“Elevated” Road Food

After five rainy, cold days, the clouds parted and the glorious Tetons dominated the skyline.

The day after my kids finished their school year in June, my family hit the road for a multi-week, multi-sport road trip through the West. Because my family is gluten-free and some of us are also dairy-free, food prep poses an extra challenge when traveling. I am a meticulous planner, so always make at least a few meals ahead—crowd pleasers like chili, chicken-sweet potato stew, nutty granola, a batch of low-sugar muffins, etc.—and pack plenty of staples to get us through. But we’ve never camped for longer than a week, so I knew we’d have to resupply along the way. Lucky for us we found some delightful cafés, grocery stores, and bakeries on our journey, some tucked away in plain sight and others along remote mountain byways.

 

Pearl Street Market in Jackson, Wyoming

Located just off the main road, Pearl Street Market isn’t just the only grocery store in town, it’s the best in town.

After a week of cold and rainy camping through Yellowstone and the Tetons, we pulled into Jackson, Wyoming desperate for food that wasn’t reheated leftovers or eaten inside our van’s cramped quarters in a visitor’s center parking lot. Restaurants can be tricky for our crew, and Jackson doesn’t have a Duke’s (yet). Grocery stores can be a lifesaver. I can read ingredients, chat with the deli folks, and daydream up new meals. A simple Google search for “grocery stores” came up with one option near the tourist-thronged main square: Pearl Street Market. Part specialty grocery store, part deli, with a friendly, helpful staff, nice bathrooms, and decent prices, this attractive store beckoned like an oasis.

The deli counter at Pearl Street offered enough wholesome, hearty meals to keep our campers happy for a week

Located just far enough away from the T-shirt shops and jewelry stores to feel like a world away, my family went straight for the breakfast options in the café while I filled my basket with gluten-free crackers, quinoa granola, almond milk, snack bars, and a few treats. My daughters both ordered scrambled egg breakfasts with gluten-free toast and bacon. Normally, my oldest eats like a bird, but polished off her entire plate in one go. Both kids raved about the toast, and since we’d consumed what I’d packed, I asked if I could purchase some. The owner jumped at the chance to figure out a way to sell me a few of the sandwich hoagies that he has to special order through his baker. Let me tell you—those loaves saved us as we moved further south into Colorado where gluten-free bread was hard to find.

The butcher department sources livestock from local farms and is 100% grass-fed, all natural, antibiotic free, and have no added hormones. They are also dedicated to sourcing responsibly harvested fish—even that far from the ocean! I stocked up on containers of homemade egg salad, hummus, and a few deli salads that I savored for days.

 

Home-Cooked Goodness in Stanley, Idaho

Home sweet home away from home: Stanley Bakery, where the cinnamon rolls play second fiddle to the hearty and creative options that dominate the menu.

The last week of our trip was spent in central Idaho, where my family has had a second home since I was a kid. Even though I’m a surfer, I’m a mountain girl at heart, and these mountains have always been special to me. By that point, we were sick of quesadillas and sandwiches and Trader Joe’s snacks that normally get us through a trip. Thank goodness we landed at Stanley Bakery, located an hour north of Ketchum at the base of the Sawtooth Mountains.

We had planned a morning adventure of river rafting on the middle fork of the Salmon (hands down the highlight of our trip) and the day had been chilly (and wet!) Our raft guide urged us to stop in at Stanley Bakery on our return drive. Stanley has a population of less than 100 people and has the most incredible vista of the majestic Sawtooths. If the winter temperatures didn’t dip into the negative thirties, I wonder how many adventure-hounds would flock here.

The Stanley Bakery feels like a rustic, cozy ski lodge, with delicious smells wafting from the kitchen. There’s always a line out the door but that gives you the time you need to decide on what to order—a challenge because everything sounds delicious. With “Bakery” in the name you might expect scones and cinnamon rolls, which are always winners, but aren’t very imaginative. Stanley Bakery offers those but they’re the side dressing to the incredible variety of creative and super-healthy options. From stuffed-with-goodness breakfast burritos to inspired egg dishes to homemade granola and sourdough pancakes, everything listed on the menu made my mouth water, with plenty of GF, DF, and vegetarian options.

Stanley Bakery’s Bear Breakfast Bowl of goodness.

I finally settled on the Bear Breakfast Bowl, which was a steaming dish of quinoa topped with crispy, pan-roasted vegetables, two perfectly poached eggs, and dressed with a vegan creamy almond crème that was better than any hollandaise sauce I’ve ever tasted. After 11:00 they add sandwiches to their menu and anything can be made with gluten-free bread. We all ate our hearty mountain food on the deck with the craggy mountains creating a backdrop worthy of a movie set. The food was so good that I am planning an extended stay in Stanley during my next trip to Idaho: a week of hiking, rafting, fishing, hotspringing, and with Stanley Bakery’s help, eating!

 

If you go:

Pearl Street Market is located 40 W. Pearl Avenue, Jackson, WY, and is open 7am-9pm daily. Breakfast is served M-F 8am-10:30am, Lunch from 10:30-3:30.

Stanley Bakery is located at 250 Wall Street in Stanley, Idaho and is open daily 7am-2pm from mid-May through October (you wouldn’t want to be here in the winter anyways).

July 20, 2018
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