While most visitors come to the Lake Tahoe Basin for the breathtaking sights and year-round recreational activities, there is also an edible adventure awaiting your palate here in South Lake Tahoe. We are a true hotspot for culinary talent ranging from award-winning restaurants to personal caterers ready to customize your dream dinner. Many professionals are drawn to this area for the abundance of seasonal produce and fresh, bright style of cuisine that California is known for. In this blog, I will introduce you to a few of our many talented local Chefs who contribute to our exciting epicurean scene and hopefully inspire you to try one of these unique dining options next time the hunger strikes!
Chef Oscar Herrera, Evans American Gourmet Cafe
Tucked away in a vintage cabin near Camp Richardson and consisting of only 11 tables dressed in white tablecloths, Evans American Gourmet Café is a fine dining experience your group will not soon forget. The owners, Evan & Candace Williams, are celebrating 30 years of business and have earned quite a few accolades and awards over that time for good reason. At the head of the kitchen is Chef Oscar Herrera, who has been cooking at Evans for 10 years now, flawlessly recreating classic dishes while adding his own flair to the menu with creative nightly specials and house-made pasta. His son also has a great passion for cooking and works diligently by his dad’s side, making it a true family endeavor. Despite having many great recipes in his repertoire, one dish stands out to him as a highlight of the menu… the pan roasted breast and confit leg of Duck. The process of “confit”, where the meat is cooked slowly at a low temperature over a long period of time, can be quite time-consuming but Oscar says that labor of love is exactly what makes it a favorite for him to prepare. He serves the duck with a flavorful Grand Marnier jus, savory bread pudding with walnuts and perfectly al dente sugar snap peas, and Evan suggests pairing it with a bottle of the Roar Pinot Noir ‘15 from Santa Lucia Highlands. Don’t miss this signature dish on your next visit to this South Shore classic restaurant! Reservation information is available at www.Evanslaketahoe.com
Chef Glenn Simpson, Blue Angel Café
If you are looking for a casual, family-friendly scene where the coffee flows like water and the menu is as worldly as the staff, then I suggest you stop by The Blue Angel Café on Ski Run Blvd. to sample a few of Chef Glenn Simpson’s globally-inspired creations. Located just minutes away from the chairlifts of Heavenly Ski Resort, it’s the perfect spot to après by the fireplace and take advantage of their generous Happy Hour specials. Originally from New Zealand, Chef Glenn relocated here 20 years ago and loves being a part of this incredible community. While the menu at the Blue Angel can be described as Vegetarian focused, there are still plenty of options to satisfy everyone, even those with carnivorous cravings. Despite having a hard time pinning down a preferred dish, he settled on his Lamb tostadas as being most reflective of his style of cuisine. He starts with tender chunks of New Zealand Lamb marinated with coriander and jalapeno, piled on crispy tortillas and topped with minted coleslaw and roasted tomatillo salsa. Visit their website www.blueangelcafe.com to drool over more extensive menu descriptions and read about the history of the Café’s namesake, The Blue Angels ski team.
Chef Miranda Worrell, Tahoe Mountain Tapas
For a truly unique and customized dining experience, consider hiring the services of a top-notch personal Chef such as Truckee/Tahoe native Miranda Worrell. Miranda has grown up in and around the restaurant industry, her first job being in a kitchen at an elevation of 8610’. She has had the pleasure of working in some of the finest kitchens around Lake Tahoe, as well as teaching various Culinary Arts courses at Lake Tahoe Community College. In 2013, she started Tahoe Mountain Tapas Personal Chef Services, providing an in-home dining experience to the greater Lake Tahoe area. She does all of her cooking and preparation on site and works one-on-one with clients to create menus that are tailor-fit for their event. She specializes in shareable Tapas but most often caters to the traditional plated or buffet/family style meal. The Tapas idea stemmed from her love of variety and inability to order just one dish… like many of us we want to try a little bit of everything when we dine! She is admittedly obsessed with sweet and spicy combinations, as you will find in her Ancho Seared Salmon with Blackberry Serrano Compote. Using as many locally-sourced and organic ingredients as possible, Miranda believes in cooking food that not only tastes good but makes you FEEL good as well. Visit www.TahoeMountainTapas.com to view her seasonal sample menus sure to make your mouth water.
Chef Arica Davis, Yummy Fixings
Another local entrepreneur making a big name for herself in the Tahoe area is Arica Davis, owner of Yummy Fixings based here in South Lake. A Louisiana transplant, Arica combines her love of Southern food with her experiences traveling and taking instructional cooking classes in Italy and Spain to create incredible flavors within customized menus for her clients. Not only will she do the shopping and cooking for you, but she will also take care of the clean up so you can enjoy your time with family and friends in a beautiful location. How great is that?! Her “Pasta Parties” are a hit with small groups looking for an interactive and bonding experience, where Arica teaches you how to roll your own fresh pasta just like she learned in Florence. Although she has a plethora of signature dishes that have earned her quite the impressive reputation, a standout menu item is her handmade potato gnocchi, pan seared and tossed in a brown butter sauce with roasted butternut squash & cauliflower. Topped with crispy sage leaves and a dollop of ricotta, this dish will leave you weak in the knees. Her website yummyfixins.com also includes a recipe blog for all you inspiring Chefs!