Taking it up a notch

By VIRGINIA STILL

Heading into the Sierra foothills there is a must-stop for hungry travelers. After a couple of turns in the middle of a neighborhood, you’ll come across a pristine green golf course and Camps Restaurant, situated at Greenhorn Creek Golf Course and Resort in Angels Camp.

Although there are restaurants all over the 209, some stand out above the rest like Camps. There are many reasons to take the drive to Greenhorn Creek including the opportunity to taste a variety of offerings off their eclectic, yet classic and clean menu that incorporates local and seasonal ingredients.

This family-friendly resort offers several amenities including a golf course that may give a golfer a challenge with narrow fairways and trees everywhere, a driving range, bocce ball courts, corn hole, an outdoor pizza oven, and a wine tasting room as well as beautiful views.

Although Camps has been around for over 20 years, the resort has recently undergone some renovations and is under new management. Executive Chef LT Maio has also added new menu items and brought back some classics that members and the public love.

General Manager Darren Phillips has seen an increase in revenue for Camps Restaurant and even more so since Chef Maio was brought in. ‘LT’ began changing the menu from the start and added items like the Southwestern style chorizo sausage biscuits and gravy, the seared ahi sandwich, prime rib sliders, and a variety of steaks like the ribeye and filet mignon.

The filet mignon comes with a cheddar chive mashed potato croquette with a demi-glace topped with crispy onions and a side of seasonal vegetables. During the summer Maio has added lighter options like the pan seared sea scallops with a pineapple coconut risotto and mango salsa. The newly added Mahi sliders have grilled pineapple, arugula, house made guacamole, and citrus vinaigrette topped with pickled onions.

Chef Maio brings his extensive culinary experience with three degrees in Culinary Arts, Hospitality Management and Restaurant Management to Camps. He has worked for a world-renowned restaurant, several resorts and catered many events. The classically French trained chef has a Southwestern style that he has brought to the Camps menu. All desserts are made in house like the crème brûlée with a caramelized sugar layer on top that is a little crisp and underneath is a delightful custard base cream that has just the right consistency and flavor. The house made classic cheesecake is made from scratch with a raspberry coulis and is sliced big enough to share. The fresh fruit tart with lemon and raspberry flavors has a crystalized candy sugar on top and a nice crust that was not only pleasing to the eyes but also to the palate.

“They say people eat 75 percent with their eyes so we try to make it look good,” said Maio.

With the full bar, one may prefer to enjoy the welcoming setting and grab a cocktail, beer, or wine and sit out on the patio to enjoy an appetizer like the Charcuterie and Fromage plate with smoked cheddar, camembert cheese, dried figs, pepperoncini, coppa, Tuscan salami, whole grain mustard, grapes, olives, blueberries and baguette coins. For those who may want to keep it simple, the lounge menu also offers a basket of fries, spicy chicken wings, build your own burger, or the tasty beer battered fish and chips. At the bar guests can enjoy happy hour from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

“The cheese board was here but we changed up some of the meats and cheeses on it,” said Maio. “There wasn’t as much on it so we revamped it and made it nicer. We probably added 40 percent more menu items onto the menu that wasn’t on there before.”

The restaurant is open Wednesday through Sunday and serves up breakfast, lunch and dinner. They offer a breakfast menu, lunch menu, lounge menu, wine cellar menu, pizza menu and of course the dinner menu. Camps’ Neapolitan style outdoor pizza oven serves up a variety of pizzas including the ability to build your own.

“We are trying to get back to the roots here,” added Maio. “When we got here they had one steak on the menu is all. They had a great steak selection and they got away from that. We want to get back to that.”

The resort has a new wedding room where brides can have a place of their own on their special day and the guys can use the Caddy Shack that has five bedrooms. There is a point on the greens that overlooks the course that guests can use for their wedding venue.

“A lot of the amenities are very underutilized here,” said Phillips. “I think people kind of forgot about us. So we are getting the food back. We are trying to do more events. We are getting our name out there.”

There are cottages on the property available to guests that want to spend more than a day. People from all over — from Alaska to Ireland — have made their way to Greenhorn Creek for a getaway.

The wine tasting room in the wine cellar has its own menu. Most of the wines are local, although they have added some wines from the Lodi area.

“This is the gateway to the Sierra foothills,” added Gina Davis, marketing and sales director. “This is not your normal restaurant. They realize that there is such a menu here that is elegant and casual and for the family. It is a mixed bag. If you want a burger or a hot dog you can have it or if you want a steak this is where you have it in the Mother Lode.”

There are different promotions going on through August including early morning tee-times and music on Saturday nights as well as some other promotions coming up in September. For more information visit www.greenhorncreek.com.

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