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Senior Spectrum Newspaper
February 2018
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Eclectic Observer
by Janet Ross
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Janet Ross
Janet Ross

Valentine's Day has always been a favorite of mine, and for years I've sent cards to favorite friends and family. This year won't be any different. However, with candy and flowers (typical gifts for the day-of-love) in mind, an option presented itself when I visited a local bakery. If you're in search of a different Valentine's present for someone special; why not a decorated cookie or cupcake?

Dee's Bakery and Cafe at 970 S. McCarran, #102, in Sparks, is a sweet spot with the added bonus of a delightful, light and bright cafe serving breakfast and lunch. With relatively new owners, John and Michelle Hall, it's a regular stop for many seniors for its cheerful, friendly service. Dee's offers Wedding cakes, specialty cakes and cupcakes to order (I'm seriously considering a splurge on the Chocolate Raspberry Truffle cake), catering, and parties. They do tea parties by appointment for small groups – what a great way to celebrate a birthday or holiday. There are just seven tables in the cafe (and it's quiet – no blaring music); both breakfast and lunch menus offer a good variety of traditional choices and coffee drinks have eight specialty selections to choose from.

The bakery display case is small, but well supplied with cupcakes, brownies, cookies, breakfast pastries, chilled delights like cream puffs and more; the variety varies daily. My personal favorite is a cookie loaded with dried cranberries, white chocolate chunks and macadamia nuts. Owner/manager Rosa Hall offers Brazilian specialties for Saturday lunches (call ahead to see what will be on offer, 775/351-2253). Dee's is open Monday-Friday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. There's on-site parking and easy access from both north and south directions of McCarran (just south of I-80 East).

Also in Sparks is the Panederia Azteca #2, at 780 N. McCarran Blvd. (Southeast corner of McCarran and Prater Way). If you have never visited a Mexican bakery, this one is typical; choose your own pastries from a closed case using a large plastic tray and a pair of metal tongs. There's usually a refrigerated case as well, with treats like Flan and Tres Leches cake slices. I'm hooked on the Panederia Azteca version of bread pudding; it's dense and studded with raisins. For fun you can indulge in a Hostess-look-alike cupcake with chocolate icing and loops of white decoration. Many Mexican pastries aren't as sweet as their American cousins, but the Panederia's version of a frosted, yellow pound cake is a treat not to be missed.

Panederia Azteca offers a large selection of Tortas (sandwiches) to eat on the spot or take with, freshly brewed coffee, soft drinks, ice cream bars, chips, candy ... you get the idea.

Tamales are a specialty and they take orders for large quantities. There's plenty of on-site parking and the Panederia Azteca is open daily from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. (The Reno location for #1 is at 2145 Sutro Street, should that side of the town be more convenient.)

Sticking with an international theme, Bavarian World has been a Reno favorite since the 1970s. The location, at 595 Valley Road (corner of Sixth Street), has changed little over the years – either inside or out. There's plenty of onsite parking. This is the place for fabulous pastries and breads ... plus, there's a restaurant serving lunches and dinners, a small grocery section, large deli counter with processed meats and sausages, plus beverages and German beers.

I'm partial to their pretzel rolls and sourdough rye bread, but the pastry case always offers a sweet treat impossible to resist. There is sure to be something special for your Valentine – plus you'll find some great German chocolates in attractive packages to enhance your gift.

Bavarian World is open Tuesday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. (Lunches are served from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., dinners from 4 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.) Plan to give yourself lots of time to browse as the variety of imported delicacies is impressive and you're sure to want several "extras".

Happy Valentine's Day to all!