Bright Angel Restaurant (Grand Canyon)
Dennis and I took a much needed vacation in October and began with camping in Grand Canyon National Park. Yep, actual tents outdoors for that real camp feel! We were a tad jealous of the RVs though as temperatures dropped to the 30's. I was imagining glorious campfire food like on previous trips (with experienced campers) but ended up grabbing food last minute since it was just us beginners. This provided a dinner of canned soup and ramen heated with a jet boil. The next day was breakfast spam plus tuna sandwiches packed for lunch.
We headed to the Kaibab Trail, choosing the 3 mile roundtrip hike to Cedar Ridge checkpoint and back. There was gorgeous scenery everywhere.
This is a view at the beginning of Kaibab Trail, only a tiny fraction of the path. After a day of hiking and exploring, we decided canned soup wouldn't cut it for dinner. We needed REAL food!
Food choices were limited in the park so we went with casual dining at Bright Angel Restaurant (rather than upscale El Tovar and the village food court). For dinner, there was a small wait, approx. 15-25 minutes. Many international students work here part time and our waitress Jean was originally from Vietnam. She was very attentive and friendly.
For an appetizer, we ordered the Smoked Trout Spread (7.75), which was served with carrots, red bell peppers, and pita bread. The dip was the texture of tuna salad and a bit fishy, as Jean warned us, but still decent. I don't usually eat raw bell peppers but the crisp sweetness against the creamier spread was the best combo, especially since the carrots were a bit dry and the pita bread was on the hard side.
A bowl of soup came with each entree we ordered. The left one was spicy black bean soup but wasn't really spicy at all. More like a tad bit salty. The creme not only decorated it but helped cut through the saltiness. I much preferred the chicken soup on the right, which had a tomato base kind of taste and plenty of chew-tastic barley (or similar) inside.
Dennis ordered the All Natural Pork Baby Back Ribs (18.50) which consisted of a huge slab of baby back ribs over corn and mashed potatoes.
We both immediately thought of Hungry-Man (images from Brandeating) and this entree became known as Hungry-Man UPGRADED (sans brownie)! The ribs were tender but the bbq sauce was a bit strong on the tanginess, similar to the tanginess in the frozen version! I thought there was too much sauce on top but Dennis doesn't mind things like that. The heaping pile of corn and mashed potatoes were standard.
I tried something completely different, The River Runner (12.65). The two trout fillets came stacked so I pulled them apart so you could see the massive size! It seems that trout is a "fishier" taste in general as we saw in this dish. The skin was still intact but wasn't crispy so we didn't care for it. The mustard-based sauce was very mild and could have used a little stronger flavor since the fish was so mellow. Steamed green beans and some rice (under the fish) rounded out the entree.
We decided to go back to Bright Angel Restaurant for breakfast the next day before leaving the park.
Breakfast at the lodge was huge too! Dennis had the Bright Angel Breakfast Sandwich (7.50), decent ingredients with a generous serving on top of ciabatta bread (yay for the good breads). The egg portion was a bit floppy and could have used a little more cook time to stabalize. The meat was thick and slightly seared so it was decent overall.
I ordered the Pulled Pork and Green Chili Hash (7.90) since it sounded interesting. The pork meat was average but I liked eating it with the green chili. The hash parts were quite soft and there were also occasional plops of tasty pepperjack chesese in there. I'd recommend Dennis's dish over this one though.
My choice of an English muffin came on a side plate. They also asked me how I wanted my eggs and I asked for poached and on the side? This looked like quite the mess though. We also ordered Banana Bread (2.00) but it looked unappetizingly dry. We asked for a replacement and the new slice more or less looked the same but was a little more moist. Still meh.
Bright Angel Restaurant has average cafeteria style food but it filled the belly. And after all, our main goal was to relax and see the Grand Canyon for this part of our trip! Mission accomplished.
Bright Angel Restaurant
9 N Village Loop Dr
Grand Canyon Village AZ 86023
Camping is so fun, but we had the same problem when we went. It got soooo cold at night so the floor was freezing. We bought an inflatable mattress pad at Costco and hopefully that will help next time.
I had all these grand ideas for cooking over an open fire too but starting the fire was impossible so I was so happy we brought a camp stove too! We ended up making bacon +egg breakfast tacos, corn on the cob and we also ate lots of non-cooked super-easy PB&J's.
I've never been to the Grand Canyon but its definitely on my list, beautiful pictures !
I didn't notice cold ground, probably because of all the stuff we borrowed, including air mattress pads, a mummy sleeping bag, and liners. We only owned the tent and one sleeping bag!
Luckily our friend let us borrow his jetboil to heat up the food! I was remembering YOUR yummy camping trip which is why our food seemed so lack-luster. Hubby didn't want to bring anything that required refrigeration, like eggs, so that narrowed the choices quite a bit. Hopefully next time I'll plan ahead so the food will be fab!
I'm not a camping person but it's been a 'slight hope' that I can visit the Grand Canyon. I haven't actually done a campfire thing since like the 6th grade so I'd be a total fish-outta-water if I tried to camp at the Grand Canyon. But it does sound amazing doesn't it - cooking a hot meal, drinking hot 'whatever' drink, and making smores by a campfire on a chilly starry night. Did you drive there?
I remember seeing Hungry Man in the frozen section and begging my mom to let us try it but she always refused! Maybe that's why I have a fascination with frozen dinners to this very day. The banana bread looks like super dry squaw bread :( Looks kinda pricey at $2 for one thin slice.
You should totally go (take FB)! It's about an 8 hour drive to get there from San Diego. I also recommend a group cuz it's more fun that way. And they'll (hopefully) have experience too!
I'm familiar with Hungry-Man mainly because Dennis ate that stuff in college. I tend to buy 'healthier' frozen options like lean cuisine or healthy choice but for extra calories, I like stouffers or marie callendars. They are my emergency meals at work if I'm too busy or forgot lunch.
Your photos of the Grand Canyon are gorgeous! I've never been but it's definitely a place that's on my bucket list to visit, but sans camping. I did camping once and that was pretty much enough for me. I'd be into open fire cooking though, as long as I had an RV to sleep in. haha. Dennis' ribs totally looks like a Hungry Man meal!
Maybe if you go camping when the weather is perfect then you'll like it! One of the best campfire items I ate was a smokey mountain pie. Not actually sure if that's what it's called but imagine pie filling or other goodies between bread that gets a panini crust from the metal clamper thing... err, maybe not so easy to imagine but yea, darn tasty!
I wish I had their (Bright Angel Restaurant) recipe for their Cranberry Sauce! We ate our Thanksgiving Meal 2016 there. My Daughter, Son in Law, Grandson, my Wife and I. Guy was our Waiter. Friendly and just did a great job....
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