Creating a new travel show is an interesting endeavor. How do you craft each episode to have entertainment and practical value when the series in not a comprehensive one, but a curated one?
For us, it starts out with a fascinating person, a special sip, a hidden spot, a particular bite. Some spark that gets our creative juices flowing to say, “THIS would make a great show.”
The spark for our first episode on Reno and Tahoe, was a visit to the opening of Bently Heritage Distillery in Minden, Nevada. Our small crew left Oakland, California, and headed up to Minden for a day trip. We had been told about this amazing new property in the middle of nowhere (sorry, Minden, but it is remote) and we wanted to see it for ourselves.
With the towering Sierra Nevada mountains in the distance, historic buildings converted into a state-of-the-art distilling and cattle operation, Bently was the first show’s inspiration. They grow their grains with the help of pristine mountain water. These grains create the base of their spirits and feed their cattle. We asked ourselves what else lies in the shadow of the Sierras that tells the story of this stunning region?
Having lived in northern California for more than 25 years, my answer was Lake Tahoe. I love to visit in winter to ski the mountains and in summer to swim in one of the world’s most spectacular lakes. Tahoe sports the beauty, but to my producer, Tina, a show about the mountain basin should also include nearby Reno and Virginia City, Nevada. Both are places I rarely visit, but we felt they tied in well from a history, food, and drinks perspective.
So, that’s what we did. We explored the Bently Heritage estate. We traipsed through the town of Virginia City to learn about Mark Twain and silver mining. We joined the locals in a Reno food-truck scene that rivals any big city. We snaked back across the Sierra Nevada mountains to spend time in Squaw Valley where we learned about the region’s geology. Finally, we tied it all together by noshing on burgers in a family-owned Tahoe City eatery that served the Bently grass-fed beef and poured their oat-based vodka.
To me, that’s what this show is all about…discovering a place’s past and future by indulging in its culinary present. Cheers!
Rum Sugar Lime
Petite Street Bistro
Mr. Margarita Truck
Feed the Camel
VIRGINIA CITY, NEVADA
Devil’s Gate Gunfighters
Virginia and Truckee Railroad
Red Dog Saloon
Bucket of Blood Saloon
The Silver Queen Hotel
LAKE TAHOE, CALIFORNIA