Truckee, California is a hub for skiers and snowboarders enjoying the destination resorts of Tahoe's northwest quadrant, from Squaw Valley-Alpine Meadows, Northstar and Sugar Bowl to smaller ski and snowboard areas like Donner Ski Ranch, Boreal and Soda Springs. Truckee offers a mix of things practical (like supermarkets) and cool (like an old time variety store). The town's historic center is more than 100 years old, and has a very good food and drink scene, influenced by the nearby Bay Area's smart tastes. Here are two new spots.
1. THE NACHO GOES MACHO AT ALIBI ALE WORKS
Korean-flavored nachos, anyone? How about nachos dressed like Buffalo blue cheese chicken wings? A sheet of s'mores in a nacho-style pile? Maybe let the little ones loose on the kid-sized pepperoni pizza nachos while you sip your craft brew and ponder the whole thing. Yep, you're getting the idea: Nacho mania is here.
Alibi Ale Works' new Truckee Public House, which opened in downtown Truckee's historic core in June 2017, offers these and other inventive nacho dishes to pair with 22 rotating craft beers on tap. The clever eats were created by Chefs Tyler and Aubrey O'Laskey, a husband-and-wife culinary team based in nearby Reno, Nevada. The idea (as it always is with nachos, really) is to nibble with friends while sipping good brew.
But you might find yourself elbowing those friends out of the way. Alibi's Korean nachos are topped with kimchi, beer-braised spiced pork, white cheese and a hot ssamjang sauce. The Mediterranean nachos are topped with za'atar-spiced lamb, Kalamata olives, feta, tzatziki, pickled red onions and a fiery green spice paste called zhoug. And the S'mores (on graham crackers, not tortilla chips) are fancied up with brûléed marshmallows, chocolate sauce and smoked salt.
The Truckee location and nacho menu are new, but Alibi has legs. Its original brewery and taproom are located around the northerly bend of Lake Tahoe in Incline Village, NV. You can taste the ever-changing deep list of Alibi's beer in the Incline location (with your dog at your feet), and learn more about owners' Kevin Drake and Rich Romo's groovy, Tahoe-focused story—but Truckee is the only place to taste their crafty, flavor-filled nachos. Find the Alibi Ale Works Truckee Public House (without your dog) at the corner of Bridge and Jibboom Streets in historic downtown Truckee. Nachos and other bites from US$6 to US$16. www.alibialeworks.com
2. Late Night Eats at Old Town Tap
Most restaurants in Truckee shut their kitchens by 9 pm. But Old Town Tap, which opened in Truckee's historic center in May 2016, serves wood-fired pizza and a select menu of modern-rustic Italian fare until 10 pm every weekday—and until midnight on weekends.
Launched by newlyweds who met working the food and drink scene in the Bay Area, Old Town describes its fare as "Gastro Italian cuisine created with local ingredients and crafted through old school preservation methods." That translates to a menu with items like house-made charcuterie, an excellent Caesar salad, a salmon belly crudo appetizer (with Mandarin orange gastrique, shiso leaf oil, crispy fennel and candied kumquat), and a sausage and kale pizza (with goat cheese, mozzarella, lemon zest and chili oil). Most ingredients come from regional producers dedicated to both flavor and sustainability.
Old Town's late night menu is pared down from the full dinner menu, but after-hours eaters will still find satisfying dishes like meatballs, burrata or pork belly rillette, along with all pizzas. The restaurant's 28 taps feature 16 beers and 12 wines alongside an inventive list of eight specialty cocktails, all at reasonable prices. Late night food from US$5 to US$16. Plus, happy hour runs every weekday from 4 pm to 6 pm, with great values on both bites and beverages. Find Old Town Tap on Donner Pass Road a few steps west of Spring Street. www.oldtowntaptruckee.com