The English definition of the Italian “al fresco” is: Located or taking place outdoors. Note that does not say “taking it off” outdoors. That is dining “el buffo;” different recipe column, different language, completely different rules.
Right now Truckee is awash with enough colorful umbrellas to give the 1990s artist de jour Christo a run for his money. But unlike Christo’s 1,340 blue umbrellas dotting the rice fields in Tokyo, or the 1,760 yellow counterparts in California, our Truckee umbrellas do something. They tell us it is really and truly possible, festive and essential to dine out doors.
Moody’s (moodys.com) located in The Truckee Hotel near that four-way stop that is really only three ways, on Commercial Row in little downtown Truckee (whew!), is a prime example of putting some of its prime patio real estate to good use. Their summer menu includes, among other items, gourmet pizzas (I had the special lobster and leek pizza and almost had to get a room), unique salad ensembles, a killer blackened chicken sandwich and “Bar Bites” such as mussels in lemongrass, coconut milk, Serrano chili and cilantro, yellow fin ahi tuna poke and house-made corndogs which just encourage you to sit, stare at the colorful scene that is Truckee, and stay awhile.
Other Truckee dining establishments who have outdoor patio and deck dining include: Bar of America at Truckee’s Commercial Row, right at the three-way stop; Dragonfly on Truckee’s Commercial Row; Cottonwood on Hilltop, overlooking downtown Truckee; Jax Diner on, well just about, the train tracks; El Torro Bravo, west end of downtown Truckee; Smokey’s Kitchen on Donner Pass Road, near Donner Lake; and Martha’s, a small Mexican restaurant at the west end of Donner Lake.
Nothing like a front row seat on life...
Moody’s Bar, Bistro and Beats’ Orange Pistachio Sauce
Moody’s serves this with a crisp selection of crudite (pronounced crew-dit-aye, Mom!), also known as sliced, raw vegetables.
1 cup shelled, roasted pistachios (if salted, use less salt to flavor final product)
1 bunch coarsely chopped fresh basil
1 tsp. chopped garlic
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Preparation: In a food processor, grind pistachios, basil and garlic until roughly chopped. Add orange juice and olive oil and pulse/mix until smoothly blended. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve with raw vegetables, sliced or chunked, of your preference (I like cauliflowerettes) for dipping.