Walla Walla, PDX, Yachats, SEA trip
Time to take the oldest on a college tour, thought it might be nice to eat some decent food while the 4 of us (inc. my wife, 17 year old and 11 year old) were at it, largely thanks to this board. We tend to go ethnic when traveling, the main reasons being we live in Montana and ethnic is generally speaking something we don't get/cook as much as we'd like due to labor intensivity & dearth of ingredients.
Walla Walla: Too tired to get back in the car for dinner so crossed the street from the Best Western for decidedly mediocre Mexican. Saw the taqueria on 9th on the way out of town and kicked myself for not going.
The Dalles: Stopped at Cousin's. Service was so bad they comped it. Blech.
Karam for dinner. An absolute delight, friendly service. Even the usual suspects (hummus, baba ganoush, dolmas, etc.) were a substantially better than expected, a true cut above. Fava bean app. very good, as were the goat stew and molokhie.
Andina for the next dinner. Just had 9 of the entrada/tapas plates -- all very good, esp. the piquillos stuffed w/ cheese, quinoa, & ham, the cured tuna loin, and the causa mixta nikkei (sort of a layered potato pie w/ tuna, crab & shrimp). The only downside was that our second order of dishes never got posted to the kitchen, so it was about 45 min. b/n courses. The food made up for it.
Drift Inn was so-so. My fish & chips were fine, my wife's razor clams too bready & greasy, my son's crab cakes second rate, and I forgot what my other son ate but he liked it fine.
Adelina's Taqueria. Quite a find & highly recommended. Saw it across from the laundromat, checked the menu, decided to snack on tongue, tripe, & beef cheek tacos. Went the next night for dinner and ordered about half the menu. Everything nice and fresh and better than any Mex I've found in Montana (which admittedly isn't syaing much).
Shiro's, instead of Nishino b/c I wanted to walk to dinner. Well above average Japanese, as always a little pricier than I think it should be. Had a bunch of sushi and a couple rolls. Not great but okay. Loved the nuta salad, smelt umeshiso age, and esp. the nasu dengaku (eggplant w/ sweet miso) among others.
Greenleaf for Vietnamese. Can't compare it to Tamarind Tree or Monsoon, b/c I've been to neither, but we just loved it. Banh xeo, some kind of beef w/ la lot leaves, minced escragot & pork skewers for apps, then duck salad, then a vermicelli dish, short ribs, & chicken w/ lemongrass. Tremendously friendly & helpful service which became genuinely more so immediately upon my admission of general ignorance of the cuisine.
Sea Garden. I'll straight off admit it's an old favorite whenever I'm in Seattle. Went w/ another couple who are very well known at the restaurant. Steamed tofu w/ minced prawns, 2# salt & pepper spot prawns, crab w/ ginger & garlic, peking duck (kids insisted but it was surprisingly okay), pea shoots, salt & pepper pork chops, longetivity noodles. I could eat here once a week.
Oh, and we visited 6 schools....
Thanks for the fine report, Spot. I'm excited to learn about the taqueria in Yachats! I have long sought ethnic eateries on the Oregon coast when I can't handle more fried seafood. Glad you enjoyed Karam - I paid my 3rd visit there a few weeks ago and continue to think it's one of Portland's true gems. Finally, your mention of the S & P spot prawns at Sea Garden....has me contemplating tomorrow night's dinner already!