I’d eat Chinese food every day. It’s my absolute favorite and when I’m in China I mainly eat from carts or street vendors, so I can get my fill of chicken feet, fish livers and scales, jellyfish or beef stomach. We forget that China has always been an overpopulated country, so people were forced to be creative to survive and, centuries ago, livestock farming was less developed than in other countries so meat was scare and had to be stretched by blending it with other ingredients.
When I moved back to Sparks I was thrilled at how many Chinese restaurants we have. One of my favorites is The Wok Chinese Cuisine on Silverada Blvd. and you can’t go wrong with Soochow’s lunch it’s just so inexpensive and flavorful. This particular Tuesday my dining partner and I decided to give Shanghai Restaurant and Sushi House a try. We didn’t regret the trip and I’ve been back for take-out since and keep reminding myself we need to try the sushi side. The lunch specials are plentiful, so I had to have an appetizer, cucumber salad from the Japanese side, while deciding on what to order for lunch. I finally settled on Pork Szechuan, in a fragrant spicy sauce, which came with fried rice and an egg roll. My dining companion had the Basil Chicken, and I don’t know if they spanked the basil but I do know the smell was pungent, sweet fresh basil. We both slurped down the Hot and Sour Soup with just the right amount of cornstarch so it’s not gummy. In talking to our server, she said they do a lot of party trays for catering events, just in case you’re looking for something different this holiday season.
Shanghai Restaurant & Sushi House, 1269 Baring Blvd., Sparks 775-358-1122 (shanghaisparks.com)
Oktoberfest 2016 is in full swing in Munich Germany. On Sept. 17 the Mayor of Munich tapped the first keg of Oktoberfest beer and the festival lasts until the traditional gun-salute on the Bavaria monument steps on Oct. 3.
I’ve been fortunate to have enjoyed a few festivals. So beer in Munich made me think of beer in America and I found there are over 4,500 breweries in America and new ones opening at the rate of about two per day so we’re drowning in suds. With so many breweries it can be hard to differentiate oneself among the glut. I really don’t want to hear about another sour beer. I just want to take this opportunity at Oktoberfest to say: There’s nothing wrong with simply making great beer, in taking quality malts, great hops, and adventurous yeasts and putting them together in stylistically interesting ways. Great beer without dumb gimmicks can still get you attention – simply make a world-class saison or stout and people will come and drink and post and fame will follow. I’m going to spend the month of October visiting local breweries in northern Nevada so keep reading this month for my thoughts on the local hops.
Many cities have “restaurant weeks” where participating establishments offer three-or-five-course tasting menus at special discounts. I’ve been to restaurant weeks in Portland, Oregon and Santa Ynez Valley, California in the last two years. The weeks gave me such a great taste of the city and I also got a wonderful package price which included a hotel. During the week, I was also able to enjoy special pricing for lunch, cocktails and brunch – basically I hit my hotel room, got a list and started eating and drinking; what more could a food writer ask for – plus I’m a big believer in prix fixe menus. I had no idea until last week that we have Reno Bites – a restaurant week. I’m going to protest. I want a Sparks Bites. I learned about Reno Bites taking place the week of Oct. 10 thru Oct. 19.
Two intrepid entrepreneurs are sponsoring the 5th Annual Reno Bites. I called and inquired why no Sparks? Now I pretty much knew what the answer would be; just too much to pull off a dual city event involving food – and that was the answer. Check out Reno Bites website or Facebook and find the great deals that local restaurants are offering the week of Oct. 10. renobitesweek.com or facebook.com/RenoBites
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