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Entries in Mammoth (14)


East Side Bake Shop, Mammoth Lakes

The East Side Bake Shop @esidebakeshop is closer to Crowley Lake than Mammoth Lakes, despite the address.

I know how to get to the East Side Bake Shop...take the McGee Creek exit on Highway 395 and take an immediate left on the Crowley Lake frontage road and it's on your left hand side of the road...where all the cars are parked.

To be perfectly honest, we stumbled upon the bake shop after doing some late afternoon activities on BLM land nearby.

I'm always on the quest for baked goods, pies, crumbles and scones tend to top the list for me. The Great Basin Bakery in Bishop is one of the better, albeit, less famous bakeries on the East Side. Schaat's in Mammoth and Bishop are the big bakeries on and off Highway 395.

The East Side Bake Shop is only a couple months new, but the quality speaks to someone baking a little longer than a couple months.

I felt immediately relaxed and at home inside the Bake Shop. The light was perfect, the log cabin feel, rustic; the smell of freshly baked goods permeated the room. A Siren Song of baked goods and savory treats...

The peach and strawberry crumble, fresh out of the oven was my immediate choice. My brother, looking for something more substantial, chose the quiche. My father, smartly chose the fresh fig bar.

My crumble was still warm when served in my deep, white bowl. I seriously thought twice about the dollup of whipped cream placed on top of my fruit dessert; almost wondering if I had fruit served with my whipped cream. Wonderfully satisfying crumble, not too sweet, hinted with spice, but only to accent the fruit. Delicious.

To test if the baker spices her baked goods similarly, I tried my Dad's fig bar. Totally different spice profile. A hearty fresh fig bar, the sweetness was more pronounced than my crumble, but balanced. I easily could have eaten one or taken one for later consumption.

My brother's quiche, the savory item for the afternoon, was equally well balanced. The salt profile was good and the eggs weren't overcooked. My brother and I tend to cook frittata 99 times out of 100, simply because we don't want to make a pie crust, but the same principles apply to both frittata and quiche, don't dry out the eggs and season more than you think.

Based upon my first experience at the Bake Shop, I went back again for a sample of two different scones, apricot and pecan spice.

The apricot, I snacked on during my drive from Mammoth over Tioga Pass and through Yosemite Valley back to Fresno. Scone two, the pecan spice, I ate for breakfast the next morning. Both scones had a crumble to them, not overly dense or "cake-like". Scones should have a certain lightness; credit to anyone who can bake at altitude.

I can say with confidence and ease that the East Side Bake Shop is one of the best bakeries on Highway 395 and worth the drive from Mammoth Lakes to grab breakfast or a mid afternoon snack. 

Truly a great bakery.

East Side Bake Shop on Urbanspoon


Black Velvet Coffee, Mammoth Lakes

When you head to Mammoth Lakes, you have exactly five (5) choices for coffee: The Looney Bean, Stellar Brew, Starbucks, Black Velvet Coffee, and the back of my XTerra.

I have been a long-time Looney Bean and Stellar Brew patron. Stellar Brew has great sandwiches and Looney Bean has their Black Diamond and Black Russian dark roasted coffee.

However, when you're looking for an absolutely exquisite espresso, there is no other choice in Mammoth Lakes than Black Velvet.

There's a lot that goes into a simple espresso and nothing for the average bystander. Yes, the espresso at Black Velvet takes longer than an average bar in Florence and yes, the line at Black Velvet is probably longer than other coffee lines in town, but when the outcome is near perfect espresso (because nothing is perfect), I'll happily wait in line for something this good.

Otherwise, I'll just head back to the Old Shady Rest Campground and make coffee myself.

Black Velvet Coffee on Urbanspoon


The Breakfast Club, Mammoth Lakes

Ready for a gut buster breakfast without having to wait in line with LA Hipsters visiting Mammoth?

Then look no further than the Breakfast Club at the first stop light in town and in the same un-cool parking lot as the Shell Gas Station. There are two more cool spots to go for breakfast, The Stove and Good Times Café. Base Camp Café is often frequented by climbers, but probably has a Hipster element because of the climbing aspect. When my dad worked Mammoth, he went to the Breakfast Club, so I’m assured it’s a Hipster Free Environment.

I went out for a brief trail run that morning before my long drive back to Fresno and I knew I wouldn’t have a proper lunch, so it was time to load the fuel tank with nothing other than Chicken Fried Steak and Eggs. I’ve had Chicken Fried Steak several times in recent memory; the gourmet version from Belvedere at The Padre Hotel in Bakersfield and wonderful representation at Tupelo in Santa Barbara.

The Breakfast Club version is more typical of The Eastern Sierra. Heavy on the sausage gravy and a biscuit the size of your head, but without the super-crunchy breading or premium cut of steak found at recent experiences in Bakersfield or Santa Barbara. The Breakfast Club brings Chicken Fried Steak back to its roots, a humble, rough cut of steak and plenty of gravy, for all the starch on the plate and all-day satisfaction till dinner time. Not to be overlooked, the hash browns were seasoned with more than just salt and were a wonderful addition to the plate, sopping up gravy and runny egg yolk.

I actually saved the biscuit for a 3:30 snack, along with some cold coffee I was holding on to in my Thermos for when I reached Highway 99 and my usual drop off in productivity.

I enjoy the Breakfast Club and I’m happy to return for breakfast.

Breakfast Club on Urbanspoon


Stellar Brew, Mammoth Lakes

Stellar Brew gets their coffee from Black Sheep Roasters down in Bishop, home of Spellbinder Books. I've always liked the coffee at Black Sheep and Stellar Brew occupies the old space of The Looney Bean, the once local chain. I've ordered breakfast items here in the past and probably have been here a dozen times. Solid breakfast items and coffee.

I ordered up an iced coffee on a warm afternoon in Mammoth. They gave me three shots of espresso poured over ice and water, an Americano Iced Coffee. Sorry, no pics, but there was still a "crema" on top of the iced Americano. 

I even commented to the barista who drew my espresso that I was impressed with her skills at keeping the crema perfectly on top of the ice in my drink. She responded by saying that it was important to her that the espresso always have a "cream top". 


Stellar Brew & Deli on Urbanspoon


Pie in the Sky Cafe, Rock Creek

I only had three choices at 2:30 in the afternoon, Chocolate Pecan, Rhubarb, and Banana Cream pie. All the other fruit pies were sold out. Pie in the Sky starts selling pies at 10:30 am until they sell out and they sell out every day. I chose Chocolate Pecan.

I love math, so let’s do some. Pie in the Sky is open from June to October selling roughly 30 Pies a day, 7 days a week all Summer Long. So, 150 days multiplied by 30 pies a day…4500 Pies a season! Wow!

I spoke with Sue briefly about business. They’ve curtailed breakfast to simply pancakes and bacon every day. Lunch is composed of some burgers with chips. Pies drive business at Pie in the Sky. The cheapest slice of pie is $7.50. The cheapest whole pie is $40. Sounds like business is good.

And the Chocolate Pecan pie tastes good too. The crust is flakey, the pie filling is sweetened nicely, and my pie was just slightly warmed. A generous dollop of cream is also applied to each slice of pie.

A wonderful reward after hiking up the 12,000 Mono Pass Trail, high atop the Eastern Sierra. Cell phones don’t work here and we’re all better for it.

Pie in the Sky Cafe (at Rock Creek Lakes Resort) on Urbanspoon