Sunday, February 22, 2009

Winter Break: Tahoe Report

I took a winter break for some skiing, skating, sledding and eating in the Tahoe area. We were based in the North Shore area around Truckee, California. When I'm out in Tahoe, I don't typically eat out as much as I do at home, preferring home cooked, rustic meals. In addition, Tahoe and environs aren't exactly a culinary Mecca, but there are some gems in the snow that are worth noting.

Moody's Bistro

Since Moody's French Bistro opened in old-town Truckee four or five years ago, it has become our place for the special night out. This was my third visit, and each year I go, it is one of the best meals I have in Tahoe, serving French bistro food with a nod to rustic Sierra cooking. This year, I had a wonderful sweet breads appetizer, a plate loaded with perfectly fried sweetbreads on polenta. For my entree, how could I resist Moody's Big Ass Pork Platter? Moody's buys and butchers its own hogs to come up with this five way pork preparation. The night I was there it was loin, tenderloin, copa, fried belly and a sort of hash of trotters. The loin was a bit on the dry side, but all of the others were perfectly cooked. I'm impressed by Moody's every time I go, and given the cost of similar meals in LA, I'm impressed by the price as well.

Moody's Bistro
10007 Bridge St
Truckee, CA 96161
(530) 587-8688

Euro-Snack Waffles

One of my favorite Tahoe fast foods is the Euro-Snack waffle stand at the Squaw Valley and Northstar ski areas. For $4 you get a small, sweet waffle square, grilled to order (pictured above). The gooey, chewy, sweetness warms your soul on a snowy day. It's one of those things that is probably only good in Tahoe, but I can't resist.


If you're flying into Tahoe, as we generally do, you're more than likely coming through the Reno-Tahoe Airport. Reno presents some of its own culinary challenges, but I try to find something decent on my way in or out. Mexican is generally the best bet, so we tried Lupita's in the Reno-adjacent town of Sparks. Lupita's features good, home-style Mexcian food, centered in the cuisine of the state of Nayarit. The food was solid if not particularly exceptional, though the chili verde was excellent, with the pork pieces fried up nicely with a crispy crust and a good tart salsa.

668 E Prater Way (in the strip mall on the northwest corner of Prater and McCarran Blvd.)
Sparks, NV 89431
(775) 355-1770

Sweets Handmade Candies

Sweets candy shop in old-town Truckee (with a branch in Reno) is a pretty typical old-time candy shop featuring fudge, peanut brittle and many other handmade candies that inevitably seem to look (and smell) just a bit better than they taste. It's fun to watch them making the candy in the window and be lured in by the scent, and it's easy to overindulge. The one thing I love at Sweets, which lives up to its smell, is the chocolate covered toffee popcorn. It's a butter toffee corn dripped with chocolate and served in big clumps; it's sweet, salty and highly addictive. They also do good fudge, but stick to the traditional flavors like chocolate and penuche.

Sweets Handmade Candies
10118 Donner Pass Rd # 1
Truckee, CA 96161
(530) 587-6556

4991 South Virginia, Suite C
Reno, NV 89502
(775) 827-8270

If you're a Tahoe visitor or local, I'd love to hear your recommendations as I'm always looking for something new and good.

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