The Best of Denver 2011 had just hit the streets, so I hit a handy liquor store on my way to a haircut appointment yesterday. The owner met me at the register. "Mondo Vino!" he said. Oops. Mondo Vino had just been named the Best Wine Shop; I was at Wines Off Wynkoop, one of my favorites and a previous Best of Denver winner. But not this year.
My haircut was not at the best salon, either (but then, we retired that category a long time ago -- we just don't have enough hair to test them all). And tonight, when the Westword staff gathers to blow off steam at our Best of Denver party, we'll be at a great bar that did not win any awards in the Best of Denver 2011. (I imagine that owner might want to blow some steam my direction, too... and when carpers suggest that only advertisers win awards, I'll point them in this bar's direction.)
Every year, a team of Westword writers and contributors pour out their ideas for the Best of Denver -- ideas for new categories they'd like to explore, old categories that need to be changed up, ideas for awards that are so well-deserved, they simply must be given. And every year, the result is a hefty issue filled with hundreds (500, this year) of people, places and things we love about life here in metro Denver. Not everything we love about Denver -- you'd have to go back through the previous 27 issues to find all of that (I can't write about my obsession with Confluence Park every year, and while the food writers' picks usually trump my favorite Mexican restaurants and watering holes, I occasionally get to sneak a few in) -- but more than enough to keep you busy until the next Best of Denver rolls around.
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More from our Calhoun: Wake-Up Call archive: "Rocky Mountain Seed Company uprooted: Denver landmark sells off history."