The gal who runs this place loves to chat, but she'll also leave you alone to wander through this old house in the ghost-town stretch of East Indian School Road. You'll find everything from neatly arranged Barbie clothes (hey, everything is neatly arranged in this shop; no digging through boxes or poking around on shelves here) to unbelievably low-priced barware and vintage dishes. Fat Cat doesn't waste any space with ordinary furniture; the large pieces scattered throughout (like a shockingly affordable Victorian dining set that haunts us still) are all incredible and pristine. A visit to Fat Cat's brick-and-mortar store (they also run an eBay store with the same name featuring equally awesome furniture and collectibles), in any economy, lets us come away with more stuff than we could otherwise afford.

Historic District Antique Mall

We cannot tell a lie: We stopped shopping at this, one of the biggest antique malls in town. Not because their stuff was expensive or because we never found anything we liked there, but because the guy who ran the place was a tyrant. We got tired of being yelled at for asking how much a floor lamp cost or whether they had any ceramic ashtrays, and so we took our business elsewhere. But then someone told us that the place was stuffed with old, inexpensive silver trays, which we happen to be passionate about, so we sucked up our courage and headed in. Surprise! Not only is our once-favorite antique mall completely reorganized, with wider walkways and tidier booths, but it's under new management, to boot. The new people working there never holler at us, and in fact they're so concerned with making our shopping trip pleasant that they've relocated the entrance, so now we can enter from the parking lot instead of walking all the way around front. But what we really care about is the vast selection of cool trinkets and old furniture, which is also new and improved here. At this downtown antiques emporium, everything old is new again!

Red Modern Furniture

Jonesing for a rosewood and leather sofa by Hans Olsen? Dying for a pair of Eames chairs? Won't sleep 'til you own a Milo Baughman cocktail table? Have no idea what we're talking about? Even if it's the latter, we bet you'll appreciate a trip to Red Modern Furniture, if only for the sheer devotion these folks show to their cause — making the world more beautiful, one piece of modern/mid-century/vintage furniture at a time. To you, it's an ottoman. To others, it's an important piece of history. Either way, Red has the best selection in town.

At haus, a Saarinen Womb Chair can be yours for a cool $2,943. Or you can pick up a Jack Spade messenger bag for $90. Either way, your impeccable taste will be on display. We first spotted Jonathan Adler's clever Prozac jars on the shelves at this modern-mainstay, and every time we visit, we find something new to drool over. Our current passion is a $678 mirror designed by Tord Boontje, called "Hello Lovely." For now, we'll settle for the $190 metal piggy bank on the haus Web site, and some willpower.

Paris Envy

Wandering inside Paris Envy on Seventh Avenue is a bit like strolling through the Marché aux Puces St-Ouen flea market in Paris. You'll find ornate headboards, shimmering chandeliers, curvy vanities, and a host of other authentic and reproduced French-style treasures. Even the walls say, "Ooh la la!" thanks to a special shade of paint called "rainy day," handcrafted by owner Laurie Lavy. Storekeepers also occasionally update a très cool blog that keeps fans in the know about the latest discounts and fashions. While the rest of us are waiting for Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport to finally get that direct Phoenix-to-Paris flight, Lavy has brought a little bit of the City of Lights to the Valley of the Sun.

We always swore that whatever dry cleaner was closest was good enough for us. So why do find ourselves driving crosstown just to visit Michael and Kevin at Krisply Kleen? It's not just because they're charming, although that certainly helps. These guys run a tight ship, with brand-new, state-of-the-art equipment that just happens to be much more environmentally friendly than what your neighborhood place is using. (They don't use perchloroethylene, which can cause liver and kidney damage with extensive exposure — and they take the time to recycle hangers, too.) And they don't just have a drive-thru for your convenience; they also have free pickup and delivery across the Valley. If the fact that we still bother to pop by doesn't convince you that these guys are cool, we're guessing that nothing ever could.

We were feeling so smug about the cool 1940s Kenmore gas range we bought from a neighbor. All gleaming white enamel and chrome, it screamed to us from across the street to take it home and bake something in it. We did — or tried to. We knew, once we quieted the shrill shriek of the carbon monoxide alarm, that our only hope was to call the nice folks at 805 Stoveworks. We'd heard for years about how they could fix any antique appliance used for cooking, and we discovered this to be more than true once a pair of Stoveworks workers arrived at our home with their notepads and their little box of, well, whatever those stove-repair things were. They measured some parts of our range and looked into and under other parts of it, then went away. A week later, they returned with dead-mint replacement parts and shiny bits of chrome and Bakelite and, after adding these and making some adjustments under the hood, so to speak, they left us with a brand-new old-timey stove that cooks everything, without setting off any smoke alarms. This appointment-only service (it doesn't have a physical location) is the only game in town when it comes to vintage stove and oven repair, offering everything from cosmetic to internal fix-ups on cookers from the turn of the last century to the present. When it comes to vintage stove repair, these guys know what's cooking.

Classic Automotive

It's a bit of a mystery, but somehow, Classic Automotive in Queen Creek has become a go-to shop for the Arizona DeLorean Club, a group of enthusiasts dedicated to preserving the stainless steel coupes manufactured in the early '80s by a long-defunct company and used as Doc Brown's time machine in the Back to the Future trilogy. Only about 9,000 of the cars were ever made, but about two thirds are still on the road, owned by collectors who need to take them someplace special when they need repairs. Classic Automotive, a small and attentive shop, is that place. If it's good enough for a DeLorean, it's good enough for your Ford Tempo — or so they seemed to be suggesting, when they turned their two-week gig repairing a replica of the movie car into a full-on promotional campaign, complete with fliers bearing the auto's image.

Lindstrom's Family Car Wash

We had rather an odd problem: Our former favorite car wash is owned by someone who's a little obsessive about keeping one's car clean. We grew tired of taking it on the chin every time we pulled up in our usually filthy two-door coupe, and went looking for someplace we liked as well. We ended up wishing we'd gotten wise sooner, because not only do the nice folks at Lindstrom's leave us the heck alone, they reside in a cool old building that's a total flashback to the swinging '70s. Its giant teepee-shaped metal overhangs, blue-striped awnings, and groovy lightning-bolt graphics painted around the perimeter of the building really turn us on. Inside the lobby, there's a fish tank to ogle, although in cooler weather we always choose the neat outside seating area, because it's paneled in boss knotty pine that reminds us of Grandma's basement.

Did we mention that Lindstrom's gets our car really clean, too? This family-owned business, open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. 'til 5:30 p.m., offers a complete auto detail service, as well as express waxing and interior shampooing. They never try to upsell us and — more important — never rag on us if we don't turn up again for months.

Best Place to Buy E-85 (Ethanol) for Your Flex-Fuel Vehicle

Western States Petroleum

Western States Petroleum

We sometimes refer to ethanol as the conservative's alternative fuel. It's not a whole lot better for the environment, but buying it helps Midwest corn farmers and reduces the amount of oil needed from the Saudis and Hugo Chávez. Trouble is, we learned after purchasing a flex-fuel vehicle (one that runs on either gasoline or ethanol) that there are probably more Al-Qaeda sleeper agents in the Valley than there are ethanol filling stations. Fortunately, Western States Petroleum stocks the stuff at its main plant near downtown Phoenix. The plant, with its tall, metal tanks, looks more like a set from The Road Warrior than a gas station, but the workers there are certainly our heroes. We'd be ridin' dirty — as in, burning up sooty, old gasoline — if not for them. Okay, it's not all about trying to be that kind of "green": Ethanol has been about 50 cents cheaper than gas lately.

Best Of Phoenix®

Best Of