A Taste of Yakima Valley

Did you know that your Friday night IPA is likely made from juicy hops grown in Yakima, Washington? Or even the apple on your counter, and the sprig of mint in your salad? I’d say it’s well known to most Washington residents that Yakima Valley has a fascinating geographical and native history, killer views of Mt. Adams and rich agriculture… wine country especially (a wink to all winos). But did you know that the region is the top contributor of fresh produce in the PNW? According to VisitYakima.com, the Valley grows over 50% of the nation’s wine grapes, apples and pears and provides over 75% of the nation’s hops for our brews. Having been a next-door neighbor to Yakima for nearly 10  years, I decided it was time to make the trip over the ridge for a full day of exploring food and beverages constructed with Yakima-local ingredients. I hit four establishments taking full advantage of the land and hard-working farmers around them. 

The White House Bed and Breakfast in Yakima

The White House Bed & Breakfast for Brunch

Visiting the White House B&B was basically an involuntary decision due to the several suggestions given me by insistent locals. No regrets here, though. Located on a quaint hill in the northern Yakima suburb, the White House B&B stands out with its preserved historical charm, country porch, and greenery-drenched patio. While seated inside, find yourself surrounded by elegant antique décor—ceramic and porcelain dishes, silver spoons, bread baskets, old cookbooks and picture books, and lots and lots of white. For the last 20 years, the White House B&B has offered lovely food and accommodations, all as local as possible.

antiques from The White House Bed and Breakfast in Yakima
The White House Bed and Breakfast in Yakima
The White House cookbook and dishes

The atmosphere is light and comforting, with nostalgic surroundings and savory smells from the bustling kitchen. What’s more, many of the antiques are also for sale. I settled on a flakey butter croissant served with jam and a cup of coffee. A simple order. But the White House has a knack for making simple look gorgeous. My toasted croissant was cut in two, served with heart-shaped, creamy butter and a fruit cup, garnished with citrus fruit, herbs, confectioners sugar sprinkles, a dollop of home-made whip cream and paper doilies for my coffee and plate. The display and quality made each morsel that much more delicious. As their website says, “You don’t have to be a president to sleep at the White House.” If you want to book a night with the B&B, expect a complimentary breakfast, fresh baked cookies and cupcakes and French antique furnishings—white-themed, of course.

Outdoor dining in the Yakima Valley

A Single Hill Brew in the Afternoon

Single Hill Brewing is a younger establishment, official since June 2018, but one that will undoubtedly earn its place among Yakima’s historically staple breweries. Two men with different talents but one love of beer came together to create the spacious, modern and inviting haven. The brewery has a designated corner for their rad Single Hill merch and a clean glass barrier between the taproom and the brewing process. Customers can sneak a peek at all the fermenters, mash tuns and mills. Outdoor seating is available as well, with a fire pit to make a cold beer more enjoyable on a chillier day. According to their website, Single Hill adopted their name from “A late stage in hop breeding where individual experimental plants grow in ‘single hills’ for evaluation, and which become the one source for an entire variety.”

Single Hill beer is vibrant, malty and purposefully (Yakima) hoppy. They are committed to honoring their agricultural region, and they do it justice. I tried a couple of flights consisting of a rotating Osa Minor Stout, a punchy Pushing Hazies IPA, a light Summitview ale, the consistent and popular Adams Pilsner and a peach-focused Tieton Cider. The stout was my favorite, but what can I say? I’m a dark beer kind-of-gal.  Single Hill aims to have an “ever-evolving” lineup, and keeping true to their name, they always provide an experimental brew from their special experimenter fermentation system. They also recently added Tieton Ciders to their tap. As a major cider fan, I was thrilled to be able to sample some Tieton Cider at Single Hill as I was unable to squeeze the cider house into my schedule. Two drinks, one stone you could say.  

Before Dining Comes Wining at Kana Winery

The search for a satisfying glass of red never ends. Naturally, I had to check out the oldest existing downtown winery, one that especially loves their reds. Located in the historic Larson building, only a few blocks down from the winery itself, the Kana tasting room has been around since 2004. During the warmer months, Kana is a lively place for gathering and music. It’s one of Yakima’s top-rated musical venues. Kana Winery is a smaller company and proud. They consciously create a lower volume each year and all employees are involved in every aspect of the business. I can attest that Kana makes some gorgeous wines and that the small batch production makes each glass of Kana wine an opportunity rather than a casual indulgence. Kana’s mission is to provide quality wine at a fraction of the cost, to be inclusive to all. Amid the pandemic uncertainty, regularly scheduled music performances have been put on hold, until further notice. Though, I still highly suggest heading to the tasting room to check out the original stucco, funky, colorful musical décor and sitting down with a smooth glass of Workingman’s red blend or a taste of their deep Darkstar blend.

Crafted eatery in Yakima

Picking A Winner for Dinner with Crafted Eatery and Bar

It might be true that most entrepreneurs looking to open a unique, gourmet restaurant might gravitate toward choosing a larger location like Seattle. But every so often, a small town will inherit a gem. After wine, I strolled through historic downtown to the restaurant Crafted for dinner. A one-of-a-kind experience restaurant, every time you visit. No, really. Described as chef-driven, the menu changes almost daily. Only a few items are offered consistently. Consistent items are seasonal, based on their local farm-to-table commitment. Crafted is often described by customers as a Seattle-dining experience on the east side because of its epicurean food. The business is fairly new, the doors opened in 2017. Though this was my first time eating at Crafted, I’d heard wonderful things from previous visitors.

I caught sight of the eatery easily by the giant mural painted on the side of the building, a monochromatic pair of hands whittling a thin stick accompanied by a bundle of leaves. Inside has a modern Scandinavian esthetic, with a hint of ‘70s country western, complemented by soft light and wooden floors. Current outdoor seating is a pleasant atmosphere with covering, multiple standing heaters and strung lights. The servers are friendly and well educated on the daily menu. Staff members have the chance to taste every entrée ahead of time in the chef’s kitchen, to provide the best service possible. At the informed suggestion of my waiter, I ordered the Hamachi appetizer topped with a sweet sauce, pomegranate seeds and microgreens, a succulent and flavorful duck confit and root vegetable pasta entrée and for dessert a tart lemon crème brûlée. A small part of me is sad I may never catch their duck confit again, but what a memory for my tastebuds.

Yakima Valley is a true diamond in the desert when it comes to the produce for your table. These four incredible businesses are currently running under COVID-19 regulations for Yakima County, as are many other Yakima businesses. Please be sure to check out safety guidelines at yakimacounty.us before visiting.

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Natalie Benson

Natalie D. Benson was born in the rocky desert of the southwest and lives at the edge of the Central Cascades. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Professional Writing and her work has been featured in The Scarlet Leaf Review, Manastash Literary Journal and other publications. She currently works as a freelance writer and editor. She lives to make the written word bleed. Benson spends most of her time exploring new mountain trails, admiring the color and texture of the world around her and finding new ways she can support her community.

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