Just a quick post today! Sometimes you just need to get away from it all and take a mental break. When I’m in such a mood, I walk over to Old World Coffee, just down the street from my office. I like to sip my drink while listening to music, daydreaming, writing, etc. This is a modern-meets-old-world style café at the corner of California and Sierra. Floor to ceiling windows offer a nice view for people watching.
To me, you can’t have Old World style without a huge ship replica somewhere, and they deliver! There’s a really cool ship on one wall, but there’s usually someone sitting smack dab in front of it and I didn’t want to be a creeper.. so here’s a faraway view of it.
There’s also a nice bit of artwork against the back wall with their motto (and WiFi password) “slow down, drink up”. Such a good saying to live by!
This was a delicious vanilla lavender latte. Two of the best scents there are!
There’s plenty of cute merch here as well, like this hoodie featured on their website – I need this in my life!
Their other location in Reno is where their roastery is located…mmm imagine the aroma in there! But it’s not within walking distance of the office, so I gravitate to the Midtown location. It can get pretty busy, though, so it's not always a *super* quiet location. But you just gotta roll with it, slow down and drink up :) Check them out.
"I like hanging out in the basement by myself" is a nice example of a creepy sentence, except this time I mean The Basement, which is such a neat spot in Reno – it’s basically an underground miniature mall. Located downtown in a 1933 Art Deco building which used to be Reno’s main post office until the 70s, the history alone on this building could fill its own post, but I’m focusing on what lies beneath – literally. The Basement is just a short walk from my office, but I have California blood and always will, so I was freeeezing in the low 40 degree weather.
The entrance is on the side of a building and doesn't look like much, but wait until you step inside...
The Basement is home to a mix of retail and dining, among other things. It feels like you're stepping down into a subway station. When you first get downstairs, Global Coffee is to your left.
Near the register is this sign:
Well I looked everywhere for him, but wasn’t able to find him. He’s a small figurine that can literally be anywhere – taped under chairs, inside a plant, under a decoration, etc. And he’s always in a different spot. So maybe I’ll bring a kid here next time and have them go nuts trying to find him! What a fun idea.
In the center of the open area downstairs is a quad with tables, TVs and couches.
You can hang out down here at one of the long tables with a bank of chargers and work on your computer-y stuff or just pretend to look busy and important, or meet a friend here to catch up and chat – whatever your heart desires (eh, kind of).
Every table has a plant, and I even found one table made out of a fascinating piece of equipment but sadly (and not surprisingly), I was unable to identify it. Here’s a picture of it, just for fun…prize awarded if you can tell me what this is!
I’m really into the industrial look down here with the brick walls, exposed pipes, concrete floors, the doors and lighting.
At the back left wall is Sugar Love Chocolates, a dairy farm. No, I’m being ridiculous – it’s clearly a chocolate shop. They also make crepes and have a small selection of other food items besides chocolate. Isn’t this box just precious!
Other merchants down here include Lash Envy, a jewelry store, photography studio and art space which also offers classes, an athletic apparel shop, Tahoe Nevada Love - a local apparel and adventure gear company, a modern apothecary called Pantry Products, and Escape - which I thought was an escape room, (because obviously), but it’s actually a unique gym described as an “over-the-top sensory experience” where, among other things, you can work out under black lights or cycle in the dark to loud music. You can also book events here!
There’s a classic barber shop called the Beautiful Bearded Man where you can enjoy a whiskey or beer while getting groomed.
There’s also a speakeasy - Seven Troughs Distilling Co.
NØRDIK has Scandinavian interior decor goods. That’s where you’ll find these amazing designs by artist Teemu Järvi – I especially love this lynx.
So much to do and see down in The Basement! Don’t miss it.
One of my favorite things about Reno is the monthly wine walk! On the third Saturday of every month, about 20 local downtown businesses open their doors for this event a few hours in the afternoon. You start at one of several locations where you pick up a uniquely-designed wine glass; and for $20 you get a bracelet and a map and you’re let loose to explore. Each business along the walk will offer you one of 2 wines, or in some spots one of 2 sangrias (my fave). It’s not so much about the wine as it is supporting local businesses and exploring new places with your friends. This is not high quality wine by any means, but most of it is decent and if not, of course there’s chuck-it buckets for whatever you don’t want.
We started out yesterday at Crafted Palette, a local paint & sip place. Once you pick out your glass, you’re given a bracelet and a map which you need to keep out whenever you visit a new spot so they can stamp on it.
Also have your ID out every place you go. And the biggest thing to remember is that you absolutely cannot have any alcohol in your glass when you leave an establishment, since Reno has an open container law. (But no open carry laws, so you can bring your GUN around everywhere, just make sure your wine is drained first-!!) That’s just funny to me. And we saw cops everywhere, driving AND on foot, so you have to be careful if you want to avoid a fine.
From Crafted Palette, we were welcomed to The Jungle.
One side is a coffee bar, and the other is an alcohol bar, separated by a hallway. Loving the atmosphere in here! You can be chill and mellow on the coffee side or perky and fun on the bar side. Yes I totally just stereotyped there, but it is what it is
On the left, bar and lounge. On the right, coffee. Same building but separated by these lovely sliding doors. I took this from the hallway which leads to a bathroom and other places.
After a brief stop at Sierra Tap House, we went uphill to Pignic Pub & Patio, which is located in a charming old house.
Outside are grills where you can bring your own food and grill it there and enjoy on the outdoor patio.
Inside there's a bar upstairs and down, with plenty of lounge areas in every open space and even in the rooms, some of which are also equipped with TVs. There’s also a shuffleboard table!
The chaise is just my size.
Some of the other places we stopped were Reno eNVy, Noble Pie Parlor (which gives you free little sample squares of pizza with your wine, I may or may not have had quite a few), Ole Bridge Pub, Brewer’s Cabinet, finishing the afternoon at Liberty Food & Wine.
I love this hoodie!
Tip jar at Ole Bridge Pub! And of course I donated to the ninja fund.
The Wine Walk is a great way to get out and explore downtown and try some eats in new places. The weather for this one was PERFECT despite it being January. It was sunny, and the temp was in the low 50s, without any wind, so with just my light sweater and scarf I was great! Didn’t even need the scarf, it was more for decoration than anything else.
I did this wine walk with a good friend and we ended up running into another group of friends and hung with them for a few stops. This is perfect for a small group or even a big group like a bachelorette party or when you just want to go out with a bunch of friends and have a good time. At the end of the walk, you can go to a central location for a raffle where you can win fun prizes! We didn’t stay for this one this time, but as long as you grab at least 5 stamps from different businesses, you can enter to win!
If you're visiting Reno, be sure to check out the wine walk!
Wine pairing - an absolute must-do if you enjoy food, friends and fine wine. Earlier this month, I went with a group of friends to a pairing at Bella Grace Vineyards in Sutter Creek, California. Such a lovely name for a winery - it’s named for the two grandmothers of the family who started it. We enjoyed this pairing at their tasting room on Main Street in the cute little downtown area of Sutter Creek.
The house was built in the 1860s and has beautiful wood flooring throughout. When you become a member, you receive one wine pairing a year for 10 people. Make sure you pick the people you like most, because everyone gets pretty spoiled here - don’t waste on someone who wouldn’t appreciate it. Oh if only I could dine like this every night! Our group was pretty incredible.
For our pairing, there were 5 courses - just a sample of a bit of food with a bit of wine each time. This was definitely the best food I’ve ever had in my life. I used to be a picky eater, too, so it’s a proud moment to say that I totally cleaned every plate I was given (even tempted to lick, but of course I kept my manners). You really come to appreciate the subtleties of each wine and the way the food brings out the flavors in the wine. It makes you want to toss around words like “tannins”, “bouquet”, and my new favorite, “wine legs”. Having this experience also made me regret all the visits to Taco Bell that I've made in my lifetime. Utter trash panda in comparison to the decadent cuisine of BGV.
This is not a food blog nor do I enjoy describing every intricacy of a food dish, so I’ll spare you my commentary and instead show you our menu and then a picture of each item.
Those, by the way, are the most delicious garbanzo beans you could ever dream of. The recipe is available there as well and you betcha I'm making a truckload of them sometime.
I don't much care for peas but those snap peas are SO yummy.
A real highlight for me was when the gluten-FILLED bread and olive oils came out. At first I was like, hey great, some bread and oil, I know this will be tasty. But when I saw there were 3 different kinds - oh sweet holy moly mylanta. I would have been just fine if that was the only thing on the menu. Get in my belly.
I could’ve died right then and there as a happy woman, as I satisfyingly announced at the table. Why have I spent my whole life only ever knowing the sad and basic olive oil, when there are varieties to be had like lemon, garlic and basil? And that’s just scratching the surface. I’m forever changed. My. Word..
An unexpected and adorable bonus was Liam, the mini Aussie shepherd who quietly strolled in and out of the room, being his super cute self. It’s just not cozy and happy without animals around, and I was so delighted with this sweet pup.
In one of the lounge areas in the house, I found a book all about wine caves and I was sucked in. It’s on my bucket list now, to do a pairing in a wine cave - the ambiance and romance of it all must absolutely make the whole experience.
There were several other wineries we visited during this air bNb wine weekend! I’ll just share with you two of my favorite ones - Mediterranean and Karmere. Mediterranean is smaller and more intimate, has amazing wine, wonderful employees and a great view. Don’t forget to try their breadsticks either! Amazing. Emily was our estate host for the evening and she is perfect at what she does - very knowledgeable and more importantly has a great personality and makes your time there an absolute joy!
Karmere, with its spacious French chateau style tasting room, is much bigger and is perfect for a wedding with the terraced backyard and large outdoor patio for dining and dancing. AND you can also charge your Tesla here, if you happen to own one. There’s also a regular charging station if you need it (looking at you, Joel and Gaby!) one more lovely tidbit about Karmere: their vineyards are each named after women in their family, and the granddaughters’ vineyards were planted on the day or week that they were born. I just love that!
Oh, one more honorable mention - Il Gioello! The first thing I noticed when we pulled up was this beautiful building, reminiscent of my time spent in Nice, France where many of the buildings are this exact color of orange with the turquoise shutters.
For a moment I was transported back to those days in Europe. We enjoyed a bottle of wine outside while playing bocce ball and visiting with the local dog, a super happy and lovable bull mastiff named Oliver.
On this trip, I discovered a new favorite wine, Sangiovese. I can’t wait to come back to wine country when it’s not the dead of winter and the vines are in bloom. On our way home we stopped for some pictures at Caples Lake, which is frozen over and covered with lots of snow.
If you stuck with me this long, this last picture is for you!
"I don't think I've ever drunk champagne before breakfast before. With breakfast, on several occasions, but never before, before." - Breakfast at Tiffany's
If you know me, then you know my soulmate-like connection to pizza and you must be wondering why I haven’t reviewed any pizza places yet. I wondered the same thing. So without further ado…
Smiling With Hope Pizza is one of my favorite pizza places in town. It’s south of town on Lakeside Drive, and it features classic NY-style pizza. One of zee best things about pizza is how different it is everywhere you go, yet comfortably the same. I admit I only eat pepperoni pizza (with one exception) and don’t you dare try to convince me otherwise (because I probably won’t listen). Pepperoni is simple, delicious, and always satisfying. What more do you need? I’ll take a good pizza over a fancy filet mignon any day. Mom always said I would be a cheap date. It’s interesting to me to enjoy the variety in what makes one pepperoni pizza different from another – whether it’s the thickness of the crust, the type of seasoning used, or the amount of sauce and cheese used. Alright, blah blah blah.
I KNOW RIGHT?!?!
So let’s get down to the nitty-gritty – what is this pizza like? Well, to whet your appetite, for the last two years Smiling With Hope has been listed on Yelp’s Top 100 Places to Eat in the U.S. Money and Time magazines both named it the best Pizzeria in Nevada. It’s also been featured on ABC News, local news outlets, and recognized by public figures like Maria Shriver and pizza gurus – for example, the guy who wrote the Pizza Bible. (whaaaaat! I feel sacrilegious for not owning this book). I looked up all of this info before I went there for the first time about a year ago, so my expectations were HIGH. And they were met.
One of the best things about this place is that they hire people with developmental disabilities, thus the name. What an honorable purpose! I also love that every time I come in, I’m helped by Judy, the owner’s wife. She provides some of the most outstanding customer service you will get anywhere. If you’re having a crummy day, you’ll feel like a VIP when you come here because of how you are treated. There’s red checkered tablecloths and a cozy Brooklyn feel about the place. (One of my friends who is a New Yorker affirmed that this is the one place in Reno where she feels like she’s back in NYC) Go there today for pizza by the slice or a whole pie (never understood why we call it that). Be aware the box may not fit in your car, though.