Tahoe Food Photographer | Jimmy’s Restaurant in The Landings Resort and Spa

Last week I had the pleasure of joining my friend and Tahoe South guru Georgette Riley for dinner at Jimmy’s Restaurant at the recently opened The Landing Resort and Spa.   I was particularly excited about this venture for a number of reasons: first off, we had a small sampling of tastings that blew our mind the week before at Girls’ Drinking Club and secondly, because I’m super excited to be shooting a wedding there in June organized by the best wedding planner in Northern CA and one of the most hysterical fabulous women I’ve ever met, Tamara J Events.

Tahoe South just hosted it’s first ever official Restaurant Week.  A number of local Tahoe South establishments ran specials all week long to entice folks out of their warm homes into the cold to take part.  In addition to Jimmy’s, Boyfriend and I ate at Basecamp Pizza where they were offering an $8 personal sized pizza of any of their gourmet favorites!   We love Basecamp for their service, staff and food and jumped at a chance for an extra special deal.

Jimmy’s is one of the first restaurant’s to open in Tahoe that I’m particularly excited about.  The Chef’s father is Greek and her blend of “Californian Greek” is on par and takes me right back to one of the best trips of my life.   At Jimmy’s, you can almost forget that you’re dining in Tahoe.  For a brief second, you are transported to a cosmopolitan city where food is locally sourced from local farmers and ranchers and everything is made fresh and impeccably presented.

I can’t even begin to count how many times I ate fried feta in Greece but Jimmy’s Kataifi (shredded Phyllo dough) Wrapped Feta was spot on.  We had the pleasure of tasting a number of plates of their extensive and varied menu, but the Seared Ahi and the Roasted Beets and Apple Salad also really stood out as exceptional dishes for me.

You should head over to the Tahoe South Blog to read Georgette’s write up on our evening and check out all my photos from the night!

Tour de Tucson

Every year, I am sent to Tucson, AZ to help work at Tour de Tucson, a massive cycling event with close to 8,000 participants. I’ve now been sent there every year since 2008. In 2009 things got a little out of hand Thursday up and we all awoke not so sparky for our work day. It was also the only year I participated as a rider in the event and I can assure you that I will never participate again. That’s how I feel about that!

Last year I was much better about training for my impending marathon and I actually went out running quite a few times. This year, I’m on the Lauren-Lindley-patented-taper-all-season-training-plan during which your training involves thinking about running but you don’t.

Tucson has always struck me as a city that has so much untapped potential to be amazing. Instead, it’s a mediocre city with pockets of awesome. The food is fantastic, the people are great, but city planning is poor which was all the more evident this year as they have torn up essentially ALL the main streets in order to install a trolley car. It’s as if no one told them that you should do things in batches. File under: things that would never fly in California!

Cafe Milano, Tuscon Az, Illy Coffee

The best part about Tour de Tucson is the calm before the storm each day: our breakfasts at Carlo’s Cafe Milano.

Our favorite restaurant owner, Carlo, from Cafe Milano is still holding shop and his ability to not only remember us year after year, but expect us, always impresses me. We eat breakfast and lunch there every day. Carlo informed us that this is probably his last year at the restaurant. He and his wife intend to sell it, move to Thailand and open a bed and breakfast. We said we’d see him there!

Cafe Milano, Tucson, Arizona,

UOVA E PROSCIUTTO: Two eggs sunny side up topped with provolone cheese and Prosciutto di Parma served on top of toasted ciabatta with a side of herbs potatoes or fresh fruit. This is the good stuff.

A visit to Tucson isn’t complete without a dinner at my most favorite restaurant in the world: Cafe Poca Cosa. A bold statement, I know, but it’s the truth.

Tucson, Az

The menu at Cafe Poca Cosa.

At Cafe Poca Cosa, the menu changes twice a day based on local ingredients. There is always a few chicken dishes, a few beef dishes, sometimes a pork entree, one fish option and one or two vegetarian options. The highlight of the experience, other than the margaritas of course, is the “plato poca cosa” which is the chef’s choice: you get no say or no input and the chef chooses three options for your plate. They may be on the menu, they may not be. It comes with family stile rice, beans and tortiallas and a massive salad that I never even touch. If everyone at the table chooses the plato poca cosa, no two plates will be similar. It’s an experience full of fun and in all my years of eating there, I have literally never been anything less than totally overwhelmed and amazed by the deliciousness of the food I was presented.

Cafe Poca Cosa, Vegan Cupcake, Tucson AZ

A dark chocolate and orange Cafe Poca Cosa Vegan Cupcake.

We have a ridiculous tradition of posing in front of a particular storefront every year. I need to round up all five years of photos and put them together. Every year I wonder if we are going to show up and the red roomed mannequins will be gone.

Tour de Tucson, Tucson AZ

This year we discovered a new little haunt to hit up late night for dinner. Food is always a problem post-expo as we usually don’t get done with work Friday night until close to 10 pm. I found La Cocina, a gem of ecclectic under an open sky and a Christmas light filled patio that dishes up $3 tiny tacos until the wee hours of the morning after their normal kitchen closes. The regular dinner menu looks unbelievable but I was fine with the chicken and steak tacos and the option to order a tasty Malbec by the glass, sometimes a rarity at bars.

Tucson, AZ

The inviting entrance to La Cocina.

You can see all the photos from our work week in Tucson here.

I think Tucson is worthy of a visit, if not just for the amazing food and quirky nightlife. If you wait a year maybe the trolley car will be installed.

EAT BREAKFAST:

EAT DINNER:

DRINK:

  • The Hotel Congress will always be our go-to spot for late night: disregard the hipster vibe and step into history. The bartenders pour inventive cocktails if you ask them too and there is sometimes awesome national acts on stage here.
Aaron Kutzer

Like a boss in Tucson, AZ.

Museums and Cocktails

Magazine Street, New Orleans

Although we’d been in New Orleans through the weekend, our days had been consumed by Voodoo Music Fest and we really hadn’t had any time to explore the city. We awoke on Monday ready to attack the day.

My favorite meal of the day is breakfast and I really don’t care what time of day it is: breakfast is an all the time food. We were waking up in New Orleans late late late so one of our daily requirements was an all day (or at least most of the day) breakfast joint. We ate at some really fantastic breakfast restaurants, one of them being the Ruby Slipper Cafe, where they buy locally and serve breakfast literally all day. I was tempted to order the migas, which are one of my most favorite breakfast all-the-time-foods, but stuck to my quest to eat only New Orleans soul food while in the city and ordered an The Louisianan: an omelet with boiled gulf shrimp and cheddar cheese, accented with fresh thyme.

New Orleans, Breakfast, Cafe, Ruby Slipper Cafe

The Ruby Slipper Cafe was conveniently located on our ride to the National World War II Museum, located off Magazine St at Andrew Higgins Dr. The museum was founded by historian and author Stephen Ambrose and tells the story of the American Experience in World War II. It is located in New Orleans due to the importance of Andrew Higgins, a New Orleans native who according to Dwight Eisenhower, is “the man who won [World War II] for us.” Higgins and his New Orleans boat company invented and manufactured reliable landing crafts to transport troops from ship to shore and played a crucial part in our success in the war.

The museum campus is creatively designed and stunning to visit. It is a required visit for anyone traveling to New Orleans. Exhibits are open seven days a week from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. They recommend that you allow at least 3 hours to view exhibits.

After the museum, we headed back down to Jackson Square for the essential stop at Cafe Du Monde, which needs little introduction, though I will say that when the waitress mistakenly brought us two orders of beignets, we did not correct her and savored every one.

From Cafe du Monde, it was on to the Napoleon House, famed for it’s Pimm’s Cup. Their recipe claims to be “made to James Pimm’s original recipe, a closely guarded secret known only to six people.” It’s an addicting concoction of a cocktail with lemonade and cucumber that tastes crisp, clean and not to sweet.

Napoleon House, New Orleans, French Quarter

Make your own Pimm’s Cup with

  • 1 1/4 ounces Pimm’s #1
  • 3 ounces homemade lemonade
  • 7-Up
  • Thin slice cucumber

Apparently the secret is in the lemonade, a house recipe that the Napoleon house closely guards.

While the cocktail may be glittering, clean and bright, the Napoleon House is anything but. The building is fabled to have been built to house Napoleon Bonaparte after his exile but the attempt to bring him to New Orleans ended with news of his death. They play classical music upon customer request, but only classical music. It’s a must visit joint: explore a little bit of quirky New Orleans history, the dark ambiance of the bar or the bright sunshine of the courtyard, and have a classic cocktail (or four).

New Orleans, French Quarter, Pimm's Cup

We decided to go on a cocktail tour of the French Quarter and our next stop was the Bombay Club, where it feels like you are sipping martinis in someone’s living room.

Bombay Club, New Orleans, Bourban St, French Quarter, Martinis

They often have live jazz playing, offer a full menu, and are known so well for their historical menu filled with martinis that it often gets stolen and the menus are equipped with locators to prevent theft!

Sazerac, Rob Roy Martini, Bombay Club, New Orleans, Classic Cocktails, Bourban Street, Martinis, French Quarter

I decided to venture out of my comfort zone a bit and ordered a classic New Orleans drink: a Sazerac, the oldest American cocktail and the official drink of New Orleans. It’s made with a rye whiskey, absinthe or Herbsaint, and Peychaud’s Bitters. I’m not normally a fan of whiskey, but it fit the mood of the bar and kept me from slamming it back to quickly: it is a sipping drink.

Bombay Club, New Orleans, Bourban Street, French Quarter

We were starting to get hungry so we staved off dinner with an order of fried quail, which was delicately fried with an exceptionally crispy breading. It was enough to quench our hunger for the bike ride across the French Quarter to our destination for the evening: Frenchman Street in the Marigny. It was time for some more New Orleans music!