Good eats, groceries in Tri-Cities area?
My family and I will be moving to the Tri-Cities from Europe and I'm wondering about places to eat and shop. We're pretty excited to have access to Mexican food, spicy food that's actually spicy, and hopefully a wider range of vegetables/other ingredients again that we enjoyed before we left.
So, for restaurants: I've read in a couple of places that people complain it's mainly bad chains, which is a bummer as it seems there's a size-able population in the area. Any stand outs? We're open to any cuisine, as long as it's tasty! Are there any dim sum places? Indian?
For shopping: Are there any good Asian and European grocers? It looks like there's a farmer's market (but only starting in June?), how are the offerings there? How about bakeries? Any local offerings I should keep an eye out for? Thanks for any info in advance, we are pretty excited to come back to the States!
There's a good amount of Mexican food here in the Tri-Cities, be it at the wagons/food carts or restaurants. My favorite is Hacienda Del Sol in Pasco, which is on the same plot of land as Wal-Mart is off of Road 68. You get good portions, the cole slaw is great, and service is friendly.
Another good place is Fiesta, which is about a block away from Hacienda Del Sol. This restaurant had humble beginnings in downtown Pasco, and now have two restaurants and offer catering. There's also Azteca, which may be a "chain" Mexican restaurant but the quality is quite good.
A well known Mexican bakery is Viera's, there's one in downtown Pasco, and one on Burden. In the parking lot of Viera's is a fantastic Mexican lunch wagon called El Cazador. I believe they'reall owned by the same family. $6.50 for a burrito combo, the Cubano is tasty, you'll be well fed here, and as you wait, head into Viera's and order some churros.
There are Asian and European grocery stores here, one Asian store is off of 20th and Court, right behind the US Bank. There's a European market in Kennewick right off of Clearwater, it's so small that you might miss it if you don't know where to look. It's simply called Euro Market, and they sell various meats, snacks, herbs, and other things catering to European tastes.
There are three farmer's markets in the Tri-Cities, one in each city. They start in June, however many local farmers will sell produce right from their farms, who will advertise by word of mouth or at local "penny saver" type newspapers you'll find at markets. You will find farmers from the immediate area, along with people from Hermiston, Oregon (about 35 miles away), and Yakima (about 90 miles away). It's also common for the public to go to local farms and pick everything from asparagus to potatoes. When in season, you can drive to nearby Walla Walla (about 45 minutes away) and buy or pick onions. As you may know, the Walla Walla and Yakima areas have become very wine savvy in recent years, so if you choose to do a bit of traveling for farmer's markets in other regions, you can do some winery tours.
In the Tri-Cities though, chain restaurants remain the kings, partially because of convenience. Something like a Thai or Indian restaurant may be considered "trendy" and will close down after a year or two. The Tri-Cities is not a foodie area like Portland or Seattle, although you will be well fed if you know where to look. Word of mouth here is very effective.
I'll recommend Toeshi's is really good for Korean food. I highly recommend Sushimori for various types of sushi, tonkatsu, chicken katsu, and a number of other items, very friendly service. A place called Sushi Ya just opened near Columbia Center but have not tried yet. Bento Teriyaki Grill in Richland is also great for Japanese food, hearty servings.
I've tried many Chinese restaurants here, and one I make regular visits to is Bamboo Garden. Good customer surface, great food.
There's a place here called China Cafe in Kennewick that used to be my personal favorite, but a few years ago they either changed ownership or had new cooks, and the quality of the food dropped. I haven't been there in years, but people on other sites seem to still go so maybe it's time to revisit.
Shanghai Restaurant in Kennewick has been good, but sometimes their portions are very skimpy. For example, if you order a "crispy chicken" dish, it's basically a small piece of chicken overwhelmed with dried out batter, and some sauce on the side. As good as this place can be, it can also be pretty bad. I don't know if that's due to different cooks, change in shifts, but there are days when it looks spotlight, other times it looks like a bunch of school kids came in and didn't bother to clean up. Again, food *can* be food and service for the most part is very friendly, but you may catch a few people on a bad day.
If you visit and it looks bad to you, there's a very good Chinese restaurant around the corner called Double Dragon. Service is always courteous, food always hot and delicious.
There are others, but these are the ones I frequent.
the best food ive had in the tri cities is a place called thai spice. its a small family owned place but the food is authentic and always good. Theres also some national chains like PF changs and Famous Daves that have good food. Theres not to many great stand out restaurants in the area overall but i would recommend thai spice, its the best kept secret out in the area.
Also if your looking for pizza, Hubbys is the way to go.
Theres a couple of european bakeries i know of that are not coming to me now, ill let you know if i remember.
You are right it is a bunch of bad cahins the best bet for mexican is the taco trucks that are around town run by mexicans.
i do not live there but travel through thee alot and have been looking for the last couple of years for a place that would stand out but always come up blank