What’s Up Eats: Best around town

What’s Up Resident Food Critics: Aaron Apple & Aaron Keyser

For What’s Up!’s 15th anniversary issue, we thought we’d pull out all the stops and finally tell you what really matters in the Bellingham culinary scene. Forget the democratic system of reader votes deciding the winner that you find in other magazines, we spent hours compiling this definitive guide to our local cuisine.

Restaurants we miss most: Cheese Meat(s) Beer and Nimbus both met an unfortunate demise. We were going to say Arby’s on Samish, but then we remembered there’s one up by Wal-Mart. We also both used to hit up Lemongrass for Thai food; in fact we named our old band The Conifers over some phad thai.

Best bathrooms: Scotty Browns and Fiamma Burger. If you need to get away awhile to play Tetris on your phone or check Twitter, there are no better places to rest your tush.

Best place to get stood up: Boundary Bay Brewery. Speaking through Apple’s recent personal experience, the waitress in the bar was very understanding and had no problem changing his order from “here” to “to-go.” She also brought napkins and IPAs as he wept.

Most epic winter destination: After a 12-hour Skyrim marathon, there’s no place more appealing than Archer’s Alehouse. Decorated like a pub you’d fine in Hammerfell, complete with walls of stone carved from the Velothi Mountains, you’ll feel like a king as you feast on wild game and the strongest of ales from across the lands.

Best condiments: Fiamma Burger’s curry mayo wins for the single best condiment in town, but the spreads found at El Capitans and Dashi Noodle bar both deserve shout-outs as well. In fact, we love taking our noodles to El Capitans to dress, and our hot dogs to Dashi. We call it East meets West.

Best restaurants on four wheels: Beep beep! StrEAT Food and Hot Mess cross the finish line first, but the gold medal truly belongs to Kulshan Brewing for providing the pit stop for these businesses to establish themselves and flourish.

Best drunk food: We can’t count the number of times we’ve stumbled into the Ranch Room for cheesy fries and beers. Everyone has done it. Don’t judge.

The only reasons to drive up the Guide Meridian: Let’s get this straight; to justify driving up the Guide, the food better be damn good. We’ve had nothing but positive experiences at both La Gloria and Indian Flavors, so don’t make the mistake and punish yourself for any other reason.

Best place to eat while pumping your gas: Pizzazza at Yorky’s Market creates a feeling of cognitive dissonance, being a gas station that serves incredible pizza and organic Skagit Valley beef burgers. So to make sense of the world, be sure to stop by AM/PM, who also serve delicious burgers, but of much less quality ingredients and social consciousness.

Best Buns: Since Kayser turned down the award, citing “conflict of interest,” we decided to go with Ralf’s pretzel buns and Avenue Bread’s ciabatta rolls. Ralf’s shapely buns made the Cheese Meat(s) Beer burger unforgettable and Avenue Bread’s large slices, firm in all the right places, provide the perfect vessel to slide that Boundary Bay meat loaf sandwich into your mouth.

*Nothing written above should be taken seriously. Happy birthday What’s Up!