Crush29 Sacramento (Roseville) - Given my requirements that the restaurant be easy to find off I-80 north of town, and that it be open after 10 pm...I think i was lucky to find this restaurant. It's just a little too bar-sceney, my husband called it a very, very upscale Bennigans. That was a little harsh, I'm sure. Our fried calamari was pretty good, and I had a shrimp/pasta dish that was not bad.
Big Water Grille, Tahoe (Incline Village) - Beautiful, beautiful view of the lake. There was an outside patio, but the wind picked up too much to utilize it. At first, when I saw the really expensive menu ($42 for the elk chop) and the fairly traditional preparations (all the specials came w/ some kind of flavored mashed potato) I feared the worse...resort food. The wines by the glass were limited and mundane, and when I asked the server if the Reisling was dry he said yes, it's dry...and sweet. *sigh* But we were pleasantly surprised. Everything was very nice quality. I had a goat cheese tart w/ arugula, figs, and ...oh no!...blue cheese (cambozola) which I failed to notice in the description. I generally would rather eat a bug than blue cheese, but this was mild and the flavor combination w/ the figs was superb. My husband had a white bean salad w/ apple gastric and a piece of Nueske (sp?) bacon...fantastic.
My salmon with green papaya salad and lemongrass foam was a good piece of fish, well prepared, although not rare-ish as I specified. The salad and the foam were not flavor-dense, and were the only disappointments of the night. My husband had a pan roasted chicken w/ rice and a coconut/green curry sauce...it was delicious.
Moody's Bistro in Truckee was the highlight of the trip, and one of the best meals I've had in a long time. I wanted everything on the menu, and finally settled with..
Chicken liver mousse and a cheese (forgotten) w/ rose petal jam. Delicious. Followed by an Heirloom tomato salad w/ Burrata. Three diff. heirloom tomatoes (really gorgeous ones) , each with it's own sea salt...Maldon, Red Hawaiian, something else. Massive pile of Burrata, which I had never tasted before, I'm in love. Good thing it was a big pile, my husband was loving it too.
Speaking of husband...he had the Tuna 4 ways, each better than the next, and some of the best quality raw tuna either of us has had in a while. He followed that with the Neiman Ranch Big Ass Pig Platter...trotters, coppa, loin, ham. All pretty good, but we were still dreaming of the bacaon from the night before. I had 1/2 portion of gnocchi w/ truffles and cherry tomatoes. Also delicious.
Moody's offers 3 oz pours and I took advantage. Notes to self: I don't like Gruener Veltlinger...doesn't matter how popular it is, or wonderful the server says a particular bottle is. Pinot Noir may be lovely, but I'll always prefer a red w/ more weight, like the Foley Syrah.
In N Out Burger - I don't really get it. What's to like?
Waterboy, Sacramento - Very good, I think my husband like it as much or better than Moody's. He loved his fried shrimp. I had the white anchovies (very good), and the ragu of tripe w/ polenta (never had tripe before. It was tasty in this prep, but it won't become a favorite.) Husband had the scallops (delicious) and we split an entree of chicken and herb ravioli w/ chanterells. There were some other specials that sounded great, as well.
My only complaints are about the wine. I was going to get a half bottle of Pinot and asked the server which of the two she recommended. She said I might as well get the one that was by the glass. It came in a small, non descript glass, not shaped as one might expect, and too small at the top to insert one's nose. Plus it was straight from the refridgerator. When I mentioned it, I was told they chill their reds slightly, like I was too dumb to know room temp doesn't mean 75 degrees. Upon request, the second glass was served in a decent one, and was at the correct temp.
Chocolate hazelnut creme caramel was excellent. Finally, a night w/out 20mph wind, we thoroughly enjoyed sitting in on the sidewalk.
Thanks to everyone who helped in my quest for food...so far I LOVE eating in California.