Rosie's Cafe, a Tahoe City institution
Lake Tahoe is, for many a Bay Area resident, a beloved vacation spot. A mere few hours in the car and you trade the traffic (kind of) and gridlock of day to day life for clean air, endless trees, the sound of boat motors in the distance, and an inviting (albeit rather cold) crystal blue lake. My family's been coming up to Lake Tahoe ever since I was three years old. We have a modest cabin on the North Shore where, growing up, my sisters and I and made Log Cabin Ice Cream, Kings Beach, the Mini Golf Course and 7-11 (best slurpee in town) our home throughout the summer months. Today, my sisters and I are grown adults and rarely all get up there at the same time. The house has been renovated recently and is much less modest. And of course, our priorities have changed. No longer do we jump at the chance to go mini-golfing or score a cone of blue bubblegum ice cream. Nowadays, there is a lot of beach lounging, novel reading, hiking, and late breakfasts.
Last weekend, I drove up to the cabin to spend some time with my dad. We barbecued, took the boat out, did a lot of dock-sitting, and went to breakfast. As the years have passed, our favorite breakfast spots change and revolve like new gym shoes. But the current favorite (for the last few years now) is Rosie's in Tahoe City. I was actually first introduced to Rosie's by a few of my students when I was teaching college composition in--of all places--Boston. I'd assigned an essay where students were asked to write about the one place they felt truly at home. Two students wrote about Rosie's: a breakfast spot all the way across the country that their family had been going to since they were little. It turns out Rosie's was a mere fifteen minute drive from my family's cabin and I'd never even been. How could this be? I asked each student to elaborate: what was so great? What's your favorite thing to order? The resounding answers to the latter were the pancakes: the fluffiest they'd ever had. Hands down.
So next time I was up at the cabin, over a year later, I was training for a marathon. After a grueling 18-mile run, I came back starving and suggested we all head out for breakfast. Rosie's popped into my mind. And because I'd run for virtually three hours that morning, I ordered two breakfasts. I haven't looked back since.
My students were right. The pancakes basically rock. Rosie's specializes in Swedish Oatmeal Pancakes topped with applesauce, imported lingonberries and sour cream. They also do very traditional buttermilk pancakes. While you may be tempted to go the Swedish route (as was I), I'm here to advise you to go traditional this time around. I found the Swedish pancakes to be quite flat, a bit soggy, and rather flavorless. They're a little too gloppy for their own good. But the buttermilk pancakes are another tale altogether: they're uber-light and fluffy yet substantial enough to hold large pats of butter and long pours of syrup. If you're coming to Rosie's for the first time and you're a pancake person, this is your order.