A look back at McGee Creek this Summer

Without any break in the schedule, I went from cooking in McGee Creek at Crowley Lake to Healdsburg over the course of a weekend to begin harvest. So, it's time to catch up on one incredible summer on the East Side.

First, I want to thank Elizabeth, Scott and the kids, without Elizabeth's invite to be in McGee (and the leap of faith in me that I can pull it all off), none of this unique experience happens. Elizabeth allowed me to have tremendous freedom in her kitchen, that level of trust is a rare thing indeed, and for that I am grateful. Thank you Elizabeth for the opportunity and your trust in me. To the kids, Owen and Esha (June won't be far behind), who call me "David Scheidt", not Dave or David, but "Dave Scheidt" thanks for making me laugh each time I hear it (cause it is funny). Scott, thanks for being there when I really wanted to use a Star Wars or superhero reference and Elizabeth would have no idea what I was talking about. Joking aside Scott, I appreciate the help at the wine dinners and crunch times during the season; we needed all hands on deck and those extra hands made each night run that much more smoothly.

To the locals at McGee: Walkers, Slaters, and Meadway (plus Floyd and Dre), I appreciate each of you opening your homes, sharing meals, and bonfires; those are some of my best memories of summer. I got to know many people from the communities of Mammoth, Crowley, McGee, Paradise, Mono, June, and Bishop throughout the summer. Many came in week after week for fresh pasta Friday, some slow-cooked goodness on Saturday or the Sunday Sandwich. I, in turn, got to visit those communities and the people in them. To each of you, THANK YOU. 

I wanted to share a note attached to a beer given to me by one of the guys I worked with, Kyle. He uses the formal title on the note "Chef" rather than David which is a big deal. It speaks to the thoughtfulness and genuine nature of many of the people that I have come to know on the East Side. "A little taste of home" as he put it to me when he gave me the beer and the note. Thanks Kyle.

Taste of Home

Lastly the food. I've put a small collection of photos together of some of the food I cooked this summer. Gluten-free...been there, done that. I crafted a different gluten-free (and vegan in many cases) bowl every single weekend this summer, without a repeat and every one from scratch. 

To balance out the number of gluten-free bowls I cooked, I cooked pounds and pounds of pasta. Pasta with red sauce, primavera, tomato cream and alfredo were all featured. But the runaway favorite was arugula pesto. I put arugula pesto on everything from sandwiches to vegetables. The runaway pasta shape, cannelloni, without question.

For every gluten-free bowl I made, I made two bowls of bread pudding. Vanilla, Chocolate, Mixed Berry, and Vanilla-Cinnamon were my regular offerings. People love bread pudding...don't fight it.

Again, thank you to everyone that came to McGee Creek this summer. I had a remarkable experience with wonderful people. 

Cooking in Mammoth Lakes this Summer

It's going to be a great summer in the Eastern Sierra!

I'm cooking all summer long, starting Friday, June 12 in Crowley Lake as the guest chef at the McGee Creek Lodge, just south of Mammoth Lakes. As many of you know, I love being on the East Side of California and I also love to cook, so why not combine them, right?

David Scheidt, Winemaker and Cook

David Scheidt, Winemaker and Cook

I've been no stranger to The Lodge and East Siders' the last two years, cooking on and off; everything from the El Super Burrito to fresh pastas and slow cooked pork barbecue. I've even widened my own culinary horizons creating vegan and gluten-free dishes. Lots of these favorites will return during the summer, especially the El Super Burrito.

So what's new? I'm committing to Fresh Pasta Friday, which means I'm making and rolling fresh pasta dough every single week, no exceptions! So expect to see ravioli, pappardelle, tagliatelle, agliotti and gnocchi a lot.

Pappardelle Bolognese

Pappardelle Bolognese

Garden fresh is another goal. I was able to use the resources right outside my kitchen door last year, lettuce, tomato, squash, herbs, whatever else I can get and I'm going to do it again for guests all summer.

Thirdly,  brunch!!! Think savory scones, fresh frittata, chicken fried steak and my personal favorite Uova al purgatorio or Eggs in Red Sauce. Hearty food, fresh food, great food. And yes...there will be more house cured bacon.

Don't forget, live music every Saturday night at the McGee Creek Lodge (which is why I've included the music schedule through 4th of July weekend). I hope to see you this summer on the East Side.

Summer Dinner and Sunday Brunch Hours
Starting June 12 in Crowley Lake at The McGee Creek Lodge

Friday 5:00 - 9:00pm
Saturday 5:00 - 9:00pm
Sunday Brunch 10:00am - 3:00pm

Live Music Schedule
Music Starts at 6:30pm

Greg and Gilly            June 6
Double Coyote            June 13
Cruiseship Volunteers        June 20
Driftwood Creek            June 27
Good Medicine    (Friday)    July 3
Bodie 601    (Saturday)    July 4

Valentine's Dinner and Sunday Funday

It's been at least a month, so I must be traveling to Mammoth Lakes and the East Side (and then back up to Healdsburg...deja vu all over again)

Valentine's Dinner is usually one of the busiest nights in the restaurant trade and the East Side is no exception. The wrinkle is that the crowd at Crowley Lake is not just couples coming for dinner, rather, whole families are coming in for dinner and listening to bluegrass. 

The dinner menu at the McGee Creek Lodge Valentine's Day:

Cream of Mushroom Soup
Wedge Salad with Bleu Cheese Dressing with bacon and croutons
Roasted Chicken with Quinoa salad of yams, dried apricots and dates in a Meyers lemon vinaigrette
Pot Roast, Potato and Root Vegetables with pan gravy
Chocolate Mousse
Bread Pudding

Prep for dinner started on Friday night when I arrived, trimming and seasoning my chicken and pot roast. The pot roast needed to be perfectly fork tender, so an early morning start in the oven was essential. Seasoning was basic, salt, pepper, carrots, onions, celery, bay leaf, water and Cabernet Sauvignon

Pot Roast is the perfect pairing for Cabernet Sauvignon

Pot Roast is the perfect pairing for Cabernet Sauvignon

As much as I'm a fan of meaty proteins and plenty of gluten, not everyone else shares my enthusiasm. Therefore, I often create at least one dish that is vegetarian, vegan and/or gluten free. Taking a page out of a recent trip to Santa Barbara, I reinvented my quinoa and butternut squash dish and used it as both a side to my roasted chicken entree and as a stand-alone meal for any vegans that walked in.

Quinoa with yams, dried apricots, dates and chives in a Meyers lemon vinagrette

Quinoa with yams, dried apricots, dates and chives in a Meyers lemon vinagrette

Finishing the evening were a couple desserts, Chocolate Mousse and Bread Pudding. I used sourdough bread as my base for the bread pudding. Just good old fashioned sourdough bread. Then I soaked it in cream, eggs, vanilla, sugar and maple syrup before I baked it in the oven.

Bread Pudding and Chocolate Mousse for dessert

Bread Pudding and Chocolate Mousse for dessert

Part two of the blog post title, Sunday Funday is up next. I check out Ohanas Food Truck in June Lake at the June Lake Brewery.

East Side Produce

Why I keep going back to the East Side...because it's fun

Another trip to the East Side of California, a.k.a. Mammoth Lakes.

McGee Creek Garden, Crowley Lake, CA

McGee Creek Garden, Crowley Lake, CA

The last time I was in Mammoth, the garden that McGee Creek Lodge caretaker (and guitarist for the Sweetwater String Band and Bodie 601) Jeff Meadway planted was just starting to show signs of growth. When I returned last weekend, the raised bed garden had exploded to life with lettuce, onions, tomato, squash, mint and even some corn.

McGee Creek Garden Lettuce

McGee Creek Garden Lettuce

With the addition of Sierra Bounty Produce CSA, I had plenty of produce to use for our East Side Dinners (and a special staff lunch salad).

Shishito Peppers from Sierra Bounty Produce

Shishito Peppers from Sierra Bounty Produce

Dinners took the theme of Mexican food, with lots of tacos and chile verde (although side projects of kid friendly Mac N'Cheese and adult friendly seared shishito peppers are encouraged). The Mexican-American El Super Burrito made it's way on to the East Side Bake Shop menu as well, packed with meat, meat, meat...starch, starch, starch...and cheese, cheese, cheese.

Lettuce from the Garden at McGee Creek Lodge

Lettuce from the Garden at McGee Creek Lodge

Bodie 601 played on Friday night, while Fiddlin' Pete played on Saturday night for a group of dinner guests dining on the patio.

Jeff plans on expanding the garden for the 2015 growing season, basically more of everything he planted this season, with the addition of an herb garden.

McGree Creek Lodge Garden 2014

McGree Creek Lodge Garden 2014

As always, I look forward to another trip to the East Side just after the 2014 wine grape harvest.

Mastro Scheidt Cellars wine dinner with Chef Tommy Chavez

Chef Tommy Chavez is back in Visalia! 

A personal note from winemaker and proprietor David Scheidt

Chef Tommy Chavez and I have collaborated many times over the years, from casual, backyard events to intimate private dinners

A SOLD OUT dinner on August 7,  2014 was proof Tommy was ready for the big game. Always leading with his strengths, Chef prepared a four course menu of his signature items, Italian inspired duo of Salad and Pasta alla Gricia followed up by two American classics, Porcini rubbed Rib-Eye and Tommy's Bread Pudding. Click on Chef Tommy's left arm below for a brief re-cap of the night in pictures.

I personally paired each of the courses to match Chef Tommy's Italian-American inspired cuisine, including two allocated wines from my personal library, my 2013 white wine and my 2012 Sangiovese. I lead off with my proprietary white wine, a crisp match to Chef's salad, followed by a Dry Creek Valley Sangiovese, the perfect pair with Chef Tommy's pasta. Only full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon was appropriate for Chef's porcini rib-eye, my 2010 single-vineyard Cabernet and my 2011 Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon dominate blend.

I would like to personally thank everyone who attended, with a personal thanks to Chef Tommy and Vanessa for their support and confidence in my wines for their first wine dinner.

A culinary star has returned to Visalia

...Chef Tommy Chavez.

Sunday Dinner at Lake Mary, Mammoth Lakes

Cooking for two people is fun and easy. Cooking for 12 people is a challenge. Cooking for 40+ people and then transporting the food to a remote location is like running a mini-restaurant for the night.

On the last evening of the 2014 Mammoth Food and Wine Experience, T.L., Brother John and I cooked for 40 people at the Pokonobe Resort on Lake Mary.


For our last night in Mammoth, we went with our strength...Italian food...which translates into Pizza, Pasta and Grilled Veggies.

John cooked his specialty, a Spring/Summer fusilli pasta dish complete with pancetta, finely minced and slowly cooked in butter garlic, onion, and red peppers and finished with fine herbs. In addition, my brother really enjoyed his new toy, the flat top grill.

T.L. who has worked several dinners with me before, cooked nearly 20 pounds of pasta that night, roasted about 30 pounds of vegetables, and was our utility player for the day working different prep and finishing stations.

I worked on the various sauces, doughs, pizza, dessert, seasonings and final tasting, along with logistics with our culinary liason, Dan Molnar from the Mammoth Lakes Foundation. A special thanks to Dan for his help in coordinating the evening with the Foundation and Marci Satterfield of the Pokonobe Resort at Lake Mary.

In addition to the cooking that T.L., my brother John and I did that evening, I asked a couple other locals to lend their creative talents, baking talents specifically, to the evening. Elizabeth McGuire of The East Side Bake Shop (who I cook with regularly) and duo from Mountain Cakery, Cora Coleman and Lauren Jenks. Thanks to all of you for your help in adding a sweet finishing touch to the evening.

East Side Wine Dinner

Our winemaker/chef/CA traveler David Scheidt was back on the East Side of California for two nights of cooking, wine drinking and bluegrass music at the McGee Creek Lodge on Highway 395.

We fired up the ovens to cook everything from scratch...lasagna, Parmigiano brodo, slow-roasted pork shoulder and lemon olive oil cake (with lemon buttercream filling) for dinner and bluegrass guests each night.

We're pretty sure our lasagna for Saturday Night Bluegrass weighed in at around 35 pounds!

David is looking forward to returning to the East Side early in 2014...

Thanks to everyone who attended and the staff  for all your help.


on 2014-01-02 19:02 by Mastro Scheidt Cellars

To follow up on our original post, The Sheet Newspaper in Mammoth Lakes featured an article on the East Side Bake Shop, written by Victor Meier. We are very excited to be mentioned in the article in such a complimentary tone. We are pleased you had such a positive experience and evening with us. Thank you!

8 Guests, 8 Courses, 8 Wines

It was such a pleasure to get into the kitchen with Chef Tommy Chavez again. It was a fun night, but certainly not an easy one. Everything was cooked to order and from scratch. I even baked fresh fennel bread for the event. Chef Tommy and I were challenged by the glass cook top (not induction), but it was 10 times easier to clean up after than a gas range. Otherwise, things moved quickly and smoothly.

Long-time friend John Marihart made sure our eight special guests always had their glasses filled, their plates cleared, stemware polished and of course, gave the kitchen feedback on how the evening was progressing. Special thanks to Falina Marihart for taking all the pictures that night, cleaning dishes, utencils, stemware, and tasting all of our food before it was sent out. Non-stop for everyone and everyone did their part to make sure our guests had a great evening.

For your viewing pleasure, we've attached a slide show below, a brief history of the evening in the kitchen.

We would like to thank everyone who was a part of a wonderful night of food, wine, and celebration. Here's the menu and the wines for the event (And yes, I favored some Dry Creek Valley reds that night, but I'm biased). The Gruet, the only non-California wine, was served because one of our guests has a special connection to New Mexico. I have links to all of the wines and the wineries in the menu below, just hover over the wine for the link.



Gruet, New Mexico Blanc de Noirs NV




Caymus 2010 Conundrum White




Caymus 2009 Conundrum Red




Pine Ridge 2010 Chenin Blanc/Viognier




Lago di Merlo 2009 Dry Creek Valley Sangiovese




A. Rafanelli 2004 Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel




Mastro Scheidt 2007 Proprietor’s Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon




Windwalker 2001 Orange Muscat