Oh, dear Ahwahnee, how do I love thee?
1. The worlds most beautiful setting.
2. The boysenberry pie.
3. The notion of free tea and cookies every afternoon.
Note I said notion, as the cookies were industrial strength slice and bake, and merely good, not great. The deliciousness came from the fact I ate them whilst sitting in my camp chair on a gravel bar IN the Merced drinking hot tea.
This was our third return trip since our honeymoon 12 years ago, and the Ahwahnee is still my favourite hotel. (The Sukhothai and the Red Fox Inn are 2 and 3 on the list, FWIW). Each visit, we've refined and improved our plan of attack, and I noticed this trip that I'm not the only lunatic who brings her own chow along with the luggage.
Clearly, the restaurant is making efforts to upgrade; organic chicken and organically farmed salmon are on the dinner menu ($26 and $36, respectively), but we did not feel compelled to dress up after long days of hiking.
During our stay, we ate one lunch in the restaurant, and ordered salads and a piece of the boysenberry pie from room service each night. At lunch Monday, I had the bay shrimp Cobb salad ($17.50) and Tim had the Monte Cristo (I think $15). My salad came with a large portion of shrimp, crumbled bacon, blue cheese and sliced olives straight from the #10 Sysco can over a bed of mesculin mix. Loius dressing with fresh horseradish, a nice touch, came on the side, and once I scraped away the olives, my salad was delicious. The Monte Cristo was oozing gruyere, and comes with a small dish of berry sauce for dipping: also delicious. The steak fries on the side were a bit soggy and limp, so they were pushed away like the olives.
The pie? Flaky crust, fresh boysenberries with a nice acid to sugar balance, and even better with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Perfect way to end each night.