Reno, Carson City, Truckee, Mammoth Lakes and other US 395 spots January 2014

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2014/01/31 19:02:57 (permalink)

Reno, Carson City, Truckee, Mammoth Lakes and other US 395 spots January 2014

Driving up from Orange County for my trip to the Reno-Lake Tahoe area, I pushed myself to not eat along the southern part of the trip, instead focusing on a return to a favorite place I'd eaten at on a previous trip to Northeastern California----Jolly Kone in Bridgeport. Throughout this trip, the one thing that would dog me was the unseasonable weather, actually gorgeous and pleasant. In fact, one of the most poignant things I saw was a sign on a small motel in tiny Coleville, CA---”Pray for rain and snow in 2014”. I certainly did not expect that I'd be driving in January in areas that I usually needed chains for but instead cruised through with the sunroof open and just a T-shirt on.

After an 8 hour drive with hunger pangs hitting, it was disappointing to get to Jolly Kone and see the “closed for the season” sign. Last time I was there, it was summer, tourist/fishing/hunting season in the area and I hadn't even guessed they would be closed.

There is only one other place to eat in Bridgeport (unbelievably, it's the county seat) and I had tried it once----it is a butcher shop known for processing the hunter's catch into delicious sausages. Alas, as I found out last time, the sausages are not on the menu of the sandwich shop, only the regular ham, turkey and roast beef. There are a few other places in town, but half were closed and the other half didn't seem to be what I was looking for. It was another 3 hours to Reno, and by then, late enough so I just opted to wait for dinner. I picked up cloudtwo, or as all from the Mobile Glee Club Meeting know him, Sterling, who flew into Reno for the visit.
Reno seems to have several good places to eat. I had a few places targeted by Roadfooder's suggestions as well as many places I would find myself. Breakfast was a place with a name I could not resist. How could you not eat at a place called Peg's Glorified Ham and Eggs”? Peg's has five locations, originally starting several miles down the road in CA but now having two locations in the Reno area and several awards for “Best Breakfast in Reno”. It was in a mini-mall, with a typical “diner” look you find when places try to recreate that look. They had a nice menu. Not wanting a real big breakfast, I ordered the French toast. Huge pieces, four of them well dipped and perfectly cooked.

Sterling had a grilled turkey patty with eggs over medium and hash browns and seemed very pleased. It was a nice choice for breakfast.

As things had happened, my friend from Mammoth Lakes had planned to make an excursion to his favorite place in Reno, the Peppermill, so when he heard I was coming he changed the dates to visit when I was there. We rendezvoused there and had lunch in the Oceano, the Peppermill's huge sushi bar that features an AYCE sushi lunch and dinner. The lunch is a great value for sushi aficionados at $14.99. The sushi list is large, with many rolls not seen in other places.

The San Francisco Roll was great, with tempura shrimp, avocado, eel sauce and unagi sauce. After lunch, complimentary ice cream cones were brought, featuring a delicious ginger ice cream.

Thursday was a busy day, involving games of chance accompanied by liberal amounts of adult beverages. A surprise was the meal we had. Not wanting to drive, everyone opted for a meal in my hotel, the Grand Sierra Resort Hotel and Casino. We walked into the Grand Cafe, sat down and looked at the menus. All four of us focused on one item, a Grilled Pastrami Reuben with fries or cole slaw. The meat was very good and not salty or fatty. The bread was marble rye and they had the proper mix of sauerkraut, Thousand Island dressing and Swiss cheese topping it. They were big sandwiches and very tasty, not at all what I expected from a hotel restaurant. Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera for this, because the sandwich looked great as well as tasted great. After that, it was back to the casino bar for round two.
Saturday was a road trip to Truckee, CA north of Lake Tahoe. BackRhodes had raved about JAX Truckee Diner and I had looked at their menu before the trip.

My quandary was that they had two of my favorites, Country Fried Steak and Chili Burgers. There was an easy solution to my indecision----eat both breakfast and dinner there! The diner itself is really neat, an authentic 1948 Kullman Car Diner brought from Philadelphia to Truckee. It was neat to see the photos of the diner being brought cross-country from Phildelphia.

Adding to the authentic feeling was the original stainless steel walls, glass bricks for light and the rumble of the trains as they crossed the Donner Pass, running on tracks less than 100 feet from my table. What an interesting experience it was, to watch the trains from the window. Now this was a real diner!

 Breakfast was easy; I like being able to walk into a place and not have to even look at the menu. I ordered the Southern Fried Steak, two eggs over medium, an English muffin and hash browns. The coffee was a really good start and Rosie, our waitress, absolutely perfect. I had seen a TV show clip from he-who-will-not-be-named about the diner so I knew that the English muffins were fresh baked in the diner daily. What I didn't know was that they were also served with a fresh jam made from local strawberries with big chunks of delectable berries in the jam.

The country fried steak was delicious, cut from a nice piece of sirloin and lightly tenderized. I am not a big fan of CFS where the meat is machine tenderized or pounded to death. I prefer the chewiness of a real piece of meat. The crust was delicious, obviously hand battered with a nice crispiness to it. The meat was tender, with just enough chewiness to add some nice texture to the CFS.


Sterling got the Banana Pancakes which were huge and said they were delicious.

The service was great from Rosie and we felt like regulars. Here she is with Kelty, another waitress at the diner.
The next few hours were spent walking around Downtown Truckee. There was a bar that looked neat with the most amazing thing outside on the sidewalk—two ice sculptures!


Other neat places included a hotel with a nice restaurant and bar. Outside, there were pictures of the hotel from 1869 with a ox team and wagon in front of it. Finally, we had worn off enough of the breakfast to get ready to return to Jax for dinner. We were meeting some of Sterling's family who live about an hour west of Truckee and they were counting on my choice of a dinner place to be a good one.
This time at the Jax Truckee Diner, with six people, we were seated in the added on section to the original diner. Rosie introduced us to Jessie who would wait on us for dinner. Again, I didn't need the menu---I just ordered the Chili Cheese Burger with Cole Slaw.

Others at the table ordered a Greek Salad, Cheese Burger, Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich, Fish and Chips and a Pasta Pesto.






Although I would have preferred the chili without beans, it still worked well with the ½ pound, medium rare char-grilled burger. The bun was fresh-baked and excellent. 
Some of our group decided to try Jax' milk shakes. They got two thumbs up.

post edited by EdSails - 2014/01/31 19:09:11

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