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Eating Your Way To Tahoe

Word on the street is that every San Franciscan and her brother are heading up to Tahoe to ski for the coming long weekend. Given that the drive can take five to six hours, depending on traffic, you’re going to need repast along the way. Every regular ski commuter has a few favorite stops. Here are three of mine:

Just before reaching Davis on I-80, you’ll see Dixon Fruit Market on the right side of the road. This lovely little grocery overflows with nuts, fruit and veggies from nearby Central Valley farms and orchards, along with small-batch condiments, salsas and the like. I always stop here for the fattest, greenest, most delicious pistachios: you can get plain, salted, garlic, chili and several other varieties. A most excellent car snack.

Past Sacramento, you’ll hit Auburn and Ikeda’s Country Market, where you absolutely must stop for a basic but super-fresh burger topped with sautéed onions, and some of the state’s best French fries. You say In and Out, I say Ikeda’s. (If you’re dieting to look good in that ski bunny outfit—and I ardently hope you are not—they’ve got great smoothies too.)

I’m convinced that many skiers take up the sport simply for the après scene, and who could blame them? There’s certain nothing better than a tall cold beer and some healthy flirting after you’ve just put your muscles through six hours of strain. The best après scene by far can be found at Le Chamois in Squaw Valley—a cozy cafe with an outside patio bar where fresh mountain air, fatigue and alcohol combine to make everyone look a little more attractive. Order something on tap and a pizza, and whisper a prayer of thanks that you live in California.