Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Mammoth Lakes Part 1

And then it hit. The biggest storm in 100 years, and I swear I heard Sam the Snowman say that as we struggled for the last 20 miles up hill, on roads covered with black ice and with visibility down to it's bare minimum to keep the Pathfinder on the road. We bypassed the signs 5 miles outside of Mammoth that the CHP's put up that say "Chains required, Hell we had 5 miles to go and I wasn't going to stop now for chains.
The temperature gauge in the car was pegged at 8 degrees as we rode into town. 8 degrees? I had no idea the gauge went that low.  The entrance to our hotel was just a hole in the snow and after seeing the hotel we changed it's name to the Overlook hotel as it was buried under 15 feet of snow!
we had to drive below that overhang of snow to enter the parking structure. One sneeze and that snow mass would have buried us. White knuckle driving at it's finest.
 Icicles hung down like Nosferatu's fingers at the front door of the hotel, Curling up like frozen and dead appendages beckoning us to dare to enter. At 8 degrees outside. Hell, we didn't care we ran through them and into the hotel. Once inside we found everything to be normal. a fireplace was glowing and there was an indoor pool with steam coming off of it. My God outside was filled with dancing Jeffrey Dahmer shadows as snow laden trees were lit up by car headlights and they're silhouettes created ghastly stretched arms from their branches that spread over the highway trying to pull you into a ditch. But inside? cozy warm.
Mammoth over Christmas 2010 had more snow then any place on earth! and was stunning and glowing like a Bjork dress in morning.

When we awoke the next day the place looked like we were transported to Whoville. Truly beautiful and we wanted to go outside and sing "Welcome Christmas" as it was truly Christmas day and the sun was up. The Grinch had come, but once again he couldn't take Christmas from us.
Food. we needed food. I didn't come to ski or snowboard as I blew my knee out years ago surfing, yup not only does Charley not surf, but Charley doesn't snow board or ski. Snow mobiles? yup, they have cup holders on them. Charley do that.

 Baby and I headed out alone to grab a bite as no one else was up yet. We drove around and first stopped at Schat's Bakery and Cafe.

My God the aroma that came from this place was amazing. Yeasty warm inviting like being wrapped up in the warm Cinnabon cream cheese frosted bosoms of a 1966 Raquel Welch from One Million Years BC.
Stacked to the ceiling with fresh baked goodies.

But we decided to try somewhere else. Which was probably a good thing because I could have devoured an entire bakery case like a giant chipper shredder. We were craving burgers and a beer. we drove over to the Fireside Burgers & Tap
 The menu looked perfect. But looks are deceiving.

I ordered the Fireside Burger. an Angus beef burger with Pastrami and Swiss cheese. Ok, Angus beef is a breed of cattle that is either a Red Angus or Black Angus. Black Angus being the most popular breed of cattle in the US. Within the Angus beef spectrum you have a ton of certifications. You have certified. Which the Fireside has on it's menu and a good grade. Not the best but good and then you have just the term "Black Angus", which really means nothing. It doesn't denote any certification of quality or breeding. But Certified does and it's usually moist and juicy.

The burger came out looking awesome. Dripping with Pastrami. The Pastrami was juicy and moist and the bun was warm and soft. One bite into it and I realized why when I ordered it and asked for it to be medium rare. the cashier looked at me with a puzzled look. the meat was dry and gray like the meat from a Jack in the Box taco. You know we love them for what they are. warm gray meat on a soggy oil saturated taco shell. we expect that and they are a cult classic for being what they are. But this burger should not have been this way. you could tell that the beef was from frozen patties.
Not good eats here. But the beer was perfect. I always like to try the local beer where ever I go.
There is a brewery up here that is fantastic. Called, what else, but the Mammoth Brewing Company.
It was delicious, crisp and refreshing just like a good lager should be.
The other beer is a Real McCoy Amber, very Munichy and malty. yummy.
Stay tuned for more adventures and culinary eplorations as we continue our journey and discover more culinary treats in Mammoth Lakes, California.

Cold Chow



Mary said...

Looks precarious, but pretty! I would not have resisted baked goods myself, more power to you, my friend.

caninecologne said...

hi michael - loved this post!

"white knuckled driving at its finest" and the fingers of "Nosferatu". i expect nothing less from you.

sorry that the hamburger was horrible. frozen burgers = barf.

hey, re Raquel Welch...i have a short story for ya.

in junior high, we had an old codger of a math teacher. he was a kindly but cranky old coot. one day when he stepped out of class, one of the guys opened up his cabinet just for kicks.you know curious junior high boys can be.

well, surreptitiously taped behind the cabinet door was a full-on poster of Raquel Welch in that cavewoman outfit with her uh, milkwagons hanging out. the poster is from the very movie that you reference.

turns out mr. ayers had a thing for her. he walked in and was a bit aghast that the kids "discovered" his secret but he laughed it off. it became a running joke in the class.

Michael said...

hi Mary, I can not resist baked goods they are my Kryptonite. had to back out of there with out making eye contact with any eclairs or I woulda been done for.

hi cc, the fingers just become possessed when I sit down to write and I have no idea where this stuff comes from...and he 1960's Ms. Welch is an awesome inspiring sight to behold.funny story about the teacher...we tortured many a teacher in my day as well...


I think if you had a pilsner you had a lager not an ale, different brew styles (top vs. bottom fermenting) ;)

Michael said...

Thanks for stopping by TF. Duly noted and fixed. in my haste to throw this thing together I rambled out the wrong style.

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