Monday, November 26, 2012

Snapshot: My first Thanksgiving Dinner

It turns out one of the problems with travelling on Thanksgiving is that Americans all go home for the holidays making dining options extremely limited. Thankfully we happened across a country hotel just as cute as a button.

The dining room was exactly as you'd imagine an older country proprietor thinks is elegant. White table cloths, silver cutlery, heavy scrolled paintings and Autumn accents.

For $39 for a 3 course prix fixe Traditional Thanksgiving dinner it was a bargain of heavy calorie laden delights.

Autumn Harvest Soup

Turkey with all the trimmings; cranberry sauce, gravy, green bean casserole, potato gratin, sweet potatoes (with marshmallows... oh America) and stuffing.

And of course Pumpkin Pie

We waddled home very satisfied and feeling like we'd tasted a true piece of American culture.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Review: Kalani's, Lake Tahoe CA

After a long drive in the dark from San Francisco we arrived at our lodge in Heavenly Village South Tahoe and asked the concierge where we could eat without venturing too far into the cold. They recommended Kalani's which is in the village itself.

When they said it was Hawaiian we were thinking Teriyaki Chicken and Loco Moco but instead found a delightful high end surf and turf. We were offered a choice of sushi window, bar or dining room seating but opted for the more intimate dining room. 

2008 Sonoma Cutrer Pinot Noir $61

The wine list was extensive but since we wanted both seafood and meat we opted for this Sonoma Cutrer Pinot Noir. You may see a range of Californian and New World wines appear in my blog in the near future as I'm learning the local wines now that I live in the US ... doesn't that sound like a tough job for a foodie ;o)

Blackened Ahi Tuna with Wasabi Mirin Aioli and Soy Mustard $15

Good quality Hawaiian Ahi perfectly seared is good enough on its own but the Wasabi Aoili is enough to make me weep and even the crisp dressed "coleslaw" it sits on is beautiful. 

A la carte sushi and sashimi

I'm handed a full al a carte sushi menu by my boy with a twinkle in his eye and I am not disappointed, it's full of pure deliciousness. We order a sampling of a number of items.

Kim chee pickled cucumber $8

The perfect mix of crisp and hot with umami, sweet and sour. 

Spicy Hamachi Roll $12

The Hamachi was a little fishy for my partner but the sushi was well made, the key here is to avoid "spicy" fish roll in the US since this is often minced fish pieces rather than whole fillet.

Maguro Sashimi and Seared Ahi $14 each

Tuna is my greatest weakness and so we ordered one of everything, you can also see the maguro presented as nigiri in the background. Excellent quality, fresh and the perfect temperature. Just gorgeous. 

Walu Sashimi $16

With such delightful tuna we assumed that that would be the highlight of our meal however we were convinced by the waitress to order this sashimi. Walu is also known as Hawaiian butterfish and this describes it completely, buttery, fatty and delicious this now rivals otoro as my favourite oily delight. Like all truly excellent foods it comes at a risk, the high oil content can cause severe stomach issues so only order a small portion. 

Caprese Salad $16

I'm a sucker for Caprese even in the cold and this doesn't disappoint. Excellent quality tomato and basil are topped with a fresh puffy mozzarella and a truly delicious home made sweet chilli dressing. 

14oz Rib Eye $36

Simple but well done and cooked to perfection served with butter and grilled asparagus and wasabi mashed potatoes. 

Full Rack of Beef Ribs with Mashed Potato $32

Dripping in kalbi sauce with wasabi mash and bok choy. Messy, fun, excellent.

Banana Bread Pudding $12

There's no way I could eat this on my own, I got about halfway through before giving up. Banana bread is layered with macadamia nuts and covered in creme anglaise before baking. Served with more custard and more chopped macadamia nuts. Warming but tropical.

Coconut Creme Brulee $12

A traditional creme brulee with a twist - coconut oil through the custard. 

2009 St Supery Moscato $15 a glass

If you're going to go all out, you may as well have a dessert wine on vacation. This moscato was perfect with the heavy desserts. A little sweet but light and cut through the richness well. 

All in all the meal was absolutely delightful and far exceeded our expectations for resort food. Easily the best Hawaiian food I've had with top quality produce and excellent service, we'll be back. 


Shops at Heavenly Village
1001 Heavenly Village Way
South Lake Tahoe, CA
(530) 544-6100

High end Hawaiian food
Casual at the bar or formal in the dining room - your choice!

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