Best New Restaurant
THE CHEESECAKE FACTORY
(701 Pike, 652-5400; 401 Bellevue Sq., Bellevue, 425-450-6000)
New is relative. It's new to us, maybe—but the salt of the earth, the true Americans, the Kentuckians and the Michiganders, they've been shoveling this fat-happy food into their bodies-as-temples for decades. Double B.B.Q. bacon cheeseburgers, the "mile-high" meat loaf sandwiches, bang-bang chicken and shrimp (served with a mountain of white rice)—say what you will about this brand of hypersalty, ber-sugary Americana, the place is affordable, the waitstaff's white getups are adorable, and they stay open really late. As a publicly traded company, one of the few actually doing well (Martha Stewart, eat your heart out!), the Cheesecake Factory is steadily taking over the world, one lump of deep-fried chicken flesh at a time. C.F.
Second place: The Oceanaire Seafood Room (1700 Seventh, 267-2277)
Best New Bar
(2230 First, 374-8717)
The very un-Seattle-ness of the Bada Lounge has made it one of the hottest new properties in town—this ain't no neighborhood pub. The Belltown hideout's Wallpaper decor is as slick and well built as its customers' Pilates-toned bodies and high-end handbags—and nearly as pricey. Despite a sophisticated Eurasian menu and even more soign頄J selections, the underriding sexual competitiveness of the place is pure Darwin; leave your performance fleece at the door, or it could get brutal. For those looking to mate without the biological possibility of reproduction, second-place winner sleek new Blu is Capitol Hill's gay answer to mod hetero hangouts like Bada; its rooftop deck especially should keep it cheek-to-cheek (which cheeks? You decide) through the summer months. L.G.
Second place: Blu Video Bar (Pike at Harvard, 568-4258)
Best Undiscovered Neighborhood
The crack cartographers amongst our readership have done it—they've found Ballard! (Someone please explain again what this category means. Right.) Ballard's cool! Though still the butt of those oh-so-hilarious jokes about the old people who can't drive so well, Ballard's lively mix of clubs, bars, restaurants, galleries, shops, semi-affordable housing, etc. is now impossible to ignore. The beauty of Ballard has always been that it offers the prospect of living a reasonably full life without ever leaving a 10-block radius, which is a major attraction for old people and lazy hipsters alike. Considering its self-sustainability, the burgeoning movement to have Ballard secede from Seattle isn't so crazy, after all—if anything it's a bit lacking in ambition. Let's annex Greenwood and Phinney while we're at it; we could take Maple Leaf on a Tuesday afternoon. Visualize. P.F.
Second place: Columbia City
Best Transportation Solution
I asked two of my friends last night, "What should I say about the monorail?" One said, "Tell 'em they can ride my monorail anytime. HA!" The other said, "You know when the monorail goes into EMP, you know what that looks like? Dude, don't you know what that looks like?" I realized that for young men with sex on their minds, the monorail isn't only a fine transportation solution, but it also holds limitless possibilities for not-very-subtle innuendo. Examples: "My monorail is bigger than your monorail." "Damn boy, you're suffering from a case of light rail." Etc. But I figure this is a good thing. It allows us young men to embrace a new and politically fashionable joke/fantasy. Which, in one way or another, is exactly what the monorail is. S.P.R.
Second place: Light rail
Best Weekend Destination
'tis not our home and native land!
but just two hours away, we find cheap clothing right at hand.
With eager hearts we see the deals
The fun North's great food and rooms!
From far and wide,
O Canada, we brave the guards for thee!"
Second place: San Juan Islands
Best Restaurant in the Middle of Nowhere
(8809 Maltby, Snohomish, 425-483-3123)
My wife likes the lines. And, y'know, I think she's right. You don't go to the Maltby Cafe thinking you're gonna shovel some biscuits down and split. Instead, you get there, put your name on the list, and spend about 15 minutes wondering whether you should brave that pumpkin-sized pastry they call a cinnamon roll or dive into something savory instead. Though it's located in the basement of the old Maltby School gym, the cafe couldn't feel less institutional. No doubt the kids who ate here when the room was a cafeteria chowed on considerably less scrumptious victuals; then again, they were probably paying a dime for lunch instead of nine bucks for a scramble. Still, it's cheaper (and better) than lots of dinners out—treat yourself. C.N.
Second place: The Herb Farm (14590 N.E. 145th, Woodinville, 425-784-2222)
Best Ethnic Grocery Store
(600 Fifth S., 624-6248)
In case you haven't been to the International District lately, let me tell you something. Uwajimaya is more than a simple grocery store. It's a whole town, complete with condos, restaurants, banks, bars, and kitchenware. You could live above it and literally never have to go more than four blocks away. But luckily, ample parking means it's not just for its next-door neighbors. Uwajimaya stocks an incredible selection of live and mysterious fish in tanks, and the produce aisles are piled with fruits and vegetables to stump even the most intrepid eaters. Plus, the selection of noodle soups makes eating even ramen seem like something worthy of Anthony Bourdain's food adventures. Uwajimaya is so fun, in fact, my son's day care goes there for field trips. Next time you're looking for some baby bok choy, take one of your own. A.V.B.
Second place: Pike Place Market
Best Place to Buy Drugs
BARTELL DRUG STORES
It's official: Seattleites are dorks. Me included. Why? Because the majority of us responded to this category by thinking of legitimate places to buy drugs. In the angry, drunk words of my friend, Bob, "Who the fuck does legitimate drugs anymore?" Touch鬠Bob. While Bartell is a fine drug store—providing Seattle with a wide range of prophylactics, for example—the Weekly was thinking more along the lines of where to buy illegal drugs: crack, crank, heroin, weed, your mom, etc. So, for all us naive folk out there, here are the other best places to buy drugs: the Ave, Second and Pine, Third and Bell, Broadway, Allen and Ryan, Pioneer Square, the corner, and The Stranger. S.P.R.
Second place: The Ave
Best Happy Hour
MCCORMICK & SCHMICK'S
(1103 First, 623-5500, 722 Fourth, 682-3900, and 1200 Westlake N., 270-9052)
You brilliant people must have been voting with your pocketbooks in mind, because McCormick & Schmick's is one of the best happy hour deals in town. This old-school establishment epitomizes the happy hour spirit—cheap, stiff drinks and even cheaper, good (well, OK) food. Truth is, if a happy hour is done right, a person should be able to eat dinner—or at least fill up on appetizers and beer—for a very, very low price. That's an attainable goal at McCormick & Schmick's, thanks to a lengthy menu of $1.95 appetizers. That's right—$1.95! And when we say appetizers, we're not talking measly, run-of-the-mill fried cheese sticks. Try oyster shooters, spicy chicken wings, or a burger and fries. Now that's a happy happy hour. K.M.
Second place: Dragonfish (722 Pine, 467-7777)
Best Free Entertainment
PIKE PLACE MARKET
(First and Pike)
A quiz about Seattle's all-time favorite landmark:
True or False:
1. Nellie Curtis was the sculptor of the famous market pig.
2. One vote saved the Market stands from being moved to a location on the underground level in Westlake Center.
3. The Market was named the Sanitary Market in 1910 because of its sophisticated plumbing.
1. False: Post-WWII, she ran a wildly popular brothel in the Market that catered to sailors.
2. True: In 1921, the City Council voted on whether to move the stands to a new underground complex at Westlake.
3. False: The name referred to the fact that it didn't allow horses.
Second Place: Seattle Center
Best Place to Avoid Tourists
Leave home and head downtown, and it's a matter of time before you begin to wonder: Where did all these tourists come from, and when did they all become so fat? Can't they get that stomach surgery? If they had just stayed home and saved for that surgery, sidewalks wouldn't be so crowded and traffic from Pacific Place on down to the water might finally accelerate from a confused amble to, god forbid, a stride. It's not like the rest of us don't have anywhere to be—we're only trying to go about our lives, to get from here to there, to keep our blood flowing, to cross this intersection before the light changes, to make some progress before our lives are cut short—so would it be so much to ask you to get to the curb before you consult your laminated map? Does time mean anything to you people? Does showering? Who said there was something to see here, anyway? Don't they have fish and deep fryers and giant pretzels in Iowa? C.F.
Second place: Ballard
Best Place to Go Camping
OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK
Only temperate rain forest in the United States
Love in a tent
Yay! Kids love it.
Pacific tree frog
Ice your ankle, should you sprain it while hiking.
Second place: Mount Rainier
Best Undiscovered Anything
The top vote-getters for this year's Best Undiscovered Anything were insightful, funny, vast, and sometimes unclever. Just like me. HA! Here are a few of them: Real Soda in Fremont, Souvenir in Ballard, the Latvian Cultural Center, Safeway's blueberry bagels, transsexuals, yellow tomatoes, Der Pet Hause Pet Grooming, a rock, me, my house, "not telling," the Seattle Public Library, and Renton. To the person who wrote, "If I told you, I'd have to lay you," I retort, tell me. S.P.R.