Main Courses: Where the Food's on Par With the Golf
Regardless of how well you've played the first seven holes, when you reach the eighth tee at Mirabel Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz., your round takes on a different flavor. There, at a comfort station on the edge of the Sonoran desert, a covered ceramic pot contains "the thickest, moistest, tastiest Beef Jerky ever made." So enthuse Scott Savlov and Jon Rizzi in their appealing new coffee table book "The Club Menu: Signature Dishes from America's Premier Golf Clubs." Hyperbole? Having visited Mirabel and sunk my own teeth into those exquisitely marinated, salted and dehydrated strips of flank steak, I can vouch for every superlative the authors use to describe them.
Savlov and Rizzi (the latter of whom I occasionally worked with while I was an editor at Travel + Leisure Golf) engagingly present the culinary specialties of more than a hundred clubs. The movable feast begins at Atlantic Golf Club in Bridgehampton, N.Y., (lobster salad and coffee cake with Kahlua icing) and concludes at Windsong Farm Golf Club in Independence, Minn., (banana bread with maple pecan butter).
The book's conceit is that enjoying a club's signature dish is as integral a part of the experience as playing its golf course. To be able to say you've had the "burger dog"--a grilled hamburger shaped like a hot dog and served in a hot dog bun (see photo gallery)--at the Olympic Club in San Francisco is to make clear that you've entered an inner sanctum. In fairness, not all of the dishes featured in the book seem particularly indigenous or steeped in tradition. If I never have the orange-soy seared salmon at Bighorn Golf Club in Palm Desert, Calif., I won't feel deprived. But those are the exceptions. Anyone who has even a passing interest in the game's bastions of privilege will enjoy perusing these pages, which include recipes for every dish. The 128-page hardcover book ($50) is available at www.pindarpress.com.