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Yakima Valley...really so bad???

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Hi All- The wife and I are planning a last-minute trip to the Yakima Valley (especially Prosser) and I have been licking my chops at the thought of trying some new places (I've never been before).

Then I got to reading the posts about the place here...and yikes! Sounds like good options are thin on the ground.

There's not much recent -- does anyone have any recommendations or warnings? I don't mind driving a bit for something good, anything between Yakima and Prosser would be a good option.

The places I've seen recommendations for are-
Pizzaria Venti (Prosser)
Picazo (Prosser)
Cafe Villa (Prosser)
Whitstrand Brewery (Prosser)
Miner's (Yakima)
Santiago (Yakima)

...unfortunately, I've only seen a single rec for each one...can anyone verify?

Help!

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  1. Go into the scariest looking Mexican groceries you can find and have tacos.

    1 Reply
    1. re: babette feasts

      Babette, Your theory works well at White Center too.

    2. Hi-
      Yea, it's pretty bad in the Yakima Valley. But before you walk away totally discouraged, I have some late, breaking news. Just this evening I was reading the latest (July 31, 09) Wine Spectator and they have a report on the Washington Wine Country. They are recommending two places to eat in Prosser. One is Picazo 7Seventeen (which you have on your list) and the other is a new place called Wine O'Clock Wine Bar. Spectator says the pizza at Wine O'Clock is good so I plan on trying it when I head over to Walla Walla in a couple weeks. Hope you have a good trip and post here if anything was good!

      1. As you arrive in Yakima from Seattle, you are greeted by a giant freeway billboard that looks like someone's nephew made it that welcomes you to "Yakima, the Palm Springs of Washington". I didn't have high expectations of Yakima, but when I saw that my heart really sank. A quick drive through town suggested that the opening of an Outback Steakhouse might have been what prompted this ridiculous claim.

        We defaulted to the Mexican market taco meal, too.

        6 Replies
        1. re: Neecies

          Any specifics on the Mex market? Any finds on the route from Seattle to Yakima?

          1. re: slowens24

            Bump.

            Seriously, can anyone offer any specific recommendations on tacos or other authentic Mexican fare in and around Yakima?

            1. re: equinoise

              El Porton de Pepe on S. 5th. It is a local chain with several other locations, but this location is apparently owned by an uncle/cousin/whatever of the people that own the other ones and has much better food. Be sure to order off the sheet of mexican specialties in the menu, not the main menu. Try the carne asada molcajete.

              1. re: equinoise

                We stumbled upon El Charrito in Toppenish (120 E Toppenish Ave). It felt like being back in a little taco joint in LA so I was really looking forward to the food. Tortilla was great, Carnitas was tender but could have used a bit more salt. Salsas were spicy and runny, just the way I like it!

                There seemed to be a lot of little taco places all around Yakima valley so find one that you think looks good and report back!

                1. re: maybelle

                  Thanks for these.

                  Any comments on how they compare with Salsita Antojitos Mexicanos, El Grullense, Mariscos El Nayarit or Tacos Los Primos? I'm looking for homemade tortillas, al pastor on the spit (if possible), and generally high quality. Thanks again.

                  1. re: equinoise

                    I think El Porton is better than El Grullense #2 or Los Primos, we haven't tried Mariscos El Nayarit yet since the idea of mariscos in Yakima is a little unnerving. The only decent al pastor we've found in the northwest was a place in eastern Beaverton, OR although last time the wife and I drove through Everett there was a patio expansion on one of the Mexican places on north side of Broadway that had a spit setup going. I'll be trying that ASAP.

          2. Just came back from a weekend in Yakima- restaurant fare is dismal. Sorry. Stick with Prosser.

            1. Miner's Drive-in is worth the experience I've been once, and I'm still looking for an excuse to go back so I can have some more.

              1. We just checked out the Whitstran brewpub this weekend. Not bad at all! The beers were fine (some were a bit odd for my taste, but I liked the IPA), the battered fries were addictive, the coleslaw was heavily dressed but tasty, and the burgers and fried fish were perfectly acceptable. Plus they have a very fine collection of beer-related quotes all over the walls. Makes a good stop to break up a day of wine tasting.

                1. Just visited Prosser hoping to use same recommendations you listed, pusherman. Our winner: a little taco truck, El Taco Caliente (The Hot Taco). Very well-made adobada, the cabeza was awesome, the asada a little on the stringy side (but I'm being picky), and a surprisingly caring hand with the veggies on top - just enough lettuce, onion, and cilantro, with a small slice of very tasty radish, piled lovingly on top (not just slapped on). We were totally impressed, and will visit this little truck every time we pass by.

                  For the record, Picazo was closed, and we weren't in the mood for pizza. The, we tried to eat at Whitstrand Brewery, but the apparent owner/manager was there as the only waiter. He hurried by our table maybe 12 times, pulling new orders and beers for seemingly the whole restaurant without taking our order (even with verbal reminders of 'excuse me'). After 15 minutes, we left, disappointed. :( But, the taco truck was smiling, friendly, extremely tasty, and our choice from here on out!