BEST OF CLARK COUNTY 2012 - EATS
One of the more popular Best of Clark County categories, to take the Best Pasta vote, a restaurant must have quality food, friendly staff and a good value.
for the second year in a row, The Olive Garden has met all of those criteria. According to our voters, anyway:
"Always has a huge selection and the food is great!"
"Always friendly staff and wonderful food!"
"Best sauces, salads, great place to take friends."
"Their unlimited pasta is the best deal ever and soup, salad & breadsticks the best!"
WINNER: Olive Garden, 101 NE Parkway Dr, Vancouver, WA 98662, (360) 256-8174; 16405 SE Mill Plain Blvd, Vancouver, WA 98683, (360) 256-4051.
For the third time in the last four years, Carol's Corner Cafe was voted the top breakfast spot in Clark County. While many voters made sure to mention the large portions, Carol's is more than just a plate-full of food.
"The amount of food you get for the money is awesome, staff is friendly and although the wait time is sometimes long it is well worth it!"
"Fantastic Breakfast and favorite place to go on the weekend with family! Delicious!"
"Shannon and Jed ROCK! Awesome breakfast spot that I have yet to see done better by anyone else in Clark County or Portland."
WINNER: Carol's Corner Cafe, 7800 NE St Johns Rd, Vancouver, WA 98665, (360) 573-6357.
RUNNERS UP: Biscuits, Hockinson Kountry Cafe, Elmer's
Opened less than four years, Woody's Tacos has spent half of that time as the leading-vote getter for Mexican Food in the Best of Clark County balloting. Woody's also took the most votes in 2010.
And their fans were effusive with the reasons why.
"I just moved here from 12 years in San Antonio, Texas. Woody's is by far the best Mexican I have eaten so far in Vancouver. Great margaritas, homemade salsas, and some authentic dishes."
"They have the best options for vegetarians. They use fresh, local ingredients, and always have unique daily specials. The staff is great, everyone is so friendly. Oh, and the margaritas are fantastic!"
"My version of Cheers, I can go with my newspaper, enjoy a cold Margarita on a Friday, and let the spices tantilize my tongue - and my mind drift off to the beach in CABO.....ah, my chair awaits."
WINNER: Woody's Tacos, 210 W. Evergreen Blvd., Suite 700, Vancouver, WA 98660, 360-718-8193
Thai Orchid has been on quite the run, lately. Best of Clark County voters, for the fourth straight year, have named Thai Orchid the best in Asian Cuisine.
The menu please both meat-eater and vegetarians alike as well as a full sushi menu. Enjoy appetizers and entrees during Thai Orchid's happy hour as well.
"With many Thai places to choose from in the Portland area, Thai Orchid is still my favorite. Try the peanut sauce!"
"Everything is good!"
WINNER: Thai Orchid Restaurant & Sushi Bar, 1004 Washington St, Vancouver, WA, (360) 695-7786
With so many people voting for the top hamburger in Clark County, it's amazing that the top two vote getters were just one vote apart!
Maybe it was their reputation as stewards of their community -- or maybe it was the sweet potato fries -- as Burgerville barely bested Five Guys Burgers and Fries. It was the third-straight time Burgerville was voted to the top spot.
from the voters:
"I love the burgers, and seasonal variety is fun."
"I believe in what they stand for, they are a class organization."
"Turkey burgers and sweet potato fries!"
There were plenty of fans for Five Guys, too, as this voter can attest: "Five Guys is affordable, fresh, and unique in the fast food burger community. I love that I choose what goes on my burger, and their peanut oil fries are great!"
WINNER: Burgerville, various locations
Even a move in the middle of the year couldn't keep the Best of Clark County votes from finding Ice Cream Renaissance. In taking both the top Dessert and Ice Cream/Yogurt categories this year, the ICR haul over the last four years is five BOCC awards!
In addition to the yum-inducing ice cream, ICR has added to their list of desserts, featuring a decadent choice of cakes from Piece of Cake bakery in Portland and fresh baked fruit pies from Willamette Vallley Fruit Company.
"Always amazing ice cream, creative flavors, cool boutique shop, fun staff, active in helping the community."
"Amazing ice cream shop in Uptown Village."
"This place is ridiculously delicious."
WINNER: Ice Cream Renaissance, 1925 Main St. in Vancouver, Washington.
WINNER: Ice Cream Renaissance
They have catchy commercials, famous spokespeople and a location near you.
Maybe that's why Subway was the top vote-getter in two categories, Best Deli and Best Sandwich.
Subway offers up all the old-time faves, like the BLT, Cold Cut Combo and Roast Beef. But hungry eaters can also delve into a Jalapeno Tuna, Chicken Pizziola Melt and, of course, the Meatball sub.
As one voter put it: "Meatball sub. Yummm."
WINNER: Subway, various locations
WINNER: Subway, various locations
A bunch of hungry people -- all with different tastes. What's a starving brood to do?
According to Clark County voters, load up the family truckster and head to the Old Spaghetti Factory.
And why not? With a Complete Meal option, diners can get an entree, warm bread, soup or salad and a dish of spumoni ice cream to top things off.
And about those entrees. Chicken Parmigiana, Spinach Tortellini with Alfredo Sauce, Baked Lasagna and a list of just under 10 different pasta sauces. Need more choices? The Old Spaghetti Factory even offers a gluten free menu on request.
Dig in. Or, at least, continue to dig in… this is the fourth year in a row voters chose "OSF" as the best Family Dinner option.
WINNER: Old Spaghetti Factory, 730 S.E. 160th Ave., Vancouver, WA 98684, (360) 253-9030.
With more than 10 locations in Clark County, if you're on the go and need to grab something to take home for dinner, voters went with Papa Murphy's Pizza.
Whether you create your own pie -- and with several different meats, cheeses and vegetables to choose from, you can come up with hundreds of different combinations.
Or leave it to Papa Murphy's to come up with one of their signature pizzas, like The Cowboy, Papa's Favorite and the Murphy's Combo.
You could also go just with pepperoni, too.
"By far the best pizza value and quality, and price. And friendly, efficient, consistantly well-managed, and well-trained friendly staff."
WINNER: Papa Murphy's, various locations
For the second year a row, Larson's Bakery was Clark County's choice for top Bakery.
Wedding cakes, Danish pastries, cookies, pies, gift trays, seasonal items and more wait for you at Larson's, which has been serving Clark County since 1986.
Not sure what to get? Here's a hint: more than one person mentioned the "absolute best double-layer banana cake!"
"They made our wedding cake this year, and it was wonderful... thank you Larson's Bakery!!!"
"A DANISH ADDICTION ON THE WEEKEND LED TO A WEDDING CAKE. THIS IS A VANCOUVER STAPLE."
"Excellent baked goods! We always buy our birthday cakes there; always quality in every bite."
WINNER: Larson's Bakery, Deli and Coffee Bar, 13411 SE Mill Plain Blvd., Vancouver, WA 98684, (360) 253-4555.
Of all the categories Best of Clark County 2012 offered -- and there are close to 90 -- no other contest had as many votes as best Pizza.
Several pizza places were named, and a few garnered enough votes to win almost any other category.
But, for the third year in a row, Blind Onion came out on top. Free Anchovies Tuesday, free garlic all the time and some of the best sauces and toppings around certainly helped Blind Onion. In this year's voting, however, voters put the best crust forward.
"I have never had better pizza than the Blind Onion. I'm big on the crust... and I can tell you... they have THE best!!"
"Absolutely the most delicious crust, marinara and ingredients."
"Top notch product, incredible edible crust!"
WINNER: Blind Onion Pizza & Pub, 9230 NE Hwy 99, Vancouver, WA 98665, (360) 597-4898; 2900-B E Mill Plain Blvd, Vancouver, WA 98661, (360) 750-7490; 6115 NE 114th Ave , Vancouver, WA 98662, (360) 213-1805
"Still the best."
That's how one voter felt about Tommy O's, and most of the BOCC voters agree.
With the rich flavors of the Pacific Ring of Fire at their Downtown Vancouver location or the fresh influences of the Pacific Northwest at their Eastside Grill, this is the third straight year voters put Tommy O's at the top of the list.
"We love that they're willing to bring their restaurant to Esther Short Park during the summer concert series."
"Tommy and their staff are wonderful and the food is amazing!"
"Love their Sushi, and fish is always fresh."
WINNER: Tommy O's, 801 Washington Street, Vancouver, WA, (360) 694-5107; 4101 SE 192nd Ave, Vancouver, WA, (360) 892-2484.
How important is coffee?
First thing in the morning. During a break at the office. After lunch. That 2:30 p.m. perk-up. After dinner. Late in the evening while doing homework.
For some people, any deviation from the above itinerary and the whole program goes off the tracks.
That's why Starbucks, for the second-straight year, took the top spot in Best of Clark County voting. It's all about consistency.
"Consistent quality and flavor. That is why it is ubiquitous."
"Because of their consistency!"
"Great service and good coffee even when they are swamped."
WINNER: Starbucks, various location
Time to set the mood…
Turn the light sown just a bit, maybe light a candle or two.
Red… or white? Maybe a cocktail? Something to nibble on while waiting for the entree?
And, after dinner, share a dessert?
When it comes to date night, Clark County voted to spend it at Lapellah.
"Great ambiance and decor."
"Great atmosphere, knowledgeable waitstaff, and delicious food!"
"Great atmosphere and food!"
"Best atmosphere, food and wine list in Vancouver!"
WINNER: Lapellah, 2520 Columbia House Blvd., Suite 108, Vancouver, WA, 98661, (360) 828-7911.
With brunches that can consist of asparagus, spring kale and other cooking greens, as well as vegan muffins, scones and bars, Mint Tea took the most votes in the Vegan/Vegetarian category.
Mint Tea, which began its life as a retail import shop, started its cafe in early 2008 and has been satisfying those looking for fresh, local foods with an eye on sustainable and organic practices.
And while their menu is constantly changing, Mint Tea makes sure that vegetarian/vegan options are always available.
WINNER: Mint Tea, 2014 Main St., Vancouver, WA, 98660, (360) 699-4991.
For some, nothing says Mother's Day like brunch at the Red Lion Hotel at the Quay.
Red Lion's signature Roaring Start Breakfast includes an assortment of all things branchy, like pancakes, bacon, sausage, potatoes, eggs and more.
Open 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m. every Sunday, various cheeses and breads are also on display, along with chilled seafood and a meat-carving station with either roasted top round sirloin or glazed pit ham. Oh, and don't forget to leave room for dessert.
And as much as the food is a draw to the Quay brunch, one voter appreciated another amenity: "Love that river view."
WINNERS: Inn at the Quay, 100 Columbia St, Vancouver, WA, 98660, (360) 694-8341.
Offering Pinot Noir, Petite Sirah, Merlot and others, the East Fork Cellars was chosen by Clark County as the Best Local Wine.
Planting on their property north of Battle Ground, the East Fork Cellars take advantage of the unique growing conditions here in Southwest Washington.
And their fans are noticing:
"Small, friendly winery in Ridgefield with great selection of Red/Whites and sparkling wines. Also great entertainment!"
"Top quality product at a great value."
"Best French Style wines and music venue."
WINNER: East Fork Cellars, 24415 NE 10th Ave, Ridgefield, WA, 98642, (360) 727-3055
Top Sirloin, perhaps glazed with sesame-teriyaki sauce and fresh garlic. Filet Mignon, wrapped up snug in applewood bacon. Or maybe a New York strip or Ribeye.
When Clark County voted for the best steakhouse, Black Angus Restaurant found itself at the top.
But they aren't just about the steak. Want to go for a little surf-n-turf action? Black Angus also offers prawns, shrimp and lobster tails for your meal.
And, of course, the trimmings. Garlic mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, fries, salad and french fries or onion rings. And if, unbelievably, you still have room for dessert, Stuart Anderson has that covered, too.
So, in a word, when Clark County thinks Black Angus Steakhouse, they think "Yummmmmy!"
WINNER: Black Angus Steakhouse, 415 East 13th Street, Vancouver, WA 98660, (360) 695-1506.
When Clark County voted for best Chicken, a mix of places received votes. Fast food joints and sit-down restaurants alike.
But, at the end of the day, they went with something tried and true for over 45 years: Bill's Chicken and Steak House.
For lunch or dinner, Bill's serves up its famous fried chicken, complete with potatoes, a roll and soup or salad. Bill's also offers a grilled chicken breast, chicken and dumplings, or for the lunch time crowd, a crispy chicken wrap or chicken cordon bleu.
Have a whole mess of chicken lovers? Bill's features a banquet room that can hold up to 90 people for a sit down dinner.
WINNER: Bill's Chicken & Steak House, 2200 St Johns Blvd, Vancouver, WA, 98661, (360) 695-1591.