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.

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 bursting with flavor and had the perfect textures, bringing a big smile to my face. In that moment, I knew Pasta Fresca would become a regular stop in my rotation of restaurants to enjoy in Reno.

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

A few years back, during a leisurely stroll at our fantastic year-round Riverside Farmer's Market, I had the delightful surprise of stumbling upon PF and their fridge brimming with fresh, uncooked pastas and sauces.

I was ecstatic at the thought of bringing home their incredible noodles.

Riverside Farmer's Market stands as our sole year-round market, dedicated to showcasing local farmers, artisans, crafters, bakers, and services.

Situated at Idlewild Park, the market features a picturesque setting, offering ample grassy areas for picnics, towering shade trees perfect for escaping the summer heat, live performances by local talent, and the beautiful and inviting Truckee River, conveniently lined with a biking path.

It's an incredible spot for the whole family to unwind and connect with local businesses, forging new friendships and creating cherished memories along the way.

Cooking Their Incredible Pasta and Sauce at Home

At home, I cooked Pasta Fresca's fresh pasta, specifically fusilli, and was shocked when I read the cooking instructions. Three minutes?!?!

I don't know about you, but that screams freshness to me. Compared to the usual 10-13 minutes required for packaged pasta from the grocery store, that's definitely a remarkable feat.

The pasta was simple yet incredibly fresh, delicious, and had the perfect texture.

Tweak to your liking.  Add veggies, meats, seasonings. 
I added one finely chopped yellow onion, plenty more garlic, and a drizzle of olive oil. Topped it off with a sprinkle of 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 options available
*They offer seasonal selections to keep things exciting
*Paolo learned authentic Italian cooking from his grandmother
*Follow them on Instagram for updates on their locations and specials, including holiday offerings
*You can usually find them at our year-round Riverside Farmer's Market
*The restaurant is situated in the Shops at Bartley
*Their desserts are so fresh, delicious, and not too heavy on the sugar.  Enjoy handmade cannoli and tiramisu.
*They offer a wide selection of wines
*Nearby - Audrey Harris Park has a beautiful overlook that features beautiful western themed Bartley Ranch Park
*If you're passionate about Italian culture, make sure to mark your calendar for the annual El Dorado Great Italian Festival held every Columbus Day weekend in Reno. This event showcases authentic Italian cuisine from the El Dorado Casino, hosts a thrilling pasta sauce competition with delectable samples from numerous participants, invites the public to join grape stomping contests, and offers a wide variety of craft and food vendors. Enjoy live entertainment across multiple stages, indulge in train rides and bounce houses, and immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere. Don't miss out on this celebration of all things Italian!

Love their drink selections in their cold case.

Why Support Local?
*Buying local fosters the preservation of diverse and unique businesses, typically managed by passionate local proprietors who deliver exceptional service and offer high-quality products and experiences.
*Local businesses often serve as excellent employers, valuing their employees and investing in their growth and well-being.
*Local businesses frequently prioritize supporting other local enterprises, thereby uplifting community ties and fostering a more vibrant and interconnected neighborhood.
*Local businesses are deeply engaged in community improvement efforts and are inclined to contribute to charitable causes and initiatives.
*By patronizing local establishments, you're actively supporting your neighbors' aspirations and endeavors.

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

© Katherine Fung 
All rights reserved.

*All opinions are my own.  
*Information subject to change.

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
The Garden in Reno is an enchanting oasis for premium coffee, tea, and tasty bites. Beyond being the perfect hangout spot, it also provides services such as wedding styling, venue rental, event design, floral deliveries, and engaging classes like succulent arrangements.  Grab a comfy seat, sip on a cup of the good life while making memories that will last a lifetime at The Garden - your go-to spot in Reno for a delightful experience.

The Garden is an exquisitely decorated haven, thoughtfully accented with floral accents and brimming with personality. It's a space where one can savor craft coffee and delectable bites, gather with friends and family, and joyously celebrate life.

Beyond its role as a cozy retreat, The Garden transforms into an event planning powerhouse, dedicated to simplifying life by managing all the elements required for a spectacular event.

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 remarkable family has been immersed in event planning for over a decade (12+ years, as I recall), weaving magic into bouquets, floral arrangements, and enchanting wedding/event-scapes. 

I've had the pleasure of talking to Nathan, one of the owners of The Garden and he was so kind and happy to tell me more about his business.

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

Nathan 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 his part in the equation.  He's a master wood craftsman that builds custom structures for company rentals.  If you have a vision, they can make it come to life.

Have a look at their portfolio & you'll find plenty of pictures of their amazing work from numerous past events.  I highly recommend them for all of life's special occasions.

Whether you're in search of a cozy hangout spot, a place to enjoy a cup of coffee, beautiful floral arrangements, or event services, The Garden has something special for everyone. 

Feel free to connect with me on Instagram for more hidden gems. Drop a "hello" and share your experiences and cherished spots. I love hearing from everyone.

Peace, Love, & Kindness,

Other things I Love About The Garden

*Find pastries and other treats at their shop from other local businesses.

*The Garden has a strong network that includes other local like-minded businesses

*On-site floral arrangements crafted in their floral refrigerator.

*They offer fun classes & workshops

*Rent The Garden for special occasions.

*Quality coffees & teas.

*Discover cute arrangements & merchandise throughout the shop, all available for purchase.

*Perfect for bookworms, book clubs, or study sessions

*The Garden is the perfect spot for creating lasting memories

*The Garden serves as an ideal venue for special occasions like baby showers, tea parties, birthdays, bachelorette parties, 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 have the power to create more jobs & 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.
*Many local businesses are committed to improving the community and are inclined to contribute to causes that bring about positive change.
*You're supporting a neighbor's dreams. 

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

© Katherine Fung, 
All rights reserved.

***Information subject to change

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"