Yosemite National Park
The Ahwahnee Dining Room: Executive chef Percy Whatley brings a slow-food sensibility to the Ahwahnees menu. The current guest favorite is the roast chicken, taken to new heights by being crisp-seared with porcini butter and garnished with local Yukon Gold potatoes and green beans. Chef Whatley relies on the closest farm-to-table relationships to guide the menu and modestly credits his suppliers for the Ahwahnees renowned cuisine, saying, We let the food speak for itself; treat it simply, and let it shine.
The elegant high-ceilinged dining room hosts daily meals as well as special events, such as the spectacular four-hour Bracebridge Dinner held each December and the Vintners Holidays that showcase regional wines. During Chefs Holidays, foodies can attend cooking classes or tour the kitchens.
Park information: Yosemite National Park inspires with its granite monuments, ancient forests, and breathtaking waterfalls.
Lodging: The Ahwahnee Hotel, completed in 1927, has hosted celebrities, politicians, and royalty; it even served as a naval hospital during World War II. If the Ahwahnee is beyond your budget ($469 to $1,000-plus), dont despair: Youll find quiet elegance and great food at Wawona Hotel ($145 to $217), an enchanting complex of Victorian structures near Mariposa Grove at the parks south entrance. Chef Robert Stritzinger pairs classical cuisine with regional wines in Wawonas lovely dining room.
Grand Teton National Park
The Mural Room at Jackson Lake Lodge: Diners here are treated to stunning views of the Teton Range as well as to such regional specialties as bison, elk, and trout. Executive chef Ric Reichert pays attention to detail: The popular Black Angus tenderloin is served with a confit of artichokes, fingerling potatoes, and French green beans, and is accompanied by a Pinot Noir reduction, smoked sea salt, and truffle butter.
Reichert says, We have a bake shop on property that produces breakfast pastries, rolls, breads, organic granola, and desserts. And this season, we are making our own ice
cream using cage-free eggs and hormone-free dairy.
Twenty minutes away, the Jenny Lake Lodge dining room serves a nightly five-course prix-fixe meal.
Park information: The picturesque mountain landscapes of Grand Teton National Park connect to Yellowstone via a scenic parkway.
Lodging: Though the mid-twentieth-century Jackson Lake Lodge is the parks largest landmark hotel, rooms and suites ($219 to $750) are usually booked early. Jenny Lake Lodges cabins ($585 to $825) include breakfast and dinner.