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Introduction

The More Things Change...

City Paper's 2008 Best of Baltimore

®™&©The Subgenius Foundation. Prabob.

Posted 9/17/2008

The last 12 months have been pretty good for Baltimore. Murders are down, the city is becoming known for things besides heroin and syphilis, the shopping and restaurant options seem to be growing exponentially, and, hell, even the Orioles didn't suck as much as usual. And you, kind readers, seem pretty excited about all this, at least judging by the record number of Readers Poll ballots we received. And we're not even including the ballot stuffers--you know who you are.

After looking over the scads of ballots, we've learned a lot about what you like and don't like about the city. You're loyal--Falkenhan's Hardware's winning streak is a testament to that. We found out that you can be quite conflicted--Mayor Sheila Dixon won five categories, including Best Politician (Job Performance) and Best Politician in Need of a Slap Upside the Head, and crime is both the Best Reason to Leave Here and the Local Issue We're Sick Of. We also found that, even with rising costs, you think Baltimore is a relatively cheap place to live. And we couldn't help noticing some new contenders for top spots, whether it was Red Tree almost but not quite nudging out Su Casa for Best Local Furniture Store, or some new answers to Best Reason to Live Here. "Because people will think you're tough," cocked our eyebrows, but we were excited to see so many people giving shout- outs to our arts and culture scene and pointing to the city's potential as a reason to call it home.

Of course, we didn't just get your opinions. We also weighed in with a few--or a couple hundred--of our own, naming our favorite places to drink and eat, shop and explore. We let you know what we watch and listen to. And in the end, we're just like you. We're loyal--why, hello, again Andy Nelson's Barbecue--but we're also trying new things: Nice to meet you, Woodberry Kitchen, Clementine, and Baltimore Pho. And we have conflicted feelings about the mayor, and we're excited about the art and music being produced in this city.

Still, there are some things that frustrate us or make us downright angry--see just about the whole News & Media section. Speaking of which, in the interest of keeping with the theme of embracing the new without losing the old, we've switched up the Best of Baltimore issue, adding two new categories, the aforementioned News & Media and Nightlife. We think they're going to fit right in here because if there are two things Baltimoreans like to do, it's drink and bitch about what's going on in the city. It's just for this Best Of we'll be toasting to a bit less to complain about than usual.

City Paper's 2008 Best of Baltimore issue was written by Rebecca Alvania, Jeffrey Anderson, Raven Baker, John Barry, Shelly Blake-Plock, Christina Bumba, Michael Byrne, Charles Cohen, Anna Ditkoff, Edward Ericson Jr., R. Darryl Foxworth, Lee Gardner, Michelle Gienow, Violet Glaze, Jess Harvell, Katherine Hill, Tim Hill, Geoffrey Himes, Anny Hoge, Henry Hong, Anne Howard, Jaye Hunnie, Martin L. Johnson, Heather Joslyn, Daniel Krall, Chris Landers, Joe MacLeod, Amanda Magnus, Bret McCabe, David Morley, Audrey Murray, Christopher Myers, Tamara Neff, Kate Noonan, Molly O'Donnell, Summer Patton, Ruth Reader, Al Shipley, Christopher Skokna, Van Smith, Erin Sullivan, Joe Tropea, Wendy Ward, Josephine Yun, Claire Zachik, and Mary K. Zajac. Research assistants Cindy Chen, Lianna Kissinger-Virizlay, and Stephanie Thornton checked the facts and wrangled the Readers Poll along with interns Aleka Farha, Justin Jones, Mindy Mora, Amanda Schmidt, Alex Walsh, and Chris Worthington. Cover graven image of BOB is rT&c the SubGenius Foundation. prabob. Illustration and photography by Joeff Davis, John Ellsberry, Alex Fine, Frank Hamilton, Jess Harvell, Tim Hill, Sam Holden, Frank Klein, Uli Loskot, Christopher Myers, Michael Northrup, Rarah, Jefferson Jackson Steele, and the City Paper Digi-CamT.

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