Whenever 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!
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.
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!!
Little Waldorf Saloon – Reno’s oldest restaurant since 1922. Known as “The Wal”, it’s right across the street from UNR and a natural hangout for the college crowd. I first came here years ago on a Sunday because of their famous Penny Burger special – buy one burger & get one for a penny! (Sunday 11 am – 4 pm)
Pictured here is the famous "Great Bacon" which has all the things I need on a burger - bacon, cheddar and BBQ sauce. I'm a minimalist, what can I say? The fries are free, so share with your buddies!
The atmosphere is really unique – Nevada memorabilia everywhere along with wagons, planes, cannons, saddles, (stuffed) animals, etc. I really don’t want to be here in the event of a big earthquake…
The specials here are great! Happy hour is daily from 4-7 pm and you can get bar food for just $2.99...
Different days boast a different special, like Pizza Mondays (half off pizza) and on weekends from 11-3, Mimosas are BOGO!
They’ve got a jukebox, foosball table, pool tables, space for dancing too. Always some kind of party going on here, like trike races on Wednesdays and on Thursdays – college night – DJ & dancing. (I’ll stick with visiting on the other 5 days of the week ;)
TVs everywhere so you don’t miss any games!
Open daily from 11 am – “until we’re done having fun” :) Gotta love it! Make sure you check out this fun hangout.
Another favorite of mine, this place is located in a lovely grey brick building located on Sierra Street in between the heart of downtown and Midtown. From my office I have a bird’s eye view of it.
I walked here for lunch yesterday because I’m totally enjoying this warm spring weather finally! It's one of the many great lunch places within walking distance, too.
Lots of character and charm in this old building built in 1940, named because this street used to be Granite Street until it wasn’t. Happy hour is from 3-6 on weekdays, and on Mondays all bottles of wine under $100 are half off. Also you can stop in on weekend mornings for brunch.
This drink is called a winter spiced sparker and it consists of house-made apricot bourbon, winter spice syrup, lemon and sparkling wine. To me it’s like champagne meets autumn. I'm also diggin' the water in the old Jack Daniels bottle - awesome touch.
My lunch was phenomenal! This is the best pulled pork sandwich I’ve had in Reno! It’s only topped by the one I had a few years back in Seattle at Local 360. Super refreshing salad to go with it. I totally cleaned this plate, which is rare for me!
It’s like stepping inside a 1940s train depot in here with the high ceilings, wood furniture and high-backed booths. I love the feel in here.
Be sure to check out their bar Royce next door, outdoor patio and all. Soon come the days of outdoor dining - can't wait!
Hollywood, circa 2005. My best friend and I took a trip to SoCal and we stopped in to this shoe store that literally was the size of a grocery store. There were shoes for miles. Aisles upon aisles of glorious heels, boots, sandals, and more heels. I almost cried. It was a glorious experience and I walked out with these cute $70 J. Lo shoes.
I wear a size 7, in case you want to stick that fact in the back of your mind for the next time you see a fabulous pair you think I might like...
14 years later I had a similar life-changing experience, except it was at this new Reno place:
Yes, this is Lee’s Discount Liquor, a Vegas chain that mercifully found its way up to discount Vegas (aka Reno). I had to pick my jaw up off the floor when I walked in...
You. Guys. There are literally 2 aisles of just Pinot Noir, for example. Many from the Willamette Valley! (Holla to my old stomping grounds!)
Wines separated by country...
And can we all take a moment to appreciate this wall of JUST CHAMPAGNE.
So many sales happening here! I am such a visual person so of course I was just absolutely taken by all the beautiful displays and unique bottles.
Well hello there, love....
One of my go-to cheap reds is Ménage a Trois, which is cheapest at Costco (7.99) and here is the same price! I went to Lee's and Costco in the same day and let me tell you: 1) there’s way less people in Lee’s than Costco 2) much happier shoppers in Lee’s than Costco because, duh and 3) Lee's is just down the hill from my house 9.3 miles - way closer than Costco!
They have everything here! Mixers, tools like shakers, bottle openers, shot glasses, etc. literally anything. And the prices are fantastic! They even will match Total Wine’s prices! I told the cashier
"this place is amazing" and when I left she said "I'll see you soon, baby!"
Why yes, you will.
This is not really a support-local-Reno kind of post, but I'm staying true to helping y'all figure out what's here. So.....Roberto’s Taco Shop – Open 24 hours!
Not a lot of seating inside and sometimes it gets pretty packed in here. This reminds me of the places where in my teens and 20's I would spend late nights after a concert with friends. You know how it is – it’s late, nothing's open, you’re hungry for someplace that isn't McDonald's or Taco Bell, no one really wants to go home, and you don’t want the night to end just yet…even if it is 3:00 a.m.!
Now settling in to my early 30's, I haven’t yet come up with a reason why I would be in this part of town at 3:00 a.m. (I value my personal safety) but it’s nice to know I at least have that option. That’s one of the many things I love about living in a city that doesn’t really sleep that much.
Roberto's started in the 1960's as a family owned and operated place, and was San Diego's first walk-up and drive-thru taco shop! It started with a tortilla factory in San Ysidro. This makes me think of my gramma Vira who makes the best tortillas AND my favorite Mexican food, and we always said she should've opened her own restaurant.
Those beautiful hands have been making tortillas for almost 80 years now! I have continued the tradition by making my own tortillas with her same recipe... so delicious. It's a family secret ;)
Anywho, this is a great place to get a LOT of food for not much money. They have daily specials like this one…
#21 special, which is a ginormous wet burrito with a 20-oz. fountain drink for just $5.75! Most of the burritos on the menu are more money than that alone! There are other specials too which include a drink and are super cheap.
I'm also really digging their boxes, which I expected to just be standard Styrofoam, but instead somehow remind me of my dad – his nose is not that big and he doesn't own a sombrero, but he is Mexican with a mustache so it works. At least I know he would laugh at this.
This is a great place to split a meal for cheap too – I can never finish this burrito! I usually get this many bites in before I call it.
Then I either have leftovers for the next day or if I'm feeling nice, I find a friend to finish for me. Next time you have a craving for Mexican food, check them out!
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!