Rediscovering Reno: SPICY Tuna Handroll

Thursday, June 30, 2011

As most of you know by now, I'm a Foodie.

While my love of food has come from many sources, I attribute most of my passion to the years I spent as a youth eating out with my family.  For most of my childhood, my mom reviewed restaurants for the Reno Gazette Journal.  Through my mom's job, it allowed little me to experience types of food the average 8 year-old in the early 90s wouldn't be exposed to. 

For those of you who have lived in Reno long enough, think back. Remember the early 90s?  We were still a quiet little town.  We didn't have big chain restaurants (BJs? Claim Jumpers? Even Applebees.  What were they?).  We had a few good "Nevada-Style" Steak Houses (remember the Glory Hole?).  We certainly didn't have much variety when it came to ethnic food.  To find a Vietnamese restaurant to have a bowl of pho was difficult.  And to enjoy some korma or Indian curry, you had to go to some obscure places.  When it came to sushi, it was simple.  None of those crazy rolls that I eat (and enjoy) now. 

Sushi & Teri (still in the Toys R Us shopping center) for many years, was the only place in town you could get good sushi.  And it was basic.  Nigiri.  California Rolls.  Those sweet teriyaki tofu-pockets stuffed with rice.  Definitely no All-You-Can-Eat.

And you know what? With just those basics, I fell in love with my favorite food in the whole world. There's something about the balance of flavors with the fresh fish and the seasoned rice, a bit of wasabi, and a small dunk of soy sauce.  PERFECTION! 

When Groupon offered a few months ago a discount for Nothing To It Culinary Center, my mom and I both jumped on it.  A few years past, she and I had attended a "Taste of Thai" class and thoroughly enjoyed it.  We scoured the class catalogue, and decided to take a sushi making class

I thought this evening out, would be a perfect for my "Rediscovering Reno" post.  Nothing To It! is without a doubt one of Reno's hidden treasures.  The center is tucked away and you would think you were in Napa, not in South Reno by Meadowood Mall.

 The class was taught by the Center's amazing chef and instructor, Lara Ritchie.  Lara started off by making everyone feel welcome and then went through the history and basics of making sushi. 

We learned that traditionally, people in Japan would choose their sushi "hut" by how dirty the curtains covering the door were.  Napkins weren't used at the time, and people would wipe their hands on the curtains on their way out of the restaurant.  The dirtier the curtains, the more popular the place.  We also learned how to choose a good piece of fish (and were in this land-locked city we can do so), how to properly slice the fish for nigiri or sashimi, how to make sushi-rice, and how to construct rolls.  

After the interesting lesson, Lara broke us up into "teams" and we got to work constructing our mountain platter of sushi. I've made sushi before, but this was the most fun I've had doing it.  We had such variety of ingredients: tuna, salmon, imitation crab, a variety of sauces, a variety of vegetables, tempura shrimp, and new to me...WASABI TABIKO (so good!).  This was the first time I used a bamboo rolling mat.  It made things so much easier and my rolls actually looked presentable. 

All of the sushi we created during the cooking class!

We spent close to an hour building our sushi.  By the time we sat down to enjoy it I happily looked at our creation.  It looked, dare I say it, almost professional!?!  And though I enjoyed every single bite of our masterpiece; the nori (seaweed) was a little soggy, and the tempura shrimp weren't crispy.  We just took too long for those items to retain their crunch.Without a doubt it gave me an extra appreciation for the sushi chefs at my favorite joints here in town.

Mmmmm....the perfect bite!

For those of you who have never been to Nothing To It!, I would HIGHLY recommend it.  It's the PERFECT date night outing, or even fun for a girls night out (they always serve wine).  For those of you who burn water, no fear!  They have demo classes, where you watch them cook and just eat what they create.  For those a bit more adventurous, take one of the cooking classes.  The recipes are always simple enough that a novice in the kitchen will feel like a pro.  And for those who have a little Julia Child in them (like me), you will learn new techniques and feel a bit like a "master-chef".

Nothing To It! also has a Gourmet Deli that is open Monday - Friday from 11:00 A.M. to 2:00 P.M. and offers summertime deck dining and catering for your office party or other special occasion.  It's worth a trip to the south side of town for lunch in this hidden location.  I will talk more on their deli at a later time.

They are located just two blocks from hwy 395, right off South Virginia Street. Heading south on South Virginia Street, Take a right on Crummer Lane, 1 block past Barnes and Noble. They are right at the end of Crummer Lane.

Nothing To It!
225 Crummer Lane
Reno, NV 89502
(775) 826-2628


  1. Anonymous said...:

    WOW! I am so glad you enjoyed class. Making sushi really is just so much fun, but as you so aptly pointed out, after making sushi you do gain a new respect for those sushi chefs. I sincerely hope we get the chance to cook together again. Until then..happy cooking!

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