On the Road Again…Reno

This time we headed up to Reno for Labor Day weekend.  I have a lot of family in Reno.  My dad and his girlfriend Sue, brother & sister-in-law, Marc and Angela, two sisters, Mary and April, their significant others Brian and Laura, 4 nephews, Shaye, Zach, Will and Jesse and my niece, Maddi all live there.  So when I come up I have a lot of visiting to do!  The main reason for this visit was to celebrate my dad’s 74th birthday.

We had a nice bbq at Marc and Angela’s home (which is where we shacked up).   Everyone came over and we had a great time.  There was delicious bbq’d chicken, green salad, bean and brown rice salad, and watermelon slices.  I made an appetizer of caramelized bacon since it was “international bacon day”.  Let’s just say that it was so good, 1 slice was left out of 2 pounds.  I also made a fruit punch for the kids and Zach’s pregnant fiancé, Rosie.  The punch consisted of 2 quarts of pomegranate juice, 1 large can of frozen limeade with 3 cans of water, 1 small can of frozen orange juice with 3 cans of water, 1 orange sliced and 1 lime sliced plus ice to cool it down.  On the side I served sparkling wine and sparkling water for people to put into the punch, as they desired.  Mary made carrot cake cupcakes with a cream cheese-vanilla-lemon frosting.  Go check out her new cupcake business, Mix Cupcake Co, if you are in the Reno area.  We brought and opened a bottle of Clarey Ranch ’06 Syrah, Dutton Goldfield ’07 Syrah and a Terre Rouge ’06 Syrah blend.  A fun time was had by all.  After everyone left Marc, Angela, Larry and I watched the Cal vs. Maryland season opening game.  It was fun to get into the football spirit, but Cal blew them away 52-13.

The next morning we went to the Nugget Rib Cookoff festival in Sparks, NV.  There were 8 of us.  This was great fun, especially if you like ribs and bbq sauce.  There were tons of booths each from a different state or city within a state.  For example there were ribs from Phoenix, Texas, Chicago, Australia, and New Jersey.  We found the New Jersey one to be our favorite ribs. The ribs were tender but not fatty and they were barbequed to perfection.  We drank beer and margaritas while we ate and walked through the different craft booths.  If you don’t like ribs they also had pulled pork sandwiches, corn on the cob and other bbq’d items, not to mention funnel cakes, ice cream and other sweets.  The weather was perfect, in the mid 80’s with a light breeze.

In the afternoon we rested and got caught up with work for a while.  We made a nice salad with leftover bbq chicken for dinner.  We then headed out to the movies to see Julie and Julia and met up with Mary and Brian.  We all loved the movie.  Being a foodie myself, and having done my internship after culinary school in Paris I had a lot of interest in that part of the movie.  After the movie we went out to a restaurant called The Chocolate Bar.  We had dessert and coffee.  We tried their chocolate fondue for two but we added a shot of dark chocolate and ordered strawberries, bananas and cheesecake for dipping.  The table also ordered mud pie and apple and blueberry crisp ala’ mode.  Everything was delicious, the atmosphere and service very good.  I would go back there in a heartbeat.

Sunday morning we had a delicious breakfast of egg scramble with vegetables and cheese made by Angela.  Afterwards we packed up and got on the road as we were invited to two bbq’s back in the Bay Area.  We left Reno just a little after 10:00.  As we were driving into Reno on Saturday we were in a lot of traffic due to construction near Truckee and we noticed that there was a lot of traffic going the other way back home, for the same reason.  So, to avoid that we went around to hwy 50, through Lake Tahoe thinking that it would save us an hour or so.  Well, since we got such a late start and this was Labor Day, everyone and their mother were also heading home this way!  What should have taken us 4 hours at the most, took 7 hours!  We had to cancel going to the earlier bbq and got to the second one 2 hours late.  Oh well, at least we got there, ate some more bbq chicken and ribs with our good friends and drank a mean, but good, margarita which seemed to go down a bit too fast.

So this is the end to my Reno/Labor Day story.  We had a good time, saw much of the family and then topped it off with friends and home sweet home.

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