You gotta realize that I'm partial to the North Valley, having vowed long ago never to go east of San Mateo. I'm so proud of the fighting spirit of Sawmill Advisory Council and later the Sawmill Land Trust that I'm beaming at their success. Also, the folks at the Rio Grande Community Farms who are trying to introduce urban kids to traditional valley agriculture on the old Anderson Fields are pretty cool, too. Common Cause, PIRG and the American Cancer Society are friends in the legislative arena.
Best Local Heros
I'm currently in love with the Albuquerque and Los Ranchos Fire Departments which last summer saved homes in Dietz Farms and Thomas Village, as well as literally rescuing Bosque Prep School through sheer ingenuity and guts.
Best Day Trip
There are so many great field trips here in town–the photography exhibit at the Albuquerque Museum; a stroll through the Bosque near the Rio Grande Nature Center (check out the new Wildlife Rescue facility); Explora, Explora, Explora, and then, if you must get out of town: A Harley ride to Los Ojos in Jemez Springs.
Best Spa & Massage
Betty's Bath and Day Spa, Jemez Springs Bathhouse.
Best Grocery Store
John Brooks at 12th and Candelaria; La Montanita Co-op.
The new Q bar in the Sheraton Old Town.
Best Movie Theatre
Madstone, Century Downtown.
Best Thrift Store
I usually frequent the Santa Fe thrifts, but I have a senior citizens discount card at the Westside Goodwill, a current favorite.
Best Local Bookstore
Best Live Theatre/ Performance Space
Tricklock. I'm a fan of Sabotage in its various incarnations.
Best Restaurant for Lunch
Flying Star on Rio Grande, Las Mananitas patio, Dos Hermanos on Fourth (love the calabacitas), Church Street Café, La Crepe Michel.
Best Place to Eat to Live Music
Have you been to the North Valley Senior Center recently? Country-Western, songs from the Sunbeams, dance troops are regular fare at noon.
Best Public Sculpture
The mosaic tower at Fourth and Montaño. It makes a horrible intersection somewhat interesting.