Best Place To Score A Family Heirloom
Need a great birthday gift? Want to ask your best girl to marry you? Hoping your kid will take band in high school? Are you a firm believer in reduce/reuse/recycle? Then get over to Vista Pawn. They have a super selection of gently used and new tools, recreation equipment, jewelry and more at rock bottom prices. You might be lucky enough to uncover a pair of skis, a rototiller, a great Fender guitar or a tenor sax that just needs a little TLC. You might feel a little ooky buying a wedding set that was the pride and joy of somebody's granny, but where else are you going to get nearly colorless princess- cut diamonds set in platinum for less than the price of a mid-size sedan?
503 S. Vista Ave., 342-3352
Best Bargain T-shirts
The cheapest and funnest way to get a great, possibly vintage T-shirt for free is to talk one off a good-looking hipster. Barring that, hop in the car and head over to Goodwill. Among their great buys on paperbacks, luggage and end tables, they have some of the niftiest tees in town. They're always clean, sans holes or rips and come in a variety of colors and sizes. Prices range from 49 cents to about a fin for the newer ones. You may not be familiar with the organization whose logo graces the front and/or back of your cotton treasure and they may not qualify as vintage, but the soft Stand Down '94 (Google it--it's an awesome cause) in dark brown with white lettering for $1.99 goes perfectly with a well-worn pair of favorite jeans.
1465 S. Vinnell Way, 373-1299
Best Place To Buy Isaac Mizrahi Seconds That Target Didn't Sell
Target. Not the first name in fashion. But along with the Kathie Lee collection at Wal-Mart and the Martha Stewart and Jaclyn Smith collections at Kmart (sorry, Big K), Mr. Mizrahi jumped on the "Let's have a fashion line for the little people" bandwagon and put his name on shoes, handbags and belts. Apparently, the little people sometimes just ain't buyin' it so it went to the even littler people. You can find brand new interesting purses and cute mules with kitten heels with the Mizrahi name on them at Goodwill. New, even. Maybe they aren't haute couture, and maybe you won't ever see the stars of Desperate Housewives wearing them on the red carpet. But they look great, they're new (did we already mention that?) and they don't cost an arm and a foot. Only you will know they aren't high-end shoes (heck, they aren't even Target). Plus, ever at a party with Eva Longoria or Nicolette Sheridan, you'll never have that uber-embarrassing "Oh my god, we're wearing the same shoes," moment.
1465 S. Vinnell Way, 373-1299
Best Laundry/Tailor/Barber all in one
You know the cliché: Jack of all trades, master of none. You first heard the crack when you found out your uncle could knit and fix a lawnmower. The cliché usually holds true, but ABC on Overland and Roosevelt rises up and lays the down the gauntlet. A quaint little place where you can get your hair cut and your clothes fitted and altered while your dirties are sudsing up in one the nice coin-ops--ABC has got more than one specialty going for it. Destined to beat out they competition, the only way they could lose their master status is if they decided to wash and alter your clothes while you were wearing them, while they were cutting your hair.
4008 W. Overland Rd., 331-2421
Best Alternative to Botox
The Costume Shop
If you haven't seen UHF (1989 Weird Al Yankovic flick), then you probably haven't realized the extent to which prosthetics can do a body good. Not the kind that look natural and require surgery; the kind that actually cover your existing flesh with molded rubber, plastic and spray paint. In the movie, Weird Al sports a faux-Rambo chest complete with 12-pack abs and pecs that could crush walnuts. Women considering Botox injections, take note. If your face needs a pick-me-up, skip the toxins and go straight for full polyurethane camouflage. If you can't afford the hi-tech molding process, hit the mask section at the Costume Shop. It may not be Halloween, but it's never too soon to have the youth and beauty of Richard Nixon.
3777 W. Chinden Blvd., 343-9399
Best Auto Repair Shop
Cycling has Lance Armstrong, and Boise's auto repair scene has Boise Muffler. Last year we said they were the best in the business, and nothing has changed. They continue to flex their superior customer service skills like a wicked bicep. They are so good, in fact, that we wish we could call them up for advice about love, money and what to make for dinner.
6100 W. Fairview Ave., 376-8541
Best Engagement Ring
Precious Metal Arts
Is anyone else really sick of those commercials with the canned classical music and the cheese-ball narrative about, "Making her century with a shiny bauble worth more than a mail-order bride?" Listen up guys--women are not raccoons. Yes, lots of women love diamonds, but a growing number of them are interested in something different. This does not mean you should wrap the twisty-tie that seals the garbage bag around her finger, but there are better places to get a stunning symbol of love and commitment. Like Precious Metal Arts. Not only is owner and jeweler Mike Rogers a rock musician and cigar connoisseur, he is also an artist with impeccable taste and an eye for original design. Plus, if you need an adjustment or some matching earrings, he is stoked to do it.
208 N. 8th St., 363-9293
Jill Maxfield at Graeber's
The best manicurists make you forget where you are and what you're doing, and who can talk your ear off like an old friend while buffing the calluses off your heels. Jill Maxfield is one of these. She works in the sleek, fragrant space that is Graeber's, and despite her own set of amazingly long nails, she can make any set of hands look like they just had an extreme makeover. On top of that, she is a great masseuse and one of the sweetest, funniest gals around. So the next time you want to be pampered, treat yourself to a mani-pedi combo with Jill. It's better than therapy (and way more affordable).
350 N. 9th St., 343-4915
Best Place to find a seat belt for your '87 Honda Accord or a wing window for your Volkswagen bug
Don't feel left out if you don't have an '87 Honda Accord. Jalopy Jungle might still be the place for you to find a part for your older car. Sometimes when we go to junkyards, the service is a bit surly to say the least. The folks at Jalopy Jungle might not be any less surley, but the junkyard is a lot more fun. First, tell them the make, model and year of your car. Then they give you a printout. The best thing about the printout is there are codes on it like Q132. So, you head out into the junkyard and find Q132. There are rows and rows of cars with gems waiting to be discovered. If you forget tools, don't worry. They have a giant tool box for you to borrow from. But be careful if you don't know the difference between a wrench and pliers: they'll try to tell you that the particular crescent wrench you are holding is for left-handed people only.
3931 Garrity Blvd., Nampa, 466-8468
Best place to get a paper cut
When we were kids, we had to cut 500 sheets of paper into quarters by hand with a paper cutter with a crooked blade. Oh, and we could only cut one sheet at a time because the blade was dull. We spent hours toiling away at that paper cutter. This new-fangled generation doesn't know the value of walking away from a paper cutter machine with callouses on your hands. You with your fancy Paper Express that can cut 500 sheets at a single time. And, they cut them all straight and uniform in only about five minutes, for only $1 per cut. So goodbye trusty paper cutter, we don't need you anymore.
7550 W. Fairview Ave., 388-0755
Best Wedding Night Hotel
Your childhood home (ewww.)
We know this is wrong but we have childhood issues. For the perfect wedding night location, we can't resist the idea of crashing with our parents. This is the best revenge for a childhood lived in fear of stumbling upon some unholy "mommy and daddy were just hugging" ritual, plus, it's way cheaper than a hotel and you don't need a credit card number to raid the fridge.
666 Burn in Hell Ave., 666-6666
Best Place to Buy Piranhas
Fish, Aquariums & Stuff
Forget your solitary beta swimming around in an old slimy water glass (although you can get some cool beta accessories here, too). Get yourself a piranha. The little buggers at FA & S are so energetic, they chew straight through those plastic fish bags, even when they're double-bagged.
3023 N. Cole Rd., 377-1119
Best Alternative Medicine for Pets
The Dog House
If your pets seem lethargic, consider an alternative to hauling them to the vet for puppy Zoloft. Maybe they need a trip to the Dog House--a canine version of Disneyland. When your pooch sees the multi-tiered glass case full of baked goods in flavors like liver and cheddar beef, the walls hung with all things furry, squeaky, chewy, bouncy and neon, the dog beds, play areas and nice people with fingers well-trained in the arts of tummy tickling, they will feel as good as if they'd swallowed a spoonful of sugar wrapped in bacon.
3919 W. Overland Rd., 331-3060
Best place to outfit your truck
If you've never purchased a used truck, you have no idea of the hassles involved in getting the most important item for making your new-used pickup a safe and comfortable mode of travel for your doggies: a camper shell. We looked everywhere and had a pretty rough time. Some places treated us badly because we weren't sure what we wanted or needed. Not the guys at Pick-Up Truck Outfitters, though. They knew we were confused and instead of taking advantage, they helped us find exactly the right shell.
4215 W. Chinden Blvd., 377-4888
Best place to buy skateboards from two fine and fancy fellows
We have to come clean about something. Because, dear reader, we would not want you to think we were biased or anything. Put your ear to the paper since this is a secret and all ... We've had a mega-crush on those two boys from Prestige since they opened way back in December. It feels good to get that off our chests. Once you go in there, you will to. Could it be the super-stylish storefront? Walking in makes us feel like we are in San Francisco or New York. The skateboards are displayed handsomely on one wall like fine art. Maybe it's the clothes, so very dapper. Damn, those boys have good taste. Despite being one of the kewlest shops in town, you don't have to be afraid. Paul and Greg are down-to-earth guys who have been skateboarding their entire lives. If you are just learning and don't know what to get these boys will help you pick out the best stuff for you. If you used to skate 20 years ago and just want to shoot the breeze, they'll know what you're talking about. If you don't even skate, get in there anyway, the clothes and shoes are worth a look-see. It's about time Boise got a skate shop like this.
106 S. 11th St., 424-6824
Best way to get your packages and important papers around town
Northstar Cycle Couriers
We've tested it ourselves, and it is indeed faster to get around downtown on bicycle than in a car. In a cruiser-bike-versus-car showdown the cruiser bike always wins, even though cruisers might be the slowest hardest to pedal bikes ever created. So imagine you are in your office on Myrtle Street, when all of a sudden you realize that you forgot to get your client, whose office is on State Street, to sign on the dotted line. Don't sweat. Northstar Cycle Couriers to the rescue. Imagine how fast these two fellows can get to State Street and back with their fancy 10-speed roadbike thing-a-migiggies. It also helps that you can go to sleep better at night knowing that by calling Northstar Cycle Courier to do your deeds, you are help contributing to a better environment and less dependence on foreign oil. Give yourself a pat on the back.
Greater Boise area, 331-5056
Rembrandt's Coffee House
Rembrandt's of Eagle has got to get a shout out for being just plain cool. The coffee mugs are enormous, a la Friends and overflow with whipped cream upon request. The interior decor of the rehabilitated church reflects its past in the gothic religious relics that adorn the walls. Modern art, large furniture and comfy couches provide a Bohemian atmosphere that brings in throngs of people from all backgrounds. Fast, friendly service mixed with great food and coffee (in awesome mugs) makes Rembrandt's a favorite. Whether you are there for a business meeting or reading tarot cards with friends (what, doesn't everyone do that?), Rembrandt's welcomes all.
938 S. Eagle Rd., Eagle, 938-1564
Best Place to Buy Used Underwear
Idaho Youth Ranch
Gross, we know. We usually assume that the title "used" should not apply to clothing that hides and creeps into the serious bits and pieces, but if you need a silky, satiny thing to wiggle around in, you can find it at IYR. All the necessities for Halloween cross-dressing, including bras big enough to make Anna Nicole Smith blush, and even some see-through things meant to be worn between the sheets. Our advice: Don't be afraid to wash it twice before you wear it.
250 N. Orchard St., 375-7965
Best Place to See Socially Awkward Cat Lovers
Most of us here at the good ole BW do a significant portion of our shopping at Saver's. Incidentally, most of us are also socially awkward and love some species of furry friend. And we do confess to shopping for our furry friends at Savers for everything from dishes to tiny hats to their favorite bedtime books. Guess this category should have been: Best Place to See BW Staffers on a Saturday afternoon.
10475 Fairview Ave., 377-2001
Lee Read Jewelers
So much bling, so little time. You can take the kids, and keep them occupied while you spend copious amounts time admiring all that is sparkly. The salespeople are friendly and accommodating, and they exhibit an enormous amount of patience while mama tries on everything over five karats. Yes, that includes earrings. Oh, and the smiling salesperson reminds us there is always financing on approved credit. Oh, it's good to live in America.
650 E. Sonata Ln., Meridian, 376-8800
Best Place in Town to Outfit Your Dog In Style
If you want your dog to look fabulous, but think those little couture numbers from Paris Hilton are too expensive and too easy, take hope. Like he's done for human females, Isaac Mizrahi has a line of sensible sartorial sauciness at Target. Pick up a two-piece outfit for your pooch along with accessories to match. Mr. Mizrahi has even put out a line of designer doggy beds for the dog who may have worn out its welcome in your bed. Get to Target to find something chic yet girly for your favorite four-legged bitch, too.
633 N. Milwaukee St., 375-3275.
Best Place to Buy a Hat
Newt and Harold's Boards and Skates
Hats are great for many reasons: 1) when you are cold, they can help keep your head warm; 2) when it is sunny, they can prevent your retinas from melting; 3) if you're prone to society-induced insecurity (easy there), they can help provide the illusion to you (not your friends) that you are not losing your hair. You don't even have to wash your hair if you don't want to, just don a hat to hide the mop on your noggin. Everyone thought Dwight Yoakam had a full mane until Sling Blade came out. (Wait, you didn't? You're the exception) Why? 'Cause of his cool Stetson. Yeah, hats just look cool. Newt and Harold's has a hat for every need Beanies for the cold, ball caps with ironic skater logos for the sun, and everything in between.
1021 Broadway Ave., 385-9300
Best place to buy tight jeans
Funktion Speciality Boutique
Slouch is out, so say the fashionistas of the world. The jeans are getting tighter and the sizes keep getting smaller. And the place to find tight as well as (inhale) tiiiiiight jeans is Funktion. So they are little pricier than say, Jordache, but we swear the extra money is worth it. Male or female, they have the best fitting jeans in Boise. Don't make a day of jean shopping at every store in town, just start at Funktion and save yourself the hassle. People are always complimenting the jeans we have on, and guess where we got them?
404 S 8th St, Boise, (208) 336-4878