Alibi V.18 No.14 • April 2-8, 2009 

BOB: Eats and Drinks

Best Casual Restaurant Service

Flying Star Café
multiple locations •

Best Butcher or Meat Counter: Keller’s Farm Stores
Best Butcher or Meat Counter: Keller’s Farm Stores
Eric Williams

When you're in the mood for a casual, food-based affair—you know, just a bowl of soup, an iced mocha latte or a big muffin—you head straight to one of the many (and still growing) locations of Flying Star. Who needs table service and linen napkins when you've got gooey, creamy mac and cheese?

2) Frontier, 3) Il Vicino

Best Fine Dining Restaurant Service

Artichoke Café
424 Central SE • 243-0200 •

It started in 1989. Terry and Pat Keene had a daffy affection for a building on a not-so-fabulous stretch of Central and a guiding philosophy: "Treat each guest like a visitor in our own home." Twenty years later, the Artichoke is a seed from which fine dining has bloomed through the neighborhood, the city and the region. A lot's changed for the Keenes. But their philosophy hasn’t.

2)Scalo Northern Italian Grill, 3) Seasons Rotisserie & Grill

Best Produce Selection

Sunflower Farmers Market
Eastside: 5112 Lomas NE • 268-5127
Westside: 10701 Corrales NW, Suite 2 • 890-7900

If you want your raspberries ripe and your strawberries sweet, Burqueños say the place to go is newcomer Sunflower. Load up your basket in between trips to the growers' markets.

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

Best Butcher or Meat Counter

Keller's Farm Stores
Eastside: 2912 Eubank NE • 294-1427
Westside: 6200 Coors NW, # H • 898-6121

Every supermarket has a meat counter, but not every meat counter has a true butcher. These days, most places get their cuts at least partly fabricated elsewhere; the counter is for final packaging and presentation. Why? Because butchery is an old-school art that requires stamina, skill and knowledge, and a lifetime to acquire them. It takes time to do meat right. And that's the way Keller's likes it.

2) Whole Foods Market, 3) Sunflower Farmers Market

Best Bakery

ABC Cake Shop
1830 San Pedro NE • 255-5080 •

We salivate just thinking about the divine concoctions whipped up at Burque's favorite bakery. Decadent, towering and colorful cakes sit alongside dainty cupcakes topped with iced ladybugs and lions on this patisserie’s menu. ABC has has been doing sweet right since 1972. If you haven't yet, go learn your alphabet.

2) Flying Star Café, 3) Golden Crown Panadería

Best Specialty Grocery Store

Trader Joe's
8929 Holly NE • 796-0311 •

They built it. We came. Trader Joe's has had a hefty following in Burque ever since its sliding doors swooshed open. Looking for wine on a dime, frozen treats or nuts in bulk? Joe's your man.

2) Talin Market, 3) Sunflower Farmers Market

Best Regular Grocery Store

Tie: Smith's at Carlisle and Constitution, Sunflower Farmers Market at Lomas and San Pedro

We asked you to tell us not just your favorite brand of grocery store but your favorite location as well. The tied winners in this category share something in common: They stock the shelves with low-priced items. The question is, do you want to shop at Smith’s, where some of the best-priced fare in the city can be found? Or would you rather browse Sunflower’s isles, filled with many natural items that cost a little more than their non-organic counterparts? Alibi readers want to do both.

2) Trader Joe’s, 3) La Montañita Co-op

Best Local Wine Selection

Jubilation Wine & Spirits
3512 Lomas NE • 255-4404 •

When Jubilation Wine & Spirits opened at Carlisle and Lomas, nearby residents protested. They didn’t want a liquor store so close to their homes. Twenty some years later, you’ll probably run into those same people inside as they weigh Malbec versus Merlot. Jubilation is a neighborhood institution, and that neighborhood is all of Albuquerque. You said no other place has quite the range and depth of Jubilation’s wine offerings, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a staff as knowledgeable about vino. And, boy, have you done your research. Winos.

2) St. Clair Winery & Bistro, 3) Quarters

Best Local Brewery

Marble Brewery
111 Marble NW • 243-2793 •

This brick building in the Downtown industrial sector hasn't even been open a year, but who can imagine life without Marble? Not any of the patrons angling for chairs and quaffing pints of the tastiest beer in town. It's so good, you can find it on tap at most other decent bars, too. Plus, on a day with reasonable weather, Marble's porch is the best place to enjoy a night kicking back in Albuquerque.

2) Chama River Brewing Company, 3) Turtle Mountain Brewing Company

Best Catering

Garcia's Kitchen
multiple locations •

Garcia's Kitchen provides group eats the same way it serves individuals in its restaurants: the food's always delicious in taste and generous in portion. All-day breakfast, New Mexican entrées—with plenty of beans and rice on the side—and party burritos are reason enough to invite a whole mess of people somewhere, no other occasion necessary.

2) Blue Plate Special, 3) Tie: The Cooperage, Rudy’s “Country Store” and Bar-B-Q