Posts Tagged ‘Reno’

Getting Down in Reno

July 8, 2013

Last week, Kara and I headed up to Reno to visit my folks.

Here’s a quick look at some of the stuff we found up there…

Upon our arrival, my dad poured me one of his new favorite beers…


Shock Top Lemon Shandy. If you like wheat beers and lemon zest, this is the brew for you.

Check out what my mom made for us…


We’re expecting a baby at the end of December. This will be their first pair of shoes.


My folks have lived in Reno for over a decade, so I’ve gotten to know this town pretty well. Our goal on this trip was to try some new things.

We started off our second day in town visiting a hidden gem at the University of Nevada, Reno…


Fleischmann Planetarium. They’ve got some pretty cool star shows almost every hour.

Later, we hit up a local favorite for lunch…


Dish Cafe

I first heard of this spot when it was featured on Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives”.

Here’s what I ate…


The Cowgirl Panini made of Creekstone Farms Tri Tip, Carmelized Onions, Thyme, Goat Cheese, Dijon, and Goat Cheese Spread on Sourdough. Mad tasty.

The good eats continued when we went to Old Granite Street Eatery for dinner.

Here’s what I had…


Sweet Bacon Chips. Mmmmmmmm…


Chilled Asparagus Soup with Crème Fraiche and Watercress. A perfect dish for a hot summer night.


Wood Grilled Burger with Aged White Cheddar and Potato Medallions. So good!


Pair it all with the Cascina Valpane 2010 Barbera d’Alba and a beautiful woman, and it’s all good.

The next day was the Fourth of July. After waking up to the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest on ESPN, we strolled around downtown Reno to check out the Wing Fest.

You know I had to sample some…


Some fantastic Nitro Wings.

That’s how I get down.

Stay Rad,



BurGR and Beaujolais: Two Meals. Two Cities. Too Cool.

December 30, 2012

While in Las Vegas for a wedding a few days back, we noticed that Gordon Ramsay had just opened up a new restaurant in the Planet Hollywood Hotel and Casino. Since we were staying there, we were all like, “What the heck? Let’s check it out!”


Gordon Ramsay BurGR


Our view from the table…

To start the meal off right, we ordered up some beer…


And BOY did they have a lot of it!


I got me a Stone Pale Ale

Here’s what we ate…


This Salt and Vinegar Hummus was out of this world…


The Truffle Parmesan Fries were legit…


But this Artisanal Burger with Shaved Prosciutto, Dried Salami, and Reclette Cheese is one of the best burgers I have ever tasted.

Everything about BurGR is fantastic.

The food.

The service.

Even the menu…


I mean… Come on… How cool is this?

Yesterday, we flew from Las Vegas to Reno, Nevada to visit my folks.

After picking us up from the airport, we headed out to dinner at Beaujolais Bistro.


This French restaurant does serve Beaujolais, but I was in the mood for something different…


The Saint Cosme 2011 Coetes-du-Rhone is full of bright red fruit, but has a great herbacious, spicy, earthy sensibility. Highly recommended.

Here’s what we ate…


Olives. I love olives.


Mixed Lettuces with Blue Cheese, Walnuts, and a Creamy Lemon Dressing


The Muscovy Drake Duck Breast in Blood Orange Sauce was ridiculously juicy and flavorful. The richness of the duck was evened out by the tangy blood orange. The wine made this dish sing.

Oh man…

It’s not that often that one can tout having had two of the best meals of their life in the same week…

I can.

Stay Rad,



Stay Rad Wine Blog TV Episode 12: Chinon You Cuvee Diamond

January 7, 2012

In this episode, Jeff tastes his first wine of 2012… This Chinon is the bomb!

Cuvee Signee 2009 Chinon

Stay Rad,


She’s Crafty, and she’s just my type.

January 1, 2012


My folks have lived in Reno, Nevada for almost ten years now.

Consequently, I usually head up to the “Biggest Little City in the World” three or four times a year.

When they first moved to Reno, I would spend quite a bit of time in the casinos when I would visit my parents.

The reality is that Reno has a whole lot more going for it than gambling…

If you’re into wine (like me), there are tons of hip spots to check out (remember this one?).

Kara and I just got back from spending a couple of days in Reno, to visit my folks and to celebrate New Year’s Eve with a few friends.

Before lunch on the 31st, we decided to hit up this gem of a shop…


Craft Beer & Wine

Craft Beer & Wine is a sweet wine shop on the South end of downtown Reno.  From the moment you walk into the shop, you are greeted by some wonderfully passionate, knowledgable, and unpretentious folks working there.  Craft is loaded full of big variety of reasonably priced wines from all over the world (focusing on those from Europe).  They also have a walk-in fridge with tons of beers.  All bottles are priced to-go, but they have glasses and picnic benches in the store if you want to dink there.

The folks there helped us pick out a nice wine to enjoy…


Opening the bottle...

Vietti 2008 Barbera D’Asti Tre Vigne:

Color: A beautiful, deep, dark purple that fades to burgundy at the rim of the glass.  Check it out…



Nose: Fruit of blackberry, cherry, and plum.  There is a nice oak component, along with a fruit roll-up aroma on the tail end.

Taste: There is some good fruit up front.  Blackberries.  Blueberries.  Cranberry jam.  Nice subtle oak spice with a hint of tobacco leaf.  There is a nice acidity that wakes up the palate.  As I was drinking it, I began to crave a thickly cut turkey sandwich.  Mmmmmmmm…  As the wine sits in the glass for a while, it opens up into some tasty, earthy, mushroom notes.  Delish…

Score: A solid 89 points.  This was a great way to wrap up 2011.

If you are ever in the area, you should totally hit this place up…

She’s crafty!

Stay Rad,


Going home… Wherever that is.

July 27, 2011

My father is a retired math teacher.

Every year, during the first week of school, he would show his students a video.  The only film to be viewed in his class all year.  Why?  “It’s the only movie that matters.” he would tell me.

The movie?

Donald in Mathmagic Land!

Check it out... Square Roots!

It’s a wonderful 27 minute animation, following Donald Duck’s learning of the magic of geometry from a voice in the woods.  Since my dad only showed it in his class once a year, the video stayed in our video cabinet for the other 364 days of the year.  As short as the film was, and with as much time as I had in my day, I would watch this film often as a child.

My favorite part of this one is when Donald Duck first realizes that he is lost.  First, he notices that all the birds have right triangles for beaks.  Then he sees that the trees look kind of strange.  He walks right up to one of them, and says in his ducky voice, “Well, whatdayaknow?  Square Roots!”

I thought that line was hilarious.  You can only imagine how stoked I was when I got to actually learn about square roots in school.  “Square roots!” I would shout in my math class while working on problems.

“You’re weird!” random pretty girls would say back to me.


I’m getting off topic.

I’ve been thinking a lot about ROOTS lately…

The Roots

"Roots! Bloody roots!" - Sepultura

"Don't forget your roots!" - H2O

A friend of ours just visited us from Japan.  She moved out there with her boyfriend a year ago.

She mentioned to us that in the time she’s been back in the USA, she’s started to feel homesick.  That’s a funny kind of thing.  A girl born and raised in Sunnyvale missing her home… Her home of one year.  Japan!

It’s funny.

It’s funny how our sense of home can change.

It’s funny how I can relate.

You know that I grew up in the Santa Cruz Mountains.  Ben Lomond, California, to be specific.  To those who I figure don’t know, or don’t care to know, about Ben Lomond… I just tell them I’m from Santa Cruz.  Not entirely true, but close enough.

Though I never lived in the city of Santa Cruz, I guess I could consider it my “home town”.  From the time I was old enough to ride the bus on my own, Santa Cruz was my play ground.  Once I learned how to drive, it was on.

Walking Pacific Avenue just to see what I could see.

Hitting up the Boardwalk to seek a thrill.

Working at the Boardwalk… and Juice World… and Streetlight Records… to get some scratch.

Going to punk rock shows.

Playing punk rock shows.

Cruising in the 1985 Honda Accord hatchback with my buddies from West Cliff to East Cliff and back.

Bonfires on the beach.

Bar hopping.

Santa Cruz is where I grew up.

Ben Lomond, however, is my home…


Ben Lomond was my home.

In 2002, while I was getting my credential at San Jose State, my folks sold the house in Ben Lomond and moved to Reno, Nevada.  Good for them.  The house is really nice.  Good for me.  When I go to Reno, I don’t have to pay for a hotel room.


In a way…

Bad for me.

Bad for me because now that my parents don’t live in Ben Lomond any more, I don’t have a reason to go back to my home town.

As far as Santa Cruz goes, there are plenty of reasons to go there… I just don’t.  At least… not as often as I should.

It’s funny.

It’s funny that over the last 10 years San Jose has become my new home.

It’s where I went to college.  It’s where I made my career.  It’s where I fell in love.

It’s funny that for the last two years, I’ve lived in Morgan Hill.  It’s where I bought a home.  It’s where I got married.  It’s where I spend all my time.

It’s where I write this blog.

But let’s get back to my roots.

This morning, Kara and I went for a run…

in Santa Cruz.

Here are some pictures that Kara took with her phone (I should get one of those)…

West Cliff

Natural Bridges

It was such a beautiful, relaxing run.

We started at Lighthouse Beach State Park, right next to the Surfer Boy Statue.  The run took us along the West Cliff trail to Natural Bridges and back.

It was beautiful.

I saw the Monterey Bay.

I saw the birds, and mussels, and ice plants.

I saw the people.

The locals.  I was one once.

The tourists.  I am one now.



And I smelled it.  The ocean.  The briny briny sea.

It made me think of scallops.

It made me want some food.


Let’s do this!

After the run, Kara and I drove over to 99 Bottles on Walnut Ave. (between Pacific and Cedar) in downtown SC.

We sat on the patio…

99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall

Here’s what I had…

Big Daddy IPA

The 99 Burger

Pickles, onions, tomato, lettuce, and the secret mustard-mayo sauce.

The beer was great.  Nice and hoppy up front, with a crisp finish.  The perfect beer to go with a burger.

The burger?  Meh… It was all right.  The condiments were really nice, but the actual burger… It wasn’t that great.  The meat was a little over-cooked.  It came off as being really crumbly.  I think whoever formed the burger from the ground beef squished it a little too much.  It’s the type of burger that you need a good beer with… to make you forget it.


Lunch was nice, and I really enjoyed going back to my roots… back to Santa Cruz…


I was itching to leave.

I was ready to go home.


Morgan Hill, California.

Stay Rad,


I took a shot in Reno, ’cause I had time to kill.

July 7, 2011

Over the 4th of July holiday, Kara and I went to visit my folks in the great city of Reno, Nevada.

Kara’s birthday was on the 3rd, so to celebrate, my parents took us out to a great restaurant called the Stone House Cafe.  This Reno hot spot has a beautiful outside dining area and a great staff of servers working there.  Kara and I shared a plate of oysters on the half shell as an appetizer.  For dinner, Kara had “The San Diego” (a seared Ahi Tuna sandwich) and I had the half roasted chicken (Why they didn’t roast it the whole way?  I’ll never know.  Heyoohhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!).  It was all delicious!

The next morning, I woke up early to watch this thing with my dad…

After a big barbecue feast, my dad dropped Kara and me off in downtown Sparks so we could watch the only 4th of July fireworks show in the greater Reno area.

While waiting for the fireworks show, Kara and I popped our heads into a few of the local bars to get some good drinks at a good price.

At The Alley, Kara was able to get a fresh watermelon shot, while I had a tall can of PBR.  At the Victorian Saloon, we reacquainted ourselves with a local named John.  He bought us each a shot of Jagermeister… or maybe we bought him a shot… I’m not sure.


The fireworks were really cool.

We took a cab home.

The next morning, we slept in.

For lunch on the 5th, we hit up Kokopelli’s Sushi inside the Circus Circus for some all-you-can-eat sushi.  Again… Delicious!  We got so stuffed full of amazing sushi that we had to go back to my folks house to take a nap.

After waking up, we decided to go explore the Grand Sierra before having another dinner with the folks.  It’s a gigantic casino in between Reno and Sparks.  Formerly known as the Reno Hilton, the Grand Sierra is home to a really crappy mall.

Why would we go?


In the past, we found a gem of a wine bar called The Reserve.  The wine bar is loaded full of REALLY good wines that are available by the taste, half glass, or full glass using the power of the Enomatic Wine System…

It took us a while to find the wine bar, because Reserve has been moved closer to the Charlie Palmer Steak House.  Once we got to the wine bar, we were stoked to discover that on Tuesdays from 5:30 to 6:30 they have an event called 60 Minute Grape.  For 20 bucks, you get to taste 4 wines poured by the Charlie Palmer sommelier paired with an amuse bouche, plus you get 10 dollars credit on the wine machines.

Kara was all like, “Should we do it?”

And I was all like, “I’ll give it a shot.  I’ve got time to kill.”

While waiting for 5:30 to roll around, we started tasting some of the wines in the machine.

I started with a taste of the Rombauer 09 Carneros Chardonnay.  It had a classic nose of vanilla, oak, and butter.  On the palate, there was a beautiful taste of sweet cream and apple pie.  I gave it a solid 90.

Next, I moved over to the Hedges 08 CMS.  It’s a Washington state blend of chardonnay, marsanne, and sauvignon blanc.  Get it?  C.M.S.!  There was a smell of apple and flint to go along with a tongue tingling acidity and minerality on the palate.  There was a nice hint of pear and lime on this one.  Give it an 87, foo.

After we wet our whistles, the sommelier came out with his first wine for us…

Sin-ley Valleclaro Rose. I can't read the vintage from the picture and I didn't take good notes, so I'll let you guess the year.

The Sin-ley Valleclaro Rose is a Spanish wine made from the prieto picudo grape.  The nose was buttery and smokey.  It had flavors of rich cream and crisp lime.  A very nice rose that I gave an 87.

As we were finishing the rose, we were brought our amuse bouche.  A delicious black bass ceviche for the rose, and caprese salad of fresh mozzarella for the next wine.  Speaking of…

THE Four Graces 2010 Willamette Valley Pinot Gris. I can read this label.

THE Four Graces 2010 Pinot Gris from the Willamette Valley was all about being light and full of minerality.  A perfect pairing for a caprese salad, but at $18 a bottle I wouldn’t buy this 86-pointer.

Next, we tried…

Carrefour Napa Valley Pinot Noir. 2006? What year does that look like to you?

The Carrefour Napa Valley Pinot Noir was okay.  It was nice and light, which I like.  There was a hint of strawberry, but it also had this weird soapy thing going on.  Give it an 85.


Opolo 2005 Grand Rouge. Or is it 2006?

The Opolo Grand Rouge is a Rhone style wine from Paso Robles.  It’s a blend of counoise, grenache, and petite sirah.  It gave a nose of black licorice and chalk (I love chalk!).  On the palate, there was plenty of dark red fruit, but it wasn’t goopy by any means.  It was a solid 88.

After finishing the tasting, we ended up being late for dinner with the folks.

I explained that we were at this awesome wine tasting at this awesome wine bar.

They were unimpressed.

Stay Rad, Reno.  I’ll see you soon,


%d bloggers like this: