Traffic Jam Food Truck

Traffic Jam Food TruckToday was absolutely beautiful out! After a fairly harsh winter, 48 degrees and some sunshine felt like a godsend. To get out of the office, or in my case the classroom, and head on down to the Traffic Jam Food Truck for a piled high sandwich sounded perfect! As I rolled up to the Victorian House on Stewart St. in downtown Reno, I couldn’t help but crack a smile. The owners, Phil and Sally Moore, both welcomed me with a warm smile, and an eagerness to get a sandwich started.

Traffic Jam MenuTheir menu is very special. It consists of a great assortment of sandwiches, each with a finishing Jam to take the flavor to another level. Each sandwich is named after a local street in the Reno/Sparks area, and comes with a bag of chips, or a side of Mill St. Macaroni and Cheese for an extra buck. They’re served with a parmesan crust on fresh sourdough, and are always accompanied by a grateful smile from Sally, Phil, or James—of which makes the whole experience worthwhile.

After popping the top to my side of Macaroni and Cheese, I couldn’t help but be relaxed by the aroma of bacon. As I bit down through the crunch of the parmesan, and into the piled high turkey, I was reminded of my childhood. My dad would always melt the cheese, and pack on the meat, forever telling me I needed to “bulk up.” Traffic Jam TurkeyThis brought me right back to those days, but trumped them all by adding that delicious Jam. My choice, the McCarran Loop Turkey Sandwich, came with a Cranberry Jam that you could drink by itself if you wanted to! My next victim will be the Moana Lane Club Sandwich, with turkey, ham, bacon, provolone, lettuce, and tomato, with a healthy spread of Avocado Jam.

Traffic Jam ClubTraffic Jam has really impressed me, and it is all within a price point that can be repeated on more than one occasion. Find them on the first Wednesday of every month at the Victorian House, or every Tuesday and Thursday at Bibo Coffee Co. on the South end of UNR’s campus. They constantly update their website with monthly specials, and their latest schedule of future locations, so make it a point to stop by and enjoy one of their quality sandwiches!

 

Magpie Coffee Roasters

Magpie Front SignNot just a roasting house, but a simple, crafty take, on your average cup of joe. I am not a coffee buff, but I hate going to Starbucks knowing that I am overlooking some great coffee houses right here in Reno! Magpie Coffee made their way into my world through a friend that posted a picture of their coffee stand within the Nevada Discovery Museum on Center Street. She raved about their coffee, and I fell in love with the look, the name, and now I am in love with their coffee!

Magpie MenuIn the back of my mind, I thought it would be a stretch to ask for a black and white mocha; due to their quality of coffee, and not their options for masking the flavor—but I couldn’t resist. They told me “no”, and advised that they don’t carry white chocolate. I opted for a Mocha instead and I’m really glad I did! I processed my order through their iPad, and watched as the owner carefully made my mocha with his seasoned touch. From the perfect temperature and sweetness, to the elegant “foam art” on the top, everything about this mocha was perfection!Magpie Mocha

Ideally, my daily cup of joe is a nice dark brew, with 3 tablespoons of Sugar in the Raw, and enough Almond Joy coffee creamer to make it a nice “coffee ice cream” color. I know, I know, it’s a little disgusting to the normal coffee drinker, but it tastes great, and gives the best of both worlds—a sugar rush, and a caffeine kick! However, after my experience at Magpie, they might have turned me on to the actual flavor of coffee.

Their roast didn’t lack flavor in the slightest! It had the perfect amount of flavor, but wasn’t overwhelmingly intense. It was aromatic, had body, and yet finished nicely without leaving that dryness on your tongue. Magpie’s roast, design, and staff relinquish a great sense of comfort; just not their atmosphere. Don’t walk into the children’s museum expecting to read the Wall Street Journal, but definitely keep them in mind when craving a quality cup of coffee!Magpie Sign

They are located on 491 S. Center St (just walk in the Museum and look right), and are open from 8am-2pm Tuesday-Friday, and 9am-3pm on Saturdays. Follow them on Twitter @magpieroasters, like them on Facebook, or visit their website www.magpieroasters.com. Enjoy the quality coffee, and tell them I sent you!

Doc Holliday’s Saloon

Doc Holliday's Saloon BuildingThere are several bars in Reno that I am terrified of walking into. Places like Davidson’s Distillery, Bar USA, and Doc Holliday’s Saloon to name a few. However, with my older brothers on each side of me, I felt comfortable to walk in and grab a beer before meeting up with everyone at Freight House. It was my birthday last Thursday, and it turned out to be one of the best nights I have ever experienced in Reno. But, seeing as how all of my friends think 10:00 really means 10:30, I figured the three of us would have plenty of time to grab a beer at Doc Holliday’s before walking over.

Doc Holliday's Saloon Front ViewIt’s not that I have heard horrible stabbing/shooting stories at any of these places; it’s just that I’ve never met a single person that has said to go try out any of these places—I guess my crowd doesn’t find them appealing. Regardless, I have a deep passion as a part of this blog to demystify all of the bars in Reno, so that I can one day officially say that I have Conquered Reno. So as a part of said mission, I felt confident to walk in and check this one off my list.

From the outside, it looks extremely…mysterious? Their dark tinted windows, older building, and outdated signs make it seem rugged. I had always thought that rough lookin’ cowboys drank cheap beer and judged whoever walked through the doors. It doesn’t look welcoming in the slightest.

Upon opening the doors I found a well lit bar, pool table, and a very friendly female bartender that greeted us as soon as we took a seat. It wasn’t packed, but had a quaint amount of people huddled around the other end of the bar (no they weren’t cowboys), and a few others playing pool. They had six beers on tap, and an extensive array of spirits that lined their disproportionately huge bar. After one round we decided it was time to meet the troops and close out.Doc Holliday's Saloon Back View

I will definitely be back to Doc Holliday’s. There is something satisfying about taking your friends to a bar they have never been to. It’s empowering to feel more comfortable than they do, and to see them sticking a little closer than normal, with a “deer in the headlights” look in their eyes. I can find it as a refuge during the crawls, and a good change-up for a night out on the town. Check them out one day at 120 E Second St. near Pho 777 and across the South side of Harrah’s.

Downtown Reno

Downtown Blog Cover photoThere is no other place like Downtown Reno; at times I find it hard to describe, but for the most part it can be summed up in two words; drinking and gambling. From an outsider perspective one might assume that it’s like Vegas, but not as cool. I do agree with them, Vegas is awesome, but Reno for locals is something more than just tourism. It’s about people watching, giving bums fries from the little Nugget, and joining the drunken festivities that flood the downtown area throughout the year. From Street Vibrations and Hot August Nights, to The Blues Brews and BBQ Festival and The Italian Festival, downtown Reno is never starving for a good time. Events like these make the blood pump in the heart of downtown.

Downtown Blog Reno ArchCulture wise, it’s a little hard to classify what goes on around our Reno Arch. The best reason for its complicated culture is right in our slogan: The Biggest Little City in the World. Driving in, it looks very metropolitan with the Silver Legacy as our triumphant center piece, with smaller casinos and buildings descending to the outskirts. But honestly, there aren’t that many people that live downtown. There are condo and apartment buildings like The Palladio, Arlington Towers, The Belvedere, Sierra Towers and The Montage to name a few. But the sustainability of downtown life without a supermarket and other essentials make for an odd living circumstance.

Nonetheless, it is the entertainment capital for locals like myself, and has never leftDowntown Reno Blog River Picture me disappointed. It holds so much potential to be one of the greatest places to live, but is in dire need of some sustainability for the quality of life desired from the high prices. With The Montage leasing their bottom floor to a supermarket in the future, and more of the consistent movement towards a revamped culture we are all striving for, the Downtown Reno area will continue to make progress as one of the greatest places to visit, live, and enjoy.

The Brewer’s Cabinet

2012-11-27 13.57.15I have had only GREAT experiences at the Brewer’s Cabinet. It looks a little out of its element in a commercial building, but they have truly made it their own with all of the refurbished barn wood, and burnt pine harvested within our region. It’s rustic and sports-bar-ish, but it does have a pretty big patio for outdoor seating in the summer months, which gives it more of that restaurant feel. They have an awesome happy hour from both 4-6pm, and from 9-11pm, for half-off all draughts and $2 off all snacks. On a regular basis they are changing up their spread of craft beers, and coming up with some lively combinations that have always left me a bit surprised.ONhYU-AR7ZSr6jSsBQoTjENejuRf1WjgiAFQxSVEEsQ

For the interview, I talked with owner Chris Kahl and had him give me a tour of their nano-brewery upstairs. From the outside looking in, I had no idea where the heck they brewed all of their beer, but upstairs they have a three barrel system shelling out up to 500 kegs a year. With this small of a brewery, it gives the brewers a chance to let the creativity flourish, and create some unruly combinations. The latest one I tried was a black cavern saison, brewed with cocoa, green apples and chili peppers. It was very dark, but was extremely easy to drink with its lighter body, and crisp finish—delicious. I can’t wait for them to unveil their latest vanilla bourbon porter—should be out soon!

Pluot Wit Left, Saison Right

Pluot Wit Left, Saison Right

Outside of their own craft beer, they serve up an awesome variety of beer from around the nation; names like Lagunitas, Dogfish Head, and Goose Island. They also have a widespread list of almost 30 bottled beers, from framboises and ciders, to stouts and porters. It’s a little more expensive, but the option is always available to have one of their house brews for five or six dollars.

I can’t speak for the entire menu, but the B.C. Burger was probably the best burger that I have ever had in my entire life! I ordered it with their pale ale bbq sauce, and it absolutely blew my mind. My best friend got the same thing, and both of us just looked at each other with our mouths open, numb from the onslaught of flavor that was kicking our ass. It was heavenly. They stacked a perfectly cooked burger with melted chive infused cheddar cheese on garlic mayo, lettuce, and tomato, to top it all off with a massive house-battered onion ring, all between two pretzel buns. 48-4l-lrOn0sTomqmtkjh-YGyT70SqsQlG3v4KY6PGwI decided to dump their pale ale bbq sauce all over it (which does not normally come with it, but is highly recommended), and smashed it all together in an effort to fit every aspect in the initial bite. The pretzel bun gave it a slightly roasted flavor, but what made the burger was the perfectly executed medium rare, the massive onion ring, and the excess of bbq sauce. Every bite was nothing short of incredible. I demolished it, and was satisfied that it held together through the entire process, unlike some burgers where the lettuce and tomato slips out towards the end. We walked in starving, and left stuffed to the brim. I would go back a hundred times for their burger, and it might be a while before I try anything else.

ni3Iy5HRnZ1WeGln0zRj8uM8vCf2ldgHExOSL_Hb-QkOverall, I felt comfortable with their seasoned wait staff, and loved my conversation with Chris. He’s a great guy that has transferred his love for beer and local support into what is now the Brewer’s Cabinet. You can find them located on the northwest corner of Arlington and California avenue, and online at thebrewerscabinet.com. Follow them on Instagram @bcck7 to be tempted with their latest brews, and mouthwatering food.

Freeman’s Natural Hot Dogs

I have ridden by this place over 100 times, and never had the opportunity to go try them out. But today, I finally had the time, and the craving for a quick lunch, to lock up the bike and head on in. They surprised me with how extensive their menu was! I felt like one of those customers staring at the menu for minutes, that seemed like hours; especially when the lady was just staring at me. They had a TON of vegan and gluten free options! It was really encouraging to see! Because we all have those pain in the ass friends with stomach/belief issues that restrict the amount of restaurants we can try together. We’ve all been there, but it was nice to know that Freeman’s caters to our loving friends, without taking away the bacon, double beef, and delicious chili that carnivores like myself love.

After weighing a few vegan/vegetarian options, I slapped myself back into consciousness and went with something more satisfying. The Dirty South: A Jumbo Beef Dog with Bacon, BBQ Sauce, Gorgonzola, and Caramelized Onions. Who am I kidding? What sounds better than that?!

It was absolutely delicious! I got it on the Onion Poppy seed Bun, and started devouring it. Hot dogs aren’t one of those complex, elegant dishes; so I felt better about myself when I ate it in a minute flat (not really, I’m no Kobayashi). But regardless, it was the best hot dog I have ever had. It was a little more expensive than the typical Costco dog, with a price point between $3.50 and $6.50. But the taste, quality, and local feel of the restaurant made it worth every penny. From the menu I could tell that most of their dressings, chutneys, and aiolis were made in house; and their lettuce, sausages, and vegan and turkey dogs were either all natural or organic.

Their decorations were odd, but being a hot dog stand, it was fitting. They had rickety old patio chairs for seating, and wobbly retro tables (that were all very clean by the way) available to eat on. Although it wasn’t very classy, I could still dig it. There are places like this in every city, it doesn’t matter what you have to eat on, as long as they serve delicious food. This was just the case for Freeman’s Natural Hot Dogs. They have won me over on their variety of dogs, and I will definitely be back for their value-drive, deliciously satisfying, organically sourced hot dogs. 

The Freight House District

I can’t tell you how many memories I made last summer at The Freight House. From the shuffle board in Duffy’s, to corn hole out by the Center Bar, it has been packed full of a great group of friends and multiple outlets for entertainment. Freight House during season is a one-stop-shop for anyone looking to soak up Reno in the shortest amount of time. There are four different bars within 10-20 feet of each other: Duffy’s Ale House, Center Bar, Bugsy’s Sports Bar and Grill, and The 250 Lounge.

I don’t always go to Freight House, but when I do, I bring a ton of good friends and usually celebrate something. There is always plenty of room, plenty of seating, and plenty of attention from the bartenders. Which, the last one has been increasingly important to me, and it is never in short supply at any of their outlets. They have a little something for everyone.

The 250 Lounge

The 250 Lounge is more of a nightclub scene, with an industrial look, DJs spinning some great mixes, and a bar stocked with all the necessities. Duffy’s is an awesome bar, and more my scene. They have over 48 beers on tap, plenty of seating, and a menufor great sandwiches, burgers and bar essentials like wings and onion rings.

Duffy’s Ale House

Bugsy’s is probably the best seat in the whole arena when watching the game. I take that back, their general manager Barry Rockburn gave me a tour of their box seats and that, is the best seat in the stadium. But, the high-top tables that look over the entire field are a close second.They’re placed right in front of a massive wall of windows, and can provide the protection from the cold in early season, and that intense heat in July. They serve a few beers on tap, and a wide range of menu items perfectly suited for your game day cravings. With your general admission ticket, you are welcome to take any seat overlooking the stadium, with a full view of all the action. It’s nice to be able to ignore those cheesy between inning games like “kids run the bases”, and catch up on a major league game on the TV behind you. In my opinion, it’s the perfect balance between being in the action, and being able to escape to some sports bar comfort.

Freight House during the season has one of the greatest live music venues of anywhere in Reno. Sure, they don’t have Carrie Underwood playing every Friday night, but the outdoor stage floods the bars with great music, and always makes for an opportunity to dance in front of the stage. If “bumping and grinding” is more your style, walk a couple feet to the 250 Lounge, and feel right at home.

But whether you’re having a chill conversation over a beer in Duffy’s, swing dancing with your lady, or gettin’ it on in 250, there is a place for you to feel comfortable, and have one of the greatest nights in the Reno summer air we all live for.

The Freight House District is a gathering place; a celebration of great beer, baseball, and entertainment. It satisfies that itch we all get during the summer for fireworks, warm nights, and a box of cracker jacks during the game. Basically, what I’m trying to say is that Freight House is ‘Merica at its finest, and I wouldn’t change a single thing about it. Make Freight House a top priority during the summer, and even a refuge from the INSANE crowds during the Santa Crawl. Arrive ready for a good time, and leave knowing you had one of the best nights in Reno you will ever experience. 

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