Monday, May 28, 2018

Gluten Free at Yosemite National Park

Over Mother's Day weekend, we visited Yosemite National Park for the first time.

Saturday morning, we ate an early breakfast at home, then drove to The Majestic Yosemite Hotel to have lunch.  We arrived an hour earlier than expected, but were disappointed that we were not seated until the time of our reservation, even though they seemed to have a lot of open tables.  While we waited, we walked around the hotel, and bought some cherries at the candy shop, which had a nice selection of gluten free snacks and sweets to choose from.

The Dining Room at The Majestic Yosemite Hotel notes gluten free options on their menus, which you can view here.

For an entree, I chose the sauteed rainbow trout almondine with rice pilaf, seasonable vegetables, and sherry brown butter.  When I placed my order, our server told me that my dish would not be served with almonds, because they were mixed with bread crumbs, but he assured me that my dish would be still be delicious.  I received two large pieces of fish, but it was underseasoned, and I had to ask for the sherry brown butter, because it seemed to be absent from my plate.  I did enjoy my fish, vegetables, and rice, but I had to add salt to everything.

For dessert, I ordered coffee gelato and the white chocolate mousse cake to share with my husband.

When I asked about the white chocolate mousse cake, our server told me that it was a deconstructed dessert with white chocolate and chocolate mousse, with pieces of flourless chocolate cake.  I must admit that I ate most of this dessert before I gave my husband a few bites, but he was also sharing a gluten-filled Majestic Skillet Cookie with our daughters.  I loved everything about this dessert, especially the bites of mousse I ate with a piece of the spun sugar decoration on top, which added a nice crunch.

I was not a fan of the coffee gelato, which I thought tasted like dulce de leche, another option on their menu.  Overall, we all enjoyed our meals at The Majestic, and the restaurant was beautiful,  but the service was incredibly slow.  My daughters really liked their grilled chicken breast sandwich with mango chutney, which can be made gluten free.

After lunch, we visited Yosemite Falls and El Capitan, the largest exposed granite monolith in the world.

We spent one night at Tenaya Lodge, which is two miles from the south entrance to Yosemite.  Friends of ours recommended this hotel, and we would definitely stay there again on future trips.

While we waited for our table to be prepared at Jackalopes Bar and Grill, I wandered into Harvest & Grounds Deli, where I purchased two of Mariposa's amazing triple chocolate truffle brownies to take home.

Tenaya Lodge has several restaurants to choose from, and you can view their gluten free breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus here.  

The hostess that seated us told me that gluten free options were labeled on Jackalopes' menu, and that other dishes like the Harris Ranch flat iron steak and the chicken peri peri could be modified to be gluten free.

I started my meal with a white sangria, that our server told me tasted like peach. It was good, but I would probably not order it again on future visits.  My husband and I also shared a glass of Hearst Ranch Enchantment Late Harvest Zinfandel after dinner.  I am usually not a fan of red wine, but I do like late harvest wines, because of their sweetness.

I was not very hungry for dinner, because of our big lunch, so I ordered the chilled Thai lettuce wrap with chicken, cabbage, cilantro, daikon sprouts, and peanuts to share with my husband.  Sadly, the peanut sauce they are usually served with is not gluten free, so my husband had that all to himself on the side.  Our server brought me out several dressings to try, and I ended up using a balsamic, which was quite good.  If you are looking for a light dinner, this dish is perfect.

After talking to our server about watching the sunset at Glacier Point, we got back in the car for the hour-long ride.

The view of Half Dome and the waterfalls along Yosemite Valley was incredible.

For breakfast the next morning, we kept it simple, because we had reservations for brunch before leaving Yosemite.

I had a cup of Modern Oats nuts & seeds with a banana from Harvest & Grounds Deli at Tenaya Lodge, and my daughters and husband had Cinnamon Chex and bananas.

Before brunch, we stopped at Bridalveil Fall, one of my favorite sites at Yosemite.  Sadly, the Mariposa Grove of giant sequoias was closed, but we hope to return to Yosemite after it reopens in June.

We also stopped at the Valley Visitor Center and walked around the Indian Cultural Exhibit and Village before heading back to Yosemite Valley Lodge, where we had parked. 

I emailed Aramark's General Manager at Yosemite Valley Lodge about a week before our arrival.  Jonathan suggested we have Mother's Day brunch at the Mountain Room Restaurant, and offered to make a reservation for me.  When we arrived, I was a little concerned to see that the only option for brunch was a buffet, but the manager on duty quickly brought out Chef Phillip, who gave me a tour of the buffet, and made me safe dishes in the kitchen.

From the carving station, I was able to eat the house smoked filet of salmon and the slow roasted prime rib.  Both were so delicious, I had to resist going back for more.

The first dish Chef Phillip brought me was watermelon & feta cheese salad with balsamic reduction, which has been a favorite of mine since I first tried it at Disney's Animal Kingdom. 

Next up was a massive plate of scrambled eggs, applewood smoked bacon, maple sausage links, and fried potatoes topped with sauteed onions.  My potatoes had to made in a pan with fresh oil, because of shared fryers.  I told Chef Phillip and I enjoy my breakfast meats with maple syrup, so I was given a side of that too.

I love bacon dipped in syrup, but the potatoes might have been my favorite item on this plate.

For dessert, Chef Phillip brought me this beautiful plate of flourless chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream.  It was the perfect ending to a perfect Mother's Day brunch.  A big thank you to Chef Phillip for making my dining experience so special.

The Mountain View Restaurant has a view of Yosemite Falls from every table, and does note gluten free options on their regular menus.

Overall, we had an incredible trip to Yosemite National Park, and with our new America the Beautiful annual pass, I hope to return to Yosemite this summer, and visit Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks this fall.

What are your favorite gluten free options at Yosemite National Park?


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