Posts Tagged ‘Tahoe’

Tahoe Day 4 – The Brewery at Lake Tahoe

Thursday, January 7th, 2010 by virginia

No, I didn’t forget about Day 3. On the evening of our third day in Tahoe, we decided to stay in and finish up all of the leftovers from the previous night. There was still lots of spaghetti and meat sauce, as well as a few of the appetizers and tons of dessert. On our last night in Tahoe, however, we were too tired to cook so we decided to go out and grab some casual/comfort food. We ended up at The Brewery, which is a local brewpub that produces its own handcrafted beers.

We called ahead since there were eight of us going out and they told us it would be an hour wait, first come first serve. We ended up hanging out at the bar while we waited and enjoyed some of their specialty brews. I tried the IPA, which was hoppy as expected, but not too bitter. Josh had the porter, which he wasn’t a big fan of because he thought it was too watery and thin and didn’t pack enough flavor. He ended up switching to the IPA, while I went with the Killibrew Brown Ale, which was not too light and not too dark – just right.

The beer vats behind the bar

The wait wasn’t short but it wasn’t terrible, as we were all deep in conversation. We were seated soon enough and ordered a bunch of appetizers to share. First up was the spinach artichoke dip, which was served with garlic/parmesan toasts. The dip was cheesy and creamy, and though it could have used a tad bit more seasoning, it was a very good version.

Creamy spinach and artichoke dip

We also got a vegetarian version of the nachos, which were a huge pile of tortilla chips covered in cheese, refried beans, tomatoes, guacamole, salsa, and scallions. The nachos were pretty standard but still tasty to snack on.

Vegetarian nachos

Lastly, we got an order of chicken wings with “Hot” sauce, which was in the middle on the mild to hottest options. The funniest comment of the night was from Claire’s friend S, a chemist, who upon reading the hierarchy of spicy wing sauces questioned: “Why is ‘Nitro’ hotter than ‘TNT’? TNT is TRI-nitro!!” Fortunately the Hot sauce wasn’t too spicy, though it did have a nice kick at the end that lingered on our lips. The order came with a pound of wings, which turned out to be a lot of pieces since these were the tiniest wings I’ve ever seen. They were almost half the size of wings that I usually see but they were still pretty meaty and much less messy to eat.

Hot chicken wings

For my main course, I got a Bad Ass® Burger, which is a half pound burger topped with sauteed mushrooms and onions simmered in their Bad Ass® Ale, served with lettuce, tomato, and pickle. I added swiss cheese to the burger, as well as raw red onion (I love raw onion on my burgers).

Bad Ass® Burger + swiss and red onion

Unfortunately, my burger was cooked way past my requested medium rare, so it was a tad dry despite all the toppings. Was it Bad Ass®? No, but it was pretty well seasoned and very filling. I also liked the beer battered fries that came on the side, which were nice and crispy.

Autopsy shot

Josh had a “BYOB” (build your own burger). He requested Bad Ass® onions, bacon, lettuce, tomato, pickle, and swiss cheese. His burger came out without bacon, but at least it was more medium rare than my burger though it was still overcooked. I think the waitress forgot to write down bacon because she didn’t seem to notice that it was missing.

An almost Bad Ass® burger

Claire also had a burger while Sean went with the BBQ Combo, which included half a rack of St. Louis ribs and a grilled chicken breast. His combo came with a side of fries and his choice of soup or salad. He requested the soup but our waitress also forgot to bring that out and had to be reminded. He enjoyed the bbq a lot though, and the bite of ribs that I snagged was moist, tender, and flavorful.

BBQ Combo

Overall I didn’t think the food at The Brewery was spectacular (it’s mostly basic bar food after all), but it was pretty good and I liked the atmosphere a lot. It’s very casual and lively, and from the outside, it looks like somebody’s house. I liked the variety of beers on tap and prices were very reasonable, especially for a ski resort town. The specialty brews were only $4.50 a pint, which isn’t too shabby especially compared to NYC prices. Service was a bit lacklaster but maybe that was because they were so busy that night. I think it would be a great place to hang out over a few pitchers of beer, order a bunch of appetizers, and watch sports games on the TVs all around the room. I would definitely recommend this place to anyone visiting the area, and I would definitely come back here next time we’re in town. And maybe next time I’ll actually try the Bad Ass® Ale!

The Brewery at Lake Tahoe
3542 Lake Tahoe Blvd.
South Lake Tahoe, CA

Tahoe Day 2 – Happy New Year!

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010 by virginia

After a long, exhausting day on the slopes (10,000+ feet altitude really does get to you!), Claire and M still managed to put together a huge and lovely spread for the New Year’s Eve gathering we had at our house. There were about 20 of us altogether and there was so much delicious food that I couldn’t stop filling my fat belly. Claire really outdid herself in preparing some really interesting appetizers and I hope she’ll share the recipes!

As promised, she made pickled watermelon rinds wrapped in bacon.

Pickled watermelon rind wrapped in bacon

The pickled rind was sweet and sticky, tasting a bit like honey bbq sauce, and the bacon added a nice saltiness and smokiness that complemented the rind very well.

Close up shot of the pickled rind/bacon

Claire also made dates stuffed with manchego cheese wrapped in bacon. These were also sweet and salty and oozing nutty cheese from the center. I couldn’t wait to have one and ended up burning my tongue on the molten cheese!

Dates stuffed with manchego cheese and wrapped in bacon

Another interesting appetizer was roasted sweet potato pureed with orange rind and orange juice. The puree was placed on crackers and topped with smoked almonds.

Sweet potato puree with orange juice and orange rind on crackers, topped with smoked almonds

Surprisingly, however, one of my favorite appetizers was slices of brie on pita chips topped with clementine chutney. I don’t really like brie, and would typically not eat such a huge chunk of it at once, but combined with the chutney, it turned into something entirely different. It was creamy and sweet and just lovely to eat.

Brie on pita chips topped with clementine chutney

M made her specialty cheese gougeres, which were light, airy, and addictive.

Cheese gougeres

She also made a simple but awesome tomato bruschetta.

Tomato bruschetta

Other appetizers included cucumber slices topped with smoked salmon and a lemon/scallion mixture…

Cucumber topped with smoked salmon

And the same with pieces of crab.

Cucumber topped with crab

We also had garlic bread, which paired perfectly with our main course of spaghetti and meatballs.

Garlic bread

Sean was the one who made all the meatballs and the red sauce a few days before our trip. The sauce, which takes several hours to simmer, was really fantastic, and the meatballs were tender and flavorful.

Spaghetti with meat sauce and a meatball

The feast didn’t stop there – Claire went all out on the dessert. First was red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, which she placed on a cupcake stand and stuck candles in them in honor of her friend’s 30th birthday. The cupcakes were really yummy and moist.

Red velvet cupcakes

Next were huge platters of mince pies, which Claire had been preparing for over a year – that’s how long it takes for the fruit in the mincemeat to soak in alcohol!

Mince pies

And last, but definitely not least, we had slices of Claire’s Christmas pudding. It was also chock full of fruit and very dark and rich.

Christmas pudding

We all had a great time eating and drinking the whole night. Josh and I celebrated New Years twice, first by watching the Times Square ball drop on TV and calling our family on the east coast, and then celebrating with everyone at midnight Pacific time. It was hard to stay up but so worth it. Thanks very much to Claire for organizing everything, it was definitely a New Years celebration to remember!

Tahoe Day 1 – New York Pizza

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010 by virginia

After leaving the Bay Area in the morning and making the four hour drive to South Lake Tahoe (stopping at In N Out along the way, of course), we arrived at the lovely little house we rented for the next few days. We were joined by Claire and Sean’s friends, M and D. The house was perfect for the six of us – 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, big living room with adjoining dining room, and a large pass thru kitchen. Plus we had a private hot tub just outside in the backyard!

After settling in and unpacking our things, we were all tired and starving so we decided to head out and grab a bite to eat. After debating what kind of food we wanted, we all agreed that pizza would be the best option. A few iphone searches yielded several choices, and the one that seemed to have the most positive reviews was called New York Pizza.

Being from NYC, we were obviously a bit skeptical but were also curious to see if they really had replicated NY-style pizza. We got to the restaurant and it was totally packed, which was a good sign. You’re supposed to seat yourself so we hung out for a bit by the bar and waited for a table to free up. I looked around the restaurant but the décor didn’t really remind me of any NYC pizzeria. It actually kind of looked like a party in someone’s basement or rec room, with brown carpeting, long tables covered in black plastic tablecloths, and a big screen tv set up in the corner. The only NYC indicators were NY license plates and pictures of the Statue of Liberty, Times Square, and the Brooklyn Bridge hanging on the walls.

We managed to score a table after a short wait but it took a while for someone to clear and wipe down the table for us. There only seemed to be one person working the front of the house that night and the poor guy was running around taking orders, delivering food, answering the phone, etc., so we did feel bad for him. We ordered a round of drinks and some garlic bread to start. The garlic bread was true to its name – garlicky! There were huge chunks of garlic cloves tucked in underneath the melted mozzarella cheese, which were a bit of a surprise but fortunately they weren’t too raw tasting. We all really enjoyed the cheesy, buttery, and garlickyness of the bread, especially dipped in the accompanying tomato sauce.

Cheesy garlic bread

We decided to share three medium pizzas, which gave us a nice variety but actually turned out to be way too much food. We got a plain pizza as sort of our control pizza to test its NY authenticity.

Plain cheese pizza

Unfortunately, the pizza failed pretty miserably. The sauce was too sweet and the cheese kept sliding off. The crust was also way too thick and too floppy. That presented an interesting dilemma because we couldn’t pick a slice up without it tilting downward and losing all the cheese, but we also couldn’t fold it in half due to the thickness.

Thick crust with gloppy cheese

The crust actually reminded me of Elio’s frozen pizza, which is soft and bready in the middle. There wasn’t much flavor to the dough either.

Underside shot (with sliding cheese)

We also ordered a pizza topped with mushrooms and pepperoni, which is my favorite combination. The toppings were fine, if a bit oily, but they didn’t do much to salvage the pizza except give it a bit more flavor and some much needed saltiness.

Mushroom and pepperoni pizza

The crust on this particular pie was more browned than the other pizzas, but it still wasn’t great.

Slightly better underside shot

Our third pizza was one of the specialty pizzas and sounded pretty interesting on the menu. It was called the Village and had pesto sauce (no tomato sauce), spinach, artichokes, tomatoes, and cheese. The veggies on top were a nice change of pace from the other pies, but I thought the pesto sauce was a bit too watery and bland. Out of the three pies, however, this was my favorite, as it bore the least remblance to NY pizza and therefore I could appreciate it as something different, rather than a poor imitation of NY pizza.

Village pizza with pesto sauce, spinach, artichokes, tomatoes, and cheese

Overall we were all a bit disappointed by the pizza at New York Pizza. Josh and I really weren’t expecting authentic NYC-style pizza, but even when thinking of it as any other kind of pizza, it still fell short. The crust was too thick and bready yet failed to hold up to the toppings. That’s just poor construction and execution. The flavors were also a bit bland, and the pizzas were soggy and oily. Although service was harried at first, it did improve as the restaurant emptied out. We ended up taking home a bunch of leftover pizza but couldn’t bring ourselves to eat it again later in the week. Unfortunately, I don’t think I would recommend this pizzeria to anyone visiting the Reno/Lake Tahoe area.

New York Pizza
209 Kingsbury Grade Rd.
Stateline, NV

Heavenly Skiing

Monday, January 4th, 2010 by virginia

We had an awesome time in South Lake Tahoe, spending our days skiing at Heavenly and our evenings hanging out in the hot tub and doing lots of eating and drinking. It was my first time skiing out on the west coast and boy, were the conditions awesome. Even though there were signs warning of “early season conditions,” there was more snow on the trails than I’ve ever experienced on the east coast. In fact, there was almost too much powder for me! There were very few patches of ice, and the weather was simply gorgeous. The views from the top of the mountain were breathtaking, and we really had a great time overall. Claire and Sean enjoyed it so much that they bought season passes!

We skied at Heavenly for three straight days and had lunch at a different lodge each day. The food is pretty standard for any ski resort – average and overpriced. Inside each lodge there are sandwiches, grill options, soups, etc., typical of any cafeteria. The lodges get pretty crowded during prime lunch hours but the lines weren’t too terrible.

California Lodge

On the first day, we ate at the California Lodge, which is at the base of the mountain. We split some pulled pork sliders, which came three to an order. They were actually pretty decent, with tender porky goodness covered in a slightly sweet, mild bbq sauce. They gave us regular bbq sauce on the side as well but the sliders were tasty on their own.

Pulled pork sliders

We also shared a bowl of chili, which was chock full of beans but not a whole lot of meat that I could discern. I only had a few pieces of tri-tip, which was stringy and tough. The seasonings were also a bit off I thought, and it didn’t really satisfy my chili craving.

Beef and bean chili topped with chopped onions

We also had french fries, of course, since I needed all the carbs I could get. Skiing at Heavenly is extremely tiring due to the elevation, and the fact that I’m terribly out of shape. They were crispy but had that weird floury coating, which makes them taste a bit fake. Not my favorite kind of fries but not terrible.

Skinny, floury (or are they soapy?) fries

Lakeview Lodge

On the second day, we ate at the Lakeview Lodge, which is next to the Tram and the Gunbarrel lift. It was kind of snowy and foggy that day so we didn’t have a great view of the lake, unfortunately. I had an order of chicken fingers, which came with a biscuit on the side. The chicken fingers kind of looked like big pieces of fried fish but they were actually pretty good and surprisingly meaty. The biscuit was fine, similar to the kind that you get at any fast food restaurant.

Chicken fingers, honey mustard, biscuit, butter

Josh had a cheeseburger with swiss, which was topped with lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, and a thousand island-like sauce. He wasn’t a fan of the sauce so he wiped it off, but the burger itself was fine. It’s not cooked to order but had decent flavor and wasn’t too dry.

Cheeseburger with swiss, california style

And of course, we also had fries.

Cups of carbs

East Peak Lodge

On our last day at Heavenly, we skied over to the Nevada side of the mountain and had lunch outdoors at the East Peak Lodge. The sun was shining and it wasn’t too cold outside so we sat at the picnic tables by the taco and burrito station.

Eating in the great outdoors

Josh and I split an order of blackened mahi mahi fish tacos. One order came with two corn tortilla tacos and a side of fried tortilla chips. The pieces of fish were crusted with seasonings and they were topped with cabbage, red onion, cilantro, and a mayo-y kind of sauce. Not the best fish tacos I’ve ever had but they were decent, and a nice change from the standard cafeteria food.

Blackened mahi mahi fish tacos

The tacos were kind of small so I thought the chicken burrito was a better value and more filling. The large flour tortilla was stuffed with chicken, rice, refried beans, red onion, and cilantro. It also came with a side of fried tortilla chips, which we dipped into salsa and pico de gallo from the sauce bar.

Chicken burrito

Overall I thought the food at Heavenly was mostly decent but way overpriced. Lunch for two averaged about $35 each day, which is pretty expensive considering what we got. Even soda costs over $4 each – ridiculous! Obviously you don’t have much choice but to pay these prices, unless you bring your own food. For people who come often, that is probably a better option. Otherwise, I would suggest trying some of the more unusual ski resort offerings, like the tacos/burritos, rather than the standard cafeteria food. Regardless, you go to Heavenly for the awesome skiing/snowboarding, not for the food.

Two Fat Bellies Hit the Road – Heading Out West for New Years

Monday, December 28th, 2009 by virginia

We’re heading out to San Francisco tomorrow to meet up with Claire and Sean for a little skiing in Lake Tahoe. We’ll be away for the rest of the week so I’m not sure if we’ll be able to do any posting, but if anyone has any restaurant recommendations for the Reno/Tahoe area, please leave them in the comments! Otherwise, we’ll let you know how pickled watermelon rind wrapped in bacon tastes. That’s one of the dishes Claire is making for our New Years Eve shindig at the house we rented in Tahoe. Hope all of our readers (thanks Jessica!) have a happy New Year!