Sardine Lake Resort Open Through October 10, 2015
By Eileen Majors
Not far from Graeagle, we crossed the Sierra County line. Submerged in the Tahoe National Forest, the high terrain has a distinct look, showing off giant smooth boulders and tall pines. If you haven’t been up to the Lakes Basin Wilderness, you might want to put it on your bucket list. Some of the most beautiful scenery can be found in the Lakes Basin Recreation Area. Gold Lake, Goose Lake and Salmon Lake are among the intriguing beauty. We passed them all up and headed to Sardine Lake for a glimpse of the stunning scenery there and the fresh flavors that draw so many visitors for dinner. We had reservations for the early seating at 6:00 pm. Cocktails are served at 5:00.
In the parking lot on the way in, we met Jerry, a retired Psychologist from Rancho Cordova, and a regular traveler in Northeastern California. He told us that the opening day of trout season is a very busy time at Sardine Lake after the lake is stocked. Late fall often delivers snow on the peaks of the Sierra Buttes, which he said looked much like Switzerland.
Sardine Lake Lodge was the dream of Mr. George Browning and his wife, Audrey. The resort was later owned and operated by their daughter Dorothy and her husband Chandler Hunt. Sill in the family, the resort is run by granddaughter Jan Hunt Boucher and Grandson Thomas Browning Hunt.
We strolled over to the bar known as Poor George’s, which is housed in a floating wood building with cushioned benches and amazing views of the Sierra Buttes standing tall behind the tiny, pristine lake. Open air windows in the bar prompted many to snap a picture. We met a World War II Veteran who flew for the Army Air Corp. He had flown over the Alps, which he said resembled the Sierra Butte peaks we stood in awe of.
Several row boats and motor boats were lined up for rent just outside the bar. Our bartender Nick served up drinks to the many patrons who were now getting to know each other. I enjoyed a margarita on the rocks while we met visitors from Nevada City, Auburn and Reno, which is only a one-hour drive from the lodge.
Soon we heard the clanging of a giant dinner bell mounted high on an old wooden frame. The sound signaled the first seating time for dinner and our call to the dining room. A second seating takes place at 8:00 p.m. nightly except Monday and Tuesday when the restaurant is closed. This year, the resort will stay open through October 10th.
We followed the group into a rustic dining room. Antique tables and chairs fill the authentic log-built dining room and soon each table was full. Memorabilia and wildlife photos accent the room while lace curtains and antique style chandeliers added to the rustic charm. We could tell the staff was ready for a fun evening. Our waitress Michelle told us about the evening specials. The fish of the day was Jumbo Sea Scallops with Chipotle Lime Aioli. A Roasted Pork Tenderloin dinner was also offered with Chipotle Lime Aioli, which my husband ordered. You could cut the delicious pork with a fork and the Aioli was a remarkably flavorful Southwestern sauce, which was just scrumptious. I opted for the Angus Petite Tender Steak which was served with a tasty house-made Rosemary Pesto. Petite cut, perfectly seasoned potatoes and fresh green beans accompanied our meals. A beautiful fresh orchid was placed atop each plate for a stunning presentation.
Our dinners came with choice of soup or salad. This evening they were featuring a potato leek soup which was pretty hard to pass up. It was quite flavorful and piping hot. The homemade bleu cheese dressing was perfectly prepared and drizzled over a salad of fresh greens, deliciously ripe pear tomatoes and fresh cucumber slices. An assortment of fresh baked rolls were served with a sun dried tomato butter. Michelle said each night they feature a different flavor butter.
Soon dessert was offered. Choice of Gluten Free Blueberry Crisp, Mud Pie and Strawberry Shortcake tempted guests. Each dessert was not only delicious but beautifully presented.
Booking early for dinner is important. We had to wait a few days for the early seating. Staying in one of the remote cabins at Sardine Lake Resort also requires planning ahead as cabins tend to be full most of the time. A one-room cabin with private kitchen and bath rents for $1,235 per week for up to 4 persons, or $200 per day. The largest two-bedroom cabin rents for $1,870 per week or $305 per day.
Submerge yourself in the unparalleled beauty of Lakes Basin Wilderness with a stop at Sardine Lake Resort. They are open this year through October 10. The Hunt family welcomes you.