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Dining on 395


balzaccom
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We're always looking for somewhere to eat that will be a bit different, and a bit better ,than the usual small town trailhead fare.  Yeah, we've found good burgers in a few places, and every town has a pizza place, a Mexican place, and at least one BBQ joint...etc.  But our last visit to Bishop gave us another reason to return.  Not only was the hiking great, but we found a really nice restaurant there.

While the location isn't ideal (it's in a small local shopping center on the road that leads to the North Lake/Sabrina/South Lake trailhead) Sage Restaurant a step above the usual small town café.  The menu is interesting, with enough dishes that we were tempted to eat there two days in a row.  The wine list is reasonable, and has some good choices on it.  And the whole feel of the place is more sophisticated and food focused than anything we'd expected--at least, anywhere on 395.. 

True, if it were in Napa, where we live, we probably wouldn't give it a second thought.  But it's not in Napa.  It's in Bishop.  And if you want a culinary experience in Bishop, it may not only be a good choice---it may be your only option.  We were delighted with it. Check it out the next time your are in Bishop:  621 W. Line St. #101 Town & Country Plaza. 

On the other hand, we also stopped for lunch at the Cardinal Café in Aspendell.  The menu had three choices--a hamburger, a hot dog, and a grilled cheese sandwich.  We asked if they had a salad, and the very perky and cute waitress suggested that we could order lettuce, tomato and an onion on the cheese sandwich---and that would be kind of like a salad.

Well, not really.  Oh dear.   

Luckily, the guy running the store in the other half of the building pointed out that he had a green salad in his cold cases...and we bought one of those.   It was green, a little faded, and came with a package of dressing in the box.   But we won't go out of our way to eat there again... 

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  • 1 month later...

Regarding Cardinal Café... what do you expect in a town of 75 people? ;-)  I'm just glad they live there so DoT has to plow the road all the way up to 8500 feet in the winter.  If you're looking for salad in the area, do what I do and go to the Pizza Factory.  For $5-6, you can play their "salad bar game": see if you can stack more than $5.25 of salad on the smallish plate they give you.

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I don't usually spurge on dining when resupplying on hikes or climbs in the 395 area. But, when finishing a long hike like at the end of a JMT, SHR SOBO or a  Low to High Route NOBO thru or after a very successful fishing/backpacking  outing I also like Sage for their quirky vegetarian or seafood dishes. I've eaten their Veg Medley w/ big chunks of tasty vegetarian steak- portobello mushroom -, various, sometimes changing grilled salmon plates(i like it w/grilled polenta and  veggies), and a damn tasty shrimp pesto pasta. I've asked nicely and the chefs have always tweaked the dishes for my somewhat picky tastes and diet. Friend had mushroom/squash/goat cheese  raviolis but after a long hike with a hiker hunger just were not enough to satisfy as far as amount. Taste was good though.  In Bishop I also have eaten at Astorgas for authentic Mexican but usually keep it vegetarian or  maybe some seafood or chicken  so can't comment on the meat dishes other than saying the Asadas and Carnitas looked awesome my friends ate and they enjoyed. I will get a Shrimp Asada I find good but the shrimp although good size were always overcooked.

 

In Independence when I'm NOT IN A HURRY I like the French Country African whatever somewhat eclectic mix cuisine of Still Life. I had a root veg soup that was a combo of french root and african root veggies that was GOOD w/ big crusty awesome bread and a med interesting salad. I've had the chefs here tweak some dishes at Still Life too. I haven't been there in a while but I belive the African waitress/chef is a vegetarian /semi vegetarian so she helps me out.

 

When you get up to Mammoth Lakes area I rec Karma for OK Indian, Giovannis for stuff yo face Italian, with the tourons -sandwiches/deserts at Schats Bakery and for fancy sit down at Nevados($$$, I ate a large seafood cioppini dish here that was great but definitely a splurge w/ a touron atmosphere, don't dirt bag here after not showering for a wk).  Other than Schats these are splurges for me and I've never ended an outdoors outing in Mammoth Lakes when near 395. I much prefer a centralized town location zero day or in and out with a non fancy more reasonably  priced burrito/smoothie/coffee stop at  Base Camp Cafe(OK overall but good burritos), healthy offering at Sierra Sundance Whole Foods market(really a med sized health food store that has lots of trail goodies and pre made eat it now offerings), and/or Looney Beans Coffee Shop(good b-fast burritos, muffins, scones, bread and Joe!, I like sitting down for hrs in here, coffee house vibe that does sandwiches, there's a nice Looney Bean that does good sandwiches on Main St in Bishop as well). Best of all these last three places are all next to each other in the Do It All/Mammoth Gateway Shopping Center 1/2 block from 395(buses, etc) also w/ a pizza place, and Rite Aid.       

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