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.

 

 

 

 

The Palace Cafe in Ellensburg, WA: Where the Prime Rib Lives Up to its Name

The Palace Café

323 N Main St, Ellensburg, WA 98926

Adults: 3.5/5 Kids: 4/5   $$$/$$$$$

Since 1892, The Palace Café in Ellensburg, WA has proudly served the surrounding community.  There are many restaurants that don’t last 124 days, let alone that many years. After trying it out, we understand clearly how it has stood the test of time.

Our family was passing through the Ellensburg area over Easter weekend, on our way to visit family, when we decided to pull into this quiet little city and eat some dinner.  In honesty, three of the four of us had eaten lunch at The Palace before, which was okay, but thought we’d try our luck and see how their evening service was.

We don’t know that any of us held out much hope of finding an actually ‘great’ meal when we decided to stop. After all, the surface of Ellensburg, with it’s western themed art,  flat, dry open fields and FarmersOnly.com feel, can leave you wanting to pass it by.

We intentionally chose The Palace as we knew the food there was serviceable from our previous lunch and figured we could get in and out without much trouble.  It turns out it was one of our happiest ‘side trips’ while passing through some place that we’ve taken.

The Palace has adorable, unique, hand-made décor featuring fishing boats, planes, and automobiles which some how works well with the pressed-tin ceiling and antique feel of the building.  We were greeted by it’s friendly staff and waited on by our adorable, ultra-friendly waitress.

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The girls both ordered the regular cod and chips basket.  They reported that the fish was crispy of the outside and moist in the center and that the fries were the same. Both the fish and the fries are house-made by the chefs at The Palace.  The slaw that came with the basket was surprisingly flavorful, and actually did not need the sprinkling of salt that most places leave out of theirs.  The girls were very excited about how tasty their whole meal was.

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We both ordered the 12 oz Prime Ribs (which actually looked more like 16 oz ones–there was no way I was going to be able to finish it), and I ordered mine with the coconut prawns.  The prime ribs were DELISCIOUS!  They were huge, thick cut portions, seasoned very well with a great crust and cooked perfectly to the medium rare we requested.  The horseradish (which we had the option of fresh grated or deli style–we chose the fresh) was exceptional.

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The baked potatoes came with ‘everything’ butter, that was super yummy!

Our only disappointment was the frozen mixed veggies that arrived with the steaks.  They were, as you can imagine, wilted, limp and soggy.  And the Au Jus was passable.

The coconut prawns were good, but nothing beyond what you would expect from anywhere else, and the sauce they came with was sweet, tangy and most likely from a bottle.

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For dessert we ordered a piece of their Tower of Power Cheesecake (that boasts that it is so large it needs its own zip code).  It was a great tasting piece of average size cheesecake.  We are cheesecake lovers and we would definitely order this one again.  It was a good size to split between two adults and two children, but if you have more in your party you may want to order more than one dessert.

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The creamsicle  martini I had was delicious too!  Made of orange vodka, orange juice and cream it delivered that reminiscent taste of a hot summer day and those orange sherbet over vanilla ice cream bars the ice cream man would deliver.  YUMMMMMMMYYYYY!

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The Palace serves Pioneer Coffee out of Cle Elem, which was pretty good actually.  It had a nice rich coffee flavor without being weak and noncommittal.

If you are ever in the area, and need a little something to tie you over, try The Palace, it’s a great little gem in the rodeo queen’s crown known as Ellensburg.

 

Welcome! Where do you want to eat tonight?

4 Hungry Mouths

Only a few more minutes till your work day ends and you are free for the weekend.  You are tired from a week full of work, school events, church events, social events, and all you want to do if head home and spend time with your family.  But wait!  You have one last obstacle before the weekend starts—dinner!  It’s Friday night, you’re exhausted and you still need to feed your family an evening meal.  What are you going to do?  You know asking for opinions from your little ones will garner less than helpful responses, ‘McDonalds!’, ‘Chuck E Cheeses’, ‘Ice Cream!’.

You want to eat somewhere that you will enjoy and the kids will like as well.  You would really like to know more about the place before you commit to dragging everyone out, waiting for a table and investing in a meal that you may walk away from shaking your head and murmuring something to the effect of, ‘Can’t believe that service, yikes!’ or ‘Not sure that food was worth the price.’

We are a family of four (well actually five, but our eldest is an adult and moved out of the house) and we know this scenario all too well.  We enjoy real food that is well prepared.  We expect service that is friendly, prompt and informed.  We like establishments that are clean and cared for.  We found that if we liked the restaurant then our kids probably didn’t and the places they liked we rarely found acceptable.

One evening while dining out at an above average Italian restaurant our children started critiquing the food, service, atmosphere and overall experience.  That’s when the brainstorm for this blog came about.  We thought how great it would be to have a restaurant review blog that shed light on establishments from both adult and kid points of view.

This blog will be broken down into two sections.  The first will be from our perspective and the second will be written by us as ghost writers for our children about their thoughts.

We look forward to getting started on this endeavor and hope that you will find it helpful and use it often to garner new insight into restaurants and how they will meet your family’s dining pleasure.