My childhood Thanksgiving dessert memories include mincemeat, pumpkin and pecan pie. Something you learned when you were old enough to grapple with a fork was that the mincemeat pie was for the “grown-ups” while the kids usually ended up with pumpkin pie topped with a Matterhorn-sized spritz of aerosol whipped cream. As we grew, we realized – one by one – that when we were offered the mincemeat pie and had ascended from the kid’s table to the grown-up’s table, we would be called upon to talk sports, politics and religion when eating our pie.
Mincemeat pie has always been a favorite pies reserved for holiday baking, a rite of passage from one Thanksgiving to the next. Over the last few years mincemeat pie has become as hard to find as a jeweled squid. A friend the other day told me that mincemeat pie has become to Thanksgiving what fruitcake is to Christmas – a thing of the past! Once the shock wore off I vowed to find the perfect Thanksgiving pie – one that we do not have to toil over, something that is expertly created, delicious and pick-up-able, hopefully at curbside, valet or dare we say delivered.
On our quest we first spoke with Anthony at Lavender Box Bakery, which offers pumpkin pie, pecan pie and a French silk pie. The tarts stole our heart, however. The bakery’s 10-inch tarts are on a shortbread crust, and you can choose from pumpkin, pecan, Dutch apple or (dare we say our favorite) pear and fig. If you prefer you can order individual tarts. 885 Sparks Blvd. #100 Sparks 775-737-4551 (lavenderboxbakery.net)
Talking to Mary Allstead, co-owner at Levi’s Pies/Mix Cupcake Co., was such fun. Mary and her partner Kris Daters are the kind of people you want to buy pie from since they are excited about what they are baking. Mary tells me their top selling pie is salted caramel apple, an apple medley roasted with warm spices in a flakey double crust and topped with handmade salted caramel sauce. They also have a classic pumpkin and a classic pecan pie. Get your orders in now because Mary says they are pre-selling pies quickly. You can order Levi’s Pies online (mixcupcakeco.com) or call them. Oh, did I mention that Levi’s Pies/Mix Cupcake Co. will DELIVER your pie? How much do we love that! 655 Booth St., Reno 775-329-1748
Homage Bakery & Coffeehouse is serious about its pie. By the time I was done talking to Deborah I was looking for my “wellies” these pies are deep dish – 2-4 inches deep and up to 4 pounds of apples. Homage Bakery (homagebakery.com) has a “family” of pies that bring their own character to the dinner table.” I enjoyed reading about the entire pie “family” as much as I enjoyed my conversation with Deborah, mother of Nicholle Alumbaugh, the chef and owner of Homage. If your mom says you make a delicious pie, you make a delicious pie! Among the choices are the “Laughing Girl,” a walnut-ginger crumble pumpkin pie, and the “Gentle Father,” a pecan-topped carrot-cake pie. Oh, and check out the “Audacious Aunt,” a pineapple pie (rare to find). 519 Ralston St. Reno, NV 775-323-8952
One final Thanksgiving tip -Rapscallion Seafood House, 1555 S. Wells Ave., Reno 775-323-1211 (rapscallion.com). The iconic restaurant, celebrating its 39th year, has quite the Thanksgiving dinner. Soup or salad, turkey, cornbread stuffing, mashed potatoes and all the fixings for $39 -and better yet, you can take it home- Rapscallion will be open from 2-7 p.m. on Thanksgiving -get your take-out order in prior to Thanksgiving Day. And then steal a scene from Mrs. Doubtfire – pick-up, plate-up, serve – hopefully no one will realize Chef Richie prepared dinner and not you. If you’re not a turkey lover, Rapscallion has seafood, beef, and pasta entrees available. They are booking quickly so reserve a cabin or table now.
I went in rogue this week to Lupita’s Mexican Restaurant (660 E. Prater Way, Sparks 775-355-1770). Lupita’s is one of my favorite Mexican restaurants in Northern Nevada. I eat out five to six times per week, hence why I write a food column – one of the reasons I enjoy Lupita’s is they have so many à la carte options so you don’t have to opt for the rice and beans or hassle a substitution (and truly once the rice and beans are on the plate how do you not tuck into them, just a bite, another bite – you know the drill). The restaurant can be a little difficult to find since it is at the end and on the side of the mall, facing Rapid Cash. Lupita’s has a second location in Incline Village. On the weekends and late evening the bar is really hopping and can get a little loud but we find the activity and chatter fun and lively – I say this because some people like their enchiladas a little more quietly – if the bar is busy or if you are going in late in the night – simply ask for the order “to go” they do a great job packaging food for take-out and I always get home with more guacamole and sour cream than a self-respecting individual can eat. The chicken, pork or shredded beef tamales are divine and made at the restaurant. I can’t help myself and usually take a couple “to-go” – nothing like a tamale and fried egg for breakfast. The tortilla chips are fresh and hot when they arrive, so we immediately grab one to scoop into the salsa – red, spicy, rich with tomatillos, fresh chunks of red onions, chilies, lime and just the right amount of garlic. Another day I went in for a late lunch, I was joined by a friend, we had two margaritas our lunch specials and I ordered a lunch special to take home and the bill was $30. Not only delicious food at Lupita’s Mexican Restaurant but at a delightful price.
New restaurant news…Feast is opening on California at South Virginia Street we know only because they are on Facebook announcing their opening. Over the past few months we’ve watched their remodel process and are excited to see what they have done with this great old brick building. We left a couple of messages but didn’t hear back from them – so we will stop by once the restaurant is open. If you need a landmark you can find Feast across the street from the revolving, flashing Wild Orchid sign.
Two weeks ago we forgot to mention that ACF High Sierra Chefs Association fundraiser at Hidden Valley Country Club was for their scholarship fund; if you would like to donate to them call 775-848-8305 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re going to blame these oversights on the Zinfandel or the memory of the “Cherry-Chipolte-Barbecue-Sauce” from BJ’s Nevada Barbecue Company in Sparks.
Mark your calendar for “Gotham – A Fundraiser for Reno Sculpture Fest”
Date: Saturday, Nov. 21, 2015 8 p.m. to 3 a.m. – Cargo, Whitney Peak Hotel.
The event features headline music performances by Russ Liquid and Dirtwire with support by Hullabaloo, Irieyes and Ross Jenssen. Tickets: http://renosculpturefest.com/gotham/
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