This past weekend, I went on a solo road trip to Moses Lake, WA to visit one of my best friends, Koree, and to meet her new baby boy. I can’t think of a better reason to go over the pass to the east side of the state. Bonus: I ate at some really fantastic places, much to my surprise.
Okay, I know – it’s pretty bad that I had the impression that Eastern Washington is a gastronomic wasteland. Sure, there aren’t many fancy restaurants or big-name chefs, but if you know where to look, the eating’s not at all bad on your journey over I-90.
A trip east of the mountains isn’t complete without stopping at a fruit stand. It might sound a little cliche, but there’s a reason everyone does it – the local produce is fresh, vibrant and priced really reasonably. I stopped in Thorp at the Red Sky Orchards stand. I actually meant to stop at the larger, more touristy Thorp Fruit and Antique Mall, but I was actually glad I stopped an exit or two short at this smaller spot. With gorgeous Yakima apricots, sweet cherries and wine tasting, it was a great place to stretch my legs and pick up some snacks. I also got a bottle of apricot wine that sounded pretty great.
I stopped for breakfast in Ellensburg at the Yellow Church Cafe, at the recommendation of a Twitter friend, Rob. Twitter is my favorite way to get good restaurant advice in areas I’m not familiar with. What I found was a comfortable interior in the converted church built in 1923, and a menu of homemade items that was hard to choose from. I went with the eggs Benedict with curry hollandaise. It was phenomenal, with perfectly poached eggs and fluffy potatoes. The best kind of road food.
In Moses Lake, my friends took me to dinner at Michael’s on the Lake. Sunset was the perfect time for a patio dinner overlooking the lake. The gorgeous weather didn’t hurt either. The salmon with bacon and mushroom risotto was perfection, with crispy, salty skin over the rich and creamy risotto. Not too shabby.
On the trip home, I stopped in Ellensburg again, but this time for tacos. Eastern Washington is home to lots of authentic Mexican food, and a road trip is the perfect time to hit up a taco truck. I found Tacos Chalito on the main drag off I-90. I don’t know if it was the time or day or what, but it was an extremely long wait. I don’t expect taco trucks to be super fast or anything, but I waited a good 40 minutes, I kid you not. The chicken tacos I ordered were moist and flavorful, however, and mostly worth the wait.
I returned home full, and glad I went for many reasons. Where do you like to stop when hitting the road?