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Seatle to Tri-Cities via I-90 & 82


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I'll be making a round trip drive from Seattle to the Tri-Cities area in a couple of weeks. I would greatly appreciate any roadfood recommendations (or any food/wine related recommendations) along Interstate 90 and 82.

As always, looking forward to visiting your beautiful state!

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What a drive! I've driven from Seattle to the Tri-Cities approximately 4 million times, so I'm working on a list for you. But I'd say, unless you have a compelling reason to take 82 through Yakima and go that way, the drive is a lot more scenic if you continue on 90 past Ellensburg to Vantage, then go south on 243 along the Columbia River, and through the grape vineyards and rock formations. It's just a pretty 2 lane highway with a lot less traffic.

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What a drive!  I've driven from Seattle to the Tri-Cities approximately 4 million times, so I'm working on a list for you.  But I'd say, unless you have a compelling reason to take 82 through Yakima and go that way, the drive is a lot more scenic if you continue on 90 past Ellensburg to Vantage, then go south on 243 along the Columbia River, and through the grape vineyards and rock formations.  It's just a pretty 2 lane highway with a lot less traffic.

Ah, of course! Thanks for the recommendation (and taking the time to put together a list). I did Tri-Cities to Portland a few years ago - probably the most breathtaking drive of my life.

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Issaquah:

Issaquah Brewhouse (Rogue Ales)

35 Sunset Way

http://www.rogue.com/locations-issaquah.html

Stop in for one of their signature beers, like Dead Guy or Morimoto Soba, several brewed on site. Occasionally they even have test batches available here that you can’t get anywhere else (like Chamomellow, a light beer infused with chamomile). Or, if you don’t feel like drinking and then hitting the road, you can stock up on bottles of your favorites at a great price. Food is nicer than average pub grub.

XXX Root Beer Drive-In

98 NE Gilman Blvd

http://www.issaquahhistory.org/sites/xxxdrivein.htm

The very first of the XXX Drive-Ins and one of only 2 left in the country, this relic from the 1950s is visible from the highway. Classic retro style burger joint plus shakes and fries, and of course the root beer float. The food is not great, but it’s big, messy and fun. The have classic car meet-ups here on some weekends.

North Bend:

Twede’s (a.k.a. Double R Diner)

137 W North Bend Way

http://www.twedescafe.com/

If you ever watched Twin Peaks, you can stop here for cherry pie and a damn fine cup of coffee. A fire completely gutted the interior about eight (?) years ago and they redid it as a tacky 1950s diner. But the outside is still the same, they still serve cherry pie, and back by the bathrooms are some great one-of-a-kind photos of the cast and crew that were taken during the filming.

Snoqualmie:

Salish Lodge

6501 Railroad Avenue

http://www.salishlodge.com/

Dining here can be very high-end, or more moderate and cozy. I prefer the Attic Bistro to the Dining Room. If you don’t stop for food, at least stop and walk the path out to the overlook for a break taking and dramatic view of the falls. (This is the Great Northern Lodge if you’re still on the Twin Peaks tour.)

Thorp:

Thorp Fruit Stand

410 Gladmar Road

http://thorpfruit.com/

Once you come down over the pass, you’ll come into what I know as Eagle Valley, and soon Thorp, home of the fruit stand and not much else that I know of. You’ll see the big white building on the left side of the highway. They’ve got fresh local produce (probably not great this time of year), wine, preserves and gourmet food items on the ground level. The upstairs is an antique mall, which is really overpriced, but creaky and interesting and fun for a little browsing if you’re in the mood.

Ellensburg:

D&M Coffee Company

http://www.dmcoffee.com/Locations/RetailLocations.htm

Multiple locations. The original was in a vintage gas station that was converted to drive thru at 408 S. Main St. Unfortunately, I think they had to close that one when the Starbucks moved in down the street. The owners are former Seattleites who decided to bring good coffee east of the mountains. Very cute.

Beyond:

Once you get past Ellensburg, it’s all about the views. If you have time to stop in Vantage, go to the Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park. The rocks are cool, but my favorite part is the caretaker’s cottage, built with pieces of the petrified wood and rocks during the Depression by the Civilian Conservation Corps.

After you drive across the Columbia River, head south and follow the road cut into the rocks, passing damns and cutting through acres of vineyards and apple orchards. I’ve never checked to see if any offer tours, but during certain parts of the year you can roll down your windows and the smells are amazing. Sometimes you’ll pass a roadside fruit stand (again, not sure what you’ll find this time of year).

There are only a few small towns out here, and unfortunately no other standout places to get food. In Schwana there’s a cute local gas station that has a great popsicle selection. As you continue, you’ll cross the river again, and you’ll pass the through the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. Just before you get to the Tri-Cities, on the outskirts of West Richland, a smaller river will be on your right near the road. Look carefully and you’ll sometimes see small Indian fishing platforms built over the water.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I've never been, but isn't there supposed to be a good burger joint in Yakima? Miners?

In Ellensburg, the Valley Cafe is pretty good, but I had three awful experiences at the Yellow Church Cafe in the last three months ( I attended CWU for the winter quarter - yup, I'm kissin' the ground here in Seattle... :wink: ). If you're in Ellensburg on the first friday night of the month, they have... First Friday... where several galleries have new art installments and wine tastings - it's kind of fun in this very small, old downtown area... Rodeo Barbeque on Main is ok. Avoid the Chinese Restaurant out by the Best Western - every dish is full of cabbage and no meat, and they don't have a liquor license...

“"When you wake up in the morning, Pooh," said Piglet at last, "what's the first thing you say to yourself?"

"What's for breakfast?" said Pooh. "What do you say, Piglet?"

"I say, I wonder what's going to happen exciting today?" said Piglet.

Pooh nodded thoughtfully.

"It's the same thing," he said.”

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I think avoiding Chinese restaurants east of the mountains is a good rule of thumb. I was subjected to a particularly awful one in Yakima many years ago and I wouldn't wish that on anyone....

I've never been, but isn't there supposed to be a good burger joint in Yakima? Miners?

In Ellensburg, the Valley Cafe is pretty good, but I had three awful experiences at the Yellow Church Cafe in the last three months ( I attended CWU for the winter quarter - yup, I'm kissin' the ground here in Seattle...  :wink: ). If  you're in Ellensburg on the first friday night of the month, they have... First Friday... where several galleries have new art installments and wine tastings - it's kind of fun in this very small, old downtown area...  Rodeo Barbeque on Main is ok. Avoid the Chinese Restaurant out by the Best Western - every dish is full of cabbage and no meat, and they don't have a liquor license...

Jason Truesdell

Blog: Pursuing My Passions

Take me to your ryokan, please

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I think avoiding Chinese restaurants east of the mountains is a good rule of thumb. I was subjected to a particularly awful one in Yakima many years ago and I wouldn't wish that on anyone....
I've never been, but isn't there supposed to be a good burger joint in Yakima? Miners?

In Ellensburg, the Valley Cafe is pretty good, but I had three awful experiences at the Yellow Church Cafe in the last three months ( I attended CWU for the winter quarter - yup, I'm kissin' the ground here in Seattle...   :wink: ). If  you're in Ellensburg on the first friday night of the month, they have... First Friday... where several galleries have new art installments and wine tastings - it's kind of fun in this very small, old downtown area...   Rodeo Barbeque on Main is ok. Avoid the Chinese Restaurant out by the Best Western - every dish is full of cabbage and no meat, and they don't have a liquor license...

I think I've been to that Chinese restaurant in Yakima. Drunk out of my mind, I still realized it took 'suck' to a whole other level....

Most women don't seem to know how much flour to use so it gets so thick you have to chop it off the plate with a knife and it tastes like wallpaper paste....Just why cream sauce is bitched up so often is an all-time mytery to me, because it's so easy to make and can be used as the basis for such a variety of really delicious food.

- Victor Bergeron, Trader Vic's Book of Food & Drink, 1946

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My experience involved a bunch of middle aged Germanic waitresses and several indistinguishable overcooked mishmashes from completely separate sections of the menu, served in dramatic dunce-cap topped metal serving bowls.

Yes, 'suck' was too kind.

I think I've been to that Chinese restaurant in Yakima.  Drunk out of my mind, I still realized it took 'suck' to a whole other level....

Jason Truesdell

Blog: Pursuing My Passions

Take me to your ryokan, please

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You can see a couple of my favorites in Ellensburg and Cle Elum right here. I'm another vote for going via Vantage - that's my only route anymore, and is breathtakingly beautiful. Some pictures of that road are in the above link too.

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In my defense, the Chinese restaurant in Ellensburg wasn't my choice.... it was after a day of classes, 2 hours of wine tasting, and it was close! We nearly left when we realized they didn't have a liquor license, but regrettably, stayed. Ah, well... we survived. And I've been to 3 Asian restaurants here in Seattle in the week since I've been back :biggrin:

“"When you wake up in the morning, Pooh," said Piglet at last, "what's the first thing you say to yourself?"

"What's for breakfast?" said Pooh. "What do you say, Piglet?"

"I say, I wonder what's going to happen exciting today?" said Piglet.

Pooh nodded thoughtfully.

"It's the same thing," he said.”

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I've never been, but isn't there supposed to be a good burger joint in Yakima? Miners?

In Ellensburg, the Valley Cafe is pretty good, but I had three awful experiences at the Yellow Church Cafe in the last three months ( I attended CWU for the winter quarter - yup, I'm kissin' the ground here in Seattle...  :wink: ). If  you're in Ellensburg on the first friday night of the month, they have... First Friday... where several galleries have new art installments and wine tastings - it's kind of fun in this very small, old downtown area...  Rodeo Barbeque on Main is ok. Avoid the Chinese Restaurant out by the Best Western - every dish is full of cabbage and no meat, and they don't have a liquor license...

Miner's is ok, at best.

i lived in eburg from 2001 to 2006, i can honestly say, that every restaurant in town is pretty much average at best.

i really, really tried to like the valley cafe, pearls on pearl, and the yellow church cafe but for the cash you are getting ripped off. The yellow church is good/acceptable, only for breakfast or lunch.

I cooked at rodeo city bbq for over a year, i would not recommend it. unfortunately, everything is tossed into the microwave and covered in sauce, not good.

For a good grease burger, campus-u-totem, fries aren't good, milkshakes are

For pizza, don't even try it. drive to seattle like i used to, damn near twice a month

Panda Garden is the only place to get "chinese" in eburg. I'm not saying it's going to thrill you, but it's pretty solid for cheap, chinese food.

Now, the restaurant no one has mentioned is the one i'll recommend:

The Starlight Lounge, 402 N. Pearl, now i worked there for over 2 years but i'll be honest about it. If you happen to be in eburg from 3-6 on any day of the week, stop in for a great happy hour. It's the only place in town to get an actual "cocktail". appetizers (good ones, not just fried whatever) are half price and drinks are also discounted. For dinner, I actually, struggle to recommend the place. It's way too inconsistent and for the price it can be a let down.

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