Thursday, June 23, 2022

Where to go for Some of the Best Authentic Italian Food in Reno, Nevada

(You can find them here year-round)
Winter - Saturdays 9am-12 pm
Summer - Saturdays 4pm-8 pm

Business Snapshot

Pasta Fresca is an authentic Italian restaurant in Reno that makes amazing homemade pastas and sauces (always organic when possible).  They offer indoor seating in a bistro-like setting and have various types of fresh pastas and sauces on hand in store for to-go orders.  You can also purchase their food at various farmer's markets throughout the year. Gluten-Free and vegan friendly.

Organic flour for their homemade pastas.
Their pretzels are the BEST.  Find them in summer.

How I Discovered Pasta Fresca

I first discovered Pasta Fresca while visiting one of my favorite ice cream shops in town, Icecycle Creamery, which is right next door.  

Of course, I pulled up my handy dandy Yelp app to see how others liked this restaurant.  I was so happy to see their rating of five stars and was eager to learn what the raves were about.  

I called in and placed a to-go order and the worker, kind and enthusiastic, suggested their ravioli tarfuto - Spinach ravioli, ricotta cheese, porchini mushrooms, black truffle, and white wine truffle cream butter sauce.  

The moment I opened my container, I was met with comforting scents of cream, garlic, and butter.  

My first bite of pasta was filled with so much flavor and the perfect textures, and put a big smile on my face.  At this moment, I knew I had found my favorite Italian restaurant in town. 

Discovering Pasta Fresca at The Riverside Farmer's Market

Super kind Carlos (left) & Paolo (right)
Pick up their packaged pastas in store and at the farmer's markets

Some years ago, while strolling around at our amazing year-round Riverside Farmer's Market, I was pleasantly surprised to run into PF and their fridge stocked full of fresh uncooked pastas and sauces. 

I was so excited that I could take their incredible noodles home.

Riverside Farmer's Market is our only year-round farmer's market that focuses on highlighting local farmers, artisans, crafters, bakers, and services.

The market is located at the Mckinley Arts & Cultural Center next to Idlewild and has the best scene, with the arts center that children love running around, lots grassy areas for the perfect picnic, huge shade trees ideal to retreat under during hot summer days, a kid friendly area filled with activities, live entertainment from local talent, and the Truckee River across the street to enjoy.

The market is an amazing place to hang out with the whole family and the perfect place to meet local businesses and make lots of friends and memories.

Cooking Their Incredible Pasta and Sauce at Home

At home, I cooked Pasta Fresca's fresh pasta, fusilli, to be exact, and was so shocked when reading the instructions for cooking the pasta.  Three minutes?!?!

I don't know about you, but that screams fresh to me.  Compared to the usual 10-13 minutes with packaged pasta from the grocery store, that's definitely a record of sorts. 

Never have I ever bit into a plain piece of fusilli pasta (one of my favorite types since it has so many cracks and crevices for ingredients to hang out in) and had an eyes-wide-open moment.  The pasta was simple, yet incredibly fresh, and delicious and had the best texture.  

Each time I cook their pasta, whatever the style, I get to relive this moment again and again because their pasta has that kind of effect on me. 

Tweak to your liking.  Add veggies, meats, seasonings. 
I added one chopped yellow onion, plenty more garlic, and olive oil.  Topped with Pepper Flakes. 

Dining at Their Restaurant
Dining at their brick and mortar is always a lovely experience.

The atmosphere at Pasta Fresca is comfy and welcoming and includes tables lined with traditional checkered tablecloths (upgraded to a nice blue), fresh herbs on the counter, and a nice selection of wines on display.

Did you know that the traditional red-checkered tablecloth usually symbolizes that a restaurant is affordable, friendly, and authentic? (source)    

I love that each table is stocked with extra condiments. Whip up a nice balsamic vinegar and olive oil combination to dip their house bread in or adjust your dish to your liking, though their dishes are always tasty on their own without any adjustments. 

Suggestions: Caprese, charcuterie appetizer (cheese, crackers, and honey), ravioli tarfuto, vincenzo, rigatoni in spicy tomato arribiata with shrimp added.


If you're looking for the perfect place and atmosphere to enjoy authentic and delicious Italian fare that's made with the best ingredients, lots of passion, and served with a smile, Pasta Fresca is the place to visit.  

*Gluten Free and Vegan Friendly 
*They keep things interesting with their seasonal offerings
*During summer, Alex makes the best parmesan pretzel in town (150 year old recipe handed down generation to generation.  Find them at the restaurant (call in for availability) and the Riverside Farmer's Market.
*Paolo was taught to cook authentic Italian by his grandmother
*Follow them on Instagram for updates on their whereabouts and specials (including holiday specials)
*They can usually be found at our year-round Riverside Farmer's Market.
*Restaurant located in the Shops at Bartley
*Bartley Ranch Park located across the street 
*Their pastas are amazing for home cooking and special occasions
*Try their amazing desserts - cannoli and tiramisu
*Wine selection on hand
*If everything goes according to plan, you should see a bake shop (run by them) open up soon two doors down
*Audrey Harris Overlook is super close and worth checking out
*If you love all things Italian, Reno has a yearly event - The El Dorado Great Italian Festival this year October 8 & 9, 2022. Pasta sauce competition with samples from many competitors.  Grape stomping competition, craft and food vendors, live entertainment, and so much more. 

Love their drink selections in their cold case.

Why Shop & Support Local?
*Buying local helps keep diverse and unique businesses open, which are generally run by passionate local business owners who provide outstanding service and create quality products and offerings.
*Local businesses that are successful at what they do have the power to create more jobs and opportunities for the local community.   
*Local businesses are generally great employers.
*Local businesses are more likely to support other local businesses like themselves, helping strengthen our community, making it a happier and more personal place to live. 
*Local businesses are more involved in the betterment of their community and are more likely to contribute to a good cause
*You're supporting a neighbor's dreams. 

Categorized Under "Good Eats" ---> "Italian"

© Katherine Fung 
All rights reserved.

*All opinions are my own.  
*Information subject to change. Please check in with business for the latest updates and info. 

Sunday, June 12, 2022

The Garden in Reno - Cafe, Wedding Styling, Event Design, Floral Deliveries, Classes, Event Venue, and a Magical Place to Hang Out


Business Snapshot

Discover the charm of The Garden in Reno, a stunning oasis perfect for indulging in premium coffee, tea, and delectable bites. This enchanting space also provides a range of services, including wedding styling, venue rental, event design, floral deliveries, and engaging classes such as succulent arrangements. Immerse yourself in a delightful experience at The Garden in Reno, where every moment is infused with beauty and flavor.

Prior to my first visit to The Garden, I've heard about it through fellow foodie friends, but what they failed to mention was the part about it being a magical place.

The Garden is thoughtfully decorated with floral accents and loads of personality.  Add in stellar event services (known as Q Designs), class offerings, good drinks and eats, and friendly service, you get more of a secret garden that you'll want to keep a secret because you'll want the magic all to yourself.

Out of a need to meet with clients in a more comfortable setting that showcases their craft, owners Nathan and Christina, along with their daughter, Jessica, created the Garden.

This amazing family has been in the game for many years (12+ years as I recall), crafting magical bouquets, floral arrangements, and wedding/event-scapes, and built up their success to make their vision of the perfect meeting spot for clients come to life.

Not only do they strive to provide stellar services, they've dedicated time and energy to creating an amazing and pleasant space for people in Reno to enjoy and gather around.

I've had the pleasure of talking to Nathan and he was such a kind and genuine owner that I was honored to talk to.  

I've found that the common denominator to happy business owners is their passion and genuine love for what they do.  This couldn't be more true in the case of Nathan, his family, and The Garden. 

He spoke with such passion and spoke so highly of his wife and daughter and their role in the success of their family-owned business.  

What he didn't mention was the fact that he was part of the equation in their success.  He is a master wood craftsman that builds custom structures for company rentals (as noted on their website).  If you have a vision, they can make it come to life.

Take a look at their portfolio & you'll see loads of pictures of their amazing work from numerous events.  I highly recommend them for all of life's special occasions.

If you're looking for a fun experience while supporting an amazing local business, check out The Garden.  

Thank you for helping our local community thrive and keeping it diverse. Feel free to connect with me on Instagram for more local gems. Drop a "hello" and share your experiences and favorite spots. I love hearing everyone.

Peace, Love, & Kindness,

What's to Love About The Garden

*They support other local businesses — Find pastries from Round's Bakery and chocolates and other treats from Dorinada's at the front. 

*They've made strong connections with other vendors and businesses for events and have a list of recommendations for customers that are looking for referrals. 

*They have a huge floral fridgerator where they make floral arrangements on site.

*They offer classes 

*You can rent out The Garden for all of your special occasions.  Imagine an elegant party catered by one of our amazing local businesses like Cherry Bomb Catering, Roundabout Catering, The Cheeseboard Catering, Yosh's Unique Deli, and so much more. 

*They have an espresso bar and offer delicious coffee drinks and lattes.  Their Rose Latte is a must try.  

*They have all sorts of cute arrangements and merchandise for sale spread all around the shop.

*They have the perfect atmosphere to get lost in a book/book club meeting or in a study session.

*Their shop is so beautiful that you can have a photoshoot there. 

*Their merchandise is awesome

*They have a method of preserving flowers for a longer time, so anyone looking to find a real dry floral arrangement for decorating or giving as a gift, they have beautiful options

*They offer more than floral arrangements.  Check out their full list of rentals here, including sofas, arches, tables, chairs photo booths, games, signs, and more.  

Why Shop & Support Local?
*Buying local helps keep diverse and unique businesses open, which are generally run by passionate local business owners who provide outstanding service and create quality products and offerings.
*Local businesses that are successful at what they do have the power to create more jobs and opportunities for the local community.   
*Local businesses are generally great employers.
*Local businesses are more likely to support other local businesses like themselves, helping strengthen our community, making it a happier and more personal place to live. 
*Local businesses are more involved in the betterment of their community and are more likely to contribute to a good cause
*You're supporting a neighbor's dreams. 

Categorized Under "Good Eats" ---> "Cafes" & "Event Venues"

© Katherine Fung 
All rights reserved.

*Information subject to change. Please check in with the business for the latest updates and info. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Rice Box Kitchen — Wonderful Thai Style Fusion Comfort Food That Will Keep You Coming Back for More in Reno, Nevada

This cat is considered lucky, but Perapol doesn't need it because he makes his own luck with hard work & good food. 
Perapol is always at the restaurant making sure everything is running smoothly.
You must try this Shabu Shabu Hot Pot

555 S Virginia St Ste 103 
Reno, NV 89501

Rice Box Kitchen is one of Reno's top restaurants in Midtown, known for its Asian-inspired, flavorful and comforting food offerings, with fun specials that pop up often and their phenomenal and welcoming service. 

Shabu Shabu Hot Pot Menu

Like many other discoveries, Yelp led me to another amazing one - Rice Box Kitchen.

I called in one day and placed an order for one of Rice Box Kitchen's Thai-style signature dishes - KHAO MUN GAI (Poached chicken skinless chicken thighs over coconut, ginger and garlic rice served with soybean chili sauce).

Standard Menu

It was a dish that sounded so simple yet was so complex in its simplicity. It was quality ingredients cooked to perfection and served in a way that was harmonious and comforting. At first taste, these were my thoughts, that the meal was, comforting and had addictive properties.

The coconut rice was amazing. I could eat it all by itself and when paired with perfectly cooked chicken and super fresh and flavorful housemade sauce, it made for the perfect meal.

The same went for Khao Moo Dang. I'm salivating just thinking about these dishes.

Khao Moo Dang. Sooo delicious.
Their sauces are wicked good.

After looking up Perapol's story on his website, I found that his motivation for his restaurant was to share the same gift of comforting meals that he himself was lucky to experience with meals created for him in childhood by his mother. Perapol serves up his signature dishes, select dim sum, and has recently added Shabu Shabu, a Japanese style meal in which thin-sliced meats and other ingredients are cooked in a pot of boiling broth on the table and served with a dipping sauce.
Being a fan of his food from his day-to-day menu, I didn't hesitate in signing up for a slot for shabu shabu. I picked the 5pm slot on Friday since I wanted enough time for my three little ones to eat without being rushed to bedtime. Upon arrival for our all you can eat Shabu Shabu, Perapol greeted me and my family with a smile, as he always does, and we sat down at a nicely placed table.

We circled our desired types of sides, noodles, meats, and veggies, and waited anxiously (with the enticing fragrance of the broth filling the room). I suggest tasting a little of everything since it's included in all you can eat.
*Their fun and tasty fish balls are a must.

The drinks were a separate charge and were worth every penny. We ordered two of each of their hibiscus fresca and Thai lime tea. They were incredibly refreshing and although I'm a water type of person, these would be the exceptions. Other drink options include teas, wine, soju, and beer.

As soon as the tower (similar to a tiered tower found at tea parties) arrived loaded with fresh, well-presented, ingredients, my kids didn't hesitate and all participated in placing some ingredients into the pot. Silence hit and all I heard was "Mmm" all around the table, including from my three kids, who had a blast adding ingredients into the broth. We had run into the perfect meal to welcome in the chilly breeze and we were in pure bliss. We were completely consumed in the warmth of the broth and the fresh ingredients that could be dipped in Perapol's tangy peanut sauce and combined in all sorts of ways between so many ingredients. This meal completely satisfied our taste buds, tummies, and hearts. Despite us being full, we felt pretty healthy, having consumed the equivalent of a magical food rainbow.
Our meal was followed by a yogurt drink I grew up with, Yakult, which is refreshing and highly addictive. You can find it at 168 Asian Market if you would like more.
RBK usually has mochi bars on hand (an Asian style dessert made with rice flour) that are unique to Reno and super fun and delicious to eat.

They come in all sorts of flavors - sesame, matcha, green tea, ube, and chocolate (call in for availability).
Perapol is the small business owner behind this amazing food and one of the nicest and most hardworking people I know that puts in so much work everyday towards his business. He does so with passion, a smile, and the intent to provide the best possible experiences for his guests. From the restaurant and food to the details on the table and service, Perapol has thought everything out completely. I followed the Caldor Fire closely and noticed how Perapol jumped right in and offered his food to victims and displaced people in need. To give selflessly is something highly commendable in my book, and this trait, along with Perapol's delicious food, work ethics, and presence everyday to serve and make people happy is something I aspire to and motivates me in life.
Perapol, you've really outdone yourself. It's refreshing to have this passion in town and me and my family can't wait for more. Thanks for your hospitality, taking care of our community, and a big thanks for serving your heart on a platter.

Rice Box Kitchen is located in Midtown, a special part of Reno that's developed so much throughout the years and has become one of the coolest and most unique spots to hang out, dine, shop, and explore.

Do you have Midtown musts? If so, what are your top three?

*Information subject to change.  Call in for the latest updates and/or follow RBK on Instagram.

*Perapol keeps his menu interesting and changes things up once in a while (shabu shabu, high tea dim sum). Follow him on Instagram for the latest offerings.
*Shabu Shabu includes shrimp, mussels, fish balls, all really fresh.
*Always strives for ORGANIC
*Don't forget to ask for extra sauce for to-go orders
*You can get Reno-Tahoe magazines here. This magazine is the best foodie guide and showcases all of our local businesses *Some dishes may run out by the end of the day. Call to double check what's available. Same for mochi bars. *Save when paying with cash *Vegetarian-friendly (tofu) *Batch Cupcakery and Great Full Gardens next door. Batch has great cupcakes & Great Full Gardens offers lots of healthy and tasty foods (both spots vegetarian and vegan friendly).
*Walk around the whole block and find many cool and hip spots all around like Natural Selection, a super cool houseplant/taxidermy store *restroom with baby changing table available *located in midtown
*come early for parking
*Everything I've tried here has been super yummy

Lavender Chocolate Mochi Bars
Please bring back these Thai tamales. 

Categorized Under "Good Eats"--->"Thai"