Sunday, August 29, 2021

EmPIEnada - Delicious & Fun, Made From Scratch Empanadas & Comforting Pot Pies

3683 Kings Row
Reno, NV 89503
(Viewcrest Center next to Taqueria)

*Information subject to change.  Please check in with business for latest info. 
*Find their food truck at Feed the Camel (Mc Kinley Arts Center) and Food Truck Fridays (Idlewild Park) Seasonally (end around late August, early September) 

What are Empanadas?

Empanadas are baked or fried crescent-shaped pastries that can be filled with a variety of ingredients consisting of meats, veggies, and fruits.   Empanadas originated from Spain and found their way into popular culture with their portability and delicious texture and flavor possibilities.

EmPIEnada brings this popular food to Reno with their own twists, introducing well-known flavors from other cuisines, transforming the traditional empanada into something fun, tasty, and interesting. 

Cheeseburger, Gumbo, Beef and Guiness, chicken and waffles, and Italian Meatball are only a few of the options you can find here, and the owner is constantly storming up ideas with her team for new creations.

The empanadas had nice, clean flavors that shone with freshness and simplicity.  The sauces on the side were complimenting and provided another level of flavor (don't forget to ask for them).  Whenever possible, the owner will source ingredients locally. 

They also have pot pies that have a special kind of dough, a dough that is responsible in creating one of the best chicken pot pies i've had in a long time (i've had some pretty good ones in New York).  I was so caught up in the flavor that I didn't get a chance to take shots of the filling.  There was a generous serving of falky, buttery, and flavorful dough, chunks of meat, veggies, loads of creaminess, and a whole lot of yummy.

Visit EmPIEnada and have yourself a foodie adventure with delicious empanadas and pot pies served with a smile (thanks Kim!).

Feed the Camel Food Truck Event @ Mckinley Arts Center


-Call ahead of time to place your order (for pick-up) so that they'll have time to bake/fry your pot pies and empanadas (1 hr. for pot pies)

-Call ahead of time to see what options are available

-You can place an order online through their website and order delivery with food carriers Uber Eats and Grub Hub

-vegetarian options available (call in for availability)

-you can load up your freezer with frozen pies available for purchase (sounds like a holiday hack)

-Their loaded baked potato balls (bacon, cheddar, sour cream) are super fun and flavorful.  My kids loved dipping them in all their sauces.  

-You can complete the meal with a side salad and dessert empanadas and pot pies

-Visit their homepage on their website to see their foodtruck schedule (all the way at the bottom)

-Follow them on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram for the latest updates

Menu as of 8.29.2021. Subject to change. 

Categorized under "Food Trucks" and "Fushion"

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Crazy Good Milkshakes at Carmelita's Crazy Cravings (with menu)

Mazapan (Left) and Key Lime Pie (right). Both SO Good!

1075 N Hills Blvd #280, Reno, NV 89506 
(Golden Valley going towards Sierra Safari Zoo)

I stumbled across a Facebook ad of Carmelita's Crazy Cravings and was immediately drawn to the pictures of these enticing shakes.  Based on all of the positive comments, I decided to make a trip up from South Reno (23 min.) and try them out.

I got the Key Lime and Mazapan (Mexican peanut candy) flavored milkshakes and they were so satisfying!  

The Key Lime Pie actually tasted like a key lime pie, which made me ask the worker what was in it.  She was very secretive and said, "We put a lot in."  I was so excited that she was so secretive and that she had something pretty special to guard. 

The mazapan milkshake immediately took me back to childhood (in San diego) where de la rosa (Mexican peanut candy) was as easy to find as kit-kat.  I'm usually overwhelmed by the sweetness of the candy, but when combined with milk and ice cream, it was beyond delicious with so much flavor.  

There are so many different flavors of shakes to try and I encourage everyone to try the Mexican flavored ones on top of their favorites.

In addition to milkshakes, they have smoothies, coffee, fruit waters (drinks made with fresh fruits, upon request),  Antijitos (little cravings, street snacks), and Tostilocos (popular antijitos snack consisiting of chips topped with fresh toppings and chili sauce). 

Every Thursday
Two Milkshakes for $12.99

Mexican Food Vocabulary 
Caffe - Coffee
Elote - Corn on the cob
Esquite - Corn removed from cob and eaten with spoon
Gazpacho - Spanish style soup made from tomatoes, veggies, & spices.  Served cold. 
Sandia - Watermelon
Pina - Pineapple
Pepino - Melon
Chamango - Mango served with Chamoy sauce (spicy, sweet, & and fruity)
Mangonada - Blended drink made of mango and chamoy sauce 
Raspados - Shaved ice

***Their milkshakes are huge, so if you're not a big dessert person, but still like tasting new things, you can maybe bring a friend or family member along and ask for a split cup

Categorized Under "Desserts

Last updated 8.19.2021 
(Information subject to change.  Check in with business for latest info.)

Thursday, August 12, 2021

12 Spots in Reno & Sparks With Delicious Cold Treats to Keep You COOL All Summer Long (Bonus at End)

This map was made with Wanderlog, a road trip planner

There's no shortage of cold delicious desserts and treats in Reno.  Below are only a few of many that are loved by locals, family, & friends.  

With fires running rampant and the virus making a comeback, these spots have been a welcome retreat.  

Thanks to all of the local businesses that have been working hard to keep their doors open. 

6147 Lakeside Dr, Reno, NV 89511
(775) 827-2777

The owner of this local ice cream joint started selling ice cream from a trailer, encouraged by friends and family to share his delicious gourmet ice cream with the world.  

At this shop, you can find the most unique flavors of ice cream, many of which are inspired by cultures around the world (Thai Tea -  Thailand, Melon - Asia, Ricotta, and Fico - Italy, Mango Lime Chile Sorbet -Mexico).  

The owner is constantly exercising his creativity, churning out new flavors often.  While you'll always have something new to try, the most popular flavors will usually be in stock on a regular basis.

Grab one of their fresh and delicious sandwiches (bread made in-house) before completing the meal with a touch of delicious creativity.  Beer available and don't forget to ask for a rewards card to earn free ice cream. 

Refreshing & Top Notch Italian Ice from Rita's
2.  Refreshing Italian Ice and Custards From Rita's

1650 Robb Dr Ste B4, Reno, NV 89523

Rita's Italian Ice is absolutely refreshing and delicious with many fun flavors to choose from, including their most popular- swedish fish, mango, and cherry.  Think ice cones but made the same way as ice cream and only using high-quality flavorings.  They use fresh fruit and also offer other desserts like ice cream sandwiches and shakes.  A local favorite. 

3.  The Freshest Ice Cream Rolls from Rolled Mountain Creamery 

Two Locations
7400 Rancharrah Pkwy Ste 170, Reno, NV 89511  (775) 622-0431   Directions
727 Riverside Dr #1, Reno, NV 89503  (775) 451-5972  

Have fun at Rolled Mountain Creamery, watching workers work their magic right before your eyes on a cold metal plate.  They offer all the classic favorites with room for customization (including vegan options - coconut milk base).  With ingredients from Dorinda's Chocolates (peanut butter cups, chocolate & caramel sauce), which they share space with, you'll be having the best quality treat in town. 

I've tried all their flavors and I loved them all. 

P.S. The new location at Rancharra is absolutely gorgeous, with a cool place to hang out and play Harry Potter style chess and bocce ball.

There's an option to get your drinks with a rim of chili powder for a nice kick.  You can try the powder beforehand to see if you like it.
4.  Handmade popsicles (paletas) & Agua Frescas (fruit waters) from Paleteria Del Angel

1353 Baring Blvd, Sparks, NV 89434

Try one of the many flavors of creamy, handmade Mexican-style popsicles at this friendly, family-owned shop.  With their creamy base and fresh fruit, paletas pack a punch of flavor and are fun to eat any time of the year (Marzipan and Oreo are my go-tos).  

If you haven't tried Agua Frescas, they are incredibly delicious and refreshing at this shop.  Think lemonade, but in more flavors, like watermelon, passion fruit, cucumber, and pineapple (all made with fresh fruits, some chunky, some not).  If you're feeling adventurous, ask for a combination of different agua frescas.  Pineapple cucumber and strawberry lemon are popular combinations or try their signature drink with straight pineapple, chamoy, and Tajin chili powder.  In Mexican culture, no special event is complete without these beverages.

Top off a delicious churro with ice cream for a fun treat. 
Some people bring their coolers to take some extra pops home (or is it just me?).

5.  Chewy Mochi Ice Cream from Whole Foods

6139 S Virginia St, Reno, NV 89502

Mochi Ice Cream is a sticky rice cake ball filled with ice cream.  It is commonly served as a dessert at many Japanese restaurants in Reno.  Whole foods has many flavors (local) that are all tasty and satisfying.  You can also find other brands in boxes located in their ice cream section next to checkout. 

6.  Halo Halo (Philippine's Unofficial Dessert) From Lolo's Filipino Restaurant

2740 S. Virginia St.
Reno, NV 89502
(775) 825-3113

Halo Halo is the probably the most well-known dessert in the Philippines, consisting of different layers of ingredients- sweetened beans, fruits, jellies, shaved ice, ice cream, evaporated milk, toasted crispy rice (pinipig), and more.  

The name Halo Halo translates to "mix mix" and is best enjoyed completely mixed before eating.  I grew up with this dessert and love it to pieces.  It is unique, fun, refreshing, and delicious.  I crave it as often as ice cream and highly suggest for everyone to try this it at least once.

Lolo is the cook and owner of the restaurant and is super down to earth.  Feel free to ask her questions and she'll find the right food for you. 

P.S. If you're looking for a whole meal, try my favorite, Bistek (citrus-soy marinated rib-eye with caramelized onions.  Served with rice).  Also, the purple ice cream on top of Halo Halo is ube-flavored (sweet yam). YUM!

7.  Bubble Tea (Boba) from Ding Tea

2900 Clear Acre Ln U-1, Reno, NV 89512

Bubble tea has gained popularity worldwide and is enjoyed by all ages.  Most people I know who have tried bubble tea have become true fans for life.  There is a wide variety of drink options and a nice selection of toppings (Boba is the most popular.  Aloe is refreshing and is a favorite with my kids. Pairs well with fruity drinks) that makes trips to the boba shop fun, interesting, & yummy.  

Here in Reno, the boba movement has gained momentum and is spreading like wildfire, with new locations popping up everywhere, but not all boba shops are created equal.  Ding Tea is the first shop I've been to in Reno that actually has boba that's as delicious as the boba found in some of the shops in SF, with great flavor and texture.  Some of the drinks could use a bit more flavor (I'd ask for a bit more matcha powder and suggest for them to strengthen tea flavor), but for the most part I am happy and will be back for more.

If you're new, try one of their top 10 drinks (I always get Oolong Milk Tea with boba to assess new spots).  I suggest trying them as is, then adjusting the level of sweetness and toppings from there.  

8.  The Best Frozen Yogurt  With Toppings Galore From Yogurt Beach

South Reno Location
748 S Meadows Pkwy suite a-5, Reno, NV 89521
There are many other locations in Reno, Sparks, and Carson City

Locals will agree that Yogurt beach is the place to get delicious yogurt.  Try one of their seasonal flavors and top them off with a wide variety of toppings (which they are known for), including fresh fruit, crushed oreos, candies, gummies, and a variety of sauces.  Dine in and enjoy their signature beach ambiance and friendly service.  

9.  Power Up With Acai Bowls and Smoothies from Jus 

Two Locations
740 S Virginia St, Reno, NV 89501  (775) 323-1794    Directions
191 Damonte Ranch Pkwy Unit B, Reno, NV 89521  (775) 852-1401    Directions

If you're looking for a tasty, guilt-free cold treat that has some major health benefits, Jus has got you covered.  Try one of their smoothies and acai bowls made with fresh fruits and veggies or grab one of the many fresh-pressed veggie/fruit juices and shots in their cold case.  My father lives off of the pineapple/ginger/apple cider/cayenne shot.  

10. Have an Adventure With Milkshakes That Make a Statement @ Black Rock Dessert

100 California Ave #106, Reno, NV 89509
(775) 420-5572

If you're looking for an adventure, Black Rock Dessert is the place to go.  Modeled after everything Burning Man (names of treats, decor, shop name), this shop made sure their creations were also nothing short of unique and crazy cool, just like the event itself.  If you're wondering, the owner of this spot also owns Icecycle Creamery, so you can bet on having a lot of tasty on your visit.  

What to get:  

-The Trash Fence  (You choose the ice cream, they make the "trash fence," meaning they load it up with lots of goodies on top)

-Cereal Chiller - a must if you're a Fruity Pebble lover

11.  Authentic Hawaiian Shaved Ice at Maui Jane's

2900 Clear Acre Ln # P, Reno, NV 89512

Maui Jane's is bringing on a bit of Aloha in shaved ice form using a legit shaving machine that's not found just anywhere.  There are lots of flavors to choose from and service is friendly (In the picture, Marie talked and played with my kids).  Have some shaved ice after eating one of their many lunch options.  Their wings won an award for second place one year at a competition, so they just might be worth trying.  Just expect to leave with colored lips, clothes that smell  like BBQ, & a happy belly.  

Key Lime Milkshake 
12.  Crazy Good Milkshakes at Carmelita's Crazy Cravings

 1075 N Hills Blvd #280, Reno, NV 89506 (facing Raley's, it's all the way on the right side)

For having little to choose from in the world of milkshakes, we got lucky with having an option that is pretty impressive.  Carmelita's has mexican and american-style milkshakes, with ingredients made from their version of "hostess" like snacks such as gansito (cream and jelly chocolate cake),  penguino (chocolate-filled chocolate-covered cake), as well as popular American favorite candies such as Ferrer Rocher and Kit-Kat.  

I ordered the key lime pie (as suggested by another customer) and the mazapan (mexican peanut confection candy).  The key lime pie surprised me because it actually tasted like one.  I was quick to ask what was in it, but the woker was pretty secretive, (as she should be hahah).  The mazapan (made with de la rosa peanut Mexican candy) is a truly satisfying option if you're a lover of peanuts. 

Carmelita's is 25 minutes from South Reno, but i'll gladly make the drive out for these crazy good milkshakes. 

I grew up next to Mexico so I'm accustomed to the flavors of Mexican snacks.  I highly suggest for  those who aren't familiar with Mexican culture, to give their style of milkshakes a try.

***Thursdays Special: 2 milkshakes for $14


5000 Meadowood Mall Cir, Reno, NV 89502

If you don't know about this dessert, people call it the ice cream of the future due its unique beaded shapes.  Find it at Meadowood Mall (next to the arcade and food court). It's too fun and delicious to pass up. 

Categorized Under "Guides"

Monday, August 9, 2021

Stateline Lookout Trail - A Family Friendly Trail That Leads to Priceless Views

street parking next to trailhead

(North Shore)
364 Lakeview Avenue
Incline Village Nevada 89451 

Lake Tahoe is the largest Alpine Lake in North America (22 miles long x 12 miles wide) and has endless hikes and viewpoints that draw about 15 million visitors yearly (both tourists and locals alike).  

Stateline Lookout Trail is among a local list of favorites due to the small effort spent on the trail in obtaining stunning views.  With its' paved path, the trail is accessible to all ages and abilities.

The trail is a short 1.7 mile out and back/loop trail that has a gradual slope upward (305 ft elevation gain) with plenty of points from start to finish  to look outward to the lake and enjoy the views.  

Most of the trail goes up in a straight line until you get to the lookout loop that lines the shore.  Towards the end, before the restrooms, take the small path on the left to start the scenic loop.  You'll find a handful of benches, educational plaques, and some amazing views.  

I went with my three little ones (two, five, & seven years old) on this hike and although it was during a hot part of the day, we survived with mini-breaks under the shade from trees lining the trail. They all made it to the top, but my two-year-old needed help back down, so I carried him on my back in my carrier.

The kids had fun exploring plants, climbing rocks, and gained some survival skills on learning how to cope with heat and watching out for loose rubble.  It was a challenging yet rewarding day at the Stateline Lookout Trail with quality family time and views that we will come back to visit again and again.

When to Visit
Visiting May-October is your best bet to avoid snow, which can make hiking a bit more of a challenge.  If snow isn't a problem for you, visiting during winter with snow boots/shoes can result is stunning views of the lake and snow-capped mountains.

If you follow Google Maps, directions will lead you all the way up to the trailhead.  When directions tell you to go right, it will lead you to a green fence that's closed.  This is the trailhead of the hike.  There's plenty of parking along the streets across of the fence. 

Trailhead. Park Along Lakeview Ave.

What to Bring
-Plenty of water, especially when hiking with kids in the summer (We like to freeze our water the night before so that we have ice-cold water on hand).  We also bring an additional bottle that's not frozen. 
-hat and sunscreen
-good footwear although my kids made it in their Crocs
-lunch (handful of benches at lookout points at end of trail)
-camera or phone for pictures
-hand sanitizer 
-portable toilet and liners if hiking with kids 
-Carrier if hiking with little ones
-bandaids and alcohol pads for unexpected scrapes

Follow the trail all the way to the end to get to the restrooms.  You will find compostable toilets without sinks.  Don't forget to bring hand sanitizer.

Know Before You Go
-Check Accuweather for hour-to-hour weather to dress accordingly
-family friendly, biker friendly
-dog friendly (poop bags available at trailhead)
-You'll pass a few narrow roads through a neighborhood to get to the trailhead
-This trail can get busy on weekends
-visiting early morning or late afternoon in the summer is ideal to avoid the heat
-watch out for loose rubble next to the mountain
-To take advantage of views, be sure to finish the whole (short) loop at top
-If you really want guidance, AllTrails app has a live map that shows your position at all times on the trail map.  Make sure to make an account beforehand.  It's super handy for longer hikes.

Nearby Fun and Food After the Hike
-King's Beach is only a six min drive and is a popular beach that is fun to hang around.  It's family-friendly with a playground, restrooms, water sports rentals, and lots of food and entertainment nearby, including King's Beach Miniature Golf (family favorite), King's Cafe, Log Cabin Ice Cream, and Sweet Tahoe Time Ice Cream & Yogurt (all within walking distance of one another).  Note:  Weekends get super busy at King's Beach. 
-If going back toward Reno, Grab a smoothie and some homemade food from Thania's Juice Bar at the Christmas Village shopping center.  The owner takes pride in what she offers, aiming to use the best produce and ingredients possible.  I tried her Mangonada (Mango slushy with her homemade chamoy sauce (salty, pickled, sweet, spicy, and fruity sauce)) and it was so amazing, especially after the hike.  

Map from Trail to King's Beach - Six Min Drive
Photo Opportunity at the Beginning of Trail
Right when you pass gate at trailhead
Kids loved playing with the beautiful moss
Bench at lookout to help you take it all in
Click to enlarge panorama pic
Plenty of climbing opportunities
The views are amazing!
Go straight, all the way to end for restrooms. No sinks, no hand sanitizer.