<![CDATA[JUST A GIRL EXPLORING LIFE IN THE BIGGEST LITTLE CITY! - Blog]]>Thu, 22 Aug 2019 15:26:28 -0700Weebly<![CDATA[Fridays are for Food Trucks]]>Sat, 29 Jun 2019 04:20:30 GMThttp://stefinreno.com/blog/fridays-are-for-food-trucks
Beautiful Truckee River....

Food Truck Fridays in Reno - through September 27th! From 4-9 pm, head down to Idlewild Park with your lawn chairs and a blanket and enjoy food from a bunch of different food trucks. RGJ says they have 65 different rotating vendors!

Tonight I came down here not knowing what I wanted. (A surprise to nobody who knows me) .... tacos sounded great but so did Korean BBQ! There was every cuisine imaginable ... I passed a taco place and thought “yes” and then passed an Indian food place and thought “yaaaas” and then just felt more confused and conflicted.

And then the crowds parted and a beam of light shone down from heaven on this trailer and when I saw its name I just knew it was “the one”....
Yes. So much yes. ​Known for their wings but unfortunately tonight they were out of wings due to technical difficulties heh, heh. So I went with the next best thing - pulled pork! And it did not disappoint... soo yummy.

Totally recommend getting here early because when we arrived at 6:45ish it was BRUTAL! Tons of traffic and no free spots to be found. We circled for a while but then my expert parallel parking skills came in handy and we snagged a fresh spot. Camping chairs slung over our shoulders, we wandered in and snagged a nice spot by the lake to chow down.
There’s always something new to try here and always someone you know that you’ll run into down here! (Hi Carol!!) Love my big little city. Can’t wait to come back more this summer. For more info, check them out on Instagram at @FoodTruckFridayReno or here: https://www.rgj.com/story/life/food/2019/05/14/food-truck-friday-reno-eighth-year-may-17-new-food-trucks-restaurants-downtown/1183431001/

<![CDATA[This Toe Should Have a Morgue Tag On It Right Now]]>Thu, 20 Jun 2019 22:11:30 GMThttp://stefinreno.com/blog/this-toe-should-have-a-morgue-tag-on-it-right-now
Dramatic much? You be the judge… 

On my lunch break today I was headed to DSW to use my $10 off coupon and was going 70 mph down the 395 south. I was in one of the right lanes and put on my turn signal to move over into one of the left lanes. In the split second of time it took me to turn my head to check my blind spot, the SUV in front of me slammed on their brakes. I swerved to avoid slamming into the back of them, and lost control of my car. My car shook violently and swayed from side to side and I waited to flip. I had the steering wheel in a death grip as I spun all over the lanes at a 45 degree angle, almost sideways. I don’t know how I didn’t hit someone.

In moments like these you hear about people’s life flashing before their eyes. No such thing happened to me. All I had time to do was gasp – no screaming, no words, nothing. It was a crazy 4-5 seconds where I waited to flip or be T-boned by an oncoming car. Things flew around in my car. I waited for the impact and hoped I wouldn't feel anything....

​And then, just like that, I regained control of the car and steered it off the highway to the nearest exit (airport) and calmed down in the cell phone waiting lot. My hands were shaking for a good 5 minutes after.

And then I got right back on the highway (being way more cautious this time) and made it down to DSW to find some cute shoes. I didn’t end up buying any, but I was grateful for the fact that I still had feet to buy shoes for. My car should have flipped. Or someone should have slammed into me. Or both at the same time. Today was absolutely the closest I’ve ever come to dying and all I can say is I won’t take that for granted any more. It’s a scary realization when you think “this is how it all ends”. In these type of situations, I’m thankful I get another shot, and my heart goes out to all the ones who don't.

Be so very careful out there my friends.

"Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes" - James 4:14
<![CDATA[Homage]]>Wed, 29 May 2019 02:24:28 GMThttp://stefinreno.com/blog/homage
I love it when houses are converted into businesses. Homage has 3  separate rooms inside for dining..
There's lots more seating outside on the front porch and on the wraparound patio.
I sat on the front porch until a breeze kicked up and forced me indoors. (Thanks Northern Nevada in late May!) When I come to coffee shops, I don't mind a little noise but I can't stand when they're over-loud and over-noisy. As you can see from the delightful lack of people in these pictures, I pretty much had the place to myself. I snagged a corner nook and settled in.
My chai was delicious, cinnamon-y and perfect. I love coffee shops for reading, people watching, catching up on my podcasts, writing and meditating in peace and quiet over a hot cuppa. Homage is a wonderful place to do all the above...
(I lied, there is a human in the corner there. No problem.) They sell a variety of croissants and other desserts and pastries like crème brûlée and cheesecake. They also offer lunch from 11-2
The drink menu is extensive, offering coffees, teas and smoothies. They also sell products up front, like these lovely jams and sauces..
It took a lot of willpower to resist buying that there Bourbon & Butter dessert sauce. Instead, I picked up this strawberry jam made in Lake Oswego, Oregon (I used to work in Lake O back in the day!)
Oh gosh, and you have to check out that bathroom!
Cute, right?! You know how I love me a fancy restroom. When someone bothers to pay attention to detail even there, they've definitely impressed me. (What does that say about me? Eh, who cares!) 

Just a short drive from my office, so it's perfect for meeting a friend for a spontaneous coffee date! See ya there ;)

<![CDATA[The Depot]]>Sun, 26 May 2019 04:00:31 GMThttp://stefinreno.com/blog/the-depot
A beautiful historic building constructed in 1910, this used to be the headquarters for the Nevada/California/Oregon railway. If it wasn’t such a cool gastropub, I'd want to live here.
Happy hour is daily 3-6 and on weekends there’s brunch. There’s something called a “manmosa” (thanks to my blogger friend Jeanna for the tip) served in a liter mug! With a name like that it’ll simultaneously make my husband more likely to order it and me stupidly more self-conscious about ordering it. A dainty mimosa I can get down with but a “manmosa”.... might have to call in some backup to help me finish it, ha!
This is the electric velvet: strawberry-basil infused aged corn whiskey as its base and a nice egg white topping. It was refreshing and citrusy.
I totally judge a brewery by how well they can cook a burger and sweet potato fries. Excellent. I know vegetables help you live longer, but who really goes to a brew pub and orders a salad? Yeah not me. (Totally not judging if you do —rock on!)
Our group ate upstairs, but next time I'd like to hang out down here....
I really love the vibe of this place and unlike some other local places I’ve been to recently which seem to be filled with college age kids, this is more my scene. Good lord, how old does that sound. But it’s true, and I’m comfortable admitting that the places catering more to the younger crowd are not really my favorite hangouts. I feel like I fit in here.... this chick is aging like a fine wine I suppose... enjoying being a 30something and loving the skin I’m in.
I am sort of confused why there’s a bowl of rocks in the bathroom though. But.... I do so love when attention is paid to the details of small things like bathroom décor. So well done.
And can someone tell me why alcohol health warnings are posted in bathrooms? Are we as a human race so ridiculously ignorant of the dangers of drinking while pregnant? If a pregnant woman sees this sign is she supposed to go “oops, maybe I shouldn’t have had all that beer” - and then go back into the stall and barf it up? This is what goes through my head on a Saturday night....

And on that note, happy long weekend!
<![CDATA[Michael's Deli]]>Wed, 10 Apr 2019 03:10:52 GMThttp://stefinreno.com/blog/april-09th-2019
A great lunch spot if you’re in Midtown, Michael’s Deli has everything - hot & cold sandwiches, salads, wraps, paninis, soups - their menu is teeming with so much variety it’s overwhelming!

This is an extremely popular lunch spot on Virginia Street, and it is almost always packed in here especially during the lunch rush. I can walk here from my office, which is nice too. There’s a back entrance as well, if you can’t find parking in front.

The walls are covered with sports memorabilia and it feels like a corner deli in the heart of New York.
One of my favorite items here is the chicken Caesar wrap . I can’t even begin to describe how delicious these homemade croutons are. This wrap is enormous, too. I usually eat barely half of it and then have leftovers or share with someone.
You can't tell from the picture, but each half is as big as my face.
This is the California melt - As a Californian it makes me proud that whenever you order something with California in the title, you can bet on it usually having avocado!! This is definitely made for 2 people. I can only eat half. (I totally ripped off those onions from my half - GROSS!)
Look at those perfect grill marks. Makes it taste even better!

Stop by to check out more of their great food or have them cater your next luncheon!

<![CDATA[Royce]]>Sun, 07 Apr 2019 23:26:17 GMThttp://stefinreno.com/blog/royce
If you'll remember last month when I went to Old Granite Street Eatery for the yummiest pulled pork I've had in years - this time I went next door to their sister bar, Royce. And there lives the yummiest cheeseburger in Reno!
It seems like nothing fancy, just your average burger, but it is soooo tasty! It's just $9 (or $10 if you're normal like me and add bacon). It comes with chips that serve as the burger's ugly cousin - just there to keep said burger company but not to outshine it whatsoever. I like to keep things classy by pairing this with a $5 glass of the house red.

Royce is a small bar with some couches and tables and a fireplace.
There's a nice outdoor patio for warmer days soon ahead. "Soon" is open to your interpretation...
I really love the old-fashioned feel in here, especially the ceiling! I look up a LOT when I'm in here....it's just so gorgeous.
So much character. This place has a cozy vibe and fills up pretty quickly. On the wall above the fireplace is this lovely picture.
During happy hour, among other things, you can get select snacks 2 for $10 from Old Granite Street. The bartenders here are super chill and great. I definitely recommend you check out this neat little hideout with the bright red door! Located on Ridge Street just behind the Old Granite Street Eatery on Sierra.
<![CDATA[Great Full Gardens]]>Thu, 04 Apr 2019 21:21:53 GMThttp://stefinreno.com/blog/great-full-gardens
It’s such a cute little café serving healthy and wholesome meals. Their mission: “We support people’s choice to eat healthy by creating a restaurant concept that works for every lifestyle” – awesome! They use locally-grown organic produce whenever possible.
This location (there’s a few others locally) is tucked away in an area of Midtown I don’t normally walk through (behind the Money Tree and the Wild Orchid – any coincidence those places are visited in consecutive order?!). At Great Full Gardens, you can rest assured that the critters you’re eating were all raised right and treated kindly, not injected with hormones and other horrible stuff. It’s at least comforting to know they probably led a nice life before they found their home on my plate…. (I’m by no means a vegetarian, btw).
I had the Fiesta Bowl which is massive (for me at least). I could’ve shared this salad with like 3 other people! It was incredibly filling too. I think I took a total of 5 bites before I packed it up in a go-box.

The fiesta bowl contains: spinach, cabbage, organic quinoa salad, organic black beans, carrots, roasted organic corn, cilantro, tortilla strips, salsa, and cilantro lime dressing which I got on the side and sprinkled on a bit. It’s also gluten free and vegan, neither of which things I am. But it was wholly delicious!
They offer all kinds of food here, including power bowls, sandwiches, soups, salads, tacos, liege waffles (MUST try), pizza, seafood and even burgers! It definitely goes to show that you can eat healthy and still have an amazing flavorful meal. It was very busy when I visited during my 12-1 lunch hour, but I was able to snag a barstool in the corner.

Also, check them out if you are participating in the Reno Vegan Chef Challenge! In the month of April, local restaurants have taken the challenge to serve healthy, filling, and tasty plant-based dishes that will satisfy all eaters, not just the vegans among us. Visit renoveganchefchallenge.com to vote for your favorites! There’s 27 places locally that are participating.
​**My participation in the challenge amounted to snapping a picture of their featured dishes**. Do I still get a trophy??? Sorry – I had fiesta bowl on the brain and didn’t have room in my agenda for their agenda. But it all sounds terribly great!!!
Bonus – there’s a rewards program! Each dollar you spend earns you 1 point, and after 100 points you start getting rewards ($6 discount for every 100 points redeemed)
<![CDATA[Grimaldi's]]>Mon, 01 Apr 2019 15:44:22 GMThttp://stefinreno.com/blog/grimaldisWhenever I visit Grimaldi’s, it makes me want to be more Italian. Just kidding, I’m not Italian, I’m Mexican! (so they tell me). Although my DNA results say I’m primarily from Southwestern Europe.... so.... maybe.

This is in my top 3 for best pizza in a 100-mile radius. I already shared one of these (Smiling With Hope), so now you must wait in suspense for the missing one someday. 

​Grimaldi’s started out in Brooklyn where the original store still stands in the DUMBO neighborhood. It’s one of New York’s most popular pizzerias and we’re fortunate to have one here in Sparks
! It's right next door to the Scheels. Vegas has the next closest ones followed by LA.
What makes this pizza so special? For starters, it’s made in a coal-fired brick oven as opposed to the traditional gas or wood burning ovens. These ovens have an internal heat of 1000°F which is equal to the temperature of lava! This makes the pizza nice and crisp on the outside but soft on the inside, with a perfect crust. It’s classic New York style and the slices are ginormous. Because of the process it takes to stoke these ovens twice a day, you can’t order any pizza during this window of time (usually in between the lunch & dinner rushes) - so you can turn to the bar for specials on drinks and antipasto and bruschetta!

​Besides pizza, they have calzones and a nice selection of wines, salads and desserts. Also a separate bar area.

In addition to being the home of some really amazing pizza, this place also has the very best tiramisu I’ve ever had, and a to-die-for chocolate chip cannoli. I haven’t tried their cheesecake yet because I‘m worried about falling even more in love with this place. Must pace myself and my addictive personality.
Looks delish, right! Look at that cute little basil leaf just sitting there showing off...

I’m a big fan of using wine bottles for decoration - just love the lighting in here. 
They’ve also decorated with subway signs in case you want to pretend you’re getting off at 34th Street Herald Square and not actually going to the restroom.

What’s the best part of Grimaldi’s? I’m not going to tell you here. You’ll have to ask me for that one! Ciao!
<![CDATA[Wild River Grille]]>Wed, 20 Mar 2019 02:51:03 GMThttp://stefinreno.com/blog/wild-river-grille
Wild River Grille – on the banks of the Truckee River downtown, in the Riverwalk District and just down the street from my work, in the historic Artist Lofts Building. I tried to eat outside here today but the breeze kicked up and made it slightly too cold. Obviously I was the only one brave enough to try it, as you can see from the empty tables everywhere...
The patio is spacious and has a view of the river, and when it's not so cold there's live music out here too. I work until 6 pm M-Th. so I usually miss the happy hour specials, but one day a month I’m off at 5, so I have an hour to get in on the fun! Today was my shorter day, so wahooooo.

Since they’re right across the street from the Pioneer Center, they also offer Broadway dinner specials! This is a four-course meal themed after the play. 

This month they’re showing the Wizard of Oz at the theater, and check out their menu for it!! 
Indoors is beautiful, as well. Here's a view of the main dining room, the River Room.
Around the corner is where I ate tonight...
And now for the food... (forgot to show my drink, which was a gorgeous Tequila Sunrise!)
The Wild River salad, with pecans, gorgonzola, apples and more. So refreshing and delicioso. The wings were amazing as well - I tried Garlic Parmesan but they also have Thai wings on the menu (next time!!)
This is a great spot for corporate events, weddings, etc. and large groups of up to 120. Whether you visit here at night outdoors with the cafe lights strung overhead or you're inside with the lovely soft glow, it's a nice romantic riverside ambiance.
<![CDATA[Fin & Filet]]>Tue, 19 Mar 2019 18:02:43 GMThttp://stefinreno.com/blog/fin-filet
I’m so glad I discovered Fin & Filet! This restaurant is tucked away in a charming red brick building just diagonal from my office building! I’ve driven by it hundreds of times and never known it was there! This historical building was first home to a family grocery store in 1927, but ever since 2015, it’s been a restaurant.
Back patio - there be my B of A building in the background looming over all.

Happy hour is 4-6 Monday thru Friday. Half price appetizers but full flavor - these are truly 4-star dishes with the most elegant presentation and a decadent, rich taste. I ordered the pork belly, which came with greens and a blackberry on top. Doesn’t this look dessert-ish?
It was delicious, but a little too fatty for me. (I don’t know what I expected with a name referencing the enormous gut of a pig)
The Brussels sprouts were the absolute best thing here!!! I'm normally not a huge fan of the green little devils, but when they are braised with a white wine sauce, you can’t help but love them. Mmmm. New project to recreate at home!
My drink was a S’more martini – topped with a humongous roasted marshmallow, rimmed with graham cracker crumbs & caramel (which some loon with dry fingertips attempted to steal!) In the drink itself was Irish cream which is all I needed to hear. Sooo good.
This is a jalapeno/watermelon margarita rimmed with sugar & jalapeno – just the right amount of spice!
 Ahi tartare - couldn't bring myself to try this. Just not a fishy girl yet. 
I didn't try this coconut shrimp either, but isn't it pretty?
Bone marrow – now I can say I’ve tried it and I won’t be trying it again. In Bible times it was a delicacy but I’m not living in those times and it wasn’t delicate to me. Everything around it tasted fantastic, however.

​I really love the ambiance in here. Brick walls, soft lighting and an awesome picture of the Reno skyline.
On the side there is this mural:
Another local gem!!