Writers’ choices

Illustration By Shawn Turner

Best secret route by which to get to Spanish Springs from downtown Reno during afternoon rush hour

Yeah, right. Like we’re gonna give that up.

Best place to be artsy

Nevada Fine Arts 1030 E. Fourth St., 786-1128
It’s hard to argue with success. Some of the big-box arts and crafts stores have really cut into the local world of framers and art-supply dealers here in Northern Nevada. Still, when it comes right down to friendly, unrushed, personal and knowledgeable service, the folks down at the Grand Old Dame of Nevada art supplies can’t be beat. If you’re after premade holiday dining-room table centerpieces and mass-produced wreaths, Nevada Fine Arts probably isn’t the place you are looking for; but if you want the finest grade oil paints, charcoals or brushes, you’ve come to the right place.

Best small place to feel welcome while learning

Sparks Heritage Museum 820 Victorian Ave., Sparks 355-1144
The best museums are the ones without chrome and glass. Sparks Heritage Museum is a great example. The museum is not just about Sparks but about all things Nevada. But Sparks is a part of it, and you and your family can often meet some of the Rail City’s history makers staffing the facility, which was recently expanded into the old Sparks branch of the county library.

Best tacos in Sparks

Lupita’s Mexican Restaurant & Bar 668 E. Prater Way, Sparks, 335-1770
If you’re looking for the savory, delectable kind of tacos you’d find at a taquería, but could do without the parking-lot ambiance, Lupita’s is the place for you. The Mexican restaurant, on the east corner of the McCarran Plaza in Sparks, sells the tasty morsels for 95 cents a pop in choices like asada (beef), lengua (tongue) and al pastor (pork) among others. While you’re waiting for your meal to arrive, watch a game of fútbol on one of the seven televisions. You’ll have plenty of tortillas and salsa to tide you over. The restaurant’s salsa is always spicy, but if the heat becomes too much to take, put out the fire with a cool glass of horchata. One bite into those tacos brimming with seasoned meats, cilantro, onion and a squeeze of lime, and it’s a fiesta in your mouth. Viva Lupita’s!