Alibi V.17 No.14 • April 3-9, 2008 

BOB: Eats and Drinks

Best Bakery

ABC Cake Shop

From ornate, multi-tiered wedding cakes that defy gravity to understated sugar cookies with pure white icing, our readers say satisfying their sweet-teeth is easy as ABC.

2) Flying Star Café, 3) Cake Fetish

Best Restaurant Service, Casual

Frontier Restaurant

The operative word here is "efficiency." Frontier Restaurant's service model is so squeaky-clean, they teach it at UNM's Anderson School of Management. Approach the blinking light and be fed, Burque.

2) Flying Star Café, 3) Il Vicino

Best Restaurant Service, Fine Dining

Artichoke Café

From start to finish, the crisp and accommodating staff at Artichoke Café (and its lustrous wine bar) makes every meal feel like a special occasion.

2) Antiquity Restaurant, 3) Seasons Rotisserie and Grill

Best Produce Selection

Sunflower Farmers Market

Since Sunflower sprouted another location at Lomas and San Mateo, even city dwellers can fill their carts with a rainbow of fresh fruits and veggies.

2) Whole Foods Market, 3) La Montañita Co-op

Best Butcher/Meat Counter

Keller's Farm Stores

Grass-fed, free-range, line-caught, local or organic—choose your adjective and Keller's starts cutting it from a menagerie of Noah's creatures.

2) Whole Foods Market, 3) Tie: Nelson's Meats, Sunflower Farmers Market

Best Specialty Grocery Store

Trader Joe's

At long last, our very own TJ's! Though not a local business, these quirky grocers sell quality products with challenging flavors on the cheap—with a money-back "We tried it! We liked it!" guarantee.

2) Talin Market, 3) Whole Foods Market

Best Outdoor Growers' Market

Albuquerque Downtown Market

Why shop at a corporate chain with strawberries flown in from Mexico when you can buy your food straight from the farmer who grew it? The Albuquerque area has plenty of topnotch growers' markets these days, with the Albuquerque Downtown Market voted the finest of them all.

2) Los Ranchos Growers' Market, 3) Corrales Growers' Market

Best Local Winery

Gruet Winery

As is intuited by the abundance of wine festivals across our state, New Mexico touts a host of great wineries--it makes the whole "drinking local" thing a breeze. Of those, Gruet nabbed top honors, perhaps because its wines possess that magic combination: exceptional quality at very reasonable prices.

2) St. Clair Winery, 3) Casa Rondeña Winery

Best Catering

Blue Plate Special

"We’ve rolled sushi in a meadow," Blue Plate Special LLC’s owners, Gwen and Scott Clapp, say on their business website. They've also "roasted pig at a winery, fried crab cakes in an Albuquerque alley ... and prepared dinner (for hundreds) in a garage." That can-do attitude won Blue Plate gold for Best Catering.

2) Garduños of Mexico, 3) Rudy's "Country Store" and Bar-B-Q