janetofreno's Profile

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A Message from The Chowhound Team & Plans for 2015

You might be listening now, so I'm going to bring up a point that I mentioned on Site Talk and went basically unanswered by any moderators (although a few fellow hounds agreed with me...). That is that I think a little more geographic sensibility to how the boards are grouped is in order. I live in Reno, NV, a mid-sized city in the western United States that is admittedly IN Nevada but is close (very close, about 12 miles to be exact) to Northern California. Apparently many folks are geographically challenged, because I get invites all the time from non-western friends who tell me "I'm going to be in Las Vegas next week for a convention; do you want me to meet me for lunch?" (The assumption being that I am in Nevada and they will be in Nevada, so we must be close...). I always answer "I would love to; are you going to send a plane ticket?" These folks have NO IDEA that Las Vegas and Reno are approximately 450 miles apart. Folks in Reno really don't relate to Vegas all that much. Its as foreign to us as it is to you (well, not to me, because I've lived there...but to most Renoites). And no one, I repeat NO ONE, in Reno would think of ourselves as "Southwest." Its cold here, folks; it might snow tomorrow. If it doesn't snow, it will rain, and it will definitely snow in the mountains a 20 minute drive from my house. We have pine trees. Yes, we are high desert, but in the same way certain areas of Idaho and eastern Washington and Oregon are high desert. Would you call those places Southwest?? Of course not. Northwest, maybe. Or maybe Mountain West. But not Southwest.

Why is this such a big deal to me? Its simple. A few years back the Chowhound hierarchy decided that Reno should no longer be grouped with "Northern California" because well, we aren't in California. OK, but many of those who visit here COME from that area. In fact, Reno is the city of commerce for much of Northeastern California. Folks in places such as Lake Tahoe, Susanville, Alturas, Portola, Quincy, etc (all of those are in California) come to Reno to shop, eat, and catch airplanes. And people traveling to those areas in California by plane touch down in Reno, and might well stop in our city for a bite to eat before heading to their final destination. And of course tens of thousands of potential chowhounds pass through Reno every year in late August on their way to watch a Man burn.

After Reno was ruled to be part of the "Southwest" our participation in the board dropped dramatically. I see very few Reno posts these days. I miss my fellow Reno Chowhounds. This is particularly sad because Reno has seen a true culinary renaissance over the past five years or so (A story about this even made the New York Times!). Yet so many of these great new places aren't being talked about in Chowhound...and I believe it is because people can't find us! I've resorted to going to other websites to get info on Reno restaurants and stores...something I've never done in the past. Its sad. And you are losing eyes for your advertisers.

State lines are not always drawn for geographic reasons. And states are big out here in the West. I would like to ask once again that if you are revamping things you consider taking my fair city out of the "Southwest" Board. I would like visitors to come here to read about some of the great culinary changes happening here....but no one would even think to look in "Southwest" for Reno. At least if we were grouped with other Mountain West states we might have a chance, but frankly "Northern California and Reno/Tahoe Area" (as it used to be) makes the most sense. You are losing readership as a result of this short-sighted decision. Thank you for letting me rant.

Tell us about your Thanksgiving disaster

I'm not sure this qualifies as a true disaster, but here goes:

Since the family wasn't doing a big Thanksgiving this year, I invited a few friends who have no real family and were stuck in town working anyway. These folks had never been to my house for dinner before, and I was anxious to please.

The turkey was perfect (I use the Alton Brown Good Eats recipe; can't stand him, love the recipe...). The potatoes were good, stuffing was good, veggie side dish for my veggie husband (stuffed poblanos) was good albeit a bit on the spicy side. We started with a lovely salad and then served the main courses buffet style (table wasn't big enough for all the food!).

After dinner we were sitting around talking and watching the (disastrous) game, and DH asked me: "Why does the microwave keep beeping as if something was ready"? That was the moment I realized the brussel sprouts were still in there....I had roasted them beautifully with olive oil and a little maple syrup, but due to oven space had done it earlier in the day and stuck them in there to warm up prior to serving...

I was mortified, primarily because that was my only veggie other than the salad and roasted yams (do yams and mashed potatoes count as a veggie?;-) I was wondering if my guests were thinking that I am weird for not serving any veggies. As soon as I said, "Damn, I forgot to serve them" one of my guests blurted out "Too bad, brussel sprouts are David's favorite!" (David being her SO who was with her and probably thinking "I wish she hadn't said that...").

So I apologized about twenty times and made them a "to go" container of leftovers...including almost all the sprouts.

Sigh. The good news is that everything else came out great! And the sprouts I ate for breakfast were tasty ...

Nov 28, 2014
janetofreno in Home Cooking

Football Saturday, breakast/brunch...near Berkeley but out of heavy traffic? Must be Veggie Friendly

Curious about Le Bateau Ivre: Last time I ate there was probably when I was a student a million or so years ago...same ownership? Are they ok for dinner? For some reason I think of it as a brunch place...

Football during Thanksgiving dinner - am I a snob?

Yes, football, family, food, and friends. The four Fs: very important on Tday!

Nov 26, 2014
janetofreno in Not About Food
1

Football during Thanksgiving dinner - am I a snob?

Your home, your rules. If you want the TV off, it should be off. That being said, I also have a huge interest in watching the specific game you mentioned. That particular game will probably make or break the winning team's season (I myself will be rooting for the niners, who play Seattle). I am having friends over for Thanksgiving since various factors kept us from having a big family get-together this year. I have never had this couple over for dinner, and I have no idea if they are football fans or not (They are folks I know from work who are college-aged and have nowhere to go for the holiday, so I thought I would treat them...). So when I extended the invitation I was very clear: appetizers are at 3:30 and dinner will be served at approximately 4:00 pm. Kickoff for the game is 5:30 (Pacific time). We will eat dinner without tv and enjoy each other's company, and then enjoy pie with the game. I told them that if they are horribly bored by football they need not feel obligated to stay for the entire game, but they are of course welcome to do so (and continue to nibble as they watch). They were fine with that...

DH and I will watch the am game as his Bears are playing...so will watch while we cook. There is a game in between but its not one we're interested in...so might have it on but will turn it off as soon as our guests show...

Nov 26, 2014
janetofreno in Not About Food

Football Saturday, breakast/brunch...near Berkeley but out of heavy traffic? Must be Veggie Friendly

Update: plans changed again and we ended up doing an early dinner after the game instead of brunch. So I went with Juhu Beach Club, because I've been wanting to try it. Food was good (some dishes better than others), but I doubt we'll be going again anytime soon. Service was abysmal. We arrived right at 5:30 pm with a reservation, and the place was full in about five minutes (they open at 5:30). Now keep in mind that we were with my son, his girlfriend, and her parents, and we were treating in return for several very nice meals at their house.

I wish they had cocktails and not just beer and wine; the food called out for a good cocktail. Or maybe it was having just left that game that made me crave one. We all had various beers from the selection, and they were fine. The appetizers started out well enough: everyone really liked the Manchurian cauliflower in particular. There were a couple of others that we shared, but I don't remember what. I do remember ordering fries with three dips to share, and we all wanted to try them. Well, despite asking AT LEAST four times for the fries, and being assured that they were on their way, they never did appear. Fortunately they didn't appear on the bill either...

Unfortunately, things went downhill from there. Two of us received entrees, and the others didn't come out. We watched as every other table in the place, including many who were seated after us, received food...and still no entrees. The two who had them had ordered the tomato soup/grilled cheese combo...and they waited for us to eat (and that particular dish didn't seem nearly as appealing once cold...).

Finally after about twenty minutes had passed we flagged down our waitress (she had never come by to ask if everything was ok), and asked about our missing entrees. Her response: "Well, what did you order??" um...that's your job to know that, isn't it. She went off to the kitchen to inquire, and returned to tell us that the missing food would be right out. It finally showed up 15 minutes later after another inquiry. Well, most of it showed up...even though we asked again for those fries we never DID get them....

I had the shrimp, and it was just meh to me. Not very spicy and really not much flavor. The best part of my meal were the side dishes that come with the shrimp: a raita and two types of pickles. One was an apple/mustard/horseradish combo that I am definitely going to try and mimic at home some day. I could have eaten it as a salad. The spicy eggplant got mixed reviews: DH thought it was undercooked. But he likes his eggplant over-cooked:-) My son's girlfriend's father really enjoyed his, and I thought it was tasty as well. Someone had the two veggie pav "sliders" and really liked them both. Son and girlfriend were the ones with the tomato soup/cheese sandwich combos and so ate them cold...not the best way to do so.

I can only assume that the missing entrees were somehow lost in the shuffle and hence the lateness. The restaurant did bring out some complimentary chai at the end of the meal by way of apology...that was probably the single best part of the meal. Excellent chai! BTW, the chai was brought by the hostess...the waitress never DID apologize for either the lateness of the food OR the way that she rudely snapped "Well, what did you order"? and then went off to check on the missing food without so much as an "I'm sorry..."

But then there was an automatic 20 percent gratuity added to my husband's credit card payment because we were a party of six. He certainly did NOT intend to tip 20 percent; but was given no choice..nor did we notice anything on the menu about this policy.

OK, thank you for letting me vent. My son's potential future inlaws are some of the kindest people I know, and have treated him like their own during the stressful time of his medical residency (they live near him). We wanted to repay them for their kindness, but wanted a casual "fun" veggie-friendly place. Juhu Beach qualifies, and we enjoyed our time together, but I doubt we will return. DH is still mumbling about that tip....

Football Saturday, breakast/brunch...near Berkeley but out of heavy traffic? Must be Veggie Friendly

Trying to find a place to meet several folks for breakfast/brunch/whatever Saturday. It needs to be open early enough that we can make it to the 1pm kickoff of the Big Game...we do have a parking pass. But not all of us are going to the game, so we don't want to be anywhere where traffic or parking will be an issue. Must be veggie friendly.

I thought of Juhu Beach Club, but they don't open until 11:30 on Saturday. And there's always something like Vik's, but I'm looking for something a little more upscale where we can have more quiet conversation and maybe enjoy a mimosa.....

And all without being delayed by huge pregame crowds. Am I dreaming?

Vegetarian Thanksgiving ideas - for one...

ummm.....that sounds good!! And I also like the stuffed delicata squash idea below.

If nothing else, I am collecting some good ideas for household dinner entrees the rest of the winter! (This Thanksgiving dinner is an exception: usually our meals at home are all vegetarian and I save my meat eating for lunch or dinners out).

Vegetarian Thanksgiving ideas - for one...

For various reasons we have decided not to travel "over the hill" to California to spend Thanksgiving with our large family there (Don't worry, we'll be there for Christmas...this isn't a family thing:-). Our children will not be joining us: one is in Tokyo (he'll be with us for Christmas!) and the other is a physician who will be on call that weekend. I very much wanted and love a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, but since DH is vegetarian and I couldn't see turkey for one, I invited a college student I've known for years (actually met her when she was in high school in Las Vegas and I was working there; she now goes to school in our area). She is bringing her boyfriend, which is fine with me...and may end up with a couple of other college friends who aren't going home for the holidays or who are foreign students). I figured the "kids" would eat turkey and all of our sides would be vegetarian (no meat broths, etc)>

But I'm feeling a little guilty about no main course for DH. Of course, he would be perfectly happy with a good pumpkin or squash soup and some good mashed potatoes. But I would like a dish "just for him." (that everyone else could enjoy as well, of course). The thing is, he isn't into soy-based "fake" meats or even fake meatloafs (Today he ranted about vegetarian "bacon." ("I didn't know there was such a thing. If I wanted to eat bacon, I would eat the real thing!") He does love mushrooms. If anyone has any ideas for some type of fancy baked dish, perhaps with mushrooms, I would love to hear it! TIA!

Best/worst Thanksgiving ever...

This post made me think of one of our best Thanksgivings. My husband and I had won a week's trip to Mazatlan and a stay at a nice beach condo in a raffle.. Our children were very young (two and maybe five months), and we decided to pay to take my college-aged baby sister along as a babysitter (in return for a week in Mexico). (The condo was two bedrooms, and there was plenty of room).

Anyway, my sister and I scoured the markets of Mazatlan, and finally found a complete pavo (turkey) among the chickens. We managed to find most of the ingredients for a traditional Thanksgiving (pumpkin pie was a problem as we couldn't find pumpkin; but I make a decent apple pie so we settled for that. And bolillos make a great stuffing:-)

So we cooked a big meal and invited a couple of cute guys (Americans) that my sis had met out by the pool. They brought wine, tequila, and their guitars..and they turned out to be professional musicians. So we had a great dinner and they provided the after-dinner entertainment. It was a fun time, made more fun by the spontaneity (we decided just that morning to try and pull it off) and by the great music and fellowship (even if we never saw those guys again...)

Best/worst Thanksgiving ever...

I feel your pain. We used to live out in the country where there was no natural gas available and had to have propane. The companies are not regulated as public utilities. And there was the time that they turned off our propane (and thus our heat source) for non-payment, on Christmas Eve. In a snow storm. This despite the fact that when we called the emergency number they told us that in fact the shut off order was for a totally different address on our street. (Yes, we were totally current in our payments). They could admit that they had the wrong address, but had no one who could turn it back on until the end of the weekend (it was a Thursday Christmas Eve). (Yes, we eventually did get them to reimburse us for the cost of a hotel that weekend...)

Oct 31, 2014
janetofreno in Not About Food

Best/worst Thanksgiving ever...

Honestly, none have been too bad. There was the time my sister (not the chowhound one) hosted Thanksgiving and her sink plugged up that day...causing major cooking difficulties..but somehow she pulled it off.

My mother was not the best of cooks but her turkeys always seemed ok if not great, and there was always laughter and wine in the house, so who cares? I remember once they invited some students of my dad's (he was a college professor) who were from Australia, and the conversation mainly centered on how Americans could possibly like a pie made from a VEGETABLE! (ie pumpkin).

Food wise the worst was probably the time I spent Thanksgiving traveling from one of my husband's sibling's homes in the midwest to another....they are all vegetarian, and dinner consisted of french fries from McDonald's while in route. OTOH, I was with family, and I love them all, so who cares?? (Thankful now that the three of his siblings we are most likely to visit have all retired to Florida, and live literally on the beach. So visiting them is not a chore, and as long as my sister-in-law is there to cook I don't care WHAT is on the menu (she is the best cook I know. Furthermore, she is very observant. If she notices you like a certain food the first time she serves it, she makes sure to serve it again the next time you visit. And she knows to NEVER offer me bananas. She even makes me a version of her famous Undhiyu (a Gujarati stew) without one star ingredient (bananas), as she knows how much I dislike them....)

Sorry, off subject. But not really, Thanksgiving is about family and food, and I seem to be lucky in both respects, so no horror stories to tell and plenty of good ones......

Ooops!! Just remembered the time a friend decided to make pumpkin pies for our dorm for a pre-Thanksgiving Thanksgiving, and somehow substituted salt for the sugar....:-)

Oct 29, 2014
janetofreno in Not About Food
1

Reno Visit - Foodie Birthday Dinner & More

Be aware that 775 Gastropub closed a few months ago and is now a Cheesecake factory. Sigh.

I have heard Heritage may be noisy but haven't been there yet. The deck at Campo is nice and not very noisy but of course the time to sit out there is almost gone....

Oct 26, 2014
janetofreno in Southwest

"We don't take reservations for less than 6." Restaurant Owners Listen Up! [moved from Seattle board]

Lousy analogy (the SW vs. Delta thing): whether you have a reservation or not, presumably the prices are the same when you go to a restaurant. That first class seat costs waaayyy more than the Southwest seat. That being said, given the choice and assuming that the prices are the same, I will fly Southwest every time. For starters, the flight attendants are nicer. No "if you don't like it, go elsewhere" attitude there. Wish I could say the same for Delta:-). Oh, and they have better seats with more legroom. That comfort thing we were talking about...

Oct 19, 2014
janetofreno in Not About Food

"We don't take reservations for less than 6." Restaurant Owners Listen Up! [moved from Seattle board]

OK its official, *I'm* old. (Actually, I know for a fact that I'm the same age as susancinsf, does that make me old? ;-). I say this because I have absolutely no idea what FOMO means....I will say that I agree with her about the comfort thing: I share the same bad knees, and I have no idea sometimes how I'm expected to wait without a decent place to sit...

And speaking of breakfast, some breakfast restaurants are the worse offenders. I can think of some very popular places in the SF area (just as an example) where there is no bar (these are places designed for breakfast and maybe lunch; not even open for dinner) and no place to sit while you wait. Yet you drive past them on a Sunday morning (I never stop:-) and there is a line down the sidewalk (some of them sitting on the curb). If its raining then the folks actually stand in the rain. For eggs, bacon and toast and maybe lox and bagels. Sorry, but as Susan says....breakfast isn't worth it.

Actually, we almost never go out to breakfast. A breakfast out is usually reserved for vacation, often at a resorty place, with a view of the water and some good coffee....(and little or no wait...)

Oct 19, 2014
janetofreno in Not About Food

"We don't take reservations for less than 6." Restaurant Owners Listen Up! [moved from Seattle board]

LOL...I believe you that you didn't call her names:-) And I agree, that is just bizarre.

Sometimes I wonder if people are just expecting folks to be rude, and think they've been rude even if they haven't?? The entire "must be outside" thing is strange. All I can think is that they want everyone to THINK that they are the new "hot" place in town, so figure a good crowd at the outside tables will boost that image...(rather than half the tables outside empty, as they would be if they were sensible enough for people to let them eat inside....)

Sometimes you have to wonder about businesses....

Oct 17, 2014
janetofreno in Not About Food

Near Convention Center Denver, a place a variety of tastes will love...

Btw, Susan, I noticed in your other post that you ate at a place called Sugarmill next door to Los Chingones. I assume from your description it is a bakery or desert place of some sort. Do you know how late they are open on weeknights? I was thinking maybe Los Chingones (Aussies might like good Mexican food; I have a feeling they don't get it too often), followed by the dessert place for several among us with serious sweet addictions....Also, the group is expanding, so it looks more like 8 to 10: will those two places take that kind of crowd??

Oct 15, 2014
janetofreno in Mountain States

Near Convention Center Denver, a place a variety of tastes will love...

Thanks, taking a tram or a cab would be fine if its not too far....some of us might not want to walk far if the weather is cold anyway..(especially our Aussie friends, who are leaving summer to meet some of us for the first time). As for "not too expensive", I would say that no more than 50 bucks apiece including wine would be ok...but I'd rather keep it around 40....After all, the friends ARE coming from Australia for this meeting, and don't have all of their way paid...and at least one other friend is flying from Cleveland just to meet the Aussie gang; so we should keep costs down. Keep the suggestions coming, folks!

Oct 15, 2014
janetofreno in Mountain States

Near Convention Center Denver, a place a variety of tastes will love...

Several folks mentioned that this board is slow (Moderators?? Are you listening?? Maybe my suggestion to bring Reno and Nevada other than Vegas here would liven things up!!!)....so I am a little nervous about getting good suggestions: but here goes:

Looking for a casual, fun place for a small group dinner (six maybe?) on a Thursday night in November. Ethnic is ok, but the place must have good vegetarian options and gluten free options or we'll lose half the gang. Alcohol or at least good beer is important. Atmosphere, not so much..however, some of the folks in the group will be meeting for the first time after years of online friendship, so a place we can talk, laugh, linger and hear each other is a plus. Inexpensive is best. Easy access from the Convention Center is also best (either walking or public transportation).

My step-sister just moved away from the Denver area and she suggested Chef Zorba's. Sounds ok online, and I like Greek, but the fact that they do Mexican dishes as well is a little different....

Thoughts?

Oct 12, 2014
janetofreno in Mountain States

What's for Dinner #330 -- The Glorious Month Edition! [through Oct 18, 2014]

Love October too! Not only the leaves and the fun of fall, but football AND baseball!

I had planned to go to a meeting tonight, and had told DH he was on his own for dinner, but bagged it (we are both fighting a bug, and I wanted to rest).

So decided to make dinner from whatever I could rustle up without shopping. I made what might well be the last fresh tomato sauce of the season (don't worry, I have a TON frozen, this has been a banner year for tomatoes...to the point where I am actually almost tired of our home-grown beauties. Almost). There were a few eggplant left on the vine, so I added chopped eggplant to the sauce.

As I was making this, DH suggested baked ziti. OK, why not? I mixed the sauce with the cooked pasta, and added shredded bits of about three different cheeses (mozzarella, white cheddar, and parmesan) that we had leftover from different recipes. Topped it with more cheese, and baked until bubbly. Served with steamed broccoli and the house red. Gave the remote a work-out going back and forth between football and baseball. We are going out of town tomorrow, and will be back Sunday just in time to eat the leftovers.

Like you said, October is good.

The authenticity of a restaurant, or "what's the ethnicity of your server?"

Which actually gets to a point I wanted to make about ethnic restaurants: the best ones often ARE small, family owned businesses. And therefore the wait staff are often members of the family and of course therefore the same ethnicity.

Oct 09, 2014
janetofreno in Not About Food

Food-related allergies to non-food items?

Some of the plants mentioned may have certain oils/toxins/chemicals/whatever you want to call them in the leaves, husks etc that serve to protect the plants. The corn husk thing sounds like a true allergy, but there are other examples I can think of that are more like toxins, since they happen to everybody. The tomato plants are a good example; I think that many people get the itchies after digging around in the tomato plants. I know I do. I wonder sometimes if its a reaction to something on the leaves, or perhaps to some insects that are sharing those leaves. I know for a fact that I'm not allergic to the actual tomato fruit. Mangoes are another example...green mangoes contain a toxin that many people react to, but when the fruit ripens it goes away. It is an evolutionary protection that is designed to protect the fruit from animals before it is ripe and the seed is ready to be spread....

Oct 02, 2014
janetofreno in Not About Food

Why is Reno Southwest?

Thanks for posting that, Melanie. I never saw that discussion...but it seems that it occurred while I was living in Las Vegas, so I wasn't following the board nearly as much. I also note that it occurred prior to the real Reno food "renaissance" that I mentioned...which seems to have been over the past three years or so. Heck, I've seem some real changes in the 20 months or so I've been back here.

Despite that, Reno posts seem to be at an all-time low. Three of us seem to be having a conversation with ourselves half of the time. Again, I think its because people aren't finding us. The fact that you have to click on the little "i" to even learn where we are (when in fact we were somewhere else before) might be part of the problem. If you insist on making us Southwest, moderators, at least you could make it obvious to those glancing at the board list (as it used to be, before the cute little "i"s...took me awhile to figure out what that even was). At the very least, please consider saying something like "Reno is now in the Southwest board" on the description of California.

Actually, I would rather see Nevada as a Mountain West state (along with Idaho, Colorado, etc) than Southwest. The only food posts from Southern Nevada are from the Vegas area anyway, and they get their own board. The rest of the state identifies FAR more with Mountain West than Southwest. In fact, if I were looking for Reno for the first time it would NEVER occur to me to look in Southwest. I would go for Mountain West, unless I were to click on the little i and realize it wasn't there. And then I would have no idea. And areas such as Elko, Winnemucca, Ely, etc (which do have some food options) would definitely identify with Mountain West.

Oct 02, 2014
janetofreno in Site Talk
1

Why is Reno Southwest?

Time was when Reno was included in the Northern CA board, and then all of Nevada (except of course for Las Vegas) was moved to the Southwest board. I understand the why of it, sort of...after all Reno is NOT in Northern CA. But (and yes, I'm sure I'm not the first person to say this), neither is it the "Southwest." West, sure. But keep in mind that Reno is actually located north of the San Francisco area. Hard to describe that as Southwest. In fact, I would argue its closer to "Northwest."

But the real problem is that there are far fewer posts about Reno food than there used to be. There are really only a handful of us that post anymore. And remember, despite my handle I was living in Vegas for awhile, so that significantly reduced my Reno posts.

My theory is that people simply aren't finding us. The average visitor to Reno probably wouldn't think of looking in "Southwest" - after all, most visitors here come from areas South of us (SF, Sacramento, and other parts of CA). And that's a shame, because Reno has really had a food renaissance in the last few years. I would hate to see Chowhounds miss out on all the goodness.

One other possible reason for the slow-down: traditionally our area draws a lot from Northeastern CA and from the Lake Tahoe area. After all, someone visiting Lake Tahoe from afar and flying there will land at the "Reno-Tahoe" Airport. And they might want to stop and have a nice meal in Reno before heading up the mountain. But if they are chowhounds, they would be searching the California board for Tahoe info and might miss out on the Reno choices. Again, their loss. And people living in the Tahoe area and in Northeastern California often go to Reno for their shopping and entertainment...yet for chowhound recs they have to go to an entirely different board.

Actually, many Nevadans would argue that the entire state of Nevada shouldn't be classified as "Southwest." Traditionally, we think of ourselves as a Western State...and I certainly wouldn't think to look in Southwest for any part of Nevada. (With the possible exception of Las Vegas, which is of course a place unto itself with its own Chowhound board....) Remember too that descriptions of the areas are not immediately visible; instead you have to click on the little "i".

Look at a map, Chowhound moderators. See how far north Reno actually is. and then perhaps reconsider our designation as part of the "Southwest."

Oct 02, 2014
janetofreno in Site Talk
1

SK Noodles Sparks - Vegetarian "Pho"

I'm not a pho expert, but my understanding is that by definition pho contains beef. I could be wrong on that. OTOH, the soup is NOT listed as "vegetarian pho" but something like "vegetable and tofu noodle soup" as stated above...so the owners at least choose not to call it pho.

Sep 30, 2014
janetofreno in Southwest

SK Noodles Sparks - Vegetarian "Pho"

Several friends have always said they liked SK Noodles (In Sparks in the strip mall at the corner of Pyramid and McCarran; near Bully's). Even though its really only a short drive from my house, we had yet to eat there until yesterday.

First of all, the restaurant serves both Vietnamese dishes (mostly Pho) as well as Chinese. I noted that some online reviews were less than favorable, but the folks who posted them mostly had the Chinese dishes. Well, I know the owners (very nice folks), and know they are Vietnamese, and that and the fact that, well, the NAME of the place includes the words "Noodles" it was pretty obvious to me that you go there for the Pho.

And that is problematic for us, and another reason why we probably haven't been there sooner. DH is vegetarian, and finds it difficult to find a good vegetarian noodle soup. Until now. I just wanted to let Reno area Chowhounds know that SK Noodles' "vegetable and tofu noodle soup" (#9 on the menu) is well worth the trip. You have your choice of chicken or vegetable broth, of course DH had it with the veggie broth. It was a good one: good vegetable flavor without being too salty. And the vegetables in the soup were not only plentiful they were very fresh and definitely not overcooked. Last night's version had carrots, broccoli, snow peas, cabbage, water chestnut, and other goodies, as well as plenty of noodles and tofu. It was so good I almost regretted not ordering it myself.

Almost. After all, the pho tai was also very good (excellent broth with a good anise taste), and had plenty of beef to satisfy the cravings I get sometimes (since we do not eat beef at home..). Both soups came with the usual condiments and herbs. Dinner for two including a beer and tea, tax and tip was just around 20 dollars, and we left stuffed. Hard to argue with that.

Sep 25, 2014
janetofreno in Southwest

Kids and Allergies - long and a bit of a rant.

And I understand the concern about little children touching something and then licking their hands. But if that little exposure can cause a reaction I would hope the parents would teach them not to do it at a very young age. And certainly a middle-school child with a serious allergy should know to always wash their hands before and after eating, and not to use their fingers to "taste" things....

Sep 20, 2014
janetofreno in Not About Food

Kids and Allergies - long and a bit of a rant.

My statement about parents having unreasonable expectations of the school's ability to keep their child safe was not about that particular school or any school for that matter. It was just an observation based on statements made by fellow parents at my children's schools over the years. Heck, I remember a parent encouraging me to sue my kid's school because he ran into the basketball pole on the playground when he was looking for the ball and not watching where he was going and needed stitches. "The school should have taken out that pole. Why was that pole there anyway?" um....because it holds up the net needed for the game??? Again, it was a general statement based on years of personal observation.

Sep 20, 2014
janetofreno in Not About Food

Kids and Allergies - long and a bit of a rant.

Oh I get that parents don't read stuff that comes home. That's a given. And I wasn't trying to speculate about one particular school and their options without going first to them ... after all the school in question is probably about 3500 miles away from where I live. Rather, my friend (the one who received the letter) was wondering whether to challenge the school about it...wondering why there was suddenly so much concern in middle school when no such restrictions had existed with younger children. She honestly wasn't sure if it was school policy or just an over-anxious principal...or whether there were some problems specific to that school. And frankly, she was afraid to go to the school with her concerns. She was afraid if she brought up the subject she might be criticized for being uncaring, for not understanding what other people go through, etc, etc. Can't imagine where she got that idea:-) But seriously, if you have children in a school you want them to stay and be happy in, you generally try not to challenge the school administration unless it is absolutely necessary. And that is doubly true when your child is a soon-to-be 13 year old who is embarrassed if her mom even shows up at the school, much less questions school policy. So she started a conversation with HER friends to help her decide what, if anything, she should do about her concerns. And I thought it was an interesting discussion, and one that has bothered me at times in similar situations, so I posed it here. To my knowledge she has yet to discuss things with the school.

Sep 20, 2014
janetofreno in Not About Food

Kids and Allergies - long and a bit of a rant.

OK, I'm still thinking about the discussion here, and its keeping me up tonight. So, in answer to a few statements/questions: yes, of course the letter came from the school. And if you read my original post my question was not why it was sent home but if chowhounds felt that the requests made were reasonable. I suspect that whoever said that it probably was the result of several kids with several allergies is absolutely correct. I don't think there is one kid with all those allergies. But how did the list get made in the first place? Did the school ask the parents "Does your child have any allergies?" and then just put every food stuff mentioned in the letter, without first attempting to determine how severe the allergies were and without asking for confirmation from a doctor? If so, then they are motivated more by fear of lawsuits than common sense. Although frankly, I can understand why they might have the fear: its pretty obvious to me after reading the responses here and to similar posts on chowhound that this is a very emotional issue. Its also pretty obvious to me that parents may have unreasonable expectations of the school's ability to keep their child safe, so the school administration feels the necessity to CYA no matter what. Of course, to do so is impossible...but at least the school has the letter to point to if something does go wrong.

I still maintain that "my child has an allergy" means something entirely different than "if my child even touches that he will go into anaphylactic shock". Unfortunately, in this electronic age we immediately hear all the horror stories and they tend to make us afraid of everything. (Oh, and off topic, but chemicals and the like may have been as much of a problem when I was growing up in the 50s and 60s as they are now. Read Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring"). Parents hear "your child is allergic to ______" and don't really understand what that means, so they act as if any exposure could kill their child when the reality is that (as already pointed out) deaths from ingesting allergens are really quite rare. And I'm not blaming parents for having those fears; doctors who don't take the time to explain carefully the exact situation are as much at fault as anyone...

Actually, poor education is to blame all around. Perhaps if there are children with allergies at a school it SHOULD be a learning experience for all...explain to the kids in terms they can understand exactly what an allergy is, and how some are worse than others and why, and what to do about it...(and how to recognize the signs). I have been reading some of the discussions on food allergies elsewhere on chowhound as I think about this entire subject..and there really is a lot of misunderstanding there. I had to restrain myself from opening up an argument on another thread that was ended months ago...because I noticed someone took offense to the fact that I tried to distinguish between what I would call a "toxic" effect with an allergy. They became almost angry, even though I used the word "toxic" in the scientific/medical sense. To them, "toxic" means that the effect builds up inside until you could possibly die..and the effect I described wasn't "toxic" because it wouldn't potentially kill you, so they insisted that I use the word "irritant" instead of "toxic." Whatever... Folks are so used to hearing toxic in a highly negative sense (ie "toxic waste") that they don't understand that the definition doesn't have to be that dire. The word "allergy" has come to have the same highly negative connotation....

OK, off this late-night rant now. The only point I was trying to make with my original post was that it seems sensible (to me, at least) to have a discussion about allergies and school kids, to educate, and to let medical personnel help determine what is appropriate and what isn't.....

Sep 18, 2014
janetofreno in Not About Food