Service. What else would you expect from the Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe? It started off with a phone call from the concierge at the Manzanita Restaurant in the Ritz. She was wondering if we would like to have a chilled bottle of champagne at our table when we arrive, since tonight we would be celebrating the recent engagement of life-long local, Megan Ganong and her fiance, Jesse Shirley. After choosing our champagne, we then were asked what inscription we would like on the delectable plate of dessert chocolates that would be presented to Jesse and Megan after dinner in celebration of their commitment to each other. We decided on something really original: Congratulations!
The drive to the Ritz from Alpine Meadows took much longer than anticipated; forty minutes in all. The best part about it, however, was that it got better with each mile. The beautifully paved road, no potholes in sight, winds gently for a couple of miles and by the time we reached the Ritz, we felt like we were in the clouds! The views of Martis Valley and Northstar were spectacular and the hotel itself was commanding, yet welcoming. We were greeted at the valet by a handful of handsome, young men with impeccable Ritz manners (I have thought, on occasion when the door is closed for the um-teenth time in my face, that it might be beneficial for my three boys to spend some time at the Ritz boot camp).
Upon arrival, we were escorted upstairs around one of the most massive granite fireplaces I have ever seen! Entering the restaurant was impressive…a big, very stainless steel, open kitchen. The restaurant was packed, with only a few vacant seats in sight, and this was the weekend after New Years weekend which is traditionally slow. The waitress mentioned that the hotel was 90 percent full. I love to hear that in this economy!
Throughout the evening we were waited on no less than 7, count ’em, 7, servers! The ever-present manager, Laurent Vasseur imported from France to make sure we Americans know what service is, even checked in on us a couple of times. I guess Laurent is the guy that quizzes the servers back in the kitchen about the names of each of the restaurant patrons (again, is that Ritz boot camp available for young boys?). We were very happy to learn that several of our servers were Truckee locals. The food/menu was outstanding! Renowned chef, Traci Des Jardins, was at the helm and left no stone unturned.
The evening ended up with a tab of about $350, including tip, but not dessert (Megan saw a friend that bought our dessert). It was a fantastic, festive evening,leaving us all with nothing but good memories.
The only disappointment of the evening occurred at the bitter end, when the valet graciously brought our car up and it hadn’t been washed. The nerve!
Here’s to a marriage full of enrichment, dinners at the Ritz (after kids and college expenses, of course), love and happiness for Jesse and Megan!