Lake Tahoe.

It’s been over a decade since my last trip to picturesque Lake Tahoe, crazy I know right?!

Growing up I came here every winter season since I was a baby because my parents owned a condominium in South Lake Tahoe. Once they sold that a little over a decade ago, I never came back unfortunately. Since this year the weather has been ideal for the snow, I knew we had to come up here for at least a few days. Not only was it Tommy’s first visit to Lake Tahoe, it was also my dog’s first time seeing the snow!

We drove up from Oakland, which took us a little over three hours, and of course we had to stop at In-N-Out Burger, an obligatory stop during a road trip.

We stayed in a lodge near the Heavenly Village, which was perfect for a short trip and of course dog friendly.

Before heading out to dinner our first night, we took Kuma on a walk and she loved her first experience in the snow.

Now the dining scene in Lake Tahoe is incomparable to the Bay Area. Not only is there a limited selection of restaurants, the quality is much lower than restaurants back home. All the restaurants we tried were decent but nothing amazing. Our first night we ate at Off the Hook Sushi, which was fine but didn’t quite satisfy my sushi cravings.

Vegetable Tempura (6/10).

Seaweed Salad (8/10).

Ahi Tuna Poke Salad (8/10).

Miso Soup (6/10).

Rock N’ Roll: Unagi and Avocado (6.5/10).

The Joker: Salmon, Yellowtail, and Avocado (6.5/10).

The Gambler: Yellowtail, Basil, Garlic, and Macadamia Nuts (7/10).

Chocolate Lava Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream (6.5/10).

Green Tea Ice Cream (8/10).

My favorite dish of the meal was without a doubt the ahi tuna poke salad. Little ruby chunks of ahi tuna marinated in soy sauce and sesame oil tossed with scallions, sweet macadamia nuts, mixed greens, and seaweed. Really tasty and fresh. All the other dishes were on the mediocre side so my overall rating is a 6.5-7/10.

The next day we headed to Heavenly for a whole day of skiing. The weather couldn’t have been any better; sunny with clear blue skies. As I child, I went to Heavenly the most since our condominium was close by but other ski resorts that I’ve visited in the past include Squaw Valley, Northstar, and Kirkwood. Now since I haven’t skied in a very long time, I was slightly nervous but I ended up only falling one time! Without a doubt the next time I go skiing, I will feel more comfortable going on intermediate slopes.

Our second night we ate at Base Camp Pizza, a super casual pizza joint in the Heavenly Village.

Garlic Fries (7/10).

Caesar Salad (7.5/10).

Pear and Gorgonzola Pizza (7/10).

BBQ Chicken Pizza (8/10).

Fire Roasted Medley with Pepperoni (7.5/10).

Everything we ordered was pretty delicious, not the best pizza I’ve had but solid. My favorite pizza was bbq chicken especially since it was topped with bacon and creamy Gouda cheese. Yum! Base Camp Pizza will definitely hit the spot if you’re craving American style pizza so my rating is a 7.5/10.

Our last day in Tahoe, we went up to Adventure Mountain for some sleighing. I came here as a child and it was super fun but now that I’m older, it wasn’t as cool as I remembered.

After Adventure Mountain we took Kuma to the dog park and a long walk along the lake for a gorgeous view.

Our last night we dined at another restaurant in the Heavenly VillageKalani’s. I thought I would be disappointed by the food but I was actually pleasantly surprised. Of course, it still doesn’t compare to Bay Area restaurants but the food was yummy and presented nicely. Service was also stellar.

Hawaiian Style Ahi Tuna Tartare (7.5-8/10).

Crab Cake with Yuzu Beurre Blanc and Green Papaya Salad (6.5-7/10).

Pork Belly Lettuce Wraps (8/10).

Pan Caramelized Miso-Yaki Sea Bass (7.5/10).

Beef Short Ribs with Mashed Potatoes and Asparagus (6.5-7/10).

Coconut Crème Brûlée (8/10).

Banana Bread Pudding (8.5/10).

Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream (7/10).

We started off with the ahi tuna tartare which is always a crowd pleaser. The tuna tartare was tossed with a sesame chili soy sauce and garlic and served with creamy avocado and crispy yam chips. The crab cake was tasty but not my favorite. However, I loved the crunchy refreshing green papaya salad served with the crab cake. The pork belly lettuce wraps was one of the most flavorful dishes we tried. It was very well balanced with sweet plum sauce, crunchy bitter daikon radishes, carrots, cooling cucumber, spicy jalapeños, and aromatic mint and cilantro. Out of the main dishes, the sea bass was pretty tasty. The fish was glazed with miso and served with Thai basil mashed potatoes and a light ponzu sauce. The beef short ribs was cooked perfectly, tender and melted in my mouth but lacked some flavor. The desserts overall were all delicious. My favorite was the banana bread pudding; sticky, rich, moist and covered in caramel. Mmmm. Kalani’s is probably one of the better restaurants in South Lake Tahoe so it’s worth checking out. My overall rating is a 7.5-8/10.

Even though our trip to Lake Tahoe was short, it was super fun to show Tommy around and watching Kuma play in the snow (she was sooo cute). I definitely need to go back to Tahoe soon, perhaps during the summer!

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