Cottage cuisine

Diners at the recently opened Voila! enjoy their food al fresco.

Diners at the recently opened Voila! enjoy their food al fresco.

Photo By David Robert

Voila! Café and Catering Company

522 California Ave.
Reno, NV 89509

(775) 324-4628

I was just in New York, where, of course, I ate a lot of pizza. Like an amateur, I managed to burn the roof of my mouth on a piping hot slice. It felt raw for the past few days, and I’ve been experimenting with how different foods affect the injury. For example, the bubbling sweetness of soda gives me a pleasurable thrill, citrus fruits taste like electricity, and the corners of the flakes in raisin bran feel like I’m washing my mouth with ninja weapons.

So I was happy to abstain from my usual breakfast fare in order to visit this little place. Voila! has been a catering company for a few years but just opened up this primely located lunch and breakfast nook. It’s a cute little cottage with fresh flowers and some nice, albeit girly, paintings. It fits in perfectly on California, the avenue, and the fresh, avocado-drenched flavors taste like the cuisine of California, the state.

I was torn between the morning panini ($7.95), a grilled egg, bacon and avocado sandwich; and the breakfast tostada ($8.95) with eggs, cheeses, chorizo, avocado cream and pico de gallo on a tortilla. Don’t both of those sound great? I hate making decisions about breakfast. Especially because such decisions are usually made pre-coffee and therefore with zero cognitive ability. I almost just ordered both. Instead, I asked the very friendly woman behind the counter which she’d recommend.

“The tostada,” she said, without a moment’s hesitation. “Because not only is it awesome, it’s also beautiful.” She had the air of a favorite aunt who feeds you stuff your parents won’t let you eat.

And she was right. It is awesome and very prettily presented. It has a diverse and complementary set of flavors. The eggs and cheese felt funky on my mouth wound, almost more like a smell than a taste. The chorizo and spicy pico de gallo made the injury feel ticklish. The crispy, oniony, slightly burned taste of the home fries felt good in a standing-too-close-to-the-campfire way. The brittle tortilla was slightly ninja-weapon-like, and the avocado cream was quite soothing.

My girlfriend, Sara, had the Southwest frittata ($7.95), a dish somewhere between a quiche and an omelette with avocado (of course), red peppers, onions and cheeses served with fruit and a biscuit. She was happy with it, though I found it a bit too “eggy,” which I suppose is not a valid complaint about an egg-based dish. The fruits were all mighty fresh. Even the cantaloupe was sweet and juicy, and cantaloupe is usually nasty.

“I feel full but not like I ate something gross,” said Sara after the meal. I believe she was referring to that bloated, I-need-to-go-spend-30-minutes-in-the-bathroom feeling that sometimes follows a big breakfast. I actually enjoy that feeling but didn’t miss it. (With that and the mouth-burn business, I’m totally outing myself as some sort of culinary masochist).

The servings at Voila! are large, but the food is light and crisp. It’s big breakfast flavor without big breakfast fatass.

As we were leaving, the lunch rush was picking up. Everyone was sitting outside on the front deck, and all the plates looked great. The lunch menu is an intriguing selection of salads and sandwiches. Rest assured, I’ll be back to investigate them. This place warrants multiple visits.