We mostly stayed and played around the olympic valley, but on our last day we went for a drive around the northern half of the lake. Along the northeastern corner was a scenic vista with huge round boulders where we rock hopped and took shelter from the winds. The light shimmering off the water provides endless fascination for me and I could have sat there perched for hours if the winds weren’t trying to blow me away.
Along the north shore are quite a few restaurants with views, but I think that the Wild Goose (7320 N. Lake Blvd., Tahoe Vista, CA 96146 | 530.546.3640) has the best view of them all. The cuisine is described as New American, using fresh seasonal ingredients and incorporating influences and flavors from America’s melting pot of cultural traditions. We stopped by here for a quick bite and definitely plan to come back for a full meal on our next trip.
The name of the town says it all… Tahoe Vista. It’s right on the water next to a marina. It recently opened up to the public, having been an exclusive supper club for Tahoe Mountain Club members and a private home before that (wow, just imagine…) I took this picture from the dock at the bottom of the patio, which offers spectacular panoramic views.
There is an outdoor deck with a glass enclosure that looked so promising, but we were seated at a cushy booth inside near the bar, which was the only area open in the afternoon… (we tried, but the hostess said they had very limited service during the day)
The light filled dining room is sleek and modern with magnificent views from every table and a stainless steel fireplace on the end near the bar. The restaurant is not open for lunch, but the bar opens at 2 on Sundays with a casual menu that is even shorter than what I found online… The dinner menu looks bold and adventurous and I was sorry we couldn’t order from it, but it was happy hour all afternoon, so we enjoyed a couple things in the bar.
We were served freshly baked rolls tucked into a crisp white linen lined basket, which were straight out of the oven. The soft rolls had toasty browned crusts and tender billowy interiors that soaked up the butter almost as eagerly as we did. There was a faint aroma of orange zest in the crust that was vaguely distracting, but we still gobbled them up. I would have loved them with butter and jam…
We greatly enjoyed the Thai Roasted Butternut Squash Soup ($9), which had the most stimulating addition of Thai red curry. It was topped with minced chives and a fried crispy wisp of sweet potato or maybe butternut squash. Mr. K and I thought it would have been brilliant with some shredded keffir lime leaf, although I thought that the chives were very good…
We also shared a bowl of Steamed Clams ($17) in a smoked tomato broth with spicy sausage and fennel, topped with delicious toasted crostini
The broth was spicy and complex. The flavors were so good that both of the long crostini were soon gone, but we still had the rolls to sop up the remaining broth. The happy hour menu just didn’t offer the range of taste sensations I was craving, so we decided to end our meal here.
We settled our very reasonable bill then drove over to Christy Hill, 115 Grove St, Tahoe City, CA 96145 (530.583.8551) for round two. At 3:30, they were closed for lunch, so we returned at 7 for a light sunset supper. The menu is seasonal California with French influenced sauces although I saw miso-glazed halibut, chicken relleno, Thai BBQ prawns, and yellowfin tuna tartare on the menu, which ranges a bit further afield than France.
The temperature had dropped and the wind was still blowing, so we enjoyed the view from inside the dining room which felt much cozier and informal in comparison with the Wild Goose.
They started us off with warm sourdough wheat bread served with olive oil and balsamic vinegar to dip in. I haven’t had that in a while and it was a lovely piquant way to perk up my tastebuds.
We shared a Classic Caesar ($9), which was a pile of Hearts 0f Romaine with Garlic, Lemon, Egg, Anchovy, Shaved Parmigianino Reggiano & Garlic Croutons. It was a fine caesar, but it trundled right smack in the middle of the road in every respect. The hearts tend to be a little too tender and bland for such a robust dressing.
We split the Grilled Rack of NZ Lamb with Mint Pesto, Sautéed Summer Squash & mint-pea ravioli ($30). The lamb chops were lip smacking good, but contrary to what the menu said, they were served over braised beans with chard and a bright orange butternut squash puree. But I must comment that they were cooked perfectly medium rare and seasoned very well.
And we shared a side dish of Sautéed Blue Lake Green Beans with Garlic & Chilies ($4). This was good, simple and fresh tasting; but something we often make at home.
Both meals were delicious, but we felt that the Wild Goose had a much more impressive presentation and menu. We probably should have reversed the order and gone to Christy Hill for lunch and the Wild Goose for dinner; maybe next time…