Learning at la Lapinette

Photo By Deidre Pike

Rating: Two thumbs up and four stars

Chez la Lapinette is open for breakfast, 7:45 a.m. to 9 a.m., and lunch, 10:45 a.m. to 2 p.m., on May 2 and May 9. Meal prices range from $3.50 to $5.50. Reservations are recommended. Call 333-5096 or e-mail Lwilhelm@washoe.k12.nv.us.

It was Take Your Daughter to Work Day, and my mom is the editor of the Reno News & Review, so I got to do some exciting things. One, a very culinary experience, was a trip to Chez la Lapinette, a restaurant run by students of the Reno Technical Institute’s Culinary Arts program. Chez la Lapinette has been open for business since late last fall. The cafe closes for the year in the middle of May. Students create menus for, prepare and serve breakfast and lunch on Thursdays.

Our meal was roaring with bursts of fantastic flavor.

We arrived at the Reno Technical Institute after 8:30 a.m., and we weren’t sure we’d get a table. Because seating is limited at the café, you’re supposed to make reservations. But the host, Kyle, found us a table by the window. He held the chair out for my mom.

The meal started out with a very polite greeting from our student waitress, Karis. She served us a tasty fruit salad that included fresh kiwi, strawberry, cantaloupe and raspberry, all drizzled with a creamy, sweetened yogurt that was just a tasteful sensation and a light berry sauce that went perfectly with the sweet fruits. Our next course was toasted whole wheat bread. When Karis gave us the butter shaped like a beautiful white rose, I thought to myself, “Wow, what a very creative thing to do to such a simple thing like butter.” Anyway, the homemade bread had a very distinctive taste—wholesome and healthy. Now, I usually don’t like anything that is whole wheat, but this had an awesome taste that I am sure I will never forget.

Then came the main course. That consisted of eggs—with or without zucchini—hash browns and pancakes with fresh raspberries on top. The hash browns were made from diced potatoes and had exactly the right amount of salt. While I usually think that anything that is green and comes from the ground is gross, the zucchini was awesome with the eggs. The pancakes were very exquisite. They had the kind of flavor you would never tire of, even if you ate them over and over again.

Overall, we were served a lot of food, and even with orange juice and coffee (for my mom), the bill only came to $12.

The surroundings were beautiful too. The walls had murals of French life, and the elegant glasses, silverware and cloth napkins made you feel special. Piñatas hung from the ceiling, and it hardly seemed like we were in a school.

At the end of the meal, Karis gave us a tour of the kitchen. She told me that to get into the RTI Culinary Arts program, you have to talk to your counselor at school. After that, you get an interview with the culinary arts teacher, Chef Lee Wilhelm.

I give Chez la Lapinette two thumbs up and four stars. I hope you can go and try the cafe, seeing that they’re only serving for two more Thursdays, May 2 and May 9. Be sure you are there.

Stephanie Pike, 13, attends Dilworth Middle School in Sparks.