When balmy Best of Portland season rolls around every year, readers collar us next to the sangria bowl and demand to know when we're going to tap their favorite goopy-slice joint for Best Pizza. Alas, our regular BOP picks are meant to highlight intriguing, eye-opening nooks and crannies rather than to help you map your daily routine. That's why we invited you online to tell your fellow Portlanders about the people, places and things that make your hearts go pitter-pat. The vox populi rang out 600 strong, and the result is this, the 2002 Best of Portland Readers Poll.
Best new hometown restaurant
This year's winner is the Portland City Grill (U.S. Bancorp Tower, 111 SW 5th Ave., 450-0030). Housed in the shell that once was chi-chi Atwater's, this newby is most revered for its 30th-floor view and cheap happy-hour fare.
Best old hometown restaurant
P-town's rainy days must inspire a lust for comfort food. Downhome favorites, the Delta Cafe (4607 SE Woodstock Blvd., 771-3101) and Mother's Bistro and Bar (409 SW 2nd Ave., 464-1122) tied as your first-choice standbys for great grub.
Best restaurant to pop the question
The haughty-taughty allure of Northwest and downtown establishments be damned! When it's time to get down on one knee, you'd like to do it at the eastside Italian eatery Il Piatto (2348 SE Ankeny St., 236-4997).
Best flesh-free restaurant
The Paradox Cafe (3439 SE Belmont St., 232-7508) barely edged out ex-veg-head favorite Vita Cafe (3024 NE Alberta St., 335-8233) as the hottest restaurant in town for the anti-Atkins crowd.
Best late-night restaurant
Nothing soaks up the booze quiet like a steaming bowl of jambalaya or mac 'n' cheese. For post-midnight feeding frenzies (dancing works up an appetite, man!) you head to the under-the-bridge staple, Montage (301 SE Morrison St., 234-1324).
Best restaurant to bring friends from out of town
For the second year in a row, you also selected Montage as the restaurant where you take Mom 'n' Pop (or your ex-frat brothers) when they're visiting.
Best restaurant to indulge your sweet tooth
Cheesecake, tiramisu and pecan pie, oh my! When you break your diet, you go for bust at famously sugar-coated Papa Haydn (701 NW 23rd Ave., 228-7317; 5829 SE Milwaukie Ave., 232-9440).
Best restaurant to close the deal
Upscale, Northwest-infused Higgins (1239 SW Broadway, 222-9070) and Jake's Grill (611 SW 10th Ave., 220-1850) tied this year for the restaurant(s) where you exec-types prefer to do official business.
Best happy hour
McCormick & Schmick's (235 SW 1st Ave., 224-7522) fresh seafood and yummy happy-hour libations are tops at drowning away your work-a-day tensions.
Best hetero meat market
Tropically inspired lust hut Banana Joe's (9 NW 2nd Ave., 227-0100) is the place for singles to meet and hook up in Portland.
Best place to pick up a gay boy
The best place to pick up a homo-honey is the all-male strip/dance club Silverado (1217 SW Stark St., 224-4493). Ride 'em, cowboy!
Best place to pick up a dyke
Once again, the Egyptian Club (3701 SE Division St., 236-8689) rates as your fave place to prowl for lezzies, though we think the person who voted for the Concordia New Seasons market is onto something.
Best place to dance
There's no place in town you like to wag yo' booty more than Old Town drag den Embers (110 NW Broadway, 222-3082).
While Portland's reputation as "Beervana" has spawned numerous places to sip microsuds, you especially like to knock 'em back at BridgePort BrewPub (1313 NW Marshall St., 241-3612).
Best karaoke joint
While the decor seems like a mixed metaphor (Gilligan's Island collides with Vegas glitz), the Alibi Restaurant and Bar (4024 N Interstate Ave., 287-5335) is still your favorite place to belt out those timeless (and tasteful!) classics by Olivia Newton-John.
Best local band
The year-old blues-rock group Alice Blue is your favorite Stumptown music-maker. Who knew?
Best local band name
A tie between I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch in the House and Camaro Hair. Enough said.
Best DJ to save your life tonight
You know your rump will shake when the ubiquitous DJ Gregarious hits the tables with his studied collection of one-hit thunders.
Best house o' rock
Sex, drugs...and Satyricon (125 NW 6th Ave., 243-2380)! All you rock-or-die fans know there's no place like this dirtier-than-thou Old Town bar for kicking out the jams.
Best First Thursday stop
In an unprecedented four-way tie, you picked Spanish restaurant ÁOba! (555 NW 12th Ave., 228-6161), the Everett Station Lofts (625 NE Everett St.), Urban Wineworks (407 NW 16th Ave., 226-9797), and Pacific Northwest College of Art (1241 NW Johnson St., 226-4391) as your favorite First Thursday haunts. Only two of these hotspots are actually art galleries, you lushes!
Best local theater company
While Portland's theater scene is often tagged as bleak, the Artists Repertory Theatre (1516 SW Alder St., 241-1278) actually gets you dramatic.
Best local dance company
Oregon Ballet Theatre (818 SE 6th Ave., 222-5538) has you turning pirouettes. Now if only it could find a director....
Best place to see a film
Portland peeps love catching a flick (while swilling ale) at the vintage Bagdad Theater and Pub (3702 SE Hawthorne St., 225-5555, ext. 8830).
Best place to see naked men
There's no better place to grab a hold of--er, that is, WATCH--some tight ass than the Three Sisters Tavern (1125 SW Stark St., 228-0486). To the person who voted for Willamette Week's offices: Could you tell us what window you're looking in?
Best place to see naked women
Can you say breasts and steak? Good...'cause you get them both at the Acropolis Steakhouse (8325 SE
McLoughlin Blvd., 231-9611), your favorite place to check out the city's loveliest (naked) ladies.
Best place to make out
Swap spit with your sweetie at the lover's lane that is Mount Tabor Park (Southeast 60th Avenue).
Best place to break up
When "getting some" loses its luster, you head to another one of the city's green spaces--Tom McCall Waterfront Park (Southwest Front Avenue between Harrison and Glisan streets)--to lay the smackdown. Just remember--crying in public isn't cool.
Best place to walk your dog
You doggie people like to walk your mutt at Mount Tabor Park. But be careful not to let Fido loose on wayward lovers (see above)--it's all fun and games until someone gets an arm ripped off.
All you kiddies (and your parents) like to hit the swing sets at Washington Park Children's Playground (head of Southwest Park Place).
Best public tennis courts
"Muffy. dah-ling," you say, "The Rose Garden tennis courts (Southwest Park Place) at Washington Park are simply smashing."
Best place to play pickup b-ball
Once again, your favorite place to re-enact a scene from He Got Game is Laurelhurst Park (Southeast 39th Avenue and Stark Street)--by a landslide.
Best hiking trail
When you feel the urge to bust out the walking stick and the gorp, you head for the wooded sanctuary that is Forest Park (Northwest Skyline Boulevard to St. Helens Road.
Best place to jog
Nearly all of you get your run on at the Leif Eriksson trail in Forest Park --except for the savant who wrote in, "The center lane of Burnside during rush hour." We've got a Mensa candidate, boys!
Best bike path
It cost a few thousand dollars per foot of floating walkway, so city planners must be thrilled that the Eastside Esplanade (between east end of Hawthorne and Steel bridges) is at least popular.
Best place to skateboard
You like to flip righteous ollies at the Burnside Skate Park (underneath east end of Burnside Bridge).
Even though Council Crest (Southwest Council Crest Drive) won as the best lookout in P-town, a few readers had other "creative" ideas: "My back porch (no shit)," and "Behind an NBC cameraman zooming up close on women's tits during commercials," were among our favorites.
You get in your calorie-burning sessions at one of the 10 gyms 24 Hour Fitness (1400 SW 5th Ave., 224-2233, and other locations) has in the Portland area.
Best yoga studio
Yoga Union (2043 SE 50th Ave., 235-9642) is your favorite place to do the downward dog (it's a yoga position--get your mind out of the gutter!).
Best public pool
Dishman Community Center Pool (77 NE Knott St., 823-3165) is the premium vat of chlorinated water in the city, you say.
Despite his behavior, net-burner Rasheed Wallace was voted numero uno on the court. But those who voted for Brian Grant, pleading desperately with the management to get him back, ain't dumb.
He may (ALLEGEDLY!) smoke a lot of weed--but he's still a looker! You sweat hometown hottie Damon Stoudamire the mostest.
Best bike shop
All you helmet heads like to get a tune-up at both the Bike Gallery (1001 SW Salmon St., 222-3821, and other locations) and River City Bicycles (706 SE Martin Luther King Blvd., 233-5973). Gaudy jersey not included.
Best skateboard shop
Once again, Daddies Board Shop (5824 NE Sandy Blvd., 281-5123) reigns supreme among you skaters.
Best record shop
Portland's vinyl aficionados head to Everyday Music (1313 W Burnside St., 274-0961, and other locations) for all their music needs.
Best book shop
Once again the Grand Lady of Portland's intelligentsia (and coffee-sucking crowd), Powell's (1005 W Burnside St., 228-4651) wins as your favorite place to pick up a good read. As for all of you who additionally wrote "duh," all we can say is that when you assume, you make an ASS out of U and ME.
Best place to rent a video
Your summertime Saturday nights just wouldn't be the same without a film from Movie Madness (4320 SE Belmont St., 234-4363), perhaps the most obsessive movie-rental palace on the planet.
Best place to buy a party dress
Vintage rocks! All you pretty girls go secondhand at the Red Light Clothing Exchange (3590 SE Hawthorne St., 963-8888) when you need something strappy.
Best place to buy a suit:
The men's clothing counter at Nordstrom (701 SW Broadway, 224-6666, and other locations) keeps you looking all professional-like.
Best place to buy some snappy shoes (for women)
Nordstrom (1001 Lloyd Center, 287-2444, and other locations) barely stepped ahead of Imelda's (1431 SE 37th Ave., 233-7476) as your preferred place to buy those hot stilettos (and Danskos, after the stilettos reduce your feet to a bloody pulp).
Best place to buy some snappy shoes (for men)
OK, we get it! You like Nordstrom (11900 SE 82nd Ave., 652-1810, and other locations)!
Best place to repair a car
When ol' Bessie conks out, you take her to the fellas at Heckmann & Thiemann Auto Repair (2327 SE Powell Blvd., 233-4809) for a quick fix.
Best place to wash a car
You impress the ladies with your hot wheels after you get 'em washed and waxed at Washman (1530 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., 287-8298, and various locations).
Best gourmet grocery
New Seasons (5320 NE 33rd Ave., 288-2323, and other locations) is your fave joint to pick up organic kitty food for Fluffy, a pint of p‰té for luncheon with Margo, and designer stationery--all in one shot. Allegedly a lesbian pickup joint, as well (see above).
Best place to get a tattoo
The artistes at 21st Century Studio-Tattoo (1520 SE 7th Ave., 238-9915) do the best body spreads in town.
Best place to get a piercing
You leave it up to the good folks at Black Hole (2946 NE Glisan St., 231-0712) to pierce you right.
Best place to buy some wine
All you frugal gourmets-cum-winos like to buy your jugs at Trader Joe's (2122 NW Glisan St., 971-544-0788, and various locations).
Local politician who seems most like someone you might actually know
That gap-tooth smile...that affinity for rap music.... Down-to-earth city commish Erik Sten has that familiar boy-next-door quality. As one respondent noted, "My friend can't afford orthodontics either." Other responses: "Jim Francesconi...faceless...nameless...like a scene out of Night Hawks by Hopper" and "Lon Mabon; he's just like my fucking in-laws."
Best local political activist
Anti-logging crusader Tre Arrow makes you want to live in a treetop, too. OK, maybe not. Other interesting responses: Tyler Durden, the lead hellraiser in Fight Club, as well as "the guy who keeps burning shit up."
Best local political cause
The fact that our tykes (and our future caregivers, when we're geriatric) are crammed in 45 to a classroom has you in a tizzy over school funding.
Best public school
You're over the fact that Matt Groening is a Lincoln grad. Instead, Grant High (2245 NE 36th Ave., 916-5160) has you feeling the blue-and-gray General pride.
Best form of local public transportation
You still trust your ol' buddy MAX to whisk you around the city (streetcar, what?). Not to worry--the robotic bilingual announcements for each stop freak us out, too.
Local television broadcaster who seems like someone you might actually know
You say you feel all cozy with weatherman/heartthrob Rob Marciano. We say in your dreams.
Best local TV news banterer
KOIN's Jeff Gianola's back-and-forth chatter goes beyond the usual "sure-is-hot-out-there-today-and-I'm-wearing-heavy-makeup!" fluff.
Hometown radio morning team that gets your ass out of bed
The witty duo Gustav and Daria on 94.7 KNRK helps decrust your sleepy eyes for the second year in a row.
Best no-holds-barred local newspaper columnist (not from Willamette Week)
When you've already read the latest WW, you turn to Oregonian writer Steve Duin--he of the sexy-ugly moustache and penchant for losing troubled youth--to give it to you straight.
Best local website
You waste the most time at work surfing the OregonLive website (www.oregonlive.com), but we appreciate all you ass-kissers who voted for ours!
Best local gov website
The Metro site (www.metro-region.org) is your favorite place to whine about traffic jams and those goddamn Californians (and, of late, Seattleites).
Best radio host who knows of what he speaks
KXL's Lars Larson's hardcore right-wing rhetoric has you yelling "Amen!" at the radio. Then you feel like an idiot when you realize he can't hear you but the whole office can.
We asked you to come up with your own; our favorite comes to us from Jonathan Smart of North Portland:
Portland's Shiniest Moment -- When city officials decided not to round up resident aliens for questioning.
Big ups to Amanda Jones, who was selected at random from our online respondents. She wins a $1,000 gift certificate to Portland Brewing's Taproom. Amanda and 26 other winners will receive their prizes this week: gift certificates to Kells Irish Restaurant & Pub, Montage and Spa Sassé, as well as free admissions to the Northwest Film & Video Center. Earlier winners got to attend the Portland premiere of The Vagina Monologues.