Thursday, April 15, 1999
Best Art Framing Store
663 Lighthouse Ave., Monterey, 373-0134
Frames on Broadway
815 Broadway Ave., Seaside, 394-9394
Just the sheer number of frame choices--more than 10,000--in the Searle store, and its sister store Frames on Broadway, gave Junior a splitting headache, trying to predict the most popular style in Monterey County. However, Weekly readers chose Searle as the best place for art framing. In almost any color of the rainbow, made of wood, metal or plastic, Searle frames work with every art style, from your preschool son''s fingerpainting to an original Picasso. Also excellent is the helpful Searle''s staff.
Best Art Supplies
680 Broadway Ave., Seaside, 394-9394 639 Lighthouse Ave., Monterey, 373-0126
Whether you are dabbling in neon watercolors, folding origami cranes, or molding Christmas ornaments out of Fimo clay, Searle has all the supplies you need. That''s why Weekly readers voted them the winner of best "store where even adults can find fun things, to play like kids" art supply store. For the serious professional artist, Searle carries high quality mat boards, canvases, brushes of every size, colored pencils and more. Even Junior, who lacks artistic talent but excels in prognostication, was able to fashion a homemade carrying case for his crystal ball from Searle''s supplies.
Best Bank--Business Best Bank--Personal Checking
Bank of America
Once again, Weekly readers have chosen Bank of America as the best bank for personal checking. This year, they voted it the best bank for business accounts as well. That''s because B of A offers services and products to suit everyone''s banking needs. B of A serves the county with locations in Monterey, Salinas and Pacific Grove. But you don''t have to leave your house to do your banking. B of A offers the latest in banking convenience, such as 24-hour banking over the phone and online banking.
Runner-up Business: First National Runner-up Personal Checking: Wells Fargo
Best Bank for Small Business Loans
First National Bank
307 Main St. and 1001 S. Main St., Salinas, 757-4900
26380 Carmel Rancho Ln., Carmel, 626-2900
495 Washington St., Monterey, 373-4900
695 Front St., Soledad, 678-2609
It came to Junior in a dream one night. "Purple plastic automatic battery-operated toenail clippers! It''s the wave of the future! It''ll sell like hotcakes!" Now all he needed was start-up capital. To locally managed First National Bank he rushed. First National specializes in small and medium-size business accounts and loans, and offers the resources--including Small Business Administration loans--for you to claim your piece of the American Dream pie. In fact, First National is one of the largest SBA lenders in the county. Head to First National first with that ingenious entrepreneurial idea of yours, and who knows? Maybe you, too, can become your own boss. "What exactly do you mean by ''business plan?''" inquires Junior.
Runner-up: Monterey Federal Credit Union, Monterey
Best Bike Service/Best Mountain Bike Store/Best Road Bike Store
486 Washington St., Monterey, 375-2144
With the recreation trail and scenic coastline to enjoy on a road bike, and the Fort Ord Public Lands bike trails to tear around on mountain bikes, it''s no wonder Monterey County is so psyched about bikes. Our readers say Aquarian Bicycles is the best at keeping them updated on the newest bikes, gear, clothes, and repair services. Everything from helmets to frames is available here. Tweaked a tire coming down the hill too fast? Junior predicts the friendly, knowledgeable staff can fix your flat.
Runner-up Best Service: Joselyn''s Bicycles, Monterey
Runner-up Best Mountain Bikes: Sports Center Bicycles, Seaside
Runner-up Best Road Bikes: Winning Wheels, Pacific Grove
Best Independent Bookstore
Thunderbird Bookshop and Caf
3600 The Barnyard, Carmel, 624-1803
Being an independent means going out on a limb, and Junior is well-known for that--have you seen some of his predictions for Bill Clinton''s occupation after 2000?! The staff at Thunderbird Bookshop also goes out on a limb, to help their loyal customers--many are Weekly readers who voted for them in this category--find thought-provoking and entertaining books. Many are published by small presses or are titles on obscure subjects you won''t find in the chain stores. Thunderbird also has a cafe with tasty soups and coffee, regular readings by local authors, and they''re online!
Runner-up: Bay Books, Monterey
Best Bookstore/Selection of Magazines/ Kids'' Bookstore
Borders Books, Music and Caf
2080 California Ave., Sand City, 899-6643
The winner in all three categories again, the chain bookstore has won the hearts and minds of Monterey County readers. Borders has more than just tomes of literature. Settle down in a big chair with a cup of joe from their cafe, flip through Wired magazine, enjoy a poetry reading in the background, while your kids tear through the very complete kids'' section. Just the size of the building allows for a wider display of books, and the tables of discount "remainder" books are some of the most popular in the store.
Runner-up Bookstore: Thunderbird, Carmel
Runner-up Kids'' Bookstore: Waldenbooks, Monterey and Salinas
Best Bottled Water Delivery
Big Sur Bottled Water Company
218875 Rosehart Way, Salinas, 372-3434, 758-3434
Being clairvoyant, Junior would never drink water straight from the tap. And buying bottled water from the grocery store can prove inconvenient and expensive. (Little brothers of famous prophets don''t make much these days.) So Junior opts to have five-gallon containers of crystal clear Big Sur Water delivered to his door every month. Big Sur''s water exceeds FDA requirements for quality, and is tested daily to ensure purity, safety and taste. BSBW offers pure, fluoridated, and mineral water, and a full line of gourmet coffees with free delivery. Junior says Big Sur products taste great, and those delivery guys are always dependable.
Best Camera Store
Green''s Camera World
472 Alvarado St., Monterey, 655-1840
213 Forest Ave., Pacific Grove, 373-3742
The scenery around Monterey County naturally invites shutterbugs of all talents to click away with their Nikons and Canons. Green''s is the favorite spot again for all things photographic, from lenses to film developing. The friendly staff enjoys suggesting new equipment and techniques, and there''s a full assortment of light meters, tripods and film to fuel your hobby.
Runner-up: Myrick Photographic, Monterey
Best Candy Store
Del Monte Center, Monterey, 373-4550
Northridge Shopping Center, Salinas, 449-4583
See''s candy has been around almost as long as chocolate itself, so it wasn''t difficult for Junior to predict its winning the best candy store award. Grandmothers and boyfriends all have ventured into the sweet-smelling confines of See''s and bought nuts, chews and English toffee. While other candy confectioners come and go, it seems you just can''t beat the original Mary See''s chocolatey, fruity morsels.
Runner-up: Pieces of Heaven, Carmel
Best Car Dealer
Heitzinger Plaza, Seaside, 394-6741
For more than 40 years, Butts has been slowly building up its reputation for reliable service and knowledge about cars...all kinds of cars. Butts new-car department has two lots--of imports Acura and Audi--and domestics--Cadillac, Pontiac and Jeep--plus a used-car lot for many other brands that have been traded in, described by a manager as "an inventory like Safeway''s parking lot." Weekly readers likely chose Butts as their favorite this year because of the variety of brands under one roof.
Runner-up: Victory Toyota, Seaside
Best Car Parts Store
Grand Auto Supply
1045 N. Main St., Salinas, 757-8006
1720 Fremont Blvd., Seaside, 394-1472
Whether the doohickey on his chariot is going whangety-whang or his windshield wiper-blades are going swish-smear, swish-smear, Junior knows--with nary a glance at the stars--that he can find replacement parts and good advice at Grand Auto. With locations in or near almost every hamlet throughout the land, Junior can pull in to Grand and get whatever it takes to get back on the road again.
Runner-up: Kragen, Marina, Salinas and Seaside
Best Car Stereo Store
Monterey Auto Stereo
512 Fremont St., Monterey, 373-2752
Junior wishes he could have had a high-end stereo for his oxcart back in the Middle Ages, especially for those interminable trips from village to village. No roads, no shock absorbers, no music! What a drag! As soon as Junior trades in his oxcart for this new SUV he has his eye on, he''s heading on over to Monterey Auto Stereo for a customized sound system. With its great selection of radios, tape and CD players, not to mention speakers, amps, equalizers and quality installation, MAS can''t be beat. In the meantime Junior is on the lookout for some invention to help clean up after the ox.
Runner-up: Kar Tunes, Seaside
Best Car Wash
El Estero Hand Car Wash
590 Fremont Blvd., Monterey, 373-1801
Say "dirty car," and visions of an efficient, rag-wielding crew and flashes of lightening spin in Junior''s head. But fear not: Junior''s cryptic vision is only predicting the shine reflecting from your vehicle after the guys at El Estero full-service car wash are done with it. Everyone already knows El Estero''s the place to take your soiled Suburban or dingy Datsun. As many ways as there are to dirty a car, El Estero has ways to make it clean and pretty again.
Runner-up: Del Rey Car Wash, Del Rey Oaks
Best Cellular Phone Deals
571 Franklin St., Monterey, 648-5040
1276 Main St., Salinas, 754-8888
Cellular One''s flat-rate California Plan must have given them the edge over GTE Wireless'' United State of America concept. Mike Ballard, manager for Cellular One''s Monterey store, says the $49.99/month California Plan, that gives callers 300 anytime minutes, anywhere in the state with no roaming or long-distance charges, is currently the most popular plan with his store''s 10,000 customers. Junior uses his California Plan to call Dad (Junior, Sr.) in Petaluma.
Runner-up: GTE Wireless, Salinas and Sand City
Best Coffee Beans
461 Alvarado St., Monterey, 373-8575
Del Monte Center, Monterey, 642-0736
Edgewater Shopping Center, Sand City, 394-1236
The giant that is Starbucks keeps rolling on, still a favorite among Monterey County''s java junkies for whole beans they can grind themselves. Now Junior wishes he had predicted the caffeine craze started by Starbucks (and bought stock), it''s evident that readers come in for Kona blend, chocolate raspberry-flavored, or the new light breakfast blends, among dozens of other beans.
Runner-up: Morgan''s, Monterey
Best Computer Service/ Best Computer Store
534 Abrego St., Monterey, 649-5900
Repairs and service are offered seven days a week. Loaner computers are available when work on your PC is going to take longer than 24 hours to fix. There''s a virtual parts warehouse with almost anything that may be needed to repair or upgrade your computer. (There''s even a story that the techs at PC People were able to computerize Junior''s astrolabe.) And if you''re looking for new computers, printers, networks, software or hardware, we predict it will be tough to beat PC People''s price and selection.
Runner-up, both categories: P.G. Computers, Pacific Grove
Best Crafts Supplies
2090 Fremont St., Monterey, 646-0346
He doesn''t like to admit it (it''s not very manly, you know), but Junior''s a crafty guy. And I don''t mean sly. When Junior is feeling creative, he heads for Crafts Unlimited, voted the best craft supply store by Weekly readers. At Crafts Unlimited, Junior can find everything he needs to make a unique holiday wreath or finish his needlepoint project. Junior also gets his paintings and posters framed at Crafts Unlimited, where the knowledgeable framing staff helps him pick out the perfect matting and frame.
Runner-up: Michael''s, Salinas
Best Department Store
100 Del Monte Center, Monterey, 372-3333
200 Northridge Shopping Center, Salinas, 443-1111
As other national department chains fold up and die, Macy''s keeps going and going and going. Like you-know-who. The pink guy. Maybe it''s their incredibly generous return policy, which allows you to take anything you want home, check it out for a while, and return it, with no questions asked. Or maybe it''s their Thanksgiving Day Parade. Looking far into the future, Junior sees all of America covered by one huge Macy''s, holding continuous White Flower Days sales until the end of time.
Runner-up: Mervyn''s, Monterey
Best Dive Shop
Bamboo Reef Enterprises
614 Lighthouse Ave., Monterey, 372-1685
Yo-ho, me hardies! Strap on a mask and plummet deep into the kelp beds with the folks from Bamboo Reef. Hey, don''t forget that tank! Bamboo Reef will suit you up, school you, certify you and take you on diving trips, from Catalina Island to Cozumel, and on to the South Pacific. Just walking past their window display is enough to get Junior''s scuba buds salivating. Open every day, with special early-morning hours on weekends for you dawn divers.
Runner-up: Aquarius Dive Shop, Monterey
Best Dry Cleaners
269 Bonifacio Place, Monterey, 372-6743
Whether you have a wedding gown or a leather jacket (or, presumably, even a leather wedding gown), family-owned, environmentally certified Rainbow Cleaners can take care of your sensitive cleaning needs. Offering one-day service and alterations, Rainbow has proven a favorite with Weekly readers since 1994.
Runner-up: Economy Discount Cleaners, Sand City
Best Ethnic Market
400 Pearl St., Monterey, 372-2524
When Junior is in the mood to make Pad Thai noodles or Kung Pao Chicken at home, he heads for Sunrise Grocery. Year after year, Weekly readers say Sunrise Grocery is the place to shop for Asian groceries. And, if Junior can''t muster up the energy to roll his own (sushi, that is), he opts for one of Sunrise''s scrumptious prepared dishes. Going strong at 80 years in the biz, you can find everything under the rising sun you need to prepare your favorite Asian dish, and it''s usually cheaper then you''d find elsewhere.
Runner-up: Mediterranean Market, Carmel
Swenson & Silacci
432 Alvarado St., Monterey, 375-2725
90 W. Alisal St., Salinas, 424-2725
If you''re looking for flowers that are a bit out of the ordinary, Swenson & Silacci is your best bet--or so say the Weekly readers yet again. This 50-year-old Monterey business is noted for its creative touches with exotic plants and native California foliage. The beautiful arrangements are made by talented floral designers, from the freshest blooms around, and available for every occasion.
Runner-up: P.G. Florist, Pacific Grove
Best Golf Store
399 Lighthouse Ave., Monterey, 372-5516
Being the biggest sometimes has its advantages. As the "world''s largest chain of professional golf shops," Nevada Bob''s is able to offer a full range of golfing equipment, clothing, accessories and repairs at a price that can''t be beat.
Runner-up: Pro Golf Discount, Monterey
Best Hardware Store
1067 N. Davis Rd., Salinas, 422-9652
800 Playa Ave., Sand City, 899-5144
All that soothsaying, quatrain-writing and prognosticating is fine as a day job, but it''s all brain work--Monday through Friday, 9-5, Junior never gets his fingers dirty. So, when it''s time to relax, he likes to get sweaty and let his hands do the talking. You know. Fixing the plumbing, building a fence, remodeling the kitchen. And he knows that the place to go to find all the tools and hardware he needs for his off-hours projects is Orchard Supply.
Runner-up: P.G. Hardware, Pacific Grove
Best Health Club
Monterey Sports Center
301 E. Franklin St., Monterey, 646-3700
This first-class facility is the pride of Monterey. The Sports Center offers a full-size gymnasium, a 25-yard indoor swimming pool, a six-meter therapeutic pool, weight and aerobic machines, an aerobics room, babysitting, and locker rooms with showers. What''s the greatest thing about the sports center? The price! For one low rate, families or roommates can join the center as a group for three or six months, or a year. But you don''t have to be a member to go. Daily rates are available for people who just want to drop in now and then.
Runner-up: Garden Health and Fitness, Monterey
Best Home Furnishings--Contemporary
299 Lighthouse Ave., Monterey, 649-3083
That new location on Lighthouse Avenue must be working. Weekly readers have voted Poppleton''s as their favorite place to shop for contemporary furnishings. And Junior agrees. The hand-me-down furniture from big brother was OK for wizard college ("Boy, Interpretive Seeing 301 was really obscure"), but now Junior has an image to uphold. Whether he needs a leather couch, a dining table or a bedroom suite to complete his bachelor pad, Junior heads down Lighthouse Avenue to Poppleton''s--their "uncommon style" is perfect for Junior.
Runner-up: Furniture Mart, Monterey and Salinas
Best Home Furnishings--Traditional
1740 N. Main St., Salinas, 442-7520
425 Pacific St., Monterey, 372-7766
Junior''s other favorite place to shop for home furnishings is Furniture Mart, especially when he''s in the market for a more traditional style, which, he predicts, will always be in fashion. Furniture Mart stores offer an array of distinctive, stylish home furnishing lines for every room in your home, such as Ralph Lauren, Lane, Flexsteel, Century and Bernhardt. They also carry beds by Simmons, Sealy and Serta. Junior especially likes their line of distressed pine armoires and bedroom suites finished with wrought-iron hardware. Reminds him of the wild days back in Old Mexico, drinkin'' tequila, chatting up the se¤oritas...but that''s a whole ''nother story.
Runner-up: Poppleton''s, Monterey
Best Home Flooring/Carpets
Carpets & Floors
471 Lighthouse Ave., Monterey, 372-2300
It''s no surprise that Weekly readers chose Carpets & Floors as Monterey County''s best place to buy home flooring. The comprehensive selection alone is deserving of recognition. Carpets & Floors has the right material for every floor in your home, including hardwoods, bamboo and vinyl, hand-knotted, Tibetan, custom and Karastan rugs, not to mention cork and rubber flooring. C&F also offers experienced craftsmen to properly install your new flooring, and an in-house interior designer to help shape a look for your home.
Runner-up: Carpet Caravan, Seaside
Best Jewelry Store
Mr. Z''s Jeweler
536 Northridge Shopping Center, Salinas, 442-2955
125 Ocean View Blvd. (in the American Tin Cannery), Pacific Grove, 646-1922
Gold and jewels. Timeless investments that hold their value regardless of the fluctuation in world money markets. Where to find them? Junior channels a voice from the past and hears echoes of "NObody. Nobody, nobody, nobody..." and knows, along with Weekly readers that Mr. Z''s is the place to shop.
Runner-up: Gasper''s Jewelry, Monterey
Best Local Internet Provider/ Best Local Website
Red Shift wins again! Nathan over at Red Shift says it''s the customer service that sets Red Shift apart from other providers and keeps his customers happy. Customer service phone representatives--and that''s real-life, living, breathing people--are on hand seven days a week to iron out ''Net surfing glitches. And, at $17.95/month for standard service, Red Shift is less expensive than many better-known national Internet providers.
Runner-up Provider: mbay.net
Best Men''s Clothing Store
458 Alvarado St., Monterey, 647-1100
300 Main St., Salinas, 424-0746
With his conical hat and flowing purple prognosticator robe, Junior knows a thing or two about stylish attire. But when it comes to knowing about the future of fashion, Junior often has a hard time predicting what will be in style, and what won''t. That''s why Junior relies on the folks at Dick Bruhn to help him stay on top of men''s fashions. Whether he''s looking for formal wear, a new business suit or a more sporting look, Junior knows that Bruhn is the place to go for timeless, yet stylish men''s clothing.
Runner-up: Khaki''s, Carmel
Best Musical Instruments (Peninsula)
425 Alvarado St., Monterey 372-5893
Very few people know that it was Junior who predicted the invention of rock ''n'' roll and the death of disco. Although the future of music remains a bit cloudy, Junior predicts that whatever the style or trend, Music Unlimited will be the place to shop. MU offers a great selection of electric guitars, amps, percussion and traditional instruments, PA systems, sheet music, and a vast array of musical accessories. MU''s professional staff also provides music lessons for aspiring musicians as well as an expert repair department.
Best Musical Instruments (Salinas)
Gadsby''s Music Co.
219 Monterey St., Salinas 424-6421.
Salinas Valley residents need head no further than Gadsby''s for a terrific selection of musical instruments and sheet music. For keyboard players in particular, Gadsby''s offers one of Monterey County''s best selection of keyboard instruments. Whether your musical tastes run to rock, jazz or classical, Gadsby''s is sure to have the instrument for you.
Best Neighborhood Market/Best Deli
Monte Vista Market
15 Soledad Dr., Monterey, 372-2075
When an earthquake left Monterey Peninsula residents without power a few years back, Joe at Monte Vista Market cooked up his thawing meat on the barbecue and fed locals whose own kitchens were incapacitated. It''s that kind of neighborly sensibility that keeps Monte Vista in business in an age of big boxes and mega-marts. That, and a delectable selection of imported meats and cheeses, choice beef cut to order, ready-to-cook meals, homemade pasta, and farm fresh produce. Besides, who in the heck delivers groceries anymore? Monte Vista Market does.
Runner-up Neighborhood Market: Grove Market, Pacific Grove
Runner-up Deli: Mediterranean Market, Carmel
Best Outdoor Gear Store
2222 N. Fremont St., Monterey 373-3615
With the millennium fast approaching, Junior''s been hard at work trying to predict how it will all play out come the turn of the cosmic wheel. Paradise or perdition? Unfortunately, the crystal ball remains a little cloudy on the subject, so, just in case the wheel turns the wrong way, Junior is heading on over to Outdoor World to stock up on everything from tents and sleeping bags, packs, stoves, lamps, clothing and boots, and even freeze-dried food. As Junior''s old drinking buddy Machiavelli used to say, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."
Runner-up: Big 5, Monterey and Salinas
Best Pet Supplies
2020 California Ave., Sand City, 392-0150
As Junior very well knows, back in the 15th century, about all an animal could count on in terms of a future was winding up in someone''s stew pot. Nowadays, animals are given the kind of love and respect they deserve, and nowhere more than at PetsMart. From felines to canines, fish to fowl, PetsMart has everything you or your pet could ever want or need. From dog grooming and training, to aquarium supplies, pet food, collars, leashes and toys, PetsMart has it all. You can even bring your pet into the store and let him or her pick out just what they want.
Runner-up: Posh Pets, Pacific Grove
Best Pharmacy/ Best Photo Developing
It doesn''t take much to predict that sometime, somewhere, somehow you''re going to get sick. The best advice Junior, and Weekly readers can give, is to head on over to Long''s to get your prescription filled. No matter what ails you, Junior predicts that Long''s friendly knowledgeable staff will have you feeling better so you can face the future, no matter what it may bring.
Runner-up Pharmacy: Ordway Pharmacy, Monterey
Runner-up Photo Developing: Costco, Sand City and Salinas
Best Patio/Garden Store
Carmel Rancho Shopping Center, Carmel, 624-8541
Spring is here again. Time to weed that garden, plant those flowers and spruce up the patio. Or, maybe it''s just time to relax on your lawn furniture and soak up some sunshine while languidly sipping raspberry iced tea. Either way, Weekly readers say that Brinton''s is the place to go for all your patio and garden goodies all year round.
Runner-up: Orchard Supply, Sand City and Salinas
Best Place to Buy Liquor
801 Tioga Ave., Sand City, 899-1255
1339 N. Davis Road, Salinas, 751-0366
Costco liquor prices are so low, we know some folks who pay the $40 annual membership fee ($35 for business owners) just to stock up on Stoli and Jack. Sand City''s assistant manager Jim McCrossin says that his store "beats everybody by about 20 percent," but individual price comparisons vary. Costco''s Sand City store usually stocks more than 100 varieties of premium wines (usually retailing for $10 or more), and tries to buy as many local wines as possible, McCrossin says. But it''s the hard liquor and liqueur prices that are really astounding. If you''re buying in bulk for a party, this is the place.
Runner-up: Trader Joe''s, Pacific Grove
Best Place to Buy Native Plants
1021 David Ave., Pacific Grove, 373-4495
9220 Carmel Valley Rd., Carmel Valley, 626-0680
"Hmmm. Where can I get some baccharis, armeria, ribes, artemisia, and vaccinium to plant in my garden?" pondered Junior one sunny spring afternoon. Well, Junior, if you follow the advice of Weekly readers, you''d follow your green thumb to Griggs Nursery. Griggs, located in P.G. and Carmel Valley, offers an array of plants native to the Monterey County area. At Griggs, you''ll also find a wide range of flowering shrubs and perennials, as well as a gift shop featuring house plants, orchids and cut flowers. Griggs supplies the plants, but can Junior keep them alive? Only the future will tell.
Runner-up: Drought Resistant Nursery, Monterey
Best Place To Buy Wines
1170 Forest Ave., Pacific Grove, 656-0180
Value is the reason why folks love to buy wine at Trader Joe''s, says store manager Dave Cleek. "We have a strong selection with prices that are extremely hard to beat," he says. Only second-place Costco comes close, he says. California wines make the strongest showing in Trader Joe''s always-changing selection, with French wines next, and then the up-and-coming Australians and Chileans. And prices are the same if you buy one bottle or two dozen--why penalize the guy who can only pay for a bottle at a time? Want a good white for under $10? Check out the Meridien Chardonnay for $7.49, he suggests. He''d turn you on to his favorite Bordeaux, "but I don''t have much left."
Runner-up: Costco, Sand City and Salinas
Best Place to Buy Office Supplies/ Home Office Furniture
1524 N. Main St., Salinas. 443-3686
850 Playa Ave., Sand City, 394-2582
Junior may come across as the eccentric, artsy type. But, in fact, he has a decent head for business sitting atop those narrow shoulders. And when Junior foresees a shortage of correction fluid, ink cartridges, or sticky notes, Office Depot is his one-stop shopping choice. While admittedly Junior gets a little dizzy in this "Costco for accountants," Weekly readers tell him its nevertheless the best place to shop for office supplies. "It''s 1999 and ''working out of your home'' is the hottest occupation," muses Junior. To get you in the mood to work, however, you''ll need something like an office. Locals also head straight to Office Depot for "moderately priced" filing cabinets, executive-style desks, chairs, lamps, and bookshelves.
Best Natural Food Store/ Best Produce Market
Del Monte Center, Monterey, 333-1600
It''s a big, beautiful store and the produce section can be downright impressive. Whole Foods, the nation''s largest natural foods retail chain, opened its Monterey store last June, and its crossover health food cum gourmet food store concept has hit the right chord with Weekly readers, even if it means premium prices. The produce section offers more than 200 varieties of fresh fruit and vegetables, organic and conventionally grown, with labels to let you know when you''re supporting local growers.
Runner-up Natural Food Store: Cornucopia, Carmel
Runner-up Produce Market: Del Monte Produce, Monterey
Wilson''s Plumbing and Heating
Monterey/Pacific Grove/Pebble Beach, 375-4591
Carmel/Carmel Valley/Carmel Highlands, 624-4591
Whether it''s an emergency or new construction, Wilson''s is the readers'' choice for the plumbers to call. A Monterey County fixture since 1941, Wilson''s offers flat-rate quotes for specific jobs (they don''t charge by the hour). And emergency service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Runner-up: Roto-Rooter, multiple locations
Best Selection of Tapes and CDs
The Crossroads, Carmel, 624-3832
402 Lighthouse Ave., Monterey, 649-3469
Del Monte Center, Monterey, 372-1236
1712 N. Main St., Salinas, 449-4320
Although Junior could never have predicted the perplexing success of The Backstreet Boys, he agrees with Weekly readers that the Wherehouse has the largest selection of CDs in the most musical genres, from jazz to rock to reggae. If you''re not ready to part with $15 for a new CD, try their used CD bins. And if you really can''t find that music you''re dying to hear, you can special order from thousands of other titles. Forget swing--Junior gazes into his crystal ball and predicts the next craze--a techno-polka hybrid. Yikes! Maybe he needs a new crystal...
Editor''s Pick: Do Re Mi
Best Seafood Market
598 Foam St., Monterey, 646-0547
100 Crossroads Blvd., Carmel, 626-3626
1136 S. Main St., Salinas, 422-2016
If you''re looking for fresh local seafood, Sea Harvest is the place to buy fresh fish or a seafood meal. Owned and operated by local fishermen, the Sea Harvest guys don''t settle for anything less than the cream of the crop hauled in from the bay. Enjoy table service in the restaurant, or take a fillet to cook at home. It''s the next best thing to catching it yourself, and not as messy.
Best Retirement Facility
651 Sinex Ave., Pacific Grove, 373-3111
Folks have been retiring to the Monterey Peninsula for decades, so it''s no small feat to be picked out of the bunch as our readers'' favorite place to, er, put their parents. Canterbury Woods, owned and operated by the Episcopal Homes Foundation, is one of just three Life Care Communities in the county. Residents pay an entrance fee, but in return, live in one of Canterbury Woods'' airy, well-appointed apartments for the rest of their lives. All medical care, social needs and meals are taken care of, even if a resident outlives his or her assets. Now that''s security.
Runner-up: The Park Lane, A Classic Residence by Hyatt, Monterey
Best Selection of Antiques
Cannery Row Antique Mall
471 Wave St., Monterey, 655-0264
Coming up on its fourth anniversary, the Cannery Row Antique Mall is a wonderful, visitor-friendly place to browse through two floors of great old stuff. More than 150 dealers rent space in the mall, offering a huge assortment of goods from another time: old radios, real wood furniture, second-hand books, fabulous jewelry, bottles and bric-a-brac of all kinds. In general, you won''t find your high-end antiques here, your Chippendale chairs or your Louis XVI armoires. But Junior picked up a great Art Deco crystal ball on his last visit.
Runner-up: Holman Antique Plaza and Auction House, Pacific Grove
Best Shopping Center
Del Monte Center
Munras Avenue, Monterey, 373-2705
Macy''s. Mervyn''s. Big 5 Sporting Goods. Victoria''s Secret. Stern''s Luggage. Marie Callender''s. Power Juice & Food Co. The Body Shop. Del Monte Travel. Del Monte Pets. Country Club Cleaners. See''s Candies. Galaxy Six Theaters. Buy it, eat it, watch it and clean it--anything you need, you can find it here, in the kind of outdoor walking mall configuration California made famous.
Runner-up: Northridge Mall, Salinas
Best Store For Prescription Glasses
1420 Del Monte Shopping Center, Monterey 375-7755
Gazinginto his crystal ball over the centuries has brought on its share of eyestrain. It''s important that Junior maintains clear vision if he''s going to read the future correctly, which is why Junior goes to Lenscrafters for quality eye exams and a huge selection of frames to choose from, all at unbeatable prices.
Best Surf Shop
On the Beach Surf Shop
693 Lighthouse Ave., Monterey, 646-9283
Junior is totally stoked on board sports. And On the Beach Surf Shop is Monterey County''s surf-snow-skate headquarters. Whether he''s headed for Carmel Beach, Asilomar or Boneyard''s, the guys and girls at OTB style Junior with the raddest boards, wetsuits and accessories. Check out OTB''s selection of snowboards, boots, bindings and clothing, too. And, one of OTB''s friendly crew can usually tell you where to go for the best snow. Junior''s next OTB purchase will be a skateboard in anticipation of a new skate park that Junior predicts will be built in Monterey (very soon). "Hey, dude, like, skateboarding is NOT a crime," exclaims Junior. "Uh, yeah, I mean...skater''s rule! Or something."
Runner-up: Sunshine Freestyle Sports, Monterey
Best Tile Store
Monterey Tile and Marble
1314 Fremont Blvd., Seaside. 899-3222
Junior''s vision: "I see massive destruction. Walls come tumbling down; a great earthquake rips apart the very ground; hail falls from the sky! Oh, the terror, the fear in the people''s eyes as they cry out for help!" Interpretation: Your first do-it-yourself-bathroom remodel. But rest easy. Weekly readers recommend Monterey Tile and Marble where the folks pride themselves on offering professional assistance to weekend home- improvement warriors. Locally owned and family-operated, you''ll get great advice and a wide array of choices--including ceramic tile, marble, granite, limestone and glass block--at Monterey Tile.
Runner-up: Tileco, Monterey
Best Travel Agency
Del Monte Travel
1470 Del Monte Center, Monterey, 373-0736
Junior doesn''t need a travel agency to book his flights, because he just swoops up into the air of his own accord. But for us mere mortals, it''s best to make plane reservations first. Del Monte Travel is independently owned, and its three full-time agents will send you off wherever your heart desires. Plane fares are ridiculously low right now to Europe and the Far East, but they''ll be starting their upward summer creep soon enough, so stop by soon for that ticket to Osaka. Sayonara.
Runner-up: Monterey Travel, Monterey
Best Women''s Clothing Boutique
The Clothing Store
125 Central Ave., Pacific Grove, 649-8866
Walking into The Clothing Store means playtime for Junior''s sweetie. It''s a funhouse of flowing femininity, a cacophony of California chic, layer upon layer of linen and lace. This independently owned boutique is a long time favorite of Weekly readers, both for its appealing selection of clothes that are actually wearable, and for its helpful, knowledgeable sales staff.
Runner-up: Starr''s, Carmel
Best Women''s Shoe Store
Ocean Avenue and Dolores Street, Carmel, 625-1382
A shoe! A shoe! My kingdom for a Via Spiga. Black, with spiked heels. Whoops, didn''t mean that--Junior has no time for dressing up, what with all that prognostication to do. But if he did covet the feel of a shapely, rounded heel, and the latest in femme foot fashion, he''d surely drop by Lloyd''s for a fit. They have a classy selection of shoes and boots, as well as great purses, and always a sale or two going on.
Runner-up: Hedi''s Shoes, Carmel Barnyard
Best Video Selection
1170 Forest Ave., Pacific Grove, 657-0292
2260 N. Fremont Blvd., Seaside, 655-4401
"I know the movie industry is a multi-billion dollar business but did we really need Spice World,?" ponders Junior. No matter if you''re looking for The Godfather or Police Academy, Blockbuster has thousands of the mainstream flicks you want. Readers claim Blockbuster has the best selection of videos in the county, plus video games, and the prices are reasonable too. The best feature, they say, is the chain''s promise to have copies of new releases for all. Junior settles down with his popcorn and thinks of the future...will "Smell-O-Vision" make a comeback?
Editor''s Pick: Monster Video, Carmel