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A Few of Leavenworth's Food Options

A recent meet-up with a friend in Leavenworth centered around, of course, meals and drinks. Here's a look at where we ate:

Larch

I had eaten at wildflour, Chef Ben Herreid's first restaurant in Leavenworth, at the Kahler Glen Golf Resort. Each entrée is a different type of pasta with the protein a step behind. Amazing food. This trip, we wanted to stay in the downtown area and fortunately, Chef Ben has opened a second restaurant, Larch, about a block off the main street. It also features handmade pasta, cocktails, appetizers/shareable plates. Prices are slightly lower than wildflour but flavors are just as wonderful. We showed great restraint as we weren't very hungry and just tried two appetizers: arancini with saffron coriander risotto filled with gruyere cheese placed on a pomodoro sauce with caper, pine nuts, and olives; and Nebbiolo-poached octopus with ancho chili and tomato passata, roasted herb oil, and shishitos (photo). Both were delicious, perfectly cooked, and full of flavor. I'd go back in a minute. The only disappointment were the martinis we ordered before we ate. Flavor was fine, ingredients were fine, but they were room temperature.

Wood tables and floors with light walls holding eye-catching photos and mirrors make for a comfortable spot to dine.

Completely unconnected to Larch, we happened to be at the restaurant the night Leavenworth faced a bomb threat. Uniformed officers going through dumpsters and garbage cans, K9 units in town, the main street and Highway 2 completely shut down. Pretty crazy. Who thinks of Leavenworth and bomb threats?

214 8th St, Leavenworth, WA 98826, 509-888-5252


Visconti's

Our first night in town, we had appetizers and, yes, martinis at Visconti's. They originally opened in Wenatchee in 1985 and are still there. Leavenworth is their second location, opened in 1999 with their traditional Italian food and a pub that offered Leavenworth Brewery beers. The Brewery sold in 2002; Visconti's remodeled, adding an outdoor patio and retail space.

Leavenworth offers menus for dinner, kids, bar, and happy hour. We ordered off the happy hour menu: roasted dates-Marcona almonds, buckboard bacon, gorgonzola cheese; and wood oven clams with onions, herbs, butter, and fresh lime. Our favorite was probably the clams, so good with bread dipped into the sauce. The dates were good but not what I expected. Thinking they would be dates stuffed with almonds and wrapped in bacon, it was a surprise to get a small bowl with all the ingredients tossed together. It tasted great and was probably easier to eat, but I kind of like the actual stuffed dates you see elsewhere.

While we were happy with the food, we were really happy with the martinis. Ice cold, served just as ordered.

Visconti's has several levels with dining near the bar and upstairs. It's a nice division with a pleasant atmosphere.

It was a quiet night in Leavenworth, with no bomb threats.

636 Front St, Leavenworth, WA 98826, 509-548-1213


Kristall's

One of Leavenworth's oldest restaurants, Kristall's has gone through a refresh atmosphere-wise. My memories of it are that it was almost cafeteria-like in its feel. They've now gone darker colors, fabric pieces along the tops of booths, and perhaps lower lighting. There is still counter dining. The bar is a separate room and has one rock wall, a high ceiling with windows that frame the mountains (photo), and a nice feel. Pull tabs.

I don't recall the old menu but feel it was mostly burgers and fried food. They say they have an entirely new menu, and it is large. Plenty to choose from on the breakfast menu with Benedicts, traditional breakfasts (eggs/meat/hashbrowns). Appetizer/lunch/dinner menu includes sandwiches, burgers, salads, baby back ribs, prime rib, fish and chips, and so much more. The kids' menu has eight items. We split the Hawaiian BBQ Pulled Pork Burger with coleslaw and pineapple on a pretzel bun, and added onion rings for lunch. The day we headed out, we stopped there for breakfast and each had the traditional. It was huge. Four slices of bacon, a half platter of hashbrowns and two eggs. I don't need that much food and it was fairly average quality-wise. I thought the pulled pork burger was better than breakfast.

After lunch, we did slip into the bar for a drink. Mimosa and a glass of white wine. It's not a high-end wine list and there's only one sparkling wine. Full bar.

One of Kristall's big draws is that it has its own parking lot. In Leavenworth, that's worth a lot. It's an easy place to meet, right on Highway 2 downtown.

280 US Highway 2, Leavenworth, WA 98826, 509-548-5267


Ludwig's Gasthaus

Too early for our dinner reservations, but not to early to drink, we stopped in at Ludwig's. Their website says they offer beer, wine, and three cocktails: Hemingway Daquiri, Elderflower Gin and Tonic, and Huckleberry Mule. That night, their sandwich sign said they were featuring lemon drops or raspberry lemon drops. We were told the cocktail program is new. The lemon drops were good and pretty sweet, which, hey, was expected.

Because they hadn't put any posts up on social media that day, we were asked if we would mind having our picture taken with the lemon drops. If we did, they'd comp us their Langos Bread, traditional fried bread with herbed sour cream. Unnecessary, but a nice thing to do.

Wood chairs, tables, benches, and a fireplace make for a comfortable stop. Beyond the dining room, they have a very large indoor beerhall.

921 Front St, Leavenworth, WA 98826, 509-548-6625


The Squirrel Tree Resort

I've been to the restaurant at Squirrel Tree before and had no idea the place is a resort with six rooms upstairs. I knew they roasted their own coffee, and they offer live music. The resort opened in 1960 and was the first building that was made Bavarian-style. Owned by the Fedor family, Squirrel Tree has had major upgrades over the past few years: a new lounge, café and roastery by Leavenworth Café Roasters, remodeled hotel rooms, and a newly-landscaped outdoor area with seating, fire pits, and lawn games. Inside, wood tables with a few thrown in made from polished tree trunks, log-cabin walls, and a stone fireplace. Nice place for a meal, coffee meet-up, of all-morning/afternoon hang out.

Comedy based on current events, you have to love it

We stopped for a late breakfast this trip. I tried the classic Eggs Benedict, and they were fine with a senior choosing a kid's menu option (cheese omelet with breakfast protein and hashbrowns). Both were good. Both breakfast and lunch/dinner menus have plenty of options. Breakfast burrito, sandwich, biscuit and gravy scramble. Lunch/dinner offerings include sandwiches, the Squirrel Burger (actually beef, not squirrel), wraps, several appetizers, bratwurst, fish tacos, salads, milkshakes. There are special dinner items as well, like a ribeye, and chicken fried steak. You've got to be able find something there you'd enjoy.

The Squirrel Tree is 15 minutes from downtown Leavenworth and 20 from the Stevens Pass Ski Resort.

15251 US Highway 2, Leavenworth, WA 98826, 509-763-0336

Connie Adams/April 2022


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