Burritos, tacos, quesadillas—these are some of my favorite foods. But let’s be honest, loaded with cheese and sour cream, wrapped into flour tortillas, they aren’t exactly guilt-free either. I’m not saying the quasi-Mexican fare at Laughing Planet is equivalent to eating kale, but a few healthy swaps do make these crave-worthy dishes a little better than most of their counterparts.
Like many locals, I’ve missed Laughing Planet. The eatery didn’t go anywhere, but during stay-at-home orders and business restrictions they were taking a lot of precautions to keep the community safe. Food was available to-go only.
While the indoor dining room still isn’t open for seating at the Midtown location, that outdoor patio is getting plenty of use. And at the location near the University of Nevada, Reno, live jazz is back.
For me, it’s a burrito here nine times out of ten. Forego the meat for a delicious vegetarian option of spinach and black beans, plus brown rice, jack cheese, and pico de gallo. Customize it by adding guac instead of chicken or indulge with sour cream.
It’s easy to see how a few substitutions, such as smart black beans and brown rice versus white, make this burrito a little more palatable if you’re being diet conscious. There’s also the option for vegan cheese, which plays into the menu’s diet-friendly attributes. (Many items are marked as vegan, paleo and gluten-free).
Tacos and quesadillas are much of the same, similar toppings and opportunities to customize.
When I want something lighter, I go for a bowl. The paleo bowl is my favorite. Grilled vegetables and garlic green beans atop a bed of sauteed kale and grilled chicken breast drizzled with the infamous killer green sauce—it’s lighter than many of the other menu items but equally as filling.
For a grab and go, don’t skip the smoothies. Post-workout or as a morning pick-me-up, the berry berry good (blueberries, marionberries, strawberries, bananas and apple juice) is a classic. But for something a tad different, the PB&J is a filling alternative.
The one thing I still miss are the plastic dinosaurs that used to sit on every table. With safety and cleanliness protocols in place, it makes sense these centerpieces went extinct, but I certainly hope they’re sitting in a backroom somewhere waiting for the day they can join the dining room again, bringing back a dose of that quirky fun atmosphere for which Laughing Planet has come to be known.
Nora Heston Tarte is a long-time Reno resident living on the southside of town. In addition to food, her hobbies include wine, hiking, yoga and travel. She is also the managing editor of a regional, lifestyle publication and freelances for other publications most frequently in the travel space. She graduated from California State University Sacramento with a bachelor’s in English and is pursuing her master’s in Professional Journalism as we speak. You can follow her travel adventures, and local exploits, on her Instagram account @wanderlust_n_wine.