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Sep 22, 2007 06:15 PM

Dropped ChowChild off @ Evergreen in Olympia last weekend

Dropped Chowchild off @ Evergreen State in Olympia last weekend for his freshman orientation. At one point my son was the youngest Chowhound poster on SF Bay area board. His only concern re his first year at college was how would he adjust to small town cuisine after 18 years of eating in the SF Bay Area?
He had thoroughly researched Evergreen and knew it was the right school for him. During move in day he noticed a large empty spot in front of all the dorms and announced to the other freshmen--"I'm going to bring a grill and make my famous BBQ ribs for everyone." Silence. One thing he hadn't looked into was the eating habits of his fellow classmates--estimates are 70% of students are vegans or vegetarians.
He regained his spirits at Anthony's that night. Loved the oysters, chowder and seafood fettucinne. The planked halibut was very good. Yummy huckleberry desserts. Service was friendly and attentive. Chowchild is going back next Sunday for the all you can eat dungeness crab. (704 Columbia Street NW; 360 357 9700;
We heard raves about the Oyster House downtown so tried it out the next evening. Nice selection of oysters; very reasonable price (at least by SF standards): $10/6; $16/12. Impressive list of local microbeers on tap--my favorite was Fish Tale wild salmon pale ale from a brewery a few blocks away. Huge glass was only $4.75. The wine list reminded me of Kansas City menus--Columbia Crest, Corbett Canyon, Inglenook?!? Mr. ChowFish was thrilled to see Manhattan clam chowder on the menu and pronounced it one of the best he'd had. I enjoyed the oyster bay stew. The main courses are not even worth writing about--the vegetables were obviously frozen. So stop by Oyster House for beer and oysters before you go out for dinner. (320 4th Avenue West; 360 753 7000).

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  1. If your son has a vehicle, or can make friends with someone who does (and who eats seafood), send him to Xinh's in Shelton. I think it's one of our real treasures outside of Seattle.

    1. kkbriggs beat me to the punch: definitely check out Xinh's in Shelton. It's about 20 miles northwest of Evergreen on Hwy 101. Her curried mussels are heavenly and her pan fried oysters are some of the best I've ever had. Xinh herself is quite a character - a Vietnamese immigrant and champion oyster shucker who has perfected northwest/asian fusion with her seafood and other dishes. If ChowChild wants to take a break from studies, the drive on 101 along Hood Canal is beautiful in the fall.

      Xinh's Clam & Oyster House: 360-427-8709
      221 W Railroad Ave # D, Shelton, WA 98584

      1. I used to work at Evergreen, so I'm biased--but I think your son has made a very good choice. Self-directed, enthusiastic kids can do amazing work there. I hope he's enjoying it!

        If you liked the Fish Tale Ale, be sure to visit their brewpub on your next visit. Very good pub food, great house-made soups. Also worth checking out, not far from campus, is the Blue Heron Bakery, for healthy baked goods that manage to still be tasty. And if the kid gets too hungry for BBQ and doesn't have time to do his own, there's always Ranch House BBQ, a few miles west of campus. There's been some debate here about them, but I liked their meats quite a bit--and so have a lot of bbq competition judges, as evidenced by all the trophies on display in the restaurant.

        Your son is probably less than thrilled with the campus food service--I've had good dorm food, but Aramark at Evergreen ain't it! Some of the dorms have cooking facilities, but his best bet if he wants to eat well may be to move out once the dorms have served their purpose and he's settled into the campus community. Olympia has a very nice farmer's market downtown, and the college's organic farm does a farm stand on campus a couple of days a week.

        And tell him not to despair about the rib feast--just give the vegetarians a little time. Not to impugn the sincerity of the meat-is-murder convictions of all the young Greeners...but for at least some of them, part of the appeal of swearing off meat was to be different. That may have worked a lot better for them at home than it's going to here! I actually ran across more flexible eaters than I expected to find among the students there.

        1. Leper's post ( reminded me that the OysterFest is coming up soon - first weekend of October. It is also in Shelton. It's beginning to sound like I love Shelton, which I most definitely do not! But, since we're on the Shelton topic, there's a really good tortilla place, too. Tortilla Jalisco, I think.

          1. I'm completely objective because I teach at Evergreen -- it's a great place! It isn't ideal for everything -- what school is? -- but what it does well it does very well. Maybe I'll see the ChowChild in class some day.

            Meanwhile, my opinion is that Olympia is not a good restaurant town. There is adequate fare, especially at the low price end, but not much better. OTOH, it's a very good town for cooking. The farmer's market is really excellent for its size, and the Oly Food Coop (esp on the east side, though this is a haul from Evergreen) is also top notch. (It lacks alcohol, but that is not supposed to be an issue for your underage offspring....) As long as he doesn't fall into the culture of too much smoking and austere, self-denying vegan food (as opposed to hedonistic vegan food), which is too rampant at my place of employment, he should be fine.