Friday, July 2, 2010

Dining on a Budget at South Lake Tahoe

Vacation wouldn't be a vacation without dining out. Who wants to cook? Here are some places we found great deals:

1) Embassy Suites Hotel: All guests enjoy complimentary made-to-order and/or buffet-style full breakfasts. I loved the scrambled eggs, crispy bacon, aromatic country potatoes, fluffy French toast and pancakes. Baked goods, cereal, yogurt, and fresh fruit were also available for the taking along with a variety of beverages. My favorite drink was the fruit punch. Very sweet, but I added ice. Who can resist a free breakfast?

2) Echo Restaurant in the Embassy Suites: We found a $35 coupon online from for this pricey establishment. Some of our dishes were better than others. My husband's steak and garlic potatoes were scrumptious. I wasn't too hungry and only ordered basil tomato soup and a scallops appetizer. The soup was great, but the three tiny scallops were overcooked and came with an overly sweet and salty soy sauce. The coupon would have been worth more if we had a smaller party.

3) Lakeside Inn's Timber Room: This restaurant in a small casino at the end of the Strip was surprisingly uncrowded. We had eaten here two years ago and had to wait an hour to be seated. Prices are reasonable and the quality good. I ordered a hamburger with avocado and grilled mushrooms for $7.50 and my husband had the tri-tip special for $8.50. Both were delicious.

4) Harrah's Forest Buffet: Instead of going here on Father's Day Sunday, we waited till Monday and arrived a little before 5:00 when it opened for dinner for two reasons: one, it would have been more crowded on Father's Day and two, weekdays are less expensive than weekends. Adult dinners are $18.95 on weekdays. We were seated fairly quickly and went to town on the international smaogasbord: fresh sushi, steaming pizza, hand-cut roast beef, steamed shrimp, Chinese food, Mexican dishes, American. But my favorite area was the desserts: mini chocolate eclairs bursting with Bavarian cream, tiny fruit tarts with custard, lemon cake, chocolate cream pie--yum-yum!

5) Fenton's Ice Creamery: Located in Vacaville in the new Nut Tree shopping area, we stopped off here on the way back to the Bay Area. If you like the one in Oakland, you'll like this one even better. The clean, air-conditioned eatery welcomed us from the heat of the day. Besides frozen concoctions, they serve soups, salads, and sandwiches. I ordered half a crab sandwich with chicken gumbo soup. The sandwich was made with REAL crab. I was saving my stomach for dessert, but ended up sharing a chocolate shake with hubby. Prices are reasonable.

A Tahoe vacation has become a family tradition we look forward to every year. We treasure the time we can spend with our extended family to forge even closer ties. As the teens get older and everyone is busy, purposeful time spent together will help us stay close.

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