Try a taste of Reno/Tahoe
If you’ve ever wanted a recipe for your favorite dish at a certain restaurant, you may be in luck with the recent publication of “In Good Taste: Reno/Tahoe,” written by veteran cookbook author Sonnie Imes and her first-time co-author, Lori Lacey.
Imes, a Genoa resident, has been compiling and writing cookbooks for more than 20 years, starting with the “Taste of Tahoe” in 1978, done when she lived in Incline Village.
The idea to write cookbooks came from a casual suggestion from her niece, Imes said, and the subsequent experience of taking her daughter out to a Chinese restaurant after calling them to say she was writing a cookbook on area restaurants and would be coming to sample their fare.
“They put on a big buffet for us and afterwards, I realized I was committed to writing the book,” Imes said. “So I finished that book (“Taste of Tahoe”), self-published 200 copies of it, and sold them all in three days. Of course, I printed more books – correcting the errors in the first printing – and I’ve sold thousands since then.”
n A series is born. Imes wrote 10 more books, including “Taste of Tahoe II,” “Taste of Tahoe III,” “Taste of Marin,” “Taste of California Wine Country, Napa/Sonoma,” “Taste of California Wine Country, North Coast,” “Cooking Inn Style,” (bed and breakfasts), “Taste of Reno,” “Best of Taste of Tahoe” and “Taste of Cruising.”
“For that book, I went on 15 cruises in 18 months,” she said. “Afterwards, I had gained so much weight from the cruises that I wrote ‘Take My Body and Fix It,’ which is all about spas.”
For this latest book, “In Good Taste: Reno/Tahoe,” Imes said she and Lacey picked established restaurants with good reputations and great recipes. After contacting the restaurants, the pair visited each one, ate a meal and asked for recipes that the owner and/or chef might like to include in the book.
“We wanted to find restaurants that had been around for a while and were planning to stay in business,” Imes said. “And we didn’t necessarily pick the higher end restaurants. For example, in Truckee there’s a little place called ‘Squeeze In,’ and it’s so popular that people line up to get in.”
According to Imes’ book, Squeeze In specializes in omelets, offering 57 different types, “all whimsically named to honor local folk.”
Recipes from Squeeze In which are in the book include Grilled Lola, an avocado, bacon, spinach and jack cheese sandwich; Casa Dia, a Mexican egg concoction; Eric Sandwich, a Mexican egg wrap; and black bean soup.
Over the years, Imes has rarely encountered a problem getting restaurants to give her recipes to have them included in her books.
“Often, they approach me, but from time to time I’ll find an owner who just doesn’t want to do it,” she said.
n Hundreds of recipes. “In Good Taste: Reno/Tahoe” has recipes from 50 restaurants from Carson Valley, Carson City, Reno, Sparks, Incline Village, Truckee, Tahoe City, Tahoe Vista and South Lake Tahoe. Each restaurant usually supplies a dinner’s worth of recipes.
From the Carson Valley, the book has recipes from River Bend Grille, D.W.’s Restaurant, The Wild Rose Inn Bed & Breakfast and the Carson Valley Country Club. Restaurants from Carson City are Glen Eagles, Adele’s, Molly’s Catering and B’Sghetti’s; and from Reno, Bricks, Rapscallion, Viaggio, Andiamo, Planet Hollywood, Napa Sonoma, Cafe Soleil and several more.
Most restaurants include a variety of recipes ranging from appetizers to desserts. For example, the River Bend Grille in Genoa included Italian sausage stuffed mushrooms, pasta al boro, shrimp BLT with a lemon caper dill mayo, tequila lime marinade, papaya cilantro salsa and chocolate mousse.
Imes and Lacey also included several of their favorite recipes in the back of the book, including curried stuffed eggs, Chinese cole slaw, smoked turkey tetrazzini and ground almond torte.
Imes, who grew up in Philadelphia, jokes that her interest in cooking came, in a roundabout way, from her mother, whose idea of what to make for dinner was reservations.
“We did eat out a lot, and from that I got a sense of what good food was,” she said. “But my mother used her oven to store paper bags. Here’s how she’d call me for dinner … ‘Get in the car!'”
Imes said she has many more book ideas, including one about ski area eateries.
“And someday, when I grow up, I’d like to do a book on adventure travel,” she said. “I want to go to Patagonia to see the penguins.”
n Where to find it. On Aug. 6, Imes and Lacey will host a book signing at the Wild Rose Inn in Genoa from 1 to 3 p.m. For every book purchased, the customer will be invited to participate in high tea, Imes said.
“In Good Taste: Reno/Tahoe” is available at Nevada Gourmet Grocery in downtown Minden and at Barnes and Noble and Border’s Books in Reno for around $15.