Aprés Squaw for $50 or less
By Jason Dobbsspecial to the actionSo, Ulysses S. Grant’s just burning a hole in your pocket, eh? Well, I hope you’re hungry because that means you’re about to eat very well. And, I hope it dumped a couple feet last night, and your legs are burning from bell-to-bell runs.
If you spent your day ripping through the bounties at Squaw, you couldn’t find yourself at a better place. Step out of those bindings and make your way over to Mamasake; it’s time to replenish and reminisce. Mamasake offers up my favorite aprés-ski happy hour: From 3-6 daily, a beer and a handroll cost five bucks “out the door.”The beer is Budweiser. Better yet, it’s in a can. And my favorite part? They don’t even open it for you.
A light pilsner-styled macrobrew goes down perfectly (a little too well, in fact) on the west-facing patio, watching the sun set behind tram face while waiting for your choice of spicy tuna (maguro) or salmon (sake) rolled with sticky rice and cucumbers inside of cone-shaped nori. The delicate balance of mildly sweet vinegar-treated rice, fresh fish, pungent and salty nori and the smoky Japanese spice, togarashi, will taste perfectly as you recall those last laps through Cornice II bowl. The high protein meal is ideal to restore your muscles in preparation for tomorrow. I can never decide between the two types of fishes, so I suggest ordering a second round when the first arrives… another tasty creation, and another aluminum can you get to open yourself. After tipping, you still have $37 of that $50, and, you should already be feeling really good. Now that you’ve had your protein fix from a centuries-old foodtype, it’s time for something a little heavier, and a little more familiar.
Ditch the newly built faux-European excuse me, faux-Whistler village for the primary-colored former Olympic Village, circa 1960. While Mamasake is up-and-coming Squaw, Le Chamois is as traditional as it gets. With a 34-year history of catering to the nation’s most hardcore skiers, and situated right in the Olympic plaza, Le Chamois is THE place to unwind and stay in your ski boots until 9 p.m.The sign outside advertises “Pizza” and “Beer” and the inside is truly no-frills beyond that, save for a limited salad/sandwiches/soup selection. You’ll find antiquated ski relics, photos of locals doing what they do best, a Ms. Pac-Man table, some comfortable couches to melt into and some of the friendliest bartenders in North Tahoe. Your broke friends are down to nickels and dimes because they truly live the Tahoe life, but somehow you came across fifty bucks, so it’s time to share the wealth. The handrolls were healthy and raw, but you need some starchy carbs to finish the fill-up job. We’re talking warm, gooey, yeasty, steaming-hot pizza with all the goods.
Order a large Med, and you’ll be getting a cheesy pie with pesto, sliced tomato, fresh basil and the quintessential garlic. Stick with the Bud, because it went down so well before, and it’s about to be vying for precious space with that 14″ pizza ($20). Since you are feeling so generous, and you already have a good thing going feeding your friends, upgrade that pint to a pitcher ($10), grab some extra glasses and hope that it all comes back around the next time your buddies finds a fifty in the Headwall line. After tipping the staff, you should still have a couple bucks… but where did they go?
The action at Le Chamois is pretty solid by now, and it can be hard to leave, but you just found a few soggy dollars amongst the melting snow in your Patagonia pockets. (I don’t know what you’re doing getting snow inside your pockets, but it’s someone else’s job to explain that, my job is to tell you where to go next.)Remember you can always go back to Le Chamois, but chocolate awaits. It’s a quick jaunt back to Squaw’s new village for a tasty libation: chocolate. Yes, I know Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory can be a tourist trap, but I also know their chocolate confections are richly satisfying and melt in your mouth. A decadent, creamy Kahlua truffle ($2) is the perfect cap to your elongated meal after a day in the deep. Plus, your broke buddies don’t have to know a thing about it.
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