Two good places for non-fancy but solidly good food in Truckee--these places can be more casual or more upscale, depending on what you order and where you sit (bar vs. restaurant).
Moody's: right on the main drag (Donner Pass Road) in the old section of Truckee, Moody's has good food and a nice bar area. We shared an ahi appetizer (their fish is flown in 6x/week), a salad of beets and frisee, a really good eggplant pasta dish, and the make-your-own-s'mores for dessert. All really well-prepared, good ingredients, combinations that made sense. I really hate places that tart up perfectly good dishes by adding unnecessary additional components, and the chef at Moody's knows better than to do that. Friendly, competent service as well.
Pacific Crest: across the street from Moody's, and also offering a lively bar, Pacific Crest is another place that can be more or less casual, depending on what you order and where you sit. We shared an order of oysters on the half shell with mignonette, and a side of green beans, then each had a small pizza. The pizzas weren't the best I've ever had in my life, but were very good (especially compared to the bad pizza place in the Truckee shopping center--see below). We also had a really nice bottle of a non-vintage Cain Cuvee and Peet's coffee there, which was a treat.
And for Mexican, we also liked Casa Baeza, which is a block away from the other two, set back from Donner Pass Rd. Casa Baeza is very casual (a good place for families) with good solid food and a nice selection of tequilas. We shared guacamole and chips to start, with their quite-spicy salsa, and then I had chicken fajitas, which were delicious, and Scott had carnitas, which he really enjoyed as well.
I can't remember the name of the pizza place in the shopping center, but their crusts are both puffy and thick, which I hate, plus they don't cook the vegetables before putting them on the pizza. I ordered the spinach/mushroom/onion, and all those veggies were raw when the pizza went into the oven. They came out limp, flavorless and overwhelmed by the big, bready mass of crust. My dining companions were happier with their pies, so maybe the key is having a taste for thick crust and ordering more assertive (i.e. meat) toppings.
More reports from the Truckee dining scene as winter progresses...
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