flashback friday: tahoe round two.

by Janetha on August 12, 2011

in dogs,eating out,travel

time for another tahoe recap! i need to get this in the bag before i forget all the details. if you are just tuning in, i went to south lake tahoe for my first wedding anniversary back in july. i recapped day one here.

day two was friday. marshall and i woke up and rode our bikes to a cute breakfast spot we had spotted on our way into town.

heidi’s looked promising. it really did! it was quaint, cozy and decorated with ridiculous knickknacks. all the necessary components to a delicious local breakfast, right?


wrong. i eventually found out that heidi’s is a chain, that’s my first rule for vacations: do not eat at chains. ugh.  it’s not a big chain—but a chain none the less.

we were seated within about 5-10 minutes, but then we waited quite awhile for anyone to come to our table.  eventually we received some water, but it tasted FOUL.  if you have ever had bad restaurant water, then you know the taste i am talking about.  our waitress finally came and right off the bat she was a little snippity.  we’d had plenty of time to review the menu, so we ordered right away.

i wanted something that i don’t always get, so i went with the crepes. IMG_0906

i also got a side of egg whites for protein.


my whole meal was cold. marshall wasn’t a big fan of his meal, either.  and it was expensive! after the tip, we paid nearly $60 for a crappy breakfast. of course, we still tipped the usual 25% because that’s what we do, but it was really just a huge letdown. it had 3.5 stars on yelp, so for the rest of the trip we decided we’d only go to 4 or 5 star yelp-rated restaurants.

after breakfast we biked around the town and browsed some of the shops.  we also booked a massage for saturday!

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i honestly could not tell you what happened that afternoon, because the photos on my camera skip straight to dinner. my guess is we napped and listened to the hunger games audiobook—but i could be wrong. the world may never know.

we went to a highly recommended restaurant for dinner that night. the main reason we went there is we could take the dogs to dinner! SOLD.


macduff’s was a very short walk from where we were staying. how convenient! we were given a warm welcome, the employees squealed at penny and randy and we were immediately seated in the outdoor area.


we looked over the menu and ordered drinks. i rarely drink beer because i would rather eat ice cream, but i was on vacation and at a pub—it was a no-brainer. side note, did you know that “pub” is short for “public house”? i didn’t! until i read the menu!


the beer menu was cool because it told you not only the alcohol percentage, but how many miles between the restaurant and the brewery it came from.


i ordered a monkey knife fight pale ale, which was brewed 102 miles away in sacramento, california. i ordered it because it was local AND because of the name.. which happens to be the title of one of my favorite minus the bear songs. what?


marshall doesn’t usually drink alcohol, but he saw that there was an all natural pear cider on the drink menu and decided to give it a try (he loves pears).


this was after he ordered his usual coffee. three drinks.. it ain’t no thing.


the food menu was amazing. it was SO hard to decide! i eventually picked the lake tahoe forester burger..


sauteed wild mushrooms, white truffle oil and a parmesan crisp. yes, please!


instead of fries, i got the most amazing onion rings i’ve ever had in my life. IMG_0960

marshall ordered a burger, too. his had the meltiest blue cheese and lots of bacon. it was SO delicious.


his fries were just as tasty as the onion rings. we ended up sharing, because sharing is caring.

the pups may or may not have had a few bites of hamburger. they are SO spoiled.

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bringing your dogs to dinner is basically the best ever.


after dinner we decided to walk down by the lake. we caught a few shots just before it got dark—lake tahoe is STUNNING.

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we walked out on a dock with the pups—they weren’t quite sure what to think.

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we sat on the dock for awhile, just soaking up the outdoors.

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by the time we started walking back to where we were staying, our sweet tooth (teeth?) had kicked in. lucky for us, there was an ice cream parlor on the way back :)


i got one of faves—cookies & cream. it’s only second to vanilla bean with fresh peaches.


we meandered back to holly’s place and called it a night. a good, good night.


1. are there any chain restaurants you like? it’s hard for me to love chain restaurants. they all taste the same (and honestly kind of “blah”). i do love eating at chipotle, cafe rio and whole foods. but, for the most part, chain restaurants are dead to me. and if i am on vacation, they are an absolute BAN.

2. when dining out, do you usually order a drink? (non alcoholic or alcoholic) i get water 80% of the time. there is that 17% of the time that i order coffee and the remaining 3% of the time when i order a beer. 

xo. janetha g.

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Kelly @ Laughter, Strength, and Food August 12, 2011 at 1:24 pm

I do love Chipotle as well and I am the same way when I’m on vacation! I like to eat at places that I can’t experience anywhere else except where I am vacationing!

That burger sounded amazing! :-D

Cat @Breakfast to Bed August 12, 2011 at 1:28 pm

Holy cow, that burger needs to teleport to me!!! I like chop’t here in NYC. If I go out, I’ll get booze!!!

rebecca lustig August 12, 2011 at 2:08 pm

I try to avoid chain restaurants for similar reasons. Plus it bothers me that the place and food smell and taste exactly the same no matter which location you go to. Then there’s the whole ethical issue of ‘where did this food come from’.

butttt it’s the company you’re with that makes or breaks the experience :)

Corey @ Learning Patience August 12, 2011 at 2:14 pm

The lake pictures are gorgeous! Looks beautiful there, never been! We never ate at chain restaurants back home in Houston — there simply is too many locally owned awesome places to eat there – seriously it’s a foodies dream. Here in Trinidad we eat out maybe once a week. I have been doing the cooking and I like it that way. Plus, it gives me lots to blog about! xoxo from Trinidad

p.s. Oh – I normally always order a glass of water and a glass of wine!

Allison August 12, 2011 at 2:41 pm

I really don’t like eating at chain restaurants either, but if a group is going out, I won’t refuse just to miss out on the fun! A couple I prefer more than others are: Panera (for a quicky), CPK (*California Pizza Kitchen*), and Chicken Out.

At a restaurant, I order: coffee with breakfast or after dinner (always decaf), water with a lemon, and sometimes an occasional glass of wine!

Stephanie @ extremebalance.net/blog August 12, 2011 at 4:06 pm

DUDE. If the service blows, and you tip 25%, aren’t you enabling? ;) I think dropping it to 10% sends a clear message in times like that.

I’m anti-chain, too! Except that in the States, I sometimes can’t tell until I’ve gone in. And maybe consumed things. More than once. I probably ate at Panera three times in Newport, RI, before I realised it wasn’t local. Heh.

Heather @ Get Healthy with Heather August 12, 2011 at 4:26 pm

Chipotle’s is about the only chain restaurant I like… Like a lot :)

So cool that you guys could bring your pooches to the restaurant. Tha’d make it a winner in my book!

Out to dinner I’d usually get a beer (we are home brewers after all!), wine and/or always water.

Stefanie @TheNewHealthy August 12, 2011 at 4:54 pm

Wow – Lake Tahoe is beautiful!! And that’s so fun that you got to eat with your pups. :)

Alicia August 12, 2011 at 5:03 pm

Hey just an FYI that cider is a hard cider and has alcohol in it. Just for future reference.


Janetha August 12, 2011 at 5:22 pm

Oh–yeah, I know! I should edit that to Marshall doesn’t “usually” drink. He has consumed two alcoholic beverages in his life (before this trip)!

Linda August 12, 2011 at 5:04 pm

There are a few chains I like- Qdoba for one. When I travel, local chains are ok. Whatever I can’t get at home is good. National chains like PF Chang’s or Outback get the pass regardless of where I am.

Amanda August 12, 2011 at 5:26 pm

oh gosh i know that exact taste (bad restaurant water. EW!)

MONKEY KNIFE FIGHT! I just told Andy and he got excited. He needs to try that and tell me all about it! How fun!

I love Fox Barrel Cider. It’s gluten-free so I can drink it!

I’ve never been to Tahoe ever. And I really want to go now! Hate chain restaurants. I’m so with you

Abby @ Abz 'n' Oats August 12, 2011 at 6:00 pm

I don’t really care for chain restaurants either. I will go to them occasionally–besides Starbucks lol because I go there all the time! I love the unique experience that other restaurants provide. :) I usually just order water with lemon to drink unless it is a special occasion of some kind!

Shannon August 12, 2011 at 6:02 pm

I think we ate at Heidi’s one time years ago and didn’t like it either. We have a Heidi’s Pies restaurant (not a part of the chain, it’s individual!) in the bay area so my brother had asked (jokingly) if they were related and my mom said the food their was terrible. What horrible service you got too! I’ll have to try that Pub next time we are in the area. It looks really good.

I do go to chain restaurants on occasion. We like BJ’s Brewery. The food there, for a chain, is actually pretty good.

I’d say about 90% of the time I get water at a restaurant, but sometimes I’ll get a diet coke, or if it’s a special occasion, I’ll get one alcoholic drink, but I’m not a big drinker, and I’d rather just have water.

Ty August 12, 2011 at 7:30 pm

Sweet! Someone else loves BJ’s as much as I do. Now I don’t feel so guilty.

It’s the thin and crispy french fries. Best I’ve ever had. And the chili. And the meatball sandwiches. And the pulled pork. And… and… well. I guess everything.

Lindsey @ Cardio Pizza August 12, 2011 at 6:03 pm

I do like some chain restaurants…I especially enjoy Chipotle, Panera Bread, Red Robin, Papa John’s Pizza and Dairy Queen. I’m not a fan of places like Applebees and Ruby Tuesday..the quality is pretty bad.

But you are right about vacation…I can’t go to a chain restaurant. I love local restaurants!

I usually order water, but if it’s a special occasion or I’m enjoying a night out on the town I’ll get an alcoholic drink for sure! :)

Ellen Clifford August 12, 2011 at 6:18 pm

I have a sick love of the cheesecake factory. They have a decent wine list(that’s answers q 2, I’m a wine with dinner person), I live their bread and butter and salads and can shamelessly put away a whole piece of that chocolate cake that’s like six layers high. I try not to do that tooooo often though:)

CJ @ http://healthy-happy-whole.com/ August 12, 2011 at 6:19 pm

I love the chain Seasons 52… I actually just wrote a post on it recently! I love Chipotle at well and was so excited they are opening a similar chain of Asian inspiration! Woo hoo how exciting! Tahoe looks beautiful!

Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga August 12, 2011 at 6:22 pm

I used to 100% order an alcoholic drink when out socially at restaurants (not breakfast of course!) but now, no. Almost never. I drink water. And I never order juice. And I am too cheap to go thru Starbucks 99% of the time so I make my own coffee at home. It’s a matter of being cheap and also realizing my hardcore drinking days are a long gone memory.

And Tahoe. Some of my FINEST drinking moments were spent there. I have a couple CLASSIC stories. Wow. :)

Paige @ Running Around Normal August 12, 2011 at 6:23 pm

That walk after dinner sounds amazing!
Cookies and cream is my favorite, too!

Lisa August 12, 2011 at 6:40 pm

“i rarely drink beer because i would rather eat ice cream”<—that is my drinking philosophy exactly. :D

Kristin @ STUFT Mama August 12, 2011 at 7:01 pm

If I order a drink it’s usually wine. I refuse to pay $3 for a diet soda. :) Mm… that ice cream lookd delicious! :)

Katheryn August 12, 2011 at 7:15 pm

I like Chipotle as well, but that’s it for chains. Hey, if I’m going to spend my money on a meal out, it better be good! I’ve been known to order a veggie or green juice, but usually I stick to water. That’s just how I like it.

Ty August 12, 2011 at 7:27 pm

I also generally dislike chain restaurants. One I DO like however is BJ’s Brewery. Also In n Out. And Chipotle. Shhhh don’t judge me.

And I avoid chains at all cost while I’m on vacation. Part of the fun of going out of town is getting to try the local cuisine.

Okay. For me. That’s MOST of the fun.

Deb (SmoothieGirlEatsToo) August 12, 2011 at 7:51 pm

Dude, Elmers is a mini-chain remember and that was off the hook.

I almost always order a diet coke or perhaps an iced tea if I’m trying to detox from the Dc. Occasionally we’ll order wine and if it’s a real party night out I might also have a cocktail of some sort. Doesn’t happen often now though- no room for those optional calories when I’d rather have popcorn or chocolate or (gasp) food.

Lindsay @ Lindsay's List August 12, 2011 at 7:56 pm

Look at Marshall letting his (curly) hair down! Anniversary trips call for a little of that!
P.S. Thanks for the shout out today! I’m crushing on you!

cathy August 12, 2011 at 7:57 pm

great recapf friday in tahoe, j! joved it!
before i left for my vacation in florida last summer, i swore that i was going to avoid s’bucks – no chain coffee shops!! guess what – starbucked my way down the florida coast because they had the most reliable internet. so much for that! but on vacation, i too, try to avoid chains. sorry your b-fast was just so bad!
dinner + ice cream sure made up for it!
i order perrier water if i’m not paying and tap water if i am paying, when i go out!

Lauren August 12, 2011 at 8:17 pm

Tahoe is so beautiful!

I’m with you. Chain restaurants are just not worth it for me but I do love Chipotle. :)

Have a good weekend love.

emily August 12, 2011 at 10:18 pm

1. I like Wegman’s, Moes, and Cheesecake Factory. I hate, hate, hate the Applebees, TGIF type chains.

2. I pretty much only drink in restaurants but even then I only order a drink 3-5 times a year. <– omg I'm lame

Juliette August 12, 2011 at 10:49 pm

1.) I’m with you on the chain restaurants. BOO! Although I do occassionally like eating Subway and I do love WF.

2.) I mostly stick with H20, but if we are celebrating than anything goes. (One thing though is that we never order mixed drinks in Utah restaurants because they usually just suck.)

Julia August 13, 2011 at 1:35 am

Funny coincidence: Tyler just had some Monkey Knife Fight the other day when we went out to dinner at a restaurant here in Sacramento.

I’ll have to tell some friends of ours about MacDuff’s. They go to Tahoe all the time (they’re actually there this weekend) and have a sweet Weimaraner who loves to go places. We watch her for them a lot and she likes to come to the gym with us or pretty much any other place she can. I’m sure they would get a kick out of bringing her to dinner!

Have a great weekend!

sarah August 13, 2011 at 9:24 am

aren’t vacations the greatest? :)
i’m not a big fan of chain restaurants either! everything seems the same and theres rarely something special on the menu.
But those burgers and fries and onion rings! now that’s vacation food :D your pictures are beautiful!

Krystina (Organically Me) August 13, 2011 at 9:38 am

Lake Tahoe looks beautiful!

1. I really like Seasons 52. Their focus on fresh, seasonal, and healthy ingredients is exactly what I love.

2. I almost always order an alcoholic beverage when I go out.

Lee August 13, 2011 at 9:40 am

I think it’s funny that you are feeding the dogs off forks.

I like Mellow Mushroom. I think it’s mostly a Southeastern chain. Oh, and Seasons 52.

HealerEllen August 13, 2011 at 9:59 am

There’s a local Mexican chain in southern NH called La Carretta that I like, otherwise you’ll find me ar Zampa or Holy Grail if I’m going out.

Drink depends on budget! Right now, it’s water, please; little ice and no lemon, thank you! When cash is more freely flowing, it’s a Margarita at La Carretta, a Tom Collins at Zampa (it’s not from a mix; omg) and beer from the massive list at Holy Grail. :-)

Heather @ Kiss My Broccoli August 13, 2011 at 11:17 am

Sixty dollars for breakfast?! Are they out of they’re flippin’ minds? Sorry to hear it was such a flop, but at least dinner proved to be a winner! Those burgers look soooooo good…especially your’s topped with that parmesan crisp! Mmm! I typically order water when I go out to restaurants because…I’m cheap! There I said it! Hey, if I spend less on drinks, I can spend MORE on food, right? ;)

There are a few chain restaurants that I like (Chipotle, The Melting Pot, Bonefish Grille) but I usually go for the lesser know places…and hole in the wall joints are my specialty…looks like a old closed down brothel on the outside, but they serve the BEST *insert dish here* I’ve ever tasted…trust me!

PS, those lake pictures are GORRRRRRR-geous!! Love the colors!

FoodCents August 13, 2011 at 12:35 pm

I LOVE the chair made out old ski’s, as it absolutely reminds me of my childhood.

Liz August 13, 2011 at 1:16 pm

$60 for breakfast? That’s outrageous!!! Imagine the kind of breakfast you could make if you spend that much on ingredients.

My favorite chains are Red Robin, Cracker Barrel, and Jimmy John’s. I am the height of class, y’all.

Jackie @ That Deep Breath August 13, 2011 at 1:52 pm

looks like so much fun! sorry breakfast was less than stellar. I hate when the waiters get attitude with customers, especially if it’s something thats totally not your fault!

gi August 13, 2011 at 2:02 pm

officially jealous. i’m from california (but now living in france) and normally spend every weekend in the summer in tahoe! i miss home!


Melissa August 13, 2011 at 3:23 pm

I love when you make MTB references :) They are my favorite.

Errign August 13, 2011 at 3:38 pm

1. There are restaurants in my homestate that are all owned by the same guy, so I guess they’re a chain, but they’re not franchised or anything, so I don’t think of them as a chain (thecman.com), but I like those. I like Whole Foods, but the more I eat there, the more I realize how crazy expensive it is and how easily I could make most of the things at home.

2. For breakfast, I get tea or water. For lunch, I pretty much always get water (either bubbly or tap, depending on where I am) and dinner I am about 50% tonic water/club soda and 50% cocktail, depending on who I am with.

Jodie August 13, 2011 at 4:20 pm

I do not like chains. At all. Ironically, I will also eat at Chipotle. Nothing tastes fresh at chains and I feel like there is no love in the food. I also LOVE supporting indie shops.

I get water w/lime or lemon.

Sarah@The Flying ONION August 13, 2011 at 4:33 pm

Oh, these pictures are so great! Looks like a blast. :D

I’m the same way with avoiding most chain restaurants. ESPECIALLY when I’m exploring new locations. Although I do have a soft spot for the Cheesecake Factory. Their entrees are always fabulous and they taste so fresh. And. Well. The cheesecake is pretty awesome too. :D

McIntosh August 13, 2011 at 8:10 pm

Hmmm…I like chains when I just want to know what I’m getting and for the nostalgia factor (maybe what I call “nauseous nostalgia” but memories nonetheless) Family outings, high school hangouts, etc. Like Friday’s, HoJo’s, Pizzeria Uno;s and Hut, Houlihans and others. Even Mickey D’s to really gross me out (:

I discovered cider on a trip to Wales in college….yum, yum. Now I generally just get water, diet coke for a splurge and coffee/tea. Depends who’s paying!

Great pics and memories. Thanks for sharing them (:

Amanda @ xo, Amanda August 14, 2011 at 4:27 pm

I don’t mind the occasional chain when at home, but prefer local places. On vacation, though, I HATE chains with 2 possible exceptions: super small, local chains can be OK if highly recommended (for example, we have a Dallas-area only breakfast chain here called Breadwinners that is a MUST) or MAYBE a chain you know and love but don’t have locally. But otherwise, why go out of town to eat at, say Chili’s (which I hate anyway lol)? Food is a HUGE part of the travel experience in my book!

The second restaurant you ate at looks great & can’t beat a place you can take the pups! I love pear cider too. And beer. And wine. But I don’t drink like I used to. I used to almost always order at least one (alchy) drink, but now it’s maybe 25% of the time? Always water, no matter what. Always coffee in the morning. Sometimes (unsweetened) iced tea. That’s about it.

Alex August 14, 2011 at 11:13 pm

Love minus the bear! Your lake tahoe pictures are gorgeous.

Colleenzo August 15, 2011 at 12:35 pm

When I’m home in Madison, there are so many great local places to eat that I completely avoid chains. However, when I go to my parents’ house in the suburbs, there’s nowhere else to eat but chains, so then I just try to stick to my few favorites….NO to Friday’s, Applebees, etc., but I’ll go to Old Chicago or Green Mill. Not sure what my logic is there…

dani August 16, 2011 at 3:10 pm

I am not down with chains either. Excluding Chipotle, which is my jam. Looove Minus the Bear

elise August 17, 2011 at 4:43 pm

i loooove pear cider. its such a treat. i have a six pack in the fridge at the moment, but they are all still there since i never drink. im going to bring them to a pool party this weekend and hope that nobody likes them so i can have them all. haha. no wait. then ill fall asleep at the bottom of the pool. not a good plan elise.
i havent been to tahoe in so long, but im 99% sure my parents were there the weekend you were there. no surprise, my parents have a better social life than i do. they’re never home anymore!

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