A Day in Truckee, Calif.: Refined and Rustic — San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle, Sept. 17, 2016
From Nevada City, Highway 20 snakes uphill along the razorback Washington and Harmony ridges, where pine forests clear now and then to reveal canyons that lured miners. The road merges with Interstate 80 to climb that scourge of wagon train migrants, Donner Summit. Beneath the pass, Truckee cherishes its railroad and lumber town grit as much as it does innovative food, fine crafts and heart-thumping athletic pursuits.
— Laura Read; firstname.lastname@example.org
Explore the town
At Coffeebar, it’s hard to choose between an expertly balanced cappuccino, a nutritious green matcha tea latte or a chai latte radiating waves of sweet, creamy spice. Enjoy whatever you choose with a flaky house-made croissant surrounded by friends (and their dogs) at a hardwood community table beautifully crafted by Three Dots Studios. Afterward put those calories to use ripping up Jackass Trail on a full-suspension Kona Precept mountain bike rented at the Backcountry. For a gentler ride, cruise the Legacy Trail as it winds through Martis Valley along the Truckee River. Access is from downtown at the end of East River Road.
At Old Town Tap, share plates of house-made charcuterie and beef tartare, followed by a gutsy pizza of the day, which, because Executive Chef Chris Watkins is crazy for pork, might combine guanciale (pork jowl) with onion and house-cured bacon beneath a drizzle of nutty honey.
Stroll down Truckee’s Commercial Row to Bespoke and pick up a set of Eko Kreations hemp and organic cotton dinner napkins stitched with inspiring words from John Muir, and a stoneware vase etched, scrimshaw-like, with “desert daisies” by Diana Fayt. Walk a few doors away to Bespoke’s sister store, the makersspace Atelier, and sign up for Fayt’s gestural ink painting workshop or a class in cheese making (both set for later this month). And at Gallery 5830’, view the art installations of Troy Corliss, who reinvents patterns of nature in metal and glass.
Watch your meter, as Commercial Row parking tickets are pricey. Park for two hours free across from the Truckee Hotel.
Start early in the Pour House’s cozy, wood-paneled tasting room on Jibboom Street (once the location of Truckee’s red-light district). Here is where conversations about wine and cheese and anything else take flight as you taste the day’s selection, which might include an Alexander Valley Trig Point Diamond Dust Vineyard Cabernet or an earthy, spicy Pinot Noir from Germany’s Karl Joh.
Later at Restaurant Trokay, relax in rustic-urban surroundings for a 10-course seasonal chef’s tasting menu, which might include an arrangement of unripe strawberries, elderflower sprigs and a cylinder of foie gras torchon, followed by ribbons of Mount Lassen trout embellished with clay cinders and the Italian “landweed” agretti, and then Kauai white shrimp with chawanmushi, a Japanese egg custard. Chef-owners John and Nyna Weatherspoon are transplants from New York City, where John studied with Daniel Boulud and David Bouley. Trokay pairs with Atelier to offer cooking classes in its kitchen.
Spend the night
Snuggle fireside in the lobby at Cedar House Sport Hotel, a boutique property blending Old Tahoe materials and details with European refinement. Although just a mile or so from downtown, because it’s surrounded by trees, the hotel feels like a getaway in the country.
If you go
Coffeebar: 10120 Jibboom St., (530) 587-2000. www.coffeebar.com
The Backcountry: 11400 Donner Pass Road, (530) 582-0909. www.thebackcountry.net
Truckee River Legacy Trail: www.townoftruckee.com
Old Town Tap: 10164 Donner Pass Road, (530) 563-5233
Atelier: 10128 Donner Pass Road, (530) 386-2700 www.ateliertruckee.com
Gallery 5830’: 10060 Donner Pass Road, (530) 902-0322. www.facebook.com/gallery5830