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Monday Mise en Place: Halloween Food and Drink Specials Abound In Las Vegas

Want Some Candy Little Girls? (photo: 28.media.tumblr.com)

Want Some Candy Little Girls? (photo: 28.media.tumblr.com)

The best part about Halloween is that now you can dress like a slut in Las Vegas and actually get discounted food and drink because of it!  At what point Halloween turned into an excuse for women to wear skin tight leather and squeeze their tits out of the top of their shirt, I have no idea…but who am I to question the Great Wonders Of The World?  There are some specials happening throughout the valley during this holiday once reserved for children begging for candy with a plastic Superman mask on their face, one of which is at Tabú Ultra Lounge in the MGM Grand. Three cocktails tailor made for the the Halloween spirit will be featured; the Black Widow with Black Cherry Effen Vodka, lime juice and Chambord, a Smoking Zombie with Vodka, Gin, Rum and a float of Chambord, and Vampire Blood with Absolut Acai, Peach Schnapps and Pomegranate Juice.

Good Food and Drink Served Here

Good Food and Drink Served Here

Down the street at First Food and Bar at the Palazzo there will be featured drinks called the Trick or Chai and the Oktoberfloat on this Halloween.  Also they will be doing raffles and since Sunday is Movie Night at First, they’ll be playing A Nightmare Before Christmas and Corpse Bride after the football games.

Good Times And The Best Wings In Vegas Found Here

Good Times And The Best Wings In Vegas Found Here

However, to get you in the mood for Halloween day, the Naked City Pizza Shop inside MoonDoggies Bar on Desert Inn and Arville will be doing their Halloween hang on Saturday, October 30th! A Nightmare On Arville St. will feature food specials, drink specials, and the Bacardi Shot Girls will be on hand.  There will be raffles and contests for best costume as well, so ladies, get the girls good and propped up!  The Naked City Pizza Shop hang begins on Saturday, October 30th at 10pm and will probably last until about Halloween Day of 2011.

Crystal Head Vodka. Goes Good With 4 Fried Chickens and A Coke (photo: prweb.com)

Crystal Head Vodka. Goes Good With 4 Fried Chickens and A Coke (photo: prweb.com)

If you’ve been dying all your life to meet Dan Aykroyd (and really who hasn’t, Doctor Detroit, SON!), on Friday October 29th from 4-6pm at the Total Wine and More Boca Park location, you’ll have your chance.  The Ghostbusting Blues Brothers star will be on hand to sign bottles of his Crystal Head Vodka.

How I Don't Have A Picture Of The Cutie Pie Keris, I Have No Idea, But She Made This...

How I Don't Have A Picture Of The Cutie Pie Keris, I Have No Idea, But She Made This...

Big congratulations to one of my favorite Pastry Chefs in town, Keris of Bachi Burger, for landing a new gig with Alex Stratta’s pastry team at the Wynn hotel!  Don’t fear, Bachi Burger lovers, Keris’ signature desserts will still be at Bachi Burger as she’ll be splitting her time between the two locations.  I don’t know if Alex truly knows the talent he’s picked up yet, but all of a sudden the desserts at his restaurant just got a whole lot better!

Know What's Happening In Vegas By Listening To These Guys!

Know What's Happening In Vegas By Listening To These Guys!

Not really food related, but a great event is coming up that I wish I could attend.  Alas, The Man must be worked for and Tha’ Billz must be paid.  But, if you’re free and are looking for a warm-up to the Naked City Pizza Shop hang mentioned above, The Vegas Podcast-a-Palooza is this Saturday, October 30th at the Flamingo hotel’s Go Pool from 4-6:30pm. The peeps from Five Hundy by Midnight, The Strip Podcast and The Vegas Gang will be on hand doing their thing for all the world to see.  For more information and to print out your free tickets, visit http://VegasPodcastAPalooza.com.

Lowering The Standards of Mankind Since January 2010

Lowering The Standards of Mankind Since January 2010

And now for some Tasting Las Vegas news:

A few of you may have already noticed that TastingLasVegas.com has a slightly different look.  Just like its Papa, TLV has gotten a little wider. I added a sidebar on the lefthand side to free up some advertising space, cause Papa has gots to start paying the bills.  What do you think?  Too cluttered or is it ok?

Also, be on the look out later this week of a reboot of my Dish Spotlight Series! Exciting!

Spreading The Filth Worldwide!

Spreading The Filth Worldwide!

This week’s Tasting Las Vegas: The Podcast will feature Chef and Owner of the Naked City Pizza Shop, Chris Palmeri where he dishes on everything from proper Buffalo-style eating to the proper way to store White Alba Truffles!  Also there’s a major announcement which you’re not going to want to miss!  All of this and more should be online as Tasting Las Vegas: The Podcast, Episode 04 goes live on Wednesday, October 27th!

Speaking of Tasting Las Vegas: The Podcast, it has now been listened to by people in over 75 countries! Last week, the first two episodes both spent time on the iTunes Top Ten Food Podcasts! I am amazed and very appreciative.  Thank you so much for bringing this bubble gum and duct tape operation into your home.  Remember, I’m always open to feedback, so fire away!

—–
Mike Dobranski is a professional musician, amateur blogger, eater of good food, poker junkie, master of the inappropriate comment and bad husband to a wonderful wife.

Follow Mike and Tasting Las Vegas on Twitter at @TastingLasVegas

The Weekly Bad Picture Of Good Food: Affettati Misti from Rao's

Ask any successful person what the secret of their success is, and 9 times out of 10 they will answer, “focus.” Having focus is imperative to achieve any kind of greatness.  However, focus is often times a fleeting commodity.  Look at Tiger Woods.  When he was focused on golf holes, he was on top of the world.  When his focus shifted to blondes’ holes, well….he started to suck at golf…but life really couldn’t have been all that bad!  Those that can maintain a steely stare with unwavering concentration will not only reach, but will surpass their goal.  If the iPhone’s goal was to take a decent picture of an entire plate of food, it just got caught catching a glance at the sweet, perky titty known as delicious Parma Prosciutto.  Unfortunately, the Soppressata, Provolone, Cornichons and Olives were officially Nordegrened, thus making the Affettati Misti of Rao’s at Caesars Palace this week’s Weekly Bad Picture Of Good Food.

Affettati Misti from Rao's

Affettati Misti from Rao's

—–

Rao’s

Caesars Palace Las Vegas Hotel & Casino
3570 Las Vegas Blvd. S.
Las Vegas, NV 89109

(877) 346-4642

http://www.caesarspalace.com/casinos/caesars-palace/restaurants-dining/raos-detail.html

Follow Chef Carla Pellegrino on Twitter at @ChefCarlaPelleg

—–
Mike Dobranski is a professional musician, amateur blogger, eater of good food, poker junkie, master of the inappropriate comment and bad husband to a wonderful wife.

Follow Mike and Tasting Las Vegas on Twitter at @TastingLasVegas

Clark County School District Lunches Get A Tweak From Wolfgang Puck's Crew

Since 2007, Wolfgang Puck and his merry group of restaurants have worked with the Clark County School District (The Official School District of Las Vegas) to help educate the student population about healthy and nutritious foods and to help out the CCSD Food Services serve better lunches.  On Tuesday, October 19th, about 20 5th graders from Howard E. Hollingsworth and David M. Cox elementary schools were invited to the Wolfgang Puck Pizzeria and Cucina in the Crystals Mall at CityCenter as Executive Chef, Dustin Lewandowski, and crew served up some tasty food and talked with them a little bit about what they were eating.

Clark County School District Students At Wolfgang Puck Pizzeria and Cucina

Clark County School District Students At Wolfgang Puck Pizzeria and Cucina

The way this tasting was set up is that each of the kids had a sheet to fill out.  There were five different dishes with two versions of each.  One was a recipe already used by the CCSD, the other was a tweaked version by the kitchen of the Wolfgang Puck Pizzeria and Cucina.  Some of the recipes already used by the CCSD were already ones developed by the Puck people, but it was time for an update.  A great example of this was the first course; Chicken Noodle Soup.

Chicken Noodle Soup "A"

Chicken Noodle Soup "A"

Right off the bat I could see the kitchen was using Whole Grain Pasta with the brownish color.  Example “A” was a Chicken and Noodle Soup that featured peas and carrots as the main vegetables.  It was good.  I was actually surprised to find out the peas and carrots were frozen because they tasted pretty fresh to me.  Chef Lewandowski later explained to me that it’s all about how you bring the veg back up to temperature, and that the technology of freezing vegetables is getting better.  I was a wee bit embarrassed that I thought they were fresh, but hey…it happens.

Chicken Noodle Soup "B"

Chicken Noodle Soup "B"

Example “B,” however, was light years ahead of its predecessor.  To the stock, a little bit of parmesan was added for a little bit of extra depth.  Plus the vegetables of “A” were switched out for zucchini, squash and broccoli.  The extra layers of flavor made it one of the best Chicken Noodle Soups I’ve had in a long while.  While the table of parents was unanimously on my side with love going to “B,” the kiddies were mixed on their view.  Let’s meet the kiddies…

The kiddies enjoying some good grub!

The kiddies enjoying some good grub!

As I said before, there were about 20 or so 5th graders from two different elementary schools.  I, more or less, stayed at one end of the table and created a little focus group of my own within the focus group.  Before anything was served, I asked a few of them what their favorite lunches were.  I was a little surprised by the answers I got…

The Final Word In Food: Haley, Emily and Courtney

The Final Word In Food: Haley, Emily and Courtney

The one I could relate to the most was Courtney who said Ham, Cheese and Lettuce Sandwiches was her favorite lunch.  When I was her age, if it involved some kind of hot dog, pizza or hamburger, I was good to go.  Yeah yeah yeah….so maybe not much has changed for me in the last 20 years.  A little more outside the box was Haley who said that Caesar Salad was her favorite lunch.  I don’t think I even knew what a Caesar Salad was until my 20′s!  However, the one that really knocked me on my tuches was Emily when she said Sushi.  Sushi?!? Sushi! A 10-year old white girl just said sushi was her favorite lunch!  And to think I thought Chicken of the Sea was exotic!  A different era, I suppose.  I can only hope that someday if The Wife and I should ever procreate that our seed will say Saag Paneer and Lamb Rogan Josh.

The review among the table of youths was mixed between the two Chicken Noodle Soups, and it really seemed to come down how much they liked the strength of the taste of peas.  The peas used in the first soup had a strong, earthy flavor (part of why I thought they were fresh) and I think the kids equated the flavor of the overall product with the strength of the flavor of the peas.  The kids called it “seasonings” and such, but the only stronger flavor in the first one was the peas, as the tweaked edition was the one loaded with the layers.

A slamming Penne Bolognese at Wolfgang Puck Pizzeria and Cucina

A slamming Penne Bolognese at Wolfgang Puck Pizzeria and Cucina

Another surprise for me was the pasta course, of which the kitchen whipped up two versions of a Bolognese.  The “A” example of this one used Whole Wheat Penne once again.  In the bolognese was the requisite meat, but also a brunoise (Frenchy term for itsy-bitsy dice) of carrot, zucchini, squash and fresh herbs.  It was mighty tasty.  The second version of the bolognese was a non-whole grain Farfalle.  It was pretty boring in flavor.  It kind of tasted like something you’d get for a school lunch.  But, I thought the wild card was the use of the fun bowtie farfalle pasta.  I figured the kids wouldn’t care about the flavor and go for the more fun noodle.  Oh, how wrong I was!  The kids almost unanimously pined over the much more sophisticated version of the dish, with only one hold out saying that she though both versions sucked.   It was good to see flavor take a win.  The parents were also almost all in favor of version “A,” except one dad that thought the more basic version reminded him of his youth.

A Boring Farfalle Bolognese.

A Boring Farfalle Bolognese.

The food was all good.  Really good.  If I knew a school had someone like Chef Dustin Lewandowski cooking in the kitchen, I’d sign up all over again!  But is this really what a typical lunch tastes like in a typical Clark County School District school?  I asked the kiddies that question and it was a very unanimous, very thunderous “NO!”

CCSD Director of Food Services, Charles Anderson

CCSD Director of Food Services, Charles Anderson

Also present at the lunch were a group of CCSD dignitaries, one of which being the Director of Food Services, Charles Anderson.  I spoke with Charles for a bit about the differences between the kitchen cooking for twenty versus school cafeterias serving about 175,000 of the 300,000 kids that make up the CCSD’s student population.  The CCSD employs a central kitchen in which the meals are prepared, portioned and frozen.  Then they are delivered to each of the school cafeterias where they are reheated in convection ovens.  Much of the food is almost famously terrible, although not really for the ingredients used, but more for the big factory cooking processes that are employed due to the large student body.

The sad truth is that the CCSD Food Services is a business.  The CCSD Food Services uses no money from the school district’s General Fund as it is almost all privately funded through whatever the consumers (in this case, the kids) pay for their food.  The only money that comes from government sources is the Federally reimbursed dollars for Free and Reduced Lunch and there is also a relatively small matching grant provided by the State of Nevada.  Anderson didn’t know the exact figure of the matching grant off the top of his head, but it is less than $1 million.

I appreciated Anderson’s very candid, non-sugar-coated remarks as we chatted for a few minutes as the kids chowed down on their 10-course meal.  Once again I was proved wrong as I figured I was just going to get some romanticized B.S. sound bitey type answers.  Up front, Anderson said that he considers himself the “CEO of the Clark County School District Restaurant Group with 328 franchisees out there.”  Budgetary constraints are always an issue, and as a business, Anderson said that his “number one goal is to maintain solvency.”  He aims to do that by his department’s goals which are, “Stabilize Staffing, Upgrade Equipment and Streamline Operations.”

No, it wasn’t use organic foods and eliminate high fructose corn syrup and trans fats to appease the food blogger.  It was all business.  Scary and honest business.  The kind of business that makes you want to scream at how bass ackwards Government Funding priorities are in the United States.  Why can’t there be subsidies to provide a trained staff to cook a fresh meal at each school?  Why can’t there be subsidies so that schools can purchase fresh, wholesome ingredients?  Why can’t there be subsides so all children can be educated to know the difference between whole foods and processed foods?  Oh yeah, because we blow all of our money on this and that.

Maker of Good Food: Chef Dustin Lewandowski of Wolfgang Puck Pizzeria and Cucina

Maker of Good Food: Chef Dustin Lewandowski of Wolfgang Puck Pizzeria and Cucina

People do what they can with what they got.  Chef Lewandowski let me in on a few little secrets that are employed with the big industrial kitchens such as the CCSD Central Kitchen versus the luxuriously more intimate space he has in the Crystals Mall at CityCenter.  One of which is where he has the time and the space to reduce stocks and sauces down for hours, industrial kitchens don’t have such luxuries so they will use Modified Food Starches as thickening agents. Which tree does Modified Food Starch hang from?  Actually, a popular MFS is “modified” from potatoes.  Anywho, even smaller kitchens are using them these days with the Methods Formerly Known As Molecular Gastronomy.

Another big difference is where smaller kitchens would use stocks, industrial kitchens use bases.  Similar to bouillon cubes, chicken and beef bases are used as flavor enhancers.  Unfortunately, animal parts and vegetables are only part of the equation of what makes a base.  Also in there is also a whole ton of  salt, monosodium glutamate, sugar, dextrose, disodium inosinate and disodium guanylate just to name a few extra ingredients I’ve found in Chicken and Beef Bases.  Mmm…natural. In fact, we have a Disodium Guanylate bush growing in the backyard!  It’s right next to the Monosodium Glutamate Tree!  Oy….the things we put in our bodies…

The TLV Army of The Future!

The TLV Army of The Future!

At the end of the event I asked the kids if they had a good time to which there was a resounding “YES!!!” As a restaurant blogger, I can’t even tell you how hilarious it was to hear one student mull over the appropriate use of cilantro in one of the dishes and another remark how the pasta was a bit too al dente.  The future of the TLV Army was before me!

The 'Rents

The 'Rents

I want to thank the parents that were there for letting me pester their kids, the students for openly speaking their mind and the fine folks with the Wolfgang Puck Restaurant Group and specifically the Wolfgang Puck Pizzeria and Cucina for inviting me along.  I also want to congratulate Chef Dustin Lewandowski and crew on a job well done and of course thank Charles Anderson with the CCSD for his time and his candor.  It’s easy for us to point the finger at the school district for less than stellar meals, but like I said before, they’re working with what they got.  They test each meal on kids at the school before adding it to the menu and if an item doesn’t get at least an 80% approval rating, it doesn’t get on the list.

It’s up to us as either concerned parents or concerned citizens to make some noise so maybe instead of cash being spent on a bomb to blow up some unsuspecting Arab family’s house, we spend it on some fresh green beans for our kids.  One bomb buys a whole bunch of green beans.  Just sayin’.

—–

Wolfgang Puck Pizzeria & Cucina

Crystals at CityCenter
3720 Las Vegas Blvd. S. #240
Las Vegas, NV 89158

(702) 238-1000

http://www.wolfgangpuck.com/restaurants/fine-dining/53877

—–
Mike Dobranski is a professional musician, amateur blogger, eater of good food, poker junkie, master of the inappropriate comment and bad husband to a wonderful wife.

Follow Mike and Tasting Las Vegas on Twitter at @TastingLasVegas

Tasting Las Vegas: The Podcast - Episode 03, Chef Carla Pellegrino of Rao's

This week on Tasting Las Vegas: The Podcast, I’m joined once again with The Wife where we discuss The Great Bluefin Tuna / Lakeside Grill Controversy of Yesterday, the good times at the Blogworld and New Media Expo, our recent eats, and we also reveal our 5 Cocktails in Las Vegas That Can’t Be Missed.  Then I’m joined with the lovely, passionate and very talented Executive Chef of Rao’s at Caesars Palace, Carla Pellegrino, where she dishes on the big changes at Caesars, being a woman in a man’s world, how she rose from a tiny shop in Liguria, Italy to one of the most popular restaurants on The Las Vegas Strip.  Then The Wife returns for The News With The Wife, the TLV Cheap Eats of the Week and so much more!

Click Here To Listen To Tasting Las Vegas: The Podcast, Episode 03

Check Out Tasting Las Vegas: The Podcast on iTunes!

Chef Carla Pellegrino of Rao's

Chef Carla Pellegrino of Rao's

Joints We Talked About:

  • Lakeside Grill
  • Shibuya
  • Fiamma
  • Tom Colicchio’s Craftsteak
  • Nobhill Tavern
  • Yellowtail
  • Origin India
  • Rao’s
  • Julian Serrano
  • Presidio
  • Garfield’s
  • Nu Sanctuary
  • Sage
  • RM Seafood
  • Max Brenner
  • Wolfgang Puck Pizzeria and Cucina
  • Atomic #7
  • Payard Patisserie and Bistro

Tha’ Links:

Check out Crossings by Nathan Tanouye and the Las Vegas Jazz Connection onCDBaby.com

Follow The Wife on Twitter at @TLV_TheWife

Follow The Official Twitter Page of Tasting Las Vegas: The Podcast at@TLV_ThePodcast

Follow Chef Carla Pellegrino on Twitter at @ChefCarlaPelleg

Visit Carla’s brand spanking new website at ChefCarlaPellegrino.com

The big Lakeside Grill / Bluefin Tuna Bruhaha I started

Follow Wynn Las Vegas on Twitter at @WynnLasVegas

Download the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Guide TODAY!

Follow Babette Pepaj on Twitter at @Bakespace

Visit Bakespace.com and be amazed!

Follow Sara O’Donnell as Average Betty on Twitter at @averagebetty

Check out AverageBetty.com, she’s hilarious!

See Bitchin’ Kitchen on The Cooking Channel!

Follow Jaden Hair on Twitter at @SteamyKitchen

Check out Jaden’s amazing website at SteamyKitchen.com

Follow Manouschka Guerrier on Twitter at @singleserving

Follow Seablue on Twitter at @SeablueLV

Follow what’s happening at the MGM Grand Restaurants on Twitter at @TasteMGMGrand

Follow Shibuya on Twitter at @ShibuyaLV

Follow Fiamma on Twitter at @FiammaLV

Follow Cynthia Inguanzo on Twitter at @CynthiaInguanzo

Follow Tom Colicchio’s Craftsteak on Twitter at @CraftsteakLV

Follow Nobhill Tavern on Twitter at @NobhillTavernLV

Follow Akira Back on Twitter at @akiraback and tell him to make sure Bluefin is OFF Yellowtail’s menu!

Follow Origin India on Twitter at @OriginIndia

Follow Max Brenner on Twitter at @MaxBrennerUSA

Follow Chef Rick Moonen on Twitter at @RickMoonen

Follow Project Dinner Table on Twitter at @food4good

Check out Project Dinner Table and the great work they do at ProjectDinnerTable.com

Follow Atomic #7 on Twitter at @Atomic7IceCream

—–
Mike Dobranski is a professional musician, amateur blogger, eater of good food, poker junkie, master of the inappropriate comment and bad husband to a wonderful wife.

Follow Mike and Tasting Las Vegas on Twitter at @TastingLasVegas

Sustainability FAIL: Walzog Has Bluefin Tuna On Lakeside Grill Menu

In the “How The Fuck Can This Happen” moment of the day, I was just sent the menu for the yet-to-open Lakeside Grill at Wynn Las Vegas and, lo and behold, my eyes popped out of my head when I saw Bluefin Tuna Carpaccio on the Soups and Salads portion of the menu.  The Bluefin Tuna is of the most endangered of all the endangered species of fish that are in the sea.  The gross overfishing of the Bluefin has put the poor bastard on the brink of extinction.  While everyday-consumers might not know this, a chef of David Walzog’s (Executive Chef of Lakeside Grill) caliber should know this and this item on the otherwise decent looking menu is a great shame.  Here’s a screenshot of the point of concern with Lakeside Grill’s menu…

Lakeside Grill Menu, Sent to me on 10/19/10

Lakeside Grill Menu, Sent to me on 10/19/10

So after looking at this, I then thought of all the recent sushi / sashimi tastings I’ve been on, and thought to myself, “Holy shit…I never asked what kind of tuna it was!”  I’m glad to say all of the public menus I can see of Shibuya at the MGM Grand are Bluefin free.  However, my heart sank when I, just now, saw the toro we were served at Yellowtail at the Bellagio appears to have come from the belly of a Bluefin tuna.  So, Akira Back, I’m calling you out, too!  Here’s a screenshot from the Bellagio’s website…

Yellowtail Menu on Bellagio.com as of 10/19/10

Yellowtail Menu on Bellagio.com as of 10/19/10

When the server placed the plate down for us, he just said, “Toro.”  That is the opportunity when I should have spoken up and said, “Toro from what?”  I fucked up.  I wasn’t thinking.

Let this be a lesson and a reminder for all of us to be responsible about what we put in our mouths.  The Monterey Bay Aquarium has put together an incredibly valuable Seafood Watch card for us to keep in our wallets so we are informed when we go out to these restaurants and to the grocery store.  You can download it for yourself at – http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/cr/cr_seafoodwatch/sfw_recommendations.aspx

There's Not Many Left (photo: smh.com.au)

There's Not Many Left (photo: smh.com.au)

I publicly apologize for my error in tasting.  I should know better to ask first, eat later.  Now what will Chef David Walzog, the people of Wynn Las Vegas and Chef Akira Back and the people of the Bellagio do?  I, for one, will certainly not eat in a restaurant that I know has Bluefin Tuna on the menu.  TLV Army, I call upon you to speak up to the people of the Lakeside Grill and Yellowtail to get the nearly-extinct Bluefin OFF the menu!

*****TLV UPDATE – 10/19/10, 1:35pm PST*****

Whoever does the tweeting for the official Wynn Las Vegas Twitter page (they sign as ^JB) has said that the menu sent to me was not a final menu, that Lakeside Grill has no intention of selling Bluefin Tuna or any other non-sustainable food item and that the Bluefin Tuna Carpaccio item was a mere placeholder.

I call bullshit.

If it was a place holder, then why not only have Bluefin Tuna Carpaccio but also have an additional description of Yuzu Soy Vinaigrette and Shaved Jalapeno?  Was Bluefin Tuna Carpaccio really the only thing to come to mind to see what the font looks like?  Why not write Peanut Butter and Jelly?  Why not Dead Baby Carpaccio?  I call bullshit on them, and I argue that if I didn’t publicly call them out in the post above, diners would have seen Bluefin Carpaccio on the menu come the opening day of November 1st.  Here is a screen shot of Direct Messages sent to me from the @WynnLasVegas account…

Direct Messages on Twitter from @WynnLasVegas to @TastingLasVegas on 10/19/10

Direct Messages on Twitter from @WynnLasVegas to @TastingLasVegas on 10/19/10

Admittedly, the prices are obvious placeholders, as every price on the menu was $20.  But, also on the menu given were specific items such as a Butternut Squash Agnolotti and Garlic Bread Meatballs that were both found in the press release originally sent used as teasers of what’s on the menu.  In the press release from representatives of the Lakeside Grill was the offer to see the menu, which obviously I took them up on.

I’ll take @WynnLasVegas’ word that Bluefin will not be on the menu, and to them I say buon fortuna.  I’m not going to call this as a win for Tasting Las Vegas, but I will call it as a win for the health of our oceans.  We shall see on November 1st what the Bluefin Tuna Carpaccio was a place holder for.  Bald Eagle?

—–
Mike Dobranski is a professional musician, amateur blogger, eater of good food, poker junkie, master of the inappropriate comment and bad husband to a wonderful wife.

Follow Mike and Tasting Las Vegas on Twitter at @TastingLasVegas

Monday Mise en Place: Wolfgang Puck Restaurants Partner With Clark County School District To Make Healthier Lunches

Wolfgang Puck Working With a Yout. (photo: wolfgangpuck.com)

Wolfgang Puck Working With a Yout. (photo: wolfgangpuck.com)

Since 2007, Wolfgang Puck restaurants have partnered with the Clark County School District to both educate kids on making healthier decisions and to provide kid tested, mother approved recipes to the school district so the students can eat a little better.  Tomorrow, October 19, this tradition continues as students from Hollingsworth and Cox Elementary Schools will be on hand at the Wolfgang Puck Pizzeria and Cucina at the Crystals Mall to learn about and taste new healthy items created by the Puck team.  A second event will be held for 6th graders from Fremont and Miller Middle Schools on November 17th.  Tasting Las Vegas (that’s me) will be on hand tomorrow to report on what goes down.

Taking the phrase "Too Many Cooks In The Kitchen" to a whole new level

Taking the phrase "Too Many Cooks In The Kitchen" to a whole new level

Chefs Rick Moonen and Adam Sobel Making Sure There's No Suckage at the Jean-Louis Palladin Dinner

Chefs Rick Moonen and Adam Sobel Making Sure There's No Suckage at the Jean-Louis Palladin Dinner

Servers Lined Up And Awaiting Takeoff At Jean-Louis Palladin Benefit

Servers Lined Up And Awaiting Takeoff At Jean-Louis Palladin Benefit

Who Other than Chef André Rochat Should Be Overseeing One of the Foie Gras Courses?

Who Other than Chef André Rochat Should Be Overseeing One of the Foie Gras Courses?

The Eyes of Jean-Louis Palladin Overlooking the Makeshift Sauciers Station

The Eyes of Jean-Louis Palladin Overlooking the Makeshift Sauciers Station

Yesterday, October 17th the Jean-Louis Palladin dinner benefiting the James Beard Foundation happened at RM Seafood.  Twenty of the finest chefs in the city were on hand creating an extraordinary meal from recipes all taken from the Late Chef Palladin’s “Cooking With The Seasons.” The Omnipresent Robin Leach was on hand as he donated his time to serve as MC and auctioneer of the event.  By the way, he also paid for both his $295 tickets and donated an additional $2,000 to the Jean-Louis Palladin Fund which provides scholarships for up and coming chefs to go to culinary school.  I’m broke, so I just hung out in the kitchen after eating my $12 Catfish Sloppy Joe downstairs.  The Catfish Sloppy Joe was tasty.  The event was almost incomprehensibly amazing.  I’m sure Sir Robin will be writing up a full post about the event, and I’ll certainly put out the link on Facebook and Twitter when he does.

Custom Made Ice Creams Made Here

Custom Made Ice Creams Made Here

Atomic #7 has created a fall menu of autumn inspired ice creams, lattes and hot puddings.  The hot puddings will come in array of falltastic (did I really just type that?) flavors that include; cinnamon, chai, chocolate, vanilla, cardamom and rum raisin.  Yes, please!  Atomic #7 is located near the Galleria Mall in The Hendo, next to Panera Bread.  They’re open 7 days a week from noon to 10:30pm.

Mix 94.1 Bite of Las Vegas (image: Mix 94.1)

Mix 94.1 Bite of Las Vegas (image: Mix 94.1)

The Hash House A Go Go Sahara location will be hosting the kickoff party for Mix 94.1′s Bite of Las Vegas event on Wednesday, October 20, from 6pm-8pm.  There will be tents set up in the Hash House parking lot where you’ll be able to partake in $1 Draft Beers, $5 Mashed Potato and Bacon Stuffed Burgers, $3 Snickers Chocolate Bread Pudding and more.  Mix 94.1′s JC Fernandez will be on hand and there will be all sorts of giveaways such as the first 50 people that show up will get tickets to see George Wallace at the Flamingo!  If nothing else, that makes the trip worth it…George Wallace is HILARIOUS!  I don’t know shit about the actual Bite of Las Vegas event, but I’m sure you can find out all sorts of information about it as you gorge on cheap mashed potato stuffed burgers at Hash House Sahara on Wednesday!

The Wife and I With Chef Julian Serrano

The Wife and I With Chef Julian Serrano

How exciting that John Mariani of Esquire magazine named Julian Serrano at Aria as one of the Best New Restaurants of 2010! This makes me kind of proud, as in the beginning, the other boys in town were on their knees for Sage and going gaga over Gagniare at Twist…but all along I’ve said the best restaurant at CityCenter was Julian Serrano.  Now it’s getting some much deserved national attention by one of their own, and not just as best at CityCenter, but one of the best in the nation.  Congrats to Chefs Julian Serrano, Jose Picazo and the entire crew at Julian Serrano!  In all fairness, Sage was also mentioned in Mariani’s article as one of the “Another Eleven Restaurants Not To Miss,” so the other boys were close, but no cigar!

How the hell this is the only close-up picture I got of Babette of the entire 3 days I spent with her, I have no idea.

How the hell this is the only close-up picture I got of Babette of the entire 3 days I spent with her, I have no idea.

I’m going to do my best to write a full post about all of the happenings at this past weekend’s Blogworld and New Media Expo, but I want to give a major shoutout to one of the most amazing human beings I have ever met, Babette Pepaj of Bakespace.com fame, for putting on one hell of a show with the TECHmunch track at this year’s conference.  I really don’t know if I’ve ever met anyone with their shit more together than Babette.  Like if that wasn’t enough, she’s a total sweetheart, too!  The series of panel discussions and cooking demos she put together was a smash hit at the conference.  I can’t thank her enough for including this little bubble gum and duct tape operation to sit along side some of the most amazing and successful people in food blogging today.  Words can’t express how truly thankful I am and what a spectacular show she put on.  If you like to cook anything in your kitchen, Bakespace.com is a must for you to visit.  Babette has built an online community of home cooks and bakers like none other.  She’s good.

Nadia G. of Bitchin Kitchen on the left talking with Chef Carla Pellegrino on the right (photo: Kevin Stout)

Nadia G. of Bitchin Kitchen on the left talking with Chef Carla Pellegrino on the right (photo: Kevin Stout)

I’ll certainly talk a whole bunch about the Blogworld and New Media Expo along with the plethora of tastings we did on this week’s Tasting Las Vegas: The Podcast.  Also on this week’s Tasting Las Vegas: The Podcast will be my interview with the beautiful, talented and did I say beautiful Executive Chef of Rao’s at Caesars Palace, Carla Pellegrino!  You can listen to how deep of a hole I dig for myself with The Wife as well as hear Chef Carla talk about what it’s like being a woman in a man’s world.  Carla also describes some Italian food porn so fantastic that you may need to keep tissues at the ready!  Her love for food and cooking is inspiring and you can hear it this Wednesday, only on Tasting Las Vegas: The Podcast!

By the way….in my HOLY SHIT moment of the day, I just saw that Tasting Las Vegas: The Podcast has only been rolling for less than two weeks, but it has already been heard by people in 56 different countries! Wow!  Much appreciation to you all, thanks for tuning in!

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Mike Dobranski is a professional musician, amateur blogger, eater of good food, poker junkie, master of the inappropriate comment and bad husband to a wonderful wife.

Follow Mike and Tasting Las Vegas on Twitter at @TastingLasVegas

Forget The Kardashians, Ferran Adrià Coming To Vegas for New Years Eve!

Just moments ago on Twitter, Chef José Andrés (@chefjoseandres) said that Ferran Adrià will be coming to Las Vegas to give his blessing on Andrés’ Jaleo and China Poblano restaurants in the still-to-open Cosmopolitan resort on New Years Eve!

Chef José Andrés: Maker of Good Food

Chef José Andrés: Maker of Good Food

Andrés trained under Ferran Adrià at the culinary cathedral named El Bulli near Roses, Spain and have since seemed to grow quite a friendship.  Adrià is considered the Godfather of the Cooking Method Formerly Known As Molecular Gastronomy and Andrés was one of his star pupils.  Andrés is probably most known for adapting these techniques to rediscover and redesign tastes that we know and love.  Sure, Ferran doesn’t have Kim’s ass, but I bet just about every person working in a kitchen in this town is going to be feeling like Elvis, The Beatles and Lady Gaga just showed up and are walking the streets.

The exact quote from @chefjoseandres on Twitter went like this:

@Cosmopolitan_LV my friend Adria will come to las vegas new years to give me his blessing to me and the best casino ever Cosmopolitan!!!b

By the way, if you’d like to check out some high quality food porn, check out this recent article in the New York Times about José Andrés’ new concept, China Poblano.  The Cosmopolitan resort is scheduled to open on December 15, and it won’t get here soon enough!

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Mike Dobranski is a professional musician, amateur blogger, eater of good food, poker junkie, master of the inappropriate comment and bad husband to a wonderful wife.

Follow Mike and Tasting Las Vegas on Twitter at @TastingLasVegas

Tasting Las Vegas: The Podcast - Episode 02, Chef Lorin Watada of Bachi Burger

This week on Tasting Las Vegas: The Podcast, I’m joined with The Wife and she does a fine job of breaking my balls right from the get go!  We talk about some good and not so good eats we’ve had recently, talk about a recent exchange between me and Haute Living’s Susan Stapleton and reveal our 5 Late Night Chow Spots That Can’t Be Missed.  Also, I chat with Chef and Co-Owner of Bachi Burger, Lorin Watada, where we talk in depth about his beginnings in the industry, moving from corporate life to owning his own private place, as well as the birth of Bachi Burger. We also talk about the value of restaurant critics and discuss the now infamous review of Bachi Burger by John Curtas.  Then The Wife makes her triumphant return for The News With The Wife, we share the TLV Cheap Eats of the Week and so much more!

Click This To Listen to Tasting Las Vegas: The Podcast, Episode 02!

Check out Tasting Las Vegas: The Podcast on iTunes!

Chef Lorin Watada of Bachi Burger

Chef Lorin Watada of Bachi Burger

Joints We Talk About:

  • Bachi Burger
  • Pasta Shop Ristorante
  • Firefly
  • Garfield’s Restaurant
  • Lebanese American Festival
  • Total Wine
  • Von’s
  • Fukuburger
  • Ichiza
  • Soyo Korean Barstaurant
  • Peppermill
  • Caesars Palace
  • Nu Sanctuary
  • Wazuzu
  • Seablue
  • Sporting House Bar & Grill
  • Shakespeare’s Grille and Pub
  • Paymon’s Hookah Lounge
  • Golden Nugget
  • Rare 120° Steakhouse

Tha’ Links:

Check out Crossings by Nathan Tanouye and the Las Vegas Jazz Connection on CDBaby.com

Follow The Wife on Twitter at @TLV_TheWife

Follow The Official Twitter Page of Tasting Las Vegas: The Podcast at @TLV_ThePodcast

The 2010 Tasting Las Vegas 7 & 7 Restaurant Picks for Blogworld.com

Susan Stapleton’s Top 5 Late Night Eats article on Haute Living

Follow Susan Stapleton on Twitter at @SusanMStapleton

The Behind The Scenes Look at the 7 & 7 Restaurant Picks

Follow First Food and Bar on Twitter at @FirstFoodandBar

Follow Fukuburger on Twitter at @fukuburger

A little post I wrote about Ichiza’s Butter Corn a while back

My take on Soyo Korean Barstaurant

Follow Firefly on Twitter at @FireflyLV

My take on Bachi Burger

John Curtas‘ take on Bachi Burger

Bachi Burger’s website is here

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Mike Dobranski is a professional musician, amateur blogger, eater of good food, poker junkie, master of the inappropriate comment and bad husband to a wonderful wife.

Follow Mike and Tasting Las Vegas on Twitter at @TastingLasVegas

Monday Mise en Place: Franck Savoy Named Food and Beverage Director of Caesars Palace

Good Restaurants About To Turn Better Found Here (photo: Caesars Palace Facebook page)

Good Restaurants About To Turn Better Found Here (photo: Caesars Palace Facebook page)

Big changes are abound in the Food and Beverage department at Caesars Palace.  I saw it first reported by Pope Curtas the ELV on Twitter and I’ve since had his report confirmed that General Manager of Restaurant Guy Savoy, Franck Savoy, will be taking over as Food and Beverage Director at the resort.  Taking his place as GM at Guy Savoy will be Alain Alpe.  Franck, son of Guy, will still be very actively involved with Restaurant Guy Savoy.  This comes along with the news of Chef Todd Williams of Bradley Ogden getting a bump to Assistant Executive Chef of Caesars Palace, which was reported here last week.  Obviously it’s too early to tell, but I think this is all a pretty significant step in the right direction for the resort.

The Place With The Big Fake Tree Loses Their Chef

The Place With The Big Fake Tree Loses Their Chef

Looks like changes are also abound at Nu Sanctuary in Town Square.  Chef Brian Howard will be working his last day there behind the flames on Saturday, October 16th.  No word as to who Howard’s replacement will be and if Nu Sanctuary will be making a significant change in direction.  Chef Howard is going to be preparing a special “Last Supper” on Saturday that will be available on that day from 5pm-10pm.  The dinner as described on Chef Howard’s blog is billed as; “a spectacular five course tasting of contempoary global cuisine. this menu will be magical and take you on a journey through my mind as i  use seasonal global  ingredients to arouse your senses, play with your mind and tease your palette.” On Twitter, Howard told me that he’s got some things in the works, but he can’t disclose what those things are at this time.  Best wishes to Brian on his new adventure!

Chef Stephen Hopcraft Wants YOU!

Chef Stephen Hopcraft Wants YOU!

The power of social media was in full force over the weekend as two chefs in town posted gigs for sous chefs in their respective kitchens on Facebook.  Chef Jet Tila of Wazuzu at the Encore resort is looking as is Chef Stephen Hopcraft of Seablue in the MGM Grand.  I’ve had the good fortune of being able to interview both these guys and I could only imagine they’d both be great dudes to work for. Check out my post on Stephen Hopcraft here and listen to Jet Tila on the very first Tasting Las Vegas: The Podcast!

The Sporting House Logo (picture: twitter.com/SportingHouseLV)

The Sporting House Logo (picture: twitter.com/SportingHouseLV)

For all the people out there that haven’t been able to sleep since the ESPN Zone closed at the New York, New York casino, there is good news.  The Sporting House Bar & Grill has taken over the space and has opened a restaurant downstairs and an interactive sports-themed arcade upstairs.  Sound familiar?

MOzen Bistro - Good Food, Empty Spaces

MOzen Bistro - Good Food, Empty Spaces

MOzen Bistro at the Mandarin Oriental has changed up their lunch prix fixe for the fall.  Available until October 29th, the three course $38 lunch now has such items as a Combination of Asian Starters or Roasted Garlic Soup with Carmelized Onion for the first course, Lasagna al Forno or Indian Chicken Curry for the main course and a Chocolate Delice with Passion Fruit Cremeux for dessert. Don’t forget, Las Vegas locals still get 20% off their entire bill, so by my math that brings the three course lunch to $30.40.

To Be, Or Not To Be...on Coronado Center Drive. That is the Question.

To Be, Or Not To Be...on Coronado Center Drive. That is the Question.

There’s a new British pub in town and it is located on the corner of Eastern and Coronado Center in The Hendo.  Shakespeare’s Grille and Pub is now open for business and has most of your British pub food favorites including Fish n’ Chips, Bangers & Mash and Shepherd’s Pie. You can follow Shakespeare’s on Twitter at @ShakespearesGP.

Because There's No Steak That Tastes Better Than When It's Half Off

Because There's No Steak That Tastes Better Than When It's Half Off

In one of those “Holy Shit” deals, Rare 120° Steakhouse at the Hard Rock Hotel may have topped them all.  Starting today, October 11th, Rare 120° will be rolling with Half Off Mondays where the entire food menu is priced at half off every Monday!  Not since the great days of the 2-for-1 entrees for locals at Nobhill Tavern have we seen such a deal. And from the looks of things, this deal is open for everyone, not just Vegas locals.  Rare 120° is open from 6pm-11pm on Mondays.  Call ahead at (702) 693-5000 to make sure it’s still happening.

You can now listen to Michael Jackson, Journey and that Bieber thing along with TLV!

You can now listen to Michael Jackson, Journey and that Bieber thing along with TLV!

Thanks to everyone who tuned in to that big mess of a first Tasting Las Vegas: The Podcast last week!  I’ve been officially accepted and approved on iTunes, so you can check out the podcast there at http://itunes.apple.com/podcast/tasting-las-vegas-the-podcast/id396995656. On this week’s show, I’ll be joined by The Wife for the whole show where I’ll name 5 Late Night Eats in Las Vegas That Can’t Be Missed and I sit down with Chef Lorin Watada of Bachi Burger for an in-depth look on moving from corporate chef life to opening your own biz, as well as his view on living with restaurant critics.  Also, there will be The News With The Wife, the TLV Cheap Eats of the Week and so much more!  I’ll try my best to get this one a little tighter. (THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID!)

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Mike Dobranski is a professional musician, amateur blogger, eater of good food, poker junkie, master of the inappropriate comment and bad husband to a wonderful wife.

Follow Mike and Tasting Las Vegas on Twitter at @TastingLasVegas

Big Changes For Caesar: Ogden's Todd Williams To Oversee All Caesars Palace Restaurants

All sorts of news is breaking over at Caesars Palace.  Word just came in that Chef de Cuisine of Bradley Ogden, Todd Williams, will now move up to be Assistant Executive Chef for Caesars Palace.  What Todd’s new gig will entail is that he’ll oversee the preparation of all the menus throughout the property as well as setting up all kitchens, buffets and banquets.   No word as to who will replace Todd Williams at Bradley Ogden.

Also, I haven’t confirmed this myself, but Eating Las Vegas’ John Curtas is reporting that Franck Savoy, son of Guy, has been named Food and Beverage Director of Caesars Palace. Wow..that’s a whole lotta shakin goin on!

I see this as great news.  Caesars Palace already has a pretty good stable of restaurants, but this might be the little bit of juice they need to reclaim King of the Mountain.  We shall see. Congratulations to both Todd and Franck, looking forward to seeing what they do!

Chef Todd Williams: Overseer. Hail Caesar!

Chef Todd Williams: Overseer. Hail Caesar!

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Mike Dobranski is a professional musician, amateur blogger, eater of good food, poker junkie, master of the inappropriate comment and bad husband to a wonderful wife.

Follow Mike and Tasting Las Vegas on Twitter at @TastingLasVegas