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Cottonwood Restaurant & Bar Restaurant Review: Sitting in Cottonwood's rustic dining room, the chandelier's candlelight glow turning everything a bit rosier (helped along by one of the restaurant's famous French margaritas), it’s almost possible to feel the frontier spirit as you overlook historic downtown Truckee. Set in a former lodge on the site of the nation’s first mechanized ski lift, the hillside venue is an easy choice for where to go après and stay for the alpenglow. Even after many years as executive chef, David Smith's cooking remains lively, mixing old favorites (whole-leaf garlicky Caesar salad best eaten with your fingers) with new creations (pine nut-encrusted Southeast Asian bass). Appropriate for a romantic evening (share the butternut squash enchilada with mole and toasted pumpkin seeds) or a raucous get-together (shot-ski for four?), whatever the occasion be sure to end the night with a dessert from pastry chef Michele Smith. Come early Friday and Saturday nights for live music, and take your time with the wine list. If you can move past the French margarita, that is.