Our annual food poll is intended to do two important things: Guide readers to the finest food establishments in the city and reward restaurateurs for all their hard work keeping our tummies happy.
Sometimes there are categories in which the poll results don't correlate very closely with the conventional wisdom of the extended circle of foodies we know and trust. But what can you do? As we say, popularity doesn't always indicate quality (remember New Kids on the Block? President Bush's approval ratings last year?).
We ask for the people's opinions and we are bound to convey them. From time to time it has been disheartening or frustrating but we've always valued the results as a snapshot of the city's eating habits.
This year, however, we were pleasantly surprised to find that most of the restaurants that were winning were places we loved, too. Where were the votes for Olive Garden in the Best Italian category? What, nobody thinks Wendy's has the best burger anymore? Either we've shamed you into submission with our anti-chain diatribes, or Albuquerque is becoming a very sophisticated food city. Maybe we should be ashamed that we even found votes for restaurants we'd never heard of.
So we are more proud than ever before to present you with this compendium of restaurant recommendations, from humble chili dog huts and great mom 'n' pop places to fine-dining establishments with fantastic wine lists and fancy food joints we wish we could afford more often. The readers have spoken and we love what they've said!
Also, we want to send out special congratulations to Rebecca Loring, Miss Tenacity, James Padilla, Leanne Yanabu, Angela Anderson, Lynne Flores, Noreen Gurule, Jeremiah Wood, Rachel Rodgers and Joel Espinoza, 10 of the many, many readers who submitted their votes online. These well-fed readers will all receive Alibi T-shirts as an expression of our gratitude.
This was the first year that we had more ballots submitted online than by mail and we can't even begin to tell you how happy Alibi receptionists Samantha and Martin were to have their data entry duties kept to a minimum. So remember for next year, keep Samantha and Martin happy! Win T-shirts! Vote online!