Friday, September 30, 2011

My Birthday Getaway in Tahoe & San Francisco, Pt1

Fresh off the Farm Peaches!

For my birthday, Hubby took me on a short getaway.  I'm so lucky that he always treats me so well :o)  We went to Lake Tahoe for a couple of days and then drove over to San Francisco for a few more days.  It was nice because it fell over the Labor Day Weekend Holiday, so we were able to extend our mini vacation.  

I took the food shots in this post and Hubby took the rest.

Manzanita @Ritz Carlton, Lake Tahoe, CA

We stayed at the new Ritz Carlton located in North Tahoe.  It's more of a ski resort, but a great location for a summer stay too!  During the winter, you can ski in and out from the hotel and they have a gondola on the grounds that takes you up to the top of the mountain.  They even have a Ski Concierge/Valet that helps you get all your gear together and gets you ready to go out on the slopes!  Our view from our room was the pool and a ski

One of the reasons I picked this hotel was because Traci Des Jardins has a restaurant at the hotel.  She is a well known chef from San Francisco who's most famous restaurant is Jardinaire. I really didn't have high expectations for the restaurant since it's located in Tahoe AND in a hotel, but I was pleasantly surprised and enjoyed our meal tremendously!

Asparagus Salad w/Serrano Ham, Egg & Parmesan

I loved this "salad", the combo hit the mark! There were so many parts to it, but it all complemented each other perfectly.

Yellow Tomato & Cucumber Gazpacho

This was Hubby's app.  He loves Gazpacho and orders it whenever he sees it on the menu.  I still haven't tried to make it at home ;o)  It was funny because after he ordered it he was talking about one of his favorite one's he'd had in the past was with yellow tomatoes and didn't even realize that this one was yellow until I  pointed it out to him (I had taken a pic of the menu)

Duo of Beef...Filet & Short Rib

I love when restaurant have duo's or even trio's on menus.  I always want to try everything, so it's great when they have combos like this.  For our anniversary we went to a place that served a trio of game meat...yum!  I loved the filet in this duo.  I usually don't like filet because it's tender, but doesn't have much flavor to it.  This one was one of the best filet's I've ever had!  I found out from the Sous Chef that they Sous Vide it and then finish it off in a skillet or grill (I can't remember exactly how they finished it).  It had so much flavor for a filet!  Maybe the slow cooking of the Sous Vide brings out flavor... 

The Short Ribs were just ok to me.  I really don't care that much for Braised Short Rib, I think it's on too many menus now and you can get it just about anywhere.  Even though I don't like it that much, I still wanted to try it! This could have been the perfect one...   My favorite way of eating Short Rib is BBQuing it the Korean way :o)

Trio of Game from Saddle Peak Lodge Restaurant, Calabasas, CA

For our anniversary we went to Saddle Peak Lodge where they are known for their Game.  

Top Left...Antelope
Bottom...Elk...I had them switch out their Vanilla Butternut Squash (I'm not sure why they think they need to add vanilla to something that is already naturally sweet) for Creamed Corn.  This was the best dish!! It had a smokiness to it and was the filet.

The other's were too lean and a little tough for me.  I didn't think they had much flavor to the meat...that's what you get for farmed Game;o)

Mystic River Salmon

Hubby's entree was really good.  The skin was perfectly crisped!

Coconut Sherbert on Coconut Tuille

The sherbert was a little sweet, but it had a nice coconut flavor and the tuille was a nice touch!

Stainless Steel Mirror Ceiling :o)

I loved this ceiling!  I thought it was a regular mirror, but the waitress informed us that it was Stainless Steel!!  I couldn't resist taking a photo...

Tap Water!

When are you ever satisfied with unfiltered Tap Water at a restaurant??  In Tahoe!  I couldn't get enough of the stuff ;o)

Breakfast View

We don't usually eat breakfast, but it was included in our room package.  We didn't want to "waste" it, so we had breakfast everyday in both Tahoe & San Francisco.

House Cured Salmon & Bagels

I'm not sure why I always order bagels when we are at a hotel because I'm always disappointed, but I just can't help myself ;o)  The salmon was really good and the tomatoes weren't bad...

Emerald Bay

I'm not an outdoors person at all and hate to exercise, but thought going on a hike would be a great idea in Tahoe :o)  We spent Hubby's 50th b-day in the Galapagos & the Amazon Jungle of Ecuador and hiked around everyday for a few hours and I didn't get worn out from that, so I thought it wouldn't be much different here.  I didn't think about Ecuador being flat and Tahoe being a  We had the best time hiking and picnicking here, but I could barely walk the next day because my legs were so sore...

Emerald Bay

We started out at the top of the mountain and had the most beautiful view of Emerald Bay.  The hike down was about a mile, going down was much easier than coming back up ;o)  

Picnic Area

We spied a picnic area...

Our View for Lunch...

We found a table right next to the lake.  This was Thurs before Labor Day Weekend, so there was no crowd at all in either the hiking areas are the road going around the lake.  I can only imagine what it's like when it is packed...what a nightmare!  

It was so peaceful and beautiful here.  We loved watching the birds as we at our lunch.  

Roast Beef w/Grilled Onions on Sourdough Baguette & Black Forest Ham w/Cornichons on Sliced French Bread :o)

We found this cute little sandwich place on the way to Emerald Bay.  We did check out the Cafe at the hotel, but they mostly had hot sandwiches.  I asked at the Front Desk if there was anywhere else to get sandwiches, but he was young and useless!

Me, "Is there a place that we can pick up sandwiches for a picnic?"
Young One, "The Cafe upstairs has sandwiches."
Me, "I already looked up there, but they only had hot sandwiches.  Is there somewhere on the way to Emerald Bay where I can pick up deli sandwiches?"
Young One, "Our In Room Dining Service may be able to make sandwiches for you."
Me, "My husband's getting the car right now, we don't have time to wait."
Young One, "Let me call In Room Dining to find out."  (He picks up phone to call.)
Me, "Uhh, no, we don't have the time."
Young One, (covers phone), "They said it would take 30 mins."
Me, "I know, I said we don't have the time to wait, is there a place that we can pick-up sandwiches in the area?"
Young One, (hangs up), "Let me call the Concierge."  (Concierge was upstairs and on the far side, so I didn't want to walk all the way up there.)  Concierge line is busy.
Young One, "Let me see if I can find something in the computer.  There's a Pizza Place."
Me, "No, they would have hot sandwiches like Meatballs."
Young One, "There's a grocery store near by."
Me, "No."
Young One, "It looks like there's a sandwich shop in "The Village"
Me,"My husband got the car, thanks for your help, I'll just go on Yelp and see what I can find."

Moral of the story, sometimes it's just easier to go on

Our Friend Mr. Goose :o)

He and Mrs. Goose were swimming in the lake and he may have thought I'd feed him, so he hopped up on shore to watch us eat ;o)

Catching his Lunch :o)

Love the action shots that Hubby got of the bird...

Another Picnic Area...

So Serene & Beautiful...

Fannette Island & Tea House

Eagle Creek

After our picnic we decided to keep hiking to see the water falls.  I thought this "creek" looked like a waterfall ;o)  

Stairs to Lower Eagle Falls

I thought I was going to die going up these stairs, can you say "Out of Shape ;o)"

Lower Eagle Falls

There's just something so magical about waterfalls!  It was less than a mile each way to get to the falls from the picnic area...

I really didn't expect to find any good food in Lake Tahoe, but we had two really good dinners.  My b-day dinner at Manzanita and another place called Cafe Fiore in South Tahoe.  This restaurant is owned by a friend of a friend of ours and that is how we found out about it.  It's a cozy Italian place and we loved it!  It was warm enough in the evening, so we dined Al Fresco.  I didn't take any photos since it was really dark and I didn't want to offend the proprietor ;o)

Fried Chicken

I really hate going to chain restaurants when I don't have to, so I like to try to find unusual local places when we travel.  We decided we would stop for lunch on the way to San Francisco and thought somewhere near Sacramento would work best.  I was able to find this place called Happy Apple Kitchen in Grass Valley.  It is a working orchard that has peaches & apples in season. The restaurant is in a little house and they have both indoor & outdoor seating.  The food wasn't the best, but it was pretty good.  I had the Fried Chicken and enjoyed it, it had an interesting sweetness to it so I thought maybe they added apples to the batter.  I asked the waitress and found out that they use frozen fried  I guess like French Fries, sometimes frozen is better!  They serve everything with a apple slice...cute!  Hubby had a hamburger and he said it was just run of the mill.
Homemade Peach Pie

The Peach Pie was really good, but the fresh peaches that we bought from the fruit stand were awesome!  So juicy and sweet!!  I don't remember the last time I had peaches that were this good.  It could be because they were picked that day;o)  We picked some up to take to our friends in the Bay Area and also got some for ourselves.  Since room service breakfast was included with our hotel we had the peaches every morning.  It's kinda nice having fresh picked peaches on Hotel China & Silver :o)


  1. Look at those fresh, delicious peaches! I'd love to have some too! ;D
    What a fun hotel Ritz Carlton has in North Tahoe and I can imagine this: "During the winter, you can ski in and out from the hotel and they have a gondola on the grounds that takes you up to the top of the mountain."
    I can understand how pissed it was with the young one about the sandwiches. lol ;P
    Love these great pics you and your hubby took during your mini vacation. How I wished to go there, so beautiful. ;)
    Hope you've a weekend! *hugs*

  2. Fantastic photos and it looks like it was a fantastic holiday!!!!

  3. That looks like an amazing trip. I love the Tahoe area.

    That fried chicken looked so good - too bad it ended up being cooked from frozen...

  4. Your legs may have been sore, but that view was SO worth it! Your husband must have gotten major brownie points for that trip. Very cool. Hope you had a great time celebrating!

  5. What a great Birthday trip...Happy belated birthday. All the food looks wonderful and it looks like an amazing time. :)

  6. Wish you Happy B- Day..and your getaway is your photos...

  7. Great birthday trip. Love the photos.

  8. Love the stainless steel ceiling mirror shot. Kinkayyyy... :D

    I kid, I kid.

    You two always have the loveliest getaways and meals together. To many more!

  9. I really love how you take us on the journey with you. The Mystic River Salmon dinner looks like a food dream. I'll bet the skin was wonderful. My husband and I went to Tahoe a few years ago. I remember the air being so crisp, and I could almost feel it in your pictures.

    I can't get enough of your blog!


  10. oh my goodness! so much fun! how amazing. I was just in Lake Tahoe to cater a wedding I wanted to stay longer, we really had no time to take it in but i've been a bunch of times since i was young. Its so beautiful there.

    everything looks fabulous and I'm so glad you got to spend your birthday doing these amazing things.

    lovely photos cheers

  11. Thanks for sharing the photo version of the trip. :-) Now I see what you really ate from the photos - haha. The peaches were the BEST peaches ever we ate this summer. Thanks for sharing them with us!

  12. Lyn, thank you always for your sweetest comments :o)

    Thanks Ang!!

    Savory, I know, I think I want to spend more time in Tahoe. Fortunately, the frozen chicken wasn't that bad ;o)

    Thanks Jen, you are right, the soreness was worth it for the view!

    Thank you SV, yes, I was a lucky girl on my bday :o)

    Thanks Sandra!!

    Thanks Christine!!

    Yes, Sis, we are a kinky

    Thank you so much Alaiyo! You are right about the crisp air in Tahoe, it's just so nature :o)

    Kimberly, that's too bad that you couldn't play too much in Tahoe, but how great that you had a catering gig up there! Thanks!

    Nami, I'm so glad that you guys enjoyed the peaches too! It was so fun hanging out with you and Shen too!!

  13. Hey, Happy Belated Birthday to you dear! Wishing you many more happy returns. ((hugs)) Bet you had a great time.
    Best wishes,