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Global warming ruined my hopes of riding in beautiful white powder for two straight days at Squaw Valley in Tahoe. It poured rain—torrential-downpour style, not just light showers. Even at the top of the mountain, conditions were slushy and sloppy. I was devastated. But my mood was lifted when we stumbled into Uncorked, a new wine bar/wine shop in Squaw Village.
Despite being open all of three hours (Saturday was their opening day), the place was packed. The space is small but smartly designed with a custom-crafted wood bar up front and a tasting area in the back where the owner of Napa Valley–based Madrigal Vineyards was pouring his wines (they make a lovely Petite Sirah Port). Wine bottles are artistically displayed along the walls, and the two locals who opened the place have selected some great bottles, representing California’s best as well as some unusual finds from around the world, including some amazing Gewürztraminers. I liked that they had a large selection of half-bottles right at the front of the shop, including a Cèago Sauvignon Blanc. Artisanal cheeses, tastings and winemaker events are in the pipeline. Definitely the type of place I could head after a day on the slopes.
My mood improved even more when we drove to Truckee for dinner at Moody’s Bistro and I saw they had pig trotters on the menu. Pig trotters in Truckee, California? I knew I was in for a treat. Last July chef Traci Des Jardins told F&W she was a Moody’s fan, and now I know why. Chef Mark Estee’s menu was a complete and utter surprise. He breaks down the whole pig and serves every last bit of it on his “Big Ass Pork Platter” and even makes all of his own charcuterie. A chalkboard in the dining room highlights local farmers Moody's works with, like Gary Romano from Sierra Valley Farms, who supplies Estee with organic mircrogreens.
The mussels slow-poached in saffron and Tahitian vanilla were wildly flavorful, and the sommelier offered excellent pairings for each dish, making the whole experience not just delicious but fun. I was stuffed, but I can always make room for dessert and tried mini scoops of sorbet (loved the strawberry peppercorn) made by a local lady. I would have loved to chill in the front bar/lounge and listen to the jazz band performing that night, but the snow had finally started coming down…of course, just when it was time for me to head back home to the city.