Best Place to Buy Deliciously Large Bars of Soap Lavande Bleu. Walking into this place makes you feel like you just doused yourself in way too much of your mom's perfume. But it's worth it. Never have I seen so much creamy, luscious and utterly huge bars of soap in one place. And the flavors—oh, the flavors. It totally makes me want to wash myself.
Best Coffee House Irysh Macs. The art on the walls is always fresh, a chessboard but a few feet away, and they serve a mean chai that'll make your teeth tingle. (No, really, it literally makes my teeth tingle.) Not to mention that the staff is always very tolerant of me and my women's group on the nights that we decide to hole up on their couch. Thanks, guys.
Best Chocolate-Banana Malt Route 66 Diner. What, you've never had one? It's not on the menu, but they'll make it, and it's every bit as fantastic as it sounds. The shake variety works, too, but everyone knows that malts are better.
Best Place to Buy Anything a Woman Could Need Martha's Body Bueno. Martha, I love you. This store is so tasteful, so warm, and just so welcoming. Whether you're looking for locally crafted jewelry, the opportunity to design your own massage oil, or ... ahem ... something personal, Martha's your woman.
Martin Candelaria—Alibi Receptionist
Best Wasteful Use of Local Tax Dollars The City Council and the Mayor. I prefer to call them The Circus. A bunch of illusionists with an egotistical ring leader and they're all hell bent on getting votes rather than what may really be the best for the community or the city.
Best Use of Hair on a Local TV Newsperson Carla Aragon never ceases to amaze me with how much hair she has and how big it can get. What amazes me more is the women in the same age group going for the same look.
Best Wine Shop Jubilation. Because it's close to my home. Actually, it's one of the few places in town where I've been able to find my favorite Italian white wine called Terre di Tufi.
Best Place for a Wedding Reception Roosevelt Park. The grass, the trees, the mottled sunlight and the park regulars who are actually pretty respectful. I attended one wedding there last year and thought: What a fantastic idea.
Best Place to Get Smashed on Your Lunch Break Pearl's Dive. If I were to get smashed, that is where I would go because Anodyne and Ned's are closed during lunch.
Best Local Music Selection The flea market at Expo New Mexico. My mom loves this stuff, and you can't beat their prices or the people watching. We have an agreement: If I go there with her, she'll accompany me to Que Huong afterwards.
Best Vinyl Selection Mecca. I found old Serge Gainsbourg, Nina Simone and Lena Horne albums there once. That makes them great in my book for all time.
Best Venue in Which to Hear Live Music The Launchpad. I've seen some great shows and some really bad shows there, but overall it's one of the only places I've been to that is dedicated to a rockin' good time. I really appreciate the fact that they put on all-ages shows, too.
Best Line to Use in Order to Get Yourself Out of a Traffic Ticket "I've got diarrhea." I actually told a police officer that I had been sick all day and I had diarrhea and that I only lived a few blocks away. I was doing the seated pee-pee dance (bouncing and opening and closing my legs real fast). It worked.
Best Plant Nursery Osuna. They carry Arabian Jasmine Plants in the summer and an incredible selection of Orchids and houseplants. I can spend so much time just wandering through their green house, and no one pressures you.
Best Massage Therapist Martin. Yes, me. I just got my license, but I've been practicing massage since I was 15. A curandera that lived next door to my grandmother taught me some massage techniques and how to work with herbs. I've been doing it since.
Molly Lindsay—Alibi Controller
Best Local Crackpot Don Schrader. Whenever I see his name at the end of a letter to the editor, I just can't wait to read what he's going to enlighten us with next. Don totally rocks, and Albuquerque's personality would be lacking greatly without his.
Best Bowling Alley Lucky 66. It's still fairly old school, and the staff is friendly. If that's not enough for ya, then check this out—they have karaoke in the bar!
Best Local Microbrew Il Vicino Slowdown Brown. Ahhhh. Smooth yet crisp, with a nutty flavor. It's my favorite beer of all time I'd have to say.
Best Jukebox Anodyne. They have the best mix of genres old and new, and it rotates before the songs get ruined by repetition. Fresh, dude.
Best Bartender Doug Albin, Anodyne. Doug's been there for us all for years. He's super witty, not hard on the eyes and always greets ya with a "How do?!" Thanks, brotha.
Best Shoe Store Ruby Shoesday. Jackie always has the latest styles from super hip designers. It's where I would spend my tax return if I could.
Best Antique Store Antiques & Things. My beau and I always manage to find unique and affordable collectibles for each other every time we visit.
Best Restaurant for a Quick Lunch Gold Street Caffe. I've never been disappointed. It's always delicious. On occasion they spice up your lunch with a throw-down between waitstaff and chef. It's secretly quite exhilarating.
Best Place to Buy Used Music Natural Sound. I've even found Johnny Cash in their used bin. Someone must have been really broke, God rest JC's soul.
Best Thrift Store Barrett House. Now this is a thrift store that you can actually find a deal in, not like those other "thrift" stores. You should check out the swank "like new" velvety couch we got for $30.
Elena Ailes—Alibi A/R Clerk
Best Local Crackpot/ABQ's best writer Anthony, the guy on Sixth Street that's always writing. I just like the way he writes, even though I haven't seen anything he's written. He seems like a very intense guy.
Best Line to Use to Get Yourself Out of a Traffic Ticket I'm stealing this line from a friend: "I'm hypoglycemic, and if I don't eat something soon I'm going to pass out."
Favorite Architectural Gem The new Explora building in Old Town
Best Place to Participate in New Mexico Arts and Crafts Shout out to the Harwood Art Center, where I have a studio.
Favorite Breakfast Downtown Java Joe's. I convince people to feed me there all the time.
Favorite Vintage Clothing Store Little Mary's on Washington and Lomas. Totally sweet duds and kickin' furniture, too.
Favorite Radio Personality Sebastián on KUNM. He's got a hot voice.
Favorite Ethnic Supermarket. Ta Lin, of course. Where else can you get dried minnows and Cuban mango paste all in the same place?
Stephanie Garcia, Alibi Copy Editor
Best Brew Pub Kelly's. They have a good selection, plus they have delicious sweet potato fries.
Best Looking City Councilor Martin Heinrich. He's so dreamy.
Best Restaurant for a Quick Lunch NYPD. The employees are fast and efficient. Plus they serve the best pizza in town and the best salads.
Best Place for a Wedding Reception La Posada. That's where I'm getting married this summer. It's affordable, elegant, and it's located in a historic part of Albuquerque.
Best Local Band Nosotros. They combine gypsy music with salsa and Spanish fusion. It's really danceable music. I like the lead singer's voice. He's got that Gypsy Kings essence to his singing.
Best Thrift Store Savers. Big selection, a lot of good quality clothes at reasonable prices. Sometimes you can find some real gems.
Best Vinyl Selection We Buy Music. They have a wide array of records including imports. They have old David Bowie, Depeche Mode and a lot of cheesy '80s bands that I love. They also have a great selection of jazz music.
Best Florist Mauldin Flowers. They're very affordable, great for weddings. They've got a good selection, and they have a coordinator who's very personable. Mauldin isn't like larger businesses that don't have time for you or try to sell you more than what you're looking for.
Best Antique Store Century Square. They have four levels of antiques for collectors. I collect old Life magazines from the '40s and '50s, and they have a lot of those.
Best Cultural Bargain Old Town. You get to rediscover New Mexican culture. The food is fabulous. It's worth it just to go to the Candy Lady. The historical church is beautiful yet simplistic.
Greg Medara—Alibi Account Executive
Best Actor to Play Rep. Heather Wilson in the Made-For-TV Movie of Her Life Ellen Degeneres. She would be the best fit for this role.
Best Local TV Newsperson Dick Knipfing
Best Radio Station 96.3 FM (The Buzzard). 96.3 FM (The Buzzard) is the most consistant when I am not listening to CD's.
Best Radio Personality Jim Villanucci
Best Breakfast Arriana's on Montgomery and Louisana. Everything is made fresh, even the chips, and their red chili sauce is just awesome.
Best Wine Shop Quarters. It's at the top of my list. Good prices, close, and a great selection.
Best Brewpub Kelly's
Best Downtown Bar Anodyne
Best Northeast Heights Bar Barley Room
Best Line to Use in Order to Get Yourself Out of a Traffic Ticket "Can I wear your hat?" It hasn't worked yet, but I have faith in some cop's appreciation of a good line.
Best Gallery Coleman Contemporary Art Gallery
Best Store to Ruin Your Credit Rating In Whole Foods could wreck a person. As my fatherin-law said, "That's why they have the little carts. You couldn't afford to fill up one of those big ones!"
Best Local Bookstore Page One
Best Spa Betty's Day Spa. I can't say that I've been there, but my wife loves it and that's enough for me.