Photo credit: Patty Hensley
I stared longingly into my bear canister brimming with empty Ziploc bags as I chewed the last bite of my final peanut butter Clif Bar. It was the concluding day of my eight-day trek through the stunning Barrett and Amphitheater basins and I was longing for something other than dehydrated meals. The last section of switchbacks up the backside of Bishop Pass and the descent into South Lake still separated me from realizing my vivid food cravings. As I trudged up the last hill I started constructing elaborate multicourse dream meals that would satiate my uncontrollable hunger.
As I reached the top of the pass it began to hail, which only intensified my desire for hot food. For the entirety of the eight-day trip I was soaked by torrential rain and battered by hail, a result of what some consider an El Niño storm system. Despite the inclement conditions I couldn’t help but notice how the moisture had resulted in vibrant carpets of wildflowers. Further down the pass the conditions became wetter and my hunger grew. Luckily just below the tree line and a short drive into town a plethora of restaurants waited.
The Eastern Sierra has plenty of incredible culinary options that will satisfy both ravenous backpackers and casual visitors alike. Bishop California, 45 minutes South of Mammoth Lakes, is located at the base of multiple Eastern Sierra passes and popular fishing spots. After an extended trip in the backcountry or a long day enjoying the outdoors nothing hits the spot quite like and order of Thai meatballs and a fresh pint from the Mountain Rambler Brewery. This newly opened establishment consistently serves delicious plates and a wide selection of home brewed beers. Before you head back up the 395 to Mammoth make sure to stop by the Great Basin Bakery and pick up a loaf of their fresh bread or a pastry baked daily in store. A trip to the bakery is not complete without a glass of their homemade lemonade and a giant peanut butter cookie.
The choices don’t end when you make it back into town. The restaurants in Mammoth Lakes are sure to have what you are looking for. Whether it is a quick cup of coffee from Black Velvet Coffee, a hand crafted wrap from Stellar Brew & Deli, Fancy cheese and homemade bread from Bleu Handcrafted Foods Wine Bar and Market, or a plate of dolmades from Jimmy’s Taverna. The number of great restaurant option available can be overwhelming, but fortunately one of the town’s local papers, The Sheet, prints a complete restaurant guide every year that will help you make a decision. You can pick up the dinning guide from any local restaurant or tourism office in town. To stay updated on local dinning news check out The Sheet’s website: http://thesheetnews.com/category/dining/.
Written by local backpacker and outdoor enthusiast Patty H.