2011 Best of 425

The annual Best of 425 issue, now in its third year, is full of local picks. This comprehensive list includes readers’ choices of everything from favorite restaurants and places to shop to pet stores, parks and more. Need a remodeler? How about a place to buy furniture? Or a hot new restaurant to take someone from out of town? Use this list as a resource, or as a topic of conversation amongst friends (“What are your favorites on the Eastside?” “I can’t believe they won this year.” “They have the best sushi on the Eastside, hands down.”) Did your favorite make the list? If not, be sure to champion their cause and vote for them in next year’s Best of 425. Without further ado, we present to you the Best of 425. Enjoy!

Food + Dining

Best Restaurant

Cactus

121 Park Lane, Kirkland, cactusrestaurants.com/kirkland

The Southwest sizzles on Eastside palates at Cactus, a festive spot that delivers an array of creative comida with finesse, from ceviche to natural grilled skirt steak with chimichurri. The kitchen takes great care to ensure the ingredients and flavors are fresh and lively, one of the secrets to their long success.

Runners up: Seastar Restaurant & Raw Bar, Bellevue; Wild Ginger, Bellevue

Best Bakery

Hoffman’s

226 Park Place Center, Kirkland, hoffmansfinepastries.com

Classic European cakes, tortes, pastries and cookies will sweeten up anyone’s day with just one visit to this Kirkland favorite. Chocolate lovers indulge in the rich signature chocolate cake, while the more guilt-prone gravitate to the whole wheat cinnamon rolls. It’s no wonder Hoffman’s has had a loyal following since it opened more than a quarter century ago.

Runners up: French Bakery, Bellevue, Crossroads and Kirkland; Belle Pastry, Bellevue

Best Breakfast/Brunch

Fins Bistro

301 Front St., N., Issaquah, finsbistro.net

On weekends, this handsome restaurant next to the Village Theater serves a fantastic brunch featuring signature twists on old favorites: crab cake Benedict and eggs Florentine are two of the most popular dishes, and you can’t go wrong with cinnamon-raisin French toast. Diners love lingering in the warm, cozy dining room but sunny days has patrons lining up for patio seating.

Runners up: Maltby Café, Snohomish; Brown Bag Café, Kirkland

Best Lunch

Fins Bistro

301 Front St. N., Issaquah, finsbistro.net

Fresh seafood is king at Fins Bistro. Delectable seafood dishes dominate the appetizer and entree menus, but if it’s a more casual lunch of soup, sandwiches or salad your after, the kitchen excels with those selections as well. Choose the warm, inviting ambiance of the dining room or, on nice days, the cheerful garden patio.

Runners up: Nibbana, Bellevue; Chipotle, multiple locations

Best Happy Hour

Palomino

610 Bellevue Way N.E., Bellevue, palomino.com

Palomino does happy hour right with an array of appetizer specials like $6 pizzas, $8 flatbreads, $4 featured wine and beer and $5 cocktail specials. Isn’t the biggest bang for your buck what a great happy hour is all about? When you add quality to the mix, it’s easy to see why this is the Eastside’s favorite happy hour.

Runners up: Taphouse, Bellevue; Pearl Bar & Dining, Bellevue

Best Dessert

Pinkabella Cupcakes

multiple locations including Bellevue Square and Redmond Town Center, pinkabellacupcakes.com

Delicious, classy and fun-according to Pinkabella fans, that’s what makes a great cupcake shop, and that’s why they return to Pinkabella again and again whether it’s a special occasion or no particular occasion at all. Goodness comes in many flavors, like pink champagne, caramel macchiato and classics like red velvet. And the fact that the folks at Pinkabella benefit many charities is one of the sweetest flavors of all.

Runners up: Cheesecake Factory, Bellevue; New York Cupcakes, Bellevue

Best Service

El Gaucho

450 108th Ave. N.E., Bellevue, elgaucho.com

Old world service is one of the ingredients that put El Gaucho on the map, and discerning diners do recognize it. Besides the food, service is what keeps customers coming back: the polished, yet caring staff, the personal attention, the fine details of genuinely exceptional service that are found in few other establishments.

Runners up: Daniel’s Broiler, Bellevue; Terra Vista, Snoqualmie

Best Steak

Daniel’s Broiler

10500 N.E. 8th, 21st Floor, Bellevue, schwartzbros.com/daniels.cfm

Sometimes there’s a craving that only a big, juicy prime U.S.D.A. steak can satisfy. That’s when Eastsiders who know their beef head to Daniel’s Broiler, home of steaks flash-seared at more than 1,800 degrees to seal in all the goodness and flavor. Daniel’s Broiler grills all the usual suspects and prepares your favorite classic sides for mouth-watering perfection.

Runners up: El Gaucho, Bellevue; John Howie Steak, Bellevue

Best Brewery

RedHook Brewery

14300 N.E. 145th St., Woodinville, redhook.com

The highest quality ingredients, including hand-selected hops from Yakima, make Redhook brews a local favorite. Of course, the fact that they run a great, onsite brew pub with live music on Friday and Saturday nights and brewery tours so you can get an insider’s view at how their beers are made just add to the fun.

Runners up: Mac & Jacks Brewery, Redmond; Black Raven Brewing Company, Redmond

Best Burger

Fatburger

multiple locations, fatburger.com

Three Eastside locations put Fatburger within easy reach of just about everyone who loves burgers the way they used to make ’em. With all the competition in the world of burgers, there are five reasons why this one rose to the top: five sizes of burger (plus all the trimmings) perfection, from 2.5-ounce to 24 ounces.

Runners up: Red Robin, multiple locations; Burgermaster, Mill Creek, Bellevue

Best Bar and Lounge

Taphouse Grill

550 106th Ave. N.E., Bellevue, taphousegrill.com

Located in the heart of the action in Bellevue’s Galleria, Taphouse offers 160 brews on tap, the largest selection not only on the Eastside, but in the entire Northwest. No wonder it rose to the top as the Eastside’s best bar! From IPAs to stouts, and lagers to porters, here you just might discover a new favorite brew.

Runners Up: Pearl Bar & Dining, Bellevue; Joey, Bellevue

Best Chef

John Howie

John Howie Steak, The Bravern, Bellevue, johnhowiesteak.com and Seastar Restaurant and Raw Bar, 205 108th Ave. N.E., Suite 100, Bellevue; seastarrestaurant.com

Chef John Howie has been a highly regarded name in the Seattle and Eastside culinary scene for years. One of the reasons is that he stands by his core values in every restaurant he has run: unexpected hospitality and value — every guest, every time. He excels at dining experiences that shine for his guests, both on the plate and in the atmosphere and service.

Runners Up: Holly Smith, Cafe Juanita; Bradley Dickinson, Pearl Bar & Dining

Best Kid-Friendly Restaurant

Red Robin

multiple locations, redrobin.com

Word has hit the playground. With about a dozen burgers to choose from, in addition to other sandwiches, a kids menu, and yummy shakes and sundaes, Red Robin is the dining choice of discerning kids. Of course, parents love it, too.

Runners up: Zeeks Pizza and Chuck E. Cheese, multiple locations

Best Pizza

Pagliacci Pizza

multiple locations, pagliacci.com

Besides delectable pizza that has a long history of accolades, lots a factors make Pagliacci Pizza a winner: a genuine commitment to green practices, seasonal toppings celebrating what’s fresh and local, a crowd-pleasing menu, the convenience of catering services, and pizza boxes that pay homage to the company’s local purveyors. What’s not to love?

Runners up: Zeeks Pizza, multiple locations; MOD Pizza, Bellevue

Best Vegetarian

Teapot Vegetarian House

15230 N.E. 24th St., Redmond, teapotvegetarianhouse.com

Teapot Vegetarian House’s all-vegan menu proves that eating healthy tastes great. The owners are committed to promoting healthy diets and this passion comes through in each palate-pleasing pan-Asian dish they serve. Their menu of more than 70 vegan recipes delivers plenty of variety and flavor, and has people coming back to this Redmond restaurant for more.

Runner up: Bastyr University Dining Commons, Kirkland

Best New Restaurant

Milagro Cantina

148 Lake St. S., Kirkland, milagrocantina.com

Milagro Cantina’s menu is a culinary tour of authentic Mexican cuisine. The dishes of Oaxaca, Baja, and Vera Cruz, to name a few, satisfy diners hungry for the flavors of old Mexico, and the cantina’s well-stocked tequila menu rounds out the experience. It’s no wonder this stylish new restaurant catapulted to the top of the new restaurant list.

Runners up: Cantinetta, Bellevue; Din Tai Fung, Bellevue

Best Hole-in-the-Wall

The Pumphouse

Bar & Grill

11802 N.E. 8th St., Bellevue, pumphousebellevue.com

Mmmmm! The folks in the Pumphouse kitchen know how to sling hash right! The daily breakfast, lunch and dinner menu boasts the usual standards and some unexpected surprises. Take the Almond French Toast with whipped cream, for instance, add a side of bacon and hot coffee (keep it comin’), and you have a hole-in-the-wall meal fit for a queen.

Runners up: Julio’s, Bothell; Casian Grill Restaurant

Best Sandwich

Jimmy John’s

multiple locations, jimmyjohns.com

What did we do before we had a fresh, friendly and fabulous Jimmy John’s nearby? The staff at JJ’s Gourmet Sandwiches craft fresh subs and clubs that are famous for more meat, more trimmings, and delicious fresh-baked bread. This is real food so yummy your mom won’t have to make you clean up your plate. Here’s a dare: Order the JJ Gargantuan.

Runners up: Whole Foods, Redmond, Bellevue; Subway, multiple locations

Best Sushi

Blue C Sushi

Alderwood Mall and Bellevue Square, Bellevue, bluecsushi.com

Warning: A rotating belt of fresh sushi can result in an unexpectedly tall accumulation of empty, color-ringed plates. The concept is simple: See, take, eat, stack and pay. But simplicity is not what won Blue C Sushi the Best of 425 Award in the Sushi category. It’s variety and the fact that eating there is the next best thing to a trip to Japan.

Runners up: Flo Restaurant & Sushi Bar, Bellevue; I Love Sushi, Bellevue

Best Sweets

New York Cupcakes

15600 N.E. 8th St., Ste. A-4, Bellevue, newyorkcupcakes.com

Cupcakes have come a long way since we were kids. At New York Cupcakes in Bellevue, you might think the sweets are too pretty to eat, but once you bite into one of their gorgeous temptations you’ll be glad you abandoned that silly notion. If you dream of a cupcake party, or even a cupcake wedding cake, you’ve come to the right place.

Runners up: Fran’s Chocolates, Bellevue; Pinkabella Cupcakes, multiple locations

Best Coffee

Starbucks

multiple locations, starbucks.com

When a coffee company is committed to delivering the world’s best beans, using a distinctive roasting process that brings out the product’s flavor, and saving the world through sustainable business practices, the result is Starbucks.

Runners up: Tully’s, several locations; Café Ladro, several locations

Best View

Daniel’s Boiler,

10500 N.E. 8th, 21st Floor, Bellevue and multiple locations, schwartzbros.com/daniels.cfm

The No. 1 champion in the steak category, Daniel’s Broiler, also boasts the best view! Of course, the Bellevue Place location with a 21st-floor panorama of downtown Bellevue, Lake Washington and downtown Seattle helps. The sunsets are complimentary.

runners up: Terra Vista, Snoqualmie; Anthony’s, multiple locations

Best Cocktail

Pearl Bar & Dining

700 Bellevue Way N.E., Ste. 50, Bellevue, pearlbellevue.com

Lively and sophisticated libations abound at Bradley Dickinson and Mikel Rogers’ stylish Pearl Bar & Dining. Signature offerings, such as the Shiso Wild Drop with muddled shiso leaf, share the cocktail menu with old classics like the whiskey sour. Add a small plates bar menu with an array of flavors and you have a winning cocktail experience.

Runners up: El Gaucho, Bellevue; John Howie Steak, Bellevue

Best Wine Shop

Seattle Wine Co.

1950 130th Ave. N.E., Ste. 1, Bellevue, seattlewineco.com

Seattle Wine Co. proprietors and avid oenophiles Nabil and Karen Absi stock roughly 2,300 labels from the world’s-greatest wine regions (and some lesser-known ones, too). Here, you can pick up your favorite wine, or discover a new one at their complimentary wine tastings every Friday and Saturday. Being in a state with such notable wineries, the couple has developed a taste for Washington wines.

Runners up: The Grape Choice, Kirkland; Pete’s Wine Shop, Bellevue

Best Drive In

Burgermaster

10606 N.E. Northup Way, Bellevue; 18626 Bothell-Everett Hwy. Bothell; burgermaster.biz

What makes a drive-in win a “Best of…” award? The answer gets down to nuts and bolts. First, Burgermaster has been in the drive-in business since 1952, when “Happy Days” was a lifestyle, not a TV rerun. Second (and this might be more recent), only grass-fed, hormone-free, local beef makes it into their patties. Third, a clean, cheerful and (yes) well-landscaped restaurant has a lot to do with it.

Runners Up: Dick’s, Seattle; Ranch Drive-In, Bothell

Best Winery

Matthews Estate Winery

16116 140th Place N.E., Woodinville, matthewsestate.com

With so many heavy-weight contenders in Woodinville alone, winning 425’s Best Winery is quite an achievement. Winemaker Aryn Morell’s commitment to crafting rich, deeply textured yet approachable wines has a lot to do with it. Matthews Estates’ Woodinville tasting room pours classic Bordeaux and other varietals that show astounding integrity from vine to glass.

Runners Up: Chateau Ste. Michelle, Woodinville; DeLille Cellars, Woodinville

Health + Beauty

Best Hospital

Overlake Hospital

1035 116th Ave. N.E., Bellevue, overlakehospital.org

Overlake Hospital Medical Center makes patient safety and quality of care its top priorities. In fact, this is the fourth-consecutive year the hospital has earned industry excellence awards for patient safety. Specialized medical services, such as Overlake’s Cancer Center, Breast Health Services and Cardiac Center, make this hospital one of the top medical facilities in the Northwest.

Runners Up: Evergreen Hospital, Kirkland; Swedish Hospital, various locations, Woodinville

Best Dentist

Dr. Scott Okino

Pacific Dental Care

670 N.W. Gilman Blvd., Ste. B3, Issaquah, pacificdentalcare.com

Dr. Scott Okino is personally responsible for hundreds of great smiles. An Issaquah native and a University of Washington-trained dentist, he specializes in general and cosmetic dentistry and was one of the first dentists in Washington certified in Invisalign invisible braces. And for that kids and teens who didn’t have to endure metal braces thank him.

Runners up: Dr. Gannon Stahl, Pineview Dentistry, Bellevue; Wendy Spektor, Spektor Dental, Bellevue

Best Naturopath

Dr. Candace Aasan

Cascade Natural Medicine, Kirkland, 12911 120th Ave. N.E., Kirkland, cascadenaturalmedicine.com

A graduate of Bastyr University and a practicing naturopathic physician, Dr. Candace Aasan specializes in pediatrics and women’s health, with a special interest in treating children with neurodevelopmental and behavior disorders. She serves as the clinical director at Cascade Natural Medicine and prides herself on personally getting to know each and every child and adult she sees in her practice.

Runners up: Dr. Nazanin Kimiai, Comprehensive Medical Center, Kirkland; Dr. John Nowicki, Issaquah Valley Natural Medicine, Issaquah

Best Gym

Elite Fitness Training

136 102nd Ave. SE, Ste. 101, Bellevue, elitefitnessbellevue.com

Discovering life’s opportunities through fitness? That’s what the dedicated team at Elite Fitness strives to help people realize. They take a thorough approach, including exercise training and nutrition. And they are so committed to helping their clients succeed that they hold themselves 50 percent accountable for each client’s progress. Now that’s teamwork!

Runners up: Pendano Elite Fitness and Athletics, Redmond; Bellevue Club, Bellevue

Best Chiropractor

Dr. Adam Tetuán

Tetuán Innovative Chiropractic

1215 120th Ave. N.E., Bellevue, drtetuan.com

For Dr. Adam Tetuán, education never ceases. He works tirelessly to stay up to date on the latest chiropractic techniques and practices to effectively treat all kinds of injuries. Certified in state-of-the-art practices, he is well-versed in the most innovative technologies to assist patients in need of routine and more-advanced treatments.

Runners Up: Dr. Benjamin Charlton, Inline Wellness Center, Kirkland; Scott Hammons, Elite Spine and Sport, Bellevue and Seattle

Best Doctor

Dr. Luanne Schocket

Evergreen Women’s Health Center

12333 N.E. 130th Lane, Ste. 110, Kirkland, obdoc.com

Dr. Luanne Schocket has dedicated her medical career to women’s health. She is a board-certified physician in obstetrics and gynecology, with a special interest in high-risk pregnancies and menopausal management. She earned her medical degree from Tulane University in 1996, and joined the team at Evergreen Women’s Health Center in 2009.

Runners Up: Adam Tetuán, Bellevue; Dr. Ash Patel of Proliance Surgeons, Issaquah

Best Physical Therapist

Kenneth Cole,

Olympic Physical Therapy Northwest

17800 Talbot Road S., Ste. D, Renton, nwrehab.com

Physical therapist Kenneth Cole is the director of Olympic Physical Therapy Northwest, a comprehensive PT facility in Renton. He prides himself on helping his patients regain their independence and return to the activities of daily life.

Runners up: Ben Wobker, Lake Washington Physical Therapy, Kirkland; Kathy Fishman, provider of in-home therapy on the Eastside and Seattle.

Best OB/GYN

Dr. Hal Zimmer

Bellgrove OB/GYN

1200 112th Ave. N.E., Bldg. C – Ste. 115, Bellevue,

bellegroveobgyn.com

Dr. Zimmer joined the Bellegrove professional team in 1982. As a highly regarded OB/GYN, he serves as a clinical instructor at UW Schools of Medicine and Nursing. He has lectured extensively and has made featured radio and television appearances discussing various topics in women’s health.

Runners up: Dr. Michael Lawler, Overlake OB/GYN, Bellevue; Dr. Debra Stemmerman, Evergreen Women’s Care, Kirkland.

Best Pediatrician

Dr. Linda Hung,

Pediatric Associates, 22717 S.E. 29th, Sammamish, mypediatricassociates.com

Having earned her medical degree from the Medical College of Wisconsin in 2000, Dr. Linda Hung later joined the professional team at Pediatric Associates to fulfill her dream of providing medical care to children.

Runners up: Dr. Don Shifrin, Pediatric Associates, Bellevue; Dr. David Ege, Issaquah Medical Center, Issaquah

Best Eye Care

Market Optical

Bellevue Square, Bellevue,

marketoptical.net

Finally! Opticians that hail from the fashion, design, theater and music worlds. Armed with an innate sense of what people want to put on their faces, the pros at Market Optical understand the drama, melody and star-power that makes great eyewear. Also, people have to have good vision—and they score a 20/20 in that department, too.

Runners up: The Eye Care Center of Bellevue; Costco, various locations

Best Orthodontist

Dr. Michelle Fogg Neal

9750 N.E. 120th Place, No. 5, Kirkland, nealsmiles.com

Orthodontist Michelle Fogg Neal’s philosophy in her practice can be summed up in three words: trust, excellence and compassion. She is an Invisalign specialist and has put a beautiful smile on the faces of many kids and adults.

Runners up: Dr. Don Joondeph, Bellevue; Dr. Burleigh Surbeck, Bellevue

Best Cosmetic Surgeon

Dr. Sam Naficy

1110 112th Ave. N.E., Ste. 150, Bellevue, seattleface.com

Every year, Dr. Sam Naficy performs approximately 1,000 facial plastic surgeries on patients not only from the Northwest but from around the U.S. As a fellow of the prestigious American College of Surgeons, he is recognized in the medical community as an authority in his field.

Runners up: Dr. David Stephens, Bellevue; Dr. Richard Rand, Bellevue

Best Cosmetic Dentistry

Dr. Wendy Shultz Spektor

1545 116th Ave. NE, Ste. 100, Bellevue, spektordental.com

Dr. Spektor opened Spektor Dental in 1982 and has since earned a reputation as one of the most skilled practitioners of cosmetic dentistry in the region. With a philosophy that blends aesthetics and restorative dentistry, Dr. Spektor has built a trusted and loyal patient following.

Runners up: Dr. Michael Koscarski, Woodinville; Dr. Kate McKinney, Kirkland

Best Personal Trainer

Jon Pendano

Pendano Elite Fitness & Athletics, Redmond, pendanofitness.com

Jon Pendano designs fitness training programs for athletes and non-athletes alike. As a personal trainer, he’s committed to the health and success of his clients. He recently opened his Redmond fitness training studio — Pendano Elite Fitness & Athletics—and he hopes it’s the first of many locations.

Runner Up: Alex Wasserman of Elite Fitness Training, Bellevue

 

Best Spa

Gene Juarez

Multiple locations, genejuarez.com

As one of the venerable salon and spa’s flagship locations, the Gene Juarez Spa at Bellevue Galleria is a luxurious escape from the world outside its walls. Hit the therapeutic Vichy Shower and then pick an indulgence from the menu of Hawaiian healing massages. Gene Juarez is a Northwest favorite.

Runners up: Pro Spa at Pro Sports Club, Bellevue; Oasis Spa & Salon, Woodinville

Best Hair Stylist

Jodi GreenE,

Seven Salon, Bellevue Square, 7salon.com

Not only did Seven win top honors as 425’s best salon, but Seven’s senior stylist Jodi Greene earned the honors as well. At 12, Greene knew she wanted to be a stylist when she grew up. Trained at both Seven and Vidal Sassoon, is anyone surprised she’s the best?

Runners up: Melinda Young, SoZo, Kirkland; Trisha Nerney, Beaux Arts Hair Salon, Bellevue

Best Mani/Pedi

Julep Nail Parlor

221 Bellevue Way N.E., Bellevue, julep.com (and Seattle and Gig Harbor)

The staff at Julep proves that a manicure and pedicure isn’t just routine … it’s a special event. From solo treatments to booking the whole parlor for a pedi-party to wow your friends, they handle it all in a comfortable, clean, green and relaxing atmosphere.

Runners up: Gene Juarez, multiple locations; Jennifer’s Nails, Bellevue

Best Facial

Truce Spa

The Westin, 600 Bellevue Way N.E., Ste. 400, Bellevue, trucespa.com

With a menu of six luxury facials, plus medically-administered Botox injections, Truce Spa is equipped to have you looking and feeling your very best. They even offer a Gentleman’s Facial, so his golf day just might become a thing of the past.

Runners up: Gene Juarez, multiple locations; Oasis Spa & Salon, Woodinville

Best Beauty Products

Sephora

Multiple locations, sephora.com

With more than 200 classic and emerging brands of beauty products, it’s no wonder Sephora is the top pick among 425 readers. This cosmetic concept store emerged in France in the ’60s and, apropos, never grew old.

Runners up: Nordstrom; Gene Juarez, multiple locations

Best Tanning

Seattle Sun Tan

Multiple locations, seattlesuntan.com

Readers of 425 seem to dig chic digs, and that’s what puts Seattle Sun Tan on top. These spacious tanning salons boast attractive, comfortable design, art, and a hospital cleanliness that puts tanners at ease. State-of-the-art equipment, top-quality skin products and a knowledgeable, caring staff round out the package.

Runners up: Tropical Sun Tan, various locations; Desert Sun, various locations

Best Yoga

Purna Yoga Centers

2255 140th Ave. N.E., Ste. F, Bellevue, yogacenters.com

Students connect body, mind and spirit in classes in Yoga and Meditation for all levels. You can attend workshops on how Yoga can help with specific issues, such as back pain or high blood pressure, as well.

Runners up: Bikram Yoga, Bellevue; Hot Yoga Inc., Bellevue17800 Talbot Road S., Ste. D, Renton, nwrehab.com

Best Salon

Seven Salon

Bellevue Square and Pacific Place in Seattle, 7salon.com

Great stylists don’t just do a do, but delve deeper into facial structure, skin tone, eye color and even personality. Seven’s advanced stylists have been assembled from some of the most renowned salons in the world. This cut above is what Seven’s clients have come to expect and appreciate.

Runners Up: Gene Juarez, various locations; SoZo Hair Studio, Kirkland

Fashion + Shopping

Best Place to Shop

Nordstrom

multiple locations, nordstrom.com

A mix of over-the-top service, free personal stylists and more than 500 brands of merchandise in an atmosphere conducive to some serious browsing make the Nordstrom experience an undeniable winner. And, it’s a Northwest original!

Runners up: Redmond Town Center; Bellevue Square

Best Boutique

Vince

Bellevue Square, vince.com

Meet Vince, an up-market boutique with stylish, seasonal fashions for women and men. Vince offers a contemporary look that 425 readers love.

Runners up: Via Lago, Kirkland; Trade Chic, Redmond

Best Men’s Clothier

Nordstrom

multiple locations, nordstrom.com

Fact: Most men find shopping a necessary pain. So why not make the experience as pleasant as possible with top brands and an array of contemporary and classic styles guys love to wear? Bravo, Nordstrom.

Runners up: David Lawrence, Bellevue; Men’s Warehouse, Bellevue, Redmond

Best Shoe Store

Nordstrom

multiple locations, nordstrom.com

Nordstrom began in Seattle in 1901 as a shoe store. While the styles have changed since that day, the classic Nordstrom service and consistent quality have kept their shoe department a step ahead of the competition.

Runners up: Report Signature, Bellevue; DSW, Bellevue

Best Thrift Store

Goodwill

1545 N.E. 20th St., Bellevue, seattlegoodwill.org

A fun place to treasure-hunt at wallet-friendly prices, the Bellevue Goodwill not only keeps previously owned merchandise out of landfills but provides valuable training and employment for those who need it.

Runners Up: Value Village, Kirkland, Redmond; Ragamoffyn’s, Kirkland

Best Antique Store

Rosa Mundi’s Wine Country Living

14525 148th Ave. N.E. #122, Woodinville, rosamundis.com

Located in the heart of Woodinville Wine Country, Rosa Mundi’s offers fine antique furniture, beautiful home accessories and professional interior design services. This is one-stop-shopping for authentic antique ambiance for your home.

Runners up: Gilman Antique and Design Gallery, Issaquah; The Weathered Rose, Bothell

Best Jewelry

Alvin Goldfarb Jewelers

305 Bellevue Way N.E., Bellevue, alvingoldfarbjeweler.com

Whether shopping for an engagement ring, a designer watch or luxury home accessories, 425 readers say Alvin Goldfarb Jewelers puts the sparkle in some of life’s most-important purchases.

Runners up: Stella & Dot, various independent stylists; J. Lewis Jewelry, Bellevue

Best Bookstore

Barnes & Noble

multiple locations, barnesandnoble.com

The 425 area is populated with avid readers who know their bookstores. A wide inventory and events, such as author appearances, make Barnes & Noble a favorite among 425 readers.

Runners Up: Half Price Books, various locations; Borders, various locations

Best Bridal Shop

Amanda’s Bridal Boutique

16500 Redmond Way, Redmond, amandasbridalboutique.com

At Amanda’s, they understand that no two weddings, and no two brides, are alike. Designer inventory and staff expertise and care put this bridal shop on top.

Runners up: Bellevue Bridal, Bellevue; David’s Bridal, Lynnwood

Best Local Designer

Francisco Hernandez

Built for Man, builtforman.com

Cutting-edge comfort sums up the Built for Man collection of contemporary men’s fashions. Natural materials, such as the highest-quality alpaca, wool, cotton and silk, and a firm commitment to social responsibility make this talented Northwest designer a hero among 425 readers. Built for Man is available at David Lawrence.

Runner Up: Luly Yang, Seattle

Home + Garden

Best Builder

Hamish Anderson Custom Homes

10829 N.E. 68th St. #201, Kirkland, hamishanderson.com

Tailoring living spaces to an individual’s or family’s unique need is Hamish Anderson’s passion. Attention to detail, quality materials and construction, and 32 years in the business put this high-end home builder on the top rung.

Runners up: Conner Homes, Bellevue; Steve Stark, Stark Construction, Bellevue; Lavallee Construction, Snoqualmie

Best Architect

Gelotte Hommas Architecture

3025 112th Ave. N.E., Suite 110, Bellevue, gelottehommas.com

The professionals at Gelotte Hommas believe that design is an art form and it is apparent in their many achievements that have earned the firm dozens of awards in their more than 25 years of designing exceptional commercial buildings and homes.

Runners up: Duncan McRoberts, Kirkland; Chesmore Buck Architects, Bellevue; Renzo J. Nakata Architects

Best Kitchen & Bath Designer

Craig Sawyer Designs

10101 Main St., Suite. B, Bothell, craigsawyerdesigns.com

The best consultative and creative approaches to custom kitchen and bath design reveal delightful possibilities the client never imagined. That’s one reason 425 readers voted Craig Sawyer Designs the best.

Runners up: Hatano Studio, Kirkland; Kitchen Plus, Bellevue

Best Remodeler

Lavallee Construction

43522 S.E. 76th St., Snoqualmie, lavalleeconstruction.net

Russ Lavallee learned the building craft from his grandfather, who was a Master Builder, and brings that passion and skill to every remodeling project he takes on. To 425 readers, he’s tops.

Runners up: Tenhulzen Remodeling Inc., Redmond; Hamish Anderson, Kirkland

Best Appliance Store

Albert Lee Appliance

18620 33rd Ave. W., Lynnwood; 1038 116th Ave. N.E., Ste. 370, Bellevue; albertleeappliance.com

425 readers obviously like variety and quality; that’s why they chose Albert Lee as their preferred store for the best buys on appliances.

Runners up: Sears, Bellevue; Home Depot, various locations

Best Furniture Store

Crate and Barrel

Multiple locations,

crateandbarrel.com

For the best buys in a large variety of contemporary furniture for every room, 425 readers pick Crate and Barrel in Bellevue as their first choice.

Runners Up: Masins Fine Furniture, Bellevue and Seattle; Dania Furniture, multiple locations

Best Hardware Store

McLendon Hardware

multiple locations, mclendons.com

425 readers are crazy about Northwest originals. Maybe it’s about supporting locally owned businesses or about great inventory and friendly service.

runners up: Home Depot, various locations; Ace Hardware, various locations

Best Interior Designer

Craig Williams Interiors

1831 8th Ave., Ste. 505, Seattle, craigwilliamsinteriors.com

Whether its design, re-design, or home-and-event staging, a deep well of creativity and resourcefulness are Craig Williams’ hallmarks. This young designer opened shop in 2006 and 425 readers are wild about

his work.

Runners Up: Craig Sawyer Designs, Bothell; Lisa Purdy at Rosa Mundi’s, Woodinville

Best Landscaper

Simpatico Blooming

10101 Main St., Suite B, Bothell, simpaticoblooming.com

Small garden spaces and outdoor rooms are Simpatico Blooming’s forte. These landscape and garden professionals design and furnish your intimate garden space with custom planted containers, outdoor furniture and complete accessories.

Runners Up: Roxanne Hamilton; Evans Creek Professional Landscape Services; Darwin Webb Landscape Architects, Issaquah

Best Garden/Nursery

Molbak’s

13625 N.E. 175th St., Woodinville, molbaks.com

An Eastside gardening mecca, Molbak’s is a destination nursery. This is a great place to stock up every season or just take a stroll through the many greenhouses of blooms. And Molbak’s at Christmas is simply magical.

Runners Up: Wells Medina Nursery, Medina; Flower World, Maltby

Travel

Best Bed & Breakfast

Garden Isle Guest Cottages,

207 N.W. Coveland, Whidbey Island, gardenislecottages.com

With six acres of privacy, a hot tub, kitchens and continental breakfast delivered, guests can retreat into either two remodeled cottages or the vacation home. The curious can walk to historic downtown Coupeville (built in 1853) and a seasonal farmers market or, further on, explore the island’s five state parks and historic Fort Casey.

Runners up: Outlook Inn, Orcas Island; The Old Hen Bed & Breakfast, North Bend

Best Travel Destination

San Juan Islands

visitsanjuans.com

Real islands, real close. Travelers traverse 100 miles from Bellevue to the San Juan Islands to relish world-class sea kayaking, fine dining, romantic getaways, nature escapes and whale-watching from the shore or a cruise — or to simply relax. Zip San Juan, the first zip line tours, recently opened. Everyone, especially romantics, can fall in love with the bed and breakfasts, inns and cabins, secluded beaches and sensational sunsets.

Runners up: Cannon Beach; Whistler

Best Day Trip

Snoqualmie Falls

snoqualmiefalls.com

Snoqualmie Falls is a year-round playground. Guided outdoor summer adventures — fly-fishing, hiking and mountain biking — can be booked at the Salish Lodge. In the winter, snowfall brings skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing and sledding. Take a spin at the DirtFish Rally School, a high-performance racing school set on 315 acres, minutes from the lodge.

Runners Up: Whidbey Island; Leavenworth

Arts + Entertainment

Best Artist

Mozelle Spencer

11810 N.E. 8th St. #H, Bellevue

Mozelle Spencer follows her heart in her business, Mozelle by Design, creating community through one-of-a-kind murals, decorative paintings, faux finishes and European and Venetian plasters. From elegant to whimsical, her dreamlike work can be seen at Aegis Corporate Office in Redmond, Aegis Living facilities of Bellevue, Camp Korey, Cellar 46 on Mercer Island, Expedia, Vision House’s Early Childhood Care Facility and more than 300 private homes, as well as the NFL Boys and Girls Club in Louisiana, created after Hurricane Katrina. From kids’ rooms to wine cellars, no project is the same except for the smiles at the end.

Runners up: Rebecca DeVere; Natalie Goods, Bellevue

Best Art Gallery

Hallway Gallery

800 Bellevue Way N.E., Suite 150, Bellevue, hallwaygallery.com

Committed to Bellevue for better or worse, owners and married couple Erik Hall and Amy Spassov work every business hour to give informed, respectful attention to every client, from shy first-timers to Bellevue’s notables. That’s how, in nine years, the 5,000-square-foot work studio grew into today’s Bellevue Collection-based 18,000-square-foot gallery, which offers art consulting and curating, as well as corporate and private design and placement.

Runners up: Bellevue Art Museum, Bellevue; Howard Mandville Gallery, Kirkland

Best Local Band

Don’t Talk To The Cops

donttalktothecops.wordpress.com

Street, punk, underground club dancing, djblesOne (deejay Kip Fox) and emecks (choreographer Megan Xaybanha) just do whatever they want and make something you can dance to and that is fun. Their second album — “let’s quit” — will be released this summer.

Runners up: Windowpane; Herding Cats

Best Casino

Snoqualmie Casino

37500 S.E. North Bend Way, Snoqualmie, snocasino.com

Designed by a nationally renowned architect, this casino of Vegas-style gaming and world-class entertainment is about 25 minutes from Bellevue at I-90, exit 27. Known for outstanding customer service, Snoqualmie Casino has more than 50 classic table games, 1,700 slot machines and a 10-table poker room inside. Outside, it is surrounded by evergreen trees and the Cascade Mountains.

Runners up: Tulalip Casino, Tulalip; Muckleshoot Casino, Auburn

Best Group Activity

The Bar Method

7551 166th Ave. N.E., #D240, Redmond, seattle-eastside.barmethod.com

The Bar Method combines the fat-burning benefits of strength training, the muscle-sculpting movements of Pilates and the elongating stretches of yoga to reshape your body. Every class has good energy, support and personalized instruction because of handpicked, passionate instructors. New classes are being added.

Runner up: Lucky Strike, Bellevue

Best Karaoke

Maple Leaf

707 148th Ave. N.E., Bellevue, 425.747.8700

Sing your heart out with deejay Jason and deejay Jeremy on Wednesday through Saturday nights every week. With an extensive song collection, they can fill nearly every request.

Runners up: Palmers, Redmond, and Club Sno of Snoqualmie Casino, Snoqualmie

Best Live Music Venue

Snoqualmie Casino

37500 S.E. North Bend Way, Snoqualmie, snocasino.com

The live concerts are epic. The outdoor venue, Mountain View Plaza, seats 2,100 in new stadium-style seating. This summer, see Mount Si and eagles flying overhead while watching Rob Thomas, Roger Daltrey, Natasha Bedingfield, Jessica Simpson, Miranda Lambert, Peter Frampton, the Zac Brown Band or the Script.

Runners up: Chateau Ste. Michelle, Woodinville; Boxley’s Restaurant, North Bend; Marymoor Park, Redmond

Best Movie Theater

Lincoln Square Cinema

Bellevue, lincolnsquarecinemas.com

At Lincoln Square Cinema, there are 16 screens, snacks and comfy stadium-style seats with unobstructed views for your movie-viewing pleasure. Now showing RealD 3-D for 3-D movies and IMAX 3-D for crystal-clear, larger-than-life 3-D.

Runners up: Big Picture, Redmond; Gold Class Cinema, Redmond

Best Place for Culture

Bellevue Fashion Week

The Bellevue Collection, Bellevue, bellevuecollection.com/fashionweek

Entering its sixth year, Fashion Week is debuting two new events: the Vogue trend event with special stylist appearances and a post-runway show cocktail reception for VIP ticket-holders of Front Row Fashion show to mix exclusively with the New York Vogue team and L.A.-based models. The Bellevue Collection donates 100 percent of the Front Row Fashion ticket price to The Moyer Foundation and 100 percent of the Posh Party and VIP Shopping Night ticket prices to Bellevue LifeSpring.

Runners up: Bellevue Art Museum, Bellevue; Crossroads Mall, Bellevue

Best Live Theater

Village Theatre

multiple locations, villagetheatre.org

Anything can happen in the energetic, exhilarating live theater. One big, happy family with locations in Issaquah and Everett, the theatre is 100-percent union, hires local talent and has the region’s second-largest subscriber base at 18,000. Village Theatre has launched more than 95 new works — especially Tony Award-winning musicals — through its Village Originals program.

Runners Up: Kirkland Performance Center, Kirkland; Second Story Rep, Redmond

Best Nightclub

The Parlor

Lincoln Square, Bellevue, parlorlive.com

The Parlor is home to the Parlor Live Comedy Club, The Parlor Billiards & Spirits and the Ultralounge. Every night is a party, from highly acclaimed comedy shows to DJ Nights Fridays and Saturdays in the Vegas-style Ultralounge. Comic Bobby Lee from MADtv recently named the Parlor his favorite place to play in the country on Joe Rogan’s podcast. With 800 of your friends, you can rent out the entire space and party like a rock star.

Runners Up: Club SNO, Snoqualmie; Munch Bar Bellevue, Bellevue

Business

Best Financial Advisor

Jason Demarre

5400 Carillon Point, Kirkland, demarrefinancial.com

When 425 readers want to get advice about how to handle their money, they turn to Jason Demarre with ING Financial Partners.

Runners Up: Daver Tiryakioglu, The Tiryakioglu, Benedict & Duenwald Group, Bellevue; Kristen Buxton, UBS, Bellevue

Best Place to Work

Microsoft

multiple locations, microsoft.com

The Microsoft campus is legendary for its on-site athletic fields, shopping and cafeterias, as well as its comprehensive employee benefits package. About 76 percent of employees are men, and 43 percent are age 40 or older. Of the 88,403 employees worldwide, about 40,310 work in the Puget Sound area. And they get free soda at work.

Runners up: Expedia, multiple locations; Bastyr University, Kenmore

Best Bank

BECU

multiple locations, becu.org

As a member-owned, not-for-profit credit union, BECU makes decisions — from product pricing to the popular online banking features — to benefit to the roughly 670,000 members. BECU has assets of more than $9.2 billion. With no stockholders to pay, extra savings are returned to members in great rates and fewer fees.

Runners up: Bank of America; Wells Fargo

Best Car Dealership

Barrier Motors

multiple locations, barriermotors.com

Barrier Motors has Porsche, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo dealerships in Bellevue, as well as Audi dealerships in Bellevue and South Center.

Runners up: Lexus of Bellevue; Michael’s Toyota of Bellevue

Best Corporate Meeting Space

Bellevue Club/Hotel Bellevue

11200 S.E. Sixth St., Bellevue, bellevueclub.com

Creating more than 30 years of memorable moments, Bellevue Club has thrown some of the Pacific Northwest’s most fabulous functions. Seven meeting rooms and the stunning Olympic Ballroom, with new, state-of-the-art LED lighting, inspire creativity and collaboration. Guests in the 67 luxury hotel guest rooms can enjoy full-access to the Bellevue Club.

Runners up: Meydenbauer Center, Bellevue; The Woodmark, Kirkland; The Westin, Bellevue

Best Creative Company

Turnstyle

Seattle and Portland, turnstylestudio.com

At Turnstyle, design is a tool to connect with people in an emotional way. Its work — branding, print, web and packaging — is its spokesman. Clients include Dry Soda Co., Microsoft and Serengeti Law. Seven hair salon in Bellevue and Seattle is launching a national line of hair care products this summer with Turnstyle’s help.

Runners up: Expedia, multiple locations; Visual Media Group, Bellevue

Best Hotel

The Bellevue Westin

600 Bellevue Way N.E., Bellevue, starwoodhotels.com

Hired for attitude, Westin’s employees are empowered to create memorable, delightful experiences — especially within the hotel’s theme: wellness. Cypress Lounge and Wine Bar just rolled out a new wine list, a wider-ranging menu and more live music, like Soul Bird and Alma Villegas. The grand deluxe rooms, just steps from the pool, gym, Jacuzzi and the only downtown hotel spa, Truce, create a comprehensive, refreshing retreat. That’s wellness.

Runners up: Hyatt-Bellevue, Bellevue; Heathman Hotel, Kirkland

Best Large Business

Microsoft

multiple locations, microsoft.com

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) has net revenue of $62.5 billion and occupies 33.7 million square feet of real estate worldwide. In November, Microsoft launched Kinect for Xbox 360 and Windows Phone 7.

Runners up: Expedia; Boeing

Best Lawyer

John Dippold

Carney Badley Spellman, Seattle and Olympia, carneylaw.com

John Dippold is known for being a good, responsive listener and an effective negotiator. In particular, because of the current economy, he is representing numerous developers and contractors constructing apartment buildings.

Runners up: Laura E. Hoexter, Helsell Fetterman LLP, Seattle-Bellevue; Janet Gray, Jeppsen Gray Sakai, Bellevue

Best Mechanic

My Auto Pro

11902 124th Ave. N.E., Kirkland, myautoprowa.com

My Auto Pro has more than 23 years of experience in automotive diagnostic and repair for Japanese, German and domestic vehicles.

Runners up: Price Brothers, Kirkland; Len’s Automotive, Bellevue

Best Office Space

Expedia Inc.

333 108th Ave. N.E., Bellevue, expedia.com

The Bellevue headquarters of the world’s largest online travel company, Expedia, is home to a game room, casual meeting and dining spaces and a one-third-acre lawn with Wi-Fi access. Expedia hosts live concerts for the public, charity benefits and employee events, including the Taste of Bellevue and CANstruction, a summer food drive competition benefiting Hopelink. Expedia’s Live at Lunch concert series on the company’s outdoor lawn is open to the public.

Runners up: Microsoft, multiple locations; Google, multiple locations

Local Favorites

Best Small Business

The Bar Method

7551 166th Ave. N.E., #D240, Redmond

seattle-eastside.barmethod.com

Owners Bev and Luke Currier and Maika Manring challenge themselves and their clients to be present in the moment and never settle for second best. The love is in the details. Opened in 2009, The Bar Method will open a South Lake Union neighborhood location this summer.

Runners Up: Stop Bugging Me Pest Control, Bellevue; Trade Chic, Redmond

Best Blog

annaleesullivan.blogspot.com

According to the blog’s introduction, it is written about Annie, a “playful, spiritually sensitive, musical child” who “had a brain injury, seizures, and Addison’s disease. Now she has none of these, because she’s in heaven with Jesus — healed and perfectly well.”

Runners up: puppymanners.com/blog and blog.seattlepi.com/eastsideuptown/

Best Celebrity

Bill Gates

twitter.com/billgates and microsoft.com/presspass/exec/billg

In 2008, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates shifted from software guru to philanthropic trendsetter, devoting most of his time to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which aims to reduce inequities worldwide. In 2010, he launched Gates Notes (thegatesnotes.com) to publish his thoughts about the foundation and other topics. About 2.7 million people follow his tweets about innovation, education and solving global challenges such as hunger and disease.

Runners up: Ciscoe Morris; Ichiro Suzuki

Best City

Kirkland

kirklandwa.gov

Despite heated debates and held breaths, the annexation that doubled Kirkland’s population apparently hasn’t dimmed the Sunshine City’s popularity. Kirkland has cutting-edge workplaces, waterfront shopping districts, exquisite parks, a notable school system and an abundance of diverse and distinctive neighborhoods. An Urban Land Institute panel in July will discuss revving up the Totem Lake district, known as the city’s economic engine. The completely remodeled 22-acre Juanita Beach Park will open soon. Bring your sunscreen.

Runners up: Bellevue; Redmond

Best Event

Bellevue Arts Week

With four blocks of entertainment and free admission, Bellevue Arts Week, the largest arts and craft event in King County, sustains the region’s rich arts and crafts and feels like a block party. Downtown Bellevue hosts three major arts and crafts fairs the last weekend of July with more than 650 artist booths, art demonstrations, live music and kids’ activities.

Runners up: Reading with Rover, Borders Redmond; Issaquah Salmon Days, Issaquah

Best Neighborhood

NorKirk

North of downtown Kirkland and east of Market Street, NorKirk embodies the original small-town Kirkland, complete with annual picnics and friendly neighbors. It is home to City Hall, the police department, the Kirkland Women’s Club and American Legion Hall, as well as the Kirkland Arts Center in the 119-year-old Peter Kirk building. From here, you can easily walk to the waterfront, downtown, Heritage Park and Juanita Beach Park’s nature preserve for spectacular views.

Runners up: Enatai; Medina

Best Festival

Bellevue Arts Week

Bellevue Arts Week is three great festivals — Bellevue Arts Museum’s ArtsFair, the Bellevue 6th Street Fair and the Bellevue Festival of the Arts — rolled in downtown Bellevue the last full weekend in July. With more than 60 years of tradition of showcasing more than 650 artists and their original art, there’s more art per square foot than the Louvre. Scores more play music, sing and dance, both outside at the fairs and inside Bellevue Square on Soundstage.

Runners Up: Issaquah Salmon Days, Issaquah; Kirkland Uncorked, Kirkland

Best Nonprofit

Reading with Rover

Woodinville, readingwithrover.org

Rover dogs and their handlers help kids become better readers because Rover dogs are such great, willing listeners. Kids who read to dogs improved their reading skills by 12 percent over kids who do not read to dogs, according to studies. Also, kids became more social and experience humane interactions. A free DVD and How-To Manual for new program handlers will be released soon.

Runners Up: Hopelink, multiple locations; MEOW Cat Rescue, Kirkland

Outdoors

Best Golf

Golf Club at Newcastle

15500 Six Penny Lane,

newcastlegolf.com

Acclaimed golf course architect Robert E. Cupp, in consultation with Masters Champion Fred Couples, designed this tournament-level, full-facility complex. The two 18-hole championship public golf courses, practice facilities and a 44,000-square-foot stately clubhouse rest on 350 acres with panoramic views of Mount Rainier, the Olympics and the Cascade Mountains.

Runners up: Tie: Willows Golf Club, Redmond; Sahalee Country Club, Sammamish; Mount Si Golf Course, Snoqualmie

Best Hike

Mount Si

mountsi.com

Near the city of North Bend, the summit of Mount Si rewards hikers with views of the Cascade Mountains and valleys below. To reach the summit, hike the 4-mile Mount Si trail up a 3,500-foot elevation gain.

Runners up: Tiger Mountain, Issaquah; Saint Edward State Park, Kenmore

Best Picnic Spot

Rattlesnake Ridge

North Bend

Rattlesnake Ridge, also known as Rattlesnake Mountain, is south of North Bend. The more popular eastern trail head is near the Cedar River Watershed Education Center. The western trailhead is adjacent to Snoqualmie Point Park.

Runners up: Farrel-McWhirter Farm Park, Redmond; Snoqualmie Falls, Snoqualmie

Best Park

Marymoor Park

6046 W. Lake Sammamish Parkway N.E., Redmond

kingcounty.gov/recreation/parks.aspx

This 640-acre King County Park is almost like an amusement park because of the athletic fields, climbing rock and velodrome for cyclists. Get close to nature through the community gardens, bird-watching or 40-acre off-leash dog park. Fans pack in for exciting special events like summer concerts, outdoor movies and Cirque du Soleil.

Runners Up: Bellevue Downtown Park, Bellevue; Saint Edward State Park, Kenmore

Kids

Best Kid-Friendly Destination

Orange Blossom Society

16715 N.E. 79th S., Redmond, orangeblossomsociety.com

Families meet at Orange Blossom Society, an enrichment center that will celebrate its second anniversary this year, for play dates, seasonal camps, birthday parties, classes and just for fun. The 1920s restored Craftsman house sits on half an acre.

Runners Up: Great Wolf Lodge, Grand Mound; KidsQuest Children’s Museum, Bellevue

Best Store For Baby

Merry Go Round

1014 116th Ave. N.E., Bellevue, merrygoroundkids.com

Open since 1947, this complete, one-stop shop for all your baby needs, from clothes to cribs, has been serving families for two or three generations. Customers keep coming back because owners Molly and Bob Pressey stock well-researched, quality merchandise and host fun and educational events. Here, the “Seat Belt Ladies” often help parents properly install car seats. Check for upcoming dates.

Runners up: Babies R Us, multiple locations; Janie & Jack, multiple locations

Best Daycare

Bright Horizons

multiple locations, brighthorizons.com

Bright Horizons’ mission is to provide innovative programs that help children, families and employers work together to be their very best. In addition to local centers, Bright Horizons provides employer-sponsored day care at various sites.

Runners up: KinderCare, multiple locations

Best Family-Friendly Activity

Orange Blossom Society

16715 NE 79th S., Redmond, orangeblossomsociety.com

This warm, welcoming enrichment center in downtown Redmond believes that to have families doing what they want in a playful, educational environment is a magical combination. Instructors are passionate about free-form creative play as well as classes and activities, like art, gardening, music and yoga.

runners up: KidsQuest Children’s Museum, Bellevue; Lucky Strike Bowl, Bellevue

Best Birthday Party Place

Orange Blossom Society

16715 N.E. 79th S., Redmond, orangeblossomsociety.com

Host your own party or ask the Orange Blossom Society experts to create a special birthday party and personalize activities for your child. While guests enjoy the playful grounds, parents and siblings can enjoy the open play and seating areas.

Runners up: Dooz 4 Kids, Bellevue Square; Pump it Up, Kirkland

Best Kids’ Clothes

Nordstrom

Multiple locations,

shop.nordstrom.com

A 200-gallon aquarium, lower fixtures and bright colors as well as 200 floor tiles which were hand painted by children to benefit the local community entertain young shoppers. Customers appreciate the family restroom as well as Mother’s Lounge. What Nordstrom loves right now is a quality, detailed, joyful children’s apparel called Peek Aren’t You Curious. Other exciting brands: Benetton, Mini Boden, Juicy Couture, Bugaboo, Kissy Kissy and Ralph Lauren.

Runners up: Gap Kids, Bellevue; Naartijie, multiple locations

Best Private High School

Eastside Preparatory School

10635 NE 38th Place, Kirkland

eastsideprep.org

Eastside Preparatory School focuses all its resources on people instead of stuff. The school uses community fields, gyms and parks for athletics instead of building and maintaining their own. Teachers shape the unique curriculum. As a result, Spanish is taught to all students so other, unrelated classes can be taught in Spanish to improve language proficiency. Imagine: math class in Spanish!

Best Summer Camp

CRISTA Camps

multiple locations,

cristacamps.com

CRISTA camps, a member of the Crista family of ministries, are adventurous. High-ropes courses, paintball, a 10,000-square-foot skate park, five miles of bike trails and a horse ranch, all on waterfront property, make for camp life worth writing home about. CRISTA recently launched a fundraising program to send 400 children of military families to summer camp.

Runners up: Sambica, Bellevue; KidsQuest Children’s Museum Summer Camps, Bellevue

Best Public High School

Lake Washington High School

12033 NE 80th St., Kirkland schools.lwsd.org/LWHS

With a wide range of academic offerings, clubs and activities, Lake Washington High School serves students and the community at large and has produced generations of proud “Kangs.” This school has more community service clubs than other area schools. Two new student-support programs aim to assist struggling students and Hispanic students.

Pets

Best Groomer

Stacy D’s Grooming

20915 N.E. 77th St., Redmond, 425.898.7618

Dedicated to her profession, Stacy D is often called a dog whisperer. She has a great command of dogs. She started working with dogs at age 12 and began rescuing them at 13. She believes in education and says an educated customer makes a better owner.

Runners Up: Pet Stops Here, multiple locations; Der Pet Haus, Bellevue

Best Breed

Labrador Retriever

In the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, the most popular breed among registered owners is the Labrador. Originating in Newfoundland, the good-tempered, athletic Labrador is a great family dog and a working dog in law enforcement and search and rescue. As assistance dogs, they also help those who need a little help. Special skills: detection, protection, retrieval and games of catch. Good dog!

Runners up: Golden Retriever, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Best Dog  Trainer

Becky and Dave Bishop, Puppy Manners

Woodinville,

puppymanners.com

While you’re on vacation, Puppy Manners will do everything possible to keep your dogs happy at their 5-acre ranch and teach your pooch some manners, too. The canine students practice in realistic environments, such as a house and on field trips in public, so your dog is well-suited for the real world. The group training classes are often packed because of Puppy Manners’ trademark sense of humor.

Runners up: Robin Grannell, Canine Behavior Center, Redmond; Florence Bernhard, Tail Waggers Club, serving Seattle and

the Eastside

Best Doggy Daycare

Dana Wilson, Walk Your Dog

Redmond,

redmond-dog-walking.com

Dana Wilson’s watchword is “dependable.” She knows how to keep her charges happy, too. For the popular off-leash play time, man’s best friend is escorted to a 4-acre property for supervised running, play and rest. Then, each dog gets a thorough organic soap scrub, a ride home and a personalized note about its day. Leashed walks and pet sitting are also available.

Runners up: Petsmart, multiple locations; River Dog, multiple locations; The Pet Stops Here, multiple locations

Best Veterinary

Eastside Veterinary Associates

8934 122nd Ave. N.E., Kirkland

eastsidevetassociates.com and kirklandvet.com

Eastside Veterinary Associates’ well-trained team spends a lot of quality time providing personalized comprehensive care to each patient. The three-year-old, computer-savvy clinic is paperless, so lab results, X-rays and similar documents can be easily shared with clients or specialists as needed.

Runners up: My Pet’s Vet, Kirkland; Inglemoor Animal Hospital, Kenmore

Best Pet Park

Marymoor Park

6046 W. Lake Sammamish Parkway N.E., Redmond,

kingcounty.gov/recreation/parks.aspx

With trees, trails, fresh grass and four entrances to the Sammamish River, the 40-acre dog park is one the best off-leash dog parks nationwide, according to Bark magazine. SODA (Serve Our Dog Area) volunteers keep the area in top shape. Fenced areas are rotated to keep the grass fresh and robust.

Runners Up: Luther Burbank, Mercer Island; Robinswood, Bellevue

Celebrate Anniversary

Salish Lodge at Snoqualmie Falls

6501 Railroad Ave., Snoqualmie

salishlodge.com

Cocoon in every room beside a burning fire place or in a jetted tub for two. Unwind together with couples massages and treatments in the Fireside Treatment Room. The “Romance Atop the Falls” signature overnight experience is complete with sparkling wine, a bed covered in rose petals and a country breakfast for two.

Runners up: Canlis, Seattle; Daniel’s Broiler, multiple locations

First Date Spot

The Kirkland Waterfront

kirklandwa.gov

Day or night, at the Kirkland Waterfront, there’s so many ways to connect: bar hopping, beach volleyball, coffee, dog walking, fine dining, ice cream, moonlit strolls, sailing, stand-up paddle board rentals or wine tasting. Between Marina Park and Carillon Point is a flat, three-mile, round-trip lakefront walk. Overlooking downtown Kirkland, Heritage Park has scenic mountain, lake and city views, perfect for a picnic.

Runners up: Daniel’s Broiler, multiple locations; Bellevue Philharmonic

Place to Kiss

Snoqualmie Falls

snoqualmiefalls.com

The classic northwest view of the 268-foot-tall Snoqualmie Falls, the Salish Lodge overlooking the falls and the swirling dance of mist, water, shimmers and occasional rainbow beneath are well worth the drive. Spring and summer are best, but if you dress for the weather and avoid winter fog, the falls are spectacular year-round.

Runners up: Waverly Beach Park, Kirkland; Kirkland Waterfront, Kirkland

Place to Propose

Snoqualmie Falls

snoqualmiefalls.com

This timeless Northwest scene of a rushing white waterfall below, solid evergreen trees around and singing birds above is where many couples start their new lives. Or step inside the Salish Lodge’s dining room, where an intimate, private nook overlooking Snoqualmie Falls has earned the nickname “the proposal table.” Cheers.

Runners up: Kirkland Waterfront, Kirkland; Terra Vista at Snoqualmie Casino, Snoqualmie

Meet Singles

Joey’s,

multiple locations, joeyrestaurants.com

Because of its friendly, relaxed vibe, Joey’s lounge is where people just start talking to one another. Executive chef Chris Mills traveled around the world to inspire a diverse menu, so there’s something for everyone, whether it’s a great steak, chicken tacos or the panang prawn curry bowl. For a drink, try the super nova vodka soda.

Runners up: Tied. The Bellevue Club, Bellevue and The Parlor, Bellevue; Snoqualmie’s Sno Lounge, Snoqualmie

Best Wedding Venue

The Woodmark Hotel

1200 Carillon Point, Kirkland, thewoodmark.com

At the only hotel on the shores of Lake Washington, the Woodmark Hotel’s staff believes in bringing the happy couple’s unique story to life. Here you can exchange vows, host a reception or honeymoon on Lake Washington’s shores. Treat your bridal party or guests to the spa or a lake cruise aboard the Woodmark II, a classic Chris Craft boat.

Runners Up: New Castle Golf Course, Newcastle; Bastyr University Chapel, Kenmore

See other Best of 425 winners.

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