Eastern Sierra / 395

Surprised there’s no thread on this. Let’s leave Mammoth/Yosemite out of it since there’s already one and it’s really a whole different vibe. So maybe just Bishop south to Ridgecrest for the purposes of this topic.

Had a chance to get up and do a little backpack fishing in the Sierra last weekend. Finally got to try the much-vaunted Copper Top BBQ in Big Pine on the way up. A great pulled pork sandwich and the potato salad was spot on - I think potato salad is the bellwether of a good bbq joint. They’ve got all their smokers and grills out front right next to one of the prettiest piles of split oak I’ve ever seen.

Grabbed a couple to-go sandwiches in Bishop for car camping/acclimation night from Mahogany Smoked Meats along with a summer sausage for the trail. I’d loved their BLT the last time I was there - the house smoked bacon was delicious and layered on thick. The to-go ham and roast beef sandwiches were fine - better than Eric Schats anyways - but the summer sausage and house-made jerkies are the stars of the show.

Heading out, we grabbed a beer and burger at Mountain Rambler Brewery. The burgers all come on pretzel buns but it was better than expected. Beer wasn’t particularly memorable but went down good. Folks inside we’re playing board games, doing work, charging their devices, drinking after just getting off the trail - it’s a relaxed and varied crowd.

Wanted to give a quick shout out to Indian Wells Brewery. Technically right before the 395 turn off from the 14 - I think they’ve got the best water source for any brewery in the state and you can taste it. Their Mojave Red is my favorite but the Orange Blossom is nice too. There’s a burger stand on weekends but it’s not worth a stop on its own. The cheap growler fills however… Nice dog-friendly patio with a little shade out front. They renovated the old steakhouse before covid and had it running for a year or two but now they’ve turned it into an arcade for kids.

Has anyone tried Still Life Cafe in Independence? It’s been on my list for years but never seem to be heading through at the right time. It has a reputation for being slow and idiosyncratic but the buddy I was fishing with was raving about the food.


I also hit up that place on the way there a few months back. It’s pretty decent considering that it’s sort in the middle of nowhere!