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Manzanita, Truckee, CA

How does one salvage a rainy weekend spent in Lake Tahoe? Some might sulk, but my boyfriend and I decided to make the most of our trip and go for a blowout meal at Manzanita, Traci Des Jardins's restaurant at the Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe. While the entire evening was superb, what stood out most were the before-dinner drinks, including a stunning pear and elderflower sparkler, the flawless service — the front of house staff barely batted an eyelash when a raging hailstorm knocked out the power for a minute or two — and the spot-on wine pairings suggested by the sommelier. Yes, the drive there and back over an icy mountain road was a bit hairy, but there was no doubt in either of our minds that the trek was worth it.

— NP