Nicole Benter
Nicole Benter
Senior Program Director

Pairing Food and Adventure in the Sierra


People talk about pairing food with wine all the time.

While Brittany Todd and I are eating and adventuring our way through the Sierra via our Great Escape trip, I got to thinking: why doesn’t anyone talk about food and adventure pairings?

Well, I love food and I love adventure, and the Sierra delivers both in style. So here are my food and adventure pairing recommendations for the Sierra: Whether it’s cookies, beer, or burritos, I’ve got you covered. And whether it’s biking, skiing, or climbing, I’ve got you covered there, too.cookies

Let’s start with the good stuff: cookies. In my travels, I have devoured cookies throughout California, and I am confident that I have now found the best cookie spot in the state, possibly in the nation: Great Basin Bakery in Bishop, California. The Cowgirl Cookies they produce are plump pieces of sweet, apricot-filled joy, and I have it on good authority that both cowboys and cowgirls go crazy for them them.

If apricot cookies aren’t your thing, their Sierra Mud cookie is all chocolate with powered sugar sprinkled on top. After Brittany bit into one of these, her face lit up. When she could finally talk again, she said “Mmmm, all I can say is . . . orgasmic.”

But my favorite? That has to be the oat chocolate chip. I love it because it’s hearty with oats and nuts, isn’t too sweet and is vegan so never gives me a tummy ache. I buy 3 of these cookies – 1 for the immediate moment and two for my adventures later that day. These pair well with rock climbing, for instance in the Owen’s River Gorge, bouldering at the Happy Boulders, or up the Buttermilk Road. Come to think of it, you should pick up get 4 cookies so you always have an extra for a drooling friend!

At the Mono Market, they place their local spin on a burrito, naming it the “Monorita,” and adding many fresh vegies in with all the other goodness like rice, beans, cheese, and your choice of meat. It’s served with fresh salsa, plus I top it with an avocado from the Markets surprisingly large and fresh produce selection. The Monorita pairs well with a full day of backcountry skiing, such as the “coke” chute off the Dana Plateau. Or in the summer/fall/spring, the Monorita pairs well with kayaking on Mono Lake. When you don’t want blow your one $20 bill on fish tacos and a drink, head to the Mono Market, especially since it’s open year round and you can pick up produce there. And maybe some $1 rice noodles for the road.

I am going to have to claim beer as a food, since the atmosphere at the Brewing Lair is not to be missed. Rich brews some hearty hoppy bear there, and Susan pours and chats with a smile. Beer and their large grassy drinking area with corn hole, fire pit, and authentic wood tables is the perfect complement to a long mountain bike ride up Mills Peak, a great trail thanks to all the work by the Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship Foundation. Last time I was at the Brewing Lair, a local even recited cowboy poetry beside the fire pit. I have so many more adventure and food pairings, but I'll stop there for now.

Have you found other good adventure and food pairings, or any ones that you think can beat mine? I would love to hear about them and will selflessly offer to try them out!

Comments

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Katherine Evatt commented on Oct 11, 2013
Sure. Spend a day hiking or cross-country skiing at Carson Pass then cap off the day with dinner at the Volcano Union Inn.
Nicole Benter commented on Oct 14, 2013
Great ideas! I'll have to try the Volcano Union Inn and Rocker. I love skiing, whether it's cross-country, back-country or downhill, so I'll be sure to get out there!