Blue Monkey Expeditions just keeps delivering, but this time, instead of amazing vistas and soul-satisfying hikes, it’s fabulous food. Our welcome dinner was held at the Blue Belly Grill at Zion Ponderosa Ranch, and it totally blew us away.
I’m still kicking myself for not bringing my camera to dinner to photograph the amazing array of food that Executive Chef Francis prepared for us, but it’s probably for the best–if you saw pictures, you’d be starving for it . . . we started with Buffalo Nachos (yep, with Bison meat), a farm-fresh crudite with chipotle dip (it included the best-tasting carrots I’ve ever had, and also re-introduced me to jicama . . . yum!), and home-made grilled flatbread with an olive oil dipping sauce (basically a combination of all things perfect in this world).
The salad course was next with a choice of a chipotle ceasar salad (amazing, with just a hint of heat) or a bowl of baby greens with a blue cheese viniagrette (dynamite–a crowd favorite for sure). Chef Francis then surprised us with her Besos Calientes (that’s “hot kisses” for those of you non-Spanish speakers) which was a huge shrimp wrapped in bacon and grilled with a spicy barbeque dipping sauce. FAN-TAS-TIC.
Entree choices included salmon, organic chicken, or steak, and all rivaled the most gourmet preparations I’ve ever had. I’m getting hungry just thinking about it again . . . And then, as if that wasn’t enough, we were served a huge apple crisp (with apples from the farm right down the street) to finish the meal. Yeah, we had to roll out of there.
Mallorie worked the front of the house, and she was the absolute epitome of a great server (this pic was taken on our last night, from the ranch’s casual restaurant, Gus & Rosey’s).
The nice thing about staying at Zion Ponderosa was that we got to see the same friendly faces at breakfast that we saw at dinner the night before, including both Mallorie and Francis (we grabbed Chef Francis for this shot as she was running back and forth from the kitchen to the dining room).
Everything we ate (breakfasts, lunches, and dinners) at Zion Ponderosa was wonderful, and I think that’s because Chef Francis had a hand in all of it ;). Here’s a shot of the casual dining room at the end of a dinner service . . .
So if you find yourself visiting Zion National Park, I highly recommend taking a drive out to the Blue Belly Grill–you’ll definitely be happy you did!