Puttin’ on The Ritz at Northstar

THE SIERRA NEVADA’S FIRST RITZ-CARLTON hotel opened in December, a $300 million resort that is situated mid-mountain at the Northstar-at-Tahoe ski area.

The new Ritz features 170 guest rooms, ski-in, ski-out access, a spa—and a signature restaurant perched on the slopes called Manzanita.

“The name Manzanita seemed fitting for a restaurant in the Lake Tahoe area,” says Traci Des Jardins, the restaurant’s award-winning, celebrity chef. “The Manzanita tree reminds me of the Sierra Nevada of my native state.”

The 94-seat restaurant and 71-seat bar and lounge area sits inside The Ritz-Carlton Highlands.

It marks the first time a nationally known chef has helped create a destination restaurant near Lake Tahoe, so Manzanita is longtime locals as well as new guests.

The restaurant’s open kitchen is visible from throughout the restaurant, showcasing Des Jardins’ fresh, organic cuisine.
Starters include Smoked Salmon Carpaccio ($15), Maine Diver Scallops ($22) and Housemade Gnocci ($15). Entrees include Steelehead Salmon ($30), Red-Wine Braised Shortribs ($28) and Moroccan Tagine ($24).
The menu also offers steak, pork chops and a rotisserie bird. Desserts include Warm Bread
Pudding ($9), Apple Tarte Tatin ($15) and Chocolate Lava Cake ($9).
Des Jardins is a James Beard award-winning chef who was raised on a farm in the San Joaquin Valley.

“I will look to the locale for seasonal inspiration to create a cuisine that is sophisticated yet familiar,” she says.


Northstar-at-Tahoe will receive much of the attention this winter, because a new Ritz-Carlton hotel is opening on its slopes.

But the grandaddy of North Tahoe ski resorts, Squaw Valley USA, will celebrate its 50th an-
niversary as the site of the 1960 Winter Olympics this winter.

Squaw will be welcoming 1960 Winter Olympic athletes, as well as other local Olympians including Jonny Moseley, Tamara McKinney and Kristin Krone.

Events in January include a torch relay from Tahoe’s West Shore to Squaw Valley USA, men’s
downhill course tours led by Olympians and a figure skating event at the Olympic Ice Pavilion.

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