Written By Rachael L. Scala
I don’t have to tell my fellow X-chromosome bearers that we love to spend time together twice; this custom is pre-programmed and deeply valued among generations. Where do you go to find an eatery conducive to a friends’ evening out; or celebrating our mothers; or spending a lively moms’ brunch with the kiddos? After a glance at the following three stops, you’ll want to plan all three.
Z Bistro – 725 Basque Way, Carson City, NV 89706; 775-885-2828. Lunch: Tue-Fri, 11-2:30, Dinner: Thu-Sat, 5:30-9, http://atzbistro.com
Family-owned Z Bistro is a dazzling gem in Southeast Carson City, featuring authentic French cuisine on a rotating menu. Opened six years ago by Gilles and Tina, ze charming bistro is sure to please mature groups, and their foodie daughters. Family-style tables allow enough separation for deeper conversations, yet enhance a community dining spirit. The charming yellow interior with tasteful décor is French at heart, emphasizing the artful food. Tina amiably welcomes all guests, treating them as dear friends whom she wishes to delight with her husband’s culinary delicacies.
The menu, sophisticated and approachable, contains lighter fare that is seasonal and responsibly sourced. Gilles’ creativity shines since it changes weekly, for example, this time the nuanced pâté is smoky with a hint of maple. Lunch is peppered with crêpes, satiating Niçoise salads, and the acclaimed onion soup, laden with Gruyere. At dinner, share a bowl of mussels in lavender and fennel broth alongside crisp frites in garlicky aioli. Don’t skip the poached pears in port, with crème anglaise for dessert, decadent, not overindulgent. Enjoy with house-made orange wine, a limoncello-esque aperitif. Whether you seek a quaint lunch or a sumptuous dinner, Z Bistro gives “cred” to Carson City’s unique food scene.
Squeeze In (South Reno) – 25 Foothill Rd, Reno, NV 89511; 775-853-6090. Breakfast and lunch Mon-Sun, 7am-2pm, http://squeezein.com
The sister restaurant of two other locations, family-owned Squeeze In of South Reno beckons larger groups and families of all ages to revel in hearty brunch. In light of the coziness of the original stop in Truckee, South Reno’s location has more room to spread out. Let the kids draw on the walls as you pour over the large menu, with over 50 omelettes, share-worthy sandwiches, and the veggie-heavy HOP options (Healthy Obsession Program). No items on this menu are prepared with oil, and toast is un-buttered. Breakfast potatoes, albeit delicious, are easily substituted with fruit or tomatoes with cottage cheese.
You are sure to feel accommodated and relaxed here. The cheerful staff happily lends a hand with creating a perfect brunch, and making the kids happy. Teddy bear pancakes fly out of the kitchen first so the kids aren’t free to toggle with the eclectic décor once they tire of writing on the walls. You may relish in the nourishing, guilt-free Shi’s Superfood Scramble, made of egg whites and a plethora of vegetables, or, share a burrito with your significant other if you’re past breakfast mode already. Bottom line–the Squeeze In will leave everyone in your party happy.
Freshies – 3330 Lake Tahoe Blvd., South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150; 530-542-3630. Lunch, http://freshiestahoe.com
Celebrate your closest friends in a laid-back, health-conscious venue, Freshies in South Lake Tahoe. Referred to as “grown up Hawaiian with a twist,” the exotic menu is nutritious and dense. Opened in 2000 by Melodie and Erik, Freshies transforms oft-unhealthy Hawaiian cuisine into wholesome and flavor-rich masterpieces. Menu items are comprised of organic produce and chicken, locally sourced wines, and is also entirely gluten-free (save the homemade pasta). If you’re indecisive like me, order a few things to share.
In the summer, you’ll have plenty of room on the upstairs deck to tuck into the famed fish tacos (try your fish blackened), while sipping on Pliny the Elder with your girlfriends. Start with quinoa and sweet potato cakes with sweet chili sauce or portabella mushroom curry. Seeking greens? Salads are available in half portions and are still quite sizeable; try the vibrant Crunch Salad with your choice of fish. Though limited on space, you’ll feel welcomed and well attended to. Freshies has been a local’s favorite for years, for good reasons. Check out some of their events such as the Lake Tahoe Women’s Center fundraiser, where cooks and servers switch places for the night; or, their local’s appreciation night, in which the winners of the drawing dine for free on the deck over summer.