Global Grub: Take a culinary journey around the world at Lake Tahoe
Special to The Union
TAHOE — Everywhere you turn at Tahoe, you’ll likely run into restaurants serving pub food and pizza. Despite the ubiquity — and deliciousness — of this type of fare, there is a lot more variety to this high elevation culinary scene than meets the eye. You just have to know where to look.
Culinary influences from across the world have shaped eateries around the lake. While some stay true to tradition, others have created their own unique blend of cuisine.
Asking the purveyors of these multicultural establishments to pick just one dish that exemplifies their food was tough — but they delivered. We hope this clears up the “where should we go to dinner” debate quickly.
Himmel Haus / German / South Lake Tahoe
Step off the slopes and into a German beirhaus nestled at the base of Heavenly Mountain Resort. Himmel Haus serves up a staggering number of German and Belgium beers — in a das boot upon request — alongside Bavarian-inspired grub.
Owner Zak Latzka recommends the Bavarian pretzel and sausage platter. Truckee Sourdough Company uses the restaurant’s recipe to prep and parbake the pretzels. Back at Himmel Haus, the pretzels are coated in melted clarified butter and flaky sea salt before being baked to golden-ey goodness.
“You dip it in a three-cheese mustard fondue sauce we make in house, a bacon onion jam we also make, and selection of traditional mustards,” explains Latzka.
As for the sausage platter, bratwurst, knockwurst, bockwurst and chicken apple sausage are seared on the grill until they burst, then served alongside mustards, sauerkraut, rotkohl (braised red cabbage) and mashed potatoes.
“We also have a selection of wild game sausages you can add in. We’ve had all sorts of crazy game, from alligator to kangaroo,” says Latzka.
PAIR WITH: A pint of Weltenburger Marzen.
Pianeta Ristorante / Northern Italian / Truckee
Pianeta has been cooking delicious Northern Italian food in Historic Downtown Truckee for 22 years. The iconic eatery is known for its handmade pasta and impressive wine list, so it’s no surprise that co-owner Nicole Beckering suggests the grilled prawns pasta.
Grilled prawns are served over handmade angel hair pasta with white wine, capers, garlic and tomatoes. The dish is garnished with a marinated orange and fennel salad as well as a sweet red pepper coulis.
The pasta is freshly made every morning by Lilia Cruz — who has been doing this at Pianeta for nearly 20 years — using flour imported from Italy.
“It steps out of the Italian box a little bit with some Mediterranean flair,” says Beckering. “This dish is really one of our favorites.”
PAIR WITH: A glass of Nero D’Avola: Lagnusa by Feudo Montoni.
Wolfdale’s Cuisine Unique / Asian-European fusion / Tahoe City
Wolfdale’s has been delighting diners in Tahoe City with its self-described “cuisine unique” for over 40 years. The restaurant’s East-meets-West cooking embraces the fundamentals of Asian and European cooking, but with a California flair.
With an ever-evolving menu — and frequent changes to the dinnerware and artwork — Wolfdale’s likes to keep things fresh. A signature dish suggested by chef Douglas Dale is the Tamarind Thai Seafood Stew.
While a seafood stew is always on the menu, the broth changes often, sometimes using a green or red curry base, other times it leans Italian, Spanish or Creole.
The Thai version is characterized by its broth, which is flavored with dashi stock, fish sauce, ginger, garlic, tamarind juice, turmeric, red curry paste and coconut milk. The stew is filled with prawns, scallops, crab and bamboo rice.
“It’s all about balance, in every way from taste, color and texture, meaning if you have something soft, you add something crunchy,” says Dale of the stew.
PAIR WITH: Tentaka (Hawk in the Heavens) Junmai Sake.
Le Bistro / French-Asian fusion / Incline Village
Le Bistro serves up French-Asian fusion food in a cozy restaurant founded in Incline Village in 1988.
“Overall the cooking that I do here is rooted in French food with some Asian-inspired twists to it,” says chef David Blair.
Blair recommends the lamb loin Provençal, which he says was inspired by the movie “The Hundred-Foot Journey,” which tells the story of two quarrelling restaurants in a French village, one run by an Indian family and the other a Michelin-starred restaurant.
The lamb is coated in salt, pepper and herbs de Provence (basil, fennel, marjoram, parsley, rosemary, tarragon and thyme) before heading to a hot iron skillet for a sear and then into the oven.
It’s served with French green lentils, seasoned with a touch of cardamom and curry, and a tangy tomato chutney made with vinegar and ginger. Finally, a tamarind jus is drizzled on top.
PAIR WITH: A glass of Jean-Louis Chave Selection Saint-Joseph Offerus.
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