We left Seattle Center about 3:00PM. We were heading to Centralia for the night and we estimated that it will take us slightly over 1 hour as Centralia is about 80 miles from Seattle Center. We were very wrong because the traffic snarled on I-5 and it took us more than 3 hours to reach our destination.
After checked into the hotel and washed up, it was already 7PM. We decided to just check out the neighbourhood by foot to look for a place for dinner. Enough driving for Ben for the day.
We gave Nanzaro a choice between Chinese food and Thai food. He opted for Thai food. So, we had dinner at Thai Dish Restaurant.
There were several tables occupied at the time we arrived. We were let to another side of the room where there was a long table of a party of 10 or more customers.
We ordered a Tom Yum Koong to start with. The spicy and sour soup with shrimp, mushroom, tomatoes and pineapple whet up our appetite. However, after the soup was served, it took a long while before the rest of our dishes to arrive. We finished the soup which already gotten cold before the rest of the food arrived.
The above is Muek Koong Prig which is squid, shrimp, peppers, onions, mushrooms and basil stir-fry. When the server asked us how spicy we like our dish, we initially asked for very spicy. The server warned us that they use habanero chili and it’s going to be very spicy. So, we switched to medium spicy. It turned out that medium spicy is not spicy enough for us. I do like the basil flavour in this dish.
We also ordered a Red Curry which comes with bamboo shoots, Thai basil and coconut milk. We opted for pork for the meat. The curry sauce was sweetish. The curry does go well with steam rice.
We ordered steam rice to go with the dishes. It was coconut steam rice as we can smell the coconut aroma when we opened the lid.
You can click on the menu to have a larger view.
Overall, the food was good but service was slow. When we finished our meal, we could not even find the server. We had to get the cook out from the kitchen to give us our bill. Perhaps, this establishment is run by two person, the cook and the server.
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80 minutes from Seattle Center to Centralia, hehe. Nobody realizes that Tacoma and JBLM (military Joint Base Lewis and McChord)have their own rush hours. There’s nowhere to go but through and it can take Forever.
You probably got the best meal on offer in Centralia!
Next time you branch out, post on the TripAdvisor Washington forum for advice on travel times and places to stay and eat. They are pretty helpful.
Oh I know that stretch WELL ! From Southcenter (Mall) there’s already rush period traffic heading south and you’ll see pockets of stop & go right down to Tacoma. Then the approach to Olympia, at the bridge in the Nisqually Wildlife Reserve just SW of JBLM (remember this bridge, Ben ?):
gets really backed up ! Olympia itself isn’t bad, there’s more than enough freeway to accommodate their rush hour traffic. But going south near Tumwater you might still see some pockets of heavy volumes. Geez I sound like AM1130’s traffic helicopter !
A Seattle area friend told me that in the afternoon rush hour going SB out of Seattle, you may be better off on Hwy 99 (Old Pacific Highway) which takes you all the way down to Fife before rejoining with I-5. It’s narrower, but traffic keeps moving albeit at a slower pace.
We”re going down to Olympia next Wednesday (final destination is Redmond, OR) so we’ll be re-acquainted with all of the above.
Or an alternative to Hwy 99, between Seattle and south of Tacoma, is #405 -> #167 -> #512.
167 is usually pretty packed, too. Look at Bing maps (tip: download the map at home and you’re good to go without data charges. Maps use satellite to update, not phone data plan). 405 has HOV lanes all the way but you’re going right through Microsoft central so even the HOV lanes fill up. Within the next few years the HOV lanes will be toll lanes like they are on 167.
LotusRapper, you could go to Yakima, then through Toppenish to Hood River and down to Redmond on 97. That way you can skip almost all the big city traffic. Otherwise go down to Woodburn to pick up Santiam Pass.
Thanks Etranger. That would be a good option, if I could drive it all in one day (Vanc->Redmond). But with family on-board that’s just not possible :-/ Which is why we’re booked for an overnight in Oly as midpoint.
We’re usually pretty lucky in 405’s HOV. But never driven 167 and 512 so that’ll be the unknown. I might chance it, as I-5 backups are just plain frustrating.