The best thing about being high: “When every bite of food feels as if it was prepared and gingerly placed on your tongue by Selaphiel, Chef King of the Angel Babies.”
The best longshoremen’s bar in Portland: Nicolai Street Clubhouse. “Situated in a gritty section of Northwest, its tides ebb and flow with the shift changes of the union men who work the docks at the Port of Portland and come here for free popcorn, a turn on the shuffleboard table and a loud argument about who was the best defensive end ever to play the game.”
Beer of the Year: Pfriem Belgian Strong Dark, “a rabbit hole of structured complexity. It unfolds like a well-written mystery novel—dark, spicy and sweet characters deceive in one chapter then reveal in the next.”
Best comedian: Amy Miller, as determined by a vote of her peers. “With her round face and blunt strawberry-blond bangs, she knows she’s both cute and non-threatening, and she milks this to her advantage.”
Food Cart of the Year: Burrasca, which “doesn’t really feel like a cart so much as a fine open-air restaurant—or maybe a home windowsill one might as well be stealing from.”
Best New Band: Ural Thomas, “a powerhouse performer who once shared stages with James Brown, Otis Redding and Stevie Wonder” and who, in the last year, went from “being an artifact in a record collector’s crate to a local living legend, headlining sold-out gigs at Doug Fir Lounge and Mississippi Studios.”
Bar of the Year: Enso Urban Winery, “a new model for what the wine bar can be.”
Best pita: TarBoush, which “does pita—and pretty much everything else—right.”
Best Iraqi restaurant: Dar Salam.
Best Middle Eastern restaurant, period: Dar Salam.
Best cronut: Joe’s Donuts of Sandy, “tastier than any doughnut-type breakfast pastry in this city.”
Best strip-club steak: Sassy’s, “the Mercedes of strip-club steak…that it was served during a dance by a woman named Mercedes was just a happy coincidence.”
The best pizza in town, “and arguably for 1,000 miles around Portland”: Apizza Scholls.
Best new cafes and coffee roasters: Cathedral Coffee, Din Din, Either/Or, Heart Roasters-West End, Kenilworth Coffeehouse, Nossa Familia, Olé Latte, Portland Roasting Co. tasting room, Ristretto Roasters-Couch, Stumptown Annex and Rose City Coffee.
Best single-serving pizza: Pyro, where “pizzaiolos aren’t afraid to walk the razor’s edge, firing foot-wide pies until the thinnest bubbles turn black and pop, leaving the rest of the crust at ideal crispness.”
The last, best burger cart: Burger Guild (RIP, Burgatroyd).
The best 9-plus-ABV imperial stout in bottles priced under $9: Gigantic Most Premium Russian Imperial Stout. “Like hazelnut hot cocoa—big and a little crunchy.”
The “best onion rings you will ever have”: Lincoln’s crunchy cornmeal onion rings.
Best macaron: Farina, “as pretty as anything on the market, and tastier than the rest.”
Best Hawaiian plate lunch: L&L Hawaiian Barbecue, “voted best plate lunch on the island in 2008 by The Honolulu Advertiser. There really is no reason to get plate lunch anywhere else in Portland.”
Best drinking movie of 2013: The World’s End, which “runs through all the motions of a drunken night out—excitement, nostalgia, sadness, the urge to punch somebody in the face.”
“The best songwriter ever to emerge from this city,” according to many critics:
Elliott Smith. “A few years ago, Paste magazine ranked Smith the very best thing about Portland—above Powell’s, Mount Hood, the book Geek Love and Gus Van Sant’s entire oeuvre.”
The best westside Spanish joint in a generation: Ataula, which “brings a renewed focus on top-quality tapas that has been missing in Portland for more than a decade.”
The best surprise party ever: “Every day” in the life of the band Haim, according to Haim, which headlines MusicfestNW next month.
Best honey: Bee Local Portland Farmland, which comes from Pleasant Valley and is “the color of grade-A maple syrup and has a nice, strong blueberry flavor.”
Best milk: Garry’s Meadow Fresh, “sold in glass bottles with little globs of white fat stuck to the cap…even in a blind tasting, this milk stands out for its thickness and freshness.”
Best performance of the Portland International Film Festival: Luminita Gheorghiu as the mother in Child’s Pose, who is “restrained but powerful, breathing life and credibility into what could have been an overwrought role.”
Best micro-budget movie about writers on motorcycles you’ll see this year:
The Best Bar in America, about “a world-weary writer scouring the Southwest for the prototypical pub.”
Best pumpkin beer: Elysian’s The Great Pumpkin.
Best pumpkin cider: Doc’s Draft.
Best Oregon sparkling wine: 2010 Argyle Vintage Brut. “Beautifully dry, like an old farmhouse cider but with thousands of tiny bubbles.”
The best $5 burrito in Portland: Lindo Michoacan, which “starts with the stretchy handmade flour tortillas, which have the same surprising strength as super high-end paper towels.”
The best New Mexican food in town: La Panza.
The best commercial pitchman at Pickathon, which is “the best li’l roots-ish music festival in town”: Dale Watson. “At his raucous Galaxy Barn show on Saturday, his band would break into a faux-bossa-nova swing, while Watson flashed a pearly grin, extolling the virtues of Lone Star.”
Best damn chile verde you’ll ever have cooked by a Dutch woman: The Standard.
The best criticism any WW staffer could level at anything in a $26 box of treats from the newish Sugar Cube bakery: “Lack of contrast between the citrus almond cake’s hyper-lemony curd center and extremely lemony zest-heavy cake.”