After recovering from the blistering heat of a 106-degree bike ride through Walla Walla’s wine country, we stopped for lunch at a local hot spot with rave reviews. We’ve experienced delicious food from traveling trucks in Portland while living there, and Andrae’s Kitchen was sold as the best in Walla Walla. Since it was a weekend, we stopped by the flagship location, Andrae’s Kitchen at the Co-Op. Don’t let the fact that this restaurant is in a gas station get you down; these were some of the most succulent and authentic tacos I’ve had in a long while.
The tacos were full, hearty and delicious. The poutine was some of the best I’ve ever had. And the hot dog deep fried with jalapeño and smothered in gravy fries was an incredible, mouthwatering fusion. I’ll definitely be coming back next time I’m in Walla Walla!
After lunch, we wanted to enjoy some more of delightful wine country; a winery housed in an old refurbished barn was right up our alley. After accidentally entering the wrong door while trying to visit Balboa, we were pleasantly surprised with an intimate experience and some great history of the cellar. Beresan was one of the first wineries in Walla Walla, and has been open since 2001.
Their Sangiovese was to die for and the art on the bottles was edgy but vintage. A particular blend featured a barn owl, which we realized was displayed in many places around the winery. Apparently, this owl used to live in the barn for years before the winery’s renovation, and the drawing pays tribute to him. It is stories like these that really showed me the special charm of Walla Walla and its residents.
A cellar we couldn’t miss during our trip was Adamant Cellars. What we loved about this winery was that the owners took the time to perfect and hone the winemaking craft instead of rushing into the process and creating an overly fancy experience overnight.
The quality, smell and tastes of the wines showed this commitment, and were frankly the best we tasted during our time in Walla Walla wine country. I particularly enjoyed the nose of several of Adamant’s wines; I picked up hints of luscious cherries, huckleberries and even banana! These wines had personality and body; we were very impressed.
It’s only Devin and his wife Debra who run Adamant Cellars and the family vibe is apparent in their tasting room. Debra’s unique graphite art adorns the walls and a grapevine with a history is front and center in the restroom.
As a matter of fact, the only reason I recognized this as a dinosaur shell of a grape was because I had spent time pruning a crop earlier this year in Wawawai Canyon! I asked if this vine had a special significance and it did. Devin told us the story about the last hard frost in Walla Walla that had taken out much of the vineyard a few years back. While other farmers hacked at their beloved vines with chainsaws, Devin saw an opportunity to repurpose the deceased vine as quirky and meaningful art. This spirit is exactly what I felt during my time at Adamant. (And the wine was darn good too!)
Walla Walla had a really artistic and small town vibe which was welcoming and comforting. Many of Jake’s relatives live here and his family has several memorabilia items in the Fort Walla Walla museum.
It was really cool to bike through the streets and see the homes of his uncles and aunts; what a small town this is! The city was filled with public art and vibrant murals which payed tribute to the beauty of the Palouse hills, local history and helped you to better understand Walla Walla.
There are more than 100 wineries here and you can’t possibly see the whole thing in a weekend; I’ll definitely be back!
Photos: Elizabeth Adan
Elizabeth Adan is a Freelance Writer, Publicist and Brand Ambassador. Her blog Aquaberry Bliss is a unique outdoor lifestyle blog dedicated to expanding your world and inspiring your creativity. When Elizabeth isn’t traveling, you’ll find her writing, hiking or gardening. Find Elizabeth on Twitter @stillaporcupine and on LinkedIn.