Glampin’ In The National Parks
Taking what we learned from some of the chefs of Las Vegas and with encouragement from our friends at ‘Go RV’ing’, we ventured out on the road to re-create Five Star meals outdoors in nature.
The base camp of operations for our glampin’ venture is the Las Vegas RV Resort a couple of minutes east of ‘the strip.’ This rather large property, managed by, Sandy, Las Vegas RV Resort, is perhaps the cleanest and quietest site you’ll ever experience. Staffers also personally escort and assist you with properly parking your rig. Whether you drive a 43 foot Class A or pull a Travel Trailer, having clear parking prompts saves you a whole lot of time or stress when it comes to getting settling in. Quiet, friendly, fun and safe grounds is the high bar standard of this resort.
For many travelers, burgers and hot dogs are staples for many camping outings. But meals can be a bit more fun and delectable with just a little imagination. A dish featuring marinated chicken kebabs (oil, a dash of coarse salt, thyme & dash of red pepper) atop green beans and red peppers medley with a tiny splash of stir-fry sauce is rather tasty.
We cut chicken thighs into bite-size chunks and marinate the spices for an hour or so. We place the chicken onto wet wooden skewers on a controlled high heat grill. A quick fast side dish is sauteed red bell peppers and green beans with a couple of pats of butter, then serve. We also drizzle just a smidge of honey and a dash of ginger on a few of the chicken kebabs – just for a different taste.
My favorite glampin’ dish is sirloin steak seared over a high heat grilled. One Chef suggests bringing the meat to room temperature. Rub the steak with a tiny splash of coca cola (tenderizer), a smidge of peanut cooking oil (higher heat tolerance) and a tiny, tiny pinch salt and pepper. Sizzle grill your steak for 6 minutes or so, per side, for medium rare- depending upon thickness. Drizzle a bit of basil and butter pesto on top and serve atop potatoes or vegetables.
Teresa and I find simple foods prepared at a campsite, with a national park as a backdrop, is unmatched anywhere. Some of the landscapes are so fantastic, they don’t seem quite real.
A dish we also fell in love with at ‘Uncork’d Las Vegas’ is the grilled lamb chops. During our venture to Capitol Reef National Park, we prepared lamb chops marinated with a citrus chutney-oranges, pineapple, a tiny pinch of salt, and served atop roasted mini potatoes, asparagus and a butter and mint pesto sauce with a dab of yogurt on the side.
This lamb dish smells so good while preparing, a couple of our fellow campers, from Scotland, stopped by and jokingly ask, “hey, what’s for dinner.” A bit later they brought some beer and we shared a conversation under the stars of a mild summer evening just outside Capital Reef National Park.
Fresh grilled fish caught from a lake or river near your campsite or even the store-bought kind, is really quick to prepare. Suggestions from a Las Vegas chef – first drizzle your fish with a bit olive oil, then very lightly season to your taste (salt & red pepper). Over a high heat sear the fish for only a few minutes each side then serve. We serve this fish dish topped with butter, grilled scallops wrapped in bacon over mashed potatoes, grilled onions, and vegetables and a splash of lemon juice on top.
Preparing this kind of outdoor fare is not complex. It’s a lot of fun.
Paul and I get to travel to many parts of this country in our RV and enjoy great foods. We treasure the often wonderful conversations with folks visiting the U.S. from all over the world. Just outside of Zion National Park, Utah, an adventurous couple, Margo and Thomas from the Netherlands, shared conversation and a toast to their enjoyment of touring western America.
While hanging out at Bryce Canyon National Park, at Ruby’s RV Resort, Paul and I met folks from Austria. Linda and Waltroud are the nicest people we’ve met in a long time. They also have great campsite humor…we enjoy laughing. Our traveling rag doll cat Oliver is pleased with all of the attention he receives on the road.
If there’s anything you want to learn about the history of Bryce Park and what to see there, best eateries, Teresa and Cary Deccio, the husband and wife couple who own and operate Ruby’s Inn and RV resort are an invaluable source of information and are super nice to all their guests.
Making a stop in Torrey, at the Thousand Lakes RV Park, run by Hafdis Maw, minutes outside of Capitol Reef National Park, we meet a very young couple from Germany, on their honeymoon here in the U.S., stopped by our RV outside of Cathedral Reef Park to say “Hi and also said such a beautiful country is America.
In the early afternoon, we’re delighted by a most wonderful food aroma wafting from a small cabin. Inside we meet a former New York City-trained chef preparing the evening menu dishes. Chef Peter left what he called the rocket-like pace of that city for his utopia. He says, this place is no metropolis but I recognized ‘my peace’ here. The chef creates great food 7 months of the year then get to travel and ski the rest of the year. Chef Pete’s lightly seasoned with salt and pepper, then slowly smoked tender spare ribs and tri-tip beef melt in your mouth with the natural taste of the meat itself. The jalapeno pepper cornbread and citrus bite coleslaw marry sweet and spicy flavors that give a savory punch to your taste buds. Chef’s particular attention to preparation and creating tastes with his dishes is just about everything you’d want great food to be. Can’t wait to make this dish.
The adventure starts only when you choose to Go! Be a participant in the walk of life.
In a future ChronicleTravelers, we share suggestions about which camping or glampin’ style and outdoor meal might be right for you and your adventure.