Gusto Magazine's Best of Bend 2008 Ballot
Gusto is asking for people to fill out their Awards ballot. I have never been shy about saying that I think these types of polls are silly especially this early in the year but what do I know. The form that Gusto has online seems easily manipulated since you don't have to login or create a profile or anything. Any restaurant can get their psycho fan base (who goes off on you if you say their portion size is small even though you said the quality of food is great) to submit their restaurant over and over. I could fill this form out as many times as I like. But they don't want you to.
The survey questions at the top of the page include a question:
"Where do you go first to get your dining info?"
The Bend Oregon Restaurants Blog is not listed as an option. You KNOW I should be listed in there. I emailed them and it was explained that the options are print publications. I'll accept that. I know I'm dominating the interwebs anyhow.
Anyway, at the bottom of this post I'm providing the link to visit Gusto and fill out the form. But first I want to force you to read my suggestions. This way you can simply copy and paste my answers since I am right. I'm always right. Accept it.
Please Indicate Your Favorites in the Following Categories:
Asian - Bruce Lee. Favorite Asian is a broad category but I'd go with deep, Kanpai, or the newcomer Bo Restobar (yes, over Typhoon).
Bar - I'm going assume this mean that hard alcohol is served instead of just beers. There are plenty of options but currently, my favorite bar is the Blacksmith.
Bar Food - Blacksmith HANDS DOWN. That Bar menu is insane and all top shelf ingredients. They need to update their online menu cause they've added quite a few more dishes to their bar menu.
BBQ - I can't believe that this is still a category. I bet Kasey's BBQ still gets honorable mention. Even when they aren't being robbed at gun point, they still couldn't smoke flesh worth a damn. Baldy's BBQ is the ONLY BBQ in town. Sure there are catering companies that will tow their smoker around and provide pulled pork for your shotgun wedding but if you want BBQ any day of the week, its Baldy's and everyone knows it.
Best Sports Bar/Restaurants - Village Grill is pretty sweet even though they didn't buy the NCAA sports package. TVs every where and they are willing to switch channels if you ask. Plus they are smoke free which is great.
Best Sub Sandwich - I do like the Downtowner which will most likely win with NY Sub Shop coming in second BUT you are all fools if you don't go to the Speedshop Deli which is literally sandwiched between Pizza Mondo and El Jimador. I'm still perfecting my "sangwich" which is a work in progress. Turkey, gabagool, pepper jack, olive tapenade, lettuce, nuke pickles, nuke sauce, and 6th gear of nuke past on an Italian roll. More on that later next week.
Breakfast - Jake's Diner
Brunch - I've never been to a brunch in Bend.
Burger - Dandy's, just had one today and they're still grubbin.
Catering - How many catering companies dose the average Bendite have the experience with? Are we qualified to vote on this? I hear that Han's is now a catering company. Does that count?
Chef - Dr. Juri Spandati from Spandati Personal Chef Services. Sure there are great chefs in town but how do you pick one? Does that chef get credit for dishes that he/she created yet didn't personally make while you were visiting? I guess so. But I like Dr. Juri because he personally made everything that I had on that glorious evening and I watched it happen. How cool is that?
Cocktails - Well, since Best Bar went to the Blacksmith, how can I select somewhere else for best cocktail? That's part of being best Bar.
Coffee House - Starbucks. I mean, they've done so well for so long...all other coffee houses strive to be bought be Starbucks. Trust me, they do. Honestly, I like the one with free wifi.
Culinary Event - The beer dinners at Deschutes Mountain room.
Cup of Coffee - More coffee? If you like coffee this much, it might be time to cut back. It's a drug maaaaaan, get off the bean!
Deli - The Speedshop Deli is a deli. Not rocket surgery here.
Dessert - Hurricane's. I said it before, it really is great for dessert after a nice dinner at Baldy's or Baltazar's.
Doughnuts - Sweetheart Donuts.
Drive Thru Coffee Location - Oh man, if you want to say "best drive up coffee hut" than just say it, otherwise the winner is clearly Starbucks by Safeway on the west side. Just give in, Starbucks is it baby.
Espresso - OMG WTF DSE (double shot espresso) More coffee? There isn't a difference. It all tastes bad. Just get yourself some Coffee Mate's French Vanilla creamer and a tall drip and drink it. It is NOT that serious. But if you like it, you like it.
Family Dining - El Caporal pleases everyone.
Fine Dining - The Jackalope Grill, The Blacksmith, Zydeco. Can't go wrong. bistro corlise is in the running as well but so new.
Food Presentation - The Jackalope Grill, The Blacksmith, Zydeco. Can't go wrong. bistro corlise is in the running as well but so new. Hola has some nice presentations as well, they could easily win this one.
Grocery Store/Market - The one with the best products at the lowest prices.
Happy Hour - Blacksmith, hands down!
Italian - Spandati Personal Chef Services. Until you try it, be quiet and trust me. I swear, the next person that says Staccato is Italian is getting slapped across the back of their neck. It aint.
Late Night Dining - I eat the early bird special and am in bed by 8pm normally. I don't really know this one. I don't even know how late anything is open in Bend. I know when I moved here, wasn't crap open past 10pm. I think I got used to that.
Local Brewery - Durrrr. OK tourists and new residents, if you haven't given BBC a try, then I suggest cutting the tourist umbilical cord and give it a go. You've been here for 2 years now, time to branch out there SoCal.
Lunch - Toomies. For $5.95 (and that's not counting the lunch special for $4.50) you get salad, rice, phad thai, and your main dish.
Margaritas - Hola, La Rosa, El Caporal...doesn't matter, they're all the same.
Mexican - Hola, La Rosa, El Caporal...doesn't matter, they're all the same.
Milkshake - Dandy's until they close and then Goodies.
Most Dependable/Consistent - I don't like this category. All the places that I go regularly are consistent, that's why I go back. I'm sure you're the same with all the places you go. If you like it, it's good.
NW Cuisine - Seafood, yeah its Anthony's. I was not pleased with Bend Fish Company lately but I know you'll all vote for them and High Tides. The latter is actually pretty good but I've only had their deep fried fish so I can't say just yet.
Pancakes - Jake's.
Pastries - How's that different than donuts or desserts? I don't know, Village Baker, Westside Bakery, Hurricane's?
Pizza - Pizza Mondo - Run lil Piggy RUNNNN
Place to Buy Meat/Butcher - Speedshop = Meat.
Place to Buy Wine - Costco
Prineville Family Dining - Do they have a Chuck E Cheese? If not, then don't they have that Super Walmart?
Prineville Fine Dining - HAHAHAHAHA seriously?!?!?!
Redmond Family Dining - Do they have a Chuck E Cheese? If not, then don't they have that Super Walmart?
Redmond Fine Dining - HAHAHAHAHA seriously?!?!?! (showing these lines to the wife while laughing so hard I'm crying she says in a serious voice "That's not nice, they have a nice place don't they?" HAHAHAHAHA I love it)
Restaurant for Kids - See "Family Dining"
Seafood - See NW Cuisine
Service - hmmmm do we just give it to McKay Cottage like last year? I still say Les Schwab has the best service and they count with their free beef and popcorn.
Sisters Family Dining - El Caporal
Sisters Fine Dining - Jen's Garden
Soups - Downtowner
Steak - The Jackalope Grill or Blacksmith...take your pick.
Sunriver Family Dining - No idea
Sunriver Fine Dining - No idea
Sushi - Kanpai Happy Hour. Bend has not had good sushi at a fair price since Don Don bailed on us. So I go to Kanpai for happy hour. You can afford it and it is very good.
Thai - Angel Thai Cuisine.
Value - Everyone has their own price. I like...surprise....El Caporal.
Wine List - Jackalope Grill, Blacksmith, bistro corlise are all places that I've seen the wine list...are they good? I guess. I vote for Costco!!!