The BEST Place to Squeeze In

Best Place to Squeeze InYears ago when I moved to Lake Tahoe I quickly learned from locals around town about this place called the Squeeze In.  Known for serving the best breakfast in town, competiting during a “Throwdown with Bobby Flay” and also for having the “Best Omelettes on the Planet” ® .  That was enough convincing for me and soon I headed over to experience my first breakfast at the Squeeze In.

Located on historic row of downtown Truckee, CA I learned that Squeeze In had a few different meanings.  First, it pays tribute to the restaurant’s cozy size which consists of one long hallway spanning only 10.5 ft across in length so you literally have to “squeeze in”.   Secondly, they serve generous portions of delicious breakfast and lunch dishes which you also have to “squeeze in”!   Most famous for their omelettes with 65 different versions featured on their menu with colorful names such as the “Forest Gump”, “Shake & Bake”, “Spanish Flay” in tribute to Bobby Flay and their very own “Lake Tahoe”.  Squeeze also has a number of other delicious items on their menu including what they call “the usual breakfast” which you can imagine the players and tasty lunch specialities such as burgers, sandwiches, salads and more!  I dined with a friend, shared their signature “Racy Tracy” winning omelette and immediately fell in food love.  One thing I was particular impressed with, my friend brought her young 1.5 yr. old daughter who was antsy to play – immediately the server brought over a toy box crate filled with wonderful things instantaneously occupying her allowing us to enjoy our breakfast and chat.

Best Place to Squeeze InRecently, Shila Morris, president of the Squeeze In visited my MBA personal branding class to tell her family restaurant’s history, triumps and tribulations and how social media marketing channels contributed to their success.  It was during this hour lecture that I came to learn that I had much more in common and opportunity to learn from Shila and the Squeeze.  Shila explained the story of how her parents acquired and established their family business fulfilling their early dreams of someday owning the Squeeze In after years of enjoying “free omelette” tips from Shila’s dad’s company.  In particular, Shila described parents as a free-spirited, beach loving surfers from Southern California which resonated with me strongly.  See, I am also married to a similar soul whom I met on Maui, Hawaii and whose life-long dream is own and operate his own restaurant.  Therefore, the stories Shila shared of Squeeze In’s history, successes, mistakes and strategic growth through the use of social media marketing channels hit a deep cord.

Today Shila’s mom Misty Young and original co-founder of the restaurant recently wrote a book which will be on shelves this summer titled From Rags to Restaurants documenting the lessons and experience that her family has learned in establishing their small business and sharing this advice to anyone who wants to open a restaurant and or wants to take their restaurant business to the next level.  To say the least, this book will be in my husband’s Christmas stocking next year!

Recently I visited Shila Morris at the Squeeze In in Truckee to learn more about her favorite things about the Squeeze In and Truckee during the summer months in Lake Tahoe.  You can also check out Shila’s “5 Must Do’s this Summer” in the region on a recent  blog post.   Check out my interview with her below and learn a bit more about the Squeeze In:

Not rookies to video, the crew at Squeeze In love their creative videos including favorites such as  “Squeeze In “Omelette Style”/”Gangnam Style” Parody Video and their very own Squeeze In Harlem Shake video each with thousands of views!  Also, check out their blog “The Good Egg” and learn more about specials, events and get an insider view of the Squeeze In.

Best Place to Squeeze InHave you dined at the Squeeze In in downtown historic Truckee? If so please share your favorite dish in the comments below.  If not, head over there today!  They are open daily from 7am – 2pm and now celebrate four locations throughout the Tahoe-Reno region.   Look forward to squeezing in alongside you soon!

If you enjoying learning about Lake Tahoe follow my blog and me at @robinpenning to receive information on tips, news, activities and special events in Lake Tahoe.

Take me out to the …. Reno Aces Ballpark!

One of my absolute favorite things to do in the summertime in the Reno-Tahoe region is visit the Aces Ballpark and watch an Aces games with my friends.  The Reno Aces are a Triple-A Minor League team in the Pacific Coast league.  Not only are they a great team, but also they have the most amazing stadium right in downtown Reno – the Aces Ballpark.  Rumor has it that other Triple-A teams love to play the Aces just so they can make the trip to Reno since our ballpark is so much better than the rest.

Just last week, my colleagues and friends visited the park to catch a Monday night game and had a blast!  We sat in spectacular Bugsy’s Sports Bar and Grill patio section overlooking third base.  Not only were the views great, but we also enjoyed full service for food and beverage which you can’t pass up.  Its especially perfect for group events and large parties to enjoy.  My favorite – the pretzel bites, yum!

The Aces Ballpark has a number of great features in the park located in downtown Reno adjacent to the Truckee River.  Some of the highlights include the Circus Circus Kids Zone, Baseball Mountain, the Bugsy’s Sports Bar and Grill as I mentioned above and of course the lively Freight House District where you can catch live concerts, DJs, play a game of corn hole and celebrate after-the-game drinks.  Besides all of the special events and concerts hosted at the  popular Freight House District, the ballpark also hosts a packed schedule of featured events including:  St. Mary’s Firework Fridays, Small Business Nights, Girls Night Out, the Dog Days of Summer where two guests and their dog enjoy tickets for only $25 and many more!

The Reno Aces schedule last through September with weekly games and ticket prices ranging from as low as $7 for standing sections to $34 for prime seats behind home plate.  With these prices, this is a family, friend, work outing that you can’t miss.  Visit the Ace’s website at www.renoaces.com to learn more about the game and event schedules as well as purchase your tickets!

Check out a video of our recent trip to the Aces Ballpark!

Have you ever been to a Reno Aces game?  If so, share your favorite part about visiting the stadium in the comments below!

If you enjoying learning about Lake Tahoe follow my blog and me at @robinpenning to receive information on tips, news, activities and special events in Lake Tahoe.

Paradise Found in Reno

imagesLast weekend my girlfriends and I decided to treat ourselves to a “girls” day in celebration and reward for a very busy and productive year.  Usually our gatherings include trips to the library, study sessions and coffee shops as we tackled graduate school classes together but this time the reason was much better – a spa day in Reno.  Our destination would be poolside, consisting of rejuvenating spa treatments, celebratory beverages and of course, great company and laughs.  Based on one friend’s previous experiences, we chose Spa Toscana at the Peppermill Resort Spa Casino on South Virginia Street.  We cleared our schedules, made a few calls to confirm appointments and packed our bags for an indulgent day in Reno.

Every spa day should be this effortless.  When the day of our appointments arrived, I pulled into the conveniently located self-parking and reunited with my friends about an hour before our 11 am massage appointments.  First stop, a visit to the Passport Reward’s member card registration desk where within minutes I was registered by the helpful concierge with my “local’s” passport reward’s card extending 20% discounts on all room, food, beverage, retail and spa purchases beginning immediately.  So convenient and immediate, I loved it!  Plus, it remedied any guilt I was feeling about the $$$ I was about to spend.

My friends and I found our way towards the resort pool and nearby Spa Toscana where we checked in for our appointments.  The first thing I noticed was that the spa was bustling with visitors.  It was a Sunday, but in early June, and I was surprised to see it this busy.  Nevertheless, our service was extremely courteous, not rushed and on-time.  After being graciously toured the spa lounge amenities, locker facilities and relaxation areas, we changed into our robes and were escorted to the upstairs private relaxation lounge where we awaited our spa therapists, sipping on flavored waters and teas.

Within minutes I was greeted by Tamara and whisked away to a treatment room for a 50-minute deep tissue massage. Tamara was delightful, intentional and very knowledgeable.  After reviewing with her areas of focus and attention, she made me feel at home allowing me the ability to customize the treatment room with TV video choice, select an iPod music spa-toscana-at-peppermillstation and even the temperature of the massage table.  I was already in heaven.  My massage was exquisite.  Tamara applied a perfect combination of deep tissue pressure techniques with smooth, longer relaxing motions that both healed and relaxed.  My only disappointment was that I hadn’t booked a longer treatment!  After my massage, I returned to the relaxation area where I met my girlfriends and headed to the salon for mini-pedicures and conversation. A quick pedicure later (just what I wanted), we were ready for an afternoon at the spa pool area.

Having worked up an appetite and thirst from our morning of pampering, we made our way to the nation’s only indoor/outdoor Caldarium spa area that features an indoor heated pool, cold plunge pool and heated whirlpool with outdoor patio seating and views of the resorts main pool down below. Here we happily camp for the afternoon on lounge chairs under umbrellas and began ordering lunch items, mimosas and margaritas from resort staff.  One immediately feels as though they are lounging poolside in Las Vegas, a sign that my staycation in Reno was working as a getaway retreat.  As temperatures heated up above and beyond the 80’s we spent our afternoon alternating between the indoor pool amenities and sun deck patio further enjoying the best of both worlds.

Spa 1Without realizing it, we saved the best for last – the Ladies Ritual room. The perfect ending to our relaxing day at Spa Toscana was a visit to the Ladies’ Ritual room were we began our spa ritual journey through the eucalyptus steam room, cold plunge pool, cedar wood sauna, hot whirlpool and cascading deluge showers.  While relaxing (and laughing) in the steam room amongst thick clouds of steamy mist, a friend announced “I think this is my new favorite place in Reno”, we all immediately laughed, signifying without words how we all unanimously agreed.  Spa Toscana truly is our new favorite place in Reno.

I hope this blog post helped you learn a bit more about Spa Toscana and gave you ideas about where to host your next girls day in the Reno-Tahoe region or spend a birthday or couples celebration.  If you have visited the Spa Toscana at the Peppermill Resort Spa Casino in Reno what treatments do you recommend?  What other spa locations in the region do you enjoy?  Please share your feedback in the comments below.

If you enjoying learning about Lake Tahoe follow my blog and me at @robinpenning to receive information on tips, news, activities and special events in Lake Tahoe.

Photo Credit 1, Photo Credit 2, Photo Credit 3

Lake Tahoe’s “Biggest Little Neighbor”

Lake Tahoe's Biggest Little NeighborThis past weekend I decided last minute I wanted to get out of town, but didn’t want to deal with an expensive or long drive anywhere.  So where could I go?  Then it dawned on me, time to take advantage of what’s right in my backyard.   The solution was a “staycation” trip to the nearby city of Reno, Nevada known as the “Biggest Little City in the World”.  Tourism professionals in the area strongly promote the activities and events in Lake Tahoe to visitors in Reno, but what about experiencing it the other way around?  Located only 29 miles away from Lake Tahoe’s North Shore, the short but gorgeous ride to Reno only takes 45 minutes.  So, I packed my bags, jumped in the car and within an hour was beginning my biggest little adventure!

First stop, the 2013 Reno-Tahoe WordCamp event held at the University of Nevada, Reno. Hundreds of developers, designers, social media gurus, speakers and blogger enthusiasts joined together for an exciting day of seminars, lectures and networking.  This was my first time attending a WordCamp event and it was amazing.  I learned so much and even more importantly, met some amazing new people.  This got me to thinking about all of the AWESOME events that Reno hosts year-round that may visitors to Lake Tahoe are completely unaware of!  Top events include:  Reno Rodeo, Rib Cook-Off, Hot Air Balloon Races, Air Races, Reno River Festival, Hot August Nights, US Bowling Lake Tahoe's Biggest Little NeighborChampionships and Ace’s Baseball games.   Any night visit downtown for dinner along the riverfront followed by some gambling or catch a show or concert at one of the casinos.  To keep up on events occurring in Reno, follow the Reno-Tahoe Blog.  What particularly impresses me about events held in Reno is how approachable and accessible they are.  Growing up near a big city, events of this sort are often challenged by overwhelming crowds, expensive fees and lots of traffic!  Instead, events in Reno are intimate, approachable, inexpensive and much less hassle.

Where to eat?  Reno has hundreds of fantastic restaurants and a rich diversity of cuisines which I particularly enjoy when visiting from Lake Tahoe.  I could write hundreds of posts on the best places to eat in Reno, so instead I will only mention the two that I visited this past weekend – Hiroba Sushi and Campo.  I was craving sushi and feeling lucky to be in town so I could visit my favorite place, Hiroba Sushi.  They have a fantastic all-you-can-eat sushi which is hassle-free, delicious sushi creations and a personal, engaging waitstaff.  The only downside, they are always packed!  I was especially appreciative this past visit when a gracious hostess slipped me into a spot at the sushi bar and I walked right in without waiting.  The next day, it was gorgeous outside and I was able to join friends and visit a restaurant I have been anxious to try, Marke Estee’s Campo.  Located in the River-300x200hub of downtown along the Truckee River, its indoor/outdoor scene was perfect for this gorgeous day.  We grabbed a table outside and enjoyed Sunday brunch.  The selection was fantastic and proud of my italian heritage I was particularly pleased with the authentic Italian dishes and ingredients on the menu.  I will definitely be back for seconds.  To decide what to eat during your next trip to Reno, check out Chris Cook’s Sincerer Love and learn about dozens of restaurants and cuisines to enjoy while in town.

Shop ’till you drop!  Reno also offers a fantastic variety of shopping venues to visitors ranging from small boutiques, vintage stores, discount outlet plazas and malls to full-service department stores.  Whatever you are looking for, Reno has it.  This past weekend I was able to find one-of-a-kind items while boutique shopping on South Virginia Street, conventional pieces at Macy’s in the Meadowood Mall and hot sale items at the Summit outlet stores in South Reno all in the matter of hours.  Not very many big cities afford the variety, ease of navigation and close distance as Reno shopping does.  To learn more about Reno fashion along with great tips on where to shop local visit Reno Has Style.

After learning more about Reno, I hope during your next visit to Lake Tahoe you drive down the mountain to witness the rebirth in Reno and experience the “biggest little city in the world” for yourself.  Share in the comments if you have visited Reno before during a trip to Lake Tahoe and if so, what did you do?

If you enjoying learning about Lake Tahoe follow my blog and me at @robinpenning to receive information on tips, news, activities and special events in Lake Tahoe.

Photo Credit 1, Photo Credit 2, Photo Credit 3