Saturday, December 8, 2012

Where to eat in Lake Tahoe

This Thanksgiving, we went to Lake Tahoe to ski. Beside the great outdoor exercise, we also got great foodie experiences. Read more to learn about places where you can try some mountain dishes.

1. Rubicon Bistro (Northstar Ski Resort) : What to order --- Pizza Margherita (thin tomato sauce, garlic, and fresh mozzarella). The crust is thick, they use about 14 ounces dough in the Medium size pizza. If you are skiing the entire day, then it is fine. Otherwise, it could be too much for 2 people. The bistro is located in the Northstar village, next to the tickets counter. They serve wine by the glass (an Alamos Malbec is $7) and plenty of beers. It is an informal restaurant. You can enter with your ski boots, the service is quick, so you will not waste "ski" time :)

Pizza Margherita

2. Base Camp Pizza (Heavenly Ski Resort) : What to order --- This restaurant is located in the Heavenly Village. We ordered the Fire Roasted Medley pizza. It comes with roasted garlic, fresh basil, tomatoes, roasted onions and peppers, and savory goat cheese. It is then topped with a house 4-cheese blend. We shared a medium size, but it is not a thin crust pizza, so a person can easily be satisfied with 2 or 3 slices. I got a glass of Ruffino Chianti wine and my husband got a beer called "Little Sumpin". You can seat inside or outside. For a day on the slopes, it is a good option!

Base Camp Pizza Company on Urbanspoon

Fire Roasted Medley Pizza

3. Grange (Sacramento) : What to order --- This farm-to-table restaurant is located in the center of the capital of California: Sacramento. It is very popular place for a business lunch, so you will see a lot of people in suits. The menu has Southern touches. I ordered the Blackened Catfish. The catfish was a little bit undercooked in the middle. But the rest of the plate was delicious: potatoes, fennel, huge mussels, chilies, white wine and orange broth. It had a lot of broth, so I ate it with a spoon. The menu changes daily, but if you see it on the menu, get it. It is a light and interesting dish.

 My husband ordered the Handmade Orecchiette. Served with pretty cauliflower, bacon, cubed butternut squash, garlic, kale, and mezzo cheese. It came in a big bowl and was buttery and yummy. I drank a glass of Zinfandel, XY, from Paso Robles, 2008. He got a beer: Gordon Biersch, Hefeweizen, San Francisco. The dessert was Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Bar with dark chocolate ganache, feuilletine, peanut butter powder. The taste of the bar was similar to the one of the Snickers. Honestly, the peanut butter powder did not add any flavor, so I would omit it. The restaurant has an open kitchen, beautiful decorations, and great location.

Grange Restauarant on Urbanspoon

Handmade Orecchiette with confetti cauliflower, bacon, and mezzo

Blackened catfish with potatoes, fennel, and huge mussels

Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Bar with PB powder

4. Manzanita at Ritz-Carlton Highlands (Northstar Resort) : What to order --- This is the best restaurant in Lake Tahoe, in my opinion. Outstanding food and service. Our sommelier recommended us a bottle of Montressor, Garganega "Bianco del Nago", Veneto, Italy, 2010. To start the evening, we ordered the Cheese and Charcuterie Plate: it had three types of cheese, salami genovese, fig jam, strawberry, marcona almonds, and toasted bread. Delicious!

I ordered the Arctic Char with Roasted Sunchokes, Cippolini Onions, Carrots, and Capers. The fish was perfectly cooked and the dish was plated so beautifully. My husband got the Housemade Pappardelle with Duck Confit, Roasted Grapes, and Chanterelle Mushrooms. He enjoyed it with some crusty bread!

The dessert was the best part of this unique experience: Milk Chocolate Cremeux: Slow Roasted Strawberry, Dulce de Leche Ice Cream, and Almond Sable Cookie. It came as two pieces, so each of us got one. Out of this world!!!

I loved the open kitchen concept, the rustic interior design, and the service. If you are going to dine there, you will have to use the valet parking of the Ritz-Carlton Highlands, but it is worthy!

Manzanita Lake Tahoe on Urbanspoon

Cheese and Charcuterie Plate with Fig  Jam

House-made pappardelle with duck confit, roasted grapes, and chanterelle

Arctic char with roasted sunchokes, cippolini onions, carrots, and capers

Milk Chocolate Cremeux: slow roasted strawberry, dulce de leche, almond sable cookie

5. Christy Hill (Tahoe City) : What to order --- This front lake restaurant is located in an old house, in the middle of Tahoe City. We went for a dinner and it was very romantic, but I imagine, it is also a great spot for a lunch with a view. We opened a bottle of wine and started with the Christy Hill Cheese Plate. The cheeses were St. George, Brebirouse d'Argental, and Pecorino Brinata. They were served with candied almonds, figs in wine, green apples, persimmon puree, and two local honeys. A beautiful plate, served with toasted mini slices of bread!

For the main dish, I ordered the Pan Roasted Alaskan Halibut (it was served with Roch Shrimp, Cranberry Beans, Oyster Mushroom Ragu, and Smoked Tomato Fondue). The plate was so pretty and the fish was so flaky. The only thing I did not like so much was the smokiness (a little bit overpowering). My husband got the Fresh Pappardelle Pasta: Madeira Braised Organic Chicken, Turnips, Broccoli Rabe, and Brodo di Funghi. He said that the broth was too much and the dish was good, but not extraordinary.

For the gran finale: Liesel's Chocolate Espresso Cheesecake with Grand Marnier Chocolate Sauce. It seems that Liesel was the restaurant's pastry chef in the past and now she has her own bakery business, but still delivers her famous cheesecake. The piece was served with plenty of whipped cream, chocolate-covered espresso beans, and fresh blueberries. In summary, this is probably on of the best five restaurants in the area of Lake Tahoe.
Christy Hill Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Christy Hill Cheese Plate with Local Honey and Persimmon Puree

Pan Roasted Alaskan Halibut with Cranberry Beans and Smoked Tomato

Fresh Pappardelle Pasta with Madeira Braised Organic Chicken

Liesel's Chocolate Espresso Cheesecake with Grand Marnier Sauce

6. Sunnyside Resort (Tahoe City) : What to order --- We went there on Thanksgiving. It was very busy, so we had to wait for our table. We started with a Roasted Beets and Arugula salad with candied walnuts, goat cheese, and herb vinaigrette. It was normal. My husband ordered the Traditional Turkey menu. The "Free Range" poultry was missing flavor. It was served with herb stuffing, garlic smashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, and green beans. All of this included a to-go sandwich (but we didn't want it) and a piece of pumpkin pie (but they ran out of that dessert).

I ordered the griled portobello vegetarian dish. It was served on a bed of buttery black rice, grilled squash, tomato, red pepper, arugula, basil, and feta. The mushroom was so overcooked and burnt. I made the point and they discounted that part from the check. Our dessert of choice was Apple Berry Crisp (Fuji Apple, Blackberries, Raspberries, Vanilla Bean Ice Cream). It was warm and very comfortable.

Overall, this is probably the worst restaurant we tried in Lake Tahoe. It is sad to go there for Thanksgiving, but many of the other places were closed or had a huge buffet. So, next time, we will have to look for a better option.

Sunnyside Restaurant & Lodge on Urbanspoon

Roasted Beets and Arugula Salad

Grilled Portobello with Black Rice, Feta, Grilled Veggies

Traditional Turkey Dinner

Apple Berry Crisp with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

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