Posts Tagged Reno

VeganMoFo: Reno

I’ve been to Reno too many times to link to all my posts about it (here’s a link to a blog search), but on this latest trip I made it a point to try to find even more restaurants which were vegan friendly.

To start out my Saturday morning, I went for a run along the Truckee River.  There is a pathway along the river which happens to run right through downtown Reno, which made for a really nice run.  There were lots of other people out running, biking and walking their dogs.  Breakfast was a Larabar and a banana which I had brought with me.

For lunch, I headed to Fairly Grounded Too, which I had read about on Vegan Coaches page about dining in Reno.  It’s on Virginia Street a few blocks south of the river, and it’s easy to miss – the sign mostly says “coffee” really big.  Going inside, it’s a modern yet cozy coffee shop with plenty of space for you, your coffee and your laptop.

Their sandwiches and salads are premade and none are vegan, but if you ask the nice people behind the counter they will let you know if anything they have that day is vegan.  This rainbow vegetable soup was recommended; I don’t know if the have it every day or if it’s a special, but it was delicious.  The vegetables were chunky and not overcooked, and there were some interesting spices that I couldn’t put my finger on.  It came with a slice of bread, and they actually had Earth Balance for spreading.

I needed a caffeine fix, so I got a soy latte as well.  This was one of the best soy lattes I’ve ever had, slightly bitter but not too strong.

The girl also mentioned that the biscotti was vegan.  I’m not usually a big biscotti fan, but obviously I had to try it.  It was cherry almond flavor, with both almond extract and chunks of whole almond.  The biscotti was chewy and crispy at the same time, and very good.

That afternoon I had a massage (heaven), and we decided to embark upon the Reno Beer Crawl, which occurs the fourth Saturday of every month.  You buy the glass for five bucks, and can get 6 oz pours at eleven bars for one dollar each.  It was really fun, and a great way to explore more of downtown.

After all that beer and walking around, I was in need of some serious fuel.  We walked down to Pie Face Pizza, as I had heard a rumor that they had vegan cheese.

The rumors were wonderfully true.  Even though it’s not listed on their online menu, they do have Daiya.  This is The Resa specialty pizza – sun-dried tomato, roasted garlic, jalapeno, red onion, spinach, pine nuts, Daiya instead of goat cheese.  It was spicy and garlicy and melty and I ate the whole thing and I’m not ashamed.  Pie Face was a hip and happening place, and I would definitely go back.

Sunday morning I went for brunch at Pneumatic Diner.  I had been there once before for lunch, but it was at a weird time of the afternoon and there was nobody else there, so I wanted to go again when they were more busy.  I was hoping they would have some sort of vegan breakfasty item like pancakes, but they did not.  The menu is massive though, almost too big, so everyone will find something they like.

The breakfast burrito immediately caught my eye, but I think that’s what I ordered the first time I went, so I chose The Vegan Bubba, a sandwich with hummus, red onion, shredded carrot, marinated grilled eggplant and zucchini, and greens.  I chose to add the optional “slab”, which is grilled tofu.

Look at all the deliciousness spilling out!  This was actually a really tasty and satisfying sandwich, despite its apparent simplicity.  It kept me full for a long, long time.

On the way back home, we stopped around 4PM for a late lunch and headed toward a Togo’s, which was in a shopping plaza with not much else.  Walking up to the store, something caught my eye.  It was a sign in the window of Flour Garden Bakery that said “vegan black bean chili”!  Needless to say, I went inside to check it out.

Sadly, they had just put the chili away to freeze (even though it was over an hour until they closed), but luckily they had tofu salad sandwiches on display.  The tofu salad was tasty, but the bakery’s sprouted wheat bread was the real standout.  It was soft, hearty, and a little sweet, the perfect sandwich bread.  If you ever happen to be hungry near exit 199C on I-80, pull over and find Flour Garden.  It’s a great feeling to find things marked vegan unexpectedly.

That’s it for this rendition of vegan in Reno.  My only regret is that I didn’t get to Freeman’s Natural Hotdogs.  There’s always next time!

Advertisements

Comments (5)

The Bun Burner

First, I haven’t heard from the first winner of the Appetite For Reduction giveaway, so the new winner is…

Number 27, Squeak!  Squeak, I don’t have an e-mail address for you either, so please contact me at veganhomemade AT gmail DOT com.  I am determined to give this cookbook away!

We visited Reno again in January, and there’s not much to report except that Freeman’s Natural Hotdogs is still awesome.

A brownie – vegan AND gluten free, and a Blue Sky Free Root Beer.  I didn’t notice when I grabbed the soda out of the cooler that it was stevia-sweetened and calorie-free, so I was extra happy when I realized it.  Have to negate that brownie somehow!

Asian Slaw, which comes with housemade miso-sesame dressing.  I was surprised that the raw cabbage was tossed with the dressing just before serving, as normally I would expect the slaw to be marinated.  It worked though, the super-crunchy cabbage was really nice and the dressing was just sweet enough.

And this is the Bun Burner – vegan chorizo, jalapenos, chipotle-lime aioli and salsa, on a poppyseed bun.  This was one spicy hotdog, and I loved every bite!

Comments (9)

VeganMoFo: Impromptu Trips – Disneyland and Reno

Scene:  late July, at a Saturday afternoon Oakland A’s game.

Dave:  “If I paid for everything, would you guys leave right now to go to Disneyland tomorrow?”

Me:  “Uh, hell yes?”

And that is how we found ourselves heading down I-5 on that Saturday night, already exhausted, with dreams of Disney dancing in our heads.  (Note – I know a lot of people don’t like Disney because they’re an evil corporation and all that, but I like Disney and I’m not apologizing for it.  I even worked at Disney World for a little while and managed not to become disenfranchised by seeing Cinderella taking a smoke break and Chip ‘n Dale walking around with their heads off.)

Dave’s sister lives near LA, so we stayed at her place, going to bed after midnight and getting up bright and early at 6AM.  We were only going to be there for one day, so we wanted to maximize our time at the parks.

This accurately reflects how we felt most of the morning.  We were excited to be there, but boy were we dragging!

I had eaten a banana and a Luna bar for breakfast, so after a few hours I had this Mickey pretzel for fuel.  I felt kinda bad about eating his face.

For lunch, we headed to the ESPN Zone in Downtown Disney, which is one of Dave’s favorite places on earth.  I ordered the portobello mushroom sandwiches, which I had confirmed on a previous visit was vegan if you take off the dressing and cheese.  I asked for a side of vinaigrette to add some flavor, and ordered fruit instead of fries, which in retrospect was a bad idea because I really could’ve used more heft to the meal.

Walking around the hotel area looking for a place to stay that night, I ran into Goofy!  Horrible picture of me, but…Goofy!

(True story:  On the way to the ESPN Zone, I was singing along to “Part of Your World” from The Little Mermaid, which was playing over the speakers.  Dave and Matt were laughing at me until we passed a middle-aged gentleman (not an employee or a dad) also singing along loudly, and then they laughed even harder.)

Scariest ride EVER.  When I go on the Tower of Terror I don’t scream because I’m having fun, I scream because I think I actually might die.

I became a little ill that evening, possibly from letting my blood sugar get too low and/or exhaustion, so Dave was kind enough to stand in line and get me this Vegetarian Gumbo from the stand next to the Haunted Mansion.  Truth be told, it wasn’t that great, but it was gentle on my tummy and stabilized me enough to go on a few more rides before passing out.  Sorry about the awful photo…

Verdict:  I still love Disneyland, and I’m glad that they have veggie options in the park.  From what I remember, the veggie burgers that you find around the park are vegan (ask for no butter on the bun), and I’ve heard that some ice cream shops have soy ice cream on request.  One day just isn’t enough to do everything!

Onto our last trip to Reno, which falls into the impromptu category because we had decided to go about two days prior.  As I mentioned in my last Reno post, we’ve gotten into the habit of going to Reno every few months, so this will probably be my last Reno post for a while, as there just aren’t that many vegan options there to show you.  Unless I go to Freeman’s again, which obviously would be very exciting.

We left work a little early on Friday to make the four hour drive.  After checking in, we decided on Brew Brothers for dinner.  I asked our waiter if he knew what brand their veggie burger was, or if it was house-made.  He said he didn’t know, and didn’t offer to try to find out.  Come on, guy.  I was highly irritated by this.  If you are a server and you don’t know the answer to a question regarding ingredients, at least offer to try to find out.  Maybe I’ll be nice and say never mind, but probably I am asking for a reason and would actually like to know.  I try not to be an annoying restaurant customer – I had one question, and if the veggie burger turned out not to be vegan, I had a back up plan.

Which was the veggie pizza with no cheese.  It wasn’t exactly what I wanted, but it was warm and filling and perfectly spicy.

I was feeling a little spunky and indecisive about what I wanted in the beer department, so I ordered the full sampler.  It was $1 for one 4 oz sample, or $7 for all eight 4 oz samples.  That’s 32 ounces of craft beer, people!  And it came in this awesome wheel!  Don’t worry, I didn’t drink it all – I needed help to finish.  Some of their beers are really good, and some are okay but not a stand-out.  Overall, I really like Brew Brothers except for the mean waiter who won’t answer my questions.  (To be fair, we’ve had good service there before, and the waiter wasn’t that mean…but he wasn’t that nice either.)

The next morning the boys went to the buffet, and I slept in and enjoyed this hotel room breakfast.

…and then this happened.  Sports book, football and baseball lines, bloody Mary.  When in Rome…

When I couldn’t stand being inside one minute longer, I stepped onto the street to check out the Great Italian Festival, which just so happened to be going on that weekend.

The concept was pretty neat, actually.  Each booth was for a family or region, and they had big vats of hot pasta sauce.  Most booths had little slices of bread they would scoop some sauce onto for sampling.

Or, you could buy a bowl of spaghetti for them to put the sauce on.  All the sauce samples were free, which I thought was really nice considering how much festival food usually costs.

There was a grape stomping (?) contest, of which I only saw the before and after.  This guy was pitchforking grapes into the buckets in preparation for their stomping.

There were fresh artichokes, but sadly they were all going in that giant pan with sausage.

I did pick up a bellini to try, made with fresh peaches, and it was lovely.  I don’t think I had ever had a bellini before.

There was one vendor that caught my eye, pastamore.  They had a large variety of their vinegars and oils for sampling, and every single one that I tried was outstanding.  They don’t currently sell in any retail shops, but you can find their products on their website.  I bought two of their balsamic vinegars to take home.

Upon coming back inside from the festival, I was in dire need of lunch.  I headed over to the Silver Legacy food court, which has one or two veggie options, and they were closed!  In the middle of the day at 3PM!  What’s the point of a casino food court if they’re closed in the middle of the day on a Saturday???

Luckily, I’ve been to the area enough times now that I know what my other options are, because I was getting hangry.  I headed back outside and across the street to the taqueria.

Okay, so burritos don’t photograph very well, but my god do I love burritos the size of my head!

Dave and I celebrating 10:10 10/10/10.

I also celebrated winning my first sports parlay!  I turned $10 into $90.  Or rather, I recouped the money I had lost playing craps and buying vinegar.

Since I had eaten such a late, large lunch, I wasn’t hungry again till it was basically time to retire.  I went to the food court again, and AGAIN it was closed!  How is a casino food court to make any money if they’re closed at 3PM and midnight on a Saturday?  I don’t get it.

Instead, I went to Cafe Sedona, which I don’t really care for but is open 24 hours, so they win.  The only real option was the veggie burger.  The fries were pretty good and the burger came with sprouts, so it was decent for midnight eats with limited options.

We checked out relatively early the next morning and decided to take the long way home, since neither Matt nor I had ever been to Lake Tahoe.  We weren’t in a hurry, so we stopped for brunch at the Black Bear Diner.  They have a few vegetarian menu items but nothing that’s vegan without being modified, and they are happy to accept special requests.  In spite of my limited options, I really do like the Black Bear Diner.

I wasn’t in the mood for another veggie burger AT ALL since I’d just had one 10 hours prior, but it was the best full-meal option, so I went for it.  I have to say that I was very pleasantly surprised when my plate arrived!  For vegan diner food in a non-vegan diner, it was good stuff.

It was a long drive to Tahoe.  A very long and sometimes scary, mountainous drive.  The first view of the lake was worth it though.

We descended to the city of Lake Tahoe, and drove around about half the lake.  Tahoe is a lovely area with plenty to see and do, and we definitely want to go back and spend some time there on one of our next trips.

Comments (6)

VeganMoFo: Vegan in Reno, Take Three

We’ve gotten in the habit of going to Reno every few months or so, for better or for worse.  (For the record, I do really enjoy going…but my wallet doesn’t always agree!)  We usually hunker down at Silver Legacy and don’t really leave, but during this weekend trip in July I ventured out into Reno to see what I could see.

(My first trip to Reno is documented here, and during our second trip I was on a cleanse.)

For breakfasts, I took a tip from my cleanse in March and brought smoothies, keeping them in the cooler.

The “Great International Chicken Wing Society Cookoff” happened to be going on right outside the hotel while we were there.

While I wasn’t interested in any wings for obvious reasons, I did find this roasted corn, which I sprinkled with Cajun seasoning and lime juice and ate while I walked to my next destination.

Freeman’s Natural Hot Dogs!!!  This cute little restaurant was recommended to me after my first trip to Reno, and I was finally able to make the 15 minute walk to the shop.

I ordered a regular veggie dog with chili and cheese on a sprouted wheat bun, and a Boont Amber Ale.  The hot dog was fantastic, and so worth the extra effort of leaving the casino.  They serve both veggie and regular options, so it’s a great place for mixed company.  Next time I can make it to Freeman’s I want to try one of their specialties, perhaps the Bun Burner?

On a side note, I was impressed with downtown Reno.  The casino area is kind of run down and sad, so this view was welcomed.

A weird/cute fish-shaped bike rack.

And a whitewater park right in the middle of the city!

That night, I may have played my favorite nickel slots game, Kitty Glitter!  I love how the cat on top looks at you with disdain while you play.

Also, we gave each other A’s tattoos while watching the baseball game.  This is Dave’s arm, because nobody needs to see a close-up of my pale, white shoulder!

I started the next morning with another smoothie.

And a soy latte.  Actually, I start every morning in Reno with this soy latte from the coffee shop in the hotel.

And then we decided to go to the brunch buffet before leaving town.  Luckily for me, there were more than just brunch foods available.

Plate 1:  salad, marinated mushrooms, corn salad, broccoli and fruit

Plate 2:  nopales salad, pinto beans and rice, spring rolls, stir fry and tots.  Can’t resist the tots.

Comments (3)

March Cleanse: Days 4 – 7

I got through our weekend in Reno just fine!  I haven’t lost much weight on this cleanse so far, but between our weekend activities and the fact that I haven’t been able to exercise as much as I wanted to, I’m not surprised.  It’s been nice that I haven’t really craved coffee much, and relatively easy to forgo gluten.

Day 4:

water with lemon
breakfast juice:  cucumber, parsley, kale and green apple.  It was very green and very tasty!  I also had cinnamon black tea.

snack smoothie:  banana, kiwi, strawberries, udo’s oil, almond milk, hemp protein and amazing grass.  This is one of my favorite smoothie combinations, ever.
lunch salad:  spinach, mixed greens, arugula, chickpeas, broccoli, Organicville goddess dressing and buckwheat sprouts (added after I took the picture).  I was going to use Annie’s goddess dressing but it isn’t gluten free, so I gave the Organicville a shot.  It’s different from Annie’s but still good.

The salad didn’t really fill me up, so I ate my snack of trail mix right afterwards.  I get more hungry during, ahem, certain times of the month and forgot to bring more food on account of it.  After a few hours I caved in and grabbed an Odwalla chocolate chip peanut butter bar from a little store near my office.  It’s cleanse approved except for the dehydrated cane juice in the chocolate chips, so I didn’t feel too bad.
dinner:  same as day 3, detox tea

Day 5:

water with lemon and chia seeds
breakfast juice:  fennel, kale, carrot, celery and green apple, earl grey tea
snack smoothie:  same as day 4
lunch:  same as day 4
snack:  trail mix
We left for Reno right after work, so I brought along some food and drinks.  For dinner I had a packaged Indian meal of dal, tofu-spinach curry and rice that I had bought from Whole Foods.  It was fine, but it was cold and didn’t really satisfy me, so I caved in and got some french fries from In N’ Out Burger, where the boys were getting food.  I had a few beers after we arrived and was getting hungry again and craving something crunchy like crackers or chips.  I exercised self control though, and snacked on cucumber sticks and this Amazing Grass bar.

It was pretty good…tasted like berries.  I’m not a huge “bar” fan, especially when everythings been pulverized into one texture, but it did the trick for taking the edge off my hunger.

Day 6:

breakfast juice:  Odwalla Superfood, which was mostly fruit juice.  I also had green tea.

snack smoothie:  Amazake Hazelnut shake, naturally sweetened and very filling!

I couldn’t find a decent salad in our hotel (Silver Legacy), so for lunch I ordered tofu and vegetables with rice from the “food court”.  The veggies were nicely cooked, but there were all of three pieces of tofu.

I was full for a long time, so I didn’t eat again until dinner.  We were tossing around the idea of going to the buffet, but some of us didn’t want to pay that much so we scoped out a taqueria across the street, Los Gallos Taqueria.  The girl at the counter knew right away that their refried beans weren’t vegetarian but their whole beans were, so I got a taco (corn tortillas, beans, lettuce, guac and tomato), rice and more beans.  We also had chips with pico de gallo and spicy avocado sauce.  It was extremely tasty and filling, but I noticed after sitting down that they had a big picture of a cock fight on the wall, which made me sad.

I stayed hydrated throughout the day with this kombucha – raspberry, ginger and lemon flavored.

Day 7:

breakfast juice:  all manner of veggies.  This blend actually had some beet juice in it, which made me wary, but I drank it with no problems.  So, I think my beet juice issue last week was maybe because it was so MUCH beet juice in one glass.

The boys wanted to get breakfast before we left for home, and I was getting hungry so I ordered some oatmeal with sliced banana, and drank some pekoe tea.  That only held me for a few hours before I wanted solid food again, and the best I could find on the road was a burrito bowl from Chipotle with rice, beans, salsa, guacamole and hot sauce.  I enjoyed an Odwalla Red Rhapsody smoothie during the rest of the car ride, and also munched on a Jocolat mint chocolate bar.

dinner:  After arriving home I wasn’t very hungry, but I knew I needed to eat some form of dinner so I had some carrot stucks, hummus and a pickle.

Then suddenly, just before bed I became ravenous and the best thing I could find in the pantry was some oil-free popcorn, so that was my snack along with detox tea.

And today, I’m back to my raw veggie and sprout eating ways!  I didn’t look too hard for vegan options in Reno since I brought some of my own food, but I did notice a veggie burger on three separate menus, so maybe Reno is coming along a little in the veggie-food department.

Comments (3)

Vegan in Reno

Ever since bf & I moved out here we’ve been talking about jaunting off to Reno for a weekend.  Reno was described to me as an older, mini-sized Vegas.  The drive from here to Reno is about five hours shorter than to Vegas.  And everything is cheaper than Vegas too.

As any good travelling vegan does, I searched for “Reno Vegan” before we went, looking for any sign of food that I would be able to eat.  Things didn’t look so good, and the verdict is that Reno is MUCH less vegan-friendly than Vegas.  It’s to be expected though.  I did find stuff to eat and come back alive, albeit a little bit poorer.

We left at 8AM on Saturday and got to Reno just before noon.  Our hotel check-in wasn’t until 3, so we started off with some video poker and walked around a bit.  We got a pretty good deal at Silver Legacy hotel, which is a good location because it’s connected to both Eldorado and Circus Circus.  No need to go outside, which was nice because it was really cold.  When we started to get hungry we headed to The Brew Brothers in Eldorado.  I figured I could at least get the old standby of fries and a salad, as well as a beer.

We started with beers – I the Wild Card Wheat and bf the Pale Ale.

The beers were tasty, very fresh and high quality.

There was the ubiquitous veggie pizza on the menu, so I asked about the crust and found out that it’s vegan.  Cheeseless pizza for me.

It was a good pizza.  Nothing super outstanding, but it filled me up for quite a while.

We spent the afternoon napping, watching sports, walking around and…playing more video poker.  We wanted to play black jack, but we couldn’t find a table with a low minimum and decent payout.

For dinner we headed to the buffet at Eldorado.  You can’t go to a casino without eating at the buffet.  At least that’s my rule.  There wasn’t nearly as much for me to choose from as the times we buffeted in Vegas.  (Yes, I just used buffet as a verb.)  But I found some good enough food.

First plate:  salad with spinach, lettuce, mushrooms, chickpeas and vinaigrette, pasta salad, quinoa tabouleh and a roll.  The salad bar itself was pretty pathetic – I was hoping for at least broccoli or carrots or something.  I was impressed with the quinoa tabouleh though.  It wasn’t the best tabouleh or quinoa I’ve ever had, but the fact that they had quinoa at all was great.

Second plate:  green beans and carrots, steamed white rice, squash, beets, and a cold antipasti mixture that I did NOT eat because what I thought was red onion or something turned out to be meat.  I hated to waste it, but I was also upset with the fact that the buffet seemed to put meat in EVERYTHING!

(There was a third plate with a bit more pasta salad and chickpeas.  Gotta get my money’s worth!)

Dessert:  fruit.  There was a case of ice cream, some of which may have been sorbet, but there was a line and I didn’t feel like asking.

We went to bed relatively early (we’re getting old) and checked out early the next day to go see The Peppermill and Atlantis, which are not within walking distance from downtown.  I was hungry, and after looking at multiple menus for anything I could eat other than an eight dollar fruit cup, I ate the granola bar and banana I had brought just incase.  I didn’t want to eat them – I wanted to eat out, cause that’s a fun part of vacation for me.  But I was getting cranky and needed food in my belly.

On the way out of town we passed by The Black Bear Diner and decided to stop so that bf could get a good breakfast.  I figured I could at least get coffee and OJ.  After perusing the menu and noting that they welcome special requests, I decided to try and order.  The waitress confirmed that their country potatoes could be made with just oil (no butter), so I ordered potatoes and a fruit cup.

The potatoes were good, made with fresh peppers and onions, and while the fruit wasn’t perfectly ripe, it was definitely good enough.  I left full and much more satisfied than before.  I thought The Black Bear Diner was really cute, the kind of place you’d find in Tennessee, which made me all nostalgic.  There was even a person going around the restaurant in a full on black bear outfit, sneaking up on people and being nice to kids.  Should’ve taken a picture.

So, if you’re looking for glitz and food options, go to Vegas.  If you’re looking for a quick, cheaper getaway, go to Reno.  Although, I will say that the drive back home took about three hours longer than the drive there.  It snowed the night we stayed, and the only road back was covered in snow and ice.  We were forced to buy chains for my tires, which is something I had never dealt with before.  People went nuts.  People seriously don’t know how to deal with snow and having to put on chains.  Not that I did either, but I like to believe that I act sane under stress.

I wanted to take pictures of the snow covered mountains, which were actually beautiful, but I felt it more important to let bf concentrate on driving.  Here’s one I snagged when we stopped for a bathroom break.

The good news is that we’re planning another trip to Vegas.  I will have Ronald’s Donuts again.  Oh yes, I will.

Comments (16)