Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Edgewood Restaurant

Edgewood Restaurant
Ended the trip to South Lake Tahoe with a wonderful dinner at the Edgewood Restaurant on the edge of a golf course next to Lake Tahoe. It was close to the Landing Resort but they insisted on driving us to the Edgewood in the resort shuttle and gave us a number to call for a ride back when dinner was done. It went perfectly.

Foie Gras
The Edgewood is a really good restaurant in a more traditional sense. It is in Nevada so they have wonderful Foie Gras. It was so good on the savory waffles it was served on.

View from Table
Our server was Guy, a charming French speaker, who seemed to make a point to treat us well and also make us feel welcomed and comfortable. Guy cracked small jokes throughout and explained the special menu items with care. He is well-versed in his craft; a very experienced server.

Elk Chop
I then had the elk, and absolutely loved it. It was cooked to a perfect medium rare, just the way it’s supposed to be. The elk chop was tender and flavorful. The elk was paired with a sun-dried cherry relish and corn, which added a tart-sweet flavor.

Rack of Lamb
Tami had a delicious Rack of Lamb that was cooked perfectly to order, and had wonderful taste. It was a very special dish, tender and succulent.

Molten Chocolate Cake
Bananas Foster
Had a wonderful Molten Chocolate Cake and Bananas Foster for desert, a perfect way to end an excellent dinner; The Edgewood was very good.

Highly recommended!

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Heavenly Gondola

The Tamarack Lodge 
We used the Landing Resort Shuttle to get to the Heavenly base area to take a summer ride on the new Heavenly Valley Gondola and see a views of Lake Tahoe and Nevada from high in the Sierras.

The Gondola at the Base of the Slope
Going up to Tamarack
The new Heavenly Gondola is located just a half mile from the State-line casinos. State of the art cabins took us from a starting elevation of 6,360 ft (1,938 m) to over 9,100 ft (2,773 m). The 2.4 mile ride brought us to the huge deck which provides breath taking panoramic views of Lake Tahoe, the Carson Valley, and the Desolation Wilderness. 

Lake Tahoe
Lake Tahoe is 26 miles long (41 km), 12 miles wide (19 km), 72 miles around (115 km) and 1,685 feet deep ( 513 m). It’s the largest alpine lake in North America and only Crater Lake is Deeper 1,949 feet (594 m). 
View from Gondola
Heavenly's newest restaurant and lodge, The Tamarack Lodge, offers indoor and outdoor patio seating at the top of the Gondola. With sweeping views of both the Nevada and California slopes of Heavenly in Lake Tahoe, it's the ideal spot to take an on-mountain break.

Chairlift to the top
After the visiting the Tamarack Lodge, head up the Tamarack Express chairlift with your Scenic Gondola ticket for some of the best views of Lake Tahoe and access to a series of hiking trails, ranging from beginner to expert. The chairlift ride was filled  with great views anywhere you looked and you get to10,040 ft (3,060 m) at the top. Very enjoyable.

View of Carson Valley in Nevada
The Gondola is a great thing to do if you find yourself in south shore Lake Tahoe. We look forward to returning to ski in the winter.

Highly recommended!

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Jimmy's Restaurant

Entrance to Jimmy's
Had a wonderful dining experience at Jimmy’s while we stayed at The Landing in South Lake Tahoe.  It was not inexpensive compared  to other upscale restaurants in south Lake Tahoe, but the Greek style food was much more interesting.

Jimmy's Bar
What makes the dishes special its that they are a fantastic modern take on classic Greek food by British celebrity chef Maria Elia who oversees Jimmy’s Restaurant, serving wood-fired Greek seafood and locally sourced California cuisine. 

We had an interesting discussion with the talented Chef de Cuisine, Mylan Schmidt who, beyond being a friendly and modern chef, was very informed and knowledgable about contemporary dining and the local sourcing which made Jimmy’s so good. 

Savory Baclava
We started our meal with  the delicious Savory tomato, feta, almond baclava which we had for lunch earlier and had to have again for dinner. It’s so good.

Heirloom Tomato Salad with Feta
The next dish was a fresh heirloom tomato salad with feta cheese and basil.

Grilled Black bass
The main dish was a whole grilled fresh black bass with roasted potatoes and capers that was fantastic. Along with that was a side dish of white polenta and lemon olive oil.

White Polenta
Jimmy’s is one of the best dining experiences we've had at Lake Tahoe. We look forward to returning.

Highly recommended!

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Monday, June 23, 2014

Echo Lake in the Sierras

Water Taxi to Upper Echo Lake
While in South Shore Lake Tahoe we drove back up into the Sierras to explore the beautiful alpine Echo Lake. There’s actually 2 Echo Lakes, a Lower large Echo Lake and an upper small Echo Lake which is reachable by a 10 minute water taxi that is quite a fun and fast experience. Except for the channel, that's slow speed movement. The water is clear and cold.

The Channel That Connects the Lakes
We took the water taxi up to the trailhead and took the part of the Pacific Crest Trail back to the lower lake where the car is and is a nice 3 mile hike along the lake. The trail is beautiful and provides photo ops at every turn.

Wharf in Upper Echo Lake
The Pacific Coast Trail is 2,663 mi (4,286 km) long and runs from the Mexican Border to the Canadian Border. It’s quite a trail and our little 3 miles of it was fun.

On the Trail

More Trail
This is a popular trail, winter and summer. Parking can fill up early at the little Echo Lakes Marina area but there is overflow parking about 1/2 miles back up the road.
Snow Line
Leash-free dogs are welcome but be sure your dog has good trail manners and be prepared to leash him to pass other hikers if they ask you. All the dogs we saw were friendly and having a good time.

Homes at the Lake
Few More Homes at the Lake
There are homes at Echo Lake but the owners can only get there by boat in the summer and skis or snowmobiles in the winter. No roads, no cars. There's actually not many homes there. They're old and have passed down through generations of owners.

Fisherman Catches Trout 
The Trout that are being caught in the lower lake near the marina is a non-native species that is taking over lower Echo Lake. The National Park Forest Rangers want to protect the lake and bring it back to its original condition.

View of Tahoe Basin From the Top
All Sierra waterways are prone to giardia so be prepared to carry your own water or bring a good purifier. Also remember to dress in layers as it can be quite cold in the shade &/or wind, even in mid-summer.

Echo Lake is a beautiful place to see and hike in.

Highly recommended!

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Greek Lunch

Jimmy's Restaurant
Had a great lunch at Jimmy’s, the Greek Restaurant at The Landing Resort. The dishes are a fantastic modern take on classic Greek food by British celebrity chef Maria Elia who oversees Jimmy’s Restaurant, serving wood-fired Greek seafood and locally sourced California cuisine. 

Wood Grilled Halloumi Cheese
Chef Maria is known for her thoroughly modern take on the traditional dishes from her Greek heritage, an approach that served as the basis for her recently published third book, Smashing Plates: Greek Flavors Redefined.

Wood Grilled Octopus with Peas
Jimmy’s is an elegant restaurant. It has a gorgeous decor and chic modern appearance along with original artwork. Seated in a lake view table, We had a 5 for $45 menu, each dish elegantly presented and delicious. The waitress was also terrific, knowledgeable and very attentive.

Kalamata Toast
Tomato, Feta and Almond Baclava
The idea displayed by the 5 for $45 concept of sharing small plates was very good set of dishes. We really enjoyed each dish and were astounded by the complexity of the foods. Each one was good.

Zucchini Keftedes
Overall, Jimmy’s was an outstanding dining experience and we look forward to our next visit, hopefully soon.

Highly recommended!

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The Landing Resort and Spa

The Landing Resort Entrance
After a pretty easy drive from Placerville we made it to The Landing Resort and Spa right on the South edge of Lake Tahoe. Upon checking in, our car was parked by the valet and we were  greeted by the front desk services. They offered us a glass of champagne and we were escorted to our room. Our escort explained how all the tech amenities worked and our room was truly spectacular. Located on the third floor, we had a very nice corner Premium Lake Front Suite that has a large balcony and a perfect view of the beach and Lake Tahoe.

Corner Premium Lake Front Suite
We stayed 3 nights & really enjoyed it.The staff was very polite, always available, and quite knowledgeable about all the activities and restaurants in the area. We enjoyed the complimentary glass of champagne on arrival. 

Personal Steam Room Shower in the Bath
The amenities in the room included heated radiant marble bathroom floors and warm heated toilet seats lit with a blue LED light. 

Bed Room
The Staff was Fantastic and we especially liked the  care that was shown to us by the Anil Popat, the General Manager. He’s a wonderful person and his kindness and regard made our trip very special. 

View From Room 3302 Balcony
There’s a beautiful marble bar on the first floor that was really a happening place. On Saturday night it turned into quite the party scene which we really enjoyed. 

The Landing Marble Bar
Next to the bar is Jimmy’s Restaurant which serves a delicious selection of modern Greek Food. The executive chef is Maria Elias, a celebrity chef in London known for her contemporary take on Greek food. More about Jimmy’s to come.

Hotel Private Tahoe Beach
It was overall a great experience to stay at The Landing and we rate this hotel as the best place to stay at in South Lake Tahoe. We shall return.

Highly recommended!

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Heyday Cafe

Heyday Cafe on 325 Main Street Placerville
On the way to south Lake Tahoe for a little get away, we found this nice little restaurant called the HeyDay Cafe in Placerville that was great.

The Heyday Bar
Stopped for lunch on Friday afternoon.  The restaurant was crowded and quaint. Perfect for a causal lunch on a scenic road trip through the Gold Country.

Lobster Bisque and wine
Panini comes with Caesar Salad
The Heyday has some seriously good food!  I was kind of skeptical about how many great reviews this place got on yelp because it looked like any other bistro restaurant that we've been to.  When we arrived, our waitress seated us promptly. Turned out to be great. 

Half a Panini
Ordered the lobster bisque and shared a wonderful Pannini sandwich. The food was super delicious.  We each had a bowl of the lobster bisque that was very tasty too.  Each bite of that bisque was wonderful. There were good sized bits of lobster floating in the creamy bisque.  I highly recommend ordering this dish.

The Heyday is a relatively small and cozy restaurant with a nice local ambiance. Casual yet classy enough to call it a historic dining spot.  The service was great and very attentive.

We will definitely stop at the Heyday Cafe on our journeys to the Sierras on Hwy 50 in the future. It's quite good.

Highly recommended!

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Monday, June 2, 2014

Chalet Basque

Chalet Basque
Last night we had a wonderful dinner at the Chalet Basque in the Santa Venetia area of San Rafael California

Estancia Meritage
The owner and executive chef Roger Minhondo is from the French side of the Basque region. He’s created a menu of Basque, French and Spanish bistro classics and serves them family-style that is modern and old fashioned at the same time.

Pate Maison
This place made us happy. The food is amazing, the service perfect and the décor quite nice. The white linen tablecloths, blue-rimmed white plates and wavy water glasses remind you that this is a bistro. 

Watercress Soup
The professional servers are clearly at ease. This is fitting for a Basque restaurant, where food is historically served on large platters. Now updated to reflect modern sensibilities, the food remains infused with its casual, home-style heritage
Roquefort Salad

We had the Beef Bourguignon special with red wine sauce and onions, which was delicious. Also the Roast Duck, a perfectly cooked grilled breast and confit leg of Long Island duckling that arrived with a mild pepper sauce. Again, fantastic.

Beef Bourguignon

We had the Complete Basque Family Style Dinner which adds a superb Pate Maison, a rich soup of the day, a salad with Roquefort Dressing and for dessert, Ice Cream with chocolate sauce or Rice Pudding.

Roast Duck Breast and Duck Leg Confit

The wine list is quite good, it turns out Roger Minhondo enjoys wine collecting as a hobby and searches out lovely wines he can offer at reasonable prices; most of the 70-plus bottle list is in the $30 to $60 range. We had a delicious Paso Robles Meritage that was 69% Cab, 21% Merlot and 10% Verdot. Perfect.  

There is a sense of nostalgia at Chalet Basque and the preparation of each dish adds a special character to Santa Venetia and roots the cuisine to the Basque region.

Highly recommended!

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