Yosemite Valley Food


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Topic Author's Original Post - Jun 9, 2008 - 07:16pm PT

Before I get started, let me spell out a few personal guidelines I used to make the following judgment calls:

1-food that tastes bad should either be really healthy and/or really cheap.
2-food that is expensive should taste good and be of high quality.
3-food that is unhealthy should taste good enough to make it worth eating.

The issue with YNP is that all food sources (grocery, restaurant, concessions) are owned/operated by one company and you can easily find yourself eating something you don't like, after paying more than you wanted to.

Universal rule: stay away from all the food service areas that face the outdoors (a deck). These places include the grill at Yosemite Village, Curry Village Tacos, Pizza Patio, etc. The foods at these places are low quality and overpriced.

Also stay away from Degnan's Pizza Loft. The pizza is pricey and low quality. The only high point is that they're open until 10pm.

Stay away from the Lodge Cafeteria in general, but it's a good place to hang out if the weather is bad and you're staying at Camp 4. Most of their food is again low quality and overpriced. They did once have a good 7 grain hot cereal for breakfast, but the ubiquitous oatmeal is no good. Everything tastes like it's from a can, from a powder, or from a freezer.

The Curry buffet is usually pretty unhealthy and gross at breakfast time, but gives you some options to choose from and you can throw out what you don't like and go for something else. The dinners tend to be better than the breakfasts, though the quality can vary due to unqualified staff. Check the menu listing posted on the wall near the registers. This can be your best option for a healthy, filling dinner at a decent price ($12). This is the place to go for massive fuel consumption after running your reserves to empty. They stop taking customers at 8pm and stop serving at 8:30.

The Lodge restaurant and Ahwahnee hotel are both overpriced for what you get, with the Ahwahnee being way swanky. I've only eaten at the Lodge restaurant. The food there was decent enough, but you pay tourist prices for tourist grade food.

For coffee, make your own. All Yosemite coffee is disgusting, burnt tasting, horrible. They'll give you a free taste before you order if you ask. All coffee in the park is the same brand. You can buy beans at the grocery, but I'm sure it's cheaper to bring from home.

Luckily, there are some good food options once you figure out how to play the game. The Village grocery store is great because it has plenty of everything you could need, including organics, staples, meats, cheeses, wines, produce, on and on... Don't buy any of the pre-made sandwiches, but the ready to eat BBQ chicken located in the hot box in back is a steal and tasty. Grab a drink and some fresh veggies and you're eating cheaper, better, healthier than anyone at the Pizza Deck.

A good deal can also be found at Degnan's Deli (until 5pm). They have good sandwiches and soups for decent prices. They have pre-made sandwiches for $5 and serve soups in a sourdough bread bowl. They also do a limited breakfast menu and sell drinks and some other foods.

Another awesome deal is the ice cream at the Curry Coffee Corner. For less than two bucks you can get a monster scoop on a cone or for less than three bucks you can get a fully loaded single scoop sundae. If you find yourself cinching down the belt on your climbing pants every other day, this is the place to go before you waste away.

Lastly, you can hit the Curry Bar (hidden next to pizza deck and buffet). They are a full bar, but serve burgers, nachos, fries, and a grilled chicken salad. Not super healthy, but the prices are reasonable, the quantities sufficient, and tasty enough. They're open until 10pm.

BTW-If you're up in Tuolumne Meadows, bypass everything and head straight for the Mobile Station outside the park on the east side. The food is pricey, but you get awesome food prepared by a real chef and from scratch. There's often live music and a great hang-out scene. Don't miss it.

Ice climber
Ashland, Or
Jun 9, 2008 - 08:18pm PT
Skip the Curry pizza deck? You're Crazy...

The bar at the Cedar Lodge west of El Portal has some good burgers.

Topic Author's Reply - Jun 9, 2008 - 08:59pm PT
$8 (w/ tax) for a micro pizza with a teaspoon of sauce and a few piddly bits of pineapple is a ripoff. $8 will get you a nice burger with fries or a big plate of nachos right next door at the bar.

Trad climber
Orange CA
Jun 9, 2008 - 09:10pm PT
Ive always thought the pizza at curry was pretty good, but on the other hand I was always really hungery and had bin climbing all day when eating it. And your right it's way over priced.

Not here
Jun 9, 2008 - 09:16pm PT
I too thought the Curry Vegetarian Pizza was good.
So was the Curry Village hamburger and beer, along with the side benefit of a nice Yosar slideshow being shown just a few feet away.


Trad climber
Santa Clara, Ca.
Jun 9, 2008 - 09:17pm PT
A meatball sammich at the Caferteria was pretty good not too long ago. Persomal sized pizza was o.k. the next day.

Money isn't an issue with me right now so I just don't care about cost, just taste and nutritional value.
Jay Wood

Trad climber
Fairfax, CA
Jun 9, 2008 - 09:34pm PT
The caesar salad with chicken at the lodge cafeteria is decent...

The steak salad at the Mobil station- fabulous!

Topic Author's Reply - Jun 25, 2008 - 11:46am PT
Felt this was worthy of an update:

I was at Degnan's Deli getting a sammich and was feeling the need to consume mass quantities, so I innocently asked how much it would cost to get double turkey on my $6 "Lost Arrow".
To my astonishment, the DNC lunch lady said it wouldn't cost anything.
In fact it wouldn't cost anything to put double of everything on it and she even offered me the choice of adding any other meat, cheese, etc. that wasn't even part of the original order.
So I walked outta there with what looked like one of those giant meat sandwiches you get at the Jewish delis in NYC; basically two meals (tasty too) for $6. Not bad for the Valley of DNC.
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Jun 25, 2008 - 12:42pm PT
You can always come to the FaceLift, and be guaranteed of great food and good company.
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Jun 25, 2008 - 01:11pm PT
Bring back the Garden Terrace! Are they even using that building anymore?

It's sad down there these days.


'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Oakville, Ontario, Canada, eh?
Jun 25, 2008 - 01:24pm PT
I had supper last night the Mountain Room restaurant over at the Lodge, and the food was both "regularly" priced and quite tasty. I was surprised at the prices, as they seemed about what you would pay anywhere else outside the Valley. The caesar salad was quite tasty [and even spelled correctly on the menu] and the steak was quite superb, served on a delicious bed of risotto[sp?]. And the dessert was to DIE for - creme brulee properly done with a blowtorch. Good marks.

I like the pizza they make here, be it the Deck or the Loft.

I was disappointed with the Bar-B-Q place in Lee Vining - while they grilled their food, it wasn't done in the classic Bar-B-Q style, which imparts a pink colour to the meat. I will not return.

The Mobil Station over at Lee Vining, however, totally ROCKS! But dude, how could you fail to mention the mango margaritas???
the Fet

Knackered climber
A bivy sack in the secret campground
Jun 25, 2008 - 01:27pm PT
I have much better things to do with my time in the Valley than cook. But then again I have a little more money than time nowadays.

I hit the lodge for a breakfast sandwich, often skipping the line of folks waiting for their big orders.

The philly sandwich at the lodge has lots of calories, is yummy, and clogs your arteries nicely.

I seem to hit the Awahnee bar a lot, since I end up getting down from something at 10:30PM. The chili is good.

I enjoy a healthy, hearty, organic meal as much or more than the next guy, but I'm not picky and would rather pick up something quick and keep climbing.

Topic Author's Reply - Jun 25, 2008 - 01:50pm PT
I had the creme brulee at the Mountain Room once and sent it back. The sugar crust was proper, but the creme was grainy and lacked flavor.

Had the carnitas tacos at the Mobil last week. DAMN they were good! I tasted the grill flavor before I actually bit into it. It made me pause for a second in disbelief. That is what food should be.

Social climber
wuz real!
Jun 25, 2008 - 03:28pm PT
Lobster Tacquitos @ Mobil is the best food in area code 209 ( is that still 209?) unless you make the time to make it yourself.

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Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Jun 25, 2008 - 03:50pm PT
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Chris on El Cap Spire

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some old fogie on Long Ledge

Social climber
wuz real!
Jun 25, 2008 - 03:53pm PT
Okay, as Clint points out, the best food is always context dependent!

High up on the Capitain, ladies side or other, what could be better that a can of fruite cocktail/ Except mebbe madarin oranges? Cheers!

Trad climber
Jun 25, 2008 - 03:58pm PT
Geez you are all picky!

Bussing tables at village pizza and the lodge works pretty well, as does 2 cup-o-noodles. 50 cents and you eat a whole meal.

Lately i've taken to getting a costco sized bag (like 6 pounds) of generic brand cereal. Get a gallon of milk, hide it in the merced, and for like 6 bucks you have a month of breakfasts.

Topic Author's Reply - Jun 25, 2008 - 05:14pm PT
Of course there is a sliding scale when it comes to food.

Nothing wrong with cheap food that is tolerable.

The perfect situation of course being free food that tastes awesome (like at the opening of the climber's exhibit!).

The reason for my original posting though was because I'm sick of paying good money for shite food (in the Valley and otherwise).

BTW- I'm addicted to those cups of Jello with fruit in it. Lighter than canned and no fridge needed.
pimp daddy wayne

The Bat Caves
Jun 25, 2008 - 06:02pm PT
People want GOOD food. If good food is available than people will buy it.

Social climber
Joshua Tree
Jun 25, 2008 - 06:47pm PT
Best "deal" might be just to pony up for the fancy shizz in the Mountain Room. Pricey sure, but for the quality not too out of line. Certainly close to what you'd pay outside the ditch for similar food and atmosphere, as opposed to the rest of the places where you overpay for mediocre food.

Other good deal: Make a friend with a DNC or NPS employed local, use their discounts.

other ok deals: bowl of chili at the lodge caf. Load the bowl to overflowing, and put a giant pile of the grated cheese, crackers, onions on the side on your tray. That was at least a once a week thing for me.

The Degnans sandwiches aren't a horrible rip off, but more than I typically want to pay for lunch.

It's It ice cream/cookie sandwiches and the dole frozen fruit juice bars - strawberry or lime. The lime ones are like crack when it breaks 90. Both about a buck.

If you're really hurting, Tina's frozen burritos in the various stores for about a buck (same ones you can get in your local grocery for 3/$1...but still, not much else you can get for a buck in Yos). Microwave right there next to the freezer case (at least in the lodge store).

Poorer than that? There are ways, but you'll have to learn them for yourself.

Plenty of creative ways to get decent food. Go trolling around Housekeeping or the Pines mid evening when the giant groups are all liquored up and have tons of leftovers from their nightly BBQ laying on their tables. Be assertive, ask them straight away if they have any spare food. After all, you just down from 6 days climbing El Cap and the store and restaurants are closed (even if you've just been swilling OE by the river all week).
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