The Best of Eugene 2012-2013

Those Who Give the “Care Bear Stare”

Best Politico

1. Peter DeFazio

2. Kitty Piercy

3. Pete Sorenson

Person of the Year

1. Kitty Piercy

2. Chip Kelly

3. Peter DeFazio

You dirty hippies sure do love your Democrats, don’t you? Looks like Rep. Peter DeFazio can count on “best politico” voters to support him in his race against Oregon’s favorite purveyor of the crazy, Art Robinson. He’s got a lot of local momentum, plus one of the best political Onion articles of all time: “Last Remaining Politician Must Rebuild Entire Government Following Bloodiest Midterm Election in American History.” Person of the year Kitty Piercy knocked it out of the park in May’s election, winning 63 percent of the votes for Eugene mayor. That’s a lot, even for “we should all agree” Eugene.

Best Nonprofit

1. FOOD for Lane County

2. Planned Parenthood

3. Greenhill Humane Society

“There is a very deep commitment in Lane County towards feeding hungry people. It goes deep and it has for a long time,” FOOD for Lane County Executive Director Beverlee Hughes says. Established in 1984 with just one staff member and one volunteer, FFLC has grown over the past quarter century to be the powerhouse nonprofit we know and trust. The vision remains: eliminate hunger in Lane County. And while distributing 7.5 million pounds of food every year makes a massive difference, FFLC is not stopping there. “Because our food supply has been limited and the number of people who need our services is greatly increasing, we’ve turned to our local economy and we’ve turned to local farmers and have asked them to start growing crops for us,” Hughes says, noting that this past year six farmers switched from grass seed to grain crops to help out and the project was a huge success, one they’ll continue into the future as they strive to keep besting their bests.

Best Enviro Organization

1. BRING Recycling

2. Cascadia Wildlands

3. NextStep Recycling

Voting for best environmental organization in Eugene is like voting for the best fish in the ocean. Green groups are ubiquitous here, and we love all of them. If you haven’t yet been to BRING, then head on over and be prepared to pick through something that’s kind of like The. Best. Garage. Sale. Ever. Kitchen sinks, art, nails, chairs, windows, doors, toys … it’s all there. Cascadia Wildlands howled into second with its efforts to save wolves, trees, small potato-shaped birds and stop coal trains from fouling our wild places as well as our lungs. For their electronic needs, readers chose NextStep with its cool computers and programs to help people who don’t always have a lot of cash to throw at getting a computer in this cyber-heavy world.

Best Hell-Raiser

1. Occupy Eugene

2. Lefty Kelleher

3. Day Owen

In one short year Occupy Eugene went from a march to a camp (or five) to loud and proud advocates for the homeless, the disenfranchised and those who are tired of getting beaten up by Wall Street. We saw street folks working with businesspeople and homeless street kids getting politicized. We like it and so do our readers. The Occupation continues.

Best Uproar

1. Occupy Eugene

2. West 11th EmX

3. Pitchfork Rebellion Mock Trial

Pretty, Like Unicorns

Best Live Music Venue

1. The Cuthbert Amphitheatre Alton Baker Park.

2. WOW Hall 291 W. 8th Ave. 687-2746.

3. Sam Bond’s Garage 407 Blair Blvd. 343-2635.

Best Show/Concert in the Past Year

1. Pretty Lights at the Cuthbert

2. Michael Franti at the Cuthbert (pictured)

3. The Beach Boys at the Cuthbert

Best Radio Show

1. The Donkey Show on 101.5 FM KFLY

2. Food for Thought on 89.7 FM KLCC

3. Sunday Morning Hangover on 88.1 FM KWVA

All right Eugene, this one is all yours. We guess Throbbits read EW? The Donkey Show, hosted by Drew and “Buster Ass” Marcus and backed by a motley crew of characters, took back first place after a year hiatus. It’s not quite our cup of tea; I guess it’s hard to get behind hating on the homeless and sound bites like “I want to kick you in the liver and ovary” (even if it is set to Savage Garden’s “Truly Madly Deeply”).

Best Self-Published 

Literary Item

1. Exiled in Eugene

2. Culinaria Eugenius

3. Pork

This zine’s mission is to serve Eugene’s ample alternative community by featuring submission-based work. No wonder it’s a favorite — Exiled in Eugene is by the readers, for the readers. It’s like an awesome, edgy scrapbook, full of unexpected surprises on every page.

Best Writer

1. Sally Sheklow, Eugene Weekly

2. Bob Welch, The Register-Guard

3. Camilla Mortensen, Eugene Weekly

Best Visual Artist

1. Tomo Tsurumi

2. Jud Turner

3. Claire Flint

The craziest origami that Tomo Tsurumi, saxophonist for Volifonix, has ever crafted is his series of five, 1-meter tall Godzillas for the 2010 Halloween Reeble Jar show at the McDonald Theatre. Wait, no. It was the $2,000 engagement ring folded with 10 Benjamins and 20 Grants. Oh, and what about the 99 unicorns he whipped up for this photo? Tsurumi has lived in Oregon for 16 years and has been practicing origami for more than 30; his mother taught him at age 4 when he lived in Japan. “I like it because it’s beautiful, simply,” he says, also pointing to his fondness for the art’s geometric principles. The artist came to America for “education, adventure and rock ‘n’ roll.” When he’s not playing epic sax solos, Tsurumi teaches others how to make origami and speak Japanese. Check out his video making dog, butterfly and Godzilla origami with Eugene as a backdrop:

Best Theater Production

1. (tie) Avenue Q — Actors Cabaret of Eugene 

& Lord Leebrick Theatre

3. Silver Spurs Saloon — Phoinix Players

Imagine our surprise when we counted ballots and realized that Avenue Q votes (well, those that neglected to mention the theater company) could go to either Actors Cabaret of  Eugene or Lord Leebrick. We decided to call it a tie based on the overwhelming Avenue Q response, and we’ll be sure to specify that we need the show and company if we keep this category next year.

Best DJ


2. DJ food stamp

3. Marc Time

GOLDEN DJs is a group of some of the most driven DJs Eugene has right now, persistently pushing their ideals, and making us adopt their tastes, until we love it, and them, enough to vote them Best of Eugene. GOLDEN DJs is comprised of DJs Rain, J.Ray, Crown and food stamp, and while they might spin (strictly vinyl) tracks at night, by day they are your average Eugeneans. DJ food stamp is even an instructor at UO. Playing almost every venue Eugene has to offer (and boasting the title of the only DJs to play Jameson’s ever), their mission is to take us back to hip hop’s golden era and make the role of DJ and educator synonymous. DJ food stamp elaborates, “In reality, none of the GOLDEN DJs are musicians per se. But I think that we are all well-versed in the history of recorded music and what sounds dope. We are all about bringing those familiar sounds to the fore, and we play a lot of original breaks and samples … The DJ nowadays is straight-up an entertainer, whereas in prior decades the DJs was an entertainer and educator. So we try to bring back the education element to the party scene instead of just playing that bullshit in everybody’s iTunes playlist.” GOLDEN DJs are funky, unique, and they have attitude all their own. With the countless shows they play all over town, they are definitely a must-see for the true hip-hop fans out there.

Best Clothing Designer

1. Laura Lee Laroux

2. Alli Ditson

3. Mitra Chester

You’ve seen her designs all around town: those effortlessly cool, nymph-like women wearing rustic ruffled pants or grunge-chic plaid jumpers. And she’s definitely made the fanny pack look not only acceptable, but also fresh with fringe detailing and studded black leather. “I design for women that enjoy practical clothing,” says Laura Lee Laroux, who is also the owner of The Redoux Parlour (see Best Resale Store and Best Store to Feel Sexy). “My stuff definitely has a kind of ruffle-y, western flair but also a menswear structure. You can wear them mushroom hunting or to a concert.” Her top sellers are her “utilitarian” overalls and shirtdresses. As a designer, what does Laroux hope for Eugene’s fashion-forward future?  “I would love to see a production house go in,” she says. “There’s a need for it. This city is aware of it, too.”

Best Gallery

1. New Zone Gallery 164 W. Broadway. 683-0759.

2. Jacobs Gallery 1 Eugene Center. 684-5635.

3. White Lotus 767 Willamette St. 345-3276.

Best Band

1. Sol Seed

2. Volifonix

3. Dreamdog

Playing an array of venues around Eugene, ranging from the McDonald to Cozmic, Sol Seed has a heavy local presence. With hypnotic beats and graceful rhythms, Eugene is lucky to call itself home to such a unique band. “What sets us apart is the variety that our music brings. We have multiple lyricists, everyone gets a chance to sing and rap, and we all write our own lyrics,” says percussionist, didgeridooist and vocalist Sky Guasco. “We incorporate a lot of different instruments, we have a didgeridoo, electronic, dub, saxophone, and we integrate a lot of instruments. Reggae is definitely our backbone, but there’s also a hip hop influence; there’s Latin, funk, blues, jazz lines; we bring a lot to the table.” You’d be hard pressed to find a band as interesting and entertaining as Sol Seed anywhere else. As much as EW readers love the band, their concerts show that they return the affection. “At our shows it’s not so much being on stage playing to the audience, it’s the energy we give to the crowd and what we get back,” Guasco says. “Our shows are about reciprocated energy, and they’re a lot of fun. It’s an honor to be a part of Best of Eugene.”

Best Vocalist

1. Halie Loren

2. Siri Vik

3. (ménage-a-tie)

Beth Wood,  Sara Z, 

Shelley James

Nighttime Rainbows of Happy 

Best Bar

1. Sam Bond’s Garage 407 Blair Blvd. 343-2635.

2. The Horsehead Bar 99 W. Broadway. 683-3154.

3. Izakaya Meiji 345 Van Buren St. 505-8804.

Best Beers on Tap

1. The Bier Stein 345 E. 11th Ave. 485-2437.

2. Ninkasi Brewing Tasting Room  272 Van Buren St. 344-2739.

3. 16 Tons 265 E. 13th Ave. 345-2003.

The Bier Stein has a strange foreign name that refers to an ornamental earthen beer mug in German, but at this pub it’s not the mugs we’re concerned with, it’s what they’re filled with (then promptly and completely emptied). In addition to its stock options of more than 1,000 bottled beers, The Bier Stein is just as well known for its consistently top-notch selection of beers on tap. From a Mr. Yuck Sour Pumpkin Ale by Seattle-based Elysian Brewery to Block 15’s Heliotropic Ale made with only the finest “fresh picked nugget hops” from Corvallis, the Stein keeps the tap almost strictly Pacific Northwest — just a pils or two from across the pond to keep the out-of-towners from whining that they’re getting buzzed too quickly from the otherwise 7.1 percent average-alcohol-by-volume tap lineup.

Best Bartender

1. Ty Connor, Horsehead 99 W. Broadway. 683-3154.

2. Sommerfield Habener, Luckey’s Club Cigar Store 933 Olive St. 687-4643.

3. Elliot Martinez, Izakaya Meiji 345 Van Buren St. 505-8804.

Best Wine

1. King Estate Winery 80854 Territorial Highway.


2. Sweet Cheeks Winery 27007 Briggs Hill Rd.


3. LaVelle Vineyards 296 E. 5th Ave. #25.


Best Mixed Drinks

1. Izakaya Meiji 345 Van Buren St. 505-8804.

2. The Vintage 837 Lincoln St. 349-9181.

3. The Davis Restaurant & Bar 94 W. Broadway. 485-1124.

Full disclosure: Last time we went over to Meiji to write about the drinks there, we wound up drinking, and drinking some more. Try to describe Izakaya Meiji and you usually start with “Japanese whiskey bar.” You can’t go wrong, even if you are whiskey newbie — the whiskey and ginger is just right and the hot toddies on a cold day warm you from the inside or at least make you feel warm and fuzzy. But Meiji is more than whiskey. Hit the bartenders up for whatever concoction they are mixing up that day. The mixologists have never steered us wrong.

Best Happy Hour

1. Starlight Lounge 830 Olive St. 343-3204.

2. (tie) Izakaya Meiji 345 Van Buren St. 505-8804., Izumi Sushi and Grill 2773 Shadow View Dr. 683-1201.

The Starlight Lounge, located on Olive Street off 8th Avenue, runs on mood lighting, a vibrant crowd and happy hour specials. Happy hour lasts from 4 to 7 pm seven days a week, with many drinks sold for $2 and a special on Oregon microbrews and other beers on tap. If you are, for instance, craving a white Russian with Crater Lake Vodka in the early evening and have nothing but $2 (plus tip) to spend, this is your place.

Best Place to Sing Karaoke

1. Cornucopia 207 E. 5th Ave. 485-2676.

2. Oak Street Speakeasy 915 Oak St. 284-4000.

3. Izakaya Meiji 345 Van Buren St. 505-8804.

Best Open Mic/Jam

1. Sam Bond’s Garage 407 Blair Blvd. 343-2635.

2. Cozmic 199 W. 8th Ave. 338-9333.

3. Diablo’s 959 Pearl St., 343-2346,

Sam Bond’s is an excellent spot to see some up-and-coming talent in Eugene and from across the country, but when the professionals aren’t taking the stage, Sam Bond’s various jam nights are also a must-visit. While they do have an Irish jam night that they are very proud of, their bluegrass jam was voted best in Eugene. “Our bluegrass jam is super fun and friendly; I think it showcases a lot of great local musicians who can get together and make great music on a weekly basis,” co-owner Todd Davis tells EW.

Best Bar Grub

1. The Horsehead Bar 99 W. Broadway. 683-3154.

2. Falling Sky Brewing 1334 Oak Alley. 505-7096.

3. Jackalope Lounge 453 Willamette St. 485-1519.

Ever get so wasted you started craving a gigantic, hearty bowl of food? Us neither; we only have one or two on special occasions. But if we did have the drunchies, it’s probably a safe bet that we’d hit The Horsehead Bar and mack on some red beans and rice, mac and cheese, or that scrum-diddly-umptious catfish. So thanks, Horsehead, for keeping that fire in our bellies at bay.

Best Special Brew

1. Oakshire Brewing Overcast Espresso Stout 1055 Madera St. 688-4555.

2. Ninkasi Brewing Maiden the Shade 272 Van Buren St. 344-2739.

3. Oakshire Brewing Line Dry Rye 1055 Madera St. 688-4555.

Just when you think the impossible choice between beer and coffee is going to completely ruin your day, Oakshire’s Overcast Espresso Stout happens. The coffee-flavored oatmeal stout gets its dose of java from Wandering Goat’s cold-brewed coffee. Oakshire’s Amanda Pence says Overcast is special because it’s a brew for any time of day, to pair with sweet or savory food, and even during those rare Eugene days when it’s not actually overcast.

Best Game of Pool

1. Luckey’s Club Cigar Store 933 Olive St. 687-4643.

2. Highlands Brew Pub 390 E. 40th Ave. 485-4304.

3. Jackalope Lounge 453 Willamette St. 485-1519.

Best Singles Scene

1. Cowfish 62 W. Broadway.

2. John Henry’s  77 W. Broadway. 342-3358.

3. Jameson’s Bar 115 W. Broadway. 485-9913.

Best Same Sex Pick Up Spot

1. Cowfish 62 W. Broadway.

2. John Henry’s (especially during GLAM) 77 W. Broadway. 342-3358.

3. Ninkasi Brewing 272 Van Buren St. 344-2739.

Cowfish has been voted both best singles scene and best same-sex pickup spot, an impressive feat for a town seemingly bustling with various bars and clubs where people congregate. What is it about Cowfish that makes it so attractive to the looking-for-love (or sex) crowd? Co-owner Shawn Mediaclast says, “I’m just happy that the people who work there made it so that everybody feels comfortable being who they are at Cowfish; there’s a really light-hearted, friendly vibe that makes everyone feel welcome.” Cowfish also features an array of DJs offering entertainment many nights of the week, so if you’re looking to get down, both literally and figuratively, Cowfish is the place to be.

Best Brewery

1. Ninkasi Brewing 272 Van Buren St. 344-2739.

2. Oakshire Brewing 1055 Madera St. 688-4555.

3. Falling Sky Brewing 1334 Oak Alley. 505-7096.

Since 2006, when Jamie Floyd and Nikos Ridge started the brewery, Ninkasi has grown to totally dominate the craft brew world. Well, maybe that’s an overstatement, but only slightly — the brewery has recently overtaken New Belgium as the fastest-growing craft brewery in the country, according to marketing director James Book. Growing pains, yes, but not at the price of quality. “We’re not going to do it in a way where we’re going to sacrifice quality — it’s gotta be the best beer,” he says. “We make beers that we like and we’ll spend more to make them the way we want to drink them.” The growth continues: Ninkasi broke ground on the next expansion (its fourth in five years) in early October. Readers mirror our favorite brewery by continuing to grow in their love for its hop-licious brews.

Best Place to Drink in the Sun

1. McMenamins North Bank 22 Club Rd. 342-5622.

2. Ninkasi Brewing 272 Van Buren St. 344-2739.

3. Falling Sky Brewing 1334 Oak Alley. 505-7096.

Yummy in Your Tummy

Best Bakery — Savory

1. Hideaway Bakery 3377 E. Amazon Dr. 868-1982.

2. Eugene City Bakery 1607 E. 19th Ave. 334-6906.

3. Metropol 2538 Willamette St. 465-4730.

Even though Hideaway Bakery’s famous Tuesday night pizza on the patio is on hiatus until spring (hello rain!), all of Hideaway’s delicious offerings can still fill your belly. Hideaway’s bread menu is a perfect place to seek out loaves you’ll love, like the kalamata olive loaf, seeded sourdough, country levant or fig anise rolls. In addition to its food, Hideaway is a neighborhood gem that’s fun for southeast residents to walk to and very kid-friendly.

Best Hangover Breakfast

1. Brails 1689 Willamette St. 343-1542.

2. Studio One Café 1473 E. 19th Ave. 342-8596.

3. Glenwood 1340 Alder St., 687-0355; 2588 Willamette St., 687-8201.

Not only does Brails have the best hangover breakfast, it literally has a hangover special on the menu, which includes two eggs, hash browns and a biscuit with gravy. And why is Brails such popular hangover cuisine? “The price is right and the food quality is great,” says Jeff Black, a kitchen manager at Brails. “Portions are good-sized and a lot of college students are really into that.” Traditional breakfast food is a must-have at Brails, with eggs and hash browns high on the list of student favorites. Add a nice breakfast burrito and that hangover will be gone in no time.

Best Bakery — Sweet

1. Sweet Life Patisserie 755 Monroe St. 683-5676.

2. Hideaway Bakery 3377 E. Amazon Dr. 868-1982.

3. Metropol 2538 Willamette St. 465-4730.

SURPRISE! Ask any Eugenean where to find a delicious and diverse array of desserts, and Sweet Life is sure to be among the suggestions. “We always try to make things that we can tell that people want,” co-owner Cheryl Reinhart says, and that’s why they’ve added more gluten-free items to a selection that already included many vegan options and six desserts of the month. When heading to Sweet Life in November, look for the pumpkin cheesecake, gingerbread pear cake or the brand new quince hazelnut frangipane tart. Reinhart says that next on the list is experimenting with a natural fructose-based sweetener to create desserts lower in sugar. “We get lots of requests for low-glycemic-index, individual desserts like that,” she says. If anyone can perfect sugar-free sweets, it’s Sweet Life!

Best Barbecue

1. Papa’s Soul Food 400 Blair Blvd. 342-7500.

2. Hole in the Wall 3200 W. 11th Ave., 683-7378; 1807 Olympic St., Spfd., 726-1200.

3. H&H BBQ 575 Oregon 99. 688-3333.

Best Burger

1. Cornucopia 207 E. 5th Ave. 485-2676.

2. Dickie Jo’s Burgers 1079 C Valley River Way. 912-9091.

3. Falling Sky Brewing 1334 Oak Alley. 505-7096.

Vegans, vegetarians, herbivores and animal advocates, we salute you but please skip over the following and let us enjoy our patties away from your gaze. It’s no wonder Cornucopia won best burger — have you seen where its beef comes from? Go for a ride down Lorane Highway sometime and see the cows at pasture at Knee Deep Cattle Company in the rolling hills of wine country. If there is such a thing as happy cows, these 100 percent free-range and grass-fed cattle are it (they are also antibiotic and hormone-free). Cornucopia says it keeps nabbing “best burger” because it uses “all fresh local beef and make them fresh daily.” So if you haven’t already, pull up a chair at one of their two locations and order up a “Jeros Bacon Cheese Burger” or a “Big Baby Bleu Burger” stacked with bleu cheese, bacon avocado, lettuce and mayo — two of their most popular burgers.

Best Pizza

1. Mezza Luna Pizzeria 933 Pearl St., 684-8900; 2776 Shadow View Dr., 743-2999.

2. Pizza Research Institute 530 Blair Blvd. 343-1307.

3. Pegasus Pizza 790 E. 14th Ave., 344-4471; #4 Oakway Center, 344-0844.

If you’ve never been to Mezza Luna, do yourself a favor and visit its website so you can check out the litany of meat and veggie slice varieties created since opening in 2005. Mezza Luna’s Jody Nichols says one thing that makes the restaurant special is “the love put into each pie” as each is carefully made from scratch. Even the cheese is hand-grated. She says the Boss Hogg (bacon, spinach, Roma tomatoes, regular and smoked mozzarella, garlic-olive oil base) has made the jump from the slicer menu to the regular menu because “everybody wanted it every time they came in,” and the Savory Garden (artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, fresh spinach, roasted red and yellow peppers, roasted garlic, with mozzarella cheese and artichoke pesto sauce) is a winner among vegetarians.

Best Coffee

1. Wandering Goat 268 Madison St. 344-5401.

2. Full City 295 E. 13th Ave., 465-9270; 842 Pearl St., 344-0475.

3. Brails 1689 Willamette St. 343-1542.

This year’s reader votes for best coffee go to a Whiteaker staple, Wandering Goat. The folks at the Goat roast in micro lots, getting their beans farmer specific instead of co-op style, to keep the quality high and the variety vast. Patrons can stop by for a cup and watch the roasting process as it happens through the windows, which lead from the cozy coffee house directly into the roasting room. And if you feel coffeed out — if that is actually a thing — Wandering Goat offers a product somewhat new to the Eugene coffee scene: cascara, which is a tea made from the dried cherries of the coffee bean. It packs the same caffeine offering into a decidedly fruitier, smoother beverage, and the Wandering Goat is one of the only places in Eugene you can try some. So even if you’re a Goat regular, you haven’t stopped by in a while or are brand new to Goat’s java, there is always something new worth trying, right in the heart of the Whit.

Best Barista

1. Sky Stickney, The Barn Light 924 Willamette St.

2. Aaron Chester, Perk 1351 Willamette St. 636-3255. 

3. Sue Harnly, Eugene Coffee Co. 1840 Chambers. 344-0002.

With six years of experience under his belt, barista Sky Stickney knows how to make a good cup of coffee. But of course, being the best barista is about more than the coffee-making skills. Colleagues applaud him for his friendly personality and bright attitude toward life. Stickney’s passion comes from his “love of coffee and people,” he says. He’s no longer working at Brails, but don’t worry, you can find him at the new downtown coffee bar The Barn Light when it opens in November.

Best New Restaurant

1. Rye 444 E. 3rd Ave. 653-8509.

2. (tie) Taco Belly 291 E. 5th Ave. 687-8226.
Falling Sky Brewing 1334 Oak Alley. 505-7096.

This year’s winner for best new restaurant is Rye, and it is very little wonder why. With a team devoted to amazing and unique foods, beverages and pairings of the two — not to mention a chocolatier on staff offering exclusive sweets to provide the perfect end to any meal — Rye’s rotating seasonal menu and economically friendly prices are sure to deliver something for everyone. From the warmth of the decor to the friendliness of the staff, you’ll feel at home and well taken care of from the moment you walk in to the moment you leave, undoubtedly satisfied.

Best Restaurant

1. Belly 291 E. 5th Ave. 683-5896.

2. Marché 296 E. 5th Ave. 683-2260.

3. Cornbread Café 1290 W. 7th Ave. 505-9175.

Belly is a gem of a Eugene restaurant, with its pleasant atmosphere, elaborate yet affordable dishes and locally sourced, seasonal menu. Self-described as “rustic, European farmhouse soul food,” how could you go wrong? Meat lovers will delight in the pork confit with crispy polenta and plums and the glazed lamb ribs. And, of course, the well-balanced drink list is an added bonus.

Best Italian

1. Beppe & Gianni’s 1646 E. 19th Ave. 683-6661.

2. Mazzi’s 3377 E. Amazon Dr. 687-2252.

3. Noli 296 E. 5th Ave., 686-9199; 769 Monroe St.

Best Mediterranean-Greek-Indian

1. Poppi’s Anatolia 992 Willamette St. 343-9661.

2. Evergreen 1525 Franklin Blvd. 343-7944.

3. Café Soriah 384 W. 13th Ave. 342-4410.

A Eugene fixture since 1987, Poppi’s Anatolia has definitely made its mark on our town, consecutively winning Best of Eugene. As to its secret, “The people, the people who work here are what make us the best!” Poppi’s tells EW. Operating out of a humble-sized restaurant in downtown Eugene, Poppi’s is definitely more about quality than show, aiming to provide meals that are friendly and nurturing while providing our taste buds the opportunity to travel across the globe in a single meal. To its fan base the restaurant says: “We appreciate the long-standing customers and clients who keep coming back even when we mess it up.”

Best Mexican-Latin

1. (tie) Chapala 68 W. 29th Ave., 683-5458; 136 Oakway Center, 434-6113.

Red Agave (Pictured) 454 Willamette St. 683-2206.

3. Mi Tierra 638 Blair Blvd. 743-0779.

Best Thai

1. Ta Ra Rin 1200 Oak St. 343-1230.

2. Sweet Basil 941 Pearl St. 1219 Alder St. 284-2944.

3. Sabai 27 Oakway Center. 654-5424.

Mmm. Pumpkin curry sounds like the perfect dish for an autumn eve. Made with Asian pumpkins (similar to squash, these pumpkins are mottled green on the outside, like a watermelon, with a slightly sweet yellow inside), bell peppers, basil and a red curry sauce, Ta Ra Rin highly recommends it. And as it’s the most popular Thai joint in town, you should probably go order it. Ta Ra Rin says customers love its food because “we keep the food the same quality. The owner checks the food quality all the time.” Arna “B” Khongkhaning, the restaurant’s founder and head chef hailing from Bangkok, cooks the traditional Thai fare from recipes that have been passed down over generations.

Best Sushi 

1. Sushi Domo 1020 Green Acres Rd., 343-0935; 2835 Oak St.

2. PURE 296 E. 5th Ave., 654-0608.

3. Izumi 2773 Shadow View Dr., 683-1201.

Best Korean

1. Noodle Bowl 860 Pearl St. 686-1114.

2. Café AriRang 485 E. Broadway. 302-4542. 

3. Korea House 1306 Hilyard St. 345-9555.

Best Place to Eat with Kids

1. Laughing Planet 760 Blair Blvd., 868-0668; 2864 Willamette St., 505-5399.

2. Stay home! You’re why Daddy drinks! NIMBYville

3. Papa’s Pizza 1700 W. 11th Ave., 485-5555; 1577 Coburg Rd., 686-2240;

We hesitate to say it’s all about the dinosaurs because that would belittle the mutually beneficial relationship Laughing Planet has provided to parents and their offspring all around Eugene: nutritious options that kids think taste good —- like good ol’ rice and beans (together, a complete protein) or a mini quesadilla. That said, the dinos are key. “Kids really like to take all the dinosaurs to their table and they don’t like to really share,” says Blair Boulevard store manager Rachel Fabrocini. Another front counter employee adds that she’s garnering a photo collection of some serious dino stacks. Where else but at Laughing Planet are tiny greasy fingers hoarding and stacking plastic prehistoric figures not just welcomed but also encouraged? As if the food wasn’t enough! And vegetarians love it — in the Veggies Gone Wild burrito, for example, black beans, steamed broccoli, spinach, grain medley, cilantro lime slaw, green beans masala and Thai lemongrass peanut sauce all roll together like it was meant to be. If discovering an exotic burrito match is a part of an individual’s destiny, Laughing Planet is there to help you eat your way straight to cosmic bliss.

Best Food Cart

1. Delacata 725 Olive St. 543-0393.

2. Party Cart 2777 Friendly St. 543-8184.

3. Viva! Vegetarian Grill 12th & Willamette St.

Stephen and Colleen Sheehan, proprietors of Delacata, have been slinging their southern fare to Eugeneans for only two short years, but they have already become a local favorite. Using fresh local ingredients and making their own spices, rubs and seasoning as well as presenting a unique and ever-changing list of specials, it is no wonder why. Be sure to stop by the cart and taste their signature catfish, shrimp and grits or slug burgers and you’ll surely find yourself feeling right at home and ready to become a regular.

Best Eats Under $6

1. Burrito Boy 510 E. Broadway, 344-8070; 497 Hwy 99, 607-5513; 30 W. 10th Ave., 343-8089.

2. Café Yumm 1801 Willamette St., 686-YUMM; 130 Oakway Center, 465-YUMM; 730 E. Broadway, 344-YUMM; 1005 Green Acres Rd., 684-YUMM; The Crossroads, 3340 Gateway St., Spfd., 747-YUMM; Sacred Heart, 3333 RiverBend Dr., 736-YUMM

3. Laughing Planet 760 Blair Blvd., 868-0668; 2864 Willamette St., 505-5399.

Best Frozen Delights

1. Prince Pückler’s 1605 E. 19th Ave. 344-4418.

2. Vanilla Jill’s 460 Coburg Rd. #300. 844-2286.

3. Red Wagon Creamery

As the summer months come to a close, it is hard to imagine seeking out a sweet treat as cold as ice cream. Yet there are numerous studies that tell us that people eat as much, if not more, ice cream in the colder months. All things considered, it’s a great thing we have Prince Pückler’s, a Eugene tradition since 1975, to provide us our favorite sweet, creamy, cold treat year round. Prince Pückler’s uses the utmost quality when selecting ingredients to bring us their array of unique flavors and old standards. And since it’s election season, why not go down for a scoop of Obama’s favorite — the one he happily consumed on his visit to Eugene — the mint chip.

Best Place to Take Vegetarians

1. Laughing Planet 760 Blair Blvd. 868-0668. 2864 Willamette St. 505-5399.

2. Cornbread Café 1290 W. 7th Ave. 505-9175.

3. Café Yumm 1801 Willamette St., 686-YUMM; 130 Oakway Center, 465-YUMM; 730 E. Broadway, 344-YUMM; 1005 Green Acres Rd., 684-YUMM; The Crossroads, 3340 Gateway St., 747-YUMM; Sacred Heart, 3333 RiverBend Dr., 736-YUMM,

The Pot of Gold

Best New Business

1. Falling Sky Brewing 1334 Oak Alley. 505-7096.

2. Red Cane Theatre 1075 Chambers. 556-4524.

3. Brails Espresso 1689 Willamette St. 513-0341.

Did you notice how many categories this budding local brewery was a finalist in? Best bar grub, best place to drink in the sun, best brewery, best burger, best new restaurant and, finally, best new business. As far as we can recall, that’s a Best of Eugene record! Falling Sky is a hit because it’s hard to decide which is better, the beer or the food. Luckily, the choice isn’t mutually exclusive. And after less than a year in business, Falling Sky is already expanding.

Best Biking Store

1. Paul’s Bicycle Way of Life 234 W. 6th Ave., 344-4150; 3870 W. 11th Ave., 343-2250; 152 W. 5th Ave., 344-4105; 2480 Alder St., 342-6155

2. Arriving By Bike 2705 Willamette St. 484-5410.

3. Collin’s Cycle Shop 60 E. 11th Ave. 342-4878.

Best Bookstore

1. Smith Family 768 E. 13th Ave., 345-1651; 525 Willamette St., 343-4717.

2. Tsunami Books 2585 Willamette St. 345-8986.

3. J. Michaels 160 E. Broadway. 342-2002.

Holy leather-bound book, Batman, there’s a mountain of titles here. Walking into Smith Family Bookstore is sort of like venturing into a jungle; you’ll probably need eyes sharp as a machete to handle the sheer volume of type-ridden book-spines ahead of you. This said, we’ve never needed to go elsewhere just because Smith Family was “all out” or “didn’t carry that title,” even if we were searching for an exact volume about gastropod behaviors. Thanks, Smith Family, for broadening our literary columbaria time and time again.

Best Entertainment Shop

1. CD/Game Exchange 30 E. 11th Ave. 302-3045.

2. House of Records 258 E. 13th Ave. 342-7975.

3. CD World 3215 W. 11th Ave. Suite B. 683-6902.

Best Clothing Shop

1. Deluxe/Kitsch 1331 Willamette St. 686-0205.

2. Redoux Parlour 780 Blair Blvd. 342-1942.

3. Sweet Potato Pie 20 E. 11th Ave. 344-8810.

Best Resale Store

1. St. Vincent de Paul of Lane County

2. Deluxe/Kitsch 1331 Willamette St. 686-0205.

3. Redoux Parlour 780 Blair Blvd. 342-1942.

Best Vet

1. CatCare, Limited 1400 Willamette St. 302-5824.

2. Bush Animal Hospital 2415 Oakmont Way. 246-7025.

3. Amazon Park Animal Clinic 725 E. 25th Ave. 485-0161.

Walk in to CatCare, Limited and you are walking into a 100-year-old house and a cat-specific, family-owned business. Veterinarian Ann Samsell, who started CatCare 15 years ago, says those are just a few of the reasons clients come to the clinic for personal one-on-one attention to their kitties. She says that the homey atmosphere is accentuated for the cats because there are no dogs at the clinic to stress them out. After almost 25 years in practice Samsell decided to focus on felines because cats are “unique animals and have specific needs.” She says cats are “about the perfect pet.” One of the biggest challenges facing cats in Eugene is the amount of outdoor cats, and with the economic downturn people can’t always afford preventative care. Among the issues facing free-roaming cats are feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV, also known as feline AIDs), bite wounds and, Samsell says, rabies. She says that Oregon does not require a rabies shot, but even indoor cats should get one — one of her clients recently found a bat in her closet and a bat in Eugene recently tested positive for rabies. “It’s important to educate clients,” Samsell says, “empower them with information and teach them how to take care of their pets.”

Best Pet Supply Store

1. Mini Pet Mart 974 W. 6th Ave., 344-9603;2636 Willamette St., 345-3399; 2775 River Rd., 688-8619; 1999 Main St., Spfd., 744-0665.

2. The Healthy Pet 2777 Friendly St.

3. Nature’s Pet 2864 Willamette St. #200. 653-9247.

Pets and cigarettes go together like … things that you don’t want your house to smell like. But actually, considering they allow pets to come inside, Mini Pet Mart doesn’t smell bad at all, and it’s got a great array of dog foods from organic and grain-free to mainstream brands. We like them because it doesn’t matter if we show up with a pit bull or an ugly little Chihuahua, they always tell us the dog is cute and give it a treat. Rounding out this category is perennial favorite The Healthy Pet and relative newcomer Nature’s Pet. All three of our readers’ favorite places to pick up pet supplies are awfully nice about offering to carry out the massive bags of dog food it takes to keep the kennel at EW happy.

Best Place to Work Out

1. YMCA 2055 Patterson. 686-9622.

2. Downtown Athletic Club 999 Willamette St. 484-4011.

3. Oakway Fitness 170 Oakway Rd. 343-3314.

The YMCA has it all and a little more. Not only will you get a wellness coach to assess your overall health and goals when you become a member, but you’ll get access to a suite of resources and offerings ranging from water yoga (“mindful motion”) to Zumba to racquetball challenges to SAT prep courses. A great fit for the health-conscious family and the wallet-conscious academic (just $35 per month for students) and everyone in between. Director Dave Perez has been there for 20 years and much of the staff has long histories with the Eugene Y as well — they must be doing something right because y’all keep going back!

Best Feel Sexy Store

1. Freudian Slip 870 Pearl St. 345-7547.

2. Redoux Parlour 780 Blair Blvd. 342-1942.

3. Deluxe 1331 Willamette St. 686-0205.

Best Place to Pamper Yourself

1. Gervais Salon & Day Spa 248 E. 5th Ave. 345-1312; 301 W. 5th Ave. 334-6533.

2. Pearl Day Spa 1375 Pearl St. 683-3377.

3. Bello 2746 Shadow View Dr. 345-0551.

Everyone deserves a little pampering, and for Eugeneans, the luxury of choice is Gervais Salon & Day Spa. Not just your average salon, Gervais offers the green-friendly brand Aveda, which is committed to environmental responsibility. Welcoming staff and a relaxing atmosphere add to the appeal. “We strive to make every person who walks through the door feel welcome and comfortable,” says Nanette McGie, the guest relations manager for Gervais. “Our whole motivation is based on beauty from within.”

Best Downtown Business

1. The Kiva 125 W. 11th Ave. 342-8666.

2. Sweet Potato Pie 20 E. 11th Ave. 344-8810.

3. Passionflower Design 128 E. Broadway. 344-3857.

This quirky natural foods store was pretty cool before its recent remodel, but the made-to-order sandwiches and delectable deli section make us love it even more. The Kiva’s shelves hold the practical — bulk food, fresh veggies, a great little book selection — and life’s most important essentials — smudge sticks, cheap wine, beeswax candles. And as a bonus, the walk-up deli window and outdoor seating make it a perfect stop while walking the dog.

Best Tattoo/Body Mod Artist

1. (tie) Jimmy Singleton (left), The Parlour Tattoo 1097 Willamette St. 345-6465.

Splat Ter (right), High Priestess 525 E. 13th Ave. 343-3311.

2. Clay Fraser, Aurora Tattoo & Gallery 304 E. 13th St.844-1628.

Singleton from The Parlour takes a unique approach to tattooing, focusing more on the artistic aspect. “I offer something different than a lot of tattoo-ers: My drawings aren’t overly tattoo-ish. I like artsy-fartsy stuff. I develop a really good rapport with my clientele. I try to listen and collaborate. I approach it with humility; I can draw really well but I want to make it what they want, that’s really my goal.” Prioritizing the customer, Singleton is warm and friendly, offering advice and helpful hints to the potential tattoo-ee. Because of this and his skillful hand, he along with Splat Ter, has been voted Best of Eugene.

Having mastered the art of appealing to the college students while still having respect from the locals, Splat Ter has countless awards under his belt, including various “Best Tribal” awards, “Best Overall Female” and “Best Full Color Back.” While Splat Ter has a lot to boast about, he’s actually very modest, and explains what he’s proud of: “I put pride into my work, I have an amazing client base. I give every tattoo the absolute best that I can, and I take great pride in that.”

Everything Under the Rainbow

Best Male Athlete

1. Ashton Eaton Oregon Track Club Elite

2. De’Anthony Thomas UO football

3. Galen Rupp Oregon Track Club Elite

Ashton Eaton, a 24-year-old decathlete who competes for Oregon Track Club Elite, is a former Oregon Duck who finished his collegiate career as one of the more decorated athletes in school history. This past August, the incredibly versatile Eaton added more medals and trophies to his mantle on the biggest of stages. He solidified his standing as one of the best all-around athletes in the world, winning the decathlon at the London Olympics, placing first in the long jump, 100m, and 400m, while also finishing in the top three in four other events. Before winning gold at the Olympics, he set the world record with 9,039 points in the decathlon at the Olympic Trials.

Best Female Athlete

1. Brianne Theisen

2. Bullet Brains Andromedolls

3. Frankie Facebreaker Skatesaphrenics

Brianne Theisen, a 23-year-old heptathlete, is another former Oregon Duck but she represented Canada rather than the U.S. in the London Olympics this summer. She won the heptathlon’s 800m and finished in the top 10 in four other events. After completing her college career as a five-time NCAA champion, she finished 11th overall in the Olympics.

Best Alt Sports Team

1. Eugene Reign Women’s Rugby

2. Andromedolls

3. Church of Sk8in

The Eugene Reign, the women’s rugby club team that believes blood makes the grass grow, is in the midst of another enjoyable season. The team, which recruits every summer, requires no experience to suit up for fierce, bruise-inducing battles against foes in Portland, Bend, Boise and Tacoma, among other cities. It is not surprising that the all-encompassing Reign’s mottos include “Live hard, play rugby, die ugly” and “Rugby. All sizes fit.”

Best TV Personality

1. Marc Mullins, KMTR

2. Rick Dancer, Rick Dancer Media Services

3. Justin Stapleton, KEZI

So they say that one of the things that sucks about being a TV news anchor is that viewers comment more often on wardrobe and hair-dos than they do on the news the anchor is reporting on. So we feel kind of bad saying right off the bat that we think Marc Mullins is cute. But there you go. We’re shallow. Mullins tells us KMTR once got an email from a viewer that said, ”You guys work well together and play well together.” He says that people like the balance that he and the rest of the morning team strike at KMTR: “They know we have a job to do … and they know we’re people. And they know they’re getting genuine folks in the morning. That email meant a lot to me.” Mullins says one of his favorite stories was the time he reported on a woman who had used stolen identities and credit cards to buy cars and such. When she was arrested, she was at a salon and had just had her eyebrows shaven off in prep to have new ones tattooed on as permanent makeup. Karma got her in the end, Mullins says, and she only had one eyebrow done before she got hauled in for a mugshot. But while that made him laugh, the news anchor says he has to say, “I’ve told a lot of stories about triumph and pain, loss and heroism. And I just appreciate when the stories can make a difference or provide an outlet for others to sing the praises of their loved ones.” Also in our top three are Rick Dancer and meteorologist Justin Stapleton, who we remember, correctly or no, as being the only person to accurately predict this year’s spring snowstorm.

Best Place to Walk Your Dog

1. Alton Baker Park

2. Amazon Park

3. River paths

Best View

1. Spencer’s Butte

2. Skinner Butte

3. Mount Pisgah

Best Place to Hike

1. Spencer’s Butte

2. Mount Pisgah

3. Ridgeline Trail

When it comes to hikes in Eugene, Spencer’s Butte is clearly tops (err no pun intended). Viewed from the crest of Skinner Butte, it tantalizes you with its endearing, lumpy shape and decidedly more impressive elevation. That’s why you should go climb Spencer’s Butte. As in, right now. The view from the top is unrivaled in the fall, giving a breath-taking panorama of Eugene, speckled with brightly colored red and orange trees. The poison oak is pretty, too.

Best Place to Bike

1. River paths

2. Everywhere!!!!eleventy!

3. Fern Ridge Trail

The bike paths that surround the Willamette River have been frequently used for exercise and as a way to bask in the riverside scenery. Sam Bollag, 23, rides the paths on a daily basis, and loves the feeling he gets being in the great outdoors. “Every day I get to see ducks, squirrels, geese and so many other animals,” he says. “Who wouldn’t appreciate that? It’s a great place for me to clear my mind and take in Eugene’s beauty.”

Best Annual Event

1. Oregon Country Fair

2. Eugene Celebration

3. Whiteaker Block Party

Seeking a three-day marathon of music, crazy costumes and magical, fantastical festivities? Look no further than the Oregon Country Fair, where the spirit of fun resonates in a forest setting near Veneta. No matter what your interests, it’s pretty much guaranteed to be an unforgettable experience.

Best Thing That Could Happen to Eugene

1. Downtown revitalization

2. More jobs

3. More EmX

Best Thing About EW

1. Savage Love

2. What’s Happening calendar

3. It’s free

We love it, too!

Worst Thing About EW

1. Ads

2. Bias

3. Letters

Hey man, newsprint ain’t free. Neither is editors.

Best EW Cover Art/Photo in the Past Year

1. Phoinix Players, “The Hardest Working Troupe in Eugene”

2. Volifonix

3. Oregon Country Fair

Best Anthem for Eugene 

“I’m gonna pop some tags, only got $20 in my pocket,” goes the incredibly catchy hook of Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ hit “Thrift Shop.” Eugene, you look good, and often for less than $20. If you want a fresh look, you don’t cruise the mall or surf the internet, you go thrifting. From thrift shops to secondhand, vintage to consignment, we’ve got it. Thanks to the Seattle duo, we now have an ode to this way of life. The ridiculously fun ditty boasts about secondhand zebra jammies and grandpa coats a refreshing departure from hip hop that touts a dripping-in-diamonds material worship. “It’s super exciting,” Ryan Lewis tells EW about being chosen Best of Eugene staff pick. “It’s a fitting song for the town.” He points out how many secondhand-clad fashionistas were at their recent sold-out McDonald Theatre show. While Macklemore (aka Ben Haggerty) has been a “life-long thrifter,” Lewis started more recently that fur coat he wears in the music video? “It was a women’s coat,” Lewis says, laughing. “It cost 80 bucks.” Secondhand. So sorry Seattle, we’re co-opting Macklemore & Ryan Lewis for ourselves. In other words, “I’ma take your grandpa’s style …”

Best guilty pleasure meal 

So this meal is probably two days’ worth of calories, but the next time you’re driving south on Willamette, stop at El Super Burrito. For the entre, it will be the eponymous El Super Burrito, a brick of steak, cheese, refried beans, pico de gallo and chile rellenos (cheese-stuffed and deep-fried roasted peppers). Add the guacamole and absolutely get a side of curly fries. Who knew that the Mexican restaurant in a strip mall a couple doors down from Off the Waffle would have the most satisfying culinary juxtaposition in town? These crispy treats go down best with a Mexican Coke. Need I say more? Put some of their “Weekend Sauce” on that sauce.

Best pub trivia

Wednesday nights at 7 pm, Elliot Martinez (a Best Bartender finalist) hosts STUMP! Trivia at 16 Tons Cafe, a popular franchise trivia game that started in Boston. And for a franchise, it’s pretty entertaining especially with the sartorially superior Martinez at its helm. Says a “trivia guy” friend of EW (a former Knowledge Bowl competitor), the trivia quiz was “challenging but not pedantic and specific but not esoteric.” In laymen’s terms, it was pretty fun. Grab a crêpe and a craft beer to get your geek juices flowing. Oh and put your smartphones away, this quiz is gadget-free.

Best place to find a cop

if you need one

Kesey Square — the combination of street kids, Voodoo Doughnuts and that cool Ken Kesey statue seems to have a peculiar attraction for the law.

Best reason to vote Nov. 6

Save the Swedish Chef, a card-carrying union socialist who’s not in great shape. Big Bird has a big, sharp pecker and can take care of himself.

Best unexpected place

to find sex toys

Broadway Apothecary at 1515 Oak. This store is full of surprises. Pharmacist Kate James even has a cool YouTube video about her certified compounding pharmacy, but the video doesn’t talk about orgasms. The friendly staff will, however, give you advice in person about this small collection of high-end products across from the front counter.

Staff Picks

Best street markings

We appreciate that all the bike dudes painted in the bike lanes around town have helmets on. But the bike lanes near campus have dudes with helmets with horns and spikes!

Best felicidades hour

Mission Mexican on Franklin, time and time again, has been there for us when we need a little booze before 5 o’ clock. With a happy hour that lasts all afternoon until 6 pm, and really good Mexican food to boot, we really can’t complain.

Best reason why EW didn’t write about your band, your event, your dog’s birthday party

We hate you.

No really, we don’t even know you. We love everyone, but we totally extra-love folks who send us their events in advance accompanied by extra-large pictures you took with a real camera. But we do enjoy your conspiracy theories, too.

Best place to get picked up by clueless older men

The wine section of Market of Choice. Seriously, since when is “Excuse me, does this wine have sulfites?” a pick-up line?

Best place to go camping and call it activism

The scenery under that bridge at Jefferson Park was so beautiful, it’s a wonder Occupy Eugene ever bothered moving. Feel like catalyzing change while enjoying the primitive life? Head on down to the warehouse at 1274 W. 7th Ave. and pitch that tent.

Best reason to support EmX mass transit

Woo-hoo! You can roll your bike right on and off the bus.

Best place to get nailed for something legal

“Oh man, that midterm was really difficult; I’m freaking out right now. OK, it’ll be fine. There’s nothing you can do to change it. Just breathe. Breathe in the calming fumes. Oh, sorry, sir, I forgot campus was smoke-free now. Thirty bucks you say? Holy crap. Do you take Mastercard?”

Best way to have a Portlandia moment

Go to Kiva, but hide your reusable cloth bag under your coat. Wait for the cashier to sigh “I guess you will need a BAG” and then whip out the one you brought. This works at Capella and Sundance too.

Best uses for those prolific Art Robinson books

Firestarters, butt-wipes, bird cage liners, door stops, origami, fantasy and science fiction reading, drinking games

Best tattoos we saw at the Oregon Country Fair

Loved that string of Disney characters dancing just above your cute rear cleavage. They would look good on women, too.

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