Photo Essay: Mountain Table Dinner atop Northstar

Having just gone to my first Mountain Table Dinner atop Northstar California, I can confidently say that it's my favorite event that Northstar does. And that's saying a lot for the North Lake Tahoe ski resort that prides itself on unique events, such as the free champagne toast that happens atop the mountain every day, complimentary daily s'mores in the Village, and stargazing snowshoe tours. Yet Northstar's Mountain Table Dinner Series tops them all. After all, it's not just anywhere that you enjoy a ski mountain like this after the chairs stop turning, and to the tune of a sleigh ride up to the top (for real) followed by a five-course dinner paired with five California wines to the backdrop of live music. 

And I got to experience this first-hand Friday night. If it wasn't a unique, amazing experience already, it was elevated even more thanks to a beautiful sunset mid-mountain, followed by a light snowfall on the sleigh ride up to the top to Zephyr Lodge. Best dinner ever?

While I'll be sharing more details about the Mountain Table Dinner Seires in the coming days, I'm first sharing some highlights in photos of the evening with Chef Aramis Torres and Bonny Doon Vineyard.

The journey begins, taking the gondola from the village at Northstar to mid-mountain.

The journey begins, taking the gondola from the village at Northstar to mid-mountain.

The view mid-mountain "After hours" upon arriving by gondola.

The view mid-mountain "After hours" upon arriving by gondola.

Our chariot, or rather sleigh (pulled by a snow cat) awaits. Or, guests can take the Zephyr Express Gondola up.

Our chariot, or rather sleigh (pulled by a snow cat) awaits. Or, guests can take the Zephyr Express Gondola up.

The sleigh view upon arriving at Zephyr Lodge. 

The sleigh view upon arriving at Zephyr Lodge. 

Zephyr Lodge at dusk awaiting guests.

Zephyr Lodge at dusk awaiting guests.

My kind of treasure chest, a selection of Bonny Doon's whites, such as Le Cigare Blanc.

My kind of treasure chest, a selection of Bonny Doon's whites, such as Le Cigare Blanc.

The Mountain Table Dinner begins.

The Mountain Table Dinner begins.

Team Carbs to kick things off. 

Team Carbs to kick things off. 

First course, featuring pork belly, endive salad, persimmon vinaigrette, pancetta, and brussel sprout crisps.

First course, featuring pork belly, endive salad, persimmon vinaigrette, pancetta, and brussel sprout crisps.

Onto Bonny Doon's reds. this, the Le Cigare Volant.

Onto Bonny Doon's reds. this, the Le Cigare Volant.

And onto the next course, smoked squab, black lentils, roasted cauliflower, and pine nuts.

And onto the next course, smoked squab, black lentils, roasted cauliflower, and pine nuts.

Course num. three, featuring lamb stew, acorn squash, chickpea and cumin seed flatbread, dates, and bone marrow. 

Course num. three, featuring lamb stew, acorn squash, chickpea and cumin seed flatbread, dates, and bone marrow. 

The finale (and perhaps my favorite): Poached apple tart, dark chocolate, salted caramel, buttermilk vanilla bean ice cream, and parmesan crisp. Thank you CheF, I'll have another.

The finale (and perhaps my favorite): Poached apple tart, dark chocolate, salted caramel, buttermilk vanilla bean ice cream, and parmesan crisp. Thank you CheF, I'll have another.

One more Mountain Table Dinner to end the winter. Sign me up!

One more Mountain Table Dinner to end the winter. Sign me up!

The last Mountain Table Dinner for the year happens March 17 with Merryvale Vineyards. 

Southern born and bred, Spencer was bitten by the travel bug at a young age, flying on a plane for the first time at age five and by himself for the first time at seven. While he continues to travel around the world in search for the best whiskey, Spencer now calls Reno home, where his search is for the best cocktail (and first tracks, naturally). He has written about travel, food, and drinks for a number of publications that have included the Los Angeles Times, National Geographic, Outside Magazine, and Travel + Leisure, just to name a few. See a more candid version of Spencer on his website, whiskeytangoglobetrot.com, and follow him on Twitter and Instagram.