Return to the Road: Compromised Fast Food Leads to a Spiritual Menu

I was out of town for the last five days or so, and during my time away the fifth anniversary of the first post in Ben’s Biz Blog history came and went. My original plan had been to commemorate this milestone in some way, but instead it just kind of slipped by whilst on its quick path to complete and total obsolescence.

So, yeah, this blog is now five years old. Celebrate at will. As for me, I’ll just do what I do best: relive the recent past! As you may recall, my last post in the apparently never-ending “Return to the Road” series covered the beautiful scenery to be found betwixt Salem, OR and Yakima, WA. Today, then, picks up in Yakima (home of the since-relocated Bears) and travels northwest to Tacoma (home of the not-going-anywhere Rainiers).

The day started with me following a reader tip: get lunch at Miner’s, an iconic Yakima fast food joint.

I was smitten with this establishment as soon as I arrived, if not a bit confused. Somehow, I managed to bypass the entire drive-thru lane. (And is that a strange location for a house or what? Not sure if I’d want my front lawn obscured by huge fast food menus).

Instead, I ended up in a lot immediately adjacent to a spacious outdoor eating area.

Also spacious: the inside.

I placed my order, was given a number, and then walked approximately a third of a mile away to a back room seating area.

And here, inevitably, is where I end up disappointing you. As much as I’d have liked to, the celiac disease prevented me from ordering a Big Miner Burger. Or any kind of burger. In fact, the bun-heavy and oft-breaded menu made the whole experience a bit fraught for gluten-averse individuals such as myself. So while I’d like to present you with a photo of this 64-year-old establishment’s signature item, instead here are some fries posing amidst an array of dipping sauces and a vanilla milkshake. I do my best.

After that it was time to hit the open road. And I do mean open, and I also mean road.

I would have been content to drive amid such vast expanses for a good 10 hours or so, while listening to the first 33 seconds of this Dr. John song a million times over. The drive was far less than my wished-for 600 minutes, unfortunately, but before re-entering more populated areas I did have the pleasure of stopping at this well-advertised establishment.

And — look! — within this vast expanse of commercial real estate they even cater to afflicted souls such as myself.

I bought an array of groceries. The bottle of Moxie cola was later confiscated at the Vancouver airport, and I have no idea what became of the mustard. None at all. It just vanished on me.

The next destination was the Hotel Murano, located in downtown Tacoma. Of the dozens of Minor League team hotels I’ve stayed in over the last several years this was the most expensive. And also, by far, the nicest. (In fact, I’m still kind of in awe that this was a team hotel.)

The Hotel Murano had an uber-hip intercontinental vibe, complete with Teutonic dance music music pumping in the lobby, but it wasn’t not so exclusive that they won’t enter into an enthusiastic partnership with a Pacific Coast League franchise. (Hotel Murano ads could be seen throughout the Rainiers’ Cheney Stadium).

The nighttime exterior:

The lobby:

A room…

with a view.

Hello Tacoma!

I’m still kicking myself for not having the Bhagavad Gita sent up to my room.

Some of the other in-room signage was less spiritually minded, however.

“Goodnight Tacoma!” said the moron in the Murano.

That moron was me.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

7 Comments

The Nighttripper!

Congrats on 5 years of Ben’s Biz! I celebrated by eating a messy burrito at my desk during lunch while reading this post, as I am wont to do.

I’m not really replying to Jordan, but I can’t see any other way to leave a comment. Anyway, in your first “open road” picture, it looks like you’re cruising the left lane. Don’t you know you’re supposed to “keep right, pass left only?”

I was driving in the right lane. What happened was that I put the car in cruise control and then crawled to the back seat and took that photo out of the rear window.

Ben,

Congratulations on five years of awesomeness. I am a huge fan of Minor League Baseball, thanks, in no small part, to your writings.

Here’s hoping you’ll find a way to come out to Northern California next season for a roadie. As a bonus, here in Northern California, Gluten-Free is the new Atkins (or is it the new South Beach?), so you’ll have no trouble finding fancy fare.

Keep up the excellent work!

Lee

Thanks, Lee, I really appreciate it! I’d love to make out to North California, and will certainly keep you posted when I do…

Ben – I am going to miss Miners (now that the team is headed to Hillsboro) – they have a condiment bar better than Fuddruckers…looks like Thorp was fun (I too bought the mustard as well)…appreciate all you have done for the Hawks and the NWL

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