Food is a key ingredient for any successful golf getaway, no matter if you’re traveling alone or as a couple or in a big buddy-trip group of friends. Simply put, some of our most memorable moments away from the fairways and greens are served up by the goodies we gobble. And in the first of our special Year in Review episodes of the “Talking GolfGetaways” podcast, hosts Mitch Laurance and Darin Bunch take you on mega-sized culinary journey through their travels over the past 12 months, highlighting all the stops along the way that left a delectable mark on their taste buds. What’s in Episode 124, our “Year in Review Golf-Travel Supersized Food Spectacular,” you ask?
Best Breakfasts, from the Griddled Huckleberry Bread Pudding French Toast served in a refurbished train dining car at Montana’s historic Izaak Walton Inn to breakfast burritos across the West at such hot spots as the famed Floating Green Restaurant at Idaho’s Coeur d’Alene Resort and Rusty’s at Mountain Shadows Resort (which also serves a mean chicken sandwich for lunch) in Paradise Valley, Arizona. Also on our menu of breakfast favorites is the Caprese Benedict at Pasatiempo’s MacKenzie Bar & Grill (where we love the menu’s nostalgic notes) in Santa Cruz, California, and the sticky-gooey Caramel Rolls at Deaner’s Diner in West Fargo, North Dakota.
When the conversation turns to seafood, Bunch and Laurance spotlight five savory selections, starting with the Bahamian Lobster at The Abaco Club and the Lobster Risotto at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort’s Pacific Grill before traveling up to Canada for their favorite Classic Creamy East Coast Chowder at Cabot Links Resort on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. Then there’s the Maple Sap-Poached Salmon at Deerhurst Highlands in the Muskoka region of Ontario, which Darin calls “possibly the best salmon dish” he’s ever eaten (and he’s eaten his fair share of salmon). And they close out the seafood portion of the podcast with the southern-specialty Mobile Bay Stew (topped with a fried egg, as are most of our favorite dishes) at Dauphin’s in Alabama and a return visit to Arizona’s Mountain Shadows for Prawns & Polenta during dinner at the Hearth ’61 restaurant.
When it comes to “steaks, burgers and other exceptional meats,” Bunch and Laurance offer up a wide-ranging (and geographically diverse) list of eateries, from the mountaintop A Different Pointe of View at Phoenix’s Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort to the Green Chile Cheeseburger (heralded as the seventh-best burger in America) at Buckhorn Tavern in San Antonio, New Mexico, and the hip Diablo Burger franchise in Flagstaff, Arizona, where English muffins serve as hamburger buns. And the twosome finish off the burger talk with the “craziest thing Darin has ever ordered” — a creation at Kenzington Burger Bar in Orillia, Ontario, that included a burger served between two grilled-cheese sandwiches.
Of course, any self-respecting golf traveler knows his barbecue — and the “Talking GolfGetaways” crew is no exception. Whether they’re visiting the Notorious P.I.G. in Missoula, Montana; historic Bessinger’s outside Charleston, South Carolina; or sneaking across the river to the Kansas side of Kansas City for some Slaps, they have their meats covered (usually in tangy sauce and with some savory sides). And even though they’ve yet to actually sample the barbecue at Stubbs & Son in Sanford, North Carolina, the hosts give the roadside stop a shoutout for the homemade banana pudding (served cold, as it should be) that is as good as Darin’s grandma used to make.
Speaking of sweets, “Talking GolfGetaways” is your milkshake power center. There’s the salty caramel at Yarborough’s (also in Sanford, North Carolina, home to the Mike Strantz-designed Tobacco Road); The Yard Milkshake Bar in Gulf Shores, Alabama (where you can literally get any shake you can dream up); plus the Nanner Puddin’ Shake or Big Breakfast Shake at Old Tom’s Pub at Alabama’s Pursell Farms, home to the impressive FarmLinks golf course and the resort that is rapidly surrounding it. And no milkshake roundup would be complete without a mention of the golf course at Taboo Resort up in Muskoka, where you can snag a soft-serve shake to drink on the course (and get some mighty fine grab-n-go tacos and melts from the “Gimme” Food Truck at the top of the hill).
Then there’s “just the ice cream,” which Bunch and Laurance consider a wholly different food group from milkshakes. Belly Artisan Ice Cream shop in Huntsville, Ontario, leads this group with Chef Shelley Westgarth’s Sticky Toffee Pudding flavor (it’s like she reached into our soul to make ice cream). And the hosts make a point to never miss a chance to visit one of the Parad-Ice ice cream shops when playing golf on South Carolina’s Grand Strand, especially around the corner at Caledonia and True Blue. And, of course, the Nye’s Ice Cream Sandwiches at Sand Valley get a special mention — along with how the ever-evolving food-and-beverage program at the Wisconsin resort keeps surprising golfers with new, inventive ideas.
And no recap of the best things eaten over the past 12 years would be complete without a dessert-by-dessert accounting of Bunch’s trip to Scotland. All seven of his sticky toffee pudding favorites are available for viewing on the @GolfGetaways Instagram — The Royal Hotel in Campbeltown on the Kintyre Peninsula (near Dunaverty, Machrihanish and Machrihanish Dunes); the Apex Hotel in Dundee (not far from famed Carnoustie); the historic Carnoustie Hotel; the Gailes Hotel in the Ayrshire region (near Western Gailes); the Marine Hotel (overlooking Royal Troon); Trump Turnberry (where the whisky sauce makes your mouth water); and the quaint family-run Inn at Kingsbarns (around the corner from the golf course of the same name and near such notable tracks as Elie and Crail).
Bunch and Laurance complete the 90-minute episode with a few random thoughts on everything from Pie Town, New Mexico, to fast-food-ish eateries such as Meltz Extreme Grilled Cheese in Coeur d’Alene and Capriotti’s sandwich shop in Las Vegas (now expanding into Arizona and California as well), plus a final reminder of how to make a “Chocolate Fireball Bomb” when playing the courses at Oregon’s Bandon Dunes Golf Resort — a perfect final touch on the memorable meal of a year we were able to experience as part of the “Talking GolfGetaways” and Golf News Net team.
We hope you enjoy. And get hungry for 2019.