A QUICK GETAWAY for two days to this strange city just over the border, to visit cousins and hear an orchestra concert. (Laura Jackson conducting the Reno Philharmonic; very good.)
After the concert, time to revive a conversation with my Companion on the subject of steak-frites. She recently announced that one really shouldn't order it cooked anything less than medium rare, as it's the cooking brings out the flavors. After this one I have to agree. When I was younger, American cooks — like English ones, I suppose — routinely overcooked meat. If you ordered medium rare, you were lucky to get medium; more likely it would be "medium well". So I early on formed the habit of ordering my steaks rare.
So did I at this bistro, and got undercooked meat. (I should explain that it is pan-seared in this kitchen, not grilled.) It was what the French would call bleu, not even saignant. It was tough, needless to say — hard to cut moist meat, even with a steak knife — and it had not developed a lot of flavor. I liked the French fries, though, and the Béarnaise sauce was okay.
Next day, Monday, we had lunch with a cousin at a place of her choosing, rather a delightful, old-fashioned seafood place (designed by Pat Kuleto) in a repurposed bungalow, the dining area cut up by waist-high partitions into booths, everything cozy and relaxed.
Fish and chips might have been the order of the day; that's what Claudia had. My Companion chose wisely, as usual: a deep-fried fish sandwich, with wonderful French fries. I couldn't resist sand dabs, and thought them and their presentation, well, ordinary. Breaded and cooked a bit too long, served on a mound of decent mashed potatoes, with asparagus spears on the side, they made a satisfying but unmemorable lunch. Still, an enjoyable place; I could return for dinner one day…
THERE IS GOOD COFFEE to be had in Reno — a good thing, as before the drive home over the Donner Pass it's good to have some espresso in the system. I very much like Hub Coffee: we've been to two of their locations, this time the one on the Truckee River, which has a nice walking path alongside.
•Hub Coffee Roasters, 727 Riversie Drive, Reno, Nevada