A Food, Art, and Wine Odyssey

A Food, Art, and Wine Odyssey: Wander with Kyle MacLachlan

“Walla Walla is ripe with hidden treasures for you to discover.”


One of my favorite places to stay is The Inn at Abeja. Not only is it a stunning property with beautifully hand-curated rooms, but the staff is an absolute joy.

8:00 AM As a guest of The Inn at Abeja, I start the day with a wonderful farm-to-table breakfast. The menu changes daily, but the eggs benedicts are out of this world. Not staying at Abeja? Bacon & Eggs downtown is an excellent option. You can’t miss the traditional bacon & eggs, but if you are feeling adventurous, try the Chilaquiles, Migas or Huevos Rancheros.

9:00 AM Now that you’ve had breakfast and coffee, it’s time…for more coffee! Pop into the Walla Walla Roastery for a special treat. It is the best cappuccino in eastern Washington, and the baklava is perfection. I collaborated with owner & roaster, Thomas Reese, on a blend called Brown Bear Mélange.

10:00 AM Not far from the Roastery, Klicker’s Berries and Antiques, is another favorite stop when I’m in town. I like good produce, but I love antiques, and owner Ron Klicker has curated an eclectic mix of farmhouse treasures. I always find something to bring home to Los Angeles, and sometimes, the perfect item for my downtown tasting room.

11:00 AM It’s time to swing by Pursued by Bear to check in with Stacie Pike. She runs the show and is a wonderful ambassador of the brand. She truly lights up a room! I’ve been making wine in the Walla Walla Valley since 2005 and am thrilled to finally have my own space to create a special experience for guests. Reservations are recommended.

12:00 PM Before thinking about lunch, stop in and say “hello” to Kim Nemeth at The Cotton Wool. It’s a tiny shop full of her beautiful hand-loomed creations, located on South First Avenue. She also features local artisans and has their work on display in the shop alongside her own.

12:30 PM Time & Direction’s tasting room is just down the street from The Cotton Wool, stop in to enjoy the mix of pop culture and delicious wine. Owner & winemaker, Steve Wells, hails from the NYC culinary scene, and after visiting Walla Walla, Steve and his family decided to take the leap and make the 3,000 mile move across the country. Now, each one of the labels tells a story & gives you a little insight into Steve’s history. Reservations are recommended.

1:30 PM If you’re like me, my stomach is telling me it’s time to eat! If in a hurry, swing into Graze for their unbelievably good ‘Sexy Time’ sandwich. It’s a little afternoon delight between two slices of bread. Sooo good! Everyone in town is familiar with this sandwich, and for good reason. It’s sexy (and delicious)! If, on the other hand, you have some time to sit for lunch, then swing into TMACS for a glass of something cool, like a lovely Chenin Blanc or Riesling. Every option on the menu is delicious, so it isn’t easy to decide, but the Pastrami Reuben never disappoints!

2:30 PM Walking out of lunch, I remember about dinner. I’m joining my winemaker, Dan Wampfler, and his wife and co-winemaker, Amy Alvarez-Wampler, at their house and need to bring something with me. This calls for a quick stop at The Thief Fine Wine & Spirits, a bottle shop with a wide selection of local, domestic and international wines, spirits and beers. ‘Bubbles to start’ is the motto at Chez Wampfler, so I rely on the knowledgeable sales staff to point me in the right direction.

3:00 PM All this wine talk sets the mood for another tasting, so head over to Kontos Cellars, third- generation farmers and second-generation winemakers this downtown tasting room is the perfect spot for a traditional Walla Walla Valley wine tasting, plus their patio is great in all seasons! Reservations are recommended.

4:00 PM Pop across the street for an opportunity to support a good cause and into another downtown favorite, Vital Wines. A winery committed to improving equity in access to healthcare for vineyard workers and their families through education, advocacy and direct services. Reservations are recommended.

5:00 PM In addition to the bubbles I’m bringing to dinner, I wander down the street to Butcher Butcher, a charming boutique meat shop with an old-school vibe that specializes in local, sustainable products. If you have access to a grill during your stay, I highly recommend a few rib eyes and their handmade sausages. If you’re not equipped to cook, or prefer to dine out, visit Saffron Mediterranean Kitchen. It’s run by husband-and-wife team chef Chris and Island Ainsworth; the food is delicious, and the restaurant is warm and welcoming. Reservations are recommended.

7:00 PM If we have energy after dinner, we might pop over to the Gesa Power House Theatre for an evening program of music, dance or even a movie. The theatre is a beautifully renovated space that was once the Walla Walla gas plant before it was converted to generate electricity around 1905.

Listen to the Food, Art, and Wine Odyssey playlist curated by Kyle on Spotify as you Wander.

Wander with Kyle MacLachlan