Tilapia with sautéed shitake
Chipotle Salmon Tacos with Chipotle slaw

Carson Valley Dining

Why the Carson Valley, you ask?

The answer is simple. The Carson Valley is located in northwestern Nevada, just south of Lake Tahoe at the bottom of Kingsbury Grade. This valley offers a wealth of outdoor experiences, expansive vistas and a relaxing atmosphere. When I’m in the area every summer for The Death Ride: Tour of the California Alps, this is where I stay.


Genoa Bar FBB May 2, 2015
Genoa Bar, Nevada's oldest thirst parlor

The valley is home to the towns of Minden, Gardnerville, Genoa and Carson City. As a visitor to Carson Valley you’ll find museums, historical sites, and bountiful opportunities for recreation. There are hiking, mountain biking and equestrian trails to enjoy. For road bike riders, the roads are wide open and smooth with very few stops. It is only a short trip to Bear Valley or Lake Tahoe for skiing, snowboarding and rock climbing.

While I rarely get to Carson City, I take time to explore the other towns. The area has wonderful antique stores, interesting eateries, and for the gambler, casinos. Here are some of my favorite places to eat from the last trip. Look for an update later this year from my next visit.

Nevada Joe Coffee on Main

Coffee On Main offers a full range of espresso drinks (hot and cold), Italian sodas, smoothies, and pastries. You can use the drive-up or walk-up windows. There is limited outdoor seating and no indoor seating. My dog loved the walk-up window because she always got a warm welcome and a dog treat. Their coffee is roasted in locally by the Alpen Sierra Coffee Company.

Coffee On Main is located at 1572 Highway 395, Minden, NV. They are open M-F and 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends. Prices range from $1.75 to $4.50.

J.T. Basque Bar & Dining Room

J.T. Basque is a Nevada tradition. In 1896 Hans Nelson bought and moved the building from its original location in Virginia City. Since then, the authentic Victorian building has served as a J & T Basque Bar and Restauranthotel, saloon and dining hall throughout its more than 100 year history in downtown Gardnerville. With the exception of the hitching post and horses outside, the current owners (the Lekumberry family) have restored the building's facade to look as it did over 100 years ago. The interior is filled with photos that provide a peek at the rich Basque culture in the Carson Valley.

The food is served family style. Whether dining alone or with a group of 20, bring your appetite. Dinner is a traditional Basque affair that includes soup, salad, stew, beans, French fries, bottle of red wine, coffee and ice cream. The soup tureens and platters of food arrive at the table overflowing. Each diner can choose one of several entrées. For lunch there is the traditional Basque meal or you can order plates with fewer items.

Entrées are top sirloin steak, lamb shoulder steak, Basque chicken, sweetbreads, pigs feet with tripe, and lamb chops.

If you want other beverages, there is a full bar available with wines from Spain and California.

In addition to operating the restaurant, the Lekumberry family raises cattle in the Carson Valley, producing natural grass-fed beef for the kitchen. They are committed to serving food from locally-sourced ingredients whenever possible.

You’ll find J.T. Basque Bar & Dining Room at 1426 Highway 395, Gardnerville, NV. There is seating for groups of one to 100 at the indoor dining room or outside patio. Call for large groups. (775) 782-2074. The cost for the traditional Basque dinner runs $27 per person. http://www.jtbasquenv.com

El Aguila Real

After a bike ride, hike or other sightseeing, El Aguila Real offers a hearty meal and a relaxed atmosphere. The patio is large with huge trees for shade and tables to seat large groups. If you’d rather sit inside, there are tables and booths a-plenty. If you’re in a hurry you can order your meal to go.

The menu has everything from nacho shrimp appetizers to enchiladas, to combination plates, or hamburgers. Full meals include rice, beans, and a small sopapilla for dessert. For people with a sweet tooth, there is a full dessert menu. The enchiladas were filled with savory meat and topped with a mouth-watering sauce. For those who like fiery flavors, there are hot sauces available.

The service was friendly and fast, allowing me to enjoy my meal without feeling rushed. There was plenty of time to relax and enjoy the breeze on the patio. The full bar offers Margaritas (buy 1 get 1 free from 3 p.m. to close, Friday and Saturday), beer, wine and soft beverages.

If you don’t walk from your hotel, there is a parking lot and space for bikes along the patio fence. El Aguila Real is located at 1387 Hwy 395 N. in Gardnerville. They are open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Reservations are required for larger groups. You can reach the restaurant at (775) 783-8777 or on the web at http://elaguilarealresturant.com/


© Bob Mack/Luvs Good Food


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