Yummy food ahead

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I love Vietnamese food. When I was a student at ASU, there was a great little place near campus. I could have eaten there every day. So I was happy to try Da Nang Restaurant on 4th Avenue in downtown Olympia. They have an extensive vegetarian menu and can make things vegan. We had a hum bao appetizer, a steamed bun that was fluffy white and filled with vegetables and tofu. I have never had this type of dumpling before–it was very good.

We shared the Tofu Phở and the Mock Chicken Stir Fry with Ginger. Everything was very fresh and the stirfry was flavorful without being heavy. I love Phở and am always excited to find a vegetarian version. As leftovers the next day, everything was just as good.

The fortune cookies, sadly, are not vegetarian but we enjoyed the fortunes nonetheless.

Good service and fast, nice interior. About $16.00 per person + tip. We are definitely going to be repeat customers.

Address: 116 4th Ave E, Olympia, WA 98501, (360) 534-9200

Hours: Monday-Saturday, 11 am-11 pm, Sunday Noon-10pm (always a good idea to call to confirm hours)

Ăn ngon miệng nhé!


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Today’s weather: Might have been wishful thinking but it felt like spring today. Temps in the 50s again and no rain. It was great. 🙂


Joe Knows

Hibiscus frame

After a particularly dark period of my life when I lived in lands without Trader Joes, it became a permanent fixture on my “must-have list” for any new home. Trader Joe’s is the first store that I went to when I arrived in Olympia. Actually, I think we went to Trader Joe’s before we even saw our new house.

What I love about Trader Joe’s:

  • Lots of vegetarian and vegan options including desserts
  • Great prices
  • Good produce
  • Naan
  • Good coffee
  • Flowers and plants
  • So much dark chocolate goodness

We do the majority of our regular shopping here so we have learned their inventory and we’ve probably had almost every vegetarian thing that they sell. In December, I stockpile Wintry Blend coffee and peppermint green tea. Can’t get enough of either one. There’s always coffee brewing so you can taste a new variety before you buy. They also have samples and more than once, I have bought the whole shebang. And there are a lot of Trader Joe’s dinner hacks that are just a Google search away. 

If you like fresh flowers, it’s only a mini splurge at TJs. I have an orchid from Trader Joe’s that I have had for three years and it’s moved with me twice! It’s fierce. I definitely recommend their orchids.

Trader Joe’s is on the west side of Olympia, 1530 Black Lake Blvd SW, Olympia, WA 98502. Hours: 8 a.m.–9 p.m.. (360) 352-7440.


Today’s weather was actually pretty nice. I saw the sun. No rain, highs in the mid to upper 40s. No complaints!

Another day, another great sandwich

Steamboat Grill and Greens

After a morning of errands, we decided to try Steamboat Grill and Greens for lunch. We had the Grill and Greens Wrap and Veggie Garden Burger with fries. This is a really a stand: you drive around and someone comes out to take your order and then you pull up to wait. There is some outdoor seating (hope springs eternal). The service was friendly and fast and they were thoughtful about checking ingredients after we shared our dietary requests (extra tip for that). The food was really good. The wrap was tasty and toasted to perfection. Too often wraps get soggy or they are just too cold for my taste. The veggie burger was really above average and the fries were good. About $10.00 per person.

Also: shakes and malts including Blackberry and Butterscotch. Definitely going back to try those when it warms up a bit!

3634 Steamboat Island Rd NW
Olympia, Washington 98502

(360) 866-2274
Open 11 am – 7 pm (open later seasonally–always a good idea to call)

Weather today: We saw the sun! Definitely warmed up to the low 50s, no rain. We warmed up enough on the dog walk this morning that we were peeling off layers.

My Kind of Bar

Wally's Sandwich Bar

Sometimes, nothing is quite as satisfying as a sandwich. Or a sandwich disguised as a salad. When the urge hits you, head to Wally’s in West Olympia.

Wally’s Sandwich Bar has something for everyone including vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free. You can probably put together something low-FODMAP. Sub breads, deli breads, wraps and pitas. All of their specialty sandwiches are available as a salad. And vegetarians rejoice! This is not your typical veggie sub option. Build your own with hummus, artichoke hearts, avocado, sun-dried tomatoes, falafel, tzatziki, fresh mozzarella or feta cheese.

I ordered the Tempeh Reuben and the Cool Cucumber to split with my better half so we could each try two new sandwiches. Even before I was halfway through the Reuben, I knew I wanted another one in the future. I have never had anything like it, it was delicious. Also from past experience: Falafel sandwich=yum. An out-of-town guest with several decades of sandwich eating experience ordered the Gyro sandwich and proclaimed it the best he’d ever had. There are PB&J and grilled cheese options for the kids and a number of sides. Fast and friendly service and Dum Dum lollipops in the to-go bag.

Also check out the napkin art wall! This takes those napkin doodles to a whole new level! Maybe you will be inspired to learn to draw.

It was about $11 per person for a little piece of sandwich heaven.

Located in West Olympia in the Westside Shopping Center. Dine-in, carryout and catering (including boxed lunches) available. Free WiFi and credit cards accepted. 2106 Harrison Ave NW, Olympia, WA 98502. 360-570-2029

Open daily 10:30 am to 9 pm. Winter hours, closed at 8 pm, Sunday-Wednesday. It’s always a good idea to call.


Raining/drizzling off and on today. 50°F at 3 pm.

Meet me in the (Thai) Garden

Thai Garden

Thai food, Indian food, Mexican food and pizza–those are my comfort foods. And whenever there’s a birthday or another special occasion, you can bet one or more of these play a starring role. There may have been a birthday, so we had Island Market Pizza for lunch and Thai Garden for dinner.

Thai Garden Restaurant & Lounge
2735 Harrison Ave NW, Olympia, Washington 98502,  (360) 943-6292

Thai Garden is located near Target in Olympia. We got takeout this time but we have eaten in and really liked the ambiance and the service. This is a place to go for a dinner out with the family, visitors or for a special occasion.

I always get the golden tofu. My better half cannot get enough of the Tom Kha Vegan soup. We also shared the yellow curry and fresh spring rolls. We have been able to get vegan options here and the staff are helpful. When we ate in, our server gave recommendations that were spot on. We also really like their jasmine tea.

Happy eating!


Stay on Target

Stay on Target

Even chain stores have a little local flavor. And let’s face it, sometimes you need food, socks, lip balm and kitty litter. Target has all of this and more. The food section of the Olympia Target is legit. Not a lot of produce, but the basics. Sadly, there is no Sprouts or Whole Foods here, so if you are looking for vegetarian/vegan options, you have to get creative. Target carries a decent selection of Amy’s, Gardein, Silk, Ripple and Annie’s. This the place to get the almond and coconut versions of Natural Bliss creamer (addicted).

The Olympia Target store has it’s customer service desk in lane one of the registers rather than along the perimeter. Everyone seems super nice. During my last trip, two associates helped me and another stopped to ask how I was. The Olympia store is also home to the Sticker Lady cashier. We go through her line whenever she’s working for the pick-me-up.

Looking for Seahawks gear? You can find also find that here. Target offers seasonal merchandise in addition to year-round offerings: back to school, outdoor living/furniture and holiday decorations.

Olympia, Lacey, Tumwater, and unincorporated Thurston County have a plastic bag ordinance so stores carry paper bags and you have to pay for bags. This encourages people to bring their own bags, of course, and no one seems to care if you use your Trader Joe’s bags at Target. (There is a Trader Joe’s in Olympia! More on that in a later post.)

The Olympia store has a CVS Pharmacy and a Starbucks and you can recycle plastic bags at Target. Speaking of plastic bags, you can pick up a free umbrella bag when it’s raining to contain your wet umbrella while you shop. Be sure to reuse and then recycle it! 

There is another Target in nearby Lacey.