Around Reno

Around Reno
Something new is just a stone's throw away when you're here, so lets have some fun and enjoy, Reno!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Musician in the Lake

I really shouldn't tell you about Chimney Beach, but at this point I don't think our secret beach is all that secret anymore, so I'm going to share with you.

Chimney Beach, named for the chimney on the beach (go figure) is in Tahoe, on the Nevada side, and in true Nevada style you're going to have to hike to get to it, but that is why we love it!  Plus its free, so there's that.  

There are two optimal parking lots for Chimney, the one I use is on the East side of Nevada 28 and there is one on the West.  My directions will be for coming from Reno to the one on the West, if you are coming from elsewhere then...I have faith in you to figure it out.  If you are coming from Reno though, take Mount Rose Highway (aka Highway 431) all the way to Tahoe Blvd (aka Nevada 28 I believe).  Take a left on Tahoe Blvd and follow it for about ten minutes, there will be a turnout on your right hand side with some bathrooms, about 30 parking spaces, and the trail head for the currently maintained trail down to the beach.  If you can't find it, no worries!  People in Tahoe are generally pretty friendly, just ask for the Chimney Beach parking area and if they know, they will probably tell you.  If not then that person is an ass and you should ask someone else.  Also, there is a map on the bottom of this post...yea, that might be easier.

(Side note:  There is another parking area closer to the old trail.  I still always go this way, I just like it more, but you'll have to find that one yourself.  It's North of the main parking area.  Keep in mind that the older trail is now unmaintained and you use it at your own risk.)

Once you find the trail it's probably (depending on your pace) a ten minute walk down to the water.  Lillie and I always meet people on the trail, and without fail they are smiling and friendly.  That's because this beach give you everything you could want.  Open space, rocks to climb on, a little hike to get the blood flowing, and it's dog friendly.  It's also cat, lizard, bird, and gopher friendly, for those of you who aren't dog people.

I should probably warn you all that Chimney Beach is clothing optional, and people do take advantage of this fact.  That being said, I have never seen anyone nude on the main beach area, they are generally off to the sides, although the last time we were up there Lillie and a buddy of mine where pointing out some side boob on a rock out in the water a ways, so I guess you should just be warned that people may be wearing the bathing suits they were born with.  You should also consider some nude sun bathing, you might be surprised how great it will make you feel to get some sun on those parts that don't usually get any.

Chimney Beach is a beautiful vantage point for Lake Tahoe (with and without the side boob) and you will probably want to bring a camera for that alone, but if you have decent timing and a little luck you may very well meet some of the nicest, most interesting people you could hope to come across.  In the picture to the right is a man named Joel who was sitting in the water playing his guitar, singing, and just generally entertaining the small crowd that was on the beach that day.  Good music, good beer, great friends, and a Frisbee is about all you need to bring with you, chimney will provide the rest (well, not food, unless you like squirrel).

Once you've had enough laying around in the sun it's time to hit The Runway, which some people call The Gooch, but they are wrong and should be out-casted from society for their crimes.  The Runway is a place to overcome your fears, look death in the face, or just have a little fun (this really depends on how scared of heights you are).  Okay really its not that bad at all.  A buddy of mine once jumped off with his dog in his arms, and another guy rode a scooter off the side of the rock.  It ranges from eight to twelve feet depending on the water level, and I have never heard of anyone hitting the bottom.  To get there you want to follow the shoreline North until you reach a rock that stands out about ten feet from the rocks you will be standing on.  One of those miscreants we discussed earlier has at some point spray painted "The Gooch" on the side of the rock next to the one you are going to jump off of.  This really is one of those things that you should ask someone there to show you how to get to though, because it can be a really easy jaunt, or a treacherous rock climb over the foaming sea (well, not really foaming, and not actually a sea, but still treacherous nonetheless) depending on the route you take. 

Lillie guarding the gear while we head off to jump.
If you decide to do it without a guide remember that the middle path is the best, too low is sketchy and too high will make it pretty difficult to get to The Runway once you get over there.  The walk should take about 10 - 15 minutes, so if it was much shorter or longer than that you probably aren't there.  Once you find the spot its time to put on your big boy pants and take that short leap.  If you find The Runway to be a bit lax for your taste just follow the shoreline another ten minutes or so and you'll find Shadow Leap (jump off around 10:00am and you'll see why) that is about a thirty foot drop into slightly shallower water.  Be warned that I am not advocating jumping off this, and I have touched bottom from the jump, although never hard enough to hurt.

Glass and open flame are prohibited, and on the rare occasion that someone of authority comes by (I've seen them maybe three times) they will ask you to put out any fire (this includes cigarettes from what I remember) and could ask you to carry out your glass to the nearest trash receptacle immediately.  The nearest receptacle is at the top of the trail, so you can see how this would be a bummer, but just be respectful and tidy and you'll be fine, get me drift?

If you see me up there come say hi and have beer with us, my friends and I have taken rights to Joel and his guitar, so just look for the Musician in the Lake.

Thanks for reading, and don't forget your sunblock, Reno!

*If you hurt yourself doing anything in this article Jason Vickers,, and anyone associated is not to be held liable or responsible in anyway.  Your safety is your own responsibility.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

An unexpected show.

So I have to admit that when Remington Walker, a classmate and friend, invited me to come check out his band The Shagwagons at 3rd Street bar I was expecting an open mic atmosphere and an encouraging round of applause at the end.  I will admit to having been completely wrong!

3rd Street is a little bar nestled right in the heart of downtown.  Head west on 3rd Street off of Sierra and you're there within a hundred yards.  Stepping inside I found plenty of seating, a well stocked bar, and cheap drinks.  A couple bucks got me a Sierra Nevada (yes, it is true that they taste even better when you drink them in Nevada) and I grabbed a seat by my buddy as he waited for his turn on their well equipped stage.
 The dance floor was empty, but it wouldn't stay that way for long.

The act that was on when we got there set the mood perfectly.  One man and his guitar, and he had talent!  Great singer songwriter style acoustic music and some impressive vocals got me paying attention to the stage.  Turns out I wasn't done being impressed.

So first things first.  That sign in the background is there to let you know that there is awesome music at this bar at least once a week.  This particular show was more of a one time thing on a Friday night, but I'm told 3rd Street Blues Jam is definitely worth the...oh wait, it's free!

Now, I've got to tell you about The Shagwagons.  Remington Walker is, like I said, a friend from school.  I knew he had been playing guitar awhile, but I didn't know just how impressive these guys were going to be.  This was my first time meeting J.D. Christison, the drummer and backbone of the duo.  From a little blues heavy rock 'n roll of their own to a Jimmy Hendrix cover that everyone seemed to agree did total justice, these guys were good at what they did.  I had one last surprise though, J.D. can sing and drum at the same damn time, no easy task!  Remember when I told you the dance floor wouldn't stay empty?  Well The Shagwagons used their witchcraft (and a little talent) to pull everyone out and get the hips a swayin'. 

The show closed with some hip-hop from Evynn Tyler who kept the bodies movin and the energy high.  If you keep up with shows in the Reno area you may remember his performance with Bazooka Zoo at the Knitting Factory late last month.  The venue may have been smaller, but the talent filled it from wall to wall and the friendly staff of 3rd Street kept the drinks full and the good times rollin.

Needless to say I'll be visiting Third Street bar again soon.  With no cover, cheap drinks, and great music my only question is why haven't you gone yet?  The address is at the bottom, and there's even a little map there if you click on it.  Go ahead, try it out.  You're gonna like it.  Seriously...why are you still reading?  Get down there!

Thanks for reading and rock on, Reno!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Sifting through the tattoo shops of Reno... not an easy thing!  Tattoo shops are a dime a dozen in Reno, and more than one will give you that "we are rockstars and you are not worthy" feeling that is often, unfortunately, associated with getting a tattoo.  If paying money to feel like an outcast isn't your thing I strongly suggest you check out Valor Tattoo Parlor on Vesta Street in Midtown!

The building itself speaks volumes to the character of the brilliant artists you will find inside.  My own tattoo artist, Josh Weeks, had recently started working for this shop, and I was meeting him there to have some more work done on an ongoing piece on my side.  Josh is a man of good taste so when he said I was going to like the shop I believed him, but I didn't realize how right he was.
I stepped inside the front door and found a reading room filled with volumes of all manner of literature.  It probably doesn't need to be said that I stopped here to admire but after just a moment I was greeted by a smiling tattoo artist (how refreshing!) and asked if there was something he could help with.  I told him I was meeting with Josh and was immediately pointed in the right direction.  Josh met me a few steps into the joint and gave me the tour.  I was introduced to the owner Dustin Brown, Tom Kareck (the artist that greeted me), Felicity Zoberski, Nikki Costalupes, and Jose Diaz.  Click on their names to check out bios and portfolios on Valor Parlor's website (unless they aren't links, in which case you can click, but I doubt anything will happen).  And in case you find yourself wondering how they keep the joint shining and bright and all the gadgets running at peak performance; give your thanks to Valor Parlor Technician and all around great guy Kyle Moore.

After walking past the first tattoo station (left) I was lead into the back of the shop where I saw framed artwork for sale, happy (despite the pain they were likely in) customers, and friendly artists.  Everything about this shop made me feel not only welcome, but intrigued.  I spent time checking out the art, looking through more shelves of books, and chatting with artists.  After a few minutes it was time to have some work done, I'll spare you the details of me squirming on the table, but suffice to say my ribs are a bit tender, and a whole lot artsier after my visit.

If you are in the market for a great tattoo artist and like the idea of a comfortable, inviting, and inspiring environment then I highly recommend you pay a visit to Dustin and the staff at Valor Tattoo Parlor at 141 Vesta Street, Reno, NV.

As always, thanks for reading and enjoy, Reno!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Round out your week at Whispering Vine.

Wine lovers love grapes, and the staff at Whispering Vine is no exception!  Not only can you come down and enjoy a glass of one of their over 30 different wines, but if you like it you can buy a bottle right then and there at some of Reno's best prices.

As soon as I walked in the girls made me feel right at home.  I was there to meet a friend and was just sort of lingering at the bar when I was offered a sample of something delicious!  I can honestly say that this is the moment in my life that I started enjoying pinot noir.  I promptly asked for a glass, and the price was good, too!  I coughed up a couple bucks plus tip and sat there enjoying my new favorite wine (I would realize on the drive home that, much to my dismay, I had never gotten the name of it) while I waited for my friend.  By the time she got there I was within a sip of the bottom of my glass, and I just couldn't bare to give it away, so instead I ordered two more glasses and told her that she had to try it.

As we sat, enjoying our wine, we discussed the scenery of their Southtown location.  We were surrounded by wine by the case, by the rack, and by the glass (not to mention the patrons who all seemed to be filled with it as well) and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves.  If its a nice night I recommend you check out the patio, as Spring heats up its the perfect place to enjoy your favorite glass, or perhaps something completely different, either way I'm sure your going to love your visit to the Whispering Vine in Southtown, Reno.

Click wine to check out their website.

Drink up and enjoy, Reno!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

My first Thai at Bangkok Cuisine

So I have to begrudgingly admit to you that it took until 25 years old for me to try Thai food (freeze dried Pud Thai not withstanding...and also not recommended) but I am honestly glad that my first experience with it was in the wonderful atmosphere Bangkok Cuisine in Midtown!

Turn off Virginia Street onto Mount Rose Street (not Mount Rose Highway, that mistake will cost you a half hour minimum) and see the modest building and limited parking on your right, just across the street from Plato's Closet (a great shopping experience I will take you to soon!)  Step inside and you will find that the outside of the building does the inside no justice.  White tablecloths, sparkling dinner glasses, and smiling faces fill the room.  I have been in three times now and never have I experienced a moment's delay in being greeted and offered a table (and yes, they do takeout). 

But this is the story of the first time.  Lillie and I were taken to a table in what I would consider the back room where a few other patrons chatted in friendly tones as they awaited their meals.  Not a single person looked unhappy, everyone was smiling, water was poured as soon as we sat and I spent enough time admiring the scenery that Lillie nudged me to look at my menu, so I did.  It took us both quite a bit of time to decide what we wanted to eat, but in the meantime we had, at the suggestion of our waitress, the spring rolls.  Light, crispy, and delicious and that sweet plum sauce works perfectly with them.

After forgetting our menus long enough to devour our spring rolls we returned to the quest for an entree decision.  I eventually landed on the chicken yellow curry, which I was later informed is sort of the noob special when it comes to Thai food.  Lillie was just a tad more adventurous, opting for the shrimp green curry, which happens to lie right above my chicken yellow on the menu, I assume that is why she chose it. 

The food didn't take long at all, and to be honest it was more than we were expecting.  My entree was made up of large chicken chunks, potatoes, and carrots cooked in yellow curry and coconut milk.  It came with cucumber salad and a piece of Thai flat bread, and I swear the bread is the best part.  Not because anything else in the meal is lacking, but the flaky exterior hiding the doughy interior of that lightly sweet hunk of bread was (this time and the second time I had it) my favorite part of the whole meal.  The flavor with the chicken yellow curry revolves around a touch of sweetness in everything you eat.  The cucumber salad is a perfect cool and light partner for the comfort food feeling of the savory chunks of chicken in the sweet yellow curry sauce.  Everything in front of me was perfectly paired with one another, and a complete polar opposite to the spicy basil flavors of the green curry setting in front of my lovely companion.

When you order the green curry you choose from 7 options for the main filler of the meal.  Chicken, beef, pork and fried tofu will land you at a $9 price tag, and for an extra $3 you can choose from shrimp, squid, and duck.  Lillie has expensive taste, so I wasn't surprised when she chose the shrimp, but still at $12 this meal wasn't breaking the bank, and a happy lover is always worth it.  The taste (we always try each others food) was a spicy kick in the mouth with the bite of strong basil flavors to make sure you didn't get off easy.  The shrimp had a snap to it, and the bell peppers level you back out, and the bamboo shoots add some substance while you just sit their contemplating how you ever thought you enjoyed *insert some heart attack on a bun fast food joint here*. 

The best part...well maybe not the best, but another awesome part, the bill was right around thirty bucks, which means that even with tip our date night budget left room for a movie, and you know how I love cinematic adventures...or at least, you do now.

If you are even thinking about trying Thai food, or you already love it, I strongly suggest that you try Bangkok Cuisine, I can't speak for the Southtown location, but with the experience we had in Midtown I can only imagine you are going to love it.

Before you go, click here to check out their menu, maybe it will save you from repeating the half hour long quest that Lillie and I went through trying to decide.  Maybe not.

Enjoy, Reno!