I journeyed west this weekend to visit a couple of old college buds that I hadn’t seen in many years, and was soon confronted with managing their personal preferences (and inclination toward chains) versus my desire to explore the food in the area. What resulted was an assortment of meals that was, well, interesting, and rather different from what I would have done on my own.
I kicked things off with a perfectly wretched lunch at the SeaTac Manchu Wok. I was starving after having had nothing since my breakfast bagel several hours ago. This was basically a big pile of oil with very little taste.
Dinner at Red Wagon in Olympia made up for this nicely: a basic cheesesteak with Whiz substituted for the provolone (I had to request this, since it wasn’t a default menu option; presumably this is hard to find outside Philly?) and some of the finest onion rings I’ve ever had.
Lunch the next day was a hurried affair since one of my friends had some unexpected errands to run. Yeah, Wendy’s. Whatever.
We took dinner at The Ram, which appears to be a somewhat upscale northwestern and midwestern chain of American-type fare.
This was the Big Porter Blue burger, which had glazed onions, chipotle-garlic bacon, blue cheese, roma jam, arugula, and a beef patty on a parmesan-peppercon bun. I honestly didn’t care for it that much – the sweetness of the jam overwhelmed everything else. The fries were pretty decent though.
One of my friends had the likely-better Santa Fe Rodeo burger: roasted green chiles, pepperjack cheese, lettuce, chipotle mayo, pico de gallo, cilantro pesto, and a beef patty on a pretzel bun. He gave me the whole jalapeno and I promptly wished that I hadn’t chomped into it. Ow.
The next morning, I woke up long before everyone else, so I struck out to see what was within walking distance. I found a little shack, Twister Donuts, and had some decent iced coffee and a respectable red velvet cake doughnut.
I also stopped by Ralph’s Thriftway and picked up some regional snacks.
The Tillamook was comparable to similarly aged cheddar that I’d had from Cabot, which is to say, excellent, but the Tim’s chips were the real standout. Highly impressive crunch – some of the crunchiest chips I’ve ever had, really – and bold but not obnoxious flavor. If Cape Cod is the glory of the east, then surely these are the glory of the west.
One of my friends left without warning to work on his airplane (he does that), so another friend and I went to a nearby mall, where I had a surprisingly not-awful lunch at Thai Way in the food court. It was mall food, but it was leagues above the dreadful slop I had at SeaTac.
Dinner was again at The Ram, and I drifted away from the burgers to a safer-feeling dish of parmesan-crusted chicken. It came with somewhat dry macaroni and cheese and a mix of veggies. I will say that the chicken filet was quite hefty indeed, and half of it made for a decent breakfast sandwich the next day.
Afterwards, we headed to Costco. I’d never,21,836246,0,132491,188.8.131.52
836245,834673,836244,2016-06-14 19:17:40.210000000,Re: Dislike(hate?) the new format?:Let it be known here…”