My intent was not to morph a sunny getaway ski day into some contrived foodie bit, but my stomach was growling and there it was right in front of me, presented hot off the grill and placed on a nice, fresh bun, along with a generous offering of toppings, condiments and sauces.
“Oh, give me a home where the buffalo roam…”
Or so go the lyrics of this song, which came out almost 140 years ago that ironically was just about the time they no longer did, thanks to massive hunts, which slaughtered upwards of 300,000 animals a year.
Thank goodness the species was saved from extinction because they taste damn good, and are good for you.
Oh yeah, I guess it was a good thing from an ecological standpoint, too…but, damn, they taste good.
Plus, it doesn’t hurt that it has a fraction of the fat and cholesterol of typical beef (and, yes, they do taste good).
The fact is that all I wanted to do was to escape the incessant, depressing valley fog that seemed to settle in like an unwanted relative that can’t take a hint and move on.
The weather maps showed a deep and determined blanket that obliterated the sun from the northern end of the Sacramento Valley and extended well on its way towards southern California.
The forecast also called for a continued freezing fog, or pogonip, along the east side of the Sierras. I recall many a winter up in the far northeast corner of the state when extended periods of fog during sub-freezing temperatures would cover just about everything in a crystalline coating of pure white. This created beautiful calendar quality winter scenes that could be appreciated for a few days. But when the combination of bone-chilling cold along with an absence of sun or sky lasted for weeks at a time, it would leave people irritable and nervous.
But, I anticipated clear and cold blue skies up at Heavenly ski resort, high above Lake Tahoe and I was not disappointed.
The runs were mercifully devoid of the weekend crowds and I luckily avoided a repeat of the painful previous outing.
I burned a lot of calories as I enjoyed all that sun and snow and got a local tip where I might find the best lunch on the mountain. It was specifically recommended that I try the buffalo burger at the Extreme Burger Bar on the Sky Deck.
I was confronted with quite a medley of meats on the menu to choose from, with the promised buffalo, along with elk, turkey, salmon, lamb, veggie, and yes, even conventional moo-cow beef.
Not to buck an inside tip, I opted for the buffalo and slathered on generous amounts of napkin-consuming toppings.
Unfortunately, after a day of wonderful ski runs and stomach satisfying lunch it was necessary to drive back down into the valley and into a dark dome of thick gray fog as the sun set.
The good news is that the forecast is for lessening fog in the next couple of days. The bad news is that the fog is being driven off by another round of rain.
Wait, that equates to more fresh powder up in the mountains. I say, bring on the rain.