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12 September 2013

Food, Gut-busting Food

Today's post continues my series of photos from my recent holiday to Lake Tahoe and environs. To be honest, I'm not sure that this one's going to be all that good. The theme is "Food and Drink". I've never written about food and drink before on this blog. I'm not sure I know where to start.

Don't expect wonderful pictures of swans made out of peas or other gastro-extravagance. This is everyday food found on the run... and WARNING! not much of what you'll see below is very good for you...


When I posted this picture on Google+ I said that I could neither confirm nor deny who these pills were for. I'm keeping shtum. There surely is such a thing as too much information!

Look at all these wonderful cakes! This is part of the dessert selection from the Harrah's Forest Buffet. It's a very poorly kept secret that Casinos are the place to eat on a budget. I kind of half agree.

The Forest Buffet was by no means the cheapest place I ate in South Lake Tahoe, but it certainly was the biggest hit with the family. They had loads of great food on offer and the vast selection meant that there was something for everyone. The kids even tried some sushi! (It's horrible apparently ;)

The biggest hit had to be the dessert. J-Uke went up four times, and then when he couldn't eat any more, he was up getting desserts for other people. What a lot of fun!

What do you think of my cherry pie? More cream please J-Uke!

I really am a hoarder of all sorts of crap! Look what I found in the bottom of my suitcase when I got back home. I see Parmesan cheese, crushed red pepper and a Harrahs' condom hand-wipe. I caught myself using the red pepper the other day. Ha ha! Waste not, want not ;-)

I must have been in every fast food outlet in the County looking for takeaway nirvana and sadly, I never found it. It was good fun trying, but I can't help but feel a little disappointed. I thought America was famous for inventing great convenience food? What happened?

It strikes me that the trend  in Tahoe these days is for quantity over quality. You may not be getting the best food in the world, but you're getting mountains of it. We soon got into the habit of sharing meals and even then there was still often loads left over. Doggy bags are always on offer if you choose to eat in, but there's nothing worse than starting your morning by having to dispose of the crap you couldn't eat the day before.

One place that I'm happy to recommend, a place that we went back to a couple of times, was Heidi's. It was a favourite of mine 16 years ago when I was last in the area and it's still a favourite. It hasn't changed a bit. Heidi makes the best pancakes in America... period!

Here's a true story: My daughter refused to try the boysenberry sauce in Heidis thinking that the server had called it "poisonberry". Ha ha. Accents.

Here are a few adverts I snapped in an old magazine. You know that I love vintage stuff like this. Everyone's heard of Eggnog... but Tomato Bongo?

On the artwork above: This is very much of an era. I saw some Harrah's advertising from the 60s that looks a lot like this. I wonder if it was produced by the same people? Check out these Harrahs postcards from the 60s...

Here's an example of portion control gone horribly wrong. See this ice cream that I'm holding. This is the small. Good Lord! I could barely eat it quickly enough before it melted all over my hand. Get this... The "double" is a whole pint of ice cream! How on earth can this be okay?

I really didn't want to, but I ate the whole bloody thing and it made me feel quite ill.

On the bright side, I really liked the flavour... cheesecake! 

I'm not sure that this really classes as food, but I'll include it none-the-less. I spotted a very strange trend in lollies. Look on the left. These lollies have small scorpions inside them! What?!? Surely you can't eat them?

The lolly on the right is mine. Yep, I bought the bloody thing! It's a tequila flavoured lolly with a real life worm inside it. I'm sat here shaking my head in disbelief as I type this. What on earth was I thinking? If I ever decide to give it a try I promise that you will be the first to hear all about it! :-D 

I tried my first Jumex on a whim when I arrived in Reno. I was wandering aimlessly around Walmart when I was instantly drawn to all these strange tins. My eyes were as wide as dinner plates. The first flavour I experimented with was Mango, but as you can see, I branched out into Guava, Peach and Strawberry. I'm kicking myself now for not being more adventurous on that first day and buying some of the exotic flavours. I may never get to know what Tamarind taste likes or the evocatively named Guanabana. As it turned out, none of the other shops I visited after that had anywhere near the same range of Jumex.

What a drink! I feared a thick sickly sticky mess, but it was nothing like that at all. Delicious! For a while there I was Tahoe's Jumex correspondent. Brilliant! What a discovery!

I see now that Jumex is made in Mexico. Phew... for a moment there I feared that it might have been made in the UK... remember the Altoids debacle? Wouldn't that have been embarrassing!

I have a rule when going places where  I to try and sample as much of the local fare as possible. "When in Rome" and all that. I drank a couple of bottles of wine on my trip. Apart from one rogue white, I concentrated on red. You'll see from the pictures that I managed a fairly good range of Californians with a bonus Kiwi Rockburn (courtesy of Tinkerbell, my NZ reporter). There's not a lot to say - they were all great! I'm only going to call out the "Bogle" and that's because of its unfortunate name. Ha ha. So it is obvious that this word doesn't have the same meaning in America.

Bogle = Bogie = Booger. :-P

Reading this post might be giving you the idea that I didn't eat anything healthy whilst I was in America. Not true! It wasn't all chocolate-chip chewing gum... I did eat fruit and stuff too! ;-) Honest!

I didn't eat any of these though. Have you ever heard of Pluots? No, me neither.

"Imagine the very best qualities of a plum and an apricot together in one delicious package. That's a pluot!"

Here's Wikipedia's description: "Pluots, apriums, apriplums, or plumcots, are some of the hybrids between different Prunus species that are also called interspecific (or IS) plums. In the United States and Canada, these fruits are known by most regulatory agencies as interspecific plums. Whereas plumcots and apriplums are first-generation hybrids between a plum parent (P. salicina or P. cerasifera or their hybrids), and an apricot (P. armeniaca), pluots and apriums are later-generations."

I snapped these two pictures as we packed readying ourselves to travel to South Lake Tahoe from Reno via Virginia City. I joked that this was all the food we would need on our travels. Look at the dust on those crisps (I mean "chips"). It was hot, hot, hot! Usually the kids pinch all my stuff. Not this time! Ha ha.

If I ever decide to back to school, I'm thinking that this is where I would start: Beer Camp. Why didn't they have places like this when I was growing up? Yes, as well as the wine, I also sampled some American beer! More on this soon.

First, I want to call out the sushi I tried. Although I had every intention of searching out some of the specialist sushi bars that exist in South Lake Tahoe, in the end I had to settle for the Raley's sushi. Raley's is a large supermarket that you get in Tahoe. What you see in the picture below is fairly typical of their range. They do lots of flavours, but to my eyes and tongue they all looked and tasted pretty much the same. The wasabi was very tame and everything was a little bit stodgy and out of shape. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't great either. I will say that the "spicy" sushi went really well with Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA!

It's a well known fact that I'm half Hawaiian. Check out this Kona Brewing Company variety pack above. It's called the "Island Hopper" and gives a taste of four beers from the Islands: Big Wave; Longboard; Fire Rock and Wailua. As soon as I saw it I knew that I just had to have it! And it wasn't at all bad. My absolute favourite was the Longboard, but I was also very taken with the Wailua.

I see on the Kona site that they're calling themselves a microbrewery. Microbreweries have been a growing force in America for a couple of decades now and they just seem to go from strength to strength. The movement reminds me a lot of CAMRA here in the UK.

Support your Microbreweries!!!

There you go. Hopefully that wasn't too boring for you. I'll have a flick through what I've got left and see if there's anything else worth putting up for you...


  1. I love random articles on blogs and you enticed me in with your Gas Relief Extra Strength tablets. That ice-cream is massive, not surprised it made you feel sick. The un-nickable crisps is a great idea too. Probably only until you have to eat them though.

  2. Thanks for the comment evl. I still feel quite bloated remembering all the things I ate in America. I wasn't sure that I could pull this post off, but there you go... sometimes you've got to just give it a go and see what happens. The un-nickable crisps were nice in small quantities. A bit like Pringles dipped in chilli dust. I was still eating them waiting for the plane back home. But I did eat all of them!

  3. Funny,I have a bottle of tequila with a scorpion sitting on the shelf over the top of my computer monitor.I bought two at the time from my local bottleshop,drank one and kept one.It was one of the worst bottles of tequila I ever drank,too.