2005 Readers Poll
2005 Critics Picks
A Truly Moving Experience

It was with great trepidation that we approached the moving of a household cross-country ... and unloading the 27-foot truck ourselves? Not a chance. So we hired Adams to send a couple of guys over to do it for us. Due to a scheduling snafu, the movers were not there when we expected them, and the owner of the company (who handles all arrangements himself) was deeply apologetic. OK. Sh*t happens, so we rescheduled for the next day. They arrived promptly, did a great job very pleasantly in 100-degree temperatures, and even moved a number of pieces to a different location for us. They couldn't have been more accommodating. We paid them and tipped them well. A week later, there's a knock on the door, and a man introduces himself as the owner of the company, hands over an enormous bouquet of flowers, and humbly apologizes for having delayed us for 24 hours. Wow. Talk about service beyond the call of duty! We were moved ... very moved, as a matter of fact. It's almost unheard-of customer service these days, and Adams Furniture Moving is truly among the best in Austin.

Adams Furniture Moving
2304 Webberville

Best Ally in the Fight Against Total System Failure

Its guts splayed open on the operating table – stories, pictures, music, and movies – flashing before our eyes in an ominous frozen blue screen of death. Enter the techno-surgeons of Logic Approach. They brought said PC back from its walk into the light, recovered the data, told us how not to let it happen again – all without making fun of us for not backing up (like we know we're supposed to) and keeping the verbal geekspeak in check. Their bedside manners are impeccable. They stand by their work. They make you want to buy them a six-pack for making it so easy. The real boon in the end? Low, low prices. Bargain electro-saviors for the urban (frugal) savers.

Logic Approach
2500 S. Lamar

Best Auto Body Repair

Opened by Bob Flynn in 1954 (and now run by his son Ryan since '95), this small garage and tight-knit family of honest employees has a reason to have pride in their work. "Folks keep running into each other to get in here," manager Stan Templeton says. They work on all cars bruised by collisions – from those bought off Craigslist to the classic Mustang to your flashy luxury car. Average repairs take 3-5 days, but these guys also pride themselves on not keeping the customer waiting.

Austin Body Works
1310 E. Sixth

Best Blow Dry

Maris Stella and her crew of professionals bend over backward to make sure you like the style ... but more importantly, that the style likes you. Sage isn't a salon that tries to be all things to all people; they just care about hair and do it magnificently. They are blow-dry specialists who know how to make a blow-dryer practically behave as a curling iron or a straightening iron. They carry the fabulous Lenore Greyl hair products, as well as the wonderful Davines collection. Book your appointment today for the Sage solution for unruly hair.

Sage Salon
4111 Medical Pkwy.

Best Boutique Design Firm

Chemset doesn't sell chloroacetic acid, but they did design the print materials for the opening of Austin's City Hall. These bronze inlaid invitations were a joy to see and feel. This group of young UT design grads boasts a client list including Arthouse, Austin Museum of Art, and Artl!es. They can not sell bromnaphtalene, but they are happy to design new print campaigns and Web sites for you and, yes, even for your chemistry prof.

Chemistry Set
720 S. Lamar

Best Childbirth Class

Run by doulas Lanell Coultas and Marcela Billig, Conscious Birthing blends the Bradley and Birthing From Within techniques to create an informative and emotionally aware entrée into the world of labor, delivery, and beyond. The series of six classes is an earthy marriage of the cold, hard, technicolor facts of birthin' babies along with a touchy-feely, "get in touch with your feelings, you hollow reed" approach, plus some fairly imaginative pain-coping techniques. The overarching lesson of the class? Birth is a wonderful thing, but it can throw you some curveballs; Conscious Birthing equips expectant parents to handle Ma Nature’s surprises.

Conscious Birthing
610 Cardinal Ln.

Best Floral Designer

You won't find her in any of the florist shops around town, but Shirley Watson's vivid streak of creativity makes her one of the most sought-after designers in town. Her inspired creations for last year's Austin Music Awards featured psychedelic touches of lava lamps and black-light posters amid big bright blooms. Imagine what she can dream up for a wedding ...

Flowers by Design

Best Healthcare Professional

As clinical nurse specialist at Austin Gastroenterology, which handles a variety of gastrointestinal diseases, Carol Mitchell is a dream. A 12-year resident in town, Mitchell received her master's in nursing from UT and is a member of the Society of Gastroenterology Nurses and Associates. Her warm manner and friendly demeanor underscore her dedication to hepatology and treatment of hepatitis C patients, as well as those with a other digestive diseases, from every walk of life.

Austin Gastroenterology
1111 W. 34th #200

John Carrico

Best Home Pet Grooming

The affable Barbette Ellis, whose Exmoor Pet Care Services has cared for local pets over the last 20-plus years, stumbled across this oddly brilliant business model. "We set up the mobile grooming van to help the pets of seniors at assisted living centers, because they couldn't come to us," she says. "Soon we were being requested in various places around town." The "van" has enough room for two groomers and their "clients", its own generator, portapotty, and water supply, and is well marked, so your neighbors will all know you're only giving your cat a haircut, not being watched by the CIA. Cost varies per animal, per location. or 899-8989

Best Low-Income Medical Assistance

With the ER being an often staggeringly expensive and more often overcrowded source of primary medical care, Project Access, a program offered by the Travis County Medical Society Foundation, provides qualified, uninsured applicants with a network of service-providers who can offer desperately needed medical assistance and prescription help. Caring and attentive, these folks may help you out of a medical crisis ... or help keep you from getting into one.

Project Access
PO Box 4679

Best Mammogram Technician

We've gotta take our hats off to someone who can turn an anxiety-freighted, not-all-that-pleasant – if necessary – medical screening into an experience that's, well, not so unsettling or scary. Takes a special kind of person to pull this off.

Austin Radiological Association
1301 W. 38th

Best New Outpost in the Fight Against Animal Euthanasia

Hey, Austin! We're killing more than 10,000 animals a year at Town Lake Animal Center. You know why? Because a whole lot of y'all don't spay and neuter your animals. Bad, bad pet owners! No treat! And now, there's one less excuse not to snip your fluffy friends: The cheap spay/neuter clinic EmanciPet just opened on Airport Boulevard. The clinic will help relieve the backlog at Animal Trustees of Austin on Cameron Road, where the wait for a low-cost surgery is often months long. In addition to the permanent facility, EmanciPet will continue to operate its mobile clinic, and will even transport patients to its clinic in an Emanci-Shuttle. Any animal lover should be as thrilled by that news as a Pomeranian in a peanut butter factory, or a yellow lab investigating something really, really stinky.

1030 Norwood Park Blvd. #316, 512/587-7729
15803 Windermere Dr. #420, Pflugerville, 512/587-7729
7201 Levander Loop, Bldgs. I & K, 512/587-7729

John Carrico

Best Place to Clean Your Bones… and Your Ride

Driving down East 11th Street, you may pass the three car ports sitting quietly on the side. Don't. Pull on into Car Nu, and you'll be greeted by two or three of the most pleasant elderly gentlemen you'll ever meet. And they will stop what they're doing, which, more than likely, is playing dominoes, and proceed to clean the living bejesus out of your ride. Basic inside-outside? Only $15! For a little extra, they'll wax it, detail it, whatever you fancy! And, while you wait, feel free to set yourself down to play some bones (which, by the by, are cleaned regularly, too!) And don't fret, domino novice, the experts are happy to give advice.

Car-Nu Car Wash
1201 E. 11th

Best Place to Make Lines and Wrinkles Disappear

Vickmay is a medical day spa, so with her potions and lotions and magical treatments, she offers complete skin and body care. Whether you're choosing topical treatments like the new Prevage series by Botox, or deeper treatments like Restalyn, Vickmay has it all. From cleansing facials, therapeutic body-wraps, and relaxing massage to romantic packages for you and your significant other, Vickmay Skin & Body is a great place to get away to ... without having to go too far.

Vickmay Skincare & Spa
1715 W. 35th

Best Place to Realize Your Visions

Holland Photo Imaging does one thing and does it well. This photo lab is equipped with the finest in modern image processing. Your negatives never looked better and neither did your prints. Holland uses the highest quality in archival materials available, and the trained technicians are schooled in color correction, the results of which are exquisite prints. They'll also show you how to calibrate your monitor for precise digital reproductions, and their extensive Web site even offers services like hosting for photographers to present proofs and sell images online. If high-end quality fine art precision is your goal, get to Holland.

Holland Photo Imaging
2125 Goodrich

Best Spanish Conversation Hours

This homey, ramshackle house on Gunter street, Casa Marianella, is the warm and familylike shelter for homeless Central American men. Stop by for free Spanish Conversation hours with the residents, sign up to teach a little ESL (no experience necessary), or cook a big pot of beans on the Volunteer Dinner night. This is the "soft spot" on what is often a long, hard road. Posada Esperanza, a mile east, is a transitional house - complete with chicken coop and swing-set - for the moms and kids who come along, or make the journey by themselves.

Casa Marianella
821 Gunter

Posada Esperanza

John Carrico

John Carrico

Best Swanky Convenience

Not all gas station convenience stores are created equal. Indeed, the Lake Austin Boulevard Chevron, aka Le Chevron, is one of the best run and - dare we say it? - swankiest convenience store/gas stations in town. It is run by a friendly contingent of dedicated employees and has a superwide selection of goodies: from food stuffs to bottled water, from sport drinks to magazines add an amazingly diverse selection of wine that rivals the city's best-stocked liquor stores.

Lake Austin Chevron
2402 Lake Austin Blvd.

Best Ticket to Ride

With the new Day Pass, Capital Metro's passengers can board the city's buses an unlimited number of times during a 24-hour period for only $1 ($2 for express service). The card eliminates the messy business of transfers and time limits. The transit authority also offers other discount packages that can reduce the 50-cent local fares further.

Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority
2910 E. Fifth

Best Way to Get Clarity

We hate to harsh on you, but better us than your mother: Your windows are dirty. Sure, you could spend the better part of a couple weekends washing them inside and out, scrubbing the screens, and vacuuming the interior tracks. Or you could call Texas Window Cleaning and let them do it all, real fast and friendly-like. Think what you would do with the time you saved. Maybe you could do something else that would make Mom happy, like alphabetize your spices.

Texas Window Cleaning
12003 Acorn Creek Trail

Best Way to Get In On the Ground Floor

You just bought a new place, and there are seemingly miles of "that" flooring. You could live with it if it were just stripped, waxed, and polished, but oh, the work. Trey DeAtley, of DeAtley Tile & Stone, to the rescue. It's hard to find people more serious about what they do than DeAtley, and he does it all — tile, stone, vinyl, terrazzo, granite, etc.

DeAtley Tile & Stone

Friendliest Barrista

Chances are if you've been to Flipnotics Coffeespace more than once, barrista extraordinaire Andrew Linares will know your name. He's one of those rare individuals who make you feel as if you are the most important person in Austin. When he's not busy making Moonquake Shakes, a Chewbacca Chicken Salad, or any of the other yummy treats on Flip's menu, he's probably busy rockin' out with his band. Now don't get us wrong, we appreciate all of Austin's hard-working and friendly barrista community. But instead of serving it, this year Andrew takes the cake.

Happiest Home Hazmat Handlers

Got something toxic in your life? Flammable, corrosive, poisonous, or reactive? Then Travis County wants to tell you where to stick it – their Household Hazardous Waste Facility. Don’t dump paint down the sink or chuck that old carton of Miracle Grow in the trash; might as well drink it, because it’ll just end up in our water supply. Instead, the drive-up hazmat facility in South Austin is eager to rid you of that spare edger fuel, mercury thermometer, or rusty can of lacquer. It’s quick, convenient, friendly, and could mean another human generation born without gills or a third eye.

2514 Business Center Dr.,

John Carrico

Mightiest Dogs on Earth

Attracting more than 5,000 participants annually, THSD's Mighty Texas Dog Walk has been listed in the Guinness Book of World Records several times for being the largest dog-walk on earth. The nonprofit THSD adopts dogs from animal shelters and trains them as working partners for Texans living with disabilities — free of charge. Hearing Dogs are trained to alert their deaf owners by touch and lead them to everyday sounds, such as a door knock, smoke alarm, or telephone. Service Dogs assist individuals with physical disabilities by opening doors, fetching wheelchairs, retrieving dropped items, operating light switches, moving paralyzed limbs, and getting help. To the tune of $17,500 each. Talk about a labor of love! THSD founder and President Sheri Soltes is another one of the best things about Austin ... and she could use your help.

Texas Hearing & Service Dogs
4803 Rutherglen

Quickest Way to Warm up a Business Relationship

No telling how many a working stiff’s day has been lit up by Tiff’s Treats, but we’re willing to bet, well, quite a few. Founded in 1999 by two enterprising UT students, Tiff’s has a narrow but humanitarian mission: to spread freshly baked cookies and accoutrements (Blue Bell ice cream, milk, espresso shots) throughout the land (or central Austin, at any rate). Tiff’s offers nine kinds of cookies, baked to order, along with brownies, cheesecake, and add-ons like balloons and personalized gift cards. Pick ’em up, order in for yourself, or have them delivered to someone you love very, very much. Warm cookies make the world go round.

Tiff's Treats
1806 Nueces, 512/473-2600
11011 Research, 512/349-2200
3201 Bee Caves Rd., 512/519-3300
117 Louis Henna Blvd. #130, Round Rock, 512/808-4300
4301 W. William Cannon #210, 512/687-6800
1235 E. 51st, 512/813-7100
4701-B Highway 183-A, Cedar Park, 512/975-7170
5145 FM 620 N., 512/817-4500

John Carrico

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