A Culinary Create-Your-Own Adventure in Wine Country

A Culinary Create-Your-Own Adventure in Wine Country

An itinerary with recommendations from Corey Braunel, Co-Owner & Winegrower at Dusted Valley.

This itinerary was a part of WWander Walla Walla Valley Wine in the fall of 2019.

WWander Walla Walla Valley Wine

Corey Braunel, Co-Owner & Winegrower, Dusted Valley

Food and wine are a pair as old as time. In the Walla Walla Valley, you can indulge in both world-class wines and locally-sourced culinary delights crafted by nationally celebrated chefs. Whether you have a knack for fine dining or casual eats, you won’t be disappointed.

Start your morning off at Colville Street Patisserie with an espresso and selection of exquisite French inspired pastries. Make sure to try my personal favorite – the palmier!

Take a stroll around the corner and down Main Street to the Downtown Walla Walla Farmer’s Market and check out the bounty our beautiful valley has to offer. Grab a mid-morning snack at one of the local purveyors or stock up on some fresh, seasonal veggies to make your own wine country dinner later that evening!

NOTE: The Downtown Farmer’s Market is open Saturdays, 9AM-2PM, through October.

Begin your wine tasting adventure with an appointment at DAMA Wines in downtown. Mary Derby hosts a beautiful, modern tasting room in the heart of Walla Walla, and her path into the wine world really sums up the Walla Walla way and why so many of us crazy dreamers have come to Walla Walla to make wine. Make sure to swing in and grab a bottle of her classic Damantion GSM (if she has any left) and give one of her savory, gourmet, homemade pop tarts a try!

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Andraes Kitchen tacos, photo courtesy of Andraes Kitchen

Burgers or Tacos? Tacos or Burgers? How about both! Whether you are in town all weekend or just for the day, here are a couple of our favorites to fuel up before you enjoy a full afternoon of wine tasting:

  1. Andrae’s Kitchen can be found in a gas station, at the Walla Walla Farmer’s Co-op. You’ll be posting on Insta or FB before this visit is over.  Remember to use #inagasstation and tell everyone @dustedvalley sent ya!  All that aside, get ready to have your mind blown with big flavors from this classically trained chef. Andrae has a touch for turning the gas station impossible into hip, hot, and crazy great food!  Check out the Left Coast Burger, Halal Style Chicken or a couple of their premium tacos made with heirloom corn varieties imported from Oaxaca then ground into masa and pressed into tortillas right there in the kitchen!  Don’t forget to throw on a side of poutine or voodoo fries to make sure you’ve had enough.
  2. Dora’s Deli is on South 3rd Avenue, close to the Southside Wine Country! They serve up simple Mexican food the way it was intended to be.  Featuring hand-pressed tortillas that are grilled right on the flat top makes their tacos memorable.  Looking for a vegetarian option?  Dora’s veggie tacos are simply put, amazing!  You’ll only need two as each taco is half the size of a burrito!  Grab a cerveza and enjoy a couple of tacos for lunch.  You’ll probably see winemakers sneaking a quick break during harvest!
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Dusted Valley tasting room, photo courtesy of Dusted Valley

Take a drive to the Southside to take in the expansive views of the surrounding vineyards and beautiful Blue Mountains. Book a tasting at Dusted Valley’s tasting room on Old Milton Highway.

Make sure to make a reservation at our neighbors, Gifford Hirlinger, located at the corner of Braden and Stateline Roads. They are a small, family owned estate winery offering a focused selection of wines – their Malbec is DYNAMITE!

No visit to the Southside is complete without a visit to our friends at Pepper Bridge Winery. Book your tasting on the deck and enjoy their beautiful wines. Jean-François’s Trine Bordeaux Blend has been a staple in my cellar for years. You won’t want to miss this beautiful wine!

We are so lucky to have so many incredible culinary experiences to choose from in Walla Walla. Whether you are looking for a James Beard nominated chef, pizza to take back for a quiet evening at your BnB or the best fried pickles in town, there’s something for everyone. Here are a few of my favorites:

  1. Get a reservation with Saffron Mediterranean Kitchen, a long-time star of Walla Walla Wine Country!  Our friends Chris and Island Ainsworth along with their awesome team have been cranking out amazing food that is a MUST taste experience for over 10 years.  Drawing upon the various cultures of the Mediterranean region, chef Ainsworth has been nominated for James Beard in the Pacific Northwest too many times to count.  You will experience flavors that most never have; and you will be thinking about it for days to come!  The menu is always changing with the seasons and you will not be disappointed.  A couple of our “always-must-haves” are the Lahmacun – Turkish flatbread, spicy tomato-pepper puree, spiced lamb & beef, parsley, green onion & lemon oil and the Northwest Hanger Steak with chef’s famous almond & caperberry salsa!
  2. Brasserie Four is never a miss. B4, as we all refer to it, is a staple of Walla Walla culinary haunts.  Chef Jamie Guerin and his great staff crank out some truly amazing meals in this iconic downtown location.  With, literally, a wall-of-wine to make your bottle selection from, you will be off and running, and enjoying a wonderfully prepared meal featuring locally sourced ingredients prepared in an authentic French style without any pretense.  A few of our family’s favorites are the Croque Madame, Steak Frites or the Margherita Pizza!  You can’t miss with any of these.  If you’re just strolling by in the afternoon, sneak in for an order of pomme frites and a bottle of champagne!  Cheers!
  3. Hattaway’s on Alder is one of the newer kids in town, but the husband and wife team of Richard and Lindsay Hattaway, have already created a following of food and wine enthusiasts! Simply put, their food rocks!  The décor of the space is very welcoming and drawing upon Southern inspired sensibility.  The food is ridiculously great, as they draw upon their native Southern heritage and infuse it into the locally sourced ingredients.  I mean really?  Who wouldn’t want to experience a great bottle of Walla Walla wine with duck breast, chicken and grits or a grilled pork collar?  Any way you choose, you will not be disappointed.  If you can’t make it by for dinner, do brunch on Saturday, served from 9AM – 2PM.  Our personal favorites are their wonderful frittatas, creole grits or the smoked pork hash.  Don’t forget to try their hot chicken sandwich.  You’ll know why.  Another great reason to check these guys out is they’ve got a pretty darn cool cocktail program as well.
  4. The pizza at Best Pizza Ever is the bomb!  It’s always about the crust when it comes to pizza.  Well these guys hit it out of the park.  Order one slice or ten – you won’t be sorry.  It’s a great way to enjoy an evening in with your friends while sipping some Walla Walla reds.
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    Bouillabaisse at Brasserie Four, photo courtesy of Brasserie Four

    Disclaimer: Please note that currently most Walla Walla Valley wineries are recommending that guests reservations to ensure social distancing and the best wine experience. Browse wineries and make reservations here.