Best Community Action Group Animal Humane Association serves a great purpose. There are so many unwanted dogs and cats in Albuquerque, and AHA does their best to find homes for these sweet animals. People, please, spay and neuter your animals!
Best Use of Local Tax Dollars We need more bike paths in Albuquerque, and we need to make the ones we have safer. I think a lot of people would ride to work if there was a safe way to get there. The Tramway path is heavily used; we need more pedestrian/bike paths like that!
Best Example of Our Dire Need for More Urban Planning Lack of Downtown grocery stores
Best Looking City Councilor Brad Winter
Best Use of Hair on a Local TV Newsperson Tom Joles has the best hair on TV, bar none! If I weren't married ...
Best Restaurant in which to Pretend You're More Important Than You Actually Are Zinc Wine Bar and Bistro
Best Margarita Garduños
Best Waitress Carmen at Garduños on Montgomery is the best waitress in town. She rocks. My friends and I like Carmen so much that we will wait to sit in her section. She treats us like family!
Best Jewelry Store Mark Diamond is locally owned, which I like a lot. They have very unique and beautiful jewelry.
Best Eclectic Gift Store Objects of Desire has fabulous things, and they regularly introduce new inventory. One could spend hours in that store, and still not see everything. It's a must when I'm in the Nob Hill area.
Best Place to Buy Gifts for Weird Girls Beeps! Need I say more?
Best Hairstylist Kimberly at Mark Pardo. She is terrific, and this holds true whether you need an updo for your wedding, or a cut and color. Mark Pardo is also locally owned—a bonus!
Best Local Event at Which to Spend Your Money Weems Artfest. This is one of my favorite events in Albuquerque. I love to shop for friends and family, knowing that whatever I purchase won't be found on every corner.
Christianna Cappelle—Manager of the Gardeners' Guild
Best Plant Nursery Plants of the Southwest for sure. They have a relevant selection to make gardening in the desert a lot easier. They also have good vegetable varieties in the spring.
Best Bar Kelly's. Try the porter. It's delicious, and I don't even like dark beers.
Best Chocolate Fix Let me tell you, I'm kind of a chocolate freak anyway. I hate to admit it, but Starbuck's came up with the best chocolate experience ever. It's called Chantico. It's basically a shot of liquid chocolate. Make sure to take a seat. It's really that overwhelming.
Best Breakfast Ironically enough, Chocolate Café has great breakfasts. They definitely have the best machaca beef in town. It kicks ass. Adding an over medium egg on top of the burrito really just fixes the whole thing. It's yummy. One of my favorites. Their huevos rancheros stand out from the crowd, too.
Best Florist Tiger Lily. She's young and has a new approach to things. She offers a great flower selection when ordering arrangements. Seems really flexible. She's a good listener.
Best Thai Restaurant Thai Orchid. It's real Thai food. If you like hot Thai food, this is the place to go.
Best Place to Get Quick Grub A tie between Mannie's and Hurricane's. Both have good consistent potato preparation. The corned beef hash and eggs at Mannie's is excellent.
Ed Garcia—Purchaser for Rose Southwest Papers
Best Breakfast Daily Grind. I like it because of their omelets and scones. Their omelets are very satisfying and tasty.
Best Restaurant for a Quick Lunch Scarpas. It's very good food done fast. They respect the fact that you have a short amount of time for lunch.
Best Candy Store Buffet's. Because of the candy cane outside ... just kidding. They have a heck of a selection, and they have piñon candies.
Best Place for a Wedding Reception El Pinto. The atmosphere is very nice; it's quiet and away from everything. The patio is big. The scenery is beautiful and there is plenty of parking.
Best Downtown Bar Maloney's Tavern. Nice atmosphere. It reminds me of Cheers. The food is really good, too.
Best Northeast Heights Bar Barley Room. They've got the best beer selection and very good food.
Best Margarita Garduños. They are very fruity. They taste like punch, but after you drink one, you're buzzed.
Best Martini Martini Grille. The name speaks for itself. They specialize in martinis. The martinis there are special.
Best Barber Duke Barber Shop in the South Valley. I've always gone there. They cut my hair very good. When you walk in, it's all about sports. They have a TV with ESPN, sports magazines and sports pictures on the wall.
Best Local Event at which to Spend Your Money State Fair. Because it comes once a year, you have to attend. You end up spending a lot of money because you want to try all the different foods and play the games.
Bryna Browning—Sprint Customer Service Representative
Best Happy Hour TGI Friday's. You can get mixed margaritas for $3 and appetizers are half-off.
Best Place to Play Pool Downtown Distillery. It's a fun and relaxing environment. They also have free pool nights.
Best Shoe Store Shoes on a Shoestring. They have very cute shoes at a very reasonable price.
Best Women's Clothing Store Fashion Bug. They have the latest fashions and great sales.
Best Store to Ruin Your Credit Rating In Dillard's. They have MAC Cosmetics counters and lots of clothes and shoes. I could easily ruin my credit rating there.
Best Bar to Dance In Sauce. They have a variety of music to dance to. It's a place where you can have fun and be yourself.
Best Margarita Garduños. They have several you can chose from. My favorite has coconut and strawberry in it.
Best Radio Station 94 ROCK. The music that they play and the DJs they have in the morning make it fun to listen to them. They play a good variety of rock music.
Best Candy Store Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. Their chocolate covered strawberries and their candy apples are to die for.
Paula Steele and Tracy Ray—Education Specialist/Technical Writer
Best Worst Nickname for a City Burque
Best Free Wall Painting Service City of Albuquerque graffiti clean-up
Best Aromatic Restaurant Taj Mahal
Best Place to Watch Skateboarders UNM campus
Best Airplane Manufacturer Eclipse
Best Neighborhood to Get Lost In We don't know; we were lost! Somewhere behind Defined Fitness on Juan Tabo.
Best Quirky, Independent Film Theater Guild
Best Local Place to Experience an African Safari The Rio Grande Zoo
Best Motivation for Clearing Weeds City of Albuquerque notice
Best Place to Meet a Drag Queen Who Looks Better Than You Do, Dammit! Pulse
Best Saab Mechanic Jeff at Performance Auto
Best Place to Get Free Drugs and Guns APD evidence room
Suzanne Prescott—Faithful Blogger
Favorite TV Personality's Mustache That Could Be Boiled to Make a Hearty Soup Larry Barker from KRQE Channel 13
Best Impersonation of a TV News Program KASA Fox news
Best Local Media with Alternatives to 'Mass Deception' Channel 27 and, of course, the Alibi (open up that blog for everybody though)
Favorite Peeve Students who think the hollow thumping sound they hear from W's head is "following a different drummer."
Favorite Community Action Organizations A tie between Stop the War Machine, New Mexico Friends of Democrats and Revisioning New Mexico
Best Example of Smart Urban Planning Revitalization of Sawmill area and the Sawmill Community Land Trust projects
Best Use of Local Tax Dollars Support for Neighborhood Associations through the Albuquerque Partnership
Best Political Stinkeroo Politicians with untreated drinking problems
Moray—Band on the Run
Best Bands in Albuquerque Felonious Groove Foundation, Shiva, Rele, Nunchuk and Moray!
Best Venues in Which to Hear Live Music Journal Pavilion, in the courtyard of Aarons condo( aka Albuquerque High), Atomic Cantina, Launchpad and El Rey
Best Bartender Duncan Stalls of Anodyne
Best Sushi Bar Ichi Ban
Best High Definition Production Company/Rental/Record Label Erudite Communications!!!
Best Temp Agency/Day Labor Labor Finders
Best Cabinet Shop O.G.B.
Best Place to Get Laid The Iron Forest on Sandia Peak
Best intersections to Spot UFOs Tramway and Menaul, Comanche and I-25, The entire west end of Southern, Third Street and Marble, 98th Street and Central!
Best Guitar Shops Encore, Guitar Boy, Marc's Guitar Shop, Grandma's Music & Sound and Guitar Center
Best Curbs to Puke on After a Long Night of Binge Drinking Central and Second Street, Central and Third Street, Central and Fourth Street, Central and Fifth Street, Central and Sixth Street and back again!!!
Restaurants with the Hottest Staff Outback Steakhouse, Kelly's, The Library, Billy's, Stoneface Tavern and Anodyne
Best Radio Personality Swami Rob of 94 Rock
Best Bars for Aaron to Get Shot Down for Dates A to Z in the phone book; that would take entirely too long! (Sorry, Aaron.)
Best Locationsnotto Take a Date: Olympia Cafe (excessive garlic flatulence, but the best Greek food in town), Ho Ho's (because you know you'll have the shits), China Star (because you'll absolutely have the shits), Fortune Cookie (because you will without a reasonable doubt, shit for weeks on end).
Mary Erwin—APS teacher and mom
Best Bread The best bread in town right now is at the Marco Polo Market on San Mateo. I go in there on Saturday and pick up three loaves and the kids and I eat most of one on the way home. Spread some kefir on the second one and open a can of their spicy, cracked green olives. Serve it with some Halal sausage, and you've got a meal! Give the third to a friend to introduce them to one of the finer things in life or make a pizza with it.
Best Market Ta Lin's new and improved market on Central at Louisiana is beautiful and has the freshest seafood in this land-locked state. Plus, the fishmonger is cute. Buy some Lizano sauce to splash on your black beans and check out that growing mustard selection.
Best Wine Shop When I need wine advice I head to Jubilation at Lomas and Carlisle for good suggestions, reasonable prices and nice selection.
Best Asian Restaurant I have actually woken in the night craving the Tom yung gai at the Thai Orchid on Central—hot and citrusy. It will cure what ails 'ya.
Best Fancy Restaurant If I am going to plunk down some serious change for a meal at night, I'll hit Zinc in Nob Hill. Call ahead and ask for a view of the kitchen from the balcony to watch the kitchen madness. They are also home to my new favorite bar-that-doesn't-feel-like-'Burque, downstairs.
Best Coffee Michael Thomas on Carlisle!
Best Barbeque Barbecue in Burque is a little bit hard to find for this Texan. My late father's smoked brisket remains the gold standard for me. Big John's at Yale and César Chávez has the oak-smoked stuff and real Elgin hot gut. Not a bad combo at all.
Quentin A. Lucas—English Teacher, Rio Grande High School
Best Tea Shop/Best Place to Get Centered The Summerhouse Tea & Trading Co. This little teashop on Harvard is fantastic. Charlotte, the owner, knows your name and she knows your story, and she can pick up a conversation that she had with you two weeks ago. Her shop is just like a little point in the universe. And the variety of teas there makes it ridiculously wonderful. In the green section, there's one called Pinhead Gun Powder—it's really astringent, and there are these tiny little leaves that unfold when you put them in the water. There's also the Empress Tea that just makes you dizzy, and the Smoked Tea that smells like barbecue. Currently, my favorite tea is Iron Goddess of Mercy. It makes me feel centered—like the iron goddess is gonna slap me upside the head, right back to the center.
Best Hangover Food Chicharron Burrito with Green Chile from El Modelo. You have to make sure to say green chile, because otherwise they'll give it to you with chorizo. You can call it in first, and when you get there it's all ready for you, and it cuts right through a hangover. It's greasy, spicy and big. You have to cut it in half and eat some for breakfast and the rest in the afternoon. It's got beans on it and a little bit of cheese—not too much cheese. Oh ... so tasty. And if you go right around Christmas, you get a free calendar. I love that calendar; it's a good New Mexico calendar.
Best Place to Have Mango in Multiple Forms Anapurna. The mango lassi there is perfectly spiced—it's excellent. And if you get the Sunday brunch, pancakes with mango syrup, it's just phenomenal. And they also have really killer muffins.
Brian Diehl—Sophomore, Rio Grande High School
Best Chinese Food Restaurant Lam's Chinese Restaurant. This is a family-owned business with really good, traditional Chinese food. It's all home-cooked, and everything on their menu is so tasty. Their hot and sour soup is especially good—it's the most distinctive flavor of any soup I've had. The environment's also really calm and peaceful. There's really no music playing. All you can hear is the clanging of pots and pans while the chef cooks in the background.
Best Place to Buy Music Natural Sound. I don't really listen to the radio. I'm more into my own music. So instead, I like to go out and look for new CDs, and Natural Sound has a lot of hard-to-find music.
Best Movie Theater Century 14 Downtown. My favorite movie theater used to be Madstone, but then it closed. I like that the Century theater Downtown is pretty quiet. There aren't usually a lot of people there.
Best Local Event at Which to Spend Money AlibiCrawls. This is the biggest highlight of my year.
Best Place to Watch the City Lights By the Airport. If you keep going up Rio Bravo, you pass the freeway, and there's a little parking lot that overlooks the entire city, as far as the eye can see.
Best Park Tiguex. There's enough room at this park for a lot of people, and it's a great environment for kids. Recently my girlfriend and I went there for Easter. We took my puppy and had a picnic, and even though there were a lot of people there for an Easter festival, it was still a really relaxed place. They had a big Easter egg hunt for the kids, and a huge barbecue, and raffles and such. There's interesting stuff like that happening there all the time.
Geoff Victor—owner, The Optical Shop in Nob Hill
Best Local TV Newsperson Dick Knipfing from Channel 13. He does it with authority and humility. How young is he anyway?
Best Radio Personality Larry Ahrens, even at his new job at 106.3 FM. Very topical!
Best Restaurant Frontier. I just love the eclectic mix of people and foods. How do they serve so many so quickly?
Best Brewpub How can you beat the patio at Kelly's for people-watching
Best Nob Hill Bar Scalo's is the place on Friday night.
Best Martini Gotta be The Martini Grill.
Best Used Bookstore Tidal Wave Books: good people, great stuff and moving soon to Eubank and Constitution.
Best Place to Buy Used Music Natural Sound ... no question about it.
Best Furniture Store TEMA has terrific contemporary furniture—love their sales.
Best Florist A Bouquet Boutique, Albert does magic with color and arraignments!
Best Place to Buy Gifts For Weird Girls Is there any doubt ... Martha's Body Bueno.
Best Eclectic Gift Shop Beeps, Beeps and more Beeps
Best Ethnic Supermarket The new Talin is overwhelming! Have you seen their fresh fish department?