Another roadside attraction

Think all the great ethnic foods come from other countries? Do a culinary tour of the United States of Reno.

The U.S. of A. has great culinary traditions of its own. Here are a few excellent tastes and iconic regional dishes from around the country that are available in Reno.

New York: Nu Yalk Pizza

3305 Kietzke Lane, 826-8508

I have friends who won’t eat at this pizza joint just because of the horrible spelling of the name. Which is too bad because it’s good pizza that’s fairly representative of the classic New York by-the-slice style. My memory might deceive me, but it seems like 10 or 15 years ago, this place was just called “New York Pizza.” Why the heck would they change it?

North Carolina: Carolina Kitchen& BBQ Company

950 Glendale Ave., Sparks, 359-4776

This restaurant’s logo is a smirking and hungry-looking pig holding some kind of skewer in one hoof and waving a North Carolina flag with the other. He wears a hat that reads, “Got Pork?” I love the Southern tradition of using cute but cannibalistic animals to sell their own meat. This excellent, big ol’ barn of a dining house serves up great North Carolina-style barbecue, along with all the fixin’s.

California: California Avenue Deli

1201 California Ave., 322-3354

My working definition of the term “California cuisine” is “with extra avocado.” It doesn’t even have to be something that would normally come with avocado—in fact, so much the better. If you add avocado to, say, chicken chow mein, then you’re creating “fusion,” the cornerstone of California cuisine. Reno’s California Avenue is an attempt to recreate the entire state on one street. There are cool bars and fashionable boutiques, and it’s always lunchtime. Though there are only one or two options for dinner, there a million viable luncheon spots—and they all have their merits. California Avenue Deli serves up some good soups and sandwiches, and they’re sensible enough to include the location in the name of the deli.

Nevada: Great Basin Brewing Company

846 Victorian Ave., Sparks, 355-7711

Do you know my favorite part of the country? Northern Nevada. Do you know what culinary taste I associate most closely with the region? Ichthyosaur India Pale Ale. Icky tastes like home.

Hawaii: L&L Hawaiian Barbecue

4991 S. Virginia St., Unit B, 677-8888

Sure, this is a chain. But at least it’s a chain offering up something far more unusual than, say, Boston Market or KFC. I love all their funky chicken and pork dishes. And nobody—nobody—uses Spam better than the Hawaiians.