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Food & Drink > Best of San Antonio

Working Class Heroes

 

Best Activist/Watchdog

Lanny Sinkin, Solar San Antonio
solarsanantonio.org

Lanny Sinkin swept back into San Antonio as something of a wild card. He was one of the area’s most effective — and by that we mean “only” — activists who fought back in the day against construction of the first two nuclear reactors at the South Texas Project outside Bay City. Over the past couple years, he’d become a valuable part of the resistance to the proposed two-unit expansion before finances forced the city to punt the nuclear football. Last year, Lanny was named to replace one of the city’s most beloved environmental leaders - his daddy and Solar San Antonio founder Bill Sinkin — as the director of SSA. The spryer Sinkin has effectively lathered up with some of his poppa’s most effective social charms and kept key elements of the city talking about pollution-free solutions. Que radical.

2. Annalisa Peace , Greater Edwards Aquifer Alliance, aquiferalliance.org

3. Terri Hall (tie), San Antonio Toll Party, TURF,satollparty.com

3. John Stanford (tie), Communist Party, USA,cpusa.org

Best Nonprofit

Solar San Antonio
118 Broadway, Ste. 621, (210) 354-0236
solarsanantonio.org

Survival-minded Earthlings (sometimes denigrated as “flower children”) have been insisting for decades that the era of sun power is upon us. And yet the tech has been hindered by über-oil-focused federal policies. With the Bush oil-garchy finally deposed, those failures may be behind us, at last. Last year, SA was named a Solar America City by the U.S. Department of Energy. The City-owned utility, CPS Energy, after some missteps, rolled out a strong set of rebates for residential and business owners, and solar companies are on the prowl in South Texas. Working largely behind the scenes, Solar San Antonio is making sure local and state policy decisions keep the clean-tech wave cresting.

2. Build San Antonio Green, 118 Broadway, Ste. 232, (210) 224-7278 ,buildsagreen.org

3. San Anto Cultural Arts (tie), 1300 Chihuahua St., (210) 226-7466,sananto.org

3. San Antonio Aids Foundation (tie), 818 E. Grayson, (210) 225-4715,txsaaf.org

Best Bike Mechanic

Greg Maitland , Bike World
418 N. Loop 1604 West
(210) 892-0123
bikeworld.com

“These days, car mechanics they can hook a car up to a computer to diagnose what’s wrong with it,” says Maitland, “but bikes are a little bit more finicky. Sometimes talking to a customer, they’ll point you in one direction, but when you actually ride the bike you’ll discover the problem is coming from somewhere else entirely.” Maitland’s honed his chops at the precise skill set (“critical thinking” being chief among them) required to repair your bicycle working in bike shops over the past decade, and though he says he’s a pretty “well-rounded” guy, he lists his areas of expertise as suspension and mountain bikes. Maybe we don’t live in the Monty Python sketch in which bicycle repairmen are revered as superheroes, but you’ll appreciate Maitland’s critical-thinking skills when your high-end 10-speed starts making a weird grinding noise.

2. Rick Avalos, Bicycle Heaven, 20323 Huebner, (210) 494-0035

3. Matt Hamlin , Bicycle Heaven, 20323 Huebner, (210) 494-0035

Best Local Athlete

Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs
nba.com/spurs

We counted the vote for “the dude who won the bobsled” (Olympic gold medalist Justin Olsen, we presume), and Ginobili came surprisingly close, but who else could’ve won this, honestly? Four-time champion, three-time NBA MVP, Spurs team captain, number-one draft pick, philanthropist, and all-around nice guy (we assume, though he won’t answer our constant emails) Tim Duncan has been the face of the franchise since David Robinson retired in 2003. This power forward and sometimes center has been dubbed “The Big Fundamental” because his playing is so consistent he sometimes seems to be boring himself on the court. But we love that quality so much we’re starting a rumor that he’s the real inspiration behind Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face.”

2. Manu Ginobili, San Antonio Spurs, nba.com/spurs

3. Josh Davis, Olympic swimmer,joshdavis.com

Best Local Elected Official

Julián Castro
Mayor of San Antonio
sanantonio.gov/mayor

San Antonio’s Mayor was wet-nursed on local politics. Son of revered local activist Rosie Castro, as a child he was often found in tow at important community meetings. He assumed national import — at least in Democratic Party circles, where some whispered “Hispanic Obama” in his wake — after winning the mayorship on a second bid in 2009. One part San Antonio, one part Harvard polishing, and one part plotting politician, Castro came into office in the midst of a heated nuclear debate (siding with the nukes, but working to bring the city’s share in the partnership down), and has since been able to move on to less cantankerous issues, like spreading federal funds to fight childhood obesity.

2. Nelson Wolff , King of Bexar County,co.bexar.tx.us/commct/cj/county.judge.htm

3. Mike Villarreal, State Representative,leaderslisten.org

Best Bartender

Kimmy Cervantes at Tonic (tie)
Tonic Bar
5500 Babcock
(210) 877-5858
tonicthebar.com

Omega Treviño at Alamo Drafthouse Park North (tie)
Alamo Drafthouse Park North
618 NW Loop 410, (210) 677-8500
drafthouse.com/parknorth

Unlikely, but true, bartenders Omega Teviño and Kimmy Cervantes have the exact same number of drunken fans. Now girls, there’s no need to fight over this, because you couldn’t possibly be more different from each other. When we dropped in on “the Omega-tron,” she was quietly winding down the shift at Alamo Drafthouse Park North, dressed as some sort of new-wave super hero (for a Kick Ass-themed costume contest) and was almost too shy to remind us she’s also the lead singer of local punk band So Unloved (myspace.com/theunloved). Kimmy “don’t sass the sasser” Cervantes, on the other hand, specializes in shameless self-promotion, and the girl’s got plenty to, um, promote. “Here, help me, are my boobs even?” she asked before allowing us to snap a picture of her concocting a round of shots. The Kerrville-born temptress commands the bar at newly redesigned Tonic when she isn’t “putting a sexy new spin on nightlife” with her company Eye Kandy Promotions (myspace.com/eyekandypromos).

2. Danielle at Retox, 1031 Patricia, (210) 775-2886,retoxbar.net

Hottest Busboy

Joseph Duce at Olmos Perk
5223 McCullough
(210) 858-2956
olmosperk.com

Apparently, guys with facial hair, tattoos, and earplugs get the coffee-guzzling horndogs of Olmos Park all hot and bothered. Dallas-born Olmos Perk barista (and soon-to-be nursing student) Joseph Duce is officially SA’s hottest busboy. Although he won by a landslide thanks to a “campaign” one of his co-workers launched, we did get a lot of wildcard responses in this category, such as “My son,” and “Do the cops at NIOSA count?” Although Joseph posed for a few dreamy pictures that we will never ever delete, he asked us ever so politely to not publish them, citing religious beliefs and marital status as reasons. All we can say, is that’s one lucky biatch, and those tats must look awfully hot in church. Olmos Perk also won Best Coffee House, and we have to agree. It’s privately owned, and the vibe is simultaneously focused and relaxed, making it an ideal place to do homework. Ladies and gentlemen, go for the coffee, but stay for the view.

2. Shawn Knapp at Midnight Rodeo, 12260 Nacogdoches, (210) 655-0040,midnightrodeosanantonio.com

3. The busboys at Barbaresco Italian Restaurant, 9175 San Pedro, (210) 231-0989, barbaresco.net

Best Club Owner/Music Promoter

Drunken Monkey Promotions
myspace.com/drunkenmonkeysa

Maybe it’s the name that makes this local concert promoter so popular. Who wouldn’t want to vote for a bourbon-chugging chimpanzee, whatever office it’s running for? (Insert incredibly untimely W. joke here, you hack.) More likely, though, it’s the tireless promotion of all things local and musical: the regularly held and ridiculously deep-rostered Drunken Monkey Fests, the commitment to free and $5 shows, and the unflinching honesty. Under the “About Me” section of its MySpace page, DM comes out and says what everybody was thinking: “All bands must bust their ass to promote and spread the word of their shows. Otherwise your show is going to suck and your pay will reflect that.” For struggling local artists, that’s more than a guideline — it’s a tattoo suggestion. Though, we admit, that bourbon-chugging chimp would look cooler.

2. Roland Fuentes , Nightrocker Live, 605 San Pedro, (210) 650-2243,myspace.com/nightrockerlive

3. Jennifer Holt , White Rabbit , 2410 N. Saint Mary’s, (210) 737-2221,sawhiterabbit.com

Best Taxi Cab Co.

Yellow Cab
(210) 222-2222
yellowcabsa.com

The cabbie doesn’t care about the scuff marks on your knees or the lipstick smudge running down your neck. He doesn’t even check you out in the rearview as you take your sunrise toot. There is no judgment in a Yellow Cab. Maybe it’s that you’re paying for this time by the mile. Maybe it’s cabbie etiquette. Sure, the online fare estimator and fleet of 500 is nice, but not nearly as nice as a sober ride home at 5 in the morning from someone who has obviously seen it all before. Is it the security of being in a Yellow or the driver’s smoky hotness that inspired you to offer the wrong address? “Woodlawn? Did I say Woodlawn? I meant Lion’s Park.” It’s gonna be a long ride.

2. River City Pedicabs, (210) 542-1324,

3. AAA Taxi, (210) 599-1111, aaataxi.com

Best Waiter/Waitress

Joshua Ramirez, Alamo Drafthouse
618 NW Loop 410
(210) 677-8500
drafthouse.com 

What beer goes best with the preternatural preteen violence of Kick Ass? Which suds and grub are the most period-authentic to Hot Tub Machine? And what’s this gooey stuff stuck on my seat? To answer such cinephilic musings, Alamo Drafthouse’s Josh Ramirez is your man. Not only does he know the many turbulent alcoholic mutations between Rogue Dead Guy Ale (Kick Ass) and Coors Light (Hot Tub, we’re thinking) on the menu, but he can present your dining options while weaving in bits of humorous back story from his life and the world of film. He may even have some off-menu knowledge to share, colleagues suggest, but we’re not asking too many questions. Want a bit of Josh with your blood-red corn-syrup twists? Hit the new release theater at Alamo’s Park North location on any given Friday. And come thirsty.  

2. Paula Garcia, Midnight Rodeo, 12260 Nacogdoches, (210) 655-0040, midnightrodeo.com   

3. Jon Smith, Gianni’s Italian Cuisine, 2602 North Loop 1604, (210) 233-9240, giannisitaliancuisine.com

See Also

Working Class Heroes in Best of San Antonio 4/21/2010

Mini Me in Best of San Antonio 4/21/2010

Shop Till You Drop in Best of San Antonio 4/21/2010

You Turn Me On (and sometimes off) in Best of San Antonio 4/21/2010

Creative Class in Best of San Antonio 4/21/2010

Vice and Virtue in Best of San Antonio 4/21/2010

You've Been Served in Best of San Antonio 4/21/2010

Best of 2010 : Click here for your 2010 Readers' Choice winners! 4/21/2010

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