Best Playground


The Pirate Game

Fun! To be played on a large playground structure, such as a jungle gym.

Object: To avoid falling


Family Town— Readers' Picks

Best Playground


The Pirate Game

Fun! To be played on a large playground structure, such as a jungle gym.

Object: To avoid falling in the crocodile-infested "waters" (the rocks, bark, or sand beneath the structure).

Players: As many as possible (no cooties).

To Play: Declare a "captain." All other players become "pirates." If you're the "captain," stand atop your "ship" (the structure) and tag "pirates" as they try to board the vessel. If you're a "pirate," climb about frantically, attempting to stay out of the "waters." Try to take over the ship by getting to the top. Watch out for the "captain"!

Variations: Dragon King: The rocks, bark, or sand are "hot lava"; King/ Queen of the Mountain: Use brute force to push "invaders" off the structure—wield sticks, if possible, and throw sand in the eyes of pansy-ass smaller children. K.M.

Second place: Woodland Park

Best Park


(3801 W. Government Way, 386-4236)

It's huge! Huge! HUGE! What did we do to deserve such a big park? Be sure to check out its titanic parking lots, larger in size themselves than many other, lesser city parks. Oh, and the military base surrounding it should give visitors the creeps—tell them the park's history as Fort Lawton, Seattle's last defense against the Japanese back when they threatened our shores. (It was almost an anti-ballistic missile site!) Those who brave the long, long climb down to the beach can enjoy the unstinky, industrial-cool West Point sewage treatment facility at one end of the long, long beach. There's some nature, too—endangered eagles, we think, and probably mice and whatnot for them to eat, and, generally, a vast, rich tapestry of life. SO big. R.L.

Second place: Volunteer Park (15th and Galer, Capitol Hill)

Best Public School


(400 23rd, 252-2270)

Garfield High School is a dump. The building is dilapidated. Fire-hazard hallways funnel A&F boys and Fubu girls to overcrowded classrooms. Rich, white, smart kids find themselves in acclaimed AP courses, and everyone else finds themselves in whatever else is offered that semester. But nowhere in the state can you find a better marine science program, a better symphony, so many National Merit Scholars, so many state basketball championships, and so many whacked-out and hip teachers who smoke cigarettes and say "goddammit" in front of their students. The jazz band rocks. Alder Street rocks. The bust of Jimi Hendrix in the library rocks. Goddammit, Garfield High School is a dump and it rocks. S.P.R.

Second place: Ballard High School (1418 N.W. 65th, 252-1000)

Best Private School


(14050 First N.E., 283-8808)

A year at Lakeside costs about the same as a brand-new Mini Cooper. That's no drop in the bucket. But there's something to be said for premium-priced schooling. Those little ballers have an executive chef, for chrissakes! And they eat the cuisine in a "commissary." Now doesn't that ring nicer than the nerve-racking, puke-smelling "lunch room" some of us public school riffraff had to put up with? No fat, hairy lunch ladies, no corndogs—oh, what a life. Lakeside is the closest thing Seattle has to those hoity-toity East Coast prep schools, minus the stuffy uniforms. And with generous alums like Bill Gates, Paul Allen, and the whole McCaw crew, you know that executive chef cooks up some fine meals. K.M.

Second place: O'Dea (802 Terry, 622-6596)

Best Children's Bookstore


(2214 N.W. Market, 789-5006)

Max can read.

See Max read.

Max likes books.

His mom Betsy reads Goodnight Moon to Max.

She reads it again.

She reads it again.

She reads it again.

Betsy takes Max to Secret Garden.

See all the lovely books they have.

Watch the smart and kind clerks help Max pick out a new book.

Max is happy.

Betsy is happy, too.


Second place: Barnes & Noble Booksellers (many, many locations)

Best Toy Store


(1420 Fifth, 442-9500 and 2010 Bellevue Sq., Bellevue, 425-646-9000)

Seattle is well-stocked with fine independent toy stores, but voters, it seems, chose quantity over quality, since FAO Schwarz won and Toys R Us was right on its heels for second. And it is hard to compete on selection with the big guys, especially since the major toy makers make it impossible for locals Magic Mouse and Top Ten Toys, for example, to stock certain brands, like Etch-A-Sketch and Lego. Or maybe it's all about the candy. FAO Schweetz has one of the best assortments around for fans of what used to be called "penny candy." It certainly doesn't cost just a penny anymore, but a bag full of Swedish fish and sour grapes makes any shopping trip more fun—even if you do have to listen to that tedious giant piano made famous by Big over and over. A.V.B.

Second place: Toys R Us (Northgate Mall, 361-1101; 103 110th N.E., Bellevue, 425-453-1901)

Best Place to Fly a Kite


(3300 Meridian N., 684-4075)

There is a huge, happy green hill at Gas Works Park crowded with huge, happy people because it is a popular place from which to launch big kites and upon which to let your dog poop. You can stand up there on that hill with a kite in one hand and your dog's leash in the other hand and feel very much like your life is a painting. If it feels a little cheesy to you, a little too contrived, if the reflection of the city in the lake is a little too glossy and picturesque, if the blueness of the sky is just too blue, remember that the hill you are standing on is a giant mound of glowing, rotting toxic refuse, and that if you took up a scoopful of that dirt in your hand and began eating it, you'd die. You would be killed, just like the Native Americans who lived here before us were killed, although we killed them, not the dirt, and then we contaminated the dirt, and very likely the dirt will kill us. God, we suck. C.F.

Second place: Discovery Park (3801 W. Government Way, 386-4236)

Best Family Restaurant



Two words: Bottomless fries. Can you imagine such a concept? I mean, picture this. Close your eyes and envision infinite amounts of French fries falling from the sky, dropping into your mouth, perfectly cooked and salted. And not just your mouth, your entire family's mouths. Look! Little Bobby is eating so many fries, they're coming out of his nose. "Oh, Little Bobby," you laugh, while the fries plop on your head in this dream world. Along with the fries fall little red baskets, and catching the baskets before they fall on you is Red the Robin himself. "Thank you, Red the Robin," you yell from the ground, waving. "Thank you so much for this fine family establishment." S.P.R.

Second place: Buca di Beppo (701 Ninth N., 244-2288)

Best Family Entertainment


(as dictated by Luke Van Buskirk, age 21/2) Monorail! Monorail! I like the monorail! I want to go backward! I want to ride the horses. I want to ride the cars. Harleys! Harleys! I see the Space Needle, Mommy! I see the Space Needle, Mommy! I see the Space Needle, Mommy! Buy me some candy! I want to ride airplanes [actually, they're flying elephants and dragons, but whatever]. I want to go to the party [EMP has lots of great parties for members]. I like golf. Let's play golf. I like rice. I like pizza. I like candy. Do you want coffee? I need candy. Let's go on the monorail again. Again. A.V.B.

Second Place: Pacific Science Center

Best Ice Cream Parlor


(4507 University Way N.E. 336-2233 and 7900 E. Greenlake, 527-5305)

Remember that kid in elementary school who ate grape jelly and onion sandwiches? This weird type of compulsion is the basis for fusion cuisine—and also the basis for your favorite so-called ice cream parlor, The Mix. Modeled more after a bulk candy counter than scary old Farrell's, the Mix's tasty scoops of ice cream contain everything you can throw into those thin plastic bags at the grocery store—gummy bears, berries, nuts—and a few things you can't, like espresso. You may think your coconut-coffee-grapefruit combo makes you a big freak, but remember ol' jelly-n-onions and calm yourself: These mix masters have seen combos far weirder than that. J.L.

Second place: Baskin Robbins (everywhere except Broadway)

Best Pizza


(4529 University Way N.E.; 426 Broadway E.; 550 Queen Anne N.; delivery: 726-1717)

A couple years ago I found myself watching TRL on MTV religiously. The celebrities, screaming girls, Times Square—I craved it all. I'd race home from college, plop down on my couch, and meditate for an hour with Carson Daly every day. I didn't care which song was going to be No. 1. Most days I already knew which song would be in the top spot. But MTV always kept me interested, and this is how: They retired songs. If a song was on the chart for too long, they would say, "Song, you're a great song, but before we bore the audience, we're going to retire you. You're still No. 1 in our books, OK? We're just gonna let some other songs get a listen. No offense." For some reason, this makes me think of Pagliacci. S.P.R.

Second place: Pizza Hut (Christ!) (various locations)

Best Fries


(115 Broadway E., 323-1300; 500 Queen Anne N., 285-5155; 111 N.E. 45th, 632-5125; 9208 Holman N.W., 783-5233; 12325 30th N.E., 363-7777)

Two Haiku for Dick's Fries

salty, greasy fry

made by hand at Dick's Drive-In

skins left on is yum

real potato fry

tartar, ketchup cost extra

but you won't need them


Second place: McDonald's (Hell)

Best Candy Store


(1518 Fourth, 682-7122; 520 Northgate Mall, 363-4567; 10212 N.E. Eighth, Bellevue, 425-455-1019)

The truffles, like pretty much everything else that comes out of the See's kitchens, are yum—and addictive, which gives steam to the old See's- candies-are-laced-with-illegal-drugs myth. They claim to use all fresh, wholesome ingredients, but, one might ask, just what is their definition of "wholesome"? After all, See's was founded in San Francisco in the Roaring '20s, and I think we all know what sort of underhanded activities go on in Shaky Town. K.M.

Second place: Fran's Chocolates (1300 E. Pike, 322-0233; 2594 N.E. University Village, 528-9969; 10305 N.E. 10th, Bellevue, 425-453-1698)

Best Video Arcade


(1511 Seventh, 283-4263)

Where kids and downtown workers go to learn about the inevitability of death. Shoot zombies, poke alien swordfighters full of holes, race speedboats until you crash, then relax with an age-appropriate beverage and observe the carnage from above. Fake gangstas take note: GameWorks prohibits "excessively baggy clothing" and other fake-gang-related paraphernalia, including "chains of any kind." Visitors who haven't yet acclimated to the newest games on display on the main floor will find respite upstairs with last year's games. Not quite retro, but it's still comforting to return to the very first House of the Dead. The skee-ball zone (including many other obscure games of skill) near the rest rooms offers weird charm and weirder prizes for those who collect enough tickets. R.L.

Second place: Shorty's Coney Island (2222 Second, 441-5449)

Best Kids' Haircut


(1815 N. 85th, Suite 120, 633-2158)

There once was a girl named Sophie

Who thought of her hair as her trophy.

But when she went to Li'l Klippers

She nearly kicked off her slippers

So happy her eyes didn't get soapy.


Second place: Rudy's (various locations)

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