Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Rest of Walla Walla

Even though Walla Walla is such a great wine region you still have to sleep, see, eat and even (try) to partake in other libations. Here's the rest of what we did and what I thought of it during our wine weekend:

Sleep-

Holiday Inn Express - B
Because of the Cayuse Release it was a very busy weekend in Walla Walla, meaning slim pickings on hotels at expensive rates. After many ideas and recommendations from friends we booked at the Holiday Inn Express for about $130 a night. Clean and very well located, free parking & internet this was a fine location for us. The hotel has a large breakfast room which is seriously stocked in the morning: pancake machine, cereal, hard boiled eggs, yogurt, bacon, eggs, biscuits, gravy, etc. Early evening they offer cookies and milk. It doesn't have a lot of ambiance but if you are out and about and really just sleeping here I'd book it again. Right next door our friends booked the Comfort Inn which they were also happy with.

See-

Monteillet Fromagerie- B (only for price of tasting)
If you love cheese this is a great little destination just north east of Walla Walla toward Waitsburg. The adorable farm boasts dairy flocks of fuzzy lambs and curious goats as well as 2 Great Pyrenees, a Boarder Collie, ducks, chickens, cats, etc.
The cheese tasting is $10 per person but the cheeses really are delicious. We all purchased different styles; in our case a soft goat cheese divided by a layer of vegetable ash & deliciously stinky as well as firm goat cheese marinated in olive oil, garlic and herbs.
You can go into the pens with the animals and generally frolic around the grounds. Warning- this cheese will make you think you put a goat in your car ;)

Eat (besides the cheese)-

T. Maccarones- B
There are only a few restaurants in town so when TMacs (as the locals call it) said they could get our table of 6 in on a Friday night I jumped. And it was fine. The restaurant is actually quite small, located on the ground floor of a office type building. A tiny bar was offered to us to wait in (which served not very good drinks- pass) until we were finally sat at our table- upstairs in a private dining area. We all felt happy to be out of the crush of noise in the main room below but couldn't help but feel a bit in Siberia in this room.
Food was all fine, some even quite tasty. Portions huge (easily should have shared a few things) and service frazzled but nice.

Brasserie 4- A
On very cute Main Street Brasserie 4 is casual & fun. You can choose your wine from a rack a la retail style. The menu is bistro style French (yummy escargot) and uses local/seasonal ingredients a lot. Sauces were plate lick able. Salad portions were huge, easily sharable. All was good and we had a great time here.

Clarette's- B+
Everyone told us this was the place to go for a greasy spoon breakfast and they weren't kidding. I expected Alice to pour our coffee while mentioning something about grits and that's just about what we got. Although the service was sloooowwwww the food was good in that diner type of way. They offer crispy hashbrowns either covered (melted cheddar and bacon) or smothered (sausage gravy) 'nough said. And our part time vegetarians found lots of options too. And it's cheap!

Colville Street Patisserie- A
Dayne and I had been before but got there too late and were left with not much to choose from in the case. This time we arrived around 10am on Sunday and the cases were loaded with delicious bakery items. Cinnamon rolls, Pan au Chocolate, Croissants, Financiers, Quiches, even gelato. All was absolutely scrumptious!

Miner Burger (Union Gap/Yakima)- B (only because it feels guilty to love it)
Matt had fond memories of eating at Miner Burger in Union Gap as a kid so we headed in for a burger on our drive home. Holy hell! Burgers are smash patties and thin but as round as a damn dinner plate! Crispy onion rings! Huge thick milkshakes! And about 20+ different condiments. We ate and then we all swore we wouldn't eat again for a week, and then maybe just a salad!


Cocktails-

Marcy's- B
We tried to go to the bar at Whitehouse Crawford but they were packed to the gills. The hostess suggested Marcy's and gave us directions. As soon as we pulled up I recognized it from the (now defunct) Luscious by Nature restaurant.
Super friendly staff, serviceable cocktails. Most had the life shaken out of them but turned out fine (even a super shaken Manhattan!) You might want to stay away from the Old Fashion however, it was "Nicole Brown Simpson'd to death" (insert wildly stabbing/muddling movements here).
Jen was thirsty!

The Marcus Whitman- B
After a tough day of wine tasting and driving around trying to get a damn cocktail (see next entry) we finally were welcomed to the Vineyard Lounge at this very pretty historic hotel. We grabbed a table by the fireplace, moved chairs around and ordered a bunch of things not on the menu. Our waitress smiled and returned quickly with our drinks. Ahhhhhh! Again, shaking seems to be a thing in Walla Walla but the drinks were fine and it was nice to be able to sit in the comfortable room and order as many as we wanted...

Jimgermanbar -D (only because I know others who have enjoyed it, & it stands for "Dead to me")
Not in Walla Walla but in cute Waitsburg, this bar had been recommended by many friends. So after a nice day of wine and then cheese we made our way to Waitsburg for promised delicious cocktails. I had even called, said we'd be in around 5- a party of 6. We arrived at 5:30 with confusion to if we had a reservation or not (I had not been offered one). Finally we were seated at the communal table in the next door private room. It was gorgeous! And we were happy with the menu and our first round of cocktails.
And then... we ordered round two. Nothing crazy. Martini's, Manhattan's, Smoky Vesper. We were told that shots and beers would be up first as it was getting busy. One person changed to a beer. Server leaves. Comes back 5 mins later with a beer. Leaves again. And then...
Appears with our tab and informs us that they are busy, they have a group of 20 who just called and are on their way in. They won't be able to make our drinks and in fact need us to pay and leave. Oh, but they comped us some olives and almonds.
Holy Hell!!! I'm not going to continue to report on what we discussed all evening...

When we were happy...


And something else...

Imbibe Wine Tours - We didn't do this but we saw them at Longshadows set up with a picnic table and having a nice lunch in the sun. How cool is this stretch Checker Aerobus? Turns out they are friends of Elisabeth, check out their site if you are interested in a tour.
Great weekend! Photos here