Food and Drink

Writers’ choices

Illustration By Shawn Turner

Best place for a family outing

Lazy 5 Regional Park 7100 Pyramid Lake Highway, Spanish Springs 424-1801
Like the South Meadows, the Spanish Springs valley is quickly filling up with homes and businesses (and if some people have their way, a few neighborhood casinos). But in the midst of all the new housing developments lies the Lazy 5 Regional Park. The park is a verdant island in a sea of sagebrush and includes some of the tallest trees in the valley. Families looking for ways to keep their kids occupied during a long summer break can take advantage of the park’s playground, volleyball courts, horseshoe pits, multi-purpose field, water park and skateboarding park. Healthy bodies also require healthy minds, so a trip to the new Spanish Springs Library is also recommended. The park is open all year, so even when the temperatures start to dip below freezing, there’s still plenty to do. The community center is open for classes and special events, such as the annual It’s a Wonderful Christmas craft fair in December.

Best place to receive a terrorist threat

Green Room 144 West St., 324-1224
“Want an Irish carbomb?” the cheerful bartender asks before propounding her latest film and passing around schooners half-filled with Guinness beer. What the heck? There are few things that we intrepid Northern Nevadans haven’t idly sipped and lived to tell about. Suspend a shot-glass with a mixture of Irish Whiskey and a Bailey’s Irish Cream knockoff over your glass of stout, drop it in and, as the liquors combine in a rich foamy explosion, down the mixture. It tastes a lot better than you’d imagine, and while you watch your more experienced, but less-coordinated, friends spill their drinks all over the bar, you can bask in the Irish-esque camaraderie. A word of warning: While the initial consumption of this libation is usually pretty harmless, the results of drinking three more liquors on top of whatever you’re drinking may sometimes cause an exploding head the following morning.

Best place to save some cash on the monthly food bill

Grocery Outlet
No, not Winco or Wal-Mart or some secret Farmer’s Market. We’re talkin’ about the snazzily named Grocery Outlet stores. The one in Reno is at Peckham and Kietzke lanes; Sparks’ is at Sullivan Lane and Oddie Boulevard. Yes, you’ll find some oddball items. For example, there’s a lot of wine for sale from wineries you’ve never heard of, offspring of the “three-buck Chuck” revolution, meaning decent TV-watching swill. But there are plenty of name-brand food items with which you are familiar, at prices with which you are not familiar. One item that comes to mind—a whole pineapple for $2. Hell, at our local big-name supermarkets, those are usually 1.59 a pound, which means a pineapple costs between $4.50 and $6. Gourmet sausages, which are usually at least three to four bucks for a package of four at the big stores, are usually $2 to $2.50. You won’t find everything you need at the Grocery Outlet, but you’ll find a lot more than you might think.