Every year, we try to perfect the formula for our editorial companions to our readers’ picks in our annual Best of the Triangle issue. In 2016, we made up our own categories to bring attention to things we wanted to talk about, but that seemed to confuse folks more than anything else. Last year, we wrote about a selection of our readers’ choices, sometimes having a little fun with them. Some people thought this diminished our readers’ picks, which wasn’t our intention (although we stand by our statements that Frank Stasio is not a crank and Carrboro is not a neighborhood).

So for 2018, here’s a new theme for our staff picks: Like that? Try this.

We wrote these blurbs before voting had wrapped, when we just knew who the nominees were. In categories where we had strong feelings about something that wasn’t nominated, we added our own editorial comments. The point isn’t that readers got it wrong, but that the Triangle has so many great things they couldn’t all possibly be nominated, and we just wanted to throw a few more wonderful things to explore into the mix.

(You’ll notice that we skimped a bit in the Health & Body section. This is because, as journalists, we care little for either our health or our bodies, which means we have little insight to offer. Sorry, professional hazard.)

If you ask a hundred people what the Best Whatever is, you’ll probably get a hundred different answers. And that’s great. To each their own. Our job in this issue, both through the readers’ picks and our own staff choices, is to highlight as much of that cool stuff as possible. So read it, then go try something new.

Best of the Triangle 2018: Eat and Drink

Best of the Triangle 2018: Health and Body

Best of the Triangle 2018: Local Color

Best of the Triangle 2018: Out and About

Best of the Triangle 2018: Shops and Services