We're excited about this city. That's why we live here and that's why we do this publication. Sure, we're snide, sometimes nasty and angry as hell at those we see trying to hurt our city. But that's because we love it.
But at this time of year, in the Best Of Austin issue, we celebrate that city (okay, so we take some shots too... ). Ideally, rather than a rating, this should be a guide to Austin, not as an abstract, but as the city we really live and work in. It's stating the obvious to note that this is not complete, though it is the result of a lot of people thinking about Austin's notable qualities. Deliberately, we avoided many of the categories from last year, which meant certain clear "Bests" aren't here. There are so many in this city. This is a survey, a celebration of some of the people, places, businesses, foods, ideas, and institutions that make Austin what it is.
The first two years the Chronicle published our Best Ofs, we ran ballots and then tabulated the readers' votes. Unlike the restaurant and music polls, we didn't simply list the results, we annotated them. So we used the readers' choices as a guide, and in some categories we disagreed and offered another choice or supplemented the readers' choice. But we were never satisfied with the performance; since we were annotating the items, thus taking responsibility for them, we felt we really should bear the responsibility of choosing them as well.
This year, the Best Of Austin issue was developed and authored by our staff and contributors, after we actively solicited nominations from our readers. We asked the extended editorial staff to think, really think, about Bests. We put up a large marker board and began to write on it suggested categories and choices. We met many times, going over the whole list, adding and changing, a small army of writers and editors, under the skillful leadership of Jennifer Scoville, who helped organize this complex effort. This year, we let our eyes and mind drift around town, remembering what we love and why. Here are our thoughts. As always, we welcome your ideas.Poll Poobah: Jennifer Scoville.
Contributors: Leeann Atherton, Roseana Auten, Nick Barbaro, Marjorie Baumgarten, Louis Black, Robert Bryce, Chris Burton, Hollis Chacona, Coach, Jason Cohen, Ben Davis, Hugh Forrest, Dan Hardick, Steve Kester, Lindsey Lane, Rebecca Levy, Ken Lieck, Kathleen Maher, Gerald E. McLeod, S. Emerson Moffat, Margaret Moser, Rob Patterson, Carolyn Phillips, Jackie Potts, Abel Salas, Michael Schwarz, Jennifer Scoville, Annette Shelton, Daryl Slusher, Spike, R.U. Steinberg, Blake Thompson, Jay Trachtenberg, Robb Walsh, Chris Walters, Julie Weaver, Alice Wightman, Ric Williams, Marion Winik.