Funky Midtown fashion boutique H/G (or Hallowed Ground, to those in the know) packs its San Mateo Pavilions storefront with new and recycled fashion. The style is a mix of cool club wear and '80s fabulous—everything a retro-minded fashionista could want. Twenty bucks seems to be the break point for most items. Two of the store's walls are lined with Hallowed Grounds' own paint-spattered, graffiti-covered T-shirts—which bring to mind Malcolm McLaren's legendary punk boutique SEX by way of Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo. Several tees are adorned with cassette tape imprints, furthering the '80s aesthetic. And yes, H/G also features a gallery of reasonably priced paintings and drawings from area artists.
Owner and motorcyclist Santiago Lecuona offers riders new and gently used equipment for “all types of bikes,” from street to dirt. If you know someone who lives to ride, Ace is the place. On the stocking-stuffer end, a T-shirt will run you $10, while a pair of simple leather gloves can be had for $29.99. Helmets run the gamut from no-frills, off-road sport models to top-of-the-line, full-face racing models. A fine, ever-changing selection of jackets (Ace specializes in consignment) starts at $45 for a good nylon, but you can also get a $239.99 Kevlar-reenforced bad boy. Ace also carries tires, seats, tools, suspensions, exhausts and other parts from well-known manufacturers. If you don't see it on the shelves, dig into the shop's thick pile of catalogues. Lecuona can order just about anything you need in three days. Oh, and be sure to say hi to the shop's resident German shepherd, Roxie, while you're there.
With most all the silkscreening and embroidery done onsite by Zia Graphics, New Mexico Look has got the widest selection of Duke City sportswear you're likely to find. The Lobos, the Isotopes, the Thunderbirds, the Scorpions are all represented. And if you must indulge your relatives from down south, there's even some NMSU Aggie gear. This place has got everything from pennants ($7) to trailer hitch covers ($54.95) done up in local sports logos. The real gem, though, is the treasure trove of vintage-style Albuquerque Dukes gear, complete with smiling cartoon Conquistador. Of course, if no one on your Christmas list likes sports, but you still want to give the gift of 505 pride, you can do it with officially licensed Rail Runner gear. New Mexico Look sells Christmas ornaments ($6.95), toy trains ($26.95), conductor caps ($16.95) and more.
This newcomer to the gaming scene specializes mostly in historical tabletop war games—as the cooler full of energy drinks and the wealth of banquet-sized folding tables will attest. So, if you know someone who's in the market for a 15th -century castle done up in 15-mm scale, Ares has got you covered (at a mere $42). Castles, keeps, towers and World War II villages are in plentiful supply and just waiting for miniature invasion. Of course, any tabletop gamer worth his or her salt needs as much lead as possible in their diet, and Ares has an enviable selection of paint-your-own lead figurines—from gangsters to samurais to “Taliban commanders” ($14.25 to $23.22). For board-game lovers, Ares also delivers popular titles (Settlers of Catalan, anyone?). Check out the welcome selection from Placitas-based dice-rolling juggernaut Rio Grande Games (Carcassonne, Time Pirates, Asteroyds), which goes for between $29.99 and $54.95. And if you feel like stuffing the stockings of card-based-gamers, there's the requisite case full of Pokémon and Magic: The Gathering packs.