The Denny party of white pioneer founders landed at Alki Point in 1851 and named their spot New York. Given that they were living in tents and, later, a log cabin, that moniker was ridiculed by some as overly optimistic, and the settlement came to be called New York Alki. In Chinook, alki meant tomorrow. Whenever. These early settlers dreamed that one day Seattle would be a burg as big and diverse as the Big Apple.
At Alki Point today stands a miniature Statue of Liberty. Facing downtown, the figure welcomes newcomers, expats, refugees, and adventurers swept in on the tide and yearning to breathe free. In this 21st edition of Best of Seattle, we're flavoring our annual review with the freshest of ingredients: immigrant Seattleites. They include a school superintendent from India, a Miss Seattle from China, a popular bartender from Bulgaria, a French chef (but, of course), an English opera diva, a Cuban ballplayer, and a candidate for U.S. Senate from Vietnam. Seattle boosters are always touting our "world class" city, but more importantly, we're becoming a richer, more complex world city. And that's no hype. —The Editors
People, Politics, & Media
Best Centered Public Official: Raj Manhas
Best Grassroots Philanthropist: Bookda Gheisar
Best Career for an Adopted Kid: Tim Holm
Best Immigrant U.S. Senate Candidate: Hong Tran
Best Foe of Hatred: Pramila Jayapal
Best Union Organizer: Sergio Salinas
Best-Bet Mariner: Yuniesky Betancourt
Food & Drink
Best French Chef: Thierry Rautureau
Best Scandinavian Food Store: Olsen's Scandinavian Foods
Best Ice-Cream Innovators: Ana Orselli and Jerry Perez
Best Asian Empire: Viet Wah Group
Best Rocker/Bartender: Val Kiossovski
Best Rancher: Eiko Vojkovich
Arts & Entertainment
Best Cabaret Act: Paula Oliver
Best Brazilian Songwriter: Paula Maya
Best Resident Diva: Jane Eaglen
Best Film Impresario: John Sinno
Best Foreign Bodies: Pacific Northwest Ballet
Best Venue for Live African Music: Hidmo
Best Med Student in a Tiara: Weiya Zhang
Best Clotheshorses: The Shah Brothers
Best Maasai Warrior/Zoo Guide: Kakuta Ole Maimai Hamisi
Best Downtown Pre-Date Bouquet Stop: Hmong Flower Farmers
Best of Our Readers
Nominees, ideas, comments, and nonsense from the ballots.
A summary of our readers' picks.
Contributors to Seattle Weekly's Best of Seattle 2006: Rick Anderson, Brian J. Barr, Katie Becker, Knute Berger, Gavin Borchert, Philip Dawdy, Roger Downey, Joanne Garrett, Adriana Grant, George Howland Jr., Lynn Jacobson, Jonathan Kauffman, Sandra Kurtz, Molly Lori, Brian Miller, Richard Morin, Geov Parrish, Sue Peters, Rex Rystedt, Mike Seely, Nina Shapiro, Rachel Shimp, Harley Soltes, Chuck Taylor, Tiffany Wan.