Sugar Thai

Go if...

you need Thai food in Ellensburg. It’s not great, but not a lot of Thai restaurants are, so you’re probably going to get the experience and food you expect here. I always order pad Thai when I’m trying a new Thai restaurant (it’s my canary in a coalmine-see my Yellow Church Cafe review) and theirs was totally decent despite the unexpected but not unwelcome additions of mushrooms and baby corn. The fresh rolls would have been good if they had Thai basil, but without it they fell flat. Also, put your dang takeout menu on the internet!

The bottom line is that I’ll keep eating Sugar Thai but I won’t be thrilled about it.

Sugar Thai, 306 N Pine St, Ellensburg. 509-933-4224.

 

First Impressions- The Yellow Church Cafe

GO!

(Quick note: this is a first impression review because I’m doing it from memory, but I still have a lot to say about The Yellow Church Cafe.)

This was the first place we ate in Ellensburg and it was a warm welcome, to say the least. After getting to know the town and some of the restaurants I have no reservations saying that Yellow Church Cafe has some of the best food in town. I think the prices are higher than what people expect in Ellensburg, but the ingredients really are superior and I have no problem paying a few bucks more for really good burger (mmmmm… bison burger…).

After enjoying a few lunches at Yellow Church (I haven’t been back for lunch in several months so I’m going to focus this review on my recent experiences), we decided to try their weekend breakfast. There are some dishes that, if on the menu, I will always order when I go to a restaurant for the first time. I think of them as the canary in the coalmine because if it’s good, then the rest of the menu is likely well-executed, but an unsuccessful dish spells trouble. Eggs benedict is my breakfast canary. It’s a simple dish that can go wrong in a multitude of ways so it’s a good indicator.

At this point I had eaten breakfast at a handful of other Ellensburg restaurants and had yet to find a decent eggs benedict. Enter Yellow Church Cafe. The first good sign was that the plate was not a sticky pond of Hollandaise sauce (eh hem, Palace Cafe with your so called “best eggs benedict ever.” But I’ll save that for another day). I tasted the sauce with my finger because I’m weird and that’s what I do and it was light and balanced and pretty much perfect. With hope in my heart I cut into the first poached egg, expecting the molten yolk to pour out and enrich the Hollandaise with it’s eggy goodness. Nope. The egg was overcooked and its yolk stayed put, enriching nothing but my disappointment. The second egg was better, but not great, and an otherwise really good dish suffered for this one “small” error. I was also a bit mystified that for a place that’s so proud of its house-baked goods that they appear to use a store-bought english muffin. It’s not traditional, but I would have much rather had a fluffy biscuit under my eggs. For all my nitpicking, I would still rate the eggs benedict a solid B and the best I’ve had in town thus far.

Speaking of biscuits, on our next outing to Yellow Church Cafe for breakfast I ordered the biscuits and gravy, which was unexpectedly light yet satisfying. It also comes with two eggs and although I wasn’t asked how I would like them cooked, there’s no universe in which that implies I would like one hard and one runny. Eggs aren’t that hard, people!
This Ellensburg Food Critic thinks that The Yellow Church Cafe is a definite GO!, and if they get their egg act together it will be a can’t miss.

GO!

Yellow Church Cafe 111 S Pearl Street. Ellensburg, WA 98226.  509-933-2233.

 

How this works.

In the spirit of simplicity and fairness, I’ve decided to use just three options to rate the restaurants I review in Ellensburg:

The highest rating is GO! This means that I think this restaurant is definitely worth a visit. Period. Look for this expertly designed symbol:

GO!

The next option indicates that I believe you should go if… you’re looking for a particular cuisine or experience, or are willing to overlook something that I see as a downfall (such as a long wait or bad house wines). Again, behold my graphic design skills!

Go if...

Ok, this one’s for the places that I just don’t recommend at all–the No Go’s. There’s no nice way to put it but I’m also not looking to be mean, just honest. I know people in the restaurant business work very hard and I’m not a total jerk so my criticisms will be as constructive as possible. These poor places will get the designation of…

NO GO!

 

I plan to do a big, full restaurant review that details my experience and that of my fellow diners about once a week, but hopefully more as time and budget allow. However, I have eaten at quite a few places already, and I don’t want to put that knowledge to waste, but it’s not really fair to judge too harshly in hindsight. So, I’m going to post shorter and less specific “first impression reviews” of the restaurants I have already been to, but not necessarily with reviewing them in mind. First Impression Reviews will be less conclusive and (with a few exceptions for places I just can’t conceive of spending money at again) I plan to return to these restaurants at some point to give them a full review. I’ll always be happy to update my ratings when my opinion changes.

That’s about it. I look forward to your feedback and please give me recommendations of where to eat in Ellensburg! Let’s do this!

 

Welcome to the Ellensburg Food Critic blog!

I’m going to make my first post just a little about me and why I decided to start this blog. Stay tuned for more information about how I’ll review Ellensburg restaurants and what you can expect from this blog.

About the Ellensburg Food Critic

Hi there! I suppose you want to know just who the heck I think I am? I’m a Washington native who moved to Ellensburg in the summer of 2015 with my husband, our wee baby, and our cat and dog. We were thrilled to get out of the traffic and inflation sh*tstorm that Seattle had become to us, but adjusting to life in Ellensburg has been, well, an adjustment.

Our life is indisputably more pleasant here and the community has welcomed us quickly and warmly, without a hint of that Seattle Freeze we have come to loath over the years. My husband’s career will almost certainly keep us in Ellensburg forever, so we’ve wasted no time getting to know and love this place.

I guess this shouldn’t have been a surprise for a town this size, but I immediately noticed the lack of information and reviews for restaurants around here. Yelp!, Google Reviews, etc., while unreliable and deceptive in many ways, can be useful when there’s a critical mass of reviewers, which is really not the case for most Ellensburg eateries. So, we tried a lot of restaurants, mostly blindly or as recommended by the few people we had met in town. A few were really good; some were, um… completely disappointing; and many fell somewhere in the “fine” to “totally decent” range.

It became clear to my husband and friends that I have a lot to say about restaurants in Ellensburg, so at their insistence, I’m starting this blog. I have worked in professional kitchens and front of house, but have done neither for many years, and I in no way consider myself a food service professional. Since graduating from college, people have paid me to write for them at times, but this is my first attempt at food writing and blogging. So, what qualifies me to write this blog and hand down verdicts on the restaurants, food trucks, and other eateries of Ellensburg? Well, nothing other than my love of food and cooking, but I hope you’ll read anyways.