Welcome to Spree’s first-ever full-fledged “Best Of” issue! For some reason we decided to make it as hard on ourselves as possible by including over 200 categories and combining a readers’ poll with panels of experts to achieve the final results. Now that the votes are in, we’re quite happy with the choices, and we trust they’ll lead you to discover a thing or two about the area you didn’t already know. We’ve included a winner and a runner-up for each category, panel remarks, editorial comments, and plenty of bonus picks, plus a few profiles for good measure. The categories are divided into five genres: Arts/Culture, WNY Life, Sports/Life Outdoors, and Food. Enjoy!
By Spree writers and panelists Bruce Adams, William Altreuter, Alan Bedenko, Catherine Berlin, Ann Blask, Mark Criden, Bruce Eaton, Ron Ehmke, Sandra Firmin, Joe George, Terri Parsell Hilmey, Lynn Lasota, Elizabeth Licata, Vicki Marshall, Darwin McPherson, Lou Petrucci, Christopher Schobert, Maria Scrivani, Joe Sweeney, Susan Tanner, and Catherine Young; participants in the Readers Poll; and outside panelists Mike Andrzejewski, Mary Begley, Andy Kozak, John Lombardo, Meg Quinn, Ann Marie Rivers, David Setzer, Mark Supples, and Keenan Toohey.

The Big Read, the Komen race,
Teen Trekkers, and more.
By Ron Ehmke, Jessica Railey,
and Miakka Natisse Wood

What they knew and
when they knew it
By the Guy on the 13th Floor
Consolidating ECC
By Barry A. Muskat
Broadway Fillmore Alive
By Miakka Natisse Wood
Cherishing the Bisons
By Christopher Schobert
The debut of our new
blogging column

By Jennifer Wutz Lopes

On View: Albright-Knox’s
Greatest Hits
By Bruce Adams
Visual art profile:
Julian Montague
By Gerald Mead
Visual Art: Jackson’s bridges
By Christoper Schobert
Theater: Grains of truth
By Miakka Natisse Wood
Theater: Closing time
By Darwin McPherson
Arts Profile:
Kevin Del Principe
By Chris Stucchio
Preview: Creeley celebration
By Elizabeth Licata
Music: Bloody Hollies
By Christopher Schobert
Architecture up close
By Dan Mika with
Chuck LaChiusa
Plus: Sal Andalino,
Diane Bush, and a jazz rant
from Bruce Eaton.

Style: Green design in
By Barry Muskat
Gardening: Tulips I have known
By Elizabeth Licata
Gadget Planet:
Shape up or chill out
By Catherine Berlin and
William Altreuter
Vanity Wars
By “Faith” and “Ambrose”
Staying Alive: Loser
By Bruce Adams

Restaurants: Thinking
outside the take-out box
By Alan Bedenko;
photos by Jim Bush
Wine: The best
By Mark Criden
Kitchen Stories:
What spring means to me
By Joe George
Plus: profiles of
Mike Andrzejewski and the Massachusetts Avenue Project

This issue’s cover was designed by Peter Max in consultation with Spree art director Chastity Taber. Peter and Mary Max are pictured.