Just got back from a short trip to Yosemite. Didn't try any new chow spots but did have some good things at a couple of old favorites. Started off with a bahn mi (BBQ chicken) from Ba Le in El Cerrito. They're open at 8am so it was convenient to grab something for the road - and at $2.25 a good deal. Our first night's meal was centered around boudin and cajun chicken sausage from Taylor's Sausage in Oakland - both are excellent: the boudin is light but very savory and the cajun sausage is moist with a nice background of heat - texture on the fine side. Both are $3.75 or 3.50 a pound? ... a very good deal. On night two we went down to the Mobil Mini Mart (Whoa Nellie Deli) and had dinner among the madness - they had a C&W band playing and the place was packed. We had the fish tacos, BBQ ribs and the angus burger. The fish tacos (2) - one comes with mango salsa and the other comes with ginger coleslaw -accompanied by black beans-a colorful plate for $9.95. A dose of the Tapatio sauce on the table rounds out the tacos. The St. Louis BBQ ribs are tender and have a smoky backnote....good but not memorable. They came with mashed potatoes and spaghetti squash...$16.95. The 1/2 lb Angus Steer Burger ($6.95) looked like a good burger - cooked as requested - with the regular condiments: lettuce, onion & tomato on a grilled bun.....fries can be added for $1.00. There is a nice green lawn and the lots of outdoor seating plus the incomparable view of Mono Lake. The volume of food that comes out of their kitchen is impressive - it's non stop it seems.
The food is good but some of its appeal is that you don't expect much out in the middle of nowhere (sorry Lee Vining) - not sure I'd be as excited about it if the WND was down the block from my house. But that being said, I'll be back next time I'm over in the Eastern Sierra.'
On the way home we stopped in Oakdale for lunch at Taqueria El Agave. The carnitas is still as good as I remembered - a rich, smoky depth that's often missing in other versions. Some of us had super burritos that are huge - you won't go away hungry. There is a nice salsa bar (on ice) ... the decor is plain but you won't notice it much when you start eating.
Ba Le 10174 San Pablo Ave. El Cerrito 94530 510. 528-8882
Whoa Nellie Deli Intersection -Tioga Pass & Hwy 395. 760. 647-1088
Taqueria El Agave 1570 East F Street, Oakdale 95361 209. 845-9447
open 7 days week - 8am - 10pm
One note about traffic - there is a long train that goes through Escalon
at 12.15 or so ..... about a 15 minute wait. We hit this both coming and going .... so, you are forewarned.