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Jun 3, 2008 10:05 AM

Washington Wine Country Trip Report 5/31 - 6/2

My wife and I just took a long weekend driving through wine country. We left early on Saturday and headed from Seattle towards Yakima. After a few tastings in the Rattlesnake Hills AVA we needed to stop for lunch. Originally we had wanted to go back to El Ranchito, but it has closed. None of the places that were recommended by one of the wineries in Zillah sound that good, so we stopped at Snipes Mountain Brewery. The food was just ok. For the price I couldn't complain and the Pilsner I had was very well done, but this isn't some where I'd go out of my way to eat at. Is there somewhere in the Zillah/Sunnyside area worth going out of your way for?

After tasting wine for the rest of the day and checking into our hotel we had a dinner at Picazo 7seventeen in Prosser. We ordered a light red (a lemberger) that was a good price and started dinner off with toasted flat bread and sardine toasts. The flavors of both were quite good, but the flat bread seemed awfully simple for the price ($9). The sardines were well done, but hard to eat as the toppings seemed to all fall off when you cut or bit through the baguette. For our main course we had the carne paella. It came out looking impressive enough, and the rice was well cooked with the right crispy consistency on the bottom. Everything was seasoned well and the chicken in it was moist and just perfect. The beef or lamb that was in it (I'm not sure which it was) was dry and quite tough though. The flavor was ok, but not that pleasant. Most of the mussels and clams were good, but I had a few tough ones, and one clam that was quite gritty. I was impressed with the prices on the wine list here, but thought our dinner was over priced for the quality of food we were served. I'd have to go back again to really get a good idea of the place though.

On Sunday we headed to Walla Walla. We had a brunch at 26brix. We started off with the fruit bowl. This was a good start. The fruit was cut perfectly and everything was ripe and delicious. The strawberries even tasted like strawberries (which is unusual this time of year). The honey yogurt on top was so delicious it could have passed for a pastry cream. My wife had a frittata of mushrooms and asparagus. I thought my bite of it was quite pleasent, and the fire roasted tomato sauce with it was outstanding. I had the foie gras and eggs. It was absolutely outstanding. The eggs were perfectly cooked. The bacon was crisp yet still thick and tender. The caramelized onions were sweet and had a great acid balance that helped cut through the richness. The best part though was the foie gras and red wine demi glace that sauced the plate. It soaked into the crispy baguette and softened it just enough to make eating it easy. It may be the richest dish I've ever eaten but was so good I wanted to lick the plate. Thankfully it's served with fries to help sop up the sauce.

For dinner Sunday night, we drove to Waitsburg and ate at the Whoopem Up Hollow Cafe. I was very surprised at the quality of the meal I had here. My wife had a gumbo with her meal that was very flavorful and I had a house salad that had tons of interesting vegetables with exquisite knife work. My meal was an etouffee with scallops, shrimp and crawfish. Everything was well cooked and tender and the dish was perfectly spiced. My wife had a fried catfish with a rremoulade that was outstanding. For dessert we split a coca cola cake. The was probably the best all around meal of the trip.

Originally we had planned on stopping at Luscious by Nature for breakfast before heading out Monday morning. When we got there it was closed. Their website said the hours where 9am-9pm, but they may now be open much later. Instead we started our drive back to Seattle and ate an early lunch at Miner's in Yakima. It was a pretty good burger that reminded me very much of my favorite fast food place in Oklahoma (Lot-A-Burger).

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  1. Nice report Gorilla! I am headed that way in 2 weeks, so this is great info. Appreciate the details.

    2 Replies
    1. re: bluedog67

      You should check out Saffron in Walla Walla. Very tasty.

      1. re: bluedog67

        Don't miss Whitehouse-Crawford in Walla Walla for dinner -- it is outstanding.

      2. Thanks for the report. Any comments on the wineries yoy visited? I hope to be doing a wine tasting trip out towards Walla Walla in the next 6-8 weeks or so.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Roy

          I went to quite a few and didn't want to make the post any longer. If you want specifics I'll probably do a post on my wine website ( in the next week or so. If you want to discuss it in more detail you can get my email from my website ( and contact me.

        2. NIce report. The Backstage Bistro in Walla Walla also offers excellent fare. (At well below Seattle prices.) For wine finds, few rival Flying Trout winery. Tiny, obscure and terrific.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Leper

            Noooooooooo! Not the Backstage Bistro. One of the worst meals for both food and service that I've ever had. Avoid at all costs.

            1. re: Lauren

              Just got back from Walla Walla. Had dinner at T. Macarone's on Friday. Everything was great. The salads were fresh and creative, the anti-pasta was nice. Had a grilled aspagus/mushroom appetizer that was just delicious. All pasta is house made, and the braised pork ragu was wonderful. Halibut with roasted mediteranean vegetables was also very good.

              Sat nite went to Creektown Cafe. It was also good. We were planning to go to 26 Brix, but some local people steered us away. Creektown's menu was very enticing, but some of the dishes lacked oomph. Nothing was bad, but people were more excited about the menu than the food. I had pheasant with morels that was extremely good.

              Breakfast at the Coffee Connection. Pure and simple breakfast food. Hash browns actually crispy. Eggs done well. Service extremely friendly.