Monthly Archives: April 2013

Metal at Knuckleheads

knuckleheads reno nevada shuffle boardLast weekend my roommate and I went down to Knuckleheads Bar & Grill to watch a band I used to play for called “Half a Tusk” as well as a couple of other bands. The show was supposed to start at 8:00, but like most local shows I figured it would be late so we got there at 8:30.

When we walked in I was happy to find that they weren’t charging a cover. I then walked over to catch up with my old band mates a bit. After a little chit-chatting I walked over to the bar get a round of beers. While walking up to the bar I saw a sign for a bucket of 5 Rolling Rocks for $8.75 (Can’t beat that). I went ahead and got a bucket and proceeded to doll them out.

It still didn’t look like anybody was getting on stage soon, but I didn’t have a problem with that, because they have free shuffle board. The table might not be quite as nice as The Blind Onion, but who cares. We ended up getting our fare share of shuffle board in, because the first band “Hell Pig” didn’t come on until 9:30.

half a tusk knuckle heads reno nevadaHell Pig was a little gimmicky with the front man wearing a slaughter pig mask and playing various sound clips between songs. They did put on a good show though. After Hell Pig was Half a Tusk. These guys just love to shred. Both guitar players are very talented. If you enjoy good guitar playing regardless of your predisposition to metal I recommend giving these guys a listen. After Half a Tusk I said good bye to my old band mates as the were breaking down and went home with my roommate.

The bar

Knuckleheads would most likely be filed under a dive bar. I tend to enjoy dive bars and Knuckleheads is no exception. The staff for the most part has always been friendly and the place is kept clean.

One thing I really like about Knuckleheads is that they offer no shortage of things to do. In addition to the shuffle board table they have two pool table, dart boards, pinball machines, and a ping-pong table.

The menu

If you are just coming in for a drink they usually have some sort of deal going on. Last time I cam to Knuckleheads they were offering $3 Third-Shift and you got to keep the glass. Other than that they have a full bar with beer wine and liquor.

The food probably doesn’t rank well through Weight Watchers, but if you want some greasy bar food then Knuckleheads is the place to go. Like their drinks the food is quite reasonably priced. Knuckleheads offers burgers, jalapeno poppers, chicken wings, and even a couple of different pasta dishes.

The bottom line

If you don’t mind or even enjoy a bit of a dive atmosphere, then I highly recommend checking out Knuckleheads. They offer a fun atmosphere with affordable food and drinks. If you prefer a more mellow experience then go on a weeknight. If you enjoy the local music scene and especially metal, Knuckleheads usually has shows every weekend.

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Filed under Bars, Events, Music

A Nice Breakfast at Sparks Coffee Shop

This morning a few friends and I were calling each other back and forth trying to figure out what we wanted to do for breakfast. I decided to jump on Foursquare and see if I could find some place new to try. I ended up stumbling on Sparks Coffee Shop. The pictures and tips on Foursquare showed Sparks Coffee Shop to be a full service breakfast and lunch restaurant as opposed to just being a coffee shop.

sparks coffee shopMy friends all came over to my house were we got in one care and drove down to Sparks Coffee Shop. We pulled up to the restaurant which looks like a bland red house far removed from any other business on Oddie and El Rancho. We walked into the restaurant and were promptly seated in a booth.  As I looked around I was surprised at the amount of decor especially compared to the outside of the restaurant. It was pretty clear by the decorations that Sparks Coffee Shop is owner by a mexican family.

As I looked through the menu I noticed that Sparks Coffee Shop has a pretty extensive menu for both breakfast and lunch. While they offered a number of Mexican dishes like Huevos Rancheros, the menu was very “American” with omelets, hamburgers, etc…  The first thing that caught my eye and what I ended up ordering was the crab cake benedict with a side of fruit.

All the plates that came out looked delicious and were in large portions. My crab cake benedict was very tasty. The crab cakes themselves tasted like good crab meat and the hollandaise complimented them well. The fruit was fresh and juicy.

The bottom line

Despite the name, Sparks Coffee Shop is much more than a coffee shop. I think they may have some issues their branding. They have great food, great service, and reasonable prices. I recommend giving it a try. What are some of your favorite breakfast spots in Sparks?

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Rancho San Rafael Dog Park

Rancho San Rafael is a large park located near the University of Nevada on the corner of North Sierra and North McCarran. On Saturday before the Silver and Blue game I took my dogs to the huge dog park they have at Rancho San Rafael to enjoy the warm weather.

As usual we parked in the dirt parking lot on the North end of the park. This provides the easiest entrance to the park. As I took off the leashes Lily proceeded to her usual routine of hanging with all the other people and dogs besides Louis and I.

lily rancho san rafael reno nevada 1

The only thing Louis cares about is playing fetch. I bring a tennis racquet and hit a tennis ball for Louis to fetch. I have learned to get the odd colored balls from Pets Mart otherwise Louis and I end up losing balls in the grass.

louis rancho san rafael reno nevada 2

As I followed Lily around the park hitting the tennis ball for Louis, Lily decided to run into the muddy pond on the North West end of the park. As I went to get Lily out (She is hard of hearing so I usually have to physically get her) Louis decided to jump in and take a little swim. Now that both dogs were wet we ended up hanging out at the park a while longer so they could dry off a bit.

The park

rancho san rafael reno nevadaRancho San Rafael is by far my favorite dog park in Reno. It is quite large which is great for playing fetch with Louis. It is a popular park so Lily always has other dogs and people to meet. The park is also well kept with plenty of grass. An issue I have ran into at other parks is if the park is not well kept it ends up becoming dirt and rocks which cut Louis’s feet up.

One thing to be aware of at Rancho San Rafael is that it is not well fenced in. Especially on the West side of the park, dogs can easily get through the fence and run out if you are not paying attention.

The bottom line

Rancho San Rafael is one of the greatest dog parks in Reno. I highly recommend   any dog owner bring their dogs especially now that the weather is warming up. What is your favorite dog park around Reno?

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Earth Day at Idlewild

On Sunday went to the Earth Day festival at Idlewild park. I read in a blog post about Earth Day that this year they were allowing dogs and that they would even have a doggy daycare.

luis and lily reno nevadaSo I loaded up Luis and Lily in the car and headed down. You couldn’t have asked for a better day to be outside. Parking by Idlewild was no easy task. I ended up driving past the park on Idlewild, turned left on Hunterlake and finally turned right a few blocks up Hunterlake and parked.

After I parked I took the dogs out and walked them through the congested sidewalks until I finally met up with a group of my friends. We walked into the festival through the parking lot by the skatepark. In the parking lot was a couple of art cars probably ready to go to Burning Man later this year. One car was a space saucer and the other was a more conventional NASA space ship. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to snap any pictures while holding the dogs.

The festival

reno earth day mapThis year they had a large variety of booths including a number of food vendors, artists, and of-course people offering plenty of environmentally friendly information. We didn’t end up eating at the festival, but the Gourmelt  truck was there and I have yet to try one of their sandwiches.

On the both the West side and the East side of the festival they had stages set up with various bands playing through out the day. On the north side of the festival was a row of various green cars including a Tesla.

For those that wanted to take hippie to another level they had the Sound Portal. The Sound Portal is a dome that is surrounded by gongs. People are invited to sit inside of this dome as two free spirited individuals walk around the dome with mallets gentle striking the gongs.

One of the last booths we found was the doggy daycare. The doggy daycare was sponsored by a local veterinarian. I was slightly disappointed with doggy daycare which ended up just being a bunch of cages that people could lock their dogs in while they walked around the festival.

The bottom line

I enjoy going to Earth Day every year. I always have fun walking around and I can’t help but learn a thing or two. What did you do for Earth Day?

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Nevada Wolf Pack Silver and Blue Game

reno nevada wolf pack football fansEarlier today a friend and I went to the Nevada Wolf Pack Silver and Blue game. We only got to the game about 15 minutes before it started so we weren’t able to check out the tail gate chili cook off before the game. The game was far from packed, but their was a good turn out. The majority of people were sitting on the west side seats.

Talking football

The blue team seemed to have the starting offense of for Nevada with Cody Fijado at quarterback. The silver team seemed to have the starting defense.

reno nevada wold pack footballI was glad to see both teams continuing to play with The Pistol offense. The Pistol was developed by former head coach of the Nevada Wolf Pack Chris Ault in 2005. Now The Pistol offensive formation is used by former Nevada quarterback Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers as well as other NFL teams.

Overall I was thought both teams looked good. I was happy that the blue team did not blow out the silver team. If you watched the Nevada Wolf Pack play last year you may have noticed that their offense was great, but the defense could have used some work.

Other activities

Between the first and second quarter they had a foot ball catching contest where At half time they brought out all of the contestants for the chili cook-off and announced the winner. The winning team received a Nevada Wolf Pack pot and ladle. Before the game Brian Polian did a poll of fans to see which song they would play between the third and fourth quarter. The winner ended up being “Jump Around” by House of Pain.

During the game they had a kids play area under the South end zone bleachers. After the game the players stayed, signed autographs, and took pictures with the fans.

The bottom line

Whether you are a die hard pack fan or just looking to take the family out for a Saturday afternoon the Nevada Wolf Pack Silver and Blue game is a great free way to spend an afternoon. How do you think the Wolf Pack is going to do this year?

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Sunday Brunch at The Branding Iron

On Sunday three friends and I went to the Branding Iron at The Bonanza for their Sunday brunch buffet.  I showed up after my friends so I just found their table and sat down. As we sat their a couple of my friends were looking through the menu contemplating wether to get the buffet or to order off the menu. As I looked through the menu I noticed that you get a buck off with a players card making the buffet $8.95 (Almost as good as The Sands Buffet). So we all got up and went to the “Bonanza Bank” to get our players cards.

Bonanza Branding Iron Reno NevadaWe came back to the buffet and began loading up our plates. I started off by throwing on some eggs, cornbeef hash, bacon, and sausage. I then ordered an omelette from the omelette station with ham, tomatoes, onions, black olives, cheese, and jalapenos. We all sat down and were promptly greeted and asked if we would like any drinks (which are included with the buffet). I went ahead and got an iced tea. On my second go I went a little healthier getting some honeydew melon, cantaloupe, watermelon, and some cottage cheese. The melon was actually ripe which was nice considering a lot of buffets don’t let their melon ripen before putting it out.

The buffet

The Branding Iron calls it a brunch buffet, but other than the salad bar it is pretty much breakfast buffet. For the hot food they offer eggs, corn beef hash, bacon, sausage, pancakes, french toast, and biscuits and gravy. They also have a station where you can get fresh cuts of pork loin as well as an omelet station.

The salad bar has a pretty wide assortment of items. In addition to the traditional salad items they have a number of different fruits including strawberries, cantaloupe, honeydew melon, and watermelon. The salad bar includes other “salads” like pasta salad and potato salad.

The atmosphere

The Branding Iron is nothing special to look at. They kinda try to go for this old time western look. They keep it clean though, and it is far enough removed from the casino that it doesn’t fell to much like you are in a casino.

The bottom line

If you are looking for a decent cheap breakfast on a Sunday this place really can’t be beat. The food is good, the service is good, and the price is right. Also, if you feel like gambling a bit before or afterwards they have a dog racing game in the casino the is pretty fun.

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CrossFit Captivate

A friend of mine recently purchased a groupon for half off a one month membership at CrossFit Captivate. Members are allowed to bring one guest for free so he asked me to go with him on Saturday morning. He picked me up at 9:30 and we pulled into the parking lot of what looked like a warehouse on Greg and McCarran in Sparks. As we walked in they had me sign all the necessary waivers as we waited for the class to begin. By 10:00 we had five people in our group and we were ready to begin.

Stretches and Warm-Up

crossfit captivate sparks nevadaWe all started by grabbing a PVC pipe and doing stretches. After stretches we played Hoover Ball. Hoover Ball consists of everyone getting in a circle and playing catch with a 14lb medicine ball. If you don’t catch the medicine ball you have three burpees. A burpee is when a person does a push-up and then jumps up and claps over their head. We started playing inside the gym until one of the girls was knocked back by the medicine ball into the equipment. The instructor decided that it would be a better idea if we finished the game outside.

After our game of Hoover Ball we went back inside to do front squats. For people like me that didn’t know what a front squat is, the instructor showed us how to do them with a PVC pipe. We then grabbed the real bars and did four sets of five while adding weight each time. By this time I was feeling pretty confident. I wouldn’t feel that way for long though.

The Workout

The main workout consisted of four rounds of a 100m sprint, 10 back squats, 15 hand release push-ups, 20 box jumps, and 25 sit-ups. The men did 135lb and women did 95lb. On the box jump the men did 24 inches and the women did 18 inches.

This cross fit class was a rude awakening for me. I didn’t realize how out of shape I was until I did this class. By the third round I was struggling to keep my breath. The box jumps are what killed me. By the third round I was walking up and down the box. The sit-ups didn’t feel good either, but that was largely because I have been trying to do more core exercises in the gym and my abs were already sore.

The bottom line.

CrossFit Captivate is pretty well hidden in sparks. From the outside it just looks like a warehouse, but inside they have a nice facility. The instructor was both friendly and motivational. If you haven’t tried it you should at least give it a shot. They allow a week free for locals. CrossFit Captivate also maintains a blog if you are interested what other kinds of workouts they do. CrossFit is considerably more expensive than a membership at a gym like Fitness Connection though, but the bottom line is if it can get you motivated to work then go for it. Please let me know about you experiences with CrossFit in the comments below.

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