholesome. But the little plastic baggie filled with translucent whitish chips does bear an unfortunate resemblance to Nazi cold. Sweet and habit-forming, though perhaps (thankfully) not as addictive as the street variety.

Best local Zucks

Crunchy Logistics
189 S. Orange Ave., Suite 1530-B

Young entrepreneur Neil Dufva and his small team of tech-y imaginers at Crunchy Logistics have a thing for interactive screens – big ones. Investing millions into R&D paid off for the Orlando-based pioneers when they unveiled – via viral video, naturally – what they call the "Padzilla," a 70-inch, fully functional iPad that can double as a conference room tabletop, a check-in tool at a luxury hotel or, as currently on display at various Hard Rock Hotel and Casinos, a multimedia tour guide. Next up for the Padzilla: Xbox 360 Kinect integration, retinal technology and, well, a really big carrying case.

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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