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Andrew KiralyI spent a heroically lazy Christmas week on the couch, possibly in the same clothes for several days in a row but that’s not a confession, alternately reading and napping in a state of what I told myself was a silently transformative chrysaloid stasis. When I emerged, there were a bunch of texts from a friend who was in town and wanted to party. Always down for that! But it turned into a slight micro-embarrassment-fest because he kept asking Mr. Supposed Editor-About-Town about all these cool new and not-so-new places that I hadn’t been to yet. Long story short, we went, ate and drank like royal pigs, and now I have a quiver of new enthusiasms that I’ve since been evangelizing.

Anyway! It got me thinking about the relevance of personal recommendation in an age when online reviews crowd so much of our collective headspace. What is the point of old-fashioned word of mouth when anyone can surf to Yelp for 7,029 reviews on that new ramen spot? With word of mouth, I suspect the saying is as important as what’s said; beyond a mere consumer report card, I like to imagine the transaction is an organic part of a larger conversation about the city. Think of our annual Best of the City feature (p. 43) as a slew of personal recommendations by people — our people, your people, Desert Companion people! — who’ve been having conversations with and about the city for a long time. From Thai food to tailors, bands to barbers, these are our longtime favorites and latest flames. If you disagree or want to cry snub on a pick, call or email me — after all, the conversation is what it’s really about.

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