The wife and I are just back from a whirlwind trip to the Yakima Valley. Before we left, we had high hopes for a great food-great wine one-two punch from the Valley, but as posts here and elsewhere have shown, the food options in the Valley are, um, limited. But we did a little research and gave it our best shot, and here's what we came up with. Hopefully future chowhounds in the Valley can build upon what we found!
We hit the highway early, crossing the pass and landing in Yakima in time for an early lunch. We had originally intended to lunch at Miner's, but the sight of all the taquerias and carnicerias lining the streets of Yakima quickly changed my mind. So we started at Salsita Antojitos Mexicanos (902 S. Fair Ave, Yakima, across from the Fairgrounds). This place was seriously bustling and came recommended by an article on wine and tacos in The Seattle Weekly (here's the article- http://www.seattleweekly.com/2007-08-...). I'd rate it as OK. Their tacos are super simple -- just corn tortillas, some meat, and a salsa bar. The Asada was good, the barbacoa OK, the adovado uninspiring. Not any better than what I can get at El Asadero in Seattle. Most people there were eating soup, but we didn't try it.
We were somewhat unsatisfied by the tacos, so before we started drinking, er, tasting, we stopped by Miner's Drive In (2415 S 1st, Yakima, across from the Mall) - this is maybe the most famous place in Yakima, and widely known for huge burgers. After our tacos, we weren't in the mood for a giant burger, but we did have some onion rings (awesome) and some shakes (super awesome). On the strength of the visit, we stopped on our way home for more shakes and corn dogs (also awesome). So I'd imagine the burgers are good, too.
After hitting a couple of wineries, we needed to refill our stomaches, so we stopped at Tacos Apatzingan (808 Yakima Valley Hwy, Sunnyside)- About as minimal as a restaurant could be without turning into a cart. In an empty garage, bare concrete with a portable grill and a tortilla maker. Awesome tortillas, OK meats. I like the minimalist vibe. Made a good stop off to starch up between wineries.
We ended up at Vintner's Village in Prosser. The nice thing about the VV is you can park and walk between maybe a dozen different tasting rooms. And when they all close at 5, one smart one remains open as a bar / restaurant called the Wine O'Clock Lounge (548 Cabernet Court, In Vintner Village, Prosser). This is probably the closest thing to a Napa / Sonoma type place that we saw in Yakima Valley. We had a couple of great wine flights and devoured an awesome cured meats plate. The pizzas also looked awesome, but wanted to save room for a late dinner.
We were excited to try the Whitstrand Brewpub in Prosser. Unfortunately, they decided to take the 4th of July off, and were closed...as was the rest of downtown Prosser. So we did what any patriotic American would do faced with limited options on the 4th of July...we went to KFC, got an 8-piece box, and sat on the hood of our car eating fried chicken and watching fireworks. God bless America.
For breakfast, we checked out Garcia's Drive Inn in Grandview (1027 Wine Country Rd). Lo and behold - they had breakfast tacos! The first I've seen in the Northwest, even made on house-made flour tortillas. OK, they were at best adequate, but still. We also tried the barbacoa taco, which may be one of the beefiest things I've ever shared a table with. It's like they melted a cow onto the tortilla. Not for the faint of hearts / stomaches.
That filled us up enough that our only other food was two more shakes at Miner's on the way back out of the Valley.
I would have to concur with other writers / posters- the way to go is to either eat tacos or save your appetite for Prosser, which seems to have more interesting food options, but only if you are lucky enough to be there when things are open. But I'd love to hear from other chowhounds who make it to the Valley on their finds...I still think there are some great surprises tucked in the towns along I82.