My lunch buddy called the other day and said, “Let’s go to CinCin”. Now I thought it was a bit odd that he was thinking of drinking during the day but a cold martini at The El Dorado Resort Casino’s iconic
Cin Cin Bar and Lounge sounded good. I was looking forward to clinking glasses and enjoying a luncheon martini, visions of Dynasty’s Joan Collins dressed in a white power suit with a large brimmed hat were dancing in my head. I believe I put on more jewelry than usual. My friend picked me and breezed past the El Dorado and headed towards Pyramid. I began to inquire, “What the heck?” He said, “I wanted you to try Chin Chin a Chinese-Thai-Hibachi Restaurant. I had been talking about northern Nevada needing a hibachi restaurant so his lunch spot was well intended.
Chin Chin is off Los Altos Parkway and walking in the door I was stuck by what a lovely space. It was a very hot day and between the décor and air conditioning I felt very cool. The staff is attentive, helpful with the menu, and the moment my glass was half-empty it was being filled. My problem is their menu is filled with some of my favorite dishes – so what to order was a dilemma. On their appetizer menu Hand Made Pot Stickers leapt out, I quickly inquired if they were fried or steamed, and was greeted with the retort all “foodies” wish to hear, both. My six perfectly crafted pot stickers arrived at the table in a steamer basket that had just been lifted from the steamer tray; they were warm and succulent and cut like butter. The accompanying sweet chili sauce was lightly pungent so I just kept dipping. Chin Chin has a special lunch menu, the food is delicious, I enjoyed Mongolian Shrimp – the lunch menu comes with brown/white or fried rice, a spring roll and soup, the price was $7.95. My lunch mate went for a Hibachi Dinner of miso soup, salad, fried rice, zucchini, onions, mushroom, and broccoli with his jumbo shrimp. I speared one of his shrimp and dunked it in a ramekin of sauce, I found myself with three lovely bites – the shrimp are a very nice size. Ladies at another table advised us that Chin Chin’s Thai cuisine is excellent, they dine at Chin Chin once a week, and the degree of spice can be adjusted – so real hot or not. Chin Chin has vegetarian plates and low calorie “spa cuisine” along with lots and lots of noodle dishes. What caught my eye, and I will be returning to try, is the Grand Mariner Walnut Shrimp and with that I’m going to have that martini. Cheers! Chin Chin, 222 Los Altos Pkwy. Suite 102 Sparks, (775) 870-9595 (chinchinnv.com).
We were lucky enough to meet Chef David Holman of Campo Sparks at his grand opening and got a chance to “grill” him about his career. David hails from Stockton, California and was/is part of the agriculture scene with a connection to all the wondrous edibles that are grown year-round from the small farmers and Stockton’s famous asparagus. He attended the Culinary Institute of America and completed his AOS in Culinary Arts and BA in hospitality and management. David joins Campo Sparks after a 14-year career with the Charlie Palmer Group. David started with Chef Palmer at his world famous restaurant Aureole in New York City. Later he moved to Aureole Las Vegas and eventually moved to Reno seven years ago as the Executive Chef at Palmer Grand Sierra Resort overseeing Charlie Palmer Steak, Fin Fish and Briscola.
David hails from a family (they were all at Campo’s Ribbon Cutting – nice to see fam-support) who believes in sitting down to dinner together. One of his fondest memories is an Easter dinner and his Aunt Joye’s cake, it’s a cake David makes to this day, and shhh, don’t tell Aunt Joye but he’s mastered her secret recipe. Christmas-time with David’s mom is spent making holiday cookies to give to family and friends, there was a rumor/legend of a “great cookie exchange” but we need more info on that. David’s passion for cooking started at the age of twelve. One of his chores was to prepare dinner once a week for his family. His mom enjoyed themed dinners and together they planned the menu and their dinners became more and more elaborate. One of his early dinners included wonton soup and fermented bean cakes for dessert thus awakening his passion for finding new flavors and learning new cooking techniques which continues to this day. David makes bread at home weekly with his wife, Lara, and their two children. The seasonality of food has expanded David’s joy of working with authentic ingredients from local ranchers, farmers, growers, boutique specialty food products, etc. Working with local providers creates a true connection between what is grown and harvested and lands on your table. His preference is for the freshest ingredients and being able to support small-farm economics; David reminded me that even oysters have seasons just not tomatoes. Speaking of xx his favorite dish is Clam Chowder, the New England kind with great clams, bacon and potatoes. So when dining at Campo Sparks and if you see Clam Chowder is on the menu, I’d order it. Campo Sparks, 137 Los Altos Parkway, Sparks, (775) 501-8970 (camporneo.com)
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