I followed Wyoming Boulevard like the great Mississippi River, navigating 'round rocky chains and impersonal megastores, searching every strip mall north of Montgomery for an oasis of great local gifting. Land ho!
Give your expat New Mexican a taste of home. Chile Traditions (#1, 8204 Montgomery NE, 888-3166) sells tons of New Mexico-made agricultural products, and they've got shipping down to a science.
For the deserving nerd on your list, pop over to Noble Collectibles (#2, 8216 Montgomery NE, 858-0212) for comics, books, trading cards and affordable used video-gaming gear.
You can't go wrong with wine for an easy holiday gift. Quarters BBQ Wine Shop (#3, 4516 Wyoming NE, 292-1300) has five stocked shelves of New Mexico wines, many of which are surprisingly inexpensive. And if your friends are big on Bill W., you can pick up a pint instead—of Quarter's lip-smackin' barbecue sauce.
Forget the Hallmark Store. Jeanne's Cosmetics, Gifts and Jewelry (#4, 5901 Wyoming NE, Suite D, 797-7200) is overflowing with enough ornaments, scented candles and other miniature miscellany to stuff every lace-trimmed stocking on your list.
It's a long way from Nob Hill, but Terra Firma's (#5, 5901 Wyoming NE, Suite E, 856-7200) second location at Academy and Wyoming is as cozy and charming as the shoes they sell. Try on a pair of comfortable European clogs, grab a Hobo bag or stock up on snuggly wool socks to keep your tootsies toasty.
Now We're Cooking (#6, 5901 Wyoming NE, Suite S, 857-9625) is quite simply the best store in the city for kitchen gadgets. 'Nuff said!
Just two months old, Moni V's (#7, 5901 Wyoming, Suite Y, 856-4043) boutique clothing store sells flirty and sophisticated high-end threads (think Betsy Johnson and Nanette Lepore). The super-friendly staff even offers onsite tailoring.
Out of the Blue (#8, 8001 Wyoming NE, Suite C-3, 822-5060) is Albuquerque's only independent toy store. When I asked for a business card, the lady behind the counter exclaimed, "Card? We don't have those! How about a sticker?" That's my kind of store.
When only the priciest clothes will do, it's got to be Diamond Tags (#9, 8001 Wyoming NE, Suite C-5, 856-5688) for designer sunglasses and denim, plus the only line of Lacoste you'll find in the city.
Pamper your partner with a few hours at Mark Pardo Salon and Spa (#10, 8001 Wyoming NE, Suite D-1, 856-7700). The menu of spa services is extensive and well worth the money.
"Curios, playful and intelligent" are four words that ScoJo's Gifts, Cards and Books (#11, 8001 Wyoming NE, Suite D-3, 828-0360) live by. Think of Beeps in Nob Hill, only four times as big.
Lilly Barrack (#13, 8001 Wyoming NE, Suite D-6,822-8401) sells stunning contemporary jewelry and home accents, much of which is made right here in town. Keep your eyes peeled for some killer deals.