A Year For the Foodies
By: Cam Schilling
In true Tahoe fashion, this past year or so has been a big win for the foodies. We’re out here to either work hard or play hard, it’s only fitting that the dining scene keeps us properly fueled. You can be cleaned up nice or fresh out the dirt, sit and relax or grab a quick bite, pick a fireside venue or lakefront dining – there’s a spot on the south shore for any occasion.
A lot can happen in a year, and we’ve seen an already lively place to dine and drink welcome many new eateries to the community. Whether you’re new to town or just looking for something new, we can guarantee excellent food options like we guarantee pow days after a good dumping. This small town packs some big flavor in every corner, you may find it hard to keep up with your stomach.
If you want a starting point for a great meal or anything else, check out the Tahoe Daily Tribune’s Best of 2019 as inspiration for dining and much more.
Photo Chicken in a Barrel BBQ
This is not your traditional barbecue, this is not like other barbecue restaurants you’ve had around Tahoe. The restaurant came to be after two best friends took a trip down to Hawaii and heard the locals raving about barrels, but not from the waves off Kauai beaches. Long story short, they followed their noses to the locals’ joint for smoky, fall off the bone barbecue known as Chicken in a Barrel.
The experience left quite an impression, to the point where they sought to replicate that recipe for success – big family feel matched by big, bold flavor in the tight Lake Tahoe community. They jumped at the opportunity to franchise, and lucky for us, brought their custom-made drum barrels and one-of-a-kind cooking style right here to the south shore. Serving up chicken, ribs, tri-tip, burgers, and more, their barbecue rub recipe is so good there’s no need for sauce, but if you insist, they make their own variety for all the sauce lovers.
Social House is a chef-driven deli concept, meaning the head chef designs all the items on the menu based on their own personal style and/or specifically sourced ingredients. They specialize in craft sandwiches using freshly baked bread and smoked meats along with many worthy vegetarian options, but also offer a coffee bar and much more. Inside is a full bar for specialty frozen alcoholic slushies (or something else), and outside is a patio full of games and live music in the heart of the Heavenly Village. Did someone mention something about a possible high-end speakeasy in the back? What?
The Hangar is Tahoe’s coolest new taproom and bottle shop with 30 rotating beers on tap and a diverse selection of craft cans and bottles from around the country. Although they don’t have their own kitchen, they get some top-notch food trucks to set up on many days. On the outdoor patio they’ve got acres of land including a dog park, cornhole, bocce, and recently even a bike balance track for the kids.
These guys are not only tons of fun to hang with, but really care about the community and being a part of it. They regularly collab with local organizations and other businesses for some great causes – supporting wildfire loss with the purchase of a delectable Lead Dog brew, joining The League and keeping Tahoe blue with each sale of Oscar Blues – if doing some good for the community means enjoying a cold beverage, I’m here to offer all my support. Be sure to connect with their facebook for events and updates.
Crazy Good Bakery and Cafe
I got the chance to pop in here yesterday and it was well worth it. This town has some great bakeries and cafes, but none with the homey, family kitchen feel that most coffee shops can’t provide. For one, when you walk in it looks like it could be someone’s home with a warm rustic look, with the passed down family recipes and traditions to match. You can’t go wrong just picking anything off the menu, be it gourmet doughnuts, pies cupcakes or other delicious treats. Along with a few secret ingredients, the lovingly made small batch doughnuts and pies are inspired by the seasons and made with locally sourced produce as often as possible. You won’t find any fillings or glazes churned out in 5-gallon buckets here.
South of North
The Beer Garden at Basecamp is back and better than ever under their new identity and operation are known as South of North Brewing Co. The brewery has poured their efforts into a selection of delicious draughts that they make right there in the Basecamp Hotel, in addition to some well thought out food pairings to match. Their courtyard patio area features several picnic tables, lawn-games to play, and of course fire pits. Outside visitors are not only welcome but encouraged to stop in to enjoy exceptional beer, food, and fun year-round – hang out for live music any day of the week!
Tahoe Hot Pot
A meal at Tahoe Hot Pot begins by selecting two broth bases — one for each side of the divided pot that sits on an adjustable burner built into the table. From there you’ll choose from a selection of soups: tom yum, miso, vegetable or the house special “Tahoe soup” — pork bone broth mixed with Thai herbs and vegetables. Next, guests choose a variety of vegetables to cook in the bubbling broth before adding in any combination of thinly sliced cuts of raw beef, chicken, pork or seafood such as scallops, shrimp, mussels, squid and white fish. All you need to do is dip the meat a few times for it to cook and from there it’s on to the sauce. Other side items like tofu, shrimp-pork wontons or udon noodles can be tossed into the pot too, which has a flavor that evolves over the course of the meal. It’s meant to be savored, and unique meal to say the least.
Poké is a Hawaiian staple containing raw pieces of seafood coated in a tangy or spicy marinade and garnished with something like seaweed, cucumber, edamame, avocado and/or tobiko. Typically this would be served in a bowl over rice and greens, but at Poké Rok they conveniently wrap as a ‘sushi burrito.’ Essentially it’s a big sushi roll that you don’t cut up and can be described as Hawaiian poké with a Japanese twist. What makes it special is the selection of sauces such as traditional sesame soy, but also more adventurous options like mango habanero or sweet wasabi and ponzu. What’s even better is that they dish up mouth-watering acai bowls made with antioxidant-rich berries and topped with granola, banana, blueberries, strawberries, coconut, walnuts and chocolate chips.
Pick 6 & The Morning After
A great new addition to the Lake Tahoe sports bar scene. This two-story restaurant with a focus on quality beer takes pride in offering a more upscale dining and viewing experience, separating themselves from most typical sports bars.
Pick 6 is an ideal place to watch any game, but if you need to recharge first, conveniently next door is their sister restaurant and cafe, The Morning After. This new coffeehouse and food joint serves healthy breakfast items like a hardboiled egg and avocado tostini, paninis and salads. It’s also a great place to get some work done with wifi and seating in a cozy atmosphere.
Taste of Europe
Taste of Europe is a family owned restaurant that first opened in 2016 in Placerville, but they’ve recently relocated to open in South Lake Tahoe, a community that the owners have always loved. This is a true Mom and Pop restaurant serving European – Czech, German, Italian cuisine.
These guys took a page out of the AleWorX book for this one – inside you’ll find a self serve wall of carefully selected, remarkable wines for you to try and pour as you wish. More than just wine on tap, they strive to provide the finest food and drinks at the highest standard. They take it even further by educating members of the community on local, sustainable farm to table recipes and products, certified fair trade coffee wine and food pairings, and the work of fine artists from around the world. Also a great spot for brunch with exceptional coffee!