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Best of Eugene 2013-2014

Thanks for voting, Eugene! Turnout for the 2013-14 readers poll was high, and so was the quality of your answers. (But thanks for all the “your mom” votes — our moms are The Best!) We had a chuckle at the “Art Robinson for Best Comedian” campaign. We were glad that more people voted for real Best Places to Eat with Kids instead of treating tykes like tiny pariahs and telling parents to stay home. And we loved hearing your thoughts on the past year’s best people and controversies. Read on to find more of Eugene to love.

Now it’s time to party. Meet us at Level Up Arcade, 1290 Oak St., from 7 to 9 pm Thursday, Nov. 7. We’ll have free food from local restaurants, a DJ, live music and a video game photo booth for guests. Under 21 allowed until 9 pm. Admission is free, but we’re selling raffle tickets to benefit the Best Nonprofit winner, so bring a few bucks if you have it. 

 

 

(Civics)

 

Best local hell-raiser

1. Alley Valkyrie

2. Lefty Kelleher

3. Occupy Eugene

If you’ve been to city or county meetings, you’ve probably seen and heard Alley Valkyrie. If you’ve read the paper in the past two years, you’ve encountered her. Valkyrie’s take-no-prisoners approach to arguing for human rights for the unhoused — the right to sleep, the right to use a bathroom — has pissed off plenty of politicians but also made them respect and listen to her and to the members of Occupy Eugene and of SLEEPS (Safe Legally Entitled Emergency Places to Sleep). Valkyrie says, “I’m glad I’ve set a good example of raising hell, but it’s unfortunate that anyone has to raise hell in order to secure basic human rights.”

Alley Valkyrie. Photo by Todd Cooper.

 

 

 

Best local politico

1. Kitty Piercy mayor of Eugene

2. Peter DeFazio U.S. House rep., Oregon’s 4th District

3. Pete Sorenson Lane County commissioner, 3rd District

Mayor Kitty Piercy has been gaining momentum since her overwhelming election win last year. She championed downtown revitalization and supported respectable options for the city’s homeless, making a statement at the opening of Opportunity Village. She’s visible even for a political figure, making a point of attending nearly every Eugene event that matters, from bar crawls to the SLUG queen coronation.

Kitty Piercy. Photo by Athena Delane

 

 

Eugenean of the year: 2013

1. Kitty Piercy

2. Alley Valkyrie

3. Frogg

 

 

Best local uproar

1. SLEEPS/homeless protests

2. Occupy Eugene

3. Liane Richardson

SLEEPS has frequently been described as an offshoot of last year’s best uproar winner Occupy Eugene, and while it is certainly born of the energy and the community, as well as the focus on the needs of those without food, medical care and safe shelter of Occupy, SLEEPS is an uproar all its own. The group has camped out in — and been booted out of — the Wayne Morse Free Speech Plaza, raising civil liberties issues of having a place to raise a voice in protest against the government, in addition to the human rights focus of having a safe place to sleep. SLEEPS has also staged both pop-up camps and long-term camps all over Eugene. The organization will not rest while the unhoused of Eugene don’t have a safe place to lay their heads. SLEEPS member Alley Valkyrie says, “I look forward to a day where we start putting people over profit and we don’t see a group of people fighting for the right to sleep as an ‘uproar.’”

Occupy Eugene comes in second place this year and third place is fired county administrator Liane Richardson, known not only for her attempts to raise her $150,000-a-year salary at a time when Lane County is hurting for money, but also for shutting down the Free Speech Plaza, which led to the arrest of more than 20 SLEEPS members. The charges were later dropped when the shutting down of the plaza was found to be unconstitutional. Richardson made headlines post-BOE voting with allegations of inappropriate hook-ups with a cop on county property.

Photo by Todd Cooper

 

 

 

Best nonprofit

1. FOOD For Lane County foodforlanecounty.org.

2. Greenhill Humane Society green-hill.org.

3. Planned Parenthood plannedparenthood.org.

FOOD For Lane County doesn’t just find food to distribute to the community. They find local solutions to the “protein shortage” in food options for the county. According to Dawn Marie Woodward, media relations coordinator for FFLC, the focus for this year has been intentional food production, to build on the 8 million pounds of food they distributed last year — a record for the nonprofit. FFLC has connected with local farmers to create packs of instant refried beans, applesauce and a chili made from local lentils and barley, all of which is distributed through food pantries and distribution programs throughout the county. “We know solving the hunger program has to be local,” Woodward says, and FFLC embodies that goal.

Photo by Athena Delene

 

 

 

Best LGBT group or advocate

1. Basic Rights Oregon basicrights.org.

2. HIV Alliance hivalliance.org.

3. Soromundi Lesbian Chorus of Eugene wkly.ws/1lr.

The rockstars at Basic Rights Oregon can’t be stopped. While BRO can’t take credit for the Oregon United for Marriage campaign (it can’t run a political campaign as a  nonprofit), the group is popularly considered to be the campaign’s driving force. A popular vote in November 2014 could modify our state constitution, nixing the 2004 Measure 36, “Oregon’s DOMA,” which defined marriage as between a man and a woman. BRO and its allies have until July to reach the signature threshold, but they insist on doing so by this December. Good hustle, bruh. Basic Rights Oregon also has a growing focus on transgender and racial justice and will continue to amplify the agency of its intersectional lives. Eugene is host to the only BRO office outside of Portland and, wow, do they make it count.

Photo by Trask Bedortha

 

 

 

Best enviro organization

1. BRING bringrecycling.org.

2. Cascadia Wildlands cascwild.org.

3. Cascadia Forest Defenders forestdefensenow.com.

BRING Recycling near Glenwood has an amazing and highly organized collection of building supplies and other discarded materials that come in handy for not only remodeling and new construction but also art projects. BRING has evolved beyond recycling to programs that encourage people and businesses to prevent materials from going into the wastestream in the first place.

Cascadia Wildlands is a professionally staffed enviro group working on preserving threatened areas and wildlife throughout the Cascadia bioregion from Oregon to Alaska. Cascadia Forest Defenders is a grassroots group of volunteers that organizes nonviolent protests (including tree-sits) and lobbies and supports other groups to protect shrinking old-growth habitats in the Cascades.

Executive director julie daniel at BRING. Photo by Todd Cooper.

 

 

 

 

(Nightlife)

 

Best bartender

1. Dawn Murray Jameson’s Bar. 115 W. Broadway. 485-9913. jamesonsbareugene.com.

2. Don Mike Granary Pizza Co. 259 E. 5th Ave. 343-8488. wkly.ws/1ls.

3. Ty Connor Horsehead Bar. 99 W. Broadway. 683-3154. horseheadbareugene.com.

How do you pile up this many votes in broad daylight for a nightlife category? Quality over quantity, the after-work crowd asserts. Dawn Murray is the day manager at Jameson’s and her slower traffic means greater intimacy. The gregarious Murray, her regulars say, has got “some kind of ’50s movie actress charm” to her. Of course it doesn’t hurt that she also can’t be stumped in a pop quiz on top-shelf bourbon. Her old-fashioned more or less drinks itself. This is Murray’s first Best Bartender win over her eight-year tenure, and she says of usurping the title only that “Ty Connor is my hero.” Scratch your itch about the Murray mystique any day from 4 to 9 pm.

Photo by Todd Cooper.

 

 

Best beers on tap

1. The Bier Stein 1591 Willamette St. 485-2437. thebierstein.com.

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

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

It’s doubtful anyone was upset about The Bier Stein’s move from East 11th to its new location on Willamette. Not only did the floor space increase, but the presentation of The Bier Stein’s beer wall shines as a beacon to brew lovers. The addition of display screens showing 24 beers on tap (including two nitro taps) and tweets and check-ins from customers keeps the crowd informed. In addition to a mainly regional selection of brews, the Stein is stocked with international beers and specialties, such as gluten-free beers. There is something for everyone, from the pedestrian drinker to the connoisseur, and that’s likely what keeps at least a few dozen people in the building.

 

 

Best burger & brew special

1. Cornucopia 295 W. 17th Ave. 485-2300; 207 E. 5th Ave. 485-2676; cornucopiaeugene.com.

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

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

Cornucopia, with two homey locations, continues to hold the top spot, and for good reason. Its burgers are scrumptious, made daily with fresh beef supplied by Oregon Natural Meats. Dive into everything from the Lil Jack’s Hellion Burger with a green chili vibe and Jeros’ Bacon Cheese Burger (bacon, need I say more?) to the Big Baby Bleu Burger, among other delicious options capable of satisfying your meat-craving palate. Four vegetarian vurger options, handmade from local tempeh and black beans, mean that everyone has a seat at the table.

Cornucopia. Photo by Athena Delene

 

 

Best cocktails

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

2. Rye 444 E. 3rd Ave. 653-8509. ryeon3rd.com.

3. The Vintage 837 Lincoln St. 349-9181. thevintageeugene.com.

Meiji’s cocktails are the perfect way to ease into winter. The bartenders mix pre-Prohibition drinks, manager Chad Kushuba says, and the blend of flavors in each drink has been perfectly planned. The bottles create an impressive display behind the bar, and the menu boasts more than 100 whiskeys in this low-lit, intimate cabin-esque restaurant. It’s hipster meets country, East meets West and simple, smart ingredients meet complex, full flavors.

 

 

Best happy hour/drink specials

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

2. Jameson’s Bar 115 W. Broadway. 485-9913. jamesonsbareugene.com.

3. Izumi Sushi and Grill 2773 Shadow View Dr. 683-1201. izumisushieugene.com.

 

 

 

Best bar

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

2. Cowfish 62 W. Broadway.

3. Horsehead Bar 
99 W. Broadway. 683-3154. horseheadbareugene.com.

Hillstomp plays to a packed Sam Bond’s. Photo by Todd Cooper.

 

 

 

Best wine tastings

1. Sweet Cheeks Winery 27007 Briggs Hill Rd. 349-9463. sweetcheekswinery.com.

2. King Estate Winery 80854 Territorial Highway. 942-9874. kingestate.com.

3. Sundance Natural Foods 748 E. 24th Ave. 343-9142. sundancenaturalfoods.com.

This friendly winery is beautiful from start to finish, with a lovely drive in and out, a cute tasting room and scenic patio area. Sweet Cheeks even welcomes outside food, in case you’d like to bring a picnic for wine pairings, and the prices make it accessible even for budding oenophiles with student loans.

Photo by Miles Bowers

 

 

 

Best brewery

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

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

3. Hop Valley Brewing 980 Kruse Way, Spfd. 744-3330; 990 W. 1st Ave. 585-2337. hopvalleybrewing.com.

There’s a certain gravity to being beer-loving Eugene’s biggest brewery. Ninkasi soaks up the love and then feeds it back to us in a fermented mix, hosting Monday night “Pints for a Cause” events and giving back through the “Beer is Love” program. Whether you love the hoppy goodness of Total Domination IPA or the dessert-like Oatis Oatmeal Stout is more of your jam, you know your beer money is going to a community-conscious brewery.

Photo by Todd Cooper.

 

 

 

Best local comedian

1. Alex Elkin

2. Leigh Ann Jasheway

3. Josh Finch

What once began as something that got you kicked out of class for disrupting students can now function as an active profession. Comedy isn’t for everyone (just ask Carlos Mencia) and comedy scenes can’t be found in every community. But with the upcoming NW Women’s Comedy Festival and the UO student group The Stand-up Society’s formation last year, Eugene is lucky to have a growing comedic scene full of exciting comedians. Better known as “Beans,” Alex Elkin is one of the three voices that act as potent laughing gas on radio station All Comedy 1450. One of his partners, Chris Warren, notes that Elkin shines because of “his ability to adapt to an audience. He can read the audience and that’s something that most comedians don’t have the ability to do.”

Photo by Trask Bedortha

 

 

Best open jam/open mic night

1. Cozmic 199 W. 8th Ave. 338-9333. cozmicpresents.com.

2. Sam Bond’s Garage 407 Blair Blvd. 343-2635. sambonds.com.

3. Diablo’s Downtown Lounge 959 Pearl St. 343-2346. diabloseugene.com.

For those vocalists who are ready to trade in their hairbrushes for real microphones, Cozmic’s open mic night is a friendly atmosphere that offers local performers 8 to 10 minutes of fame in front of a live audience. On Wednesdays from 7 to 10 pm, host Edgar Lopez welcomes up to 15 people of all ages to perform spoken word, stand-up comedy or any genre of music. “It’s a drop of different flavors for the community,” Lopez says. “Every night it’s different. Not only are the performers the ones going up and having fun but it’s also the crowd.” Lopez says the lively atmosphere where the performers are the main attraction on a real stage, rather than just background music, is really what sets Cozmic’s open mic night apart. So for those who are ready to make a live debut, leave your audience of shampoo bottles and stuffed animals at home and take your place in the limelight for a night. 

Open mic at Cozmic. Photo by Athena Delane.

 

 

Best place to sing karaoke

1. Oak St. Speakeasy 915 Oak St. 284-4000. oakstreetspeakeasy.com.

2. (tie) Black Forest 50 E. 11th Ave. 686-6619. blackforesteugene.com; Cornucopia 207 E. 5th Ave. 485-2676. cornucopiaeugene.com.

While in a bar or social setting, you have few options to make yourself noticeable to that cutie sitting in the back booth sipping on a gin and tonic. Walking up unannounced and introducing yourself can be tricky, and this is why we have Oak St. Speakeasy, Cornucopia and Black Forest and their stellar karaoke nights. Backed by a single beam of light shining upon a stage with just a microphone and teleprompter at your command, karaoke can turn you from unnoticed zero into a Robert De Niro with just the simple play of Flight of the Concords’ “The Most Beautiful Girl (In the Room).”

 

 

Best place to drink in the sun

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

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

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

 

 

Best place for a dinner date

1. Belly 30 E. Broadway. 683-5896. eatbelly.com.

2. Izakaya Meiji 345 Van Buren St. 505-8804. izakayameiji.com.

3. Beppe & Gianni’s 1646 E. 19th Ave. 683-6661. beppeandgiannis.net.

It’s the stuff of adolescent fantasy — little round tables with white cloth covers and a waxy beacon placed dead center. But if you ask the staff, they’ll tell you the real smooching happens in the groovy alcove by the window. Belly fools the best of us. It’s casual upon first glance but swanky when you think about it. The ambiguous aesthetic just works. There are enough obscure menu items to impress but enough familiar ones not to impose. From Slavic to Saharan, there is something for everybody and the menu changes often. As owner/chef Brendan Mahaney says, excited about the dropping temperatures outside, “It’s time for Jerusalem artichokes, persimmons, duck confit, pomegranates …” All this and more for the one you adore.

Belly. Photo by rob and tracy sydor • robsydor.com

 

 

Best bar grub

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

2. Falling Sky Brewing 1334 Oak Alley. 505-7096; 790 Blair Blvd. 653-9167. fallingskybrewing.com.

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

Is it the collard greens? The big burgers? Maybe, but for us it’s the nachos that really put the Horsehead over the top when it comes to bar grub. There’s a lot of good late-night eats around Eugene, and a lot of amazing places to have good food and a cocktail, but the Horsehead is our default when we hit that “Oh shit, I need to eat something hot and fried to take the edge off all that whiskey I just drank” point in the night. The added bonus is that if you get the nachos (and yes, you can get them without meat for all you drunk vegetarians out there) the salsa is so damn garlicky that you will hold vampires and potentially unpleasant suitors at bay for the rest of the night.

 

 

Best dive bar

1. Tiny Tavern 394 Blair Blvd. 687-8383.

2. Luckey’s Club Cigar Store 933 Olive St. 687-4643. luckeysclub.com.

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

When we say “best dive bar,” we mean one you can dive right into and enjoy yourself. The Tiny Tavern has undergone an excellent makeover, transforming from “urinal cake” to “I would eat cake if served there,” all the while keeping its working-class flavor.

 

 

 

 

(Arts)

 

Best gallery

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

2. Karin Clarke Gallery 749 Willamette St. 684-7963. karinclarkegallery.com.

3. White Lotus Gallery 767 Willamette St. 345-3276. wlotus.com

 

 

Best self-published literary item (blog, zine)

1. Exiled in Eugene exiledineugene.com.

2. Pork internetpork.com.

3. Culinaria Eugenius culinariaeugenius.wordpress.com.

 

 

Best visual artist

1. Tracy Sydor digitallatte.com.

2. Shanna Trumbly trumblydesigns.com.

3. Claire Flint Last papermoonphotostudio.zenfolio.com.

A Tracy Sydor creation could easily fall out of the pages of Vanity Fair: Her photos are powerful, polished and high fashion. But Sydor doesn’t shoot celebrities; she shoots the women of our fair valley. “If you have the ability to make someone feel on top of the world, do it,” Sydor says. “The everyday woman in fashion poses? That comes directly from being pissed off so many times in the supermarket and seeing these magazines with skinny girls.” With her high-gloss appeal, it’s hard to believe that Sydor has only been clicking away since 2006, when her husband Rob Sydor (also a photographer) encouraged her to pick up a camera. “He taught me every single thing I know.” Sydor is excited for what the future holds. “I’m moving towards fine art and putting on big productions,” she says, adding that she’d love to have a 30-person-plus creative team. Could there be a Factory a la Andy Warhol in Eugene’s future?

Photo by Tracy Sydor

 

 

 

Best live music venue

1. Cuthbert Amphitheater 601 Day Island Rd. thecuthbert.com.

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

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

Before hordes of Eugeneans make the trek to Autzen Stadium in the rainy late fall, many make a similar trip across the Willamette to see a show of a different kind. Tucked behind Alton Baker Park, Cuthbert Amphitheater offers a serene retreat for live music. Perhaps Cuthbert, the sole concert amphitheater in a town that receives scarcely three months of sunshine, is the best in Eugene because it’s a symbol of the fleeting summer. It’s a time when a bike ride, a picnic blanket and a live concert in the park are only a thought away. This season, some of the biggest concerts of the year, David Byrne and St. Vincent, Neko Case and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes, have graced its stage. Whatever the reason and whatever the music, be it electronic, reggae or rock ‘n’ roll, the vibes and sounds of summer have become synonymous with the Cuthbert.

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros perform at the Cuthbert. Photo by Todd Cooper.

 

 

 

Best club DJ

1. Audio Schizophrenic

2. DJ Crown

3. Connah J

You remember the songs but sometimes it’s hard to remember the disc jockey. The club DJs are humble fellows or ladies who manage the stage with their heads drooped down, and during the show their identities remain hidden like a masked crusader of funky jams. For every DJ who settles and spins Avicci’s “Wake Me Up,” there is a DJ that tries hard to provide the fresh vibes and keep the crowd on the dance floor. By day he’s Shawn Mediaclast, co-owner of downtown Eugene’s freakiest and grooviest club, Cowfish, but at night, Mediaclast transforms into Audio Schizo. “Most DJs are alone in their basement masturbating to music by themselves,” says Brian Hebb, Cowfish’s other owner. “Shawn looks to the crowd and responds to them.”

Audio Schizophrenic aka Shawn Mediclast. Photo by Todd Cooper

 

 

 

Best radio show

1. “The Donkey Show” 101.5 FM KFLY.

2. “Sunday Morning Hangover with Marc Time” 88.1 FM KWVA.

3. “Brickwall Comedy Show” 1450 AM KLZS.

See that number one up there? We told you we don’t change the poll results.

 

 

 

Best show/concert since September 2012

1. Wonderland by Work Dance Co.

2. David Byrne/St. Vincent

3. Kaleidoscope Music Festival

Move over rock stars, because dancers are taking the town by storm. Nathan Boozer, director at Work Dance Company, uses muses like Nikki Minaj, Kanye West and Lady Gaga to inspire his hip-hop dance extravaganzas. For last February’s Gaga-esque Wonderland, which sold out at the Hult and both shows at Portland’s Headwaters, Boozer spent 10 months choreographing, crafting props and fine-tuning lighting and multimedia backdrops to make the show really pop (lock and drop). “It’s really cool because I don’t know if a dance production has gotten that kind of acknowledgement here in town,” Boozer says. “That’s my mission, to make my dance productions a show to go see.”

Next up for the company is Animal Instinct at the Hult Feb. 22 — a portion of the show’s proceeds will go to Greenhill Humane Society. Can’t wait that long? Work Dance performs frequently at G.L.A.M. Night and CC Slaughters in Portland.

Photo courtesy of Work Dance Co.

 

 

 

Best professional dancer

1. Juan Carlos Amy-Cordero Eugene Ballet Company

2. Nate Boozer 

Work Dance Co.

3. Eileen King 

Unity School of Dance

 

Juan Carlos Amy-Cordero was more than a professional ballet dancer. He was a regal prince, a playful jokester, a youthful spirit, a passionate romantic and a strong, dynamic presence on stage and off. As a principal dancer for the Eugene Ballet Company, Amy-Cordero performed in more than 50 different ballets and dazzled audiences with his pristine form and electric charisma. He brought his passion to life with lead roles in Rite of Spring, Toni Pimble’s Dark Side of the Moon, as Peter Pan, the prince in Swan Lake and Shakespeare’s Romeo. 

His death last June jolted the community, leaving it with a void impossible to fill. “There was no lower gear with JC. Not in the physical act of dancing, not in his mental preparation, not in his attention to detail. Never. He was fully committed to making each day the best one possible,” former EBC dancer Rider Vierling wrote in the company’s program. Fellow EBC dancer Mirell Sork adds, “I will never forget JC’s passion and commanding presence as an artist, or the joy and humor he shared with all of us off stage. He will continue to be with us because I know we will bring his memory and spirit into our performances.” Amy-Cordero is survived by his parents, his brother and sister and his wife, EBC mistress and former principal dancer Jennifer Martin. As Eugene’s best professional dancer, he is, and will always be, deeply and profoundly missed. 

Photo by Kent Peterson.

 

 

 

 

Best tattoo or body modification artist

1. Jimmy Singleton The Parlour Tattoo, 1097 Willamette St. 345-6465. theparlourtattoo.com.

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

3. Splat Ter High Priestess, 525 E. 13th Ave. 343-3311. highpriestess.com.

Entering a tattoo parlor can summon those anxious adolescent insecurities that arose whenever you arrived at a new environment that was cooler and edgier than any place you’d been to before. The butterflies are already intensely flapping during the permanent placement of your first tattoo, and the demand for a friend in need can be so high that not even the sweet sorrows of James Taylor and Carole King can caress. It’s these nervous feelings that fuel and propel Jimmy Singleton of The Parlour Tattoo. “He’s overly nice and really goes that extra mile for his clients,” says Kristian Wilson, Singleton’s schedule manager and co-worker. “He makes people feel safe and turns clients into friends and makes them want to come back.”

Photo by Trask Bedortha.

 

 

 

Best local band

1. Sol Seed solseedmusic.com.

2. Blue Lotus bluelotuseugene.com.

3. Medium Troy mediumtroy.com.

Well, this is no surprise. Eugene fans courted last year’s winners Sol Seed throughout this year’s Next Big Thing competition, and the six-piece reggae fusion band nabbed the title again. With roots in southern Oregon, a large Eugene following and fans up and down the West Coast, the guys of Sol Seed are primed to record their second full-length and first professionally produced album, Family Tree. The world could use more music like this: uplifting but not cloying, thoughtful but not preachy and hella good music to shake your booty to. For more information about Family Tree, check out Sol Seed’s Kickstarter page at http://wkly.ws/1lm.

 

 

Best vocalist

1. Halie Loren halieloren.com.

2. Sara Dawson Zagarino & Siri Vik (tie)

Eugene native Halie Loren is a rising star in the international jazz scene and just made the top of the Billboard jazz charts in Japan with her new album Simply Love. See our review at wkly.ws/1lv. Loren is charismatic on stage, whether it’s with pianist Matt Treder and bassist Mark Schneider, with her larger band or rocking out with The Sugar Beets. Loren has sold out the Wildish Theater a couple of times. We imagine she could easily pack some larger halls, but she prefers more intimate venues, such as The Jazz Station downtown. 

Siri Vik is a Eugene native who returned to teach at LCC after a long absence of study and performance on the East Coast and Europe. She has sung with the Eugene Opera, Oregon Bach Festival and Actors Cabaret of Eugene.

 

 

 

Best clothing designer

1. Laura Lee Laroux revivallclothing.com.

2. Alli Ditson allihalla.com.

3. Mitra Chester

If you’ve been paying attention, Laura Lee Laroux is becoming a household name in local and regional fashion (she nabbed first place last year too). With her line, Revivall Clothing, Laroux created her own niche: upcycled prairie couture and ready-to-wear (found at Redoux Parlor and the Oregon Country Fair). Not only is her line wearable and so Eug, it’s meticulously made. From flirty jumpers to schoolboy chapeaus, expect to see much, much more from the designer in the coming year.

 

 

 

Best place to see a play

1. Oregon Contemporary Theatre 174 W. Broadway. 684-6988. octheatre.org.

2. The Hult Center 1 Eugene Center 
682-5087. hultcenter.org.

3. Actors Cabaret of Eugene 996 Willamette St. 683-4368.
actorscabaret.org.

OCT prides itself on being a professional theater company, and it delivers with bold, crisp productions. Formerly known as Lord Leebrick, OCT is all settled in on its Broadway location and basking in the downtown revival.

Oregon Contemporary Theatre’s opening show this season, August: Osage County. Photo by Michael Brinkerhoff.

 

 

 

Best local writer/author

1. Bob Welch The Register-Guard

2. Ken Kesey novelist (deceased)

3. Camilla Mortensen Eugene Weekly

 

 

 

 

 

(Food)

 

Best bakery (breads/savories)

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

2. Metropol Bakery 2538 Willamette St. 465-4730. metropolbakery.com.

3. Eugene City Bakery 1607 E. 19th Ave. 334-6906. eugenecitybakery.com.

Not much has changed since last year — or the year before that, or the year before that … Hideaway can’t be beat for that savory bun, loaf or crust that you’re waiting for. Even when the line gets long, you get to stare at the fresh, doughy goodness behind the glass the whole way, and the sweet, seasonal espresso drinks couldn’t make a better complement.  

Photo by Trask Bedortha.

 

 

 

Best bakery (sweets)

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

2. Noisette Pastry Kitchen 200 W. Broadway. 654-5257. noisettepk.com.

3. Hideaway Bakery 3377 E. Amazon Dr. 868-1982. hideawaybakery.com.

 

 

 

 

Best hangover breakfast

1. Brails 1689 Willamette St. 343-1542.

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

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

It’s hard to talk about Brails without immediately conjuring up images of syrup-drenched pancakes, scrambled eggs and perfectly toasted, crunchy-yet-chewy hash browns. Joy Knudtson, owner of Brails, is no stranger to the best hangover breakfast award, and when asked why she thinks Brails has scored for a 10th year, she says it’s because she makes an effort to connect with her community. “We have really quality food, but I have a very good relationship with a lot of people who come through our restaurant, and it makes me so happy,” she says. And Knudtson recently reached out to the community through volunteer work, helping to make 300 pancakes and 100 orders of biscuits and gravy for the Eugene Mission. “The guy from the Mission came in today and said he really appreciated it,” Knudtson says. “That kind of thing makes me so happy, so from now on I’ll do it every year.”

Photo by Trask Bedortha

 

 

 

Best burger

1. Cornucopia 295 W. 17th Ave. 485-2300; 207 E. 5th Ave. 485-2676; cornucopiaeugene.com.

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

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

 

 

Best coffee

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

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

3. Vero Espresso 205 E. 14th Ave. 654-0504. wkly.ws/1lw.

A stop at the Wandering Goat is a must when taking a casual stroll through the Whit. The amazing coffee aroma hits your face and you’re done for. And while the Goat is well known for its coffee selection, from spicy Sumatra to vanilla-tinged Mexican Chiapas, it also hosts live music shows and displays local art on its walls, making it a rich hotbed of Eugene culture.

 

 

 

 

Best barista

1. Sue Harnly Eugene Coffee Co. 240 E. 17th Ave. 344-0002. eugenecoffeeco.com.

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

3. Matthew Pierson Brails Espresso. 1695 Willamette St. 343-1542. brailsespresso.com.

Eugene Coffee Company recently reopened after being closed over the summer. Two months in, coffee-lovers have already set up home in its new campus-area location. Sue Harnly, who came in third last year, has owned the store for more than five years and has worked hard to build a sense of community in the shop. Harnly says she loves her connection to the customers, when working as a barista, and credits her whole team as integral to the continued success of the store. “She is an incredible woman. She really focuses on building the community atmosphere,” says Taylor Bolle, an employee of Eugene Coffee for two years.

 

 

 

 

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 Italian

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

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

3. Noli 769 Monroe St. 686-9199. noliitaliancafe.com.

 

 

Best Mediterranean

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

2. Dalia on Broadway 898 Pearl St. 345-8232. daliaonbroadway.com.

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

 

 

Best eats under $6

1. 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. cafeyumm.com.

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

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

 

 

Best Thai

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

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

3. Sabai 27 Oakway Center. 654-5424. sabaicafe.com

 

 

 

Best frozen delights

1. Red Wagon Creamery 55 W. Broadway. 337-0780. redwagoncreamery.com.

2. Vanilla Jill’s 460 Coburg Rd. #300. 844-2286; 298 Blair Blvd. 345-2466. vanillajills.com.

3. Prince Pückler’s 1605 E. 19th Ave. 344-4418. princepucklers.com.

The savior of many Eugeneans during the hot, dry summer of 2013, Red Wagon Creamery now has its own place out of the elements for the winter. Known for making simple flavors like chocolate, caramel and vanilla irresistible with its rich, bold style, Red Wagon is slinging its ice cream downtown and from the cart. Owners Stuart and Emily Phillips are using the downtown space to treat customers to late-night treats with “Red Wagon After Dark” 10 pm to 2 am on Fridays and Saturdays. Think of it as an ice cream speakeasy — along with the cold stuff, Red Wagon has cocktails and homemade syrups (whiskey, anyone?) and it’s all delicious.

Emily and Stuart Phillips of Red Wagon Creamery. Photo by Trask Bedortha.

 

 

 

Best Korean

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

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

3. Chingu Restaurant 1466 W. 7th Ave. 687-6424.

JC Lee and his mother, Sue, have run Noodle Bowl for three years, and the family vibes flow through this tasty, clean, speedy, affordable and spacious downtown restaurant. While Sue is the brains behind the operation, JC says he is the one with the good sense of taste that makes Noodle Bowl’s flavors authentic. The bi bimbop is everyone’s favorite — a rice dish with veggies and meat in a hot stone pot — but the side dish of kimchi that comes with many of the entrees is the true gem. And if you have room, order some bubble tea for dessert.

JC Lee of Noodle Bowl. Photo by Trask Bedortha.

 

 

 

 

Best Mexican/Latin American

1. Belly Taqueria 291 E. 5th Ave. 687-8226. eatbelly.com.

2. Chapala 68 W. 29th Ave. 683-5458; 136 Oakway Center. 434-6113. chapalasmexicanrestaurant.com.

3. Taqueria Mi Tierra 628 Blair Blvd. 743-0779. mitierraeugene.com.

Belly Taqueria is everything you want from a Mexican restaurant: tortilla soup, quesadillas, margaritas and more tacos than you’ll know what to do with. But god, make sure you start with the sweet, tasty salsa, freshly fried tortilla chips and a pitcher of sangria. And if it’s up to waitress Bridget Young, you have to try a camarones taco and a carnitas taco that is “dripping with fat and delicious.” You’ll love the small portions so you can try a little bit of everything.

Belly Taqueria. Photo by Trask Bedortha.

 

 

 

 

Best food cart

1. Delacata 725 Olive St. 543-0393. delacata.blogspot.com.

2. Sammitch sammitchtime.com.

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

After two years of specializing in Southern-fried comfort food on the go, owners Stephen and Colleen Sheehan are still serving it up downtown while planning on scaling it up at the much-anticipated Elk Horn Brewery at Franklin and Hilyard. Stephen Sheehan says the brewery will have a full restaurant with a sort of “wild Oregon” theme, but the cart will stay open for at least a year after the restaurant opens, and longer if they can find the right staff to keep it running right. Meanwhile, catch them weekends during Christmas tree season at Carroll’s Country Christmas Trees in Veneta, and keep track of their locations and specials on Facebook.

Photo by Trask Bedortha

 

 

 

Best restaurant

1. Belly 30 E. Broadway. 683-5896. eatbelly.com.

2. Marché 296 E. 5th Ave. 683-2260. marcherestaurant.com.

3. (tie) Izakaya Meiji 345 Van Buren St. 505-8804. izakayameiji.com;

 Party Downtown 55 W. Broadway. 345-8228. partyeugene.com.

 

 

Best Indian

1. Evergreen 1525 Franklin Blvd. 343-7944.

2. Taste of India 2495 Hilyard St. 485-9698. tasteofindiaeugene.com.

3. Poppi’s Anatolia 992 Willamette St. 343-9661. poppisanatolia.com.

 

 

 

 

Best place to eat with kids

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

2. Papa’s Pizza 1700 W. 11th Ave. 485-5555; 1577 Coburg Rd. 686-2240; papaspizza.net.

3. Vanilla Jill’s 460 Coburg Rd. #300. 844-2286; 298 Blair Blvd. 345-2466.

 vanillajills.com.

We’ve all experienced the mixture of sympathy and annoyance for poor, helpless parents in restaurants trying unsuccessfully to curb the tantrum of a screaming child. But it seems that places like Laughing Planet, where dinosaurs abound and bright, whimsical artwork decorates the walls, provide just the sort of aura that kids dig. Dinosaurs, quesadillas and family time equal happiness for all involved. 

Photo by Trask Bedortha

 

 

 

Best vegetarian or vegan food

1. Cornbread Café 1290 W. 7th Ave. 505-9175. cornbreadcafe.com.

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. cafeyumm.com.

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

Famous for proving the impossible possible and making delicious vegan comfort food, Cornbread Café is the sort of place where you can cart curious meat-eaters to try it out in a relaxed, unpretentious atmosphere. The staff keeps up the friendly diner atmosphere, and there are even board games in case of a wait. We suggest pointing newcomers toward favorites the Eugenewich, the Hot Things and the Southern-fried tofu. The café now offers breakfast, too, and has beer and kombucha on tap.

Photo by Trask Bedortha

 

 

 

 

Best pizza

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

2. Pegasus Pizza 790 E. 14th Ave. 344-4471; #4 Oakway Center. 344-0844; 2864 Willamette St. #300. 344-9931. pegasuspizza.net.

3. Pizza Research Institute 325 Blair Blvd. 343-1307. pizzaresearchinstitute.com.

Photo by Trask Bedortha.

 

 

Best sushi

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

2. Mame 541 Blair Blvd. 654-4378. wkly.ws/1lx.

3. PURE 296 E. 5th Ave., 654-0608. pureeugene.com.

 

 

 

 

Best new restaurant

1. Party Downtown 55 W. Broadway. 345-8228. partyeugene.com.

2. Falling Sky’s Pour House Delicatessen 790 Blair Blvd. 653-9167.
fallingskybrewing.com/deli.

3. (tie) Kopi-O 1530 Willamette St. 458-205-8356. kopi-o.com;
Soubise 50 W. Broadway. 458-205-8487. wkly.ws/1lp.

Beer-braised beef gingerbread with mustard butter, potatoes and long-cooked cabbage; deep-fried bok choy kimchi; sweet potato pie with fresh ginger, whipped cream and honey caramel. With these menu items, it’s not hard to see why Party Downtown, born from the Party Cart that could, nabbed first place for best new restaurant. Sophisticated and innovative flavor pairings inspired by seasonal local produce and livestock, all beneath the guise of comfort food, is the signature of owners Tiffany Norton and Mark Kosmicki. “We don’t cut corners,” Norton says. “We make food that we want to eat.” It’s clear they’re not the only ones. Oh, and if you see “tiny biscuits with bacon honey butter” on their rotating chalkboard menu, order them pronto.

photo by trask bedortha

 

 

 

 

(Commerce)

 

Best biking store

1. Paul’s Bicycle Way of Life 556 Charnelton St. 541-344-4105; 3870 W. 11th Ave. 343-2250; 2480 Alder St. 541-342-541-6155. bicycleway.com.

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

3. Hutch’s Bicycles 960 Charnelton St. 345-7521. hutchseugene.com.

 

 

Best thrift shop

1. St. Vincent de Paul of Lane County svdp.us.

2. S.A.R.A.’s Treasures 871 River Rd. 607-8892. sarasavesanimals.org.

3. Deluxe 1331 Willamette St. 686-0205. wkly.ws/1lo.

After the success of “Thrift Shop” by Macklemore this last year, many thrift stores have been flooded with new customers. In Eugene, St. Vincent de Paul vends the usual velour jump suits and house slippers, but the organization is even more widely known for its charitable programs, such as managing Eugene’s car-camping program and providing affordable housing. “Have some fun. Save some money,” is their motto, and it’s hard not to with such a wide selection of secondhand goods. Each store has a huge selection of nearly everything, and that’s without mentioning the books, which tower over any other section of the store and bring customers back again and again. 

 

 

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. 343-3411.thehealthypet.com.

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

 

 

Best place to work out

1. YMCA 2055 Patterson St. 541-686-9622.
eugeneymca.org.

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

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

When it comes to versatility in the realm of exercise, the YMCA has you covered, and then some. Upon joining through an affordable membership, meet with a wellness coach and, in turn, benefit from a personal program designed for your needs and goals. Additionally, enjoy all the long-standing gym has to offer in the way of sports, classes and exercise regimens. Play pickup basketball, swim, take up racquetball, relax through water yoga and find out why Zumba is all the rage. The possibilities are endless, and so are the opportunities for camaraderie, improved health and higher and higher goals. 

 

 

 

Best clothing shop

1. Redoux Parlour 780 Blair Blvd. 342-1942. redouxparlour.com

2. Clothes Horse 201 E. 13th Ave. 345-5099. http://wkly.ws/1ln.

3. Deluxe 1331 Willamette St. 686-0205. http://wkly.ws/1lo.

Armed with sewing machines, an eclectic studio space and racks of fascinating garments, the talented designers at Redoux Parlour help guide discarded clothing into its next life. These shirts, jackets and pants, deemed useless by their former owners, are reincarnated into fabulous dresses, vests and even swimsuits. Owner Laura Lee Laroux (see best clothing designer) runs the Parlour with the focus of “upcycling” or redoing (hence the fancy name) clothing designs that are already abundant. This closet afterlife also offers resale clothing, sewing classes, alterations, custom designs and clothing trades once a week. The store prides itself on its quality leather products, such as unique belts and holsters, custom wedding dresses and Laroux’s eco-friendly Revivall Clothing line. Redoux designer Renne Phillips sums it up by saying, “It’s really a hub for pretty much anything fashion and sewing in town.” Eugene agrees.

Photo by Trask Bedortha

 

 

 

Best new business

1. Bijou Metro 43 W. Broadway.
686-3229. wkly.ws/1lu.

2. Viking Braggot 520 Commercial St. 653-8371. drinkviking.com.

3. Party Downtown 55 W. Broadway. 345-8228. partyeugene.com.

Maybe it’s the glossy red sign on Broadway, the super plush theater seating or the thoughtfully curated films — whatever it is, the Bijou Metro has done wonders to class up downtown Eugene. And don’t pigeon hole them as “highbrow” — although they can be (art house, foreign, indie and documentary films dominate the cinema’s lineup) — because Bijou Metro is not afraid to get downright campy (1979’s The Visitor) and nostalgic (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie and The Secret of the Ooze).

Julie Blonshteyn and Edward Schiessl of bijou metro. Photo by Todd Cooper.

 

 

 

 

Best veterinarian/animal clinic

1. Bush Animal Hospital 2415 Oakmont Way. 246-7025. bushanimalhospital.com.

2. Amazon Park Animal Clinic 725 E. 25th Ave. 485-0161. amazonparkvet.com.

3. CatCare, Limited 1400 Willamette St. 302-5824. catcarelimited.com.

When it comes to health, pet owners want to make sure their furry family members are in good hands, and Eugeneans chose Bush Animal Hospital as their go-to for animal care. “We are a very client-focused practice and try to focus on providing the best medicine we can,” says Diane Fowler, practice manager for the hospital. “We feel we can offer clients quite a high level of care, and we just have a really compassionate staff.” And when it comes to reaching out, Bush Animal Hospital is ahead of the game — check out its Facebook page, and you’ll find tons of helpful pet-related info, like updates on the recent chicken jerky poisonings and tips on keeping your pet safe over the holidays. Plus, they post a ton of adorable dog and cat photos, so what’s not to love?

Photo by Todd Cooper

 

 

Best local grocery store

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

2. Market of Choice 1060 Green Acres Rd. 344-1901; 1960 Franklin Blvd. 687-1188; 67 W. 29th Ave. 338-8455; 2580 Willakenzie. 345-3349; 922 NW Circle Blvd. Ste 110, Corvallis. 758-8005.

3. Capella Market 2489 Willamette St. 345-1014. capellamarket.com.

 

 

 

Best downtown business 

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

2. Bijou Metro 43 W. Broadway. 686-3229.
wkly.ws/1lu.

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

Lucky are those who wander by The Kiva on a Customer Appreciation Day, for they shall bliss out on free samples of local food, from roasted organic veggies to amazing Cousin Jack’s Pasties. The Kiva’s been a staple of Eugene since 1970, and after more than 40 years in business, we think they’ve mastered the perfect combination of friendly atmosphere, sustainable foods and a certain hard-to-define aura that makes us proud to live in Eugene.

Photo by Todd Cooper

 

 

 

 

Best glass/smoke shop

1. Midtown Direct 133 E. 13th Ave. 345-3337. midtowndirect.us.

2. Cornerstone Glass 446 E. 13th Ave. 341-1788 or 844-1585. cornerstoneglass.com.

3. Hunky Dory Pipe & Tobacco 271 W. 7th Ave. 345-1853. wkly.ws/1lt.

A glass shop used to be called a “head shop” because it was a place for people to go and get their mind right. The cozy vibe at Midtown lets you think. And you’ll have to if you want to find a new artifact among a thousand chillums, bowls, bubblers, bongs, hookahs and things you’ve never heard of. The vendors are top notch, and the pieces always creative and affordable. Specialty tobaccos abound and they don’t sell spice. Owner Richard Johnson considers his wares “spiritual objects” and doesn’t want people faking the funk through them. It all goes back to that headiness — consider the mystifying goth-meets-ecosexual Steven Lopez mural on the west wall.

midtown direct. Photo by Midtown Direct.

 

 

 

 

Best indie bookstore

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

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

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

Smith Family Bookstore is a book lover’s wet dream. Powell’s in Portland may be bigger, but the Smith Family locations here in town are just the right combo of musty old books, glossy new books and just plain old books piled around the store in such a way that you feel comfortable pulling tomes off the shelves to browse and sprawling for a while in the aisles. Tsunami comes in second place again, and to be honest, that bookstore almost needs a category of its own — best bookstore, music venue and home for political activism? Finally, if you are looking for something a little older than simply used, check out third-place finisher J. Michaels, which has not just new and used books but rare and antiquarian as well.

Photo by Miles Bowers

 

 

 

Best place to get your hair cut

1. Lussuria Salon 160 Oakway Rd #100. 505-9699. lussuriasalon.com.

2. Analog Barber Shop 862 Olive St. 510-5668. analogbarbershop.com.

3. Moss Hair Studio 233 W. 7th Ave. 636-0055. mosshairstudio.com.

Having opened its doors just this February, Lussuria Salon is new to Eugene. But its co-owner, Elisha Johnson, has 13 years of salon experience and a fleet of practiced professionals. The staff is friendly, the décor is chic and their first priority is customer service, Johnson says. They offer on-site childcare so you don’t need to panic about scheduling, and for a high-end salon, the pricing is affordable. Lussuria also offers facials, waxing, massage and hydrotherapy, as well as the opportunity to rent out the whole space or bring a group of friends for a party. The coolest part is that Johnson is working to get benefits for her stylists, something practically unheard of in the salon industry. So grab your pals (or even your young’ns!) and trim up those flyaways.

Lussuria Salon. Photo by Todd Cooper.

 

 

 

Best place to spa/salon

1. Gervais Salon & Day Spa 248 E. 5th Ave. 345-1312. gervaiseugene.com.

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

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

Gervais Salon & Day Spa. Photo by Todd Cooper.

 

 

 

Best CSA boxes

1. Winter Green Farm 89762 Poodle Creek Rd., Noti. 866-935-1920. wintergreenfarm.com.

2. Groundwork Organics 30699 Maple Dr., Junction City. 998-0900. groundworkorganics.com.

3. Camas Swale Farm 25844 Butler Rd., Junction City. 554-1856. camasswalefarm.com.

Longtime Winter Green Farm employee Linda Davies says this year was another great one for the farm’s Community Supported Agriculture boxes because of amazing tomatoes, spectacular squash and sweet and delicious carrots. “The years vary with the weather,” she explains, and next fall could have a completely different highlight. Winter Green’s CSA boxes have more than 40 different types of produce, so if you’re feeling like cooking up a locally grown storm, be sure to sign up for its regular season and fall boxes.

 

 

 

 

 

Asteroid Bits

(Miscellaneous)

 

Best alternative sports team

1. Emerald City Roller Girls emeraldcityrollergirls.net.

2. Eugene Reign eugenewomensrugby.blogspot.com.

3. Lane United Fútbol Club laneunitedfc.org.

The Emerald City Roller Girls, a league of skaters within the Women’s Flat Track Roller Derby Association, play the physical sport very well, and starting in January 2014 there will be more chances to see them in action. Half of their bouts at the Lane Events Center last season were private, but this coming season all of them will be available to the public. Described as “a hockey game, but replace the ice with a roller rink,” with uniforms often made by the skaters themselves, roller derby has its own niche in Eugene, and the Emerald City Roller Girls are a big reason why. 

Kiki O’Keister reppin’ for the emerald city roller girls. Photo by Athena Delene.

 

 

 

Best sports event

1. UO football season goducks.com.

2. Roller derby bouts emeraldcityrollergirls.net.

3. Eugene Emeralds baseball games wkly.ws/1lq.

A great deal of excitement surrounds UO football season these days. There are the countless uniform combinations, yes, and the presence of Nike with Uncle Phil Knight hovering overhead, but the entertaining, prolific and fast-paced team on the field is what makes it a spectacle. Routinely and passionately cheered on by 50,000-plus filling Autzen Stadium and donning everything from green and yellow to black and grey, the team has solidified its position among the elite in college football. Oregon is currently ranked number three in the country, with sights on a national championship, and star quarterback Marcus Mariota is on the cover of the Nov. 4 issue of Sports Illustrated. It’s no wonder this is a great time to be a Duck. 

 

 

 

Best local newscaster

1. Matt Templeman -KEZI.

2. Renee McCullough KEZI.

3. Al Peterson KVAL.

They are too nice to say it, so we’re going to say it for them: The fact that KEZI’s Matt Templeman and Renee McCullough came in first and second place for best local newscaster is a vindication of how much this area values local ownership and independent news sources, and it shows how silly it was for KMTR’s new owners to fire its tried and true news team when it took over the news station in June.

Templeman says he thinks he got a “Best of” nomination because “this is simply the result of getting involved in a community that I care about. I love reporting on issues important to all of us and presenting the news with Renee.” McCullough chimes in, “I have simply been overwhelmed by the amount of support from our community the last few months, and could not be happier doing a job I love, in a community filled with so many wonderful people.” She says, “I can’t imagine raising my kids anywhere else and am so thankful to be able to bring you the news each night with my friend and co-anchor of 14 years.”

Templeman adds, “One of the best parts of this job is being actively engaged with so many non profits and causes. I have my personal family with my wife Kimra and three boys,” but he says he has multiple other families “including all my friends at Pearl Buck Center, MDA, Alzheimer’s and various schools. It’s an honor to be able to do what I do every day.” 

Matt Templeman. Photo by Athena Delene.

 

 

Best annual event or festival

1. Oregon Country Fair oregoncountryfair.org.

2. Eugene Celebration eugenecelebration.com.

3. Whiteaker Block Party whiteakerblockparty.com.

 

 

 

Best thing that could happen to Eugene

1. Downtown revitalization continues

2. A new mayor

3. More jobs

Our readers poll indicates that Eugeneans like what’s happening downtown and want to see more of the life that’s springing up in the vicinity of Broadway and Willamette. We think it’s funny that Mayor Kitty Piercy wins the Best Politico title while also getting sent packing in this category — something about her brings out the lovers and the haters. And we’ve got to agree about number three. Let’s hope this slow recovery sticks.

 

 

Best thing about Eugene Weekly

1. It’s free

2. “Savage Love”

3. Calendar listings

You get what you pay for.

 

 

Worst thing about Eugene Weekly

1. Liberal bias

2. Advertising

3. Nothing

You get what you pay for.

 

 

 

Worst plague around town

It seemed to happen out of nowhere. Boom! John Henry’s was gone. We whined and grieved and had finally gotten back up on our dancing feet when SLAM! Diablo’s announced they would be closing down soon too. What is this with big local bars closing?! I’ll tell ’ya, if they even think about touching Cowfish, I’ll lose all hope for this one-horse town.

 

Best barf in Eugene

No, it’s not the spectacle that is UO freshmen stumbling around the campus neighborhood nor your toilet bowl after that fourth meal run to Taco Bell, but instead the fascinating winged creatures at Cascade Raptor Center, some of which use vomit as a defense mechanism. This destination is tucked into the hills of South Eugene and Tuesday through Friday at noon you can learn the ins and outs of different species during the handler talks. Hopefully you won’t actually witness any bird vomiting, but you just might get to see a bird of prey eat an entire dead baby chick — bones and all. 

 

Best place to do it dirty in the dark

Just admit it! As weird and twisted as it is, we’ve all had thoughts of sneaking a quickie atop a tombstone in the middle of a cemetery. And while Eugene’s Pioneer Cemetery is often the first one that pops into mind around town, its foliage is sparse and if you’re going to have an audience at all, you sure don’t want it to be the frat boys wandering down 18th. So grab your sweetie (or maybe just the closest stranger in the bar) and head south to Masonic Cemetery for a little rule-breaking. It’s remote, secluded and, most importantly, creepy as all get out. 

 

Best new bike path in the area

A new four-mile paved path opened in October along the Willamette from Dorris Ranch to Clearwater Park. The Middle Fork Path connects to the Eugene-Springfield riverfront bike path system by a bike lane on South Second Street in Springfield. Eventually we might see a bike bridge over the Willamette to connect the new path with Buford and Mount Pisgah. Meanwhile, enjoy the ride, or walk through an area that was previously inaccessible except by boat.

 

Best way to improve South Willamette Street

Get rid of all those dangerous, redundant driveways that cause accidents and throw in some bike lanes and a center turn lane. This street could be much safer, easier to navigate by car and more fun to bike on with a few little changes.

 

Best street to get run over on your bike

We love biking, but seriously, we could do without the near-death experiences. On 18th, the collision of turn lanes, parking lots and coffee-guzzling drivers in the morning makes things a bit tense for bikers. To the lady in the SUV turning in to the Safeway parking lot who slammed on her brakes within inches of flattening a biker — please put down the cell phone and give a quick glance to the bike lane before turning. We’d appreciate it. 

 

Best locally made whole wheat bread with figs and filberts in it

 

Try the Metropol Bakery and coffee shop on South Willamette. The little loaf is so tasty.

 

Best fresh scones on a ridiculously early morning

In the winter, the prospect of waking up for an early morning ski on the weekend seems great, until it’s 5 am and the outside world seems cold and cruel compared to the coziness of the bed. Sometimes the littlest things can make the trip worth it, like Eugene City Bakery’s scones. Nothing else really matters when you’ve got fluffy scones with gooey marionberries to devour. Thanks, Eugene City Bakery, for motivating us to get out there and brave the cold weather.

 

Best reason to allow oil trains through Eugene

The oil spills will keep the coal dust down.

 

Best place for pizza after a hike 

Tucked away out Jasper Lowell Road in Fall Creek is the Fall Creek Market and Pizza, where you can get simply amazing pizza from the “chicken bacon artichoke” to the gourmet vegetarian featuring cauliflower, carrots, broccoli, mushrooms, black olives, red onions, red and yellow peppers, artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes and garlic. The market is kind of a trek from Eugene — almost 20 minutes from downtown — but the rich, cheesy goodness is a perfect reward after a day hiking the old-growth forests around Fall Creek in the Willamette National Forest. Fall Creek Market and Pizza has been around since the 1900s; we don’t know when the folks there started selling pizza, but they have perfected the art. For the menu, go to fallcreekmarket.com or just drive out to 39074 Jasper Lowell Rd., Fall Creek, 746-3068.

 

Best kimchi on Highway 58

For all we know it’s the only kimchi on Hwy. 58, but if you get off I-5 at the Goshen exit and drive about a mile down 58, you’ll see Lee’s Highway 58 Market on your right. You can get all the usual Oregon convenience fare — wine, beer, fishing bait and microwave food, but you can also get fantastic spicy homemade kimchi in small or large jars. Homemade teriyaki chicken over rice or yakisoba noodles is also on the menu — made to order. Fermented food lovers: The kimchi is worth a stop.

 

Best time to shop Goodwill, 

St. Vinny’s and Salvation Army

Donors unload mountains of good stuff at the end of the year to take advantage of tax write-offs. December through February are prime shopping months.

 

Best place to go to feel better about the economy

The Costco parking lot on any Saturday.

 

Best place to prepare mentally for an earthquake

Any of the Eugene businesses along the railroad tracks.

 

Best place to be when the dams fail in The Big One

Fifth floor or above at Riverbend.

 

Most improved scenic drive 

Hallelujah! The asphalt gods have heard our pleas because Lorane Highway (between Washington Street and Paige Avenue) went from being the worst pretty drive in town to one of the best. A year ago, driving your car or riding your bike down its sinuous path was almost certain death, for shocks and tires anyway. Now, instead of white-knuckling it, drivers can enjoy the leafy scenery speckled with chicken coops, gardens and beautiful homes. Don’t get too cocky though, be mindful of cyclists and wandering souls.

 

Best way to rebuild public confidence in city government

Create an independent performance auditor office that reports directly to the City Council.

 

 

 

Worst thing about EW (unedited)

Ted “Dingaling” Taylor

When people leave it on the ground

Too liberal and still buys into the global warming scam.

THIS VOTE RARELY ECHOES MY OPINIONS. WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE WHO VOTE?

The people who complain about it

Stop printing

nasty

Moderate politics

It needs to get underneath its hostility to experience its grief and loss so that it can grow forward share to win-win solutions for all.

ink comes off on y9our clothes if you try and hug it

increasingly difficult to masturbate to

hasn’t connected the dots re: potus, congress, mob, corporate america, cia, nsa, ad naseum

Extreme right wing Republicans

Ecologically unsound you guys kill a lot of trees

Aggressive environmentalism

 

 

Best thing about EW (unedited)

Ted is a nice guy

Standing up for the good of the whole--like EmX, or no GMO foods.  And the layout is good.

sexy words

Nothing, I find that it misses all the marks.

Not being Political Whores

letters from dumbasses

it really wraps fish well

It cuts the edge, has low fear wall, it’s always there.

frequent use of swear words

Boobs

balls out!

aliens

 

Best thing that could happen to Eugene  (unedited)

We all get super powers that only work for doing good.

unicorn visitation

Toss out the “gang of four” on the county commissioners board.

Swings at bus stops!

Skinner Butte Waterslides

send the squares to veneta

Rebuild Downtown with a Theme

Pull their heads out of Duck Football’s ass

Make the buses run late enough that people don’t drive drunk. Jesus Christ already.

Legalize pot?

If everyone could just get oolong

Half the people moved away (speed freaks)

Crusty bus gypsies take over the Whiteaker and push out all the brewpubs

CITY GOV STOP GIVING OUTRAGEOUS TAX BREAKS FOR DEVELOPERS

Cascadian secession

businesses open later

Bikes off sidewalks

becoming the international hub of slow organic backyard unicorn farming

bar w/a dog park

A bison burger option (hello!), the opening of authentic Irish and Cuban restaurants, and a giant in-town grotto-style swimming haven.  :)