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Destination Inspiration: Waitsburg’s Whoopemup Hollow Cafe

Waitsburg Street

While we were visiting Walla Walla, we had to make a trip out to Waitsburg, a small town gaining a fast reputation for having some of the best food around. Whoopemup Hollow Cafe uses local ingredients to deliver Southern comfort. The Whoopemup Hollow Cafe is down to earth, comfortable and just what you’d expect, Southern hospitality in the great Northwest.

Whoopemup Hollow Wine

Whoopemup Hollow Gazpacho


The food served at Whoopemup comes dressed to impress. Bright colors accompany bright flavors. When we saw the Monteillet Fromagerie Fresh Goat Cheese Ravioli on the menu, we couldn’t resist seeing what the chef would do with the cheese made by local cheesemakers Pierre-Louis and Joan Monteillet. It was delicious, as was Bry’s Famous Jambalaya, the Fried Catfish, and the watermelon Gazpacho. For dessert, we enjoyed Jimgermanchocolatecake–named after Jim German of the Jimgermanbar across the street–and Classic Coca Cola Cake.

Location and Atmosphere

While the setting was casual, the food presentation was fancy. Set on a backdrop of brightly colored table clothes, the dishes brought out to us seemed dressed for a fine Louisiana party. We dined outside on the patio, which had a lovely breezy feel just right for a warm Eastern Washington summer evening.

Whoopemup Catfish and Jambalaya

Whoopemup Hollow Ravioli

Writeability and Purchased Presence

This is a good place to gather and brainstorm with fellow writers. All you need is a notebook and pen, no laptop necessary. We’d suggest sharing a meal or dessert and drinks with a writing partner or critique group and settling in for some quality fellowship. The restaurant is a decent size so it’s easy to find a corner to tuck yourself away and write for a spell or work on edits. Just keep in mind your writing budget when considering how long to stay.

Price: $$

Prices range from $17-27 for a dinner entree and $7-13 for lunch. Drinks are on the higher end as well running an average of $3.25 for non-alcoholic beverages and up to $7.50 for beer or glass of wine.


Given that Waitsburg is a small, sleepy town, we had no problem finding parking. There were plenty of spaces on the street right in front of the restaurant.

Whoopemup Hollow Dessert

Whoopemup Hollow Dessert

Writer’s Tip

Utilize the atmosphere of the Whoopemup to get a Southern feel without the price of a plane ticket. Try this writing exercise: Focus on the cuisine and imagine the hands that may have prepared a certain dish in their home kitchen. For fiction writers – work this meal into a scene that describes your character. For non-fiction writers – put your food critic skills to use and write up a review focusing on a detailed description of your entree.

Find It

120 Main Street
Waitsburg, WA 99361


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Writer’s Kitchen: Learning to Improvise

Absinthe Cake

Life is all about improvisation. Improvisation and reinvention.

Back in the days before we had children, Sarah and I would get together frequently to cook and bake, always finding some intriguing recipe to try, such as raclette macaroni and cheese or David Lebovitz’s absinthe cake (pictured above and featured in a previous edition of Writer’s Kitchen). While those kitchen dates with my dear friend virtually stopped for a while, I’m happy to report that we’re back to it, albeit in a modified and not-so-efficient way (have you ever tried cooking while supervising small children?). And we’re back at it just in time for fall, with its bounty of comforting stews and warm spices.

When Sarah and I used to work through complex recipes, we had a routine. I would take the role of recipe reading, making sure we were following the correct steps and keeping everything on track. Sarah would prep ingredients and keep the kitchen remarkably tidy as we went on. We were a great team. We would take our time and savor the experience, marveling in how well we worked together and talking about whatever was on our minds. These days we improvise–something our new identities as mothers requires. And while it may take twice as long to bake a simple batch of cookies, I have to say that our reinvention was totally worth it. You should see us as we wrangle very active baby boys while trying to get a recipe just right–and keep the kitchen moderately clean!

I never would have expected that becoming a mother would change the way I cooked, but it has–and in the most interesting way. I used to stick comfortably to the flavors and techniques in a recipe, veering only a little to compensate with ingredients on hand. However, in the past few months I’ve found myself coming up with ideas and running with them, sometimes piecing together a few recipes to help me with technique (as was the case with mushroom- and cheese-topped rockfish atop steamed spinach that I made over the summer) and other times boldly pulling experimental flavors together into an improvised side dish (such as the linguine with garlic, anchovies, red pepper flakes, and cilantro from earlier this month). Maybe it’s because I don’t have the time to menu plan as extensively as I used to, and therefore am forced to improvise more often. And maybe developing recipes for some recent articles in Pregnancy & Newborn Magazine and the Norwegian American Weekly has had something to do with it. In any case, it’s been exciting to watch how the kitchen skills I’ve developed over the years now serve me well as I trust myself to create something delicious, and I can’t wait to try out my newfound confidence with the bounty of fall foods.

What are some of your favorite original kitchen creations? I’d love to hear from you and get some more inspiration!