I Ate the State – Yakima Valley Edition – Part Deux!

Alrighty – It’s Part Deux of my Yakima Valley adventures!

As I mentioned earlier, I was born in Yakima, Washington.  (Pronounced YAK-ih-ma, not Ya-KEE-ma  J)  I only officially lived there until I was 7, but of the early memories I carry with me, some of the fondest are my visits to Miner’s Drive-In Restaurant on 1st Street. 

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Miner’s Drive-in as it was in 1948.

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Miner’s Drive in today. 

What is now a fairly sprawling sit-down restaurant was then only a drive-thru with a small, ordering area inside.  When it was nice outside, there was – and still is – ample picnic-style seating available in a grassy area next to the restaurant.  Open since 1948, it was one of the first drive-thru restaurants in the area.  I can’t count the times I went through that drive-thru with my mom, grandma, great-grandma – whoever in the Smith or Brown family who happened to be craving a milkshake and fries at the moment.  It was always especially enjoyable for me due to the somewhat backwards drive-thru layout.  The driver does the ordering, but the pick-up window is actually on the passenger side.  Not only did it make me feel very adult and important to be handling the monetary transaction, it also meant I was the first one with hands on the fry bag.  HA!  (I will fight you for your fries.)

And on the topic of those fries, here are a few menu items I can recommend:

The Big Miner burger – Seriously.  There is no exaggeration in the use of ‘big’ to describe this burger. Words such as humungous, ginormous, gut-busting and insanely-proportioned are also appropriate descriptors.  Made with giant, grill-fried patties of locally-sourced beef, buttered and toasted sesame seed buns (very important ingredient) and all the fixin’s, one burger will likely cover your food requirements for the day.  (I like to add cheese and Walla Walla sweet onions)  Throw in an order of fries or TATOR TOTS and a thick shake and you’re probably good for a few days.  (Did I mention they have TATOR TOTS?  Yeah.  TATOR TOTS.)  Note to the incredibly hungry, incredibly brave or just incredibly insane:  They also have a DOUBLE Big Miner.  Yowsa.

Hot Dogs – Not to be outdone by the burgers, their hot dogs are equally tasty and ENORMOUS.  High-quality beef dogs, split down the middle and grilled, served on a buttered grill-toasted bun.  Add onions, relish, mustard, chili, etc. – they’re delicious!  Also try the DOUBLE Dog!  ;-} Pairs nicely with TATOR TOTS and…

FRY SAUCE – Do they have other condiments besides fry sauce?  Certainly.  They have quite a few delicious dipping sauces, in fact.  Does that really matter when FRY SAUCE is on the table?  NO.  End of discussion.  (Oh, wait – one more thing.  TATOR TOTS.)

Other delicious items of note:  I’m not gonna lie.  I typically order either the Big Miner or a hot dog.  With TATOR TOTS.  Or sometimes a small order of fries.  (A large order will feed your neighborhood.)  However, I have sampled many other delicious items on their menu.  Check out these tasty gems:

–          ANY of their BBQ items.  Want a BBQ Ham sandwich?  They’ve got it. 

–          Big Chicken Swiss w/Ham – YUM!

–          Fish Burger.  Mmmmm.  Try adding cheese and Walla Walla sweet onions!

–          ANY of their salads – particularly the Shrimp Louie salad.  (‘lots of shrimp!)

–          Dipped ice cream cones, milkshakes and hot fudge sundaes! 

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Many delicious items to be had on the Miner’s menu. And… TATOR TOTS!

Even though I no longer live in Yakima, much less the Central/Eastern side of the state, I try to visit Miner’s whenever I’m in the area.  It might also be true I’ve been known to make daytrips to the area just for the sake of a Miner’s Burger.  I can neither confirm nor deny this.

 

Moving on to the beverage portion of the adventure, I’d like to give a shout-out to Yakima Craft Brewing Co.

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Yakima Craft Brewing Co. = Delicious beer!

If you’re looking for a meal other than beer, you might want to perhaps stop at Miner’s first.  While although Yakima Craft Brewing does have a simple appetizer/bar menu in their Taproom pub, they don’t have a full kitchen, so the offerings are pretty basic.  However, if you are perfectly content with making a meal out your beer – and what’s wrong with that?? – Yakima Craft Brewing Co. is a good place to check out. (And the sausage sampler w/German mustard IS pretty tasty if you’d actually like something to accompany your beer.)

Tucked back into the River Road industrial area of North Yakima, (just off Hwy 12) Yakima Craft Brewing Co. has been brewing some very enjoyable beer since 2007. The Taproom is a fairly small pub siting adjacent to the main brewery.  Stop in for a pint or two – or several – and be sure to fill up your growler on the way out!  While we were there, my brother and I sampled the following brews:

Pale Ale – Light, very drinkable ale and not overly hoppy. 

1982 – Amber ale with just the right amount of depth and hoppiness.  Not too heavy for the hot summer days and not to wimpy for cooler fall nights.  Plus, the label is an awesome homage to the cassette tape.

Imperial Red – If you often go by the nickname, ‘Hoppy McHopperson’ you will love this beer.  VERY hoppy and pretty in-your-face.  I will admit to siding more with the Belgian-style golden ales, so this was a bit much for me.  My brother, aka ‘Hoppy McHopperson’ LOVED it.

Heather – A light, Scottish ale brewed with honey and heather.  My favorite of the day – and that was saying something.  Delicious!

Summer Serendipity – VERY tasty Kolsch-style brew and from what I understand, very limited in release.  Made me want to float down the Yakima River in an inner tube and a 6-pack of the stuff…  Yeah.

 

There were many other beers we would’ve liked to have tried, but the evening was approaching and it was time to consider eventually heading back towards Seattle.  I will, however, definitely be back – and in the near future.  In a nutshell, drinking locally brewed beer in the area where the majority of our nation’s hops are grown is a not only a privilege, but should also be a Washington beer lover’s rite of passage.  It makes me very happy to see the craft beer scene continuing to grow and develop in this part of the state.  It just makes sense!  And I am very happy to do my part to support this plan.

I’d definitely recommend stopping in for a visit the next time you’re in the area.  And don’t forget your growlers!

 

Some other areas of interest in the Yakima Valley area:

Additional Old Skool Burger Joints – Try them all!

Pepp’rmint Stick (Union Gap)

Laredo Drive-in (Naches)

King’s Row (Selah)

 

More beer!

Bale Breaker Brewing Co.Excellent local brewery and taphouse.  Try their High Camp Winter Warmer – delicious!

Moxee Hop FestivalCome celebrate hops in the tiny, hop-growing mecca of Moxee, Washington.

 

Learn more about the Yakima Valley!

Yakima Valley Museum  – The very first museum I ever visited.  And largely responsible for making me the giant nerd I am today.  Thanks, Yakima Valley Museum!

Yakima Valley Appellation – Wine TrailThe Yakima Valley AVA (American Viticultural Area) is the oldest and most diverse wine growing region in Washington.  Tour all the local wineries and ENJOY!!

Yakama Nation Museum & Cultural CenterStop in and learn about the history, people and culture of the Yakama Nation.  Located 18 miles past Yakima in Toppenish, WA.  Well worth the visit!

Next up:  The Maltby Café in Maltby, WA.  Cinnamon rolls the size of your head!

Cheers!

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