poor scientist. will blog 4 food.

the culinary adventures of a self-described foodie


The Casino Buffet

Atop Mt. Lincoln at Sugarbowl, with its gorgeous vistas.

Skiing in the Lake Tahoe area is a major highlight of living in the Bay Area. Back in early March, JL, LF, and I went skiing at Sugarbowl for two days. All of the local hotels were booked, so we decided to stay about an hour away in Reno at the Silver Legacy Hotel. I’m not a huge fan of casinos in general, but I was secretly pretty psyched about the casino buffet, which as everyone knows, is the King of All Buffets.

Our first round at the buffet: crab legs all around!

Y’all know how I feel about getting the best value from my all-you-can-eat experiences. Happily, I was not disappointed by the Silver Legacy buffet. There was an entire island of crab legs and shrimp. I made sure I devoured two full plates of these high value items before I hit up the noodles, always my weak spot. JL and LF were both very diligent students in the art of buffet eating. They even asked me for permission/advice on whether they were “allowed” to move beyond the crab legs!

Crab claw attack!

As we wandered about the casino in a food coma after dinner, none of us wanted to gamble. I put $2 into a slot machine just for kicks, but we shortly made our way back to our hotel room to zone out to mindless tv. To this day, I’m not sure I could eat another Alaskan crab leg. Even I have my limits.



The gorgeous view from our house.

As we’ve done in the past 3 years, our lab went to Tahoe and rented out an amazing house with a view of the Lake. The first night’s meal was Mexican/Latin-themed, where we had tacos, rice, and beans. SM, one of our rotation students who is also Mexican, actually called her aunt to get an authentic recipe for rice. Of course, there was a veggie option, but I definitely helped myself to some of DS’s awesome al pastor, which he describes as thus:

Ok, you know the “elephant leg” in turkish/greek/mid-east restaurants?
(AKA, gyros).  Al pastor is the Mexican version, possibly introduced by
Spaniards with Moorish ancestry(?).  The principal flavorings are
reconstituted dried chilies (Ancho, and the more pointy ones whose name I
can’t remember), onions, and pineapple.  The pineapple is placed on top of
the roasting, rotating meat stack, and in addition to sweet and sour, it
supposedly tenderizes the meat because of the papain, although I suspect
the protease is denatured by the heat and the tenderness has more to do
with cooking time.

I just put it in a pan with the pina on top.  It is not quite the same
thing- more a braise than a roast.

Final prep is to take a few slices and chop them on the hot plancha with
onions, then to the taco.  Cilantro a must.

DS's al pastor in a pan, with pineapple on top.

Even the lard from the al pastor looks darn tasty!

Some of us enjoyed caprihina cocktails before our meal. Here were the ingredients.

The next night, we had prime rib (again, made by DS) with brussel sprouts, salad, and baked potatoes. It was so delicious! I stuffed my face and went into immediate food coma.

Some of the toppings for our baked potatoes: scallions and bacon. Bacon!!

Doesn't this pan of brussel sprouts look amazing? Um, that's because THEY WERE.

My dinner plate. And the potato isn't even pictured.

And of course, there was also lots of skiing, hot-tubbing, game playing, and bourbon drinking. Yay fun lab ski trip!


Food for Twenty

Every year, our lab takes a weekend trip to Tahoe.  We rent out a huge cabin with a hot tub (though last year, the hot tub didn’t work, hence the nickname “not tub”).  It’s a lot of fun, but also sort of crazy logistically, as we try to coordinate meals as a group.  This year, two of my colleagues did a great job organizing and buying all of the food and drink.  We ate like kings and drank like fish, all for a very reasonable fee.  Best of all, I didn’t have to do any of the cooking!

Cuddling up with a giant bottle of bourbon...

Cuddling up with a giant bottle of bourbon...

... while I cuddle up with a Costco size box of Cheez-Its.  Bigger than my head, of course.

... while I cuddle up with a Costco size box of Cheez-Its. Bigger than my head, of course.

Yes, we ate extremely well.

Yes, we ate extremely well.

Mashed potatoes (one of two pans).

Mashed potatoes (one of two pans).

Hitting the "meat ceiling" and food coma, simultaneously.

Hitting the "meat ceiling" and food coma, simultaneously.

On the way back from Tahoe, we stopped in Fairfield for lunch at the Blue Frog Grog and Grill.  I got a soup  and a chicken caesar salad (not pictured) which was good, but the best part of the meal was the fresh baked bread.

Warm bread and beer.  Mmm...

Warm bread and cold beer. Mmm...

The boytoy's mushroom cheeseburger

An overflowing mushroom cheeseburger

SP's steamed artichoke, served with roasted garlic mayo (not pictured)

SP's steamed artichoke, served with roasted garlic mayo (not pictured)