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Walla Walla - Merged Topics

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^Yes, it's pretty new. It wasn't even listed in the Walla Walla directory yet. You'll like Saffron. I'm so glad we didn't end up going to Creektown instead.

Here's our last breakfast at Maxwell House--berries on cinnamon bread pudding, a fruit cup (not pictured), and coffee

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Colville Patisserie is closed Monday and Tuesday, so we made it our last meal in Walla Walla. I must say I was completely blown away by the quality of the pastries. It was definiely better than anything I've eaten in Seattle, or Vancouver, or Bouchon bakery down in Napa.

(L-R) canneles, palmiers, financiers, kougin aman, apricot almond danish

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(L-R) croissant, brioche, quickbreads, 3 types of macaroons (vanilla, chocolate lavender, orange and chocolate)

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(L-R) danishes, chocolate hazelnut croissant, almond croissant

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looks like they bake their cookies in tart rings

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housemade gelato, including flavours like plum, fresh fig, Earl Grey, and chocolate lavender

I sampled the fig and chocolate lavender and both were excellent.

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The pastries were pretty, but the flavour combinations weren't as daring as what I've had in the past. Maybe because the locals are not so adventurous (according to one of the chefs we talked to.) They have standard things like chocolate caramel tarts, triple chocolate mousse cakes, fruit tartlets, etc.

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This was Round One. I got three pastries (kouign aman, almond croissant, and a canneles. I got Henry a plain croissant.)

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Can you hear the angels singing?

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The only minor quibble was that the canneles had too much orange blossom water for my taste. Texturally, it was perfect--crisp on the outside, and creamy moist in the middle.

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Almond croissants are my favourite breakfast pastry and this was hands-down the best I've had. The pastry was so incredibly buttery light that it made all the almond croissants I've eaten in the past seem leaden. The franigpane was very finely ground and not too sweet, and there wasn't a lot of it, so that contributed to the airiness of what's in reality a pretty heavy breakfast pastry. Also, the bakers had spread a layer of almond filling and then folded the dough again, so you got two thin layers of filling instead of one heavy layer. Sorry for the book, but this was just too perfect.

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The kouign aman was also incredible. I ate that too quickly before I could get an individual picture of it. There were large flakes of salt on the sugary top, which made the pastry extra addictive. These were probably the two best pastries I've eaten in my life.

I figured that since we won't be having pastries here for awhile, I might as well try the other items in the case that caught my eye. I got the Earl Grey mousse with chocolate cremeux (and a flourless chocolate base), the eclair (with vanilla bean pastry cream), and the orange and chocolate macaroon.

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These were all very good (perhaps the eclair was the least exciting of the three).

Interior:

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I spoke to the assistant baker and probably scared him a bit by going on and on about how much I loved the pastries that morning. He said the head baker used to work in NY and then was at Essential Baking Co. for awhile. I am SO glad we made it here for our last trip! The next time we're in Walla Walla, I'll have to make sure we go at the end of the week so I can visit them multiple times.


Edited by Ling (log)

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Man you guys sure know how to get the most out of a trip. Excellent pictures too.


I would kill everyone in this room for a drop of sweet beer...

Homer Simpson

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Great up-to-the-minute details on Walla Walla. I will be making my fourth trip there (daughter in college) and it sounds like there are several new hotspots. We will absolutely try Saffron, since that's a new one, and a trip (or several?) to Cesario is clearly called for. Had no idea. We have not eaten at 26 Brix, so that's a possible 2nd splurge. It sounds like you were so overwhelmed by the Colville Patisserie I'm surprised your pix were in focus. I don't think I can pass that up now.

We have eaten at Whitehouse Crawford and I agree it was up an down. I had a steak and it was great. The rest of the food was just over the fussy line for me. I did have the WW fried onion thingy and it was pretty wonderful. I think I had a really good soup too.

I like the wine bar/cafe Grapefields. The food is okay, but tables outside on the main drag are great for gawking (of course we're talking Family Weekend so lots of dazed parents and kids looking forward to something other than dorm food) and I like the cranky women who run the place; we sat at the bar one night and just had a few lovely reds--and they poured generous glasses.

I am fond of the Walla Walla onion sausage/dog or whatever it's called, that you found bland. I like the little window on the street, and the fact that when it's high noon during the summer you can walk around the corner and sit outside at Starbucks with a Frapucino to go with your dog. I am not a big hot dog or sausage person, but I liked the flavor. I thought the problem was everything else--boring old american bun, not even dijon mustard as an option and no interesting toppings. I think that dog needs better clothes.

I loved my taco truck experience and plan to try at least one other wagon. I can't remember which one we went to--maybe one on 6th? The green chile sauce was really good and so was the carne asada. Paying $5 instead of $50 for a pretty high quality meal is not to be minimized!

Has anyone eaten in Dayton at the Whoopemup Cafe? Lots of raves about it. Anyway, thanks for thorough reviews!

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Has anyone eaten in Dayton at the Whoopemup Cafe? Lots of raves about it.  Anyway, thanks for thorough reviews!

I had a good brunch at the Whoop. See this thread for more.


Chief Scientist / Amateur Cook

MadVal, Seattle, WA

Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code

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Thanks. And of course I too got the town wrong. It's not in Dayton, it's in Waitsburg.

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Yes, I was amazed! Henry said it was the best croissant he's ever had too. You must try the almond croissant and the kouign aman next time you're there!

I just had an Armagnac cannele from Colville St. Yesterday I had a pain au chocolate. These were without question two of the best pastries I've had in a quite some time.


Chief Scientist / Amateur Cook

MadVal, Seattle, WA

Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code

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Ling, Vengroff, I never did follow up on my recent trip to WW. Here are a few observations.

I checked out the salumeria where Ling found the delicious Petit Jesu. The owner is very nice, a transplant from my neck of the woods, the Bay Area. He has some wonderful meats and cheeses from a variety of places. In the East Bay certain sources seem to be shut out, so I've never before tasted anything from the Batali operation in Seattle--that was really interesting. I also had some fabulous Oregon and Washington cheeses I hadn't tasted either.

We ate at 26 Brix and my steak was excellent; tasty and cooked just right for me. I thought my meal was the best--husband and daughter didn't order steak.

We also had a reservation one night at Saffron. I have a daughter (student at Whitman) who has a very sophisticated palate but who has also acquired a philosphy that doesn't favor spending a lot of money on food--even when her parents are spending it. Admirable on the whole, but it can be annoying. In addition, she gets overstimulated and can't relax or have a good time if there's too much attitude or racket. Saffron has both. We walked in at about 7:30--all tables except ours were taken--and the noise was horrendous. In addition the chairs were so hard and uncomfortable my daughter balked and we left for a more subdued experience elsewhere. Had the weather been better and had it been daylight I can imagine sitting outside would have been great. This is a restaurant designed with a capital BUZZ in mind--a fact that the waitress had no hesitation confirming; she admitted it was noisy on purpose. It's the "anti-cozy" theory--high ceiling, tight seating, sound reverberating. Everyone appeared to be enjoying themselves, but we really wanted to talk to our kid! Some other time we'll go without her.

Two mornings we picked up our NYT at Starbucks and then made a bee-line for the Colville Patisserie. Lovely place! The coffee was delicious and the cakes looked unbelievable. I think I am going to order a cake there for my daughter's birthday. Having just returned the week before from France, I will recuse myself from the croissant-judging.

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Have you had the croissants at Besalu and still think the ones in Walla Walla are better? I do love the almond croissants, and many other things, from Besalu. Writers from NY have rhapsodied, but they probably didn't go to Walla Walla.

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Have you had the croissants at Besalu and still think the ones in Walla Walla are better?  I do love the almond croissants, and many other things, from Besalu.  Writers from NY have rhapsodied, but they probably didn't go to Walla Walla.

Besalu has been my favorite in Seattle for a long time. For pain au chocolate, however, I'd give the nod to Colville St.


Chief Scientist / Amateur Cook

MadVal, Seattle, WA

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One more tidbit: the owners of Saffron are opening Walla Walla's first pho shop right next door. It's going to be called Pho Sho and should be opening very soon.

As for Saffron itself, we had quite a nice dinner there. The cuttlefish and bean appetizer was, in my mind, the high point.


Chief Scientist / Amateur Cook

MadVal, Seattle, WA

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Have you had the croissants at Besalu and still think the ones in Walla Walla are better?  I do love the almond croissants, and many other things, from Besalu.  Writers from NY have rhapsodied, but they probably didn't go to Walla Walla.

I do like the almond croissants at Colville better than Besalu, but Besalu, imo, makes the best morning pastries overall in Seattle. I do love the pain au chocolat at Besalu, but I didn't get one at Colville.


Edited by Ling (log)

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I am heading over to Walla Walla the first weekend in December and have drawn up a nice little list of places to try based on the recommendations here. And the knowledge of a great pastry shop is crucial!


Robin Tyler McWaters

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...

The kouign aman was also incredible. I ate that too quickly before I could get an individual picture of it. There were large flakes of salt on the sugary top, which made the pastry extra addictive. These were probably the two best pastries I've eaten in my life.

We spent the weekend in Walla Walla, hoping around the wineries, having dinner at Whitehouse-Crawford and experiencing some seriously divine pastries at Colville St. Patissierie.

The dh, after finishing his share of the kouign aman, said that it was quite possibly the best pastry he had ever had. He has not read this thread, and had never had a kouign aman before. He also said he really hadn't ever understoood why I liked pastries so much before our two visits to Colville St. Patisserie.

We also had an almond croissant, a quick bread, a cinnamon roll, a peanut butter cookie, and a goat cheese and herb croissant ( these were all shared between two people, over the course of two days). The wineries were fascinating, dinner at Whitehouse Crawford was really fun, but it is the pastries that will lead me back to Walla Walla.Thanks for the tip, Ling.


Robin Tyler McWaters

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I'm visiting Walla Walla, Washington wineries this summer.  Where do I eat?

See here, here, and here.

And be sure not to miss Colville Street Patisserie, arguably the best patisserie in the state.


Chief Scientist / Amateur Cook

MadVal, Seattle, WA

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Thanks so much. I was beginning to wonder if I was making a big gastronomic mistake.

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I see no reason to start a new thread, especially since I have no photos to post. However, Walla Walla was a great food trip. I loved the drive there and back, the changes in climate, geology, and vegetation. At this time, this year, it was green almost everywhere. The magpies in Yakima were a great surprise (I suppose the equivalent of crows in Seattle?) I bow down further to Henry and Lorna for their heroic eating adventures. I had to force down a little soup tonight.

After a late drive from Seattle to Yakima, we visited the town of Tieton - no food to speak of, yet, but an interesting place with a green town square, some freshly converted warehouses housing condos, a letter press, artists, and more to come. A cafe would be readily welcomed if anyone is interested.

Things started out rough - we missed Los Henandez in Union Gap by minutes. Sunday night in Yakima looked a little less than obvious. We headed into the amazingly crowded humongous Miner's for a burger, shake, and fries (I had the tots.) Okay, I am not a big fan of this type of food, unless you count Lunchbox Laboratory. But after eating, and not finishing, I felt ill. A deal was struck to stay with quality, mostly kept. Before leaving Yakima, we stopped in at Essencia Artisan Bakery and Chocolaterie. The breads looked good, the coffee was fine. We picked up a loaf of chocolate bread with cranberries and pepper(?) Interesting.

Stoppped by DairyFair (Darigold) for a quick tour (you may as well hang out at Beechers in the market - you will see more) and a cone. Missed the place in Zillah by how many years? Shuttered and for sale. Got into Walla Walla just in time for a late lunch at Lucious by Nature. Very nice, though a bit pricey for lunch. I had their rellano special which was a casserole style dish of tortillas, cheese, black and green olives, artichoke hearts, chilis and tomatillo sauce. I did not care for the green olives, otherwise, a nice dish. Fresh green salad rounded out the plate. That evening, we dined at 26 Brix. Pretty quiet evening, the menu seemed a little plain. The roasted chicken was very tasty as far as the crispy skin and flavor went - the breast itself was dry. The snap peas and very creamy polenta were excellent - the polenta was very corny, in a very good way. M had a house pasta dish. Better than this were the two desserts - mine was a huckleberry creme brulee with anise langues de chat, M's was a slice of roasted pineapple on puff pastry with a dulce de leche caramel, accompanied by a scoop of lime ice cream topped with a cilantro syrup. It hit on all cylinders, though not something I would have selected.

So, we already know Colville St. Patisserie isn't open on Tuesday. We tried going to John's Wheatland Bakery and found it not suitable for breakfast. If it hadn't been raining, the taco truck in the parking lot might have been the way to go - it smelled great. We stopped in for a gut buster at Clarette's next to Whitman College. This is a biscuits and country gravy, waffles, pancakes, (crepes!) kind of place with great service and bad coffee. Later in the day, we stopped by Cugini Import Italian Food and had a slice or two of the homemade salami and a good latte. They have interesting looking frozen pasta from Chicago, take out meals, sandwiches, and Italian staples. That evening, we had the pleasure of dinner at Saffron. The place was packed, the menu enticing. We shared a number of small plates and a pasta. The flavors are bold and he can sell anything - including a plate of beef liver skewered with pig heart - I tried the sauces, not the meats. The house made breads were excellent as was the octopus, the asparagus, and the pappardelle with pork. Desserts were not as interesting as the night before, but a slice of warm flourless chocolate cake with chocolate mint ice cream was soft, almost light, and delicious.

Wednesday! Colville Street Patisserie. Just like the photos above. We split a cannele, a kouign aman, and a brioche topped with cream and black currents. The last was the best! The other two, unusual and delicious as they are, was bested by the tart berries, rich cream and buttery broiche. A lovely latte and we were ready to see the town. A lot of Walla Walla does not open until afternoon as many of the storefronts are wine tasting rooms. Still, we wandered around a bit and worked up the need for an onion world sausage. We liked these more than H & L did. Moist, with a good snap to the well browned skin. I had been slightly dreading lunch of a sausage topped with grilled onions and was surprised to find the onions incorporated into the sausage, nicely lightening the texture.

We ventured out to Dayton, a bust - though the Weinhart Cafe looked interesting, and sampled a cone of Cascade ice cream at the local bakery and Kchotka store. But down the road (closer to Walla Walla) lies Waitsburg, another town undergoing a loving rebirth. We picked the wrong day and missed eating at Jimgermanbar. You should not make the same mistake. The small plates include locally sourced foods and excellent beverage options in an airy and artistic atmosphere. We may go back soon just to sit there and enjoy the place. Across the street is Whoopemup Cafe. I wish we had hiked 20 miles that day to do justice to the place. The gumbo was rich and full of tender bits, topped with a thimble of rice and some strips of fried yam seasoned with lime salt. The bbq ribs were smoked, tender and messy with a thick sauce. Adding to my week of corn, the cheesy grits were formed into a cake and slightly browned and the slaw was tangy, colorful and just a tad sweet. The breads included a jalapeno cornbread, cornsticks, corn foccacia, and chive cornbread. Horrors - dessert was not possible. I did not even see one served and they are supposed to be wonderful. This was an affront to all that is right with the world, but I had reached the end of my ability to eat for the day. There is a brewery, Laht Neppur Brewing Company just down the road (the bit I sampled with dinner had a nice hoppiness with a bit of spice), as well as a nice looking tavern - the Whetstone Public House. Anyway - it looks like a few more buildings are being remodeled, so if you want to open a bakery, this might be the place to do it.

Last day - another morning of pastry at Colville - an all flake morning with samplings of the apricot almond pastry, the almond croissant and the chocolate hazelnut one as well. Nothing too sweet, everything with millions of layers. A few chocolates from Brights, and we headed home. This time, in Union Gap, just outside Yakima, we made it to Los Hernandez for fresh tamales. Not just chicken and pork, but the best of the bunch, asparagus and cheese. Really. And even though we drove home through Black Diamond, we did not look for the bakery - anyone know if it is still there - worth a side trip? I hope to not be hungry for a few days at least.


Edited by tsquare (log)

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If you want some photos - and another version of the story

clicky here

(and sorry there are still typos in my post.)

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The two of us are heading for Walla squared next month. I was last there two years ago, so it looks as if Saffron and Colville will definitely be on our list of stops. I was already planning on returning to 26 Brix and Whitehouse Crawford.


Regards,

Michael Lloyd

Mill Creek, Washington USA

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I was really disappointed in Whitehouse Crawford the last time I was there. All the dishes were exceptionally salty. None of us really liked our food and we felt ripped off, frankly.

My next trip up to Walla Squared may be very soon, and I'm looking forward to trying the new pho place. Nobody has posted any comments about it yet. I'll put in a good word for some of the cheap lunch options, like the taco wagons, and I too appreciate Onion World, which my family always refers to as the Hot Dog Window, and which has very limited open window hours during lunchtime. They do work the grill at the farmers' market on the weekend, so you can have one there. I'm not really a hot dog person, but their sausages are really good. If they would devote just a little thought to the whole package it would be even better: superior buns, grilled carmelized onions (in season no onion can touch a WW sweet!) and dijon mustard would do the trick. And then if they added a papaya drink like Gray's Papaya in NY it would be a dizzying meal.

This next trip I plan to investigate the food and drink in Waitsburg; it all sounds wonderful. If that town is carefully and slowly restored without too much kitch or clutter it will be really lovely.

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I have heard mixed things about Whitehouse Crawford, but was pleased the two times we have gone. It has not been mentioned elsewhere in this thread, but Patit Creek in Dayton deservedly enjoys a very fine reputation.


Regards,

Michael Lloyd

Mill Creek, Washington USA

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Hi,

We're going over to Walla Walla for the 4th, and definitely will be hitting Saffron and Colville based on all the great reviews and Ling's great pictures!

We are going with friends who really want to try Creektown Cafe. After the comments posted here, I'm skeptical and am leaning toward 26 Brix. Is Creektown really horrible--I'd really like to try to convince her not to go if it is.

Thanks!


"Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food." -- Hippocrates

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