Saturday, May 9, 2009

Running, Eating, Drinking and Gambling in the "Biggest Little City in the World"

So guess where we were last weekend?

Circumstances brought us to this small Nevada city, which I had been to maybe 20 years ago on a family driving trip down from Vancouver to San Francisco and over to Reno. Johan had never been, and when we heard that friends would be there that same weekend we were thinking of going, AND that there would be a road race on, we got pretty excited!

Initially, we were going to run a humble 10-K, but when we went to the web to sign up, we saw that a half-marathon was available, for only another $10 to register, and we thought to ourselves, why not?

We flew into Reno on Southwest Airlines, checked into our hotel, and set out to find ourselves lunch before our friends were going to arrive. Since we had to pick up our race packets in downtown Reno's Harrah's casino, we headed that way - by foot. The air was clean and it wasn't too hot, so instead of taking the bus, we just found ourselves walking the 2.8 miles into town. It was a nice way to orient ourselves to the city.

After picking up our race numbers and new t-shirts, lunch was the plan. We found a pub called Brew Brothers in the El Dorado hotel in downtown Reno. The place had big screens showing the upcoming Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs, which looked pretty exciting!

The brews weren't bad either!
After lunch, it was our mission to walk off the heavy meal (burgers and beer). We headed back to our hotel, relaxed a bit in the room, and managed to catch the replay of Mine that Bird beating all the other horses at the Derby by passing almost every one of them. Wow! What a horse and jockey team!!
Soon, it was time to meet our friends for dinner. An early dinner was planned by our friends, who would meet us at our hotel, the Peppermill, where a number of good restaurants were located. The plan was to dine Italian before our race. The restaurant was called Romanza.

The menu ended up having a whole lot of enticing dishes that lured me away from my original plan of having pasta. What was I thinking??? I ordered one of my favorite Italian dishes, veal ossobucco. I urged Johan to order one of his favorites, veal chop. Before a race? I have no idea why I didn't settle for a nice simple pasta dish - ah.... live and learn.
Our friends ordered a favorite wine of theirs, 1998 Merryvale, a meritage (Bordeaux-style) blend. It was a Cabernet Sauvignon-dominant wine that had good developed aromas, and on the palate, an interesting wine, definitely still fresh, tasty, though in my mind not the best aged Napa Cabernet that I had ever had - that would be one that I had at 555 with Randy Kemner, Robert Eymael, Allie Mitchell and Johan maybe a year ago.... something I blogged about, but the name now escapes me. That had been more of a mind-blowing experience, same with a 1994 Justin Isosceles I had at a wine dinner. The Merryvale was more of a pleasant wine than a mind-blower, for me.
Dinner was great - my veal ossobucco was fabulous, and after dinner we had a little nightcap at the VIP bar in the hotel... saw our friends off, then went to place a few little bets at the sports book (hockey - Anaheim to win, and Boston to win), then it was off to sleep so we could be up early to run!

The weather was a bit cold and rainy, but we got out there. I channelled Mine that Bird during the race and ended up passing a bunch of people, and did a very respectable time!
A shower, then clean clothes, then a seafood lunch in one of the hotel's other restaurants, Oceano, where we enjoyed raw oysters, then oysters Rockefeller, and some clam chowda.
Dinner was scheduled with some other friends - at a local Thai restaurant called Bangkok Cuisine. It was sort of a wine dinner, with folks bringing all sorts of wines, mostly of the Riesling variety. I tasted a bunch of wine but the most notable was a wine from a state I had never tasted a wine from before: Idaho!

A very sound Riesling from Idaho - 2005 Ste. Chapelle Winemaker's Series Riesling. To be honest, I didn't know Idaho made wine! But here it was, a pleasant, easy-drinking Riesling about a medium-dry, slightly fruity, not too high acid wine.
In all, my experience in Reno was a fun one. The town has fresh mountain air, is much greener than I thought it would be (I thought it was desert), and the people are nice, active, and fun. The neighborhoods are not bad either! We ran through some nice ones. The gambling was okay - didn't do a lot of winning, but the Ducks did win against the Red Wings, but the Bruins didn't win so that was a bit of a wash. But what can you do? At least the stock market is doing well these days! And I got to experience eating, drinking, running and gambling with some fun people in a new town. Life is good!


Samantha Dugan said...

Sounds like a fun weekend getaway Nancy! Good food, good wine and good friends, what more can you ask for?

Nancy Deprez said...

Not much, Samantha! It was another one of those much-needed breaks!

Marion said...

Nancy!..."but the ducks did win"?? have you converted to the ducks already after just a few (ok, more than a few but..) years in cali?

Yes, the canucks just got knocked out of the playoffs, but still...
you know your heart belongs with the nucks right?

Nancy Deprez said...

LOL Marion - 12 years in Cali and counting!!!

I wanted ducks to win since I had a sports bet on them!