Rodeo City Bar-B-Q Hits the Spot

Rodeo City Bar-B-Q

204 North Main, Ellensburg, WA 98926

Adults: 3.5/5 Kids: 5/5   $$$/$$$$$

Barbecue is one of our families favorite categories of food.  We love the feeling of hominess well prepared barbecue can conjure, especially when you are on the road and far away from home.  This said, not all barbecue is equal, and it has to be pretty exceptional to earn high marks.  This reason alone is why, when we walked into Rodeo City Bar-B-Q in Ellensburg, WA,  we did so with apprehension, not sure if our taste buds would be rewarded or if we would be leaving with our heads hanging low and our barbecue dreams dashed.

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The place is your typical ‘trading-post’ looking roadside diner.  With its cowboy artwork, longhorns, cowboy-camp wallpaper border, antique and knick-knack lined hostess area and rodeo motif fabric covered booths it wasn’t difficult to get the western feel the moment we stepped foot though the front door.

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We were greeted by a friendly waitress and shown to a large booth in the corner.  We were one of only two tables filled at the time, but they had only been open for less than a half hour and it was a Sunday.  Service however was not ‘speedy’.

We ordered a couple of sodas for the girls, who were thrilled when they arrived in handled glass boots.

Our order consisted of a Chicken Spud with Cornbread, a Bacon Cheddar Cheeseburger with fries, a Pulled Pork Sandwich with fries and a Rodeo Reuben on a French Roll with Potato Salad.

The Chicken Spud was a delicious fully-loaded baked potato with lots of perfectly cooked bits of chicken, bacon, the house-made Rodeo City Bar-B-Q sauce, sour cream, shredded cheese and green onions.  It did have the slightest bit too much sauce on it, but over all it was quite tasty.

The cornbread was actually quite incredible.  It was warm and moist and sweet!  YUM!!!!

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The Bacon Cheddar Cheese Burger was, according to the one consuming it, “Amazing”.  Between the juicy patty, crunchy bacon, and perfectly toasted ciabatta roll it was a well assembled burger.  It came with all the fixings including: red onion, lettuce, and pickles.  The addition of some of the house-made ketchup and barbecue sauce added just the right amount of flavor to complete the dish.

The fries were almost battered in a well seasoned crust that afforded them a very crispy exterior while maintaining a soft inside.

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The Pulled Pork Sandwich was said to be “Spectacular” with its perfect smoky flavor and just the right amount of the house-made sauce.  It too came with red onion, lettuce and pickles and served on a ciabatta roll.

And again the fries were delicious.

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The Rodeo Reuben on French Roll with Potato Salad was a little puzzling.  It might be a stretch to call it a ‘Reuben’, but it was definitely a good German Sausage sandwich.  This dish was comprised of German sausage, kraut and Swiss cheese  on a French roll.  The sausage was very flavorful and juicy and overall pretty delicious.

The potato salad was good, nothing fabulous, but decent.  It could have used a little salt, but for the most part it sufficed as a ‘potato salad’.

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So if you are ever in Ellensburg, WA and looking for a low-key spot to find some comfort food check out Rodeo City Bar-B-Q.  You’ll find a friendly staff and great food.  There might even be something in their makeshift gift shop that you’ll need have to remember the place by.

 

 

 

 

Aloha Alabama BBQ, Westport, WA–BBQ in a Fishermans Village?

Aloha Alabama BBQ

2309-Westhaven Dr., Westport, WA 98595

Overall:  Adults—3/5   Kids—4/5     $$$/$$$$$

If you’ve never been to Westport, Washington, you are missing out on this quaint, fisherman village.  With its adorable cottages lining the dock port to its multiple ice cream shops and its overall small-town, not-a-clock-in-sight, nothing-much-to-get-in-a-hurry-about feel, a trip to Westport is a “must do”.

On our recent side-trip to this quiet hamlet nestled on Washington’s coast, we stopped into Aloha Alabama BBQ for a quick bite of lunch and, in doing so, found a gem within a gem.  The restaurant is located right across the street from the docks and just down the street from the Maritime Museum.

The awesome, beach surf décor and bright hues scream, “We are excited you are here! Welcome!” the moment you walk through the door.

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The friendly staff was quick with a greeting and we got seated immediately.

The place was clean and well laid out.

The menu boasts that all their meats are cooked low and slow, in a blend of Yakima Applewood and Hawaiian Klawe smoke–Sounded great and our interest was officially peaked.

Adult review:

We started with the Fried Oyster Appetizer.  We are very picky about our fried oysters, and how well an establishment executes this dish says a lot about their overall cooking ability.

The oysters were perfect!!!  They were breaded in panko and fried to perfection.  Their creamy, warm interior combined with a crisp outer shell of breading made for the perfect bite.

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We ordered the Half-Chicken Platter with broccoli slaw and fries and the Pulled-Pork Sandwich with Coleslaw.

The waitress brought us a trio of BBQ sauces for our sampling pleasure: White BBQ Sauce, Honey BBQ Sauce, and Chipotle Sauce.  We never really figured out if these were all made in-house or not, but they were all very good.  The Honey BBQ was our favorite.

The chicken was really rather tasty.  It had a wonderful light smoke flavor, but wasn’t exactly falling off the bone nor was it sauced—both things that we would have liked to have seen.  But overall the flavor was really good and we would eat it again.  We added the honey sauce to it which brought it from just okay to a couple notches above ‘OK’.  The broccoli slaw was passable, but needed some seasoning and the fries were…fries.

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The Pulled Pork Sandwich was yummy, with a nice smoke flavor and good texture but, as far as BBQ goes it was the middle of the road.  The Baked Beans were tasty—perfectly seasoned, sweet and smoky.  The coleslaw was bland, but had a nice creamy texture and, once it was salted, rather flavorful.

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We washed it all down with the house-made ice teas (one peach and one Arnold Palmer) which were delicious and refreshing.

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Kids review:

First the girls’ thoughts on the oysters:

“They were horrible”

“I like them!  I like them with cocktail sauce!”

Obviously, a split review—but hey, a 50/50 percent ‘like’ rate for kids when it comes to oysters, that’s not bad!

The girls ordered from the Keiki Menu (kids menu).

One of the young ladies ordered the Fried Mac n’ Cheese with baked beans.  The other ordered the Pulled Pork Sandwich with House-Made BBQ Chips.

It was declared that the Pulled Pork Sandwich was “the best pulled pork sandwich I have ever had!” and that the potato chips were “AMAZING!”

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Parental side note: The BBQ chips were AMAZING! (We had to request one as ‘parent tax’ of course!) They were thick and seasoned with this delicious blend of spices that put Lays potato chips to shame.

The fried mac n’ cheese received rave reviews as well, but again it was the baked beans (after adding liberal amounts of the honey BBQ sauce to them) and the chips that made the biggest impact on her taste buds.  She couldn’t stop talking about how good both of them were.

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For the most part both of the girls liked their meals, but even more so than that I think they enjoyed the overall youthful, young, energy-filled feel of the place, not to mention, just watching people go by along the docks.

Looking for a fun spot while in Westport, WA?  Stop here!  Have a peach ice tea and some good BBQ.  Then take a walking tour of the town and enjoy this community’s charm and colorful local personalities.