Alibi V.26 No.14 • April 6-12, 2017 

Best of Burque 2017

Service Station

service dog

Best Credit Union

Nusenda Credit Union

Despite giving a variety of different interpretations of “Nusenda” readers agree by a massive win, Nusenda is Burque's go-to credit union. Not only that, they have a five-star rating from BauerFinancial Inc. (which is the highest possible ranking), for 61 successional quarters. That's over 15 years! No matter if you call it “New Mexico Educator's Credit Union” or “Noose Enda,” y'all know where you should store your buckets of gold.

2) Sandia Area Federal Credit Union

3) Sandia Laboratory Federal Credit Union

Best Dance Studio

Baile! Baile! Dance Academy

This dance academy has a worldwide following after performing at multiple Summer Olympics, Carnegie Hall and countless venues across the country. And to think! We just give them a call when we want some professional dancers for our cousin's quinceanera. The local studio not only offers lessons in the ballet folklorico variety, they also offer salsa lessons, salsarobics and costume rentals.

2) Keshet Dance Company

3) Maple Street Dance Space

Best Spa

Betty’s Bath & Day Spa

The only stressful thing about this place is the last turn into the parking lot. From the moment you hop out of your lowrider (maybe more accurate for this crowd is Prius), you are surrounded by nature and kindness. After entering through the boutique, you can go relax in the hot tub, sauna or settle in the waiting area waiting for a massage angel to appear before you. Pro tip: It's okay to let out that moan, because the said angels understand how euphoric their touch really is.

2) Green Reed Spa

Best Massage Therapist

No Clear Winner

Unsurprisingly, the cup that is Albuquerque is overflowing with talent; you all just couldn't choose who the best massage therapist is! Massage therapists, keep it up; you're all winners here.

Best Grooming Salon (wax, nail, cosmetic)

The Vanity Wax

Don't be fooled—this place isn't run by a team of Swedish people following through on their family legacy of providing some of the best waxing, eyelash and eyebrow service in the world—it's one, lone, incredibly talented, professional and dedicated Burqueña named Amanda Salazar. You've probably heard of Salazar before as she's continually provided some of the best grooming services in Albuquerque for years and is revered by fellow local estheticians, stylists and brow fiends alike.

Best Hair Salon/Barbershop

Mark Pardo

Now featuring six locations in Albuquerque, Mark Pardo (aka Aveda) is naturally a Burqueño favorite. There's no need to stress in these salons—the stylists are excellent at communicating with clients but they also understand (and are capable!) of following through on what their client needs and wants, whether that's a cut and style, conditioning, texture and treatments, a bridal package, or more (a lot more).

2) Moxi Hair Studio

Best Tattoo Shop

Star Tattoo

A longtime local favorite, the artists here—past and present—consistently produce beautiful work (if you're into that kinda thing, and if not we bet they'd give you something gruesomely scary, too). In addition to just being excellent at what they do, the crew here is one of the most professional in town—they're not afraid to forcefully guide you away from a shitty idea into their world of knowledge, skill and artistry.

2) Tinta Cantina/All Is One

Best Piercing Parlor

Evolution Body Piercing

Albuquerque needs another tattoo like it needs another hole in its head. In other words: a whole lot. Our city loves tattoos and piercings in near equal measure, and the local choice for expert needling is Evolution. Albuquerque's only studio dedicated solely to the art of body piercing has been around since 1999, and it continues to give great hole.

Best Tattoo Artist

Johnny Mac Howell

Johnny Mac Howell is the busy owner and lead artist of the stylish True Grit Tattoos. He's known for his traditional Japanese tattoos and his “watercolor” style. He also leads the votes in this category by a wide margin, testifying to his both his skill and his longtime dedication to New Mexico's inking arts.

Best Burque-Centric Tattoo

Sabrina Archuleta’s tattoo

Best Hotel

Hotel Andaluz

Let's be honest: Most locals don't actually stay in local hotels. So, we can only assume that our readers like the following hotels for their—shall we say—amenities. The semi-recently remodeled Hotel Andaluz—with its Southwest-meets-Casbah vibe—certainly has amenities. You can eat in the fancy wine bar, MÁS Tapas y Vino. You can drink in the rooftop cocktail bar, Ibiza. And you can listen to local bands provide happy hour ambiance in the art-filled central lobby. We hear the beds are nice as well. But who really needs them?

2) Hotel Parq Central

3) Hotel Albuquerque

Best Funeral Home

French Funerals & Cremations

If you've gotta die—and we hate to break it to you: you do—then French Funerals is evidently not the worst place to end up. The company appears to have both compassion and a sense of humor, as its cheeky citywide billboards will attest. (“YODO” and “Carpe di End” were just a couple memorable slogans.) French has also hosted irreverent movie screenings (such as the 2011 film Bernie, about a questionable love affair between a mortician and an elderly widow) and a number of talks aimed at demystifying end-of-life discussions.

Best Grocery Store

Smith’s

Here's a category in which our readers can't seem to break free of the chains. Smith's—with its wide aisles, gleaming meat counters, brightly lit checkout stands and wallet-clogging reward cards—is our city's favorite place to stock up on Kraft Macaroni & Cheese and those tiny cans of Coke. Seriously, eat some vegetables once in a while, people.

2) Sprouts Farmers Market

3) Trader Joe’s

Best Ethnic/Specialty Food Store

Talin Market

There's really no contest here. The giant-sized juggernaut that is Talin Market rules, once again, in this category. In addition to the aisles and aisles of Chinese/Vietnamese/Thai/Japanese/Indian food, hungry foodies can also find non-Asian selections of the British/Italian/South American variety. And don't forget that Pop-Up Dumpling House on Fridays and Saturdays. It's just the thing to fill your belly and ensure that you don't fill your basket with too much.

Best Liquor Store

Jubilation Wine &Spirits

When it comes to booze, size does not matter. Tiny corner store Jubilation edged out boozy supermarket Total Wine & More. Though it can't quite match the warehouse-sized selection of Total Wine, Jubilation does a damnably good job of stocking obscure, fashionable and highly drinkable beers, wine and liquors. Plus, the staff puts its money where it mouth is and can always be relied on for a good recommendation.

2) Total Wine & More

3) Kelly Liquors

Best Medical Cannabis Dispensary

R. Greenleaf Organics

While recreational marijuana usage has yet to make it through our state's Legislature, there are plenty of folks out there using it for purely medicinal purposes. (Make sure you've got that card.) Not so surprisingly, this new category got a lot of votes, with our glaucoma-, PTSD- and arthritis-ridded readers preferring to get their natural theraputics (whether smokable or edible) through this category's very first winner, R. Greenleaf.

2) Ultra Health

3) The Verdes Foundation

Best Bowling Alley

Silva Lanes

Shuttered since 2015, Skidz Family Entertainment—formerly and better known as Leisure Bowl—is finally being torn down to make room for a bigger car dealership on Lomas. That leaves one fewer old-school bowling alley for us to throw a gutter ball in. Silva Lanes—formerly and more cleverly known as Eu-Can Bowl—markets itself as “home of the original Rock 'N' Bowl.” It is, evidently, the best place in town to engage in the four ancient bowling arts: bowling, beer, nachos and karaoke.

2) Skidmore’s Holiday Bowl

Best Yoga Center

Blissful Spirits Hot Yoga

Hey, if you're gonna practice yoga, it may as well be hot. That's what we're being told anyway. Between hot yoga, pilates caliente and something called “Hot Luminous Glow and Flow,” Blissful Spirits has something to get your heart chakra pumping. Like C+C Music Factory, these bendy mentors are “Gonna Make You Sweat.”

2) Sani Yoga

3) High Desert Yoga

Best Movie Theater

Guild Cinema/Flix Brewhouse

It's a tie between Albuquerque's oldest, independent movie theater and Albuquerque's newest addition. The Guild Cinema has been operating in Nob Hill since 1966. It currently screens Albuquerque's most diverse selection of independent and foreign films (not to mention Alibi's own Midnight Movie Madness lineup). Flix Brewhouse, on the other hand, opened on Albuquerque's Westside in November of last year. In addition to mainstream films and repertory classics, the innovative theater boasts a full menu (featuring burgers, pizza, chicken wings and salads) and a micro-brewery (with as many as 12 house-made beers). Who's in the mood for a movie?

2) Icon Cinema

Best Gym

Defined Fitness

Note that our winner is not “Ripped Fitness” or “Swole Fitness,” but “Defined Fitness.” It sounds like such a reasonable and achievable goal. With three locations citywide, Albuquerque's “premier weight lifting and exercise center” features over 90 classes per week at each location. Indoor cycling, aqua fitness, Zumba, tai chi: Name your poison. Defined Fitness has got you covered.

2) Sports & Wellness

3) eVOLV Strong/Planet Fitness

Best Casino

Sandia Resort & Casino

The votes rack up a resounding endorsement in this category for our neighbor to the north, Sandia. In addition to slot machines, blackjack, keno and all that jazz, Sandia boasts a scenic golf course, a fancy hotel, a luxurious spa, several classy restaurants and a whole bunch of awesome concerts. (Show of hands: Who's going to Train on May 17?) All of this undoubtedly contributes to Sandia's reputation as the best Casino in New Mexico.

2) Route 66 Casino Hotel

3) Santa Ana Star Casino