A weekend in Reno: Calmer than Sin City, but certainly not dull


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Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2013, 6:20 pm
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By Catharine Hamm
RENO, Nev. -- Remember when Vegas was cheap? It can be again, except it's not Vegas, it's Reno.

There are better reasons to come here than its reputation for quickie divorces might have you believe. For instance, big casinos just like in Vegas, but not as pricey and definitely not as raucous.

The bed: We chose the Tuscany-flavored Peppermill (2707 S. Virginia St., (866) 821-9996, peppermillreno.com) and had a price flashback. Even though it was a holiday weekend, our small suite at this AAA four-diamond property was $130 for Friday night and $160 for Saturday. (Rates for a standard room in December and January start as low as $48 midweek, $64 weekends.) Our quarters had a giant four-poster bed and an in-room Jacuzzi under a mirrored ceiling.

The food: Peppermill has a dozen places to eat, including Bimini Steakhouse, classified as fine dining. It was fine with me. Not so with my three companions. My filet mignon was tender, but they found the prime rib too rare, the crab/lobster cake too bland and the potatoes au gratin too cheesy.

We did better at the casual Biscotti's, whose menu is enormous and diverse (pizzas, burgers and some unexpected dishes such as halibut and cedar plank salmon). The Sports Deli served a mean chicken noodle soup in a bread bowl -- good on a cold day. (See "Lesson Learned" below.)

The find: Because I'm not much of a gambler (Peppermill's poker room accommodates novices like me and seasoned players like everyone else in my party), my great delight was Junkee (960 S. Virginia St., (775) 322-5865, junkeeclothingexchange.com), about a mile from the Peppermill.

It calls itself a "clothing exchange," but within its nearly 9,000 square feet you'll also find a section devoted to antiques and collectibles. Any place that advertises Burning Man attire is going to be funky, and it was.

"May I help you?" a clerk asked. "Just having fun," I replied. To which she replied, "Good. That's what we want." I couldn't stop giggling over the squirrel head mask, the glittery skulls and the Siamese cat cookie cutter.

Coupled with a short, brisk walk in downtown Reno, where the autumn colors complemented the rushing Truckee River, the outing was just enough to knock off the casino rust.

The lesson learned: It gets cold in Reno; the average high in November is 55 and in December and January 46. But on Nov. 10, I awoke to snowfall. It didn't stick, but it was enough to remind me that this wasn't Vegas, as if the hotel tab hadn't reminded me already.

The tab: What's expensive isn't Reno; it's the airfare. If you factor that out, our outlay was about $450, including one fine-dining meal but excluding poker losses.

















 



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  Today is Monday, Oct. 20, the 293rd day of 2014. There are 72 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: The store of Devoe and Crampton was entered and robbed of about $500 worth of gold pens and pocket cutlery last night.
1889 -- 125 years ago: Michael Malloy was named president of the Tri-City Stone Cutters Union.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Dewitte C. Poole, former Moline newspaperman serving as vice consul general for the United States government in Paris, declared in a letter to friends that the once gay Paris is a city of sadness and desolation.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Plans for the construction of an $80,000 wholesale bakery at 2011 4th Ave. were announced by Harry and Nick Coin, of Rock Island. It is to be known as the Banquet Bakery.
1964 -- 50 years ago: An application has been filed for a state permit to organize a savings and loan association in Moline, it was announced. The applicants are Ben Butterworth, A.B. Lundahl, C. Richard Evans, John Harris, George Crampton and William Getz, all of Moline, Charles Roberts, Rock Island, and Charles Johnson, of Hampton.
1989 -- 25 years ago: Indian summer is quickly disappearing as temperatures slide into the 40s and 50s this week. Last week, highs were in the 80s.


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