Tag Archives: food

Feel No Pain: Get Uncork’d in Las Vegas

For the next four days you can attend the largest foodie event ever held in Las Vegas, if not the Western world: Vegas Uncorked, sponsored by Bon Appetit.

The event officially kicks off at 4 p.m. today when French superchef Alain Ducasse performs the champagne uncorking with a saber at his Mix restaurant and lounge atop The Hotel at Mandalay Bay.

The festival takes place May 6-9, with the signature event being a “Grand Tasting” ($175) on May 7 at the Garden of the Gods in Caesars Palace.  That event will feature chef Hubert Keller serving.

Not everyone has the chance—or wherewithal—to dine at the restaurants of chefs such as Joël Robuchon, Guy Savoy, Bobby Flay or François Payard, but they all will be there (along with about 60 other celebrated chefs) displaying and offering up their delicious wares.

Among the events on May 8 are the Ultimate All-Star Interactive Luncheon ($195) at Encore; Culinary Theater: All the Kitchen’s a Stage ($95) at RM Seafood; and the Wine Immersion Experience ($75) at Bellagio.

The lineup of celebrated chefs who have Las Vegas restaurants includes Bobby Flay, Wolfgang Puck, Paul Bartolotta, Julian Serrano, Todd English, Luciano Pellegrini and Charlie Palmer.

Tickets are going fast; please go to www.vegasuncorked.com for further information.

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Project Dinner Table Launches in Las Vegas

There is no shortage of delicious, multi-course meals or acclaimed chefs to prepare them in Las Vegas, yet now a new dinner series is bringing something different to the table.

Project Dinner Table debuts April 24 and aims to showcase Las Vegas produced ingredients in a unique setting.  The inaugural meal invites discerning, community-minded diners to take one of about 150 seats at the table—yes, the table; there is only one but it’s very long—and enjoy a six-course meal at the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension’s Orchard in North Las Vegas.

The menu is prepared by Sensi chef de cuisine Roy Ellamar and includes a salad using Overton-based Quail Hollow Farms greens, grass-fed beef (from Bar 10 in northern Arizona) served with vegetables grown at the Las Vegas Gilcrease Orchard.

Part of the proceeds from the $150-a-plate meal will support Junior Achievement of Southern Nevada, and the venue and chef will change with every monthly installment of the series.

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$67 Million Memorial Day Weekend Party in Las Vegas

Lavish spending and, hopefully, getting a great return on the investment, is the whole idea behind the replacement of the porte cochere at Wynn’s Encore with Encore Beach Resort and Surrender nightclub in Las Vegas, including new outdoor seating for Switch restaurant as well. 

The changes, funded by Wynn Resorts Ltd., all kickoff starting on Memorial Day weekend.

The beach club features a 60,000-square-foot pool with 40-foot tall palm trees and three tiered pools.  Bungalows and cabanas are part of the chic design experience, along with a restaurant and poolside gaming tables.

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Company Kitchen & Pub Morphs into Las Vegas Lounge

Pure Management Group has announced its intention to convert Company Kitchen & Pub House at the Luxor in Las Vegas into Company Lounge, “a casual nightlife venue.” 

This is the second such change for the 11,000 square-foot venue, which opened in November 2007 as Company American Bistro. Originally helmed by Chef Adam Sobel (formerly of Restaurant Guy Savoy, currently executive chef of RM Seafood), the über-chic, ski lodge-inspired venue’s opening celebrity investor lineup included such Hollywood luminaries as Nick Lachey, Nicky Hilton and Wilmer Valderrama. Following Chef Sobel’s March 2008 departure—as well as that of Top Chef’s foam-of-famer Marcel Vigneron—Company briefly shut down to transform into the more approachable, American tapas iteration. 

A PMG representative reports that the Company Lounge schedule has cut back from the resto’s Wednesday through Sunday, 5 p.m.-late, to just “Wednesday, Friday and Saturday evenings.”

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Recipe Bandido Steals Away in Las Vegas

Rodd Wilbur isn’t your ordinary chef.  In fact, he’s not a chef at all.  But what he “relishes” – he prefers “cloning” – the secret recipes for popular dishes made by restuarant chains like McDonald’s, Applebee’s and KFC.  Then, to make some scratch, he writes books to show how you too can make the yummy stuff. 

Wilbur started with the Mrs. Fields chocolate chip cookie theft, coming up with a recipe that was a variation on the Nestlé Tollhouse classic and tasted remarkably close to Debbie Fields’ moneymaker. Then he moved on to more savory exploits. For his second recipe, he reverse-engineered the Big Mac. That special sauce? It’s basically Thousand Island dressing! 

A former TV news reporter, Wilbur, a Summerlin, Nevada resident, now works full-time cloning recipes for his cookbooks, which are for sale on QVC and have been featured on Oprah and Live with Regis and Kelly. He’s really not a chef or an innovator; he’s a casual-dining cloner, and success means tasting just like the real thing. 

“I want it to be exact,” Wilbur says as he gets to work on recreating a batch of cous cous salad from the Houston’s chain of restaurants. “I don’t want to make it better; I don’t want to make it worse. I don’t want to make it less fat. I don’t want to do anything to it except exactly duplicate it.” 

So far, Wilbur has exactly duplicated enough recipes for nine cookbooks. His 10th, 17 recipes shy of completion, should be out in September. The book will be called Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3. “Alternate title: The Greatest Cookbook Ever Written,” Wilbur jokes. 

Since publishing his first cookbook in 1993, Wilbur has sold close to 5 million copies of his cookbooks, all of which tackle well-known recipes from fast food or casual dining chains and break them down for cooks to re-create at home. 

His 1,000th recipe — the one most requested by visitors to his website — was Olive Garden’s chicken and gnocchi soup, or as Wilbur describes it, “really good shit.” 

Flipping through the pages of his books is like looking at a greatest-hits menu from chain restaurants: Buffalo Wild Wings’ Caribbean jerk sauce, the Cheesecake Factory’s Bang-Bang Chicken and Shrimp, Chili’s lettuce wraps, KFC’s biscuits. 

And Wilbur has all kinds of tricks for figuring out what goes into the dishes that people crave. Sometimes he asks for a seat at the bar or near the kitchen, so he can watch how desserts or dishes are assembled. Other times he claims to be a strict vegetarian or vegan, so he can find out if a dish contains chicken broth or animal fat. When Oprah Winfrey challenged him to create the Jack Daniel’s grill glaze from TGIFriday’s before appearing on her show, Wilbur faked an allergy so the restaurant would give him a list of the ingredients. 

Wilbur just loves his role of playing recipe investigator, hunting for clues and then putting the recipe pieces together until he’s completed a culinary puzzle that tastes fresh off the line.

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Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas Announces New Restaurants, Celebrity Chefs

If Las Vegas isn’t already home to the finest restaurants and chefs in the world, now there’s more of ‘em! 

The restaurant lineup at the sleek new $3.9 billon Cosmopolitan hotel-casino of Las Vegas has been announced.  Four of the five have strong New York ties; the other will be operated by acclaimed Los Angeles chef David Myers of the restaurant Comme Ca. The others: Bruce and Eric Bromberg’s Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill,  Costas Spiliadis’ Estiatorio Milos, Scott Conant’s Scarpetta (Conant was previously attached to Fountainbleau), and Steakhouse STK.

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New Daytime Partying Comes to Las Vegas

To many, partying into the wee hours of the morning in Las Vegas is just part of the seductive intrigue.  But, why not opt for a change to your modus operandi and try an opulent brand of new daytime partying? 

The 9 Group, renowned for superb dining, nightlife and lifestyle experiences, presents a provocative and innovative new dayclub affair known as High Society at Nove Italiano in the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, premiering 1 p.m. Sunday, April 11.   

Creating a posh atmosphere filled with life’s little luxuries in the middle of the afternoon, High Society offers partygoers a place to mix and mingle among Las Vegas’ nobility while indulging in high-end libations, decadent brunch and vivacious entertainment.   

Upon entering, Nove Italiano will envelope guests in a complete sensory experience – from sophisticated interior decor, to aromatic food and thirst-quenching beverages, to the incomparable energy created by resident DJs Zen Freeman and Mark Stylz spinning on the turntables.  Atop the Palm’s sky-scraping 51st floor, Nove Italiano’s guests will indulge in some of the city’s most spectacular views, and enjoy ever-changing exuberant entertainment, including roaming live musicians and a live painter offering complimentary tableside guest portraits. 

The brunch menu at High Society combines rich tastes and traditional favorites at various stations including the salad, fresh fruits and fish stations, as well as a build your own frittatas station. Fare also includes warm items on the griddle or hot plate such as Italian sausage and pepper hash, crispy pancetta and chicken apple sausage, a variety of poached eggs served with crab cake, spinach and bearnaise sauce, pancetta, ciabatta, drizzled with a Hollandaise sauce or long cooked greens mixed with a fontina cheese and fonduta. Other warm items include a variety of pizzas and Panini sandwiches. Guests can pair brunch with $99 bottles of champagne and half bottles of spirits. 

High Society will start at 1 p.m. every Sunday at Nove Italiano. The buffet brunch is $30 per person. Guests must be 21 years of age or older to attend. Admission is free and table reservations are strongly recommended. For more information, VIP tables and bottle reservations, visit www.novelasvegas.com  or call 702-942-6800. 

Nove Italiano is open for dinner Monday through Thursday from 5:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from 5:30 p.m. – 11 p.m.  For additional information, please visit www.novelasvegas.com or call 702-942-6800.

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