comScore

Best of

the Twin Cities

BEST LOCAL CHEF

Tim McKee

Being a great chef is many things—and it's much more than being a great cook. It's leadership and charisma. It's the ability to work with other, usually younger chefs, to convey to them your particular vision, and inspire them to sweat and scramble to achieve it—because only then can you take a night off, or walk a circle through your dining room, sure in the knowledge that your food will be made to the level it must be. It's humility and the ability to cede control of parts of the restaurant to others with greater skill than you have, be it in the fields of valet parking, serving, bartending, or sommelliering, so that the people leaving your tables at the end of the night remember your food, and not the way the waiter dumped a tray of Banyuls on their heads or the valet filled the car with cigarette smoke. It's stamina, and the ability to stay on-message, through decades and endless cases of lettuce, never surrendering to the desire to hang the appetizers on wires from the ceiling, for something new. It's also the ability to stay fresh and creative, through all those cases of lettuce, and never throw in the towel and have your line cooks serve shrimp cocktail so you can stay home nights and watch Desperate Housewives. Tim McKee has all those qualities, as is obvious to anyone who stepped through the doors of the newly relocated, thrilling, subtle, utterly accomplished restaurant La Belle Vie. His food is exquisite, certainly—a pasta dish of garganelli with braised rabbit, guanciale, and truffled mascarpone with a bit of sweet and sour cabbage had a richness that made the depths of northern winter seem like the lushest and most vivid time to be alive. But in addition to the food, the rest of the restaurant, the service, the wine, the parking, the tabletop, the everything, the work of a hundred people, pushes McKee's vision forward as one unified delight. That's the height of being a chef, the glorious art, plus the all-too-human management, resulting in happy little tables full of happy little diners, blissfully ignorant of all the work that goes into their happy little night.

BEST ACOUSTIC PERFORMER House of Mercy

BEST ACTOR (FEMALE)

BEST ACTOR (MALE) Bob Malos

BEST AM RADIO PERSONALITY T.D. Mischke

BEST APPLE ORCHARD Fischer's Croix Farm Orchard

BEST ARCHITECTURAL RENOVATION OF AN OLD BUILDING Franklin Community Library

BEST ARCHITECTURAL SALVAGE Art+Architecture

BEST AREA PREMIERE Take Me Out

BEST BAR YOU CAN SMOKE IN Al's

BEST BARISTA Espresso Royale

BEST BARTENDER Michel Bechara

BEST BEACH Lake Harriet

BEST BIKE TRAIL Elm Creek Park Reserve

BEST BLOG (LEFT-WING) Minvolved

BEST BLOG (PERSONAL) Driver2165

BEST BLOG (RIGHT-WING) Nihilist in Golf Pants

BEST BLOG (SPECIALTY) MN Beer

BEST BOONDOGGLE

BEST BOWLING ALLEY Elsie's Bowling Center

BEST BOXER Jason Litzau

BEST BROKEN PROMISE

BEST CAREER MOVE Kirby Puckett

BEST CHARITY Minnesota AIDS Project

BEST CHEAP THRILL Meth

BEST CHOREOGRAPHER Uri Sands

BEST CLUB DJ Karl Frankowski And Jeff Dubois

BEST COACH John Gagliardi

BEST COLLEGE ATHLETE Cole Konrad

BEST COLUMNIST Katherine Kersten

BEST COMMUNITY-BUILDING CAFE LoTo - CLOSED

BEST CORPORATE CITIZEN Kevin Garnett

BEST CRIMINAL Joshua Gardner

BEST DANCER Mary Ann Bradley

BEST DAY TRIP Winona Sugarloaf

BEST DIRECTOR Peter Rothstein

BEST FISHING HOLE Northeast Tip of Pike Island

BEST FM RADIO PERSONALITY Dan Donovan

BEST GADFLY Ed Morrissey

BEST GAY BAR, BEST LESBIAN BAR The Town House

BEST GOLF COURSE Inver Wood Golf Course

BEST GYM YWCA

BEST HELLRAISER OR ACTIVIST GROUP Communities United Against Police Brutality

BEST HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETE Tayler Hill

BEST HIP-HOP ARTIST I Self Devine

BEST HIP-HOP DJ Willy Lose

BEST JAZZ ARTIST Phil Hey

BEST LIBRARY Minneapolis Central Library

BEST LIVE ARTIST Birthday Suits

BEST LOCAL BOY GONE BAD Dean Zimmerman

BEST LOCAL BOY MADE GOOD Dante Culpepper

BEST LOCAL GIRL GONE BAD Nicole Helget

BEST LOCAL GIRL MADE GOOD Nicole Helget

BEST LOFT OR CONDO PROJECT Le Parisien Flats and Marketplace

BEST LYNX PLAYER Nicole Ohlde

BEST MAKEOVER OF A TV PERSONALITY Cyndy Brucato

BEST MAYOR Randy Kelly

BEST NEW NAME FOR COON RAPIDS

BEST OPEN BAR/PATIO The Liffey

BEST PICNIC SPOT Prospect Park Water Tower's observation deck

BEST PLACE FOR A FIRST DATE Bryant-Lake Bowl

BEST PLACE TO BIRD-WATCH Avery's Sandhill

BEST PLACE TO CANOE St. Croix River

BEST PLACE TO DROP OFF YOUR KID FOR A WHILE Ikea

BEST PLACE TO DUMP SOMEONE Movie Theatres

BEST PLACE TO GET DUMPED Mall of America

BEST PLACE TO GET LOST WHILE RUNNING ERRANDS Bauer Brothers Salvage

BEST PLACE TO HIKE Interstate State Park

BEST PLACE TO ICE SKATE Centennial Lakes Park And Putting Course

BEST PLACE TO JOG

BEST PLACE TO LEARN TO DANCE University-Minnesota Dance

BEST PLACE TO MEET GAY FAMILIES Rainbow Families

BEST PLACE TO PLAY POOL Fat Boy Billiards

BEST PLACE TO TAKE OUT OF TOWN GUESTS Minnehaha Park and Falls

BEST PLACE TO WASTE TIME PRODUCTIVELY Minnesota Historical Society Library

BEST POLITICIAN Mike Hatch

BEST PUBLIC PARK Fort Snelling State Park

BEST PUBLIC RESTROOM Ike's Food & Cocktails

BEST R&B ARTIST Mick Sterling

BEST REASON NOT TO MOVE TO THE 'BURBS

BEST ROMANTIC BIKE RIDE Midtown Greenway

BEST SIGN OF SPRING

BEST SIGNAGE Murray's Restaurant And Cocktail Lounge

BEST SONGWRITER P.O.S.

BEST SPORTS TALK RADIO HOST Dan Barreiro

BEST STATE FAIR ATTRACTION 4-H Competition

BEST STRIP CLUB The Double Deuce

BEST SUBURBAN LAKE AREA Square Lake Park

BEST TENNIS COURTS Bassett Creek Park

BEST THUNDER PLAYER Brett Branan

BEST TIMBERWOLVES PLAYER Kevin Garnett

BEST TV NEWSCASTER Julie Nelson

BEST TV SPORTS ANCHOR Eric Perkins

BEST TV WEATHERPERSON Paul Douglas

BEST TWINS PLAYER Carlos Silva

BEST VILLAIN Tim Pawlenty

BEST VOCALIST (FEMALE)

BEST VOCALIST (MALE) Robert Robinson's

BEST WEEKEND GETAWAY Superior Hiking Trail