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Eat here, get gas

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Eat here, get gas

Postby balzaccom » Wed Oct 10, 2012 3:15 pm

As the old joke goes...

If you've ever taken a long backpacking trip, you've probably dreamt about food--especially the meal you are going to eat once you get back to civilization. Pizza, hamburgers, steak, cold beer, salad....they all seem to find a place on the menu, once you get started on the idea. Shoot, we know people who have spent most of the last night of a trip talking around the campfire about what they are going to eat the following day at the nearest restaurant.

And speaking of restaurants, there are a few that have quite a reputation among backpackers as well. The gas station at Lee Vining, the Old Priest Grade Inn, Pizza in Yosemite Valley all have their advocates. We've come to really like Patty's Gourmet Cafe between Sonora and Columbia.

But there is one restaurant that stands out in a completely different way. We have eaten there at least five times in the last ten years, and every single time it has been worse than disappointing. Sometimes the service has been absolutely rude and incompetent--waiting forever for a table in an empty dining room. The last time we had perfectly nice service, and absolutely dreadful food--cold food without even a hint of sauce or seasoning. And the amazing thing is that this restaurant is pretty much the only show in town in a National Park. You'd think they'd want to do better.

It's the restaurant at Grant Grove Village in SEKI. We can only wonder what amazing arrangements have been made to make sure that it has been so bad for so long.

Anyone else have a least favorite place to eat? Let us know, so we can avoid it!
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Re: Eat here, get gas

Postby RoguePhotonic » Wed Oct 10, 2012 4:19 pm

I ate at that one last year and thought it was pretty good but who knows maybe it was just me coming out of the wilderness.

The grill at Cedar Grove is much worse.

I think out of all the places I stop and get food while traveling the wilderness the Tuolumne Meadows grill is by far the worst.
Last edited by RoguePhotonic on Wed Oct 10, 2012 6:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Eat here, get gas

Postby gdurkee » Wed Oct 10, 2012 4:25 pm

I once ate at the Grant Grove restaurant hours after the cook had been arrested. One of the servers was filling in and burnt everything to a crisp then served it! It was a SAR, so at least your tax dollars were paying for it. Thank you all! Alas, there's no other choice if you have to eat out.

I'd also avoid Whiskey Creek in Bishop. The definition of over priced and tasteless tourist food. I'd avoided it for years but was there in September. After several months of Mac & Cheese in the backcountry, I ordered the Santa Maria tri tip. Incredibly bland and tasteless! How is that possible??

If you can handle long waits and quixotic service, Still Life in Independence is outstanding. The chef is great but her husband is a bit moody. She's great at sauces (as any French person should be). Get a bottle of wine right away (literally get it -- don't even wait for Mssr. to come out). Then just start drinking and hope for the best. Opening times are also problematic. I think they claim 5:30 PM, but that rarely happens. But worth it. Really!

Strangely, a few years back, the cook at the Cedar Grove grill was trained at the Culinary Institute of America (aka CIA) and the food was excellent that summer. Alas, he's long gone. Fortunately, it was also the year of a couple of major SARs, so I ate there quite a bit.

g.
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Re: Eat here, get gas

Postby gary c. » Wed Oct 10, 2012 4:44 pm

I'm with you George on Wiskey Creek, not that bad but over priced and over hyped. My biggest disappointment was the BBQ joint on the south west end of Bishop, can't remember the name. I tried that place a couple of times and was never happy with what I was served. I really like BBQ so when I saw the new place opened in Bishop next to Carls Jr I looked forward to trying it out. The first time I went there in June the food was excellent. I was in there again this past weekend and I almost couldn't eat my brisket sandwhich it was so foul. I'll probably try to go there one more time for the tie breaker.
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Re: Eat here, get gas

Postby RoguePhotonic » Wed Oct 10, 2012 7:01 pm

To be fair I don't blame the cooks at Cedar Grove because it's not how it's cooked but the quality of the food itself is horrible. They have a new york steak on the menu and I couldn't say it's a new york. Infact I could not say if it's cow. Maybe it's dog or something because it's the worst steak I have ever had and it's the same year after year. There is no good excuse for the quality other then pure greed in profit. I go into Vermillion Valley Resort which probably has the worst drive for supplies in the Sierra and get a top quality steak for a cheaper price.
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Re: Eat here, get gas

Postby gdurkee » Wed Oct 10, 2012 7:25 pm

FISHPOLE wrote:Resturant critics :unibrow:


Beregond looked at him gravely. 'An old campaigner, I see,' he said. 'They say that men who go warring afield look ever to the next hope of food and of drink;
--Return of the King


MAN (ravenously). You're an angel! (He gobbles the comfits.) Creams! Delicious! (He looks anxiously to see whether there are any more. There are none. He accepts the inevitable with pathetic goodhumor, and says, with grateful emotion) Bless you, dear lady. You can always tell an old soldier by the inside of his holsters and cartridge boxes. The young ones carry pistols and cartridges; the old ones, grub. Thank you. (He hands back the box. She snatches it contemptuously from him and throws it away. This impatient action is so sudden that he shies again.) Ugh! Don't do things so suddenly, gracious lady. Don't revenge yourself because I frightened you just now.
--G. B. Shaw, Arms and the Man
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Re: Eat here, get gas

Postby austex » Wed Oct 10, 2012 7:47 pm

The BBQ place south and east is BBQ Bill's. I've never been there but I can remember it from 10-15+yrs ago. I too enjoy good bbq.(Texas thang) I too have seen the new place Holy Smoke north of Line St. and on the east side of 395, Pizza Factory won out last time...So maybe for the end of the month trip?
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Re: Eat here, get gas

Postby MountainMinstrel » Wed Oct 10, 2012 9:47 pm

Speaking of Grants Grove, my wife and I were up there Memorial day weekend 2011 headed to camp at Cedar Grove. We love the resturant and planned to stop the for burgers but it was not opened yet, but we were told the Pizza parlor was, so we went there. It turns out that was the very first day they sold pizza, at least that was what they called it. It was a tastless piece od cracker bread with tomato paste over it...maybe the nastiest thing I have ever tried to eat. I have heard that they figured out how to make real pizza since then but I will never try it again.
Just an old musician who loves the Mountains.
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Re: Eat here, get gas

Postby balzaccom » Thu Oct 11, 2012 9:35 am

That's funny, because our experience ( and what I have read from others) is that the pizza is WAY better than the food in the normal restaurant.

Scary.
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Re: Eat here, get gas

Postby LMBSGV » Thu Oct 11, 2012 2:23 pm

I had a pizza at Grant Grove in August and it was good. They also have a salad bar there, which was also good--fresh lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, etc. That was on a Friday so it could have been delivery day. Also, after ten days, any fresh vegies seems like a gourmet feast, which may effect my judgement.

I agree on how bad the restaurant is there. Also with Rogue on the one in Cedar Grove. Years ago, it was okay, but I was told there was a change in management and it's been downhill since.
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Re: Eat here, get gas

Postby sparky » Thu Oct 11, 2012 6:30 pm

I think out of all the places I stop and get food while traveling the wilderness the Tuolumne Meadows grill is by far the worst.


Agreed.

I have also had some bad food in Bishop, lone pine, Independance, but I dont want to blast them on the internet. I don't mind blasting the places in National Parks because they rake it in im sure.

The best place is the Good Times Pub down here outside san jacinto wilderness in the town of idylwild. Been there countless times and it is always so good.
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Re: Eat here, get gas

Postby Fly Guy Dave » Thu Oct 11, 2012 7:38 pm

I'm with Sparky on the idea of calling out bad places for post trail grub. Heck, that's what Yelp! is for. However, I will share a few favorites in Bishop, one being La Casita, right next to BBQ Bills, and their Mexican food is pretty darn good. The place is often crowded with locals, many speaking Spanish, so that's a vote of confidence in my book. For breakfast, go south about 100 feet from La Casita, turn right and look for the Great Basin Baking Company. The best pastries, scones, etc. in the Eastern Sierra. That place ROCKS!
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