Spoiler alert: There is no best pizza in this issue.
If you’re a longtime reader of Willamette Week—which in November celebrates 40 years of presenting Portlanders with an independent and irreverent understanding of how their world works so they can make a difference—you already know that. This year, as every year, the one and only Best of Portland issue probably won’t tell you what to spend your money on—unless you count origami flowers made from paper towels or a hotel room at the sloth sanctuary.
In any other city where a local publication does a “Best Of” issue readers vote for their favorite french fries.
Portland, we think, deserves something different and better.
Each year, we set out to recognize the best robotic yeti, corgi trained to shut brewpub doors and conservative-baiting church sign in town. In other words, the things that make this city so special. People who encourage strangers to cover their horse-chestnut tree with handwritten wishes, lobby for insect rights, produce a radio show with two hours of screams and explosions or make their own urn for dad’s ashes because the urns already available are too ugly.
We love these people because they’re all creating their own little worlds. In some cases, literally. Take Brian D’Agostino, who made the replica of Portland’s skyline out of Legos (see below). No glue, no knives, no paint—just thousands of tiny blocks ordered online and assembled in his spare bedroom. Yes, it’s a little over-the-top, but it’s exactly the sort of thing we like to celebrate in the Best of Portland issue, because it speaks to something deeper than the deepest-dish Chicago-style pizza. Besides, we tell you about the best pizza, fries, beer and bands every week—flip here for a survey of other things we formally declared to be the best in town over the past 12 calendar months.
Those things are all great—the best of their class, even—but the best things in Portland are in a class of their own.