Sam Bauman: Event at 8,000 feet gives diner a natural high
September 16, 2013
Late this summer I received an email invite from Homewood Mountain Resort over by Squaw Valley. It was to a Farm to Peak dinner on a ski run at the resort. Something about "steak and local produce" overlooking Lake Tahoe.
I'd skied Homewood many times in the past — a nice, homey resort largely used by locals and folks from the Bay Area. And it is famed as having some of widest views of the lake from its ski runs. The idea of a sit-down dinner perched on a ski run sounded like fun, so I accepted the invite and asked fellow Appeal columnist Guy Farmer to join me. We were advised to dress Tahoe casual and bring a sweater.
So on the last Saturday of the month we drove to Homewood around the lake. We got there before 3 p.m., checked in and were handed a flute of champagne before boarding the chairlift for the uphill ride. This was from the Ski Bowl Way side of the resort, off the main highway.
The ride up along with perhaps 100 other guests was a challenge from riding with skis on. I had to sort of pedal to disembark. Guy suffers from fear of heights and rode in white-knuckled silence.
Off the Quail lift, we were met by wait-staffers offering rounds of French bread topped with cheese and apricots and grilled shrimp. Contrasting tastes were delicious!
The tables were set with all the napery and glassware for a formal dinner. A large tent off to one side housed the "kitchen," presided over by chef Kellan Hori.
More wine was served as we sat down for dinner about 6 p.m. The first course was a bisque, thick and tasty, served with skill and speed by the half-dozen waitresses taking care of the hundred or more guests. A wine was served to match the bisque.
Next was a salad of greens topped with slices of fruit with a small ball of lime sherbet on top. Talk about contrasts!
By happenstance I was sitting opposite the 94-year-old mother of the chef. Next to her was the brother of the chef, also a senior. Next to me was a couple from upstate New York, both in their 70s. She was a state senator and noted that this was the kind of thing seniors should really enjoy. "I really think as we age we need to explore new things, new ways," she said.
The next course was a small steak with local vegetables, the steak favored with spicy sauce.
By now the sun was dipping into the lake and the air was cooling. But the last course was coming, a kind of chocolate in small cup with a dessert wine to lift it above mere chocolate.
Homewood plans to repeat these dinners next summer. Not inexpensive surely at $150 per, but the dinner of a lifetime in a setting of great natural beauty. Too bad no skiing!
For details about skiing Homewood Mountain Resort, call 530-525-2992.
This is the kind of an event that comes all too rarely to all of us, seniors in particular. We may picnic, but we don't do it 8,000 feet above Lake Tahoe with a five-course dinner with five wines. I resolve to ski Homewood again this winter, although I'll have to settle for a hot dog with mustard.
I know of no other event like this around Lake Tahoe. Or anyplace else. It's the kind of event seniors should search for.
Sam Bauman writes about senior issues for the Nevada Appeal.