Monday, June 25, 2018

Insider Guide to Walla Walla

Going to Walla Walla for WBC 2108 in October? It’s not too early to start planning your trip now. I recently visited the area as part of a media trip sponsored by Visit Walla Walla Tourism and got the insider perspective on the best places to Eat, Drink, Shop, and Stay.

While most attendees will be at the Marcus Whitman—I do highly recommend the Courtyard Marriot just a block west of the Marcus Whitman in case the room blocks are sold out or if you are looking for a place to extend your stay.  The rooms are quiet, sleek and comfortable and the hotel is well located within walking distance of everything but a few places I mention.

If you consider yourself a foodie, you owe it to yourself to make arrangements to partake of the Chef’s Table dinner in the Marcus Whitman under the direction of Executive Chef Grant Hinderliter. The Chef’s Table is available every night priced as follows— Four Course dinner: $80 per person, Five Course: $98 per person, Six Course:  $120 per person. Wines with each course run $25 - $50 per person. You can make your reservation through Dan McCaffery, F/B director at the Marcus Whitman and he will help customize your experience according to your preferences. ( 

Down home and delicious it’s as if the low-country flavors of the South just dropped from the heavens into the middle of downtown Walla Walla. Hankerin’ for boiled peanuts, gumbo, Carolina style pulled pork or jambalaya? This is the place.

Everything here is top notch and delicious. From the wood oven fired pizzas to the inspired sandwiches—Olive is a mainstay of Main street and a must visit for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Andrae’s Kitchen at the Co –Op Gas Station!
This ain’t no party, this ain’t no disco, this ain’t no is no fooling around.
Your mind will be blown (and taste buds delighted) by what classically trained Chef Andrae Bopp and his staff are cooking up inside a gas station mini-mart between boxes of Slim Jims and cans of WD 40. Authenticity is key here. Chef Andrae imports heirloom corn from Mexico- it’s a super food from Oaxaca - and makes his own Nixtimal mash, for home-ground corn tortillas. 95% of the menu offerings are scratch prepared on premise. Go for breakfast, stay for lunch. I promise you’ll want to try it all.

If you don’t go here at least once during your time in Walla Walla, you’re an idiot. Sorry, don’t mean to be harsh—but it’s true. The baked goods and specialty pastries here rival anything I’ve ever had anywhere—including Paris! PRO TIP: You must get the Kouign Aman –you can thank me later. Oh yeah, did I mention there is gelato too? Just Go. Go. Go. 

Downtown Tasting Rooms--
Otis Kenyon -- Great family story with a tasty slate of wines
Browne Family Vineyards-- Featuring bubbles from Guret and wonderful Cabernet Sauvignon, Cab Franc, Chardonnay and more, under the Browne label. Cool tasting room set up and patio seating too. 
Mark Ryan Winery --Artsy setting home to Numbskull Red blend.
Spring Valley Vineyards -- Come for the Nina Lee Syrah, stay for the Kathrine Corkrum Cab Franc! 
Cayuse—Just kidding! It’s only open once year, and probably not for you. Instead take your disappointment next door to Bright’s Candies --guaranteed to sweeten your day since 1934, with hand made chocolates, gelato and old-fashioned nut assortments. Step inside for the sweet aroma alone! 

Wine Tasting Rooms Outside of Town-- 
Buty—Everything here is top notch, beautiful wines that reflect true sense of place. 
Palencia—Try the Albarino.
Eternal—If you hum a few bars of Cannibal Corpse for winemaker Brad Binko, he may just waive your tasting fee. (maybe!) Must Taste: Carmenere.
Tranche Estate—Gorgeous tranquil setting featuring a Rhone heavy portfolio that's well worth the drive. Must Taste: Pape Blanc White Rhone blend. 

Follow your nose to the divine scents of this tiny shop filed with soaps, lotions, and bath products made in Walla Walla. From lip balms to bath bombs you’ll find something to soothe and pamper yourself from head to toe. Seriously, I live in a land of homemade and artisanal everything –but I just made a web order for more products from Midnight Oil. They are incredible.

As mentioned above my stay was sponsored by the great people at Visit WallaWalla. Snarky opinions are my own.


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