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Northstar and general Tahoe recomendations

I'm going to be staying at Northstar for 6 nights in a couple weeks, looking for some dinning recommendations from the experts :). I've read over the recommendation threads that are already up, those seemed to cover the fine dinning side. We will probably go out for 3-4 nice dinners which I don't mind driving too, but I'm hoping to get some advice for some cheaper dinner spots as well as some good breakfast/lunch establishments around Northstar as well.

As far as nice dinner spots go I'm looking at Moodys, Plumpjack, Dragonfly, and Baxters.
(are these all roughly in the same price range and do any stand out as offering a better or worse value than the others?)

We cant afford to eat at those kind of places every night, so If anyone knows of any inexpensive apres or dinner places that have really good food please share! The people I am going to be with are all pretty much foodies and we like pretty much any ethnicity. (doent have to be upscale, just good food)

Also a breakfast rec. around northstar would be great. Thanks in advance!

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Mamasake
1850 Village South Road, Olympic Valley, CA 96146

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  1. Mark Estes is the brilliant chef/owner of Moody's Bistro and Baxters. In Truckee last year he opened up his take on a hamburger joint called Burger Me. It's ultra casual and pretty small. I haven't tried it but if it's like everything else he does, I'm sure it's very good. Garwoods, on the lake in Carnelian Bay is pretty good American food and not very expensive. Spindleshank is even better, but a bit pricier. If you're wine drinkers, just about all restaurants allow you to bring wine and charge a reasonable corkage. That's a good way to save on your bill. Caliente, in Kings Beach, has great upscale Mexican. It's pricier than a casual Tex-Mex restaurant but less than a fine dining establishment.

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    Caliente
    8791 N Lake Blvd, Kings Beach, CA 96143

    5 Replies
    1. re: RevrendAndy

      Awesome, thanks for the recs. Quick question regarding Baxters and Moodys. How similar is the menu at these two places, and if I had to pick one or the other which should it be?

      1. re: RevrendAndy

        Hey, Rev. Sorry I caught this late. I hadn't heard about Burger Me. Must check that out. I like Gar Woods but only in the summer when sitting out on the deck. The food to me is so-so. I haven't been to Caliente because a couple of neighbors went and their tab was $100 which I just can't do. 'Course that included $14 cocktails. Hurry "home."

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        Caliente
        8791 N Lake Blvd, Kings Beach, CA 96143

        1. re: c oliver

          I agree with GarWoods. It's not a destination restaurant unless you can enjoy the deck during the summer. Caliente is expensive for Mexican but they have some very good food-not Tex-Mex with gobs of melted cheese. Greatest chili relleno ever. Cocktails are expensive but they are made with fresh fruit juices. 2 feet of snow in Tahoe-80° and sunny in Florida-what's the hurry?

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          Caliente
          8791 N Lake Blvd, Kings Beach, CA 96143

          1. re: RevrendAndy

            Bob's fave, which usually disappoints i chile relleno so maybe we'll check it out. Two feet? Maybe in Incline. In Carnelian Bay, we had about five feet in this last storm.

            1. re: c oliver

              Yeah, down the hill outside Nevada City they got about 3 feet.

      2. Moody's is probably a bit more interesting and creative but both are good. They don't overlap.
        You could eat at both restaurants and not feel like you've had the same food. I would pick Moody's over Baxters by a hair. You can choose yourself.

        http://moodysbistro.com/menus/Dinner.pdf

        http://www.northstarattahoe.com/nsass...

        1. My friend remembers going to a restaurant in south Tahoe about 8-10 years ago that he thought was phenomenal, but wasn't able to find last time we were in the area a few years ago. He remembers it being a really tiny one room American/French Bistro type place. They were staying at Heavenly and he thought they drove west to get to there. It was right on or near the lake. Does this sound at all familiar to anyone?

          1. 4th St. Bistro in Reno is outstanding. About 40 miles from Northstar, but well worth the drive. Best in Reno, Wine Spectator award, Local, etc.

            http://www.4thstbistro.com/

            Le Bistro in Incline Village sounds like it might be the place you're talking about. Jean-Pierre is supposed to be a SUPER french chef- he was apprentice of the year in '74 or something like that. Had a restaurant in Kings Beach forever called La Cheminee (sp?

            )

            Mark Estee is no longer with Moody's or Baxter's, but I heard that it's still really good.

            I wouldn't waste my time/money at Caliente, it's a total gaper joint.

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            Caliente
            8791 N Lake Blvd, Kings Beach, CA 96143

            1 Reply
            1. re: J.Dish

              Totally serious. What' a "gaper joint." Never heard of that.

            2. JDish, I'm not so sure you're correct about Mark Estes leaving Moody's and Baxters. Moody's has a new chef de cuisine but I believe this and Baxter's are still Mark's restaurants. He is building an empire, including Burger Me also in Truckee and he's currently scouting a location in Reno. Please let us know if you have accurate information, as opposed to heresay.

              Nick, there's a restaurant on south shore called Mirabelle, which is an excellent, intimate restaurant that you may be thinking about. The other place could be Evans, also very small, but it has always served contemporary California cuisine. If you want French, I love Le Bistro and wouldn't make the drive to SLT.

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              Le Bistro
              312 Petaluma Blvd S, Petaluma, CA 94952

              9 Replies
              1. re: RevrendAndy

                I bet the place my friend was talking about was Evans. It looks like what he described appearance wise, and is certainly in the right location. I'll have to mention the name and see if that rings any bells for him. If that is the place, he certainly remembers his meal there very fondly. Is it still (or was it ever) that extrodinary, or did he just happen to be there on a particularly good night?

                On a side note, this is right off Moodys main page, "Both Executive Chef Mark Estee and A&R Man J.J. Morgan lead this eclectic group with a good-natured but hands-on intensity." Certainly sounds like Mr. Estee is still there.

                Your the man ReverendAndy, thanks for all the help!

                1. re: nickwin

                  Just trying to help.

                  I've always had very good meals at Evans. It's been the best restaurant, imo, on south shore for a long time.

                  1. re: nickwin

                    Sorry I didn't contribute anything.

                    I feel like a real jerk. I mean, The Rev clearly knows more than I do.

                    T's Rotisserie in Incline Village.

                    1. re: J.Dish

                      Good contribution. T's is a good lunch spot but they don't serve booze.

                        1. re: nancyhudson

                          Yep. And you can get stuff to go. Hey, nancy.

                      1. re: J.Dish

                        Your advice is of course appreciated J.Dish, sorry if my post seemed rude. I was simply thanking Rev because he's answered all of the questions I've asked in a number of threads, and more importantly because he knew the restaurant my friend remembered going to years ago (it was a good call considering how little info on had).

                        I am flying out tomorrow morning (weather permitting) and I will keep all your opinions in mind. Thanks to everyone who contributed! I will try to post a follow up when I get back.

                        1. re: nickwin

                          Good luck Nick.

                          It's dumping here in Reno right now, which is where I imagine you will be landing.

                          I really encourage you to come down here and eat.

                          Also, check out Edible Reno-Tahoe: http://www.ediblecommunities.com/reno...

                          1. re: nickwin

                            Can't wait to hear what you think. And you're getting stellar weather now, arent you?

                    2. Thanks for the rec’s everyone! We had a phenomenal trip with great weather, epic skiing, and really good food. Here’s my breakdown of each place we ate at in chronological order. My “ “ out of 5 ratings is my overall experience taking everything into account. Food quality compared to similar places I’ve been, service, VALUE ect...

                      Moodys (Friday night): It took a little while for someone to greet/seat us after we walked in, but after that we had pretty good service. Our waitress was knowledgeable and friendly. We were seated near the stage and there was some live jazz on stage which we all really enjoyed. The food ranged from good to great. We started with the Ahi 4 Ways and it was a big hit. I had a vegetarian risotto dish that that was very good. A couple people got a pasta dish with froie gras and kobe beef. It was good but not as interesting as the description would lead you to believe. Prices were very reasonable and portion sizes were large for the most part other than my friends “full” portion of gnocchi in a mushroom sauce (which was delicious) that appeared to be about half the size as the other full orders. They also had a pretty good craft beer selection. (4.2 out of 5)

                      Caliente: We really enjoyed this place. It was a little pricier than your average mexican place, but I thought it was reasonable considering the food was also better than average. For reference between 4 ppl we had 2 margaritas, a flight of top shelf tequila (3 2oz glasses), an appetizer and 4 entrees and it came to around $120 before tip. Not bad. It had a fun atmosphere and we had great service. Everyone in my group thought the food was great, but the real standout was their special which was a chicken chimichanga with mole sauce and chojita cheese. Guacamole and chips were also a big hit. (4.0 out of 5)

                      Rubicon Pizza: Very conveniently located if your staying at the village at Northstar. I didn’t expect a whole lot, but this was honestly one of the better pizza places I’ve been to. We split a large Caesar salad between 4 of us, it was a good salad by any standard. We had a tradition pizza and a thai chicken pizza. The thai chicken was amazing, by far the best thai pizza I’ve had. Also had some decent beer on tap (4.2 out of 5)

                      Fifty-Fifty Brewing: Another case where it took a while for someone to come seat us, but once again once we were seated the service was acceptable. We felt the food was good but not great. It kind of fell right in the middle of all the brewpubs restaurants I’ve been to in terms of food. On the other hand the beer was exceptional. I had a sampler which was a 4oz glass of every beer they brewed (8 I think) and they were all good for their style with some being extremely good. I would definitely recommend this place to any craft beer lovers, but probably not just for the food. Food was good but you could probably do better if you weren’t interested in the beer. (3.8 out of 5)

                      Burger Me: I loved this place, its exactly what I wish I had more of around me. Quick but fresh, casual with an interesting atmosphere, cheap and different. I had a standard burger with some extra topping and it was very good. I also split a large onion ring with one of my fiends and they were delicious, maybe my favorite of all time. Highly recommended right after getting off the slopes if you want a quick bite to eat and a beer. (4.8 our of 5)

                      Mikuni: Surprisingly good sushi at this place. We went on a Wednesday night and it was REALY loud. It didn’t bother us, but if your looking for a quite meal, you probably shouldn’t go to this place (not at that time at least). Prices were very reasonable for good sushi. We ordered two house salads and the waitress recommended we split one instead since they’re pretty big and one ended up being plenty for the two of us. (4.3 out of 5)

                      Manzanita: We were planning on going to Baxter for our last meal (we were down to a group of two at this point) but they were fully booked when we tried to get a reservation earlier in the day so we ended up at Mazanita. Its definitely a cool looking restaurant (and hotel in general). The service was everything I expected at the Ritz (up there with the best service I’ve ever had at a restaurant, and by far the best we had during this trip). The whole staff was friendly attentive and VERY knowledgeable about the menu. The food on the other hand was a little underwhelming. Me and my friend had a seafood soup in a tomato broth that was excellent, but both of our fish main courses were just a little lacking in flavor. Everything seemed overly salty to us which is kind of crazy at this caliber of a restaurant. The main courses were good, but not as good as I hoped considering the price. According to Open Table and the Northstar website Manzanita is in the same “$$$” $25-$50 price category as Moodys, but this meal cost as much with two people as Moodys did with four and in my opinion the food quality was about the same. $50-$75 p.p. would probably be more accurate avarage (including one drink and tip). You could get over $100p.p. here without trying too hard. Next time I'm in Tahoe I wll probably make the drive down to Evans If I want to splurge on a meal. (3.5 out of 5)

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                      Caliente
                      8791 N Lake Blvd, Kings Beach, CA 96143

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: nickwin

                        Great review! Thanks for reporting back. I gotta try Burger Me. Our daughter had the same reaction as you regarding 50/50. And I'm esp. glad to read about the prices at Caliente. Some friends ate there a few years ago and spent $100 for the two of them. Obviously, from what you say, that's not necessary. Hurry back.

                      2. Nick,

                        Thanks for the writeup. Glad you had a great time. Sounds like it's diet time.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: RevrendAndy

                          Diet time indeed. I've pretty much been going through food withdraws since I've gotten home.

                        2. Based on some of the reviews here, we went to Mikuni's. We ordered the Japanese fries, freaky edamame, a hot crab app, a scallop app and five different fusion rolls. While I LOVED the edamame, all the other apps were good (not great) and unfortunately, all the different rolls we ordered tasted a lot alike. While at home, we often it at the counter and order nigiri or sashimi; this visit, we were with a large group and ordering our usual style wasn't feasible. It was a packed house on a Thursday evening, but the service was friendly. Serviceable Japanese fusion.

                          We wanted to go to Baxter's but it looked like they were closed for the season (as of 04/21/11) and may be replaced with another restaurant.

                          One of our favorite little indulgences in the Village in Euro Snacks; we love their Belgian waffles that are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.

                          We went shopping at the Roseville Costco (that has an awesome cheese selection) before heading up the mountain, so we didnt need to eat out much. But we are looking for a spot near here (Northstar) to replace our planned meal at Baxster's.

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                          Mikuni
                          1565 Eureka Rd Ste 1, Roseville, CA 95661

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: OCAnn

                            Moody's Bistro in Truckee is the same owners. If you search here, you should find plenty of info about it. It's long been a favorite of ours. Hopefully Baxters is just closed for the season. I've often wondered how Northstar businesses do in the off-season.

                            http://www.moodysbistro.com/

                            1. re: c oliver

                              It was either Moody's or Manzanita...and the group decided on Moody's. I can see why it's tour favourite--the food was very good and the service friendly (if occassionally slow).

                              We had the Brie app along with the crab toast (very delicious). They let us sample their soups (cream of mushroom and a tomato); the former was so good that two in the group had that alone as their meal (we had the Euro Snacks Belgian waffles earlier so some of us weren't too hungry). The others had the Kobe beef burger, vegetarian sandwich, eggs benedict, and a chic Caesar. For six of us, the bill totaled $115 which was inclusive of tax & tip.

                              While not in the Village, it's a quick trip and quite worth the visit. We loved it..thank you! =)

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                              Moody's
                              10007 Bridge St., Truckee, CA 96161

                              1. re: OCAnn

                                You're most welcome. What I didn't tell you is that sometimes Sir Paul McCartney drops by!!!! Not when I've been there but nonetheless.... :)