Best ... of ... Boise. That's a pretty heavy thing to contemplate, seeing as how it means being responsible for naming the very best our little river-straddling city and the surrounding area has to offer. Yet, once again, Boise Weekly readers stepped up to the challenge, casting their votes in record numbers.

When the dust--or more aptly, the megabytes--finally settled, after more than a month of online voting, 1,501 ballots were cast, compiling a total of 42,855 individual votes for everything from the best place to grab a burger or some Thai food, to the best place to ski or pick up some gotta-have-em new shoes.

Just like last year, we're honoring only locally owned and operated businesses that meet our local-business criteria because, let's face it, this is about honoring the best of Boise, not the best of (insert random U.S. city here).

We're happy to say that most voters rose to the challenge, although it's apparent some further education on what constitutes local is needed. For future reference, giant national/international chains are not considered local.

You may have noticed that there's something a bit different about Best of Boise this year, something like this is the second week a BW issue bearing the BOB logo has hit the streets. No, it's not a mistake. This year, we decided that Best of Boise was just so great, it couldn't be contained to only one issue, so we split it into two. Last week, the Editors' Picks had the spotlight, allowing those of us who spend all year writing about our little town to give some special mention to the people, events, business and places we think deserve a little extra attention.

This week, though, we unveil the winners chosen by those of you who logged on to share your opinions. This issue is the almighty Readers' Choice Best of Boise issue. And, boy, do you people have some opinions.

We saw the payoffs from all-out voting campaigns, which were akin to the most hotly contested political races. We also saw the creativity of our readers, since it seemed hard for any category to go without at least a few joke answers. And for the record, neither the best meat, nor the best late night party is located in your pants, and your friends might not appreciate you nominating their yards as the best location for a nude beach.

We also, unfortunately, saw some people using the Best of Boise ballot to vent their distaste for a business, individual, industry or even the city. Seriously, folks, this is called the Best of Boise, emphasis on the "Best," so remember the old saying: If you can't say something nice, don't bother voting--or something like that.

Still, Boise Weekly readers have spoken, so, without further ado, here's BOB.