We went up to Lake Tahoe last weekend. The weather was perfect and the summer crowds were gone, everything was calm and serene. There’s something about the shimmering waters of the north shore that compels us to keep returning; there are so many excellent restaurants and we know our way around town. The entrance to Squaw Valley is flanked with majestic reminders that it hosted the winter olympic games 50 years ago.
The lodge was built as the home for the 1960 Winter Olympic delegation and was renovated in 1995. It shows a definite whimsical and funky edge, and the staff are all young and fit, like they run and climb mountains in their free time. There is a spa where you can schedule treatments but more importantly, you can check out cruiser bikes to ride along the trails. The Inn has a lovely patio, outside pool and hot tubs, is pet friendly, but best of all they have complimentary wireless internet access throughout the facility for those of us who like to remain wired into the world…
Our stay included the breakfast buffet, which is simple but covers all of the bases. Everything was fresh and delicious and so dang convenient, they even had printed out the daily news summary from the NYT. There’s fresh breads, bagels and english muffins to toast and top with butter, cream cheese or housemade jams and marmalades.
A lovely assortment of fresh fruit, which included pineapple, watermelon and canteloupe; all very fresh, sweet and juicy.
They had a big bowl of the housemade fresh granola, chock full of nuts, dried cranberries, golden raisins and apricots. It was not super crunchy, but reminded me of pieces of oatmeal cookies. You could mix it up with milk, plain or berry yogurt or even cottage cheese. And for the less adventurous, there were stacks of Kellogg’s Cereal Single Serve Boxes.
I always made a beeline to the chafing dishes filled with scrambled eggs, apple-wood smoked bacon and roasted red bliss potatoes. There were bowls of salsa and bottles of hot sauce and ketchup.
And I loved the little waffles that were so good slathered with butter and drizzled with maple syrup.
The pots of coffee (Peerless/fair-trade) were kept hot and tasted freshly brewed, and there were pitchers of Odwalla OJ or Grapefruit Juice, a bucket full of ice and frosty pitchers of ice water on the counter.
And every morning there were plates of housemade pastries and slices of coffee cake along with small scones. Quite a spread, exactly how I like to start my day and it kept us fortified while we trudged around on the mountains.
The Inn is located next to the Village at Squaw Valley a resort with condominium suites, a conference center, spa, dining and shopping.
A gondola lift above the village runs up goes up to High Camp, where you can find an olympic size ice skating rink at the highest elevation in the world. Up there are wild trees, gorgeous vistas everywhere and many trails to hike.
The view from the gondola is breathtaking…
And after a day packed full of activities, we ended up at the bar which offers a fine variety of casual fare with the same high quality food as at the more formal cafe. The first few days were sunny and warm, but then the temperatures dropped and the wind furies began to whoosh through the valley. We found a cozy firepit crackling in the lounge area on the morning our last day.
The bar was very cozy with romantic mood lighting that we all love, but is very challenging for photo ops, however the tiny glow from the candle worked very well as seen through my glass of ice water.
We decided to share a light and fabulous Caesar Salad ($11), which had a wonderful pungent and creamy dressing coating impeccably fresh Romaine lettuce, chunks of chewy Treviso, and topped with crisps made from shredded Grana Padano cheese. Mr. K normally frowns at thick creamy caesar dressing, but the flavors were bright and zesty and the briny salt cured anchovy added brilliant bursts of flavor.
The White Corn Chowder ($10) made with Fennel and Applewood Smoked Bacon was thin and a bit flavorless. We had to dose it liberally with salt and pepper to coax out some flavor, but the vegetables added some texture and body to the experience. This was the only mediocre dish we have ever been served at Plumpjack.
Pasta of the Day ($15), Orichiette with housemade sausage made with ground pork and roasted padrone peppers, cherry tomatoes, green beans in a rich creamy sauce. I loved the chewy pasta, which absorbed flavors of the rich sauce but found it to be greatly improved with a bit of salt from the shaker.
The next day, we began with an order of warmed marinated olives ($3). These were briny and firm, but arrived after our first course, which was unfortunate because I think we would have scarfed them up with our refreshing cold beverages, but not so much once our food began to arrive…
I loved the Farmer’s Market Salad ($11), a gorgeous tangle of of fresh spring greens, Chevre, Toasted Pinenuts, and tossed with a tantalising Sherry Vinaigrette. The tiny figs were lusciously sweet and ripe and went very well with the tangy goat cheese and sweet pine nuts.
The Smoked & Slow Roasted Baby Back Ribs ($13) were mostly fabulous, the succulent meat was falling off the bone and tender, but there were charred parts that were dry and inedible. Fortunately those bits were a minority. It came with Cabbage Slaw on the side and the ribs were lightly coated with tart and spicy bbq sauce that had us licking our fingers.
It was so awesome to be able to climb down the stairs from our room to the restaurant, I’ve never looked so forward to meals at an inn!