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Squeeze In

It takes some huevos to declare you serve “The best omelets on the planet,” but that is what owners Gary and Misty Young maintain.  They may have a good argument.  Squeeze In has been voted Best Breakfast in Reno and was highlighted on Food Network’s Throwdown with Bobby Flay.  During peak hours a line of hungry diners stretches out the door.

Squeeze In Trippy Thomas omeletSqueeze In serves breakfast and lunch 7 days a week.  We showed up with one thing in mind, to try their claim to fame: omelets.  We were seated quickly and began checking out the décor.  Like a perfect sunrise the color of the walls swells from yellow to orange.  Customers are invited to scribble their thoughts on the walls, giving you something to do while waiting for your food.  Though most of the graffiti is harmless, a few diners have chosen to share their bathroom wit.  You can drop in here wearing your Grateful Dead T-shirt and not feel out of place.

There are over 40 different omelets on the menu.  To the novice, ordering can be a daunting task.  A word to the wise; if this is your first visit, consider reading the menu on their web site before arriving.  We did and still changed our minds at the last second!  Debbie ordered the Trippy Thomas and I had the Ditz Crew.  Both were home runs.

Squeeze In cooks up four egg omelets.  The scrambled eggs are tender and fluffy, not overcooked. Breakfast is served with "Spudz", your choice of homemade sauce and endless toast; Debbie really liked the roasted salsa.  For my taste, the potatoes (Spudz) were a little bland.  I would suggest upgrading to the Otis Spudz which are tossed with onions and melted cheese.

TRIP TIP!   Whether you live 5 or 500 mile from Squeeze In, visit their web site and join the Egghead's Club before you go. Among other things you will receive a $5.00 off coupon good towards your meal. It’s an offer you can’t refuse.

25 Foothill Rd.  Reno, NV 89511  (775) 853-6090

Kimmie Candy Company

Kimmie Candy Company's story reads like a modern day David and Goliath.  Joe Dutra's company has been battling a chocolate war with Hershey's for over a decade and has realized sales increases every year.  Originally dubbed the Gimme Candy Company, a family friend suggested the business be named after her; so it was.

Kimmie Candy does not compete directly with the major candy companies.  They market their own unique line of delicious confections.  One of their early successes was Choco RocksJoe sampled over 60 types of chocolate before deciding on the perfect blend for his candy.  Joe's chocolate is not as sweet as Hershey's and has a buttery texture as it melts.  After breaking the chocolate into small "nuggets" they Kimmie Candy Companyare coated with earth colored candy layers.  Choco Rocks was named Product of the Year at the Annual Candy Grammies in 2003 (the confectioner industry's Oscar Awards).

Other goodies include Sunbursts (chocolate and candy coated sunflower seeds), Choco Almonds and their latest creation, Kettle Corn Nuggets.  Kettle Corn Nuggets tap into the popular food trend of sweet and savory.  Crunchy salted corn nuts are coated in chocolate and candy layers.  Kimmie Candy is promoting their Habanero Kettle Corn Nuggets as the official candy of Reno's Hot August Nights Car Show.  You get the sweet, the salty then a slow after burn.

Kimmie Candy offers tours of their factory  Mondays through Fridays.  Call for reservations.  Debbie and I visited the facility recently.  After a short movie describing the manufacturing process we went into the plant and watched the candy being produced and packaged from start to finish.  Our tour guide did not rush us and answered any questions we had.  Next came the free samples!

Kimmie Candies come packaged in a rainbow of 18 different colors.  The Choco Almonds can be ordered in individual colors (think weddings and tailgate parties).  All their products are made without peanuts, are gluten-free and certified Kosher.  For more information or to schedule a visit go to their website.  The next time you're in Reno stop by Joe Dutra's "Biggest Little Candy Company". 

TRIP TIP!  If you can't make it up to Reno, or you run out of Choco Rocks between trips, Winco Foods here in Southern California sells them in bulk

523 Reactor Way  Reno, NV 89502  (775) 824-9200

National Automobile Museum

Anyone with interest in 20th century history or America’s love affair with the automobile needs to visit the National Automobile Museum.  Located next to the Truckee River in downtown Reno, the building houses four galleries displaying over 230 classic cars and trucks.  The displays are separated by period correct “streets” depicting scenes from the turn of the century through the ‘50s, adorned with artifacts from each decade.

Unfortunately, what you see today is only a fraction of Bill Harrah’s original vision.  Before his death in 1978 Harrah had amassed over 1,400 vehicles.  In 1980 the parent company of Holiday Inn purchased his company including the automobiles.  Short-sighted investors began auctioning off the collection in the summer of 1981.  This ignited an outrage by Nevada citizens interested in preserving Harrah’s legacy. Later in the year Holiday Corporation donated 175 cars, the research library and hundreds of historic pieces to the nonprofit organization that founded this museum.

What remains is exceptional.  The first treasure that caught my eye was Ed Roth’s Beatnik Bandit.  I had 1921 Rolls Royce National Automobile Museumno idea this custom from the early '60s still existed!  I hadn’t even paid for admission and got my money’s worth.  The vehicles on display are not overly restored. Most have been brought back only to showroom condition.  Others are survivors; cleaned up but all original.

The depth and uniqueness of Harrah's collection sets it apart from other auto museums.  It is not a bunch of model Ts and '50s Chevies with a few show pieces tossed in.  Each auto has a story; many have received People’s Choice and Concours d’Elegance awards at shows as far away as England.

Some of my top picks include the 1907 Thomas Flyer which won the New York to Paris automobile race in 1908,  a copper clad Rolls Royce Silver Ghost,  1937 Airomobile that looks like a goldfish and a rare 1936 Mercedes-Benz 500K Roadster.  When one of these classics come up for auction bids start at one and a half million.  The list of cars is striking.  Prototypes, experimental automobiles and one-off production units are all on display.

I recommend benefitting from the self-guided audio tour with headphones.  It is free with admission.  After exploring the museum check out their gift shop for those must have souvenirs.  The National Automobile Museum is open every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Fun Fact!  Many of the cars on display were owned by celebrities, such as Elvis Presley's custom Cadillac and Frank Sinatra's Ghia.  Still others have appeared in movies, notably a 1912 Rambler which was parked on the dock in the 1997 blockbuster Titanic.

10 S. Lake St.  Reno, NV 89501  (775) 333-9300

Hash House A Go Go

Warning! Wimpy appetites need not apply.  Since opening their doors in San Diego over a decade ago, Indiana natives Andy Beardslee and Johnny Rivera  have been serving up "twisted farm food" to elated customers.  A few years ago they set up shop in Harrah's, Reno.

As the greeter escorts you to your table, you sense something is wrong.  The mid-western farm décor cannot hide the enormous amounts of food your fellow diners are feasting on.  The plates are the size of manhole covers!  The smell of Aunt Bea's cooking drifts from the kitchen.

The menu looks innocent enough: meatloaf, pork tenderloin and ribs are a few of the choices offered. Debbie and I always plan on sharing a meal, but the list of tempting dishes dashes any hope of cooperation.  BLT Bloody Mary Has House A Go Go Here is a breakdown of one of our visits.

After being seated we order cocktails.  I decide on a Mojito while Debbie opts for a Bloody Mary.  Our waitress asks if we would like to try Hash House A Go Go's variations on the theme.  Why not?  A few minutes later our mega-sized drinks appear.  My Mojito arrives laced with Midori.  The result is crazy good.  Debbie's drink turns out to be Johnny's Famous BLT Mary!  Lettuce, tomato and a couple strips of bacon jump in the pool with a spicy Bloody Mary.   A piece of toast is served with the libation, presumably to sober you up for dinner.

As we're sinking into the cushions of our booth reveling in the effects the cocktails were imparting on us, dinner shows up.  Chicken and waffles for Debbie; pork tenderloin sandwich for me.  Now comes the twist.   Debbie's entrée is a six inch tower of waffles and sage fried chicken, held together with a rosemary skewer.  Strips of bacon have been cooked into the waffles imparting a smoky, savory taste. Fried leeks and maple syrup compliment an already impressive dish.

My tenderloin sandwich could only be described as comfort food on steroids.  The proportions of this artery blocker is ridiculous!  A hammered tenderloin is deep fried then placed in a whole wheat bun along with onions and pickles .  The problem is the pork is almost as big as the plate it is served on, making the bun look like a little hat.  Hash House's homemade spicy ketchup add a kick to the sandwich.  A rosemary spike impales my sandwich.

After consuming copious amounts of food and alcohol the only thing left to do is have dessert, and the only choice for that would be one of Hash House's mainstays; chocolate bread pudding.  Not being able to leave well enough alone the chefs blend chocolate syrup in with the bread mixture and scatter chunks of Snickers Bars on top before baking.  Hot from the oven, the pudding reaches our table topped with vanilla ice cream melting down the sides and covered with a latticework of chocolate and caramel sauces.  For good measure powdered sugar is sprinkled over everything.

TRIP TIP!  Hash House A Go Go offers a Grazing Menu for lighter eaters.  On request, your waitress will provide you with a special bag to take home your rosemary skewer.

Located in Harrah's Hotel and Casino  Reno, NV 89501  (775) 788-2895