EAT This Week: Cold Water Brewery’s Watermelon Panzanella

This week’s featured EAT dish is Cold Water Brewery’s Watermelon Panzanella. (Rob Galloway / Tahoe Daily Tribune)

To try and decide each week where and what to eat around the basin can be a challenge — there are so many amazing choices. In this feature we’ll dive into dishes that will surely satisfy those hunger pangs and leave you wondering where to go next.

Sometimes you just need a hug. And, sometimes, you just need a good salad. No more. No less. Just a really refreshing plate of greens that makes you feel less guilty about all the consumption of the things that aren’t quite as good for you. Don’t get me wrong, those things are great – but, so is this week’s feature.

Panzanella is essentially a bread salad. Here, this interpretation of the classic is the epitome of summer cuisine in California. When it was brought to the table I was surprised it didn’t have its own small moon orbiting it – the bowl is huge. Yeah, you can add fresh salmon or a nicely cooked rib eye to it, but you might need to take the belt down a notch. Or is it up a notch?

The greens in this salad are represented by one of my favorites: arugula. They’re joined at the hip with watermelon, crostini, whipped goat cheese, and pistachios. All of this gets dressed up with a mojito vinaigrette. Like the cocktail mojito? Yes. And it’s divine. All their dressings are made in house and gluten free, so if that’s typically an issue for you, it’s not here.

It probably goes without saying that this salad is fresh. The peppery bite from the arugula mixed with the sweet and juicy watermelon comes off as cool as Luke’s hand. The goat cheese adds a creamy punchiness and compliments all the ingredients – including the crostini. On its own, the crostini is super flavorful, but when you get a bite with everything together, it’s texture-palooza with flavors getting slung around like a baseball after a strikeout.

Each bite is elevated and tied together perfectly with the dressing. I can’t say enough good things about it. I nearly ate my fork trying to get every last bit. I wouldn’t recommend taking it quite that far, but I do recommend this salad – especially during these warm Tahoe days.

Cold Water Brewery & Grill is located at 2544 Lake Tahoe Blvd. in South Lake Tahoe. For menu, beer and additional information visit them online at or via phone at 530-544-4677.

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