Après ski appies
Old Town Tap / Truckee
Special to the Tribune
Refuel with post-slope shareable plates around the lake
Whether you spent the day on blues or black diamonds, gathering around a table with appetizers galore — washed down with a hot toddy or your favorite local IPA — is the ideal way to cap a winter’s day in Tahoe. Skip the entrees and load up your table with a bevy of small plates to share from one of these eclectic eateries around the lake. Your taste buds will thank you.
Forget garlic knots and mozzarella sticks. With a contemporary twist on a classic pizzeria, Old Town Tap not only serves up delectable woodfired pizzas but also an impressive list of elevated appetizers. Tuck into meatballs on a bed of polenta, fried brussel sprouts showered in lemon zest and parmesan with chili-garlic aioli, and creamy burrata topped with an herby Moroccan chermoula and toasted pistachios begging to be dunked with a crusty piece of flatbread. Feeling fancy? Add a dozen oysters with mignonette and bone marrow served with pickled cornichon, chutney and arugula to the mix.
After choosing a draft beer from the 16 on tap (all brewed within 100 miles of Tahoe City), order an assortment of Tahoe Tap Haus’ shared plates to go around. Loaded sweet potato tater tots are paired with cotija cheese, sage crema, chorizo and green onion, while a rotating selection of wild game sliders are served alongside gourmet sauces and accoutrement. Rolled in garlic bread crumbs, Wisconsin Cheddar cheese curds take a trip to the deep frier and are served with marinara, or keep it simple with a bowl of “haus-made” potato chips to pass around.
Pro tip: After appetizers, walk over to the Tahoe Art Haus and Cinema to continue the beer-drinking and snacking while taking in a major film, ski movie or indie flick. The non-GMO popcorn is coated in real butter, and there are over 20 options at the spice bar to add your own twist, from nutritional yeast to Creole spice.
In a cozy eatery with reclaimed wood and a highly Instagrammable mural of Lake Tahoe, FUMO in Incline Village is committed to putting its own spin on classic fare, including on their starters menu. Deviled eggs? Sure, but let’s add lobster and dill truffle oil. Stuffed mushrooms? Only if the cream cheese, bacon and green onion filling is drizzled in rosemary garlic butter and balsamic glaze. Wild mushroom baked brie with crostinis — jazzed up with a walnut spread, oven-roasted tomato jam and hot honey — and shrimp ceviche with a mango habanero salsa are other fan favorites.
While you may be inclined to eat your fill of chips and salsa, there is more to be discovered at Caliente in Kings Beach. Try the ahi poke nachos with chipotle aioli, avocado puree, toasted sesame and mango pico de gallo, or the battered and fried chile relleno stuffed with three cheeses, grilled corn and black beans. The jalapeño shooters are also battered, fried and chock full of bacon and cheddar with a shot glass of cilantro buttermilk ranch for dipping. For a real crowd pleaser, order a helping of the queso fundido con chorizo made with melted manchego and jack cheeses and served with warm tortilla chips.
While taking in views of Big Blue from high up on Kingsbury Grade, peruse the appetizer menu at Chart House in Stateline. Known for its high-quality ingredients from the land and sea, share a plate of the lightly fried Korean-inspired kimchi calamari, coconut crunchy shrimp, or an artful stack of shrimp, avocado and mango. Don’t forget to leave room on the table for Chart House’s creative collection of cocktails, which range from a tableside flight of mojitos for two to unique riffs on the Old Fashioned.
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