Basque in Gardnerville, NV (near Lake Tahoe)
Anyone who decides to hit Lake Tahoe should make a trip down to nearby Gardnerville, Nev., to JT Basque Bar and Dining Room.
It started out as a rooming house/restaurant for Basque sheepherders, but now it's only the restaurant. JT's serves a virtual groaning board of food family style.
I live in Reno. My finicky friend and I made the trek three weeks ago 40 miles south, and he loved every bit of it -- from the potato leek soup (and he hates onions), to the fresh green salad, to the chicken and rice casserole, to the beans, to the tender steak that may have been mooing in the area at one point. They have a choice of entrees depending on the day and the rest of the meal -- $16 per person -- is fixed price. Red wine and a light ice cream for dessert are included.
Come hungry. We practically waddled out of the place afterward and already are plotting to go again. It was wonderful.
The town, too, is cute -- about 10,000 people in the shadow of the eastern Sierra. The adjoining town, Minden, has a gazebo and park that makes me think of "Music Man" every time I see it. And because we're all almost a mile high in altitude, we're just now getting springtime with all the flowers blooming.