By Coco Eyre

Coco and Brother Sam. Photo by Melissa O’Brien.

Recently I was fortunate enough to travel to Lake Tahoe, Nevada, to surprise my brother Sam for his 23rd birthday. When we arrived we found him in the library making a spreadsheet for one of his classes. We walked up to him, tapped him on his shoulder, and he turned around. He was stunned. Smiling from ear to ear, I gave him the biggest hug, and I just couldn’t believe I was with him once again. 

Lake Tahoe is a really beautiful place. Sam goes to school at a small college on the northern shore of the lake. He is a junior there this year, and he had not been home since last winter. It was so great to be there with him in his other world.

We ate a lot while we were there with Sam, where he lives and works and goes to school. That’s really kind of the best thing that people who love each other do, right? Eat together.

The first thing my mom and I did when we got to Reno was head to In & Out Burger. It’s my favorite fast food restaurant on the planet. The burgers are delicious. They have this secret sauce they put on the burger that adds another element of flavor to the burger. The fries are crisp and the milkshakes are perfectly creamy. The whole experience is lots of fun because the people who work there are so nice and fun. 

Every time Sam took us to a different restaurant I got a sense of the kinds of food people eat in Northern California/Nevada. One night we took a drive down to a Mexican restaurant; another time we went to a classic diner right down the road. Every time the food would be different and wonderful in its own way. While we were there we had everything from tacos to sushi to savory crepes. We stopped each morning at the local coffee shop, the IV Coffee Lab, to start our day with strong local coffee.

We ate out a lot during the four days while we were with Sam. Incline Village isn’t that big, but there were many different restaurants to choose from. 

On our last night there we surprised Sam with a special birthday dinner in his favorite Japanese restaurant, Koi. It’s a place we discovered the very first time we took Sam to drop him off at Sierra Nevada College. It’s in a little shopping mall. From the outside it doesn’t seem like much, but it is one of the best Japanese restaurants I’ve ever been to. There were nine of us at dinner that night, and we ate a lot of sushi. I was amazed by how much college kids can eat. We ended the night with fried ice cream and everyone singing “Happy Birthday” to Sam. The next morning we made our final stop at the Coffee Lab and then drove to Reno to catch our flight. 

Traveling is one of the most fun things you can do in this life. And trying the local foods not only gives you a sense of what people who live there eat, but it also gives you the chance to meet and talk with the people who live and work in those places. We spent a lot of time at the beach and walking around in Incline Village while we were there. For a short time it was fun to live the way people there live, to see how my brother lives his life on the other side of the country. 

Get out and see this world and eat a lot while you’re out there!