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Big Chefs Big Gala is one of the year’s tastiest fundraisers
Written by Mel Ulloa
What do fresh local ingredients and 35 of the area’s most talented chefs have in common? They all come together for one night of cooking for a cause at Big Chefs Big Gala, a night for food lovers. If you love food, this is the can’t-miss event of the year. What makes it different from any other fundraiser? Top culinary chefs in one room, serving a four-course meal that not only makes your mouth water, but also benefits the life-changing work of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northern Nevada.
An exciting menu
The evening starts with a black-tie reception featuring small bites from several of our area’s finest restaurants, then culminates in a unique four-course culinary experience featuring Bentley Ranch Meats and Sierra Gold Seafood. Some items that may be served at this year’s event include: heirloom kabocha bisque with Tahoe Blue vodka and fried lobster nuggets; flame-charred hamachi with yuzu bone broth, mirin-poached Asian pear, and crispy daikon radishes; red and green curry made with sweet shrimp with coconut, pickled red onion, and cilantro; and Lattin Farms beets with arugula and citrus, goat cheese, and tarragon. Is your mouth watering yet?
“Big Chefs Big Gala gives attendees an opportunity to taste all that our area has to offer while supporting our community’s youth,” says Derek Beauvais, CEO of BBBSNN. “We are incredibly fortunate to have such a vibrant food movement going on, led by chefs who care so much about our community.”
At the 2018 event, Team GSR plates its amuse bouche: chilled pear bisque, Tahoe Blue vodka, and caviar. Amuse bouche, which means “please the mouth,” is typically bite sized and interesting enough to prepare the palate for the rest of the meal. Photo by Tom Smedes
The four culinary teams are led by chef captains and rounded out with an additional three local chefs. They pour countless hours into Big Chefs Big Gala on top of their busy schedules, returning year after year because they know the work of BBBSNN strengthens our community.
“I was asked about three years ago to start cooking. It’s a gathering of all local chefs at the Grand Sierra Resort, and I couldn’t say no,” says chef Tommy Linnett of The Union in Carson City and Liberty Food & Wine Exchange in Reno.
Chef Tommy Linnett of The Union in Carson City plates Bently Ranch short ribs, polenta, carrots, and onions for Team Campo at the 2018 Big Chefs Big Gala event. Photo by Tom Smedes
Linnett grew up in the restaurant business, learning the basics from his father, who owned multiple restaurants around Lake Tahoe. Linnett traveled extensively through Argentina before attending Scottsdale Culinary Institute in Arizona. After returning home to Northern Nevada and settling in Reno, he joined chef Mark Estee as part of the opening team for Campo Reno. He is now the executive chef of The Union. Linnett looks forward to bringing the local food movement, pioneered by Estee in Northern Nevada, to Carson City. To him, Big Chefs Big Gala is a great opportunity to highlight that effort.
“It’s a great event because, for a lot of us, we get stuck in our four walls. It’s fun to get out and be around other chefs, pick their brains for a little while,” says Nick Stromatt, executive chef of The Depot in Reno. “It’s a good time being around people as passionate as we are about food but also about such a great cause.”
Prior to starting his culinary career, Strowmatt enlisted in the Marine Corps in 2002. He completed three deployments in Iraq, leaving as a sergeant. His culinary career began when he started at Herringbone, a coastal cuisine restaurant in La Jolla, Calif., working his way up from shucking oysters. Strowmatt’s first job when he returned to Reno was at The Promenade on the River, a senior community in Reno, which provided him the opportunity to develop his own recipes, create unique flavors, and deal firsthand with the customers and their interactions with the food. He joined the team at The Depot in 2015 and became a great addition to the Big Chefs Big Gala chef teams in 2017.
But the chef talent is not the only highlight of the evening. In a unique twist on the traditional gala format, Big Chefs Big Gala features three different auctions: an exciting live auction, a more-than-200-item silent auction, and a delicious dessert auction.
More than 200 items will be on auction at Big Chefs Big Gala. If you can’t attend the event, you can always bid from home with mobile bidding. For details, visit BBBSNN.org. Photo by Tom Smedes
“Last year, one of our pastry chefs sold a cake for $2,700,” says chef Travis Stehman of La Strada at the Eldorado Resort Casino in Reno. “It’s nice seeing her from being in the program as a Little and now being successful and evolving.”
A former Little Sister of the Big Brothers Big Sisters program, chef Sara Anstett will participate in the dessert auction for the second year in a row. She has worked for Liberty, chez louie, and Coffeebar, and now can be found at Roxy at the Eldorado. Anstett discovered her culinary talent and passion when she and her Big Sister started Kittens in the Kitchen, a baking service for friends and family, when Anstett was 14.
Chef Sarah Anstett calls this cake 24-Carat Gold — a delectable chocolate chiffon cake with layers of chocolate ganache and crunch cocoa nibs, spread with a velvety caramel frosting and topped with a cascade of bourbon chocolate icing. This three-tiered cake is finished with edible 24-carat-gold leaf. Photo by Nadia Gulistani
All the funds raised from Big Chefs Big Gala will stay right here in our community to match children facing economic and social adversity with caring adult mentors. Last year, Big Brothers Big Sisters served more than 600 children in our area.
Big Chefs Big Gala will be held on Sat., Apr. 13, at the Grand Sierra Resort; tickets are available at Bbbsnn.org.
Mel Ulloa is marketing and public relations manager for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northern Nevada.
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The concert begins at 8 p.m. on Friday, April 5 at the Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts.
Jose Gonzalez is a deep, artful thinker whose singular approach to songwriting and sonics sets him worlds apart; Gonzalez is in a class by himself. He has a voice. He has a sound. He has a point of view. His first album in seven years was released Feb. 17 and was produced by Gonzalez in his home in Gothenburg, Sweden. In 2013 Jose contributed to The Secret Life of Walter Mitty soundtrack, directed by and starring Ben Stiller.
Gonzalez is touring with The String Theory, an artist collective and production company based in Berlin and Gothenburg. Band members pursue a long-term, experimental approach, investigating new ways of interdisciplinary collaboration. They also incorporate visual art into their performance, developing new concepts and facilitating international artist networking.
Tickets are available at the Pioneer Center Box office (open 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. Mon. – Fri.) or by calling 866-553-6605. Tickets also are available at pioneercenter.com. For details, call Artown at 775-322-1538.
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Sierra Scoop: March 2019
The latest food and drink news from Tahoe and Truckee
Written by Suzie Dundas
Winter 2019 was a doozy in Tahoe, so you’d be forgiven if you haven’t been able to explore the food-and-drink scene in the area as much as in past years. But while the roads still may be covered in snow, the region’s restaurant scene is heating up, with big moves around the lake. It’s been a time of celebration as many Tahoe restaurants celebrated significant anniversaries, and Tahoe brand DRINK COFFEE DO STUFF won a 2019 Good Food Award from the not-for-profit Good Food Foundation.
DRINK COFFEE, DO STUFF
If the snow has been keeping you away, you may have missed the opening of the Tahoe Tap Haus in December 2018. The new business is a partnership between five Tahoe business owners, three of whom — Mark Gogolewski and Melissa and Steven Siig — own the Tahoe Art Haus & Cinema next door. According to Melissa, the new venture is designed to be an extension of the cinema, offering a place to meet up and enjoy a drink before or after a show. They currently have 16 beers on tap as well as a full menu, including everything from haus- made hummus to burgers and Indian-inspired naanwiches served on tandoori bread.
Photos By: Ryan Salm
Tahoe Tap Haus:
475 N. Lake Blvd, Tahoe City
530-584-2886 • Tahoetaphaus.com
Also new in Tahoe City is Goose & Chey’s, opened by husband and wife team Greg and Cheyenne Goossen (hence the name). The casual restaurant serves what Greg calls “American comfort food with a healthy twist.” Though it only recently opened, the idea had been in development since summer 2018, when the couple and their three sons moved to Tahoe City. They’ll plan to have frequent live music — much of it from Cheyenne, a guitarist and singer herself.
Prime Rib French Ddip with hand-cut fries. Photos courtesy of Goose & Chey’s.
Loaded House Salad with a rainbow of fresh vegetables and house-made dressing. Photo courtesy of Goose and Chey’s.
Goose and Chey’s
877 N. Lake Blvd, Tahoe City
(530) 807-1003 • Find Goose & Chey’s on Facebook
Wolfdale's Cuisine Unique, also in Tahoe City, announced the continuation of its late-spring farmers’ market cooking classes, which invite participants to join chef Dale at the local farmers’ market before returning to the restaurant for a multi-course cooking class. Sign up in advance for the small-group classes on the website or by phone.
Wolfdale's Cuisine Unique
640 N Lake Blvd, Tahoe City
530-583-5700 • Wolfdales.com
Fans of Incline Village’s Lone Eagle Grille will want to be sure to stop in for one last spring meal before the restaurant’s dining room temporarily closes for renovations the week of March 24. A small menu still will be available in the Lone Eagle Lounge during that time. The lakefront restaurant’s kitchen will receive an update with an expected reopening on the evening of March 29. A series of Wine Make Dinners running through the spring also has been announced.
Lone Eagle Grille
111 Country Club Drive, Incline Village
775-886-6899 • Loneeaglegrille.com
In South Lake Tahoe, Social House is redefining late night, as its deli transforms every evening into the 1920s-style Community Speakeasy, complete with vintage-inspired cocktails and performances.
1001 Heavenly Village Way, Ste. 3, South Lake Tahoe
530-539-4746 • Socialhousetahoe.com
It’s not all just about openings, though. While Truckee unfortunately will be losing Treat Box Bakery at the end of May as its doors are shut after 40 years, several staples of the dining scene are celebrating anniversaries.
- Truckee’s Cottonwood Restaurant and Bar celebrated 30 years in February 2019, as did Tahoe City’s Gar Woods Grill and Pier.
- Four restaurants have an extra decade on them, with Fire Sign Café, Wolfdale’s Cuisine Unique, Jake’s on the Lake (all in Tahoe City), and Jason's Beachside Grille (King’s Beach) each celebrating 40 years of service in late 2018 or early 2019. Here’s to 30 – or 40 – more!
Suzie Dundas is a Lake Tahoe-based freelance writer. She writes about everything from adventure travel to social media and inspired food and drink. You can find more of her work at Suziedundas.com.
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Story and photos by Jennifer Rachel Baumer
A bowl of hot soup is just the ticket on a cold winter’s night when the rain and snow blow against the windows. Chicken noodle soup is the traditional panacea against winter plagues, from colds to flu. There’s something about the combination of salty richness and bites of chicken that’s both cheering and soothing. Pair the soup with a cheese-laced bread that’s prepared quickly (for yeast bread, anyway) and lasts well, and you’ve got yourself simple, hearty, warming feast.
Chicken (or Turkey) Noodle Soup
(courtesy of Jennifer Rachel Baumer. Serves 4)
About 1 to 2 cups chopped chicken or turkey, cooked or uncooked
1 tablespoon butter
2 to 4 stalks celery, chopped to about ½-inch pieces
½ medium yellow onion, chopped
6 cups water and 6 chicken bouillon cubes or equivalent OR 6 cups chicken or turkey stock
1 cup frozen corn kernels
Egg noodles or No Yolks egg noodles, extra broad —about 6 ounces
In a large, heavy saucepan or Dutch oven, melt the butter over medium high heat. Sauté onion and celery until tender, then remove if meat is uncooked; cook chicken completely before adding the vegetables back in. If you’re using poultry that’s already cooked, just heat it coated in the melted butter at the same time you sauté vegetables. (This is a great recipe if you make stock from turkey carcass and use the last bits of turkey meat for the soup. I may love the turkey noodle soup more than the chicken.)
Chicken & Vegetables brown in a sauté pan
While chicken and vegetables cook, either heat 6 cups of water to make chicken bouillon or measure out 6 cups of stock. Once the chicken and vegetables are ready, add stock and heat to nearly boiling. Add frozen corn and let soup come back up to nearly boiling. Add noodles and turn soup to simmer loosely covered until noodles are soft (or until you’re ready for it). This is a good time to add a twist of freshly ground black pepper and maybe lightly salt the soup.
Before serving, if you want a thicker soup, take out a cup that’s more chicken and vegetables than noodles and purée it a bit in the blender before stirring it back into pot.
This soup keeps well, freezes well, and tastes great cold the next day if you’re so inclined. Enjoy it with a slab of warm cheese bread!
Cheddar Cheese Bread
(courtesy of Jennifer Rachel Baumer. Makes 1 standard-sized loaf and 1 smaller freeform round loaf)
This bread takes between three and four hours, even when it’s 25 degrees outside. It rises well and bakes fast, and despite what purists insist about waiting until bread is stone cold to cut it, it’s best after it’s been out of the oven 20 to 30 minutes, still warm with the cheese still soft.
Cheddar cheese bread cools on a cutting board
1 envelope active dry yeast (not rapid rise), or 2¼ teaspoons, or 1 yeast-measuring spoon’s worth
1¾ cups very warm water (¼ cup + 1½ cups)
2½ teaspoons sea salt
4 to 5 cups unbleached flour
2 cups extra-sharp cheddar, grated (6 to 8 ounces)
Vegetable or canola oil to grease pans and bowl
Pour ¼ cup of the very warm water into large mixing bowl. Sprinkle yeast over it and let stand for 5 minutes.
Stir salt into yeast and water to dissolve yeast completely. Add rest of warm water. Add 3 to 3½ cups of the flour, and stir to create a sticky, cohesive dough. It’s rare in this dry climate to use all five cups of flour, and it’s better to start working dough when it’s on the sticky side and add flour sparingly. Too much flour makes a dull, flat, dry loaf.
As soon as dough is a rough mass that can be handled, lift onto a clean, dry, well-floured work surface and begin to knead. (This is a good time to soak the bowl if it’s the one bread will rise in). Knead anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes, adding reserved flour gradually and sparingly. The dough should just barely stick to your fingers and not be a tacky, sticky mess, but also not so dry that it’s breaking apart. If it starts to get too dry, stop adding flour, brush most of the flour off your work surface, and then knead for a minute or two — most of the time the dough will incorporate that flour and begin to stick to you again. Then re-flour your board sparingly and continue kneading.
When dough is stretchy and elastic and no longer soaking up extra flour, let it sit on the board while you clean out mixing bowl and lightly oil it. Gather dough into a ball, place it in bowl, and spin it so all sides are lightly coated with oil. This stops it from creating a dry, crusty skin while rising. Cover with light, clean dish towel, piece of cling wrap, or sheet of wax paper. Leave dough to rise in an undisturbed, draft-free area. Leaving it on top of the oven, if the oven is in use, or in a spill of sunlight will encourage it to rise more quickly. This bread doesn’t need a long, slow rise, and in summer or in a warm spot the first rise can take as little as 45 minutes in high altitudes. On a cold, snowy night, it might take 1 to 1.5 hours.
When dough has risen to double, lightly flour your fingers and gently press dough back down, replace cover, and let it rise a second time.
After second rise, turn dough out on a floured surface and knead in your grated cheddar cheese. I like a coarse grating, so the pieces are wide and more than 1 inch long. I’m probably using about 8 ounces of cheese, or 2 cups or so. It’s not an exact measurement, and not all of the cheese gets kneaded in every time.
Try not to overly deflate dough before starting to knead in cheese. Flatten dough into a rough circle or disc, sprinkle on cheese, and start gently kneading until it’s incorporated. It’s better to have all cheese within dough, not showing on the surface, or that cheese will burn or simply leak out and away during baking.
Separate dough into 2 unequal parts. Two-thirds of the dough is used to shape a kind of oblong football shape and tuck that into the greased loaf pan. The smaller piece is formed into a small, round loaf and does nicely in a greased glass pie pan. Cover with a clean tea towel and allow to rise for another 45 to 60 minutes while the oven preheats to 450 degrees F.
Bake both loaves for 20 minutes, then remove smaller loaf, reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F, and bake another 5 to 10 minutes. Keep an eye on it — it can quickly overcook. If either bread becomes too dark during baking, just gently drape a piece of foil over it and let it finish baking. Remove breads from pan and flick or tap bottoms — they should sound hollow. Give bread about 20 to 30 minutes to cool or it will squish when cut and taste cloyingly wet.
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What’s in Season
Hoop houses, indoor grows deliver bright winter produce
Story and photos by Claire McArthur
Historically, Northern Nevada’s cold and snowy winters have prevented farmers from growing in the winter and early spring. But thanks to advances in hydroponic growing, high tunnels, and hoop houses, some producers in the region are now able to offer fresh vegetables year round.
Prema Farm grows bok choy in its hoop house during the colder months. Photo courtesy of Prema Farm
So while the weather may be drab, there’s no reason your plate should be, too. Dress up your grain bowls with nutrient-dense microgreens grown right in Midtown Reno at Ital Farms. Sauté hoop-house-grown bok choy, kale, and Swiss chard from Reno’s Prema Farm to add local flavor to your udon noodle stir fry. Pat yourself on the back for storing a stash of winter squash from Lattin Farms in Fallon before roasting up a futsu squash and tossing it with the pesto you canned last summer.
Your options for incorporating Northern Nevada goods into meals are plentiful, so this month, challenge yourself to base a meal around what’s in season locally instead of a recipe filled with vegetables that traveled great distances to arrive at the produce aisle. You won’t be disappointed.
Here’s what’s in season in the Reno-Tahoe area:
Prema Farm (Reno)
- Japanese hakurei turnips
- Winter baby arugula
- Mixed salad greens
- French breakfast radishes
- Bacchus radishes
- Bok choy
- Swiss chard
Bok choy is a good vegetable to add to soups and stir-fries in the late winter and early spring. Photo by Prema Farm
Prema Farm overwinters carrots in a hoop house. Photo by Prema Farm
Ital Farms (Reno)
- Rainbow mix (broccoli, radish, and kohlrabi microgreens)
- Broccoli sprouts
- Radish shoots
- Alfalfa sprouts
Ital Farms grows a variety of microgreens year round in Midtown Reno.
Lattin Farms (Fallon)
- Futsu squash
- Delicata winter squash
- Honeynut winter squash
- Buttercup winter squash
- Spaghetti squash
Futsu squash from Lattin Farms can be stored for months in cool, dark spaces
Dayton Valley Aquaponics (Dayton)
- Cherry tomatoes
- Sweet peppers
- Salad mix
- Sunflower shoots
Looking for an idea for how to use this winter’s bounty? Try this unique recipe from Ital Farms.
(courtesy of Ital Farms in Reno. Serves 2)
- 4 ounces microgreens
- Olive oil
- Nutritional yeast
Toss microgreens with a drizzle of olive oil and a few shakes of nutritional yeast, salt, and pepper. Use dressed-up microgreens as a topper for soup, avocado toast, or salads for a crunchy burst of flavor.
Claire (Cudahy) McArthur is a Zephyr Cove-based writer who enjoys experimenting in the kitchen with seasonal ingredients. Though more often than not these dishes are well received, her husband will never let her live down the Inedible Stuffed Acorn Squash Incident of 2012.
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Farm-Fresh Produce in Winter? You Bet
Riverside Farmers Market is Reno’s only local, year-round farmers’ market.
Written by Jessica Santina
Photos by Kasey Crispin
If you’re suffering from the winter blues this weekend, may I suggest you head outdoors to the farmers’ market? The bounty of locally grown tomatoes, vegetables, herbs, honey, and eggs is sure to lift you out of your winter funk.
Tomatoes in January? Yes, you read that right. Welcome to the Riverside Farmers Market, Reno’s own truly local, year-round farmers’ market, running outdoors throughout the winter — rain or shine — from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. every Saturday morning in the north parking lot of McKinley Arts & Culture Center in Reno.
Thanks to Dayton Valley Aquaponics, local tomatoes actually are available throughout the winter in Reno
It was the brainchild of local farmers Kasey Crispin and Zach Cannady, owners of Reno’s Prema Farm, and folks behind Dayton Valley Aquaponics in Dayton, Nev.
“We decided at the end of summer that we wanted a marketplace in the area to sell our products year round, fully independent of the season,” Crispin explains.
Crispin worked hard at the end of the busy summer season to get the City of Reno to approve the year-round market, which would take place on city-owned property and therefore require the farmers to jump a few extra hurdles. The results were worth it, though: the Riverside Farmers Market is the city’s first truly local year-round farmers’ market, selling entirely organic, sustainably raised produce grown within a 125-mile radius of Downtown Reno.
"Eat Your Altitude" is the slogan of the new, year-round Riverside Farmers Market at McKinley Arts & Culture Center
“It’s about recognizing the need for a market focused on local producers,” Crispin says. “We’re experiencing a surge right now of local, urban, organic farms — three new ones have started in the past year. And once they figure out production methods and get their crops going, we wanted to have a place for them to sell their products.”
Why a Year-Round Market?
Crispin says that Prema Farm — which she and Cannady founded in 2016 and currently produces a fully organic bounty that includes lettuces and salad greens, herbs, carrots, peas, radishes, melons, tomatoes, and much more — has already developed a network of loyal customers who actively seek out locally produced, organic items. Even at many farmers’ markets, she says, this can be hard to find.
“Unfortunately, the reality is that it’s not uncommon for farms to operate more like wholesalers, to buy vegetables from as far away as Mexico, and they don’t have to say that they didn’t grow it themselves,” Crispin says. “You’ll end up buying it at a market in Reno and you don’t realize that. It’s a bit of a farce. So everyone at our market has to grow what they sell.”
The January sun still shines at the Riverside Farmers Market in Reno
This extends to the craftspeople, who sell items such as handmade soaps and jewelry, as well as the food artisans selling baked goods at booths or food trucks offering up freshly cooked snacks or meals; or even service providers and manufacturers who provide goods that contribute to the mission of local, sustainable, organic, and eco-conscious living and eating.
What You’ll Find
Crispin says that the vendor lineup varies each week during the winter months, but the following farms have items for sale at the market each week:
- Prema Farm: organic vegetables and herbs
- Dayton Valley Aquaponics: microgreens, tomatoes, peppers
- First Fruits Sustainable Farm (Fallon): pasture-raised pork and eggs, organic produce, honey
- Ital Farms (Reno): organic vegetables and microgreens
- High Desert Farming Initiative (at University of Nevada, Reno): organic vegetables, herbs, honey
- Hole-In-One Ranch (Janesville, Calif.): pasture-raised beef, lamb, pork (available every other Saturday)
- Great Basin Community Food Co-op (Reno): organic and gluten-free baked goods, juices, and coffee
- MwintSoph (Reno): organic baked goods and tamales
- Wedge on Wheels (Reno): food truck offering artisanal cheeses and condiments
- Thali (Reno): food truck offering organic and vegetarian North Indian food
- Down to Earth Compost (Reno): the bicycle-powered local composting service offers drop-off and pickup of compost materials to its customers at the market
- Black Rock Refill (Reno): eco-friendly products and single-stream recycling drop-off service
- Gwendolyn’s Garden (Reno): handcrafted and locally sourced bouquets, wreaths, and pots
As cold weather gives way to warm, look for additional vendors to join the lineup. Once the spring and summer farmers’ market season gets rolling in Reno, the Riverside Farmers Market will relocate to the south side of McKinley, along Riverside Drive, and it will move to a Thursday evening schedule, in order to avoid competing with the nearby California Avenue market on Saturdays.
Riverside Farmers Market
October – May
9 a.m. – 12 p.m. Saturdays
North parking lot, McKinley Arts & Culture Center
925 Riverside Drive, Reno
June – September
4 – 8 p.m. Thursdays
South side of McKinley Arts & Culture Center (next to Riverside Drive)
For details, visit Premafarm.com/riverside-farmers-market.
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Sweet ideas for wedding cakes
Written by Natasha Bourlin
Among the most memorable components of any wedding is the cake. Crowning the ceremony with a slice of sweetness sends guests off with a lovely taste reminiscent of the nuptials themselves.
What are betrothed couples seeking for their Big Day in 2019? Tap into the trends seen by local bakers and food purveyors to create a picture-perfect wedding cake presentation.
Wedding coordination by The Hytch in Reno. Styling by Lucky Burro Event Rentals. Flowers by Love & Lupines Floral Design in Truckee. Linens from Creative Coverings in Sparks. Cake by C's Mad Batter Cakery. Photo by Courtney Aaron Photography
In Carson City, L.A. Bakery has exponential wedding cake options. Cakes range from vanilla and chocolate to almond and red velvet. Filled with creative flavors such as tiramisu and cinnamon cream cheese, this bakery’s edible wedding creations are topped with delectable frostings, including salted caramel cream cheese and chocolate buttercream.
For 2019, L.A. Bakery Sales Manager Ali Arbabha says everyone wants simple cakes. Though the bakers here are capable of creating cakes in nearly any shape, the requests they receive are veering away from the piping and traditional designs seen for decades. Modest, birch-log-shaped cakes are popular, along with those dubbed “naked,” with such light frosting guests can see the cake underneath.
L.A. Bakery offers cake tastings for a $50 fee and can bake sweet showpieces for up to 150 people, if not more, with notice of one month in summertime, or two to three weeks for winter weddings.
Bundt cakes are renowned for their moist deliciousness, due to the shape of the pan, cooking method, and recipes. If the couple is clamoring for this type of cake, Nothing Bundt Cakes can craft just what they desire.
Four different sizes and 11 flavors are available, and some cakes can be ready with just a few-days’ notice, though a month is preferred. Owner of Reno’s Nothing Bundt Cakes Shele Faretto Silveira says the wedding trend she and her staff are seeing most often is a dessert bar. These can offer many different types of treats beloved by the betrothed.
Following a trend of natural décor for weddings, Nothing Bundt Cakes works with local florists to decorate cakes with beautiful, fresh flowers. It also features many other decorative options, along with a gluten-free chocolate chip cookie flavor. Ordering a few varieties — such as chocolate chocolate chip, white chocolate raspberry, confetti, or pecan praline — is a surefire way to please all guests.
Photo courtesy of: Nothing Bundt Cakes
For its in-house weddings, the Peppermill Resort Spa Casino in Reno is receiving more requests for small cakes made just for cutting on camera, supplemented by various other desserts, says Nicole Parker, catering and sales manager. Also among the requests are more cakes colored in earth tones, gold, and ivory; naked cakes with light icing; and ruffle cakes. The Peppermill’s team of bakers can make just about any cake the couple can conceptualize for resort weddings.
The big cheese for the Big Day
Not all wedding cakes need be on the sweet side of the spectrum. Try a savory cheese wheel cake from Wedge on Wheels based in Reno. Ideal for cheese lovers, guests, or a couple with paleo or keto dietary restrictions, for instance, these distinctive cakes are comprised of whole cheese wheels stacked on top of each other.
Dozens of types are available, and the towers can be decorated like traditional cakes — such as with ribbons, flowers, veggies, herbs, or fruit — by Wedge on Wheels, the wedding caterer, or florist.
“They are all the rage in Europe and are starting to become more and more popular here,” says Laura Conrow, Wedge on Wheels owner and certified cheese professional.
Prices start at about $4 to $7 per person, depending on the types of cheeses selected. Conrow conducts consultations and tastings to determine cheese preferences, and she suggests ordering at least six weeks ahead, as some cheeses are only available seasonally.
A bevy of organic bites
One of the most prevalent cake trends for 2019 is adding just a hint of nearly translucent frosting so the cake flavors really shine. Adding touches of greenery instead of flowers to the tiers is another.
Owner of Reno’s Batch Cupcakery Anne Archer uses only organic ingredients in her products. Since the shelf life is lessened using organics, she and her team bake all their wedding orders the same day, so they’re fresh from the oven upon arrival.
Photo courtesy of Batch Cupcakery
Paleo, vegan, or gluten-free orders are regular occurrences at Batch, and Archer says they can’t keep their pumpkin paleo with raw coconut and homemade vanilla bean extract on the shelves due to demand.
“The trend is going toward flavor combinations that please the palate,” Archer says. “A rosewater pistachio or a matcha green tea-infused cake with hints of sage or lavender is divine.”
Also popular for weddings are Batch’s small bites, including alcohol-tinged mini cupcakes in an array of flavors. Tier rentals are free, with various options to go with any décor, such as crystal, silver, and log tiers. Delivery and set-up are free throughout most of the region, and Batch just welcomed a new party bus limo into the family that can transport the wedding party in fun fashion.
Natasha Bourlin is a freelance-writing fan of cake in its many forms.
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Favors for the Big Day
Written by Natasha Bourlin
Photos by Courtney Aaron Photography
Offering favors to wedding guests and wedding parties has long been a tradition. Take-home tokens of appreciation for participating in a couple’s nuptials allow memories to flourish every time family and friends make use of the gifts. Here are some ideas from local experts on what wedding favors are trending for 2019 and how to present them.
Wedding coordination by Liane McCombs. Venue is West Shore Café & Inn in Homewood.
Wedding party wonders
Head to local distillery The Depot in Reno for bottles of locally crafted spirits for your bridal party and groomsmen. Several spirits ranging from bourbon to gin can be found in display-worthy bottles that serve as personal gifts based on a recipient’s taste. To send off the wedding parties with a bit of Nevada pride, try The Depot’s Amer Depot, an herb-, root-, and spice-infused libation that’s a tribute to Nevada’s Basque heritage and culture. Thanks to the distillers at The Depot, wedding parties can continue the celebration long after the couple is honeymoon bound.
Wink Lash Studio + Bath Bar in Reno carries four different colors of soft, lightweight robes and cozy towel wraps that make great, long-lasting keepsakes the wedding party also can use to get ready on the Big Day. Wink also offers gold, silver, and rose-gold jewelry that can serve as gifts for the mothers of the bride or groom or the bridal party. Giving a spa package filled with relaxing bubble bath, bath bombs, and salts is another option.
Gifts for the guests
Owners of Two Birds Coordination Chani Knight and Melia Shamblin share trending ideas for 2019, such as giving guests succulents that live on past the Big Day. Prepackaged desserts serve as tasty edible takeaways, and drink accessories such as wine stoppers that resemble cake toppers, or heart-shaped bottle openers are seeing a lot of favor among wedding guests lately.
For couples on tighter budgets, gift items may be used in the wedding. Monogrammed or artfully decorated glasses, wedding-themed coasters, and personalized candles are a few suggestions from the wedding-planning duo.
When packaging favors, less always is more, they also say. If bottle openers are the keepsakes, tie them onto a variety pack of beers, or wrap eye-catching bows around a set of coasters and incorporate them into the table display.
Sweets from the sweethearts
Dorinda’s Chocolates in Reno can prettily package and personalize truffles with names, initials, symbols, or dates. The chocolatiers also create two- or four-piece boxes filled with the personalized truffles, or with assorted flavors, such as Dorinda’s popular sea salt caramels, or heart-shaped toasty blonds. Also worth noting: Bigger orders get better price breaks.
Handmade confections from Crack’d Toffee can be presented in specially sized favor boxes that can be personalized for the couple. With mouthwatering varieties such as original semisweet, dark, white, and dark-chocolate-coffee toffee, guests can gobble up these goodies while reminiscing about the wedding.
In the market for favors? Visit these area entrepreneurs for a bounty of ideas to gift to friends and family on the Big Day.
Natasha Bourlin is a Reno-based freelance writer who loves a good wedding favor.
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Jewel tones and bold colors brighten the 2019 wedding season.
Wedding trends for 2019
WRITTEN BY NISHA HALLERT
PHOTOS BY COURTNEY AARON PHOTOGRAPHY
Zach and Morgan Watchous' wedding at Gansberg Ranch in Gardnerville. Design by Jenny and Julie Gansberg
Planning a wedding can often feel like a ride on the proverbial emotional rollercoaster. It comes with elation, exhaustion, excitement, confusion, frustration, and bliss. While no planning guide provides the perfect remedy for the planning madness, my hope is that by shedding light on what’s trending for 2019, I can help ignite your creativity.
Venue selection should be your first focus. What kind of experience do you aim to create for your guests? In what kind of setting do you imagine yourself saying “I do”? What kind of backdrop do you want for the photographs? Once you have solidified the venue, the rest of your vision can really begin to take shape.
While outdoor venues never go out of style, they are particularly hot for the 2019 wedding season. In Northern Nevada and Eastern California, we enjoy a preponderance of pleasant weather, especially in the summer. Given the unpredictable nature of spring, however, when selecting an outdoor venue, I recommend choosing a space that has indoor/outdoor capabilities. That way you have options if an unexpected storm decides to rain on your wedding parade.
Venues that have both significant architectural features and incredible views will help set the tone for a memorable experience for both you and your guests. Features such as wall murals, stone columns, and wooden beams are all the rage this season. The benefit of these features, though, is not their trendiness but rather their timelessness. Contemporary, design-focused venues have the panache to be stylish without you needing to be trendy.
Color and design
For this spring and summer, jewel-toned hues are everywhere. Ruby, sapphire, emerald, and amber appear in everything from table linens to tuxedo shirts. These tones are especially hot when complemented by cool colors such as dark teal, soft blue, off-white, and dove gray. Even if you lean toward conservative looks, you can contemporize your wedding-day feeling by using bright, bold accents with your traditional palette. Linen and floral splashes are a good way to go if you aren’t ready to make the jeweled or color wardrobe commitment.
Flowers and décor
This season is all about bold color combinations. Last year’s royal wedding sparked an appetite for lush floral arches featuring abundant, textured blossoms. If that’s not your style, not to worry: Round or geometric ceremony arches, such as triangles with asymmetrical floral arrangements, also are on trend. Suspended floral chandeliers with blossoms create a focal point and create an Instagrammable décor element. Add a neon accent and really show your personality! Velvet linen in jewel tones complemented by teal, ruby, or mustard will add a splash of class to your Big Day. Add velvet couches and love seats to create an unforgettably swanky party!
Say yes to boldly colored, mismatched bridesmaids’ dresses, sparkle and metallic accents, or geometric patterns. You can put crazy colors into simple and classic cuts, do a contemporary take on bows, add a puff to your sleeves, or play with sharp back cuts. For the princesses out there, ball gowns are back! For the rest of us, we take pleasure in a rather contemporary trend of wedding dress jumpsuits in lace or floral prints.
Bride Jenifer Merlyn at Round Hill Pines Beach Resort in South Lake Tahoe. Hair and makeup by Nancy Rice Artistry
Food and beverage
Ah, a favorite subject for us all! Bust out the local craft beer and distilled liquors; gin and whiskey still are hot. Interactive food stations and edible décor also are trendy. Think nitrogen ice cream stations or a pretzel wall with a chef making pretzels to order. For the main dish, lamb beats beef this year. Rather than a traditional sit-down dinner, consider pub-style table service with shared small plates, or a family-style meal. Multicultural fusion menus such as ramen beef burgers or falafel with garam masala stew will wow your guests. For the health and earth conscious, consider sourcing your food from a single farm. And always make sure to take care of your gluten-free/vegan guests.
Photographic experiences and online wedding identity
Finally, all the details are done and now you get to enjoy the party! How do you want to remember your Big Day? Consider an organic photo backdrop, such as a living succulent wall. For the quirky folks, Airstream trailers make a fun photo prop. Whatever element you choose, let your personality shine. Think of creating a space where guests can be entertained through interactive fun. They will want to share those wedding moments on Instagram, and then you can relive the party through their eyes on your honeymoon. Remember to create your unique wedding hashtag!
Nisha Hallert has more than 16 years’ industry experience planning 600-person galas, rooftop weddings, intimate exclusive dinners, events for VIPs such as Former President Bill Clinton, and more. She currently works as director of special events and sales at the Nevada Museum of Art and serves as immediate past president of the Reno/Tahoe chapter of the National Association for Catering and Events (NACE). In 2014, Hallert and her team were awarded a national NACE award for the Best Social Event Production of the Year.
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Edible Reno-Tahoe blog
Story and photos by Jennifer Rachel Baumer
Hearty Fare for Cold Winter Nights
Cold, snowy, winter days can use a pick-me-up of thick, hearty bread and a bowl of hot stew. When it's brisk — or downright cold — outside, here's a combination that should satisfy after a day playing in or shoveling off the snow.
Hearty Multigrain Bread
(courtesy of Jennifer Rachel Baumer. Makes 1 loaf)
2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
1½ cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons sea salt
1⅓ cups warm water
1 tablespoon honey
1 packet (or one yeast-measuring spoon, or 2¼ teaspoons) active dry yeast (not rapid rise)
1 cup sourdough starter (see recipe below)
2½ tablespoons dark rye flour
2½ tablespoons wheat germ
⅓ cup spelt
2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 tablespoon golden or dark flax seeds
1 tablespoon roasted, unsalted pumpkin seeds
⅓ cup toasted, coarsely chopped almonds
⅓ cup toasted, coarsely chopped hazelnuts
Before starting, spread almonds and hazelnuts on cookie sheet and place in 325 degree F oven for 20 minutes, then let cool before coarsely chopping. (Alternatively, stirring them constantly in a hot cast-iron frying pan also will toast them.)
In small bowl, mix yeast and honey and add ½ of the warm water. Let sit for a few minutes, then stir to dissolve yeast completely.
Mix 2 cups unbleached flour and 1 cup of the whole wheat flour in a large mixing bowl; reserve ½ cup of the whole wheat flour. Mix in salt, seeds, rye, wheat germ, and spelt. Create a hole in the middle.
Mix the remainder of the warm water with the water/yeast/honey mixture and pour into the hole in dry ingredients. Add 1 cup of starter. Mix flour in from the edges, forming a sticky dough.
Turn dough out onto a floured board and knead 5 to 10 minutes, adding reserved wheat flour as needed. The dough should remain slightly sticky, not become dry or clumping. If it just sticks to your fingers as you knead but pulls back into itself, that's a good texture. If it sticks to you, add more flour, a sprinkle at a time (dusting your hands with it and then going back to kneading is a good way to avoid adding too much at once).
If the dough does get too dry, add water 1 tablespoon at a time. Before doing that, try kneading gently for a minute to see if the flour will incorporate. In our high desert climate, we have such low humidity it's easy to get too much flour in a bread recipe, but sometimes just kneading it will incorporate the flour and bring the texture back in line. Too much flour will create a dry, dense loaf.
Let the dough rest on the floured board while you clean the bowl of the sticky dough. Leave the kneaded dough in a warm, draft-free place, covered with a piece of wax paper, until doubled. At our high elevation, and depending on how active the starter is, this can take as little as 45 minutes or as long as an hour and a half.
When the dough is doubled, turn it out on a freshly cleaned and floured board and incorporate the nuts while "punching down" the dough. Don't overwork it; just knead in the hazelnuts and almonds. Shape the dough into one large, round loaf and place on an ungreased or parchment-paper-covered cookie sheet (it would probably do well on a baking stone, too). Let rise until doubled, 1 to 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F partway through the rise. Bake for 35 minutes and cool on a wire rack. The bread is best the first day, or toasted after that.
For sourdough starter (prepare 24 to 48 hours before making the bread):
1 packet active dry yeast (or one yeast-measuring spoon, or 2¼ teaspoons yeast; not rapid rise)
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups warm water
Stir yeast into flour in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Stir in warm water and mix until it's a smooth, soupy paste. Cover loosely with a sheet of wax paper and leave undisturbed for 24 to 48 hours until actively bubbly. If it never bubbles or becomes active, start over. If, after using it for the bread, you want to keep it, feed it another cup of flour and 1 cup warm water, stir into a paste, and store in covered jar in refrigerator.
(courtesy of Jennifer Rachel Baumer. Serves 4)
There's a trend in some quest-type fantasy novels for characters who are on the road going from one part of the adventure to the next to stop at night and prepare stew. I'm impressed by their ability to either forage for root vegetables as well as flour, stock or bouillon, and salt, or to carry it in their packs — along with the cast-iron Dutch oven.
Provided you're not on the road but in your kitchen and finished with the foraging, this is a simple, fairly quick beef stew to warm up with on cold winter nights.
1¼ to 1½ pounds chuck roast
Unbleached, all-purpose flour
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons Crisco or other solid vegetable shortening
4 beef bouillon cubes or equivalent
4 to 6 fist-sized waxy white or yellow potatoes
Frozen petite peas (optional)
Wash and chop potatoes and carrots into bite-sized pieces. In a medium-sized pot, cover with cold water and bring to a boil, then let simmer until fork tender. Drain and reserve.
Cut roast into bite-sized pieces. In a container that can be closed (brown paper bag, plastic bag, storage container, or glass jar with lid) sprinkle in 2 to 3 tablespoons flour, a teaspoon of sea salt, and pepper to taste. Add the cut up roast, seal the container, and shake until the roast is coated.
Melt the Crisco in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add flour-coated pieces of beef and brown until mostly cooked through.
Meat browning in Dutch oven
Add 4 cups boiling water to beef bouillon cubes. Add slowly to browned meat and flour, scraping bottom of pot to loosen fond and using liquid to deglaze. Add another teaspoon or 2 of flour until liquid forms a thick gravy. Add drained potatoes and carrots, and the frozen green peas if using. When mixture comes to a boil, add about 1 teaspoon of sea salt, stir and cover; turn heat to simmer until you're ready to serve.
Stew simmering on the stovetop