The Filling Station Will Fuel Your Day!

 

Filling Station

1138 Finnegan Way

Bellingham, WA 98225

Adults: 4/5 Kids: 5/5

$$$/$$$$$

Feeling low on fuel?  Head to the Filling Station!  This funky little gem perched on the brow of the Fairhaven Neighborhood in Bellingham, Washington has a magical combination of great food, friendly staff, whimsical décor and enough fun to go around.

This old-time filling-station themed restaurant is crammed full of character.  From its ceiling lined with license plates to its staff decked out in gas station uniforms you can’t miss the folly in the atmosphere.

We stopped in for a bite during a recent day trip to this relaxed hamlet with its bookstore, art-shop, micro-brewery lined streets and vista views of the sound.

We ordered: an El Camino Burger, a Click & Clack Clucks #2, a Thunderbird with Bacon, and a Volt (w/ Chicken Salad).

The El Camino, with it’s pepper jack cheese, avocado, Sriracha mayo, tortilla strips, lettuce, tomato and jalapenos held the promise of bringing the heat.  However, though it was reported to be flavorful, fell short of being the spicy bit of heaven hoped for, but was said to have “a good kick”.

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The Click and Clack Clucks #2 received moans of yummy delight from its consumer.  The sandwich served on a sesame seed bun included a southern fried chicken breast with BBQ aioli, cheddar cheese, bacon, pickles, coleslaw and crispy onion straws, and was said to be the “best!”  The BBQ sauce and coleslaw added crunch and sweetness while the juicy chicken and melted cheese added a richness. This meal received a HUGE thumbs up.

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The  Thunderbird was a classic cheeseburger served with all of the accoutrements, including the ability to take advantage of the ‘Sauce Station’; a bar of sauces for your saucing pleasure.  This burger was reported to be delicious, but then again, how wrong can a classic cheeseburger go?

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All the burgers were served with ‘tire treads’ which are basically battered thick-cut, semi-curled, pieces of potatoes.  They were scrumptious and we noticed several tables with just large orders of these little delectable treats to share.

The Volt (w/Chicken) Salad with its mixed greens, warm goat cheese medallions, dried cranberries, numerous whole toasted hazelnuts, julienned fresh beets, onions and basil balsamic vinaigrette was tasty, tasty, tasty!  When the warm breaded goat cheese was broken up and mixed throughout the salad it combined with the vinaigrette to create a sweet, creamy bite.  When you add that sensation with the crunch of the hazelnuts and snap from the candy-stripped beets this is one of those meals you would eat time and time again.  Absolutely YUMMY!

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This place is a must try when your in the Bellingham area.  Whether you come for the fun atmosphere, the great food or the Bloody Mary Bar (that’s right they have a bar where you get to create your perfect Bloody Mary just the way you want it), you won’t leave disappointed.

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May your family always eat well!

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.

 

 

 

 

Sunny Beach Cafe: What they lack in looks, they make up for in taste!

Sunny Beach Cafe

687 Point Brown Ave NW, Ocean Shores, WA 98569

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

This is one of those places you might notice, but has very little in way of curb appeal to draw you in.  We tried it only as it was day four of our five-day vacation in Ocean Shores and we had run out of places to try that looked like they might not be on the health department’s watch list.

When we walked in we were less than ‘Wowed’.  The very cavernous, tall ceilings and bland, baby yellow walls are ultra-generic and do nothing to hide, or distract one’s attention, from the odd, weird, mismatched artwork, standard four-top nondescript tables and chairs and plain floors.  The coolest part of the entire restaurant is the large roll-up garage doors, but the day we were there they were not open and, as a result, were unimpressive.

We were taken aback by how busy the place was though, which, in the restaurant world, is the true telling of how well a business is doing.  This place was hoppin’!  It was packed and loud! We were lucky to get a table, one of the very few that were open.

The place was clean too!  We couldn’t see anything on the floor and the open-for-all-to-see wait station was spotless–Another fabulous sign.

Our waitress was very friendly and happy to answer questions.

Adult review:

We both ordered the Sharkey’s Burger which was comprised of hand-breaded, flakey, cooked-to-perfection fish, onion, lettuce and pickles on the ABSOLUTE best hamburger bun we have EVER tasted!  It was delicious! We had to know what made it so great and that was when our waitress sweetly smiled and let us know that they made all of their own bread products in-house—including these fabulous hamburger buns!  OH GOSH!!! They were scrumptious (this is one of the very few times you will ever see us use that word in one of our blog posts, but it’s true!).

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The fries that came with these delectable fish sandwiches were also quite wonderful and, again, hand-cut in-house. Yum, yum, yum!!!

Kids review:

The girls ordered a BBQ Bacon Burger and asked that it be split.  Our waitress graciously agreed to do so and had it arrive from the kitchen already split for them.

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After their first bite of this juicy, BBQ slathered, bacon clad burger, also on one of the house-made buns, the girls were declaring them delicious.  They both DEVOURED their half and all their fries before we had even eaten a fourth of ours.

They decided that the BBQ sauce was what really made the burger and that it was “sweet and smoky, without being too spicy to eat.”

They said that the place was a must come back to when we are in Ocean Shores again (we agree).

Overall the Sunny Beach Café might not look like much from the outside or even from your first peek of the inside, but their friendly staff and wonderful food makes one turn a blind-eye to all that they don’t have and, instead, causes one to zero in on what they are doing really, really, really well.

They are open for breakfast too and, by what we could tell, might serve it all day long.  Some of the other patrons were having delicious looking breakfasts while we were ordering a late lunch.

Check them out next time you’re in Ocean Shores and then remember this blog and post your thoughts in the comments.