24 hours in Wenatchee: Wine, Dine, Escape

For our weekend getaway series, we decided to buckle up and drive over to the beautiful Wenatchee Valley. Located only 2.5 hours from Seattle, it serves as the perfect outdoor, food and wine escape. The drive over is captivating itself as you gaze into the snowcaps through Snoqualmie Pass and be unveiled the endless rolling hills and fields that go for acres.

We’re going to walk you through our weekend adventure with you as well as give you some recommendations if you have time to fit it in your schedule.

FRIDAY

3PM – DEPARTURE FROM SEATTLE

5:30PM – ARRIVE AT HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS
6:30PM – DINNER AT VISCONTI’S
9PM – MCGLINNS PUBLIC HOUSE


We set our departure time to 3PM from Seattle, specifically that time because you can take a half day at work, enjoy the sunset and avoid driving in the dark.  At this hour, you’re going to miss the rush hour traffic and fly through Issaquah as it’s a 70mph zone. We’d recommend throwing in some waters and snacks into your car and jam out to Pandora.

2.5 hours later, you’ve arrived. We decided to stay at the Holiday Inn Express, nothing fancy – you have continental breakfast, free wifi, a pool, a sauna, and a small weight room to keep your muscles active. The best part of staying at this hotel is its shuttle service to Mission Ridge. For $189 a night for 2 people, you can get lodging, 2 lift tickets and shuttle service (shuttles on weekends and holidays only).

After getting checked in, we decided to kick our legs back and watch some TV until it was dinner time (reservations recommended).

The nice thing about this restaurant is it’s only a 10 minute walk or a 2 minute drive so get all the rest you need. We picked Visconti’s Restaurants as it received an “Award of Excellence for 2012, for the 11th straight year from “Wine Spectator Magazine” as well as Visconti’s restaurant of Leavenworth is winner of the Washington Winemaker’s Choice Award for 2010 for their second year in a row. If you’re feeling Italian, we’d recommend checking this place out. The ambiance felt like walking into your Italian uncles house with strong aromas of garlic and fresh cut cheese.

Make sure to order up some pastas and ask if they have any market cured meats available. With their sister restaurant being located in Leavenworth, they also are the producer and purveyor of old world salami and market cured meats which includes a fine selection of imported Italian cheeses, gourmet foods and accessories.

If you still have energy, head over to the local bar at McGlinn’s for drinks and bites! You can check out there menu here.  But don’t get too hammered, you have an early morning ahead of you.

SATURDAY

7:00AM – WAKE UP CALL
7:45AM – CONTINENTAL BREAKFAST
8:10AM – TAKE SHUTTLE TO MISSION RIDGE SKI RESORT
12PM – EAT LUNCH AT LODGE
2:30PM SHUTTLE BACK TO HOTEL






Get changed, eat a big continental breakfast and make sure you don’t miss the shuttle to Mission Ridge. Head over to the ticket box and get your lift tickets and a short hike up the hill you’ll see the rental lodge where you can get your ski or snowboard rentals.

What makes Mission Ridge unique and standout amongst other Ski Lodges is it’s amazing views, light powder and tons of sun. The beauty of the Wenatchee area is its versatility in things to do, being only 12 miles from Wenatchee, the ski area is built into a 2,000 acre basin on the eastern side of the Cascade Mountains making it little higher, a little drier, and quite a bit “sunshinier” (300 days annually, in fact) than the other mountain in our area.

If you’re a beginner like us, we’d recommend you staying on Chair 1, but if you are feeling brave, head over to Chair 2 and ride up on the second longest lift in Washington. And trust us, you will not disappoint. The views are immaculate, vast and uplifting.

Fun fact:  Mission Ridge Goes to Sochi – Mission Ridge’s very own snowmaking manager, Jon Wax, was recruited to make snow for the Olympics in Sochi. He will be crafting snow in Russia for two months; meanwhile, Mission Ridge visitors will relish in his special fluffy powder!

After about 8-10 runs, head over to the Lodge and get your hands on the newly created menu by Boston native Tommy Pontolilo, the new chef at Mission Ridge. The menu is inspired by the valley’s local food and wine. Everything in his kitchen is made from scratch to pair with the selection of local spirits, including cider, beer and wine. Bagels are made fresh in the morning, soups and salads are comprised of local produce. He has already become famous for menu items like handmade pizzas with Italian crust made from scratch, onion rings and chicken strips, cut and battered daily, and BBQ, ranch, and horseradish aioli dipping sauces made inhouse. Not your typical Ski Lodge food that’s for dang sure.

Some upcoming events include: Mountain Music Festival, Saturdays beginning January 26, 2014: enjoy live music from 4-8 p.m., followed by a night of skiing. Tunes range from reggae, country and classic rock. There is free entry for season pass holders and anyone who purchases a daily lift ticket. Otherwise, the cost is $5.

Now that you are fueled up, head back to the mountain ski some more until your shuttle arrives to pick you up. Generally they have 2 morning pick up times and 2 late afternoon pick up times at 2:30PM and 4:30PM.

DINNER AT SHAKTI’S FINE DINING

5:30PM

As you can see, we decided to take the early shuttle at 2:30PM because our legs couldn’t take it much longer, but an even bigger reason was we had reservations at the amazingly talented Chef Shakti’s Restaurant in Wenatchee.

We were extremely excited to check out Shaki’s as it’s presented as “Fine Dining” so our expectations started to creep up and our anticipation started to build. As we walked up, there was a vibrant red sign so you can’t miss it. The restaurant is separated into two main sections, bar to the right of the entrance, and fine-dining to the left. We were impressed with the kind and responsive service from the staff, water glasses were filled consistently and requests for additional beverages were asked.

Our first selection was the 2 1 8 P r a w n s blackened brown sugar and cayenne, cool bedded spinach, fresh tomato and sweet basil mayonnaise. These were incredibly tasty. Full of flavor with a strong spice profile with gentle notes of sweetness, and tang. The sweet basil mayonnaise was an excellent compliment to the powerful spice notes. But be warned, the spice will carry on throughout the night and might even make you shed a tear or two. Perfect for those looking to spice it up a bit.

For the main course, we chose the D u c k B r e a s t – pan-crisped with caramelized shallot, imported Amarena cherries and house-crafted Demi Glace. Chef Shaki cooked this one perfectly. The Amarena cherries were perfectly sweeten not overly sweet, had a nice deep color and flavor to it complimenting the duck cooked medium per request. Nice pink color in the center but crispy on the outside/skin that contained the seasoning and spices. Mashed potatoes soft and creamy not a lot of additive flavor which was brilliant because the plate had the cherry sauce to smoother with it. Green beans crisp but cooked delicious along with the red bell pepper.
The other main course was the D i M a r e – Penn Cove mussels, Manila clams, calamari, sea scallops & ocean prawns with Italian Pear Tomato Coulis, Pinot Grigio, chilis and sweet basil. Shakti absolutely nailed this dish with flying colors. It was so good my wife started eating off my plate and eventually had to trade dishes. The housemade Italian Pear Tomato Coulis had savory flavors of sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, olive oil and basil which was perfectly married with the Pinot Grigio wine sauce.
We give Shakti’s high marks and a breath of fresh air when it comes to Italian cuisine. You can see the Chef’s love and passion coming out of the dishes. Bold, flavorful and a contemporary style for seafood and meats. We will be back again.

PYBUS PUBLIC MARKET

8:00PM

After dinner, head over to Pybus Public Market where you can walk around and check out high quality selections of artisan and ethnic products, locally grown fruits and vegetables, Washington wines and freshly-made, prepared foods. The first thing you’ll notice is the “industrial-sheek architecture” that is absolutely beautiful. When the warehouse was remodeled, the owners wanted to make sure the natural look and feel remained such as exposed beams, ladders and framing.

“The historic Pybus steel warehouse, located at the foot of Orondo Street in the heart of the Wenatchee Waterfront, will be adapted and renovated to become a unique and authentic home for the region’s agricultural and merchant craftsmen, the incubation of skill and ideas, and support for citizens and businesses of the regional community.” —Mission Statement

Here are Five Great Things You Must Know About Pybus Market:

No. 1 >>> The World’s Best Farmer’s Market is in Wenatchee.
OK, maybe we’re a bit over-the-top, but we have the world’s best fruits and vegetables, and the world’s best local producers, in the world’s coolest and most gorgeous setting, so that easily gets us to the conclusion we have the world’s best farmer’s market. Any other farmer’s market want to offer a counter-claim? Each Wednesday and Saturday during the summer, 8:00am to 1:00pm, only at Pybus Market. In November and December, Saturday-only from 10:00am until 2:00pm. Live music is a bonus. Come join the fun.

No. 2 >>> Locals Night is Every Thursday from 5:00pm to 8:00pm.
Every Thursday, all Pybus Market tenants are open until at least 8:00pm; restaurants are open even later. We have live music and most tenants have great specials. For example, Auvil Fruit , Almond Blossom Roasted Nuts and Full Bloom Flowers offer 10% off every item on Thursday night and South has a crazy Ladies Nights on Thursday evenings. We have live cooking demonstrations at 7:00pm in the Cashmere Valley bank Community Kitchen. Come join the fun and see long lost friends.

No. 3 >>> Pybus Market has Live Music Every Friday Night from 6:00pm to 8:00pm
Pybus Market has live music on the railcar every Friday night from 6:00pm to 8:00pm. If you haven’t seen the railcar, you’re in for a surprise. We have a nice mix of musical genres and a gorgeous setting. Sponsored by Country Financial of Wenatchee.

No. 4 >>> Pybus Market is Adjacent to the Famous Apple Capital Loop Trail in Wenatchee
Want your exercise …. or just a chance to enjoy the beauty of the mighty Columbia River? Either way, the famous 10 mile paved trail called the Apple Capital Loop Trail is perfect for walkers and bikers alike. And it’s adjacent to Pybus Market.

No. 5 >>> Pybus Market is Open 7 Days a Week, 362 Days a Year
Pybus Market houses 20 year ’round tenants and is open 7 days a week, 362 days a year. The building is a football field long and offers a range of products, including baked goods, fruits, vegetables, meats, seafoods, cheese, wines, beer, nuts, flowers oils and vinegars and sweets.The sit-down restaurants are some of the best in Washington state.

SUNDAY

9AM – WAKE UP CALL
10:00AM – CHECK OUT
10:30AM – PYBUS PUBLIC MARKET












We decided to sleep in a little and then make our way back over to Pybus Public Market to see what it’s like in the mornings and to catch some breakfast. We had no idea, but did you know Pybus Public Market is the second largest public market in the Pacific Northwest right after Pike Place Market? Well now you do.

The market supports over 150 family farms who use the outdoor space as home for their local farmers market. A key component of the market is to provide local food distribution centers with fresh produce unsold during the daily markets.Pybus Public Market is located just two blocks east of historic downtown Wenatchee at the convergence of the Apple Capital Loop Trail, iconic Riverfront Park and Orondo Boat Basin.

Now that you have the facts, let’s explore some of the shops we visited while we were there.

If you’re getting hungry, make sure to stop at Fire by Visconti for Italian style pizza, wine, beer, brats, fine cheeses and artisanal meats made locally from scratch at Cured in Leavenworth. We had the opportunity to eat a super custom pizza that incorporated fresh cheeses, cured meats and vegetables. The photo of the wood fired clay oven was custom made and ordered from Italy and sealed with aromatic herbs to produce authentic Italian flavors. The oven can produce to over 700 degrees so they can turn out piping hot Neapolitan style pizzas in minutes. Fresh. Hot. Local.

After some pizza, you can stop by right next door at their sister store ICE and get Wenatchee’s best authentically Italian gelato, frozen fresh daily on location. Make sure to also try a crêpe and a cup of locally roasted Caffè Mela espresso if you’re stomach has room.

After some gelato, we checked out D’Olivo, an award winning Extra Virgin Olive Oils and Vinegars, Sea Salts and Unique Spices and Rubs not found anywhere else in Eastern Washington. We got excited and tried over 10 olive oils and vinegars and decided to pick up 4 bottles as gifts and for personal consumption. Make sure to try the Raspberry and Strawberry Vinegars as they taste freshly squeezed.

As you make it to the middle of the indoor market, you’ll notice a giant disco ball with a apple shaped frame. In case you’re wondering, they did a similar Time Square ball drop but called it the “Apple Drop.” See coverage by King 5, here.

Pybus Bistro is a casual dining establishment located in the Pybus Public Market in Wenatchee, Washington. It is modeled after the blue-collar bistros found throughout Paris and the rest of France. We serve high quality home-style cuisine featuring local and seasonal items, a quality wine list, and a comfortable setting all at an affordable price. The open kitchen, river view patio, lively and welcoming atmosphere all attribute the Bistro experience.

When you’re there, make sure to pick up a bag of ‘Aurora’ apples at Auvil’s Select Fruit. These are the most flavorful apples we’ve ever had. They are a cross between the apples Splendour and ‘Gala’, super crispy and sweet.

Hope you enjoyed our adventure. Make Wenatchee your next weekend adventure.

Written by Charles

Charles Koh founded EatSeattle, and has continued to use his expertise as editor-in-chief to guide the website’s growth over the last five years. Koh’s experience focuses on digital marketing and social media, and has been a part of several companies, some of which he created, specializing in both areas over the course of his career. Koh was previously with Google and Zagat where he helped expand and grow communities worldwide.

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