Best of the IE 2008!

Posted October 9, 2008 in Feature Story

As the only alternative newsweekly in the entire Inland Empire, it has become a fit of passion to every year unearth all that is cultural, relevant, seminal, beautiful, obvious, oddly misshapen, heroic, sexy, historic, vexing, and familiar in this impossible sprawl. We call it our Best of IE—our biggest, most opinionated issue of the year; an issue we take liberty to name anything and everything that can be considered the best in our area. It has been great fun compiling the content for this book, and it’s been a real pleasure to speak with the many winners in every category. Everyone here enjoyed the process, with the exception of our art director, who suffered three documented apoplectoid episodes this week; a small gang of unpaid interns; the sales representatives; the publisher; and Waleed Rashidi—who never smiles anyway.
At any rate, it’s been fun for me.
This year for our Editor’s choices we ransacked plenty of almanacs, visited tundra, dipped a toe in the murky water of gonorrheal strains, went regimental in kilts and got lost in the frond-friendly world of Acąi. We even ate pickled eggs. Such lengths we go to appease you, dear reader.
But this year is even more special. This year we yielded our fetishes and let you—the readers—chime in and tell us who’s best, having invited all four million of you to send us your favorites on topics ranging from Best Pizza to Best Gay Bar to Best Radio Personality. And the response was enormous, well beyond our expectations. We received hundreds of ballots, each one a little biography into how a random Inlander thinks—each one a little tip-off as to how you read, how you write, how you think and how you respond. Some of these were doodled on, which was additional fun.
For everyone who wrote in, both literate and illiterate, cyberly and physically . . . we thank you for your input. What we learned is that next year we’ll be doubly adamant that Famous Dave’s BBQ is not a home-grown institution. Other than that, we’ve very few quibbles with your choices.
And with that, we hope you enjoy the Best of IE!

–Chuck Mindenhall, October 2008

Best Bartender—Ian Thornton of Killarney’s

Best Sushi—Ooka Sushi

Best Vintage Clothing Store—The Blues

Best Steakhouse—Pinnacle Peak

Best Dance Club—Sevilla

Best Bakery—Simple Simon’s

Best Winery—Bella Vista

Best Ski Resort—Bear Mountain

Best BBQ—Famous Dave’s

Best Campus—UC Riverside Botanic Gardens

Best Late Night Munchies—Del Taco

Best Street Wear—TapouT

Best Happy Hour—Killarney’s

Best Tattoo Parlor—Tattoo Revolution

Best Radio Personality—Jimbo

Best Radio Show—The Morning Stiffy

Best MMA Gym—Team Quest

Best Live Music Venue (All Ages)—The Glass House

Best Smokeshop—Windjammer

Best Radio Station—X103.9

Best Cheap Eats—Cuca’s

Best Farmers Market—Redlands Market Night

Best Casino—San Manuel Indian Bingo and Casino

Best Movie Theater—Krikorian in Redlands

Best Tourist Attraction—Lake Arrowhead Village

Best Comedy Club—Ontario Improv

Best Vegan Food—Chico’s

Best Art Museum—Riverside Art Museum

Best Hotel—Mission Inn

Best Coffeehouse—Back To the Grind

Best Pizza—Romano’s

Best Gallery—Red Door

Best Mall—Victoria Gardens

Best Antique Shop—Pomona Antique Mall

Best Jukebox—Characters

Best Public Park—Fairmount Park, Riverside

Best Live Venue (21 and Older)—Angel’s Sports Bar

Best Gay Bar—The Menagerie

Best Microbrew—Hangar 24

Best Burger—In-N-Out

Best Country Club—Redlands Country Club

Best Playhouse—Riverside Community Players


Best Pickled Egg—Racer’s Pub

Best Toe-Drag and Bit of Dipsy-Doodle from a Holy Roller—Itan Chavira

Best Place to Turn a Corner—Fast Lap

Best, Most Prolific DJ in the Entirely of Mankind—DJ Cre-8

Best Professional Sports Franchise to Just About Exist—Ontario Reign

Best Place to Purchase a Kilt and Some Brown Sauce—R.P. Blandford & Son

Best Place to Crack a Spine—Downtowne Books

Best Place to Buy Acai—Clark’s Nutrition & Natural Foods Market

Best Place to Have a Private Moment in Public—Tom’s Farms

Best Coffee Roasters—IE Coffee

Best New Addition to the Claremont Village—Herpes Triangle East

Best Imported Cream Puff From Japan—Beard Papa’s

Best Art Gallery Associated with Non-Violent Animals—Bunny Gunner

Best Place to Go When the Price of Gas is Driving You Apeshit—Riverside Bus Station

Best Place in Riverside to Hook Up with Some Euro Trash—The Yard House

Best Place to Witness Elitist Record Store Snoot Firsthand—Mad Platter (Again)

Best Local Band That’ll Get You Closer To Heaven—Kindred

Best Place to Dupe Visitor’s Into Thinking the IE is Posh—Mario’s Place

Best Place to Feel Excessive/Remorseful Within An Hour’s Time—George’s Drive In

Best Recycled Classics for $1—Basically Books

Best Music at the Disposal of So Many Drunks—Black Watch Pub



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