Let There Be Chickens and Bees 

Limited Urban Agriculture Approved in Sparks

Written by Erin Meyering

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Lovers of backyard chickens and beehives (and honey) received good news in mid-October when Sparks City Council members voted to allow them in certain neighborhoods of the city for the first time in more than 10 years. The ordinance and its approval were four years in the making.

Concerned citizens who attended the public meeting expressed support for urban agriculture in Sparks, especially chickens. Several attendees were chicken owners and described how important they have been to their own well-being, and their children’s knowledge of where their food comes from.

Read more: Let There Be Chickens and Bees

Know Your Farmer, Dine Well

Reno Provisions’ Farmer-Rancher Nights series makes eating local easy

Written by Erin Meyering

Going local and eating well has never been easier.

Reno Provisions managers have teamed up with several local farmers, ranchers, and producers for the Farmer-Rancher Nights series. Each week during the harvest season, Reno Provisions features a different farmer or rancher. For just $35, two people can enjoy a meal made from the farmer or rancher’s food and an entire bottle of red or white wine. On Fridays during the series, attendees can actually meet and connect with the farmer or rancher providing the food for the meal.

Read more: Know Your Farmer, Dine Well

Seasonal Cooking Methods Round 2

Revisiting edible Reno-Tahoe’s Favorite Techniques for Fall

Written by Erin Meyering

Last week, we briefed you on some of our favorite techniques for fall cooking. Turns out, there were just too many to fit in one blog post. Here’s another recap of some great ways to celebrate the season through food. Find details and tips on each technique by following the article links.

Read more: Seasonal Cooking Methods Round Two

Seasonal Cooking Methods

Revisiting edible Reno-Tahoe’s Favorite Techniques for Fall

Written by Erin Meyering

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It is said that everything changes with the passing of the season, food included.

Autumn brings the desire for comfort food. You’re not alone. We, too, get intense cravings for warm, savory food, pumpkin treats, and thoughtful, wholesome dishes. We know that taking on a new cooking technique can often be overwhelming and undesirable, no matter how prevalent the craving. So we’ve simplified some of our favorite techniques and included several killer recipes so you can attack those cravings with gusto and create something comforting and delicious.

Read more: Seasonal Cooking Methods

Wander towards wellness

Written by Erin Meyering

The Wanderlust Festival in Squaw Valley has it all — If you're looking to submerse yourself in a weekend full of backbends and purposeful meditation, if you're a foodie looking to munch on healthy food and drink, and if you like an entertaining music lineup and just want to dance the night away.

This was my second year at Wanderlust Squaw Valley. The festival ran from July 16 – 19. It takes place in the midst of a beautiful landscape, where the view of the Sierra Nevada is enhanced by a crush of people sitting in lotus position and wishing you well.

Read more: Wanderlust

Local Breweries Surprise Craft Beer Lovers at Strange Brew Festival

Written by Farah Vitale
Photos by Farah Vitale

Walking down the street to The Brewer's Cabinet, I was immediately surprised that after walking a few feet,  I was already in line to get in. Ahead of me, there were easily more than 30 people in line already. The guy in front of me was getting a little antsy and told me how great the festival was last year and wished he would have gotten in line earlier. I nodded but since I had never been, I honestly had no idea what to expect. Well except for a lot of craft beer, which already sounded pretty good to me.

Read more: Strange Brew 2015

Bold Flavors Featured at South-of-the-Border - Special Dinner at The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe

Written by Erin Meyering



Chef Dean Fearing prepared his famous south-of-the-border cuisine in a special five-course meal at The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe on Thursday, Jan. 15.

Chef Fearing, who works at Fearing's Restaurant in The Ritz-Carlton, Dallas, greeted the group with big, eager eyes and a wide, Texas smile in his chef whites and cowboy boots.

Fearing, an James Beard-award-winning chef, showcased his skill in creating delicious southwestern cuisine in this one-night-only prix fixe event. The menu included an incredible tortilla soup, barbecued shrimp tacos, chicken-fried Lockhart quail, and a maple-black-peppercorn-soaked buffalo tenderloin. A warm apple buckle with blackberry jam and bourbon vanilla ice cream completed the meal.

Read more: Dinner at the Ritz

A Little Sauce Goes a Long Way

By: Farah Vitale

On my way to Whole Foods, I had pictured the creators of Italian Hearts to be a traditional Italian couple and as it turned out, I was spot on. Val and Sal experienced a struggle after losing both their jobs during the recession and they coped by cooking and feeding their friends. Soon they found a way to turn their favorite hobby into a career they love, by selling their special sauces. They've been in business for 2 years, sell their products in 30 stores and just won a Northern Nevada Development Authority Pioneer Award as a Nevada based growing business.


Sal's family is from Acerra, in Southern Italy near Napoli, and Val's family is from Rome. As a proud Sicilian myself, I was eager to try their sauces and give my two sense. They had three sauces cooking in front of me.

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The Bella Amore Sauce is flavored with Val's Spicy meatballs made from organic grass fed beef and fresh ground Italian Sausage. It's slow cooked in small batches and seasoned with organic spices. 

The Three Meat Sauce is flavored with sweet Italian pork sausage, pork ribs and premium chuck roast. It's seasoned with organic spices and a dash of red wine.

The Val's Vegetarian Sauce is made with organic portabella mushrooms, carrots, garlic, red bell peppers and a dash of fine red wine.

I was surprised at how unique each sauce tasted. All were delicious and I was especially impressed with Val's Vegetarian. Since I'm always on the hunt for unique meals to make, I immediately asked them to share any specific recipes I could cook with the sauces. They happily let me in on a few recipes that have been passed down in their families.

A recipe Sal's grandfather would make was a soup with Val's Vegetrian Sauce.

First take 3 bunches of kale, take the big vein out, chop it into big pieces and set aside.

In a tall pot, crush 2 cloves of garlic and add a little bit of virgin olive oil to the bottom. Bring it up to temperature and if you want it hotter, you can add a little chili flake to it.

Then drop the pile of kale into the pot and put a lid on it. As it starts to wilt down, add your favorite jar of Val's Vegetarian Sauce, 2 cans of cannnellini beans with the juice, a little crack of pepper,and extra salt to taste. Wait until the kale gets tender and then grab some bread to go with your soup!


Val told me about how easy it is to make her favorite Crock-pot Chili with her Vegetarian Sauce.

Take one jar of Val's Vegetarian Sauce, 3 cans of your favorite beans, add stew or hamburger meat to it and let it cook. When it's done, serve with a dollop of sour cream or yogurt. Then dice some red onions, add some siracha and it's ready to go.

Val also shared their favorite pizza recipe that they made for dinner later that night. 

First, spread out the pizza dough on a cookie sheet and add any one of the three sauces onto the dough. Then layer on fresh mozzerella cheese and fresh basil leaves on top.

Slice up fresh red onions, mushrooms and small pieces of smoked bacon(without nitrates) and layer it on top to build the pizza. Add more mozzerella, put it in the oven and é fatto!

I ended my visit purchasing all three sauces and a lot of great ideas. Not only am I trying all three of these meals, I'm planning on making up my own recipes along the way.

Thanksgiving Food and Your Health: Have the Best
                            of Both Worlds

By: Farah Vitale Let's be honest, I enjoy splurging during the holidays as much as everyone else. So every Thanksgiving, I let myself splurge on all my favorite dishes and I remind myself it was just this one occasion. Then guess what happens next? Decemeber comes along and suddenly there's a huge Christmas dinner I talk myself into indulging in. Not to mention all the food I'm eating at Holiday parties too (I try not to think about that). Well this year, I'm breaking the cycle and taking a much more critical look at the food I'm making for the holidays. This year, I've decided to give myself some healthy eating guidelines and not only to avoid the guilt, but to actually feel good about the food I'm eating. So here are a couple of tips and recipes I'm following to make my favorite holiday dishes a little healthier and just as delicious: 1) Instead of using canned cream of mushroom soup in your green bean casserole, make your own creamy sauce using low-fat milk.
2) Opt for a gluten-free bread when making your stuffing, so that it only has a fraction of the fat.
3) Instead of traditional mashed potatoes, try making this garlic mashed potato recipe that contains Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Potassium, fiber, and has fewer calories and fat.

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Written by Jessica Santina

Photos by Dave Santina

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It's been a really long time since I went to a restaurant and licked my plate clean. And I don't recall ever having cleaned my partner's plate, too.

I did both last night at Sugar Bowl Resort during a Lake Mary Cabin Dinner, one in a 13-dinner series offered from July through September.

I'd never been to Sugar Bowl before (I'm ashamed to admit it, but no, I've never skied), and had no idea the Lake Mary Cabin even existed until a few weeks ago when I heard about this dinner series. The place is enchanting...and trust me, I don't usually just throw that word around. It had rained all day (and stopped just minutes before we arrived—how's that for perfect timing?) and that clean scent of fresh pine hung heavy in the air. The rustic cabin's best feature is the large, glass-fenced deck overlooking Lake Mary and the four rocky peaks comprising Sugar Bowl. But the large fire pit area and the winding trail leading down to the boat dock ain't so bad either. It's all tucked away carefully, sitting off a gravel trail near the main resort entrance; we nearly drove right past it.

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Once privately owned by an East Coast family, the cabin was purchased about 10 years ago by Sugar Bowl, and is used primarily as a wedding and special event venue now, as well as for this exceptional dinner series held each summer. As if the relatively affordable menu and spectacular scenery aren't enough, a portion of each dinner's proceeds benefits an area nonprofit. On the night we attended, the recipient was Arts for the Schools. Upcoming charities include Sugar Bowl Academy, Excellence in Education, Humane Society of Truckee-Tahoe, Tahoe Nordic Search & Rescue, and Sierra Avalanche Center.

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The deck, adorned with strings of lights and heaters to keep diners toasty on cool Donner Summit nights, is where dinner is served. Chef Alan Davis, who in winter can be found at Sugar Bowl's fine dining room, Four Peaks, serves up French-inspired California cuisine with a focus on in-season, local produce, accompanied by an extensive list of wines hailing mostly from California.

I ordered a glass of 2010 Husch pinot noir from Anderson Valley, California, and my husband chose a Bollini pinot grigio from Trentino, Italy.

We tucked in with our wines and pored over the menu, then decided on two starters: pan-seared diver scallops and shrimp spring rolls.

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Scallops can be hit or miss with me, as they're often too chewy for my liking, but this one hit the bull's eye. They are seared delicately, atop a carrot confie—a carrot roasted in a lavender reduction until it's sweet and buttery, like no carrot you've ever eaten. The scallops are then drizzled in a pancetta buerre noisette, a brown butter with diced, sautéed pancetta, giving a nod to the classic bacon-wrapped scallop. The result absolutely melted in my mouth.

The Togarashi shrimp spring rolls are made with rice noodles, scallions, avocado, and carrot, all wrapped in thin rice paper and served with two dipping sauces: a sweet ginger sauce and a satisfyingly rich and salty sesame black bean sauce. On their own, the rolls are fresh with bright, summery flavors, but the dipping sauces make it feel complete. Both are delicious, but that sesame black bean is something special.

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For dinner, I went with something I never get to have at home and is one of my favorite foods: pan-seared Alaskan halibut. Seared to a perfect crispness outside and perfectly soft and flaky inside, the halibut is only lightly seasoned, so that the pure perfect flavor of the fish shines through. It's served over asparagus and Israeli couscous, a side dish I've never eaten before but loved for its lemon-chablis broth and in-season cherry tomatoes and corn. It's summer on a plate. When I was finished with the food, I literally cleaned my plate with part of my roll, wiping up all the remaining broth so as not to waste a drop.

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My husband, a pure Italian at heart, went with his go-to: pasta. He ordered the Dungeness crab linguini, served with roasted eggplant, heirloom cherry tomatoes, and oregano butter broth. I managed to bat my eyelashes and convince him to share a few bites with me. It reminded me of cioppino, with its briny, tomatoey, buttery broth. Once he was done with the meal, the two of us looked forlornly at the remaining sauce, begging to be sopped up with the rolls remaining in the basket. So we gave in and did it, despite being full.

Our responses to our meals were so greedy, in fact, that the couple at the table beside us figured they needed to have what we were having, and they ordered the exact same meals. They were not disappointed.

Finally, dessert. There was a Belgian chocolate mousse—a gloriously rich confection with just a hint of orange peel to add depth to the dark chocolate—as well as a French yogurt cake topped with pineapple compote. The cake, simple as a pound cake but much more moist, is prepared in the French style, drizzled with a syrupy pineapple compote that was as light and fruity as the mousse was dark and rich.

Finished (painfully stuffed, actually), we sat back in our chairs, rubbing our satisfied bellies and enjoying the view. Oh, and planning our next visit to Sugar Bowl's Four Peaks restaurant to savor more of Chef Alan Davis' culinary artistry.

The Lake Mary Cabin Dinners begin at 5:30 p.m. and at at 9 p.m. They are open to the public but they fill up quickly. Reservations are highly recommended. For reservations call 530-426-7002 or visit www.sugarbowl.com/lake-mary-dinners.