You asked for it: Curbside on 5th.

I have always heard great things about the food at Curbside on 5th, but had never managed to try it. It’s a tiny take-out shack with some outdoor seating in an odd location and I didn’t have much sense of what it really was. I almost always check out menus online before trying a place and something about this one turned me off, though I can’t really articulate why. So, when one of you dear readers requested that I review it, I took the opportunity to oblige. I guess I’ll do anything for my readers’ approval, but this was no chore.

curbside
Photo via Facebook

To be completely honest, we were going to go to Daily Bread to get sandwiches for lunch but I failed to realize that they aren’t open at all on weekends, so Curbside on 5th was our fallback. Curbside’s menu is a little confusing and gimmicky. The “Wrap It, Stack It, or Mac It” portion of the menu made me want to see the face of whoever wrote it and Smack It. I may have been pretty hangry at the time. I realize the wording on a menu is an odd hang-up but if stuff like that didn’t bother me I wouldn’t be the Ellensburg Food Critic

On this day, I needed a sandwich. I ordered the 1890 Grilled Turkey and my husband ordered the Stack It (::twitch twitch::) with chicken. Both were excellent. Mine was a bit sloppy but that’s because it was loaded with roasted poblanos and slaw. I could only eat half, which is not something that normally happens to me. My husband’s sandwich-that-won’t-be-named was cheesy and flavorful with a crispy exterior–exactly what a souped-up grilled cheese should be. Both sandwiches were grilled with a layer of parmesan on the outside of the bread. While I do enjoy this technique (more cheese, please!) it was a bit heavy-handed. I can’t really be mad a cheese though.

My side caesar salad was really, really good. I’m not sure what else there is to say about that other than I’ll probably try an entree salad next time I eat from Curbside of 5th. I will be back because I would like to try more items from the annoying menu. Having only tried two sandwiches and a salad might mean this review is incomplete. I prefer to try a place a few times before rendering an opinion, but Curbside on 5th is making good food and doing things a little differently than anyone else in town and deserves credit for that. The Ellensburg Food Critic says that Curbside on 5th is a:

GO!

Curbside on 5th. 109 W 5th Avenue, Ellensburg. Curbsideon5th.com (509) 859-2004

Have you tried Curbside on 5th? What did you think? Do you have a favorite spot in town that you would like the Ellensburg Food Critic to review? Reply in comments or on Facebook!

 

Los Cabos Mexican Restaurant

NO GO!

I suppose the staff was friendly enough? Ok, that’s my good-faith effort to be nice. Let’s get to it. My taco salad was wet and bland, my husband’s enchilada and taco were just as unappetizing, and both came out of the “kitchen” so fast that there is just no way any actually cooking was involved in the preparation of our meal. There was really nothing redeeming about the food at Los Cabos and there is just no reason to go there given that completely decent Mexican family-type restaurants are plentiful in Ellensburg.

I am not exaggerating at all when I say I would rather drive halfway down the block and go to Taco Bell. Better yet, if you’re looking for Mexican food as close to the freeway as possible–which I imagine is why Los Cabos manages to exist– go to Fiesta En Jalisco across the street.

Eating at Los Cabos made me really sad. Actually, just writing this is depressing.

So yeah, that’s a resounding NO GO!for Los Cabos Mexican Restaurant. 1318 Canyon Rd, Ellensburg, WA 98926. 509-925-7898.

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.