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Oops! We Did It Again . . .

We had meetings. And more meetings. And mass e-mail exchanges to continue the discussions of tough categories. Finally, we had hundreds of Best Of entries written and edited and ready to go—and we shipped our annual (and largest-ever) Best of the Capital Region issue (July 22) off to the printer. And then we slept.

When we woke up the next day, we discovered what we discover nearly every year: that despite our best intentions to get it all exactly right, invariably, a handful of winners we had agreed upon somehow got lost in the shuffle and never made it into the issue. So here they are:

Food and Drink

Best Coffee Shop

Uncommon Grounds
1225 Western Ave., Albany
402 Broadway, Saratoga Springs

A repeat winner. We love the coffee, the specialty coffee drinks, the wide selection of fine teas, even the hot chocolate. We love the fact that there are more than a few brews on at any given time. We love the relaxed, hip ambience in both locations; in fact, we’d love to just hang out there and read and drink cafe au lait all afternoon, if only our jobs would allow. Speaking of which . . . we’d love to have an Uncommon Grounds across the street from our offices. Whacha think?

Best Suburban Coffee Shop

Perfect Blend
376 Delaware Ave., Delmar

As a rule, suburban café is an oxymoron, but the exception is Perfect Blend in Delmar. Along with the espresso, fancy pastries and a very light lunch menu, this shop is up-to-the-minute with power and wifi for your laptop. Most important, the place is kid-friendly, an ideal meeting spot for mothers desperate for some adult conversation over a cappuccino. Live entertainment on Saturdays, open mic on Sundays, back room with fireplace.

Best Wine Grotto

Antica Enoteca
200 Lark St., Albany

There’s nothing wrong with Albany. It’s a fine place. Many of us live here. That said, if you want to have a glass of wine in Albany and feel like you’re not actually in Albany, stop by Antica Enoteca on Lark Street. Step through the basement door, and you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to Europe. An amazing selection of wines, cheeses and desserts are served in an intimate brick-and-wood space. (Even though they’re going to expand, we’re betting it stays intimate.) And in the winter, there’s a cozy fire in the old brick fireplace.

Goods and Services

Best Bike Shop

Down Tube Cycle Shop
466 Madison Ave., Albany

We love the Down Tube. It’s the place to go when you need a bike, or anything else you might possibly need in regards to riding. There’s an excellent selection of bicycles and accompanying merchandise in stock, and if you don’t find what you’re looking for in the store, the super-friendly staff are more than willing to help you order what you need out of one of their catalogues. They have a full-service repair shop in which they’ll give your bike a complete spa treatment (your bike will be sure to thank you with its high-quality performance) or just a little tune-up here and there. You can even take classes right in the shop to learn how to care for your bike, change your tires, etc.

Arts and Entertainment

Best Solo Performer

Sean Rowe

Sean Rowe is a musical workhorse, to say the least. Not only does he hold down regular gigs in just about every corner of the region, but he also manages to find time for various one-shot affairs everywhere else. He’s a one-man band with a deep, soulful sound that manages to fill every corner of a room, so it’s no surprise that he’s in such high demand these days. Scan the crowd during the initial moments of his set, and you’ll probably see a host of surprised looks, all wondering how a guy like Rowe can create a sound typically associated with grizzled blues wailers and Motown legends. In a scene crowded with garage-rock hipsters and hardcore headbangers, Rowe provides a much-welcomed alternative.

Metroland welcomes typed, double-spaced letters (computer printouts OK), addressed to the editor. Or you may e-mail them to: Metroland reserves the right to edit letters for length; 300 words is the preferred maximum. You must include your name, address and day and evening telephone numbers. We will not publish letters that cannot be verified, nor those that are illegible, irresponsible or factually inaccurate.

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4th Floor, Albany, NY 12210
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