Food: SF and South Lake Tahoe

A friend sent me an excellent article this morning entitled Why SF Restaurants are Suffocating. It’s great. You should read it.

I think over the next several years, these folks will realize the opportunity to bring their skills out of the SF pressure cooker to more accessible places, without really sacrificing much.

I moved away from SF almost exactly a year ago. Since then, I’ve had lots of people ask me about it — is it worth it, how’s the cost of living, what do you miss, etc. An in-depth answer would take its own (long) blog post, but I will say unequivocally that I do not regret moving to South Lake Tahoe. I love living here. There are things I miss about SF, but the benefits of living in South Lake Tahoe far outweigh the costs.

Reading the article above reminded me of how much I do miss the food in SF.

Heaven on earth. Taqueria Cancun in Bernal Heights.

Now, I am not a foodie. As a kid, I had a notoriously picky diet. But living in SF for 8 years completely spoiled me. From Mexican to Middle Eastern to Burmese to Ethiopian to Japanese ramen, I don’t need to remind you of the immense diversity SF has to offer. (And if you’ve never been to Taqueria Cancun….you have my sympathy.)

Mountain economies like Tahoe have historically relied heavily on tourism. As such, the food scene is bifurcated into two distinct camps: the extremely cheap, not-so-healthy-or-delicious option for the local residents, and the higher quality but overpriced option targeting weekend tourists.

Recently we’ve seen lots of development away from this situation. South Lake Brewing Company often hosts wood-fired Pizza (in addition to their delicious beer). Sidellis offers sausages, which totally satisfies my love of Rosamunde in SF. There are a handful of great mexican spots, such as Maya’s, Chimayo, and Verde. BBQ and good burgers can be found at Ten Crows and California Burger. And there are many others.

South Lake Brewing Company

There is a growing technology scene in South Lake Tahoe. It’s active enough to start a startup. Many folks work from coworking spaces. We have good coffee. And coming this spring, there’s even a Whole Foods up here. The long-time residents can feel the seismic shifts. And, if you include the entire Tahoe Region (Truckee, Incline Village, and Reno), it’s even more vibrant.

Ten Crows BBQ

I don’t personally know anyone in the restaurant industry in SF. I wish I did. I’d tell them that there is a large market opportunity to bring great food to places like Tahoe. You can afford to live here, to save for retirement, to enjoy the outdoors, and build your career.