Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Della's Kitchen at The Delano Hotel at Mandalay Bay In Las Vegas Features Fresh, Sustainable Cuisine.

Della’s a fresh approach to food at the Delano hotel in Las Vegas is a refreshing and healthy way to start your day in Las Vegas. Open for breakfast and lunch only, Della’s is a homey, wholesome eatery located at the upscale, non-gaming hotel located within the Mandalay Bay Hotel..
This unique restaurant and chic hotel are a respite away from the clanging of slot machines but near enough to get your gamble on at the Mandalay Bay Resort.

Executive Chef Calimlim, Elaine Harris

Della’s refreshing urban chic approach to menu items includes, sandwiches, burgers and entrees featuring grass-fed sustainable beef as well as hormone and antibiotic-free chicken. A year has passed since the opening of the Delano and Della’s. These two gems continue to bring superior dining and hotel accommodations to Las Vegas visitors.

We had a chance to celebrate the one year anniversary of Della’s with a Farmhouse dinner showcasing the ingredients that make this venue stand out using sustainable and local ingredients. Not only was this dinner highlighting Executive Chef Calimlim and his “Rustic Harvest “recipes, the entire restaurant was transformed into focused display of local, sustainable products both edible and usable.

Upon entering the open restaurant, sans outdoor walls, we noticed the abundance of greenery that was encased in flat trays located on tables in the area that served as a reception space. Curious as to what this overabundance of greenery was all about, we were quickly introduced to John McCarthy owner of Las Vegas Herbs LLC; the man responsible for this incredible display of edible plants.

He quickly pointed out that this was an ample display of the many micro-greens used in the recipes at Della including, Genevese Basil, Arugula, Chives, and other assorted micro greens. These little plants are tiny versions of the large leaf plants that may seem minuet, but pack a punch of flavor in the various farm to table recipes. These vibrant miniature plants do add superior flavor into the dishes at Della and a favorite addition to many of the restaurants in Las Vegas; For more information on these delectable mirco-greens go to

Another interesting display was that of Blumarble glassware. Co-founders, Jennifer Jordan and Rachel Cohen started with a simple idea to collect as many bottles as possible from the Las Vegas strip and upcycle them into beautiful products for everyday use. Now collecting an average of 15, 000 bottles per month from various hotels, these ladies transform unwanted bottles into lovely jewelry, glassware, chandeliers and other home décor items. “What was once tossed aside and used up of all their worth, can now breathe a new life in a gorgeous sustainable way they stated”. Blumarble is located in the Downtown Container Park and can be reached at

Along the tables of greenery, waiters wandeedr about with trays of passed appetizers including Braised Beer Croquettes, Roasted Squash and Lobster Shooters, and our favorite of the night, House-Made Gnocchi with chanterelles served wih Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc , Marlborough, New Zealand and the Sebastiani Merlot , Sonoma USA.

Following our introduction of ample appetizers, we were presented with the first course salad, which was an Acorn squash roasted to perfection accompanied by a hint of Humboldt Fog bleu cheese and adorned with bright red pomegranate seeds. The sweetness of the squash worked well with the salinity of the pungent bleu cheese that again was accented by the pop of bright citrus from the pomegranate seeds. This dish was paired with the Chalk Hill Chardonnay, Sonoma, USA, which quickly became our favorite pairing of the evening.

We progressed through two meat courses of Durham Ranch pork cheeks with a celery root puree followed by a fabulously cooked Durham Ranch venison loin with parsnip puree which had us in awe of the Chef’s skillfulness in creating such lovely dishes with rather interesting meat choices.

We happened to be sitting next to the purveyors of the meat and discovered that Freedom Meats is a local company that believes in bringing the freshest meat to the table. We were glad to have this opportunity to try their products and we could not have been more delighted at the quality and freshness that was provided by Freedom meats which source form Nevada ranchers.

Although delightfully satiated, we were of course, presented with the FINI of spiced caramelized apple confit, and house made honey orange gelato, served with the Elvio Tinero, Moscato d’Asti from Piedmont Italy. This was the perfect ending to meal that was well worth the $100 dollar price point. We know that Della’s will continue to present the farmhouse dinners as the response was immensely positive. We don’t want to wait for the second anniversary to have another chance to dine for dinner at Della’s. Della’s is open for breakfast and dinner for more information go to:

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Jose Andres Star Shines Brightly At The SLS Resort In Las Vegas.

Inside the 13,058-square-foot space with plenty of open seating, lies the world of Bazaar Meat at the SLS hotel and casino in Las Vegas. Along with the open kitchen and wood grills and rotisseries, the atmosphere is reminiscent of a large hunting lodge donning taxidermy and old world paintings.
Tonight we stopped in to see how the acclaimed restaurant of Jose Andres was keeping pace despite rumors of struggles surround the SLS’s financial well being. As we took our seats at one of the many dining tables, we watched in wonder as an myriad chefs butchered and prepared the evenings fare.
If meat is not what you are after-(albeit, why do you come to a restaurant that specializes in meat to eat fish?) but there is a raw bar that will give you ceviche, carpaccio and tartars fresh from the ocean. We must say, starting with the tuna tartar is a nice way to ease into your carnivore cravings. But leave the fish behind and dig into the real reason you came here, The MEAT!

With a sense of whimsy and outrageous culinary genius, Jose Andres came to Vegas to “wow” the culinary crowd with the magic wand of his butcher knife. An entire wing of the casino has been devoted to his mission of creating a "celebration of the carnivorous, in all its forms." James Beard award winning Chef Andres has accomplished his meat magic with the team of his dedicated staff led from the helm of the impeccable General Manager, Yassine Lyoubi, and expert Sommelier, Chloe Helfand. Each member of the superbly trained staff has truly upheld the meaning and mission of the man behind this meat empire.

Here are some of the samplings we urge you to indulge in while taking your tour of the magical meat empire of Bazaar Meat. We started our carnivore tasting with the inventive and truly delightful, Cotton Candy Foie Gras , with crispy amaranth and signature Ferran Adrià Olives, modern & traditional liquid green olive, with gordal olives stuffed with piquillo pepper and anchovy . Both dishes are a must in elevating your palate into the realm of the imaginative food magic of Jose Andres.

The olives are another take on twisting tradition in a direction of simplistic perfection. But as you are dissolving the sweetness and the richness of the Cotton Candy Foie Gras, don’t forget to stop and try the 25 Pork-Skin Chicharrón,( which the waiter will break apart with, of course, a meat mallet) giving that extra boast to the senses as you hear the snap, crackle and pop of that pork-skin. As we dipped the airy, lightly, slightly brined skin into the greek yogurt with za’atar spices, we found our hands effortlessly and automatically going back through the motion. Alas….making a move away from this compulsion was indeed necessary to make way for the main attractions.

Moving on, mounds of meat soon appeared from every direction including, Jamón Ibérico de Bellota* (Fermín, Salamanca, Spain) hand-cut from the famous black-footed pig, which indeed was a highlight in this symphony of signature dishes. The Classic Beef sirloin tartar with Savora mustard, egg yolk, house prepared sauce, and anchovy, was indeed a delight to the palate as well as the eyes watching the waiter carefully prepared the raw fare into riveting mounds of creamy carnivore goodness. But wait…there is now the finale that exuded the reason why Chef Jose Andres has an entire wing to the building.

 A Perfectly prepared Chateaubriand Brandt Beef is 16 oz of pure beef ecstasy. The pomme soufflé , the star of the evening arrived without adornment, just exquisitely cooked, with enough to share with each other. We were both in awe with each lift of the fork.

 This is the point in the meal where we say, can I really do a dessert after entering into a meal that would cause a large mammal to go into hibernation. Yes, the answer is yes, simply because outside the doors lies the nightlife of Las Vegas and just a wee bit of sugar may be what we need to help with next phase of the evening.

As the tray of house made truffles and a sampling of chocolate confections arrived  we took just enough to realize that true artistry is when the end of the meal is just as enlightening as the beginning.
For more information go to:

Yardbird At The Venetian Resort In Las Vegas Has its Guets Crowing With Delight.

“We’re lucky enough to be building and operating the kind of places that we want to hang out and have a great meal and a great time in.”
Those are the words of John Kunkel, CEO of Yardbird a Miami, tradition that has many in Las Vegas crowing with satisfaction. Being open just a short time here is the city of lights, the word has gotten out about the southern hospitality that makes all just plain feel good all around when it comes to dining with friends, relatives or that special someone.

We stopped by to see what all the “clucking” was about and we were not disappointed. With a warm friendly welcome from the hostess, to the attentive service of our lovely waitress, we were treated with that great southern charm that Yardbird regulars come to expect.

We began our service with some hor’derves, which of course were Yardbird’s signature deviled eggs with rich creamy yellow yolk that is whipped to perfection with just the right amount of dill, chive and smoked trout roe to leave you wanting just one mo’. (We always wondered why they are called “deviled” since they are just so heavenly good). We also indulged in Charcuterie & Cheese, which including la quercia prosciutto, cured serrano ham, Benton’s smoked ham, asher bleu cheese, pimento cheese , Vermont cheddar cheese, house pickles, toasted country bread, and onion marmalade. This could be a meal in itself if you have a limited amount of time before a show.

Next was the iceberg wedge salad with baby iceberg lettuce, charred corn, heirloom tomatoes, house-smoked bacon and avocado adorned with house-made buttermilk ranch dressing. Although this was a very nice mixture of flavors, we did feel the textural components where a bit too creamy and with a big chunks of bacon that contrasted with the overall salad. A little more crunch of the iceberg lettuce and less dressing would have been more to our liking.

The sides of Roasted Carrots with coriander seed, orange, and cumin and Green Beans with smoked yogurt and toasted almond vinaigrette, were a nice accompaniment to our “star” dish of the night, the Lewellyn’s Fine Fried Chicken. This is the very famous bird served with honey hot sauce that many flock to Yardbird to sink their teeth into.

The crust that holds in all that good juicy chicken is something you just have to dig in for yourself to understand the depth of richness that this cakey, crumbling secret batter gives to recipe. It does garner a rather pricey $26 to your bill but sometimes it is worth every coin to partake of some really good down home fried chicken.

Along the way, a few cocktails made their appearance and one showed up in a large way and we mean LARGE. Out came a contraption that looked like part old fashioned still meets modern mixology gone a bit mad. The triple decker tower structure was used to funnel a few ounces of bourbon downward through a receptacle filled with herbs and into the cocktail glass below, leaving everyone in the restaurant gawking in goggle eyed wonderment that Bill Nye would be proud of.

 We must preface that this is something that is not on the main menu, so if you are so inclined you may ask for this “special cocktail contraption”  but only if you are a curious cocktail aficionado.  Watch out for this one, this cocktail will, “grow some hairs on your chest”, with the blend of herbs infused into strong whiskey or bourbon (upon your request).

The cocktail list does boast some standards like  the Yardbird Old Fashioned, a Southern spin on the timeless classic that features bacon-infused Buffalo Trace bourbon, Angostura bitters, orange bitters, and maple syrup, served in a lowball and paired with a 2-inch sphere ice. There are many inventive cocktails, craft beers, bourbon infusions, and select boutique distillery spirits that are sure to quench any thirst. Don’t forget to select one of the varieties of handmade flavored and garnished ice cubes that are added to select spirits to enhance the overall flavor and cocktail experience.
Dessert, oh the desserts are truly worth pulling away from the table for a few minutes to acquire a little room in the mid-section. In house creations such as the Dulce de Leche Strawberry Shortcake with layers of Chantilly strawberry cream and light sponge cake or the Chess Pie with sweet cornmeal, chantilly cream and creamy caramel sauce along with other takes on southern sweets is a perfect way to end a night enjoying southern comfort food.

You may develop an appetite for both southern hospitality and southern cuisine after your first visit to Yardbird. We are convinced that this is the place where you will continue to want to hang out, relax and just “set a spell”. For more information go to:

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Holman Ranch and Wills Fargo In Carmel Valley Make a Perfect Pairing On Your Next Visit.

 In 1928, a San Francisco businessman, Gordon Armsby, came upon the lovely rolling hills of Carmel Valley and decided this would be the place to establish himself and create one of the most historical and picturesque ranches in the area. With that vision many years ago, Holman Ranch was established as a working ranch as well as a getaway for the rich and famous (Charlie Chaplin was such a frequent visitor that he had his very own room). The ranch has changed hands several times since the 1920’s but the 400 acre ranch is now as lovely as it was many years ago.


Holman Ranch with its breathtaking views and rustic, elegant surroundings is a favorite for vacationers and special event planners. The manicured lawns, historic buildings, and sweeping mountain views make this ranch a perfect place for weddings and personal milestones.

Thomas and Jarman Lowder purchased Holman Ranch in 2006 with the dream of making great wines and delectable olive oils. Along with that dream, the property also spoke of the days gone by as a place for respite and celebrations. After the purchase, work began to completely refurbish the property maintaining the ambiance of the original glory days with  modern upgrades. The Lowders have kept the original charm of the property and with the help of their daughter Hunter  and have transformed this icon to a special event mecca and a world class vacation retreat.

We were fortunate enough to spend a lovely evening at this historical property along with a meal at Carmel Valley's oldest restaurant Wills Cargo. We could not have found a better spot to start our journey to the Central Coast of California.

Whether planning a wedding, retreat or just a time to un-wind, this is the place to find your inner sanctuary. We loved strolling through the grounds, taking in the panoramic views, and contemplating all the guests that came here throughout the years. It was time to try some of the local fare and tonight we are going to one of Carmel Valley’s oldest restaurants.

We traveled down a  road  through the undulating hills of horse property and  into the small town of Carmel Valley. We made a stop at the Jarman wine tasting room to sample wines from the ranch itself.

Greeting us with a warm welcome and a refreshing glass of the Holman Ranch Chardonnay was the gregarious owner Hunter Lowder.  Hunter enthusiastically engaged us about the history and the passion of the vines, wines and of course the newest addition to their hospitality portfolio, Wills Fargo, the adjoining restaurant that has been an eatery icon since the 1950’s.

Upon entering Wills Fargo you can feel the history and the ambiance of a time that has passed but has kept pace with today’s demand for exceptional food and atmosphere.

Outside boasts an intimate courtyard patio offering seasonal outdoor dining. After sipping  some of the Holman Ranch award winning wines, we were escorted into the rustic restaurant that has been serving up local’s favorite steaks, chicken and seafood since the days of bobbie socks and Edsels.

The times may have changed but the quality remains as Wills Fargo is still bringing in droves of locals and tourists alike to feast upon locally sourced proteins and seafood. Tonight we started with the customary Wills relish tray and the classic French onion soup that came with a heaping amount of gooey gruyere cheese atop of golden onions in the rich classic broth. This was indeed great way to start the palate in a good fast forward motion right into the entree of Roasted Free Range Chicken, moist and tender, with a creamy potato au gratin.


For our second entree we enjoyed the Goat Cheese Ravioli with tomato, garlic, and parmesan cream. The pasta was tender and plump with  fresh goat cheese. The parmesan cream added the textural richness.

We always try to leave a little room for  dessert and  were glad we did. The Warm Truffle Chocolate Cake along with homemade ice cream from  Holman ranch and decadent caramel sauce was a nice way to end the meal.

Contentedly fed,  we bid farewell to our kind and generous hosts and made our way back up the hilly road to our cabin that was now under a blanket of twinkling stars. We were well on our way to the start of another California adventure and were glad to have started with this piece of California history that has stood the passing of time and is now ready to engage the discriminating traveler of today. For more information go to and

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Chef Dan Krohmer's Other Mama is Making Big News Beyond the Neon Of The Las Vegas Strip.


As a food writer every once in a great while you run into a restaurant that from the moment it opens you know it is special. We watched the build out of Other Mama with great anticipation and have been regulars ever since they opened their doors.

Recently we sat down with Chef/Owner Dan Krohmer at Other Mama to get an intimate look at the man behind the Other Mama.

 Chef/Owner Dan Krohmer
Chef/Owner Dan Krohmer
Q: Chef, Other Mama has achieved great success right from the beginning. Why do you think that happened so quickly?

DK: Many people that are journalists such as yourself, have experience at dining and reviewing all kinds of restaurants. When you talk about Other Mama and what your experience has been like,it creates a buzz with other professionals and locals. People are excited to see what’s going on off the strip. People here are invested in their community and looking to bring in good product and serve it in a non-pretentious at reasonable prices.

Q: What got you to Japan?

DK: I went to Japan and met up with the owners of sushi restaurant I worked at in Sacramento and fell in love with Traditional Japan along with the cherry blossoms and the whole thing, so I stayed. I asked to stay and worked illegally for like $300.00 a month. I did not know any Japanese at the time. I just kept my head down and absorbed. I think everyone should be a minority at some point in your life.

Q: How did you get a chance to work for famed Chef Morimoto?

DK: I got recruited as a Sous Chef after my Japanese training and farm to table experience. I worked for him for about two years before I saw that we was not too much into the kitchen so I transferred to the Sushi Bar where I gained huge experience from him for 2 ½ years.

Q: Tell me about the name Other Mama

DK: My Dads parents weren’t around much, working a lot in Bakersfield. My Great Grand Mother pretty much raised my dad and his brothers and sisters, they called her Other Mama. That’s how she was introduced to us as kids.


Q: The Cuisine at Other Mama is an interesting blend of Asian and American flavors. What is your philosophy on the menu you created?

DK: We take a lot of pride in everything we do here from our salts to our oils. We care about our customers like they are our family. I wanted to keep it neutral after doing Japanese cuisine for so long. I did not want people coming in expecting certain cultural necessities. We just want to be ourselves and celebrate what ingredients we have at the time.

We are not fusion. Obviously we are very seafood based and not following cultural boundaries. For example, Could this certain clam is best presented in a Spanish dish, and then we do it that way. We want to be free to do things as we want to do. I want you to walk out satisfied that you feel like you just walked off a yacht feeling sexy, having enjoyed the abundance of the sea. I learned there is a psychology at a sushi bar. Never let your customers leave full. Have them leave satisfied and wanting to come back. I love the artistry and composition of sushi. I learned don’t have your arms crossed, don’t turn your back on a customer, never have a dirty cutting board, show and give respect to everything you are doing. Sushi is simple but you are always thinking about how you can do it better. Sushi is a lifestyle and s state of mind.


Q: You have traveled and worked for years in this business. What advice would you give someone who is in culinary school or who is an aspiring Chef?

DK: Make sacrifices. It’s not an overnight process. The longer you wait to show what you can do, the better off you will be. Become the best chef you can possibly be before venturing out on your own. The more you sacrifice the better you will be.

Other Mama has become an overnight success. The doors open nightly (closed Tuesdays) at 5pm and it is highly suggested to get there early. It’s not long before the bar and restaurants are at capacity with many enjoying a very special experience. The Salmon Sashimi is one of the best we have had. Check the menu board for an excellent selection of Oysters delivered daily. You can’t go wrong with Caviar & French Toast w Crème Fraiche. This dish is an explosion of contrasting flavors that will keep you coming back for more. For Kim Chi lovers try the Pork Belly Kim Chi Fried Rice with Wild Mushroom and a Fried Egg.

Libations are a big part of Other Mama as well. Try one of their homemade infusions. Their signature cocktails are named after fine southern ladies such as the Billie-Joe which is a tasty blend of Hendrick’s Gin, Luxardo Maraschino, Cucumber & Basil. Or Dive into the Trixie, a perfect combination of Jameson, Canton Ginger, Lemon and Cayenne.

Come early to secure your seat at Other Mama. Chef Dan and his staff will make you feel right at home. It won’t be long before you are apart of Dan’s Other Mama family.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

In Las Vegas DJT at Trump Las Vegas Provides Excellence On the Plate and in Your Glass.



The name of Donald Trump is often filled with images of opulence, luxury and sometimes controversy.

Recently we had the opportunity to re-visit DJT, the upscale dining venue at the Trump hotel in Las Vegas that is the reflection of the name it represents. Hidden away from the hotel row of Las Vegas Strip, Trump hotel is a gold monolith that rises above the ordinary for those who crave a five star experience without the din of casino gambling in the background.

Being both family and dog friendly, we saw many young two legged and four legged visitors entering the hotel for a peaceful stay away from the flashing neon lights, cigarette smoke and roulette wheels.

As the impeccably dressed valet opens our car door, the gleaming gold, marble and glass of the entrance gives way to more opulence as we proceeded into the lobby of the Trump Hotel. We walked up to the hostess stand amid a stunningly decorated dining and carefully ascended into a very private circular booth with plush indigo violet velvet curtains (that can be pulled together for more intimacy). We were greeted by the effervescent Kyuri Cheun. After her upbeat and energetic welcome and introductions to staff, we were well on our way to trying the seasonal chef’s tasting menu and the new beautifully crafted cocktails list.

We started out with a with a creamy “Red Beret” followed by the Pamplemousse old-fashioned, the “Strawberry Fields” , an extraordinary Moscow Mule , “The Jockey “and rounding out our tasting was the refreshing “Watermelon Basil”. Each cocktail was handcrafted with the freshest ingredients to ensure that the flavors come sparkling through without being overwhelmed by the alcohol.


One of the highlights of staying at DJT is the great care and attention to detail that is infused in everything that you may nibble or taste. We were impressed with the quality of each cocktail and the passion of which the mixologist stirred or shook to make sure that only the best is presented in the glass.

Many people comment, “How do you drink or eat so much and yet maintain your sensibility and weight”? Our answer is always a little bite or taste at a time. Being presented with an excellent array of food and drink it is often difficult to say no to over indulgence but our philosophy in our culinary journey has been creating a sense of moderation and respect to ourselves and to our hosts. DJT seasonal menu is both stunning, fresh and presented in the loveliest setting and with utmost sincerity.

Amuse of seared lamb loin with a pea puree
Amuse of seared lamb loin with a pea puree
We did find it difficult to say no to consuming everything presented to us. We started our evening with an amuse of seared lamb loin with a pea puree. This rich lamb gem got our palates working for the next course of Ahi tuna with Spanish octopus. The Ahi was exceptionally fresh and the octopus cooked delicately, making it a perfect way to begin our evening’s menu.
Ahi tuna with Spanish octopus.
One of our favorite dishes of the night was the gazpacho, anchovy accented with heirloom tomatoes. The soup had a lovely creamy texture. The saltiness of the anchovy was offset by bits of plump juicy heirloom tomatoes.

gazpacho, anchovy accented with heirloom tomatoes.
gazpacho, anchovy accented with heirloom tomatoes.
The fresh cod dish was next on the agenda and again the fresh ingredients spoke for themselves. Paired with Trump’s own label Sauvignon Blanc, the dish became even more alluring.
Fresh Cod Dish
Fresh Cod Dish
The meat course of wild boar was a good choice over the typical steak that is often offered on a menu. The parsnip puree was a welcomed addition of sweetness to the mild gaminess of the meat. The wild boar entrée is a good choice for those who want something beyond the ordinary.

Wild Boar
Wild Boar
Satisfied and satiated, we finished our meal with a cappuccino and light and decadent Passion Fruit Panna cotta with white chocolate and raspberries.

A perfect ending to a lovely meal that is one of the benefits of staying at a hotel that reflects the name of someone who epitomizes excellence.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Get an education in Downtown Summerlin at Public School 702 in Las Vegas.


Need a place to hang out during the blazing heat of summer? Public school 702 is now open for all those teachers who want “an education in the art of food and beer” and just about anyone who needs a little refreshment from the sweltering heat of Las Vegas.

Public School 702 is the newest addition to the restaurant line up in Downtown Summerlin and they know what essential ingredients are needed to create a space that is inviting and a menu that incorporates great fresh ingredients in a up-beat and flavorful manner. This new gastropub has a décor that has educational nuances, including a cocktail menu printed with blue lined composition paper, mathematical flashcards circling the ceiling around the bar along with lab-style communal tables and world globe light fixtures. With 14,000 square feet of bar and restaurant space, there is a seat for everyone. Beer lovers should rejoice because beers from local breweries are available along with 24 beers on tap, with 11 rotating seasonally. If beer is not your drink of choice, various artisanal cocktails as well as wine on tap and in the bottle are available for your selection.


We stopped in to see what Public School 702 educating the public about in one of the newest dining and drinking spots in Las Vegas. Our “education” began with one of their signature starters, the speck and eggs. Who doesn’t like a good deviled egg? These four beauties came with the creamy yolk accented with a touch of spice in an egg white cloud. The speck lent that savory crunch with a touch of visual taste appeal (and is a one of the best deviled eggs we have tried in this town). Next on our plate was the Grilled Watermelon & Heirloom salad.

The refreshing watermelon and vine ripened heirloom tomatoes arrive in a generous portion sprinkled with the pungent feta cheese drizzled with balsamic. The salad has a nice textural component from an abundant sprinkling of marcona almonds. For the entrée, it just had to be the Prime Flat Iron Steak with Truffle Butter. The steak was cooked to a perfect medium rare, emanating signature pinkness, cut into strips and adorned with a side of chorizo mac and cheese. The succulent steak was highlighted with the Truffle Butter, not over powered by it. The mac and cheese had a nice creaminess, and the bits of chorizo added a bit of heat and texture.


Sporting an amazing wrap around outdoor patio and engaging games for the younger crown such as as an over-sized Jenga, Connect Four, and shuffle board, this venue is not only for the 21 and over crowd but for the entire family. For those that are over 21, stop by for the happy hour menu Monday-Friday 3:30-6:30. One of the most affordable bottomless Bloody Mary’s in town is available on the Brunch menu Saturday and Sunday for a mere $10. Educating the palate and encouraging further culinary investigation is what Public School 702 is planning to do. For more information: 1850 Festival Plaza Dr, Las Vegas, NV 89135 (702) 749-3007

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Chef Alex Stratta Is Back and Plating Up Gastronomic Delights At Tapas By Stratta.


Alex Stratta is a name synonymous with excellence. This Michelin award winning Chef is now bringing his culinary magic to the common diner via his newly opened Tapas by Stratta restaurant. The Tapas concept although seemingly the recent rage in bringing an affordability and approachability to the masses here in Las Vegas, has been around for a very long time.

The word “tapas” is derived from the Spanish verb tapar, “to cover.” According to The Joy of Cooking, “the original tapas were the slices of bread or meat which sherry drinkers in Andalusian taverns used to cover their glasses between sips. This was a practical measure meant to prevent fruit flies from hovering over the sweet sherry. The meat used to cover the sherry was normally ham or chorizo, which are both very salty and activate thirst. Because of this, bartenders and restaurant owners began creating a variety of snacks or appetizers to serve with sherry, thus increasing their alcohol sales. The tapas eventually became as important as the sherry.”


Far removed for those days of practical culinary improvisation, we see this concept of small plates popping up from many major culinary Chefs who are bridging the gap between fine dining and affordability. The concept is to share and create an experience with conversation and various small plates instead of focusing on one main entrée. And…We don’t have to worry about the fruit flies invading our sherry, since Chef Alex has honed his culinary skills to now bring a much more sophisticated approach to the Tapas style dining experience.


Nestled amongst the myriad of restaurants in the rustic faux Italian town square of Tivoli Village, Chef Stratta has opened his version of a Spanish Tapas style restaurant that has transformed the now defunct PoppyDen with bright warm beige yellow walls, eye catching red-orange seating, décor highlighted with an eclectic mix of white framed mirrors and lively original Chef Stratta paintings. As we relaxed into the seats, we were anticipating our turn to try some of the Tapas offered by this amazing Chef. He stated, “This is a labor of love.” And by creating everything from the artwork on the walls to the artwork on the plate, we are thrilled that he has poured his creative soul into this new venture.


We took a look at the menu and found the food to be pleasantly thought out and superbly executed. Starting with the Slow Roasted beet salad with cheese, candied walnuts. The the creamy and pungent taste of the cheese provided an inviting contrast to the dense-semi sweet beets along with the crunch and texture of the candies walnuts to get us off to a great start. Next on the plate was the Jamon Iberico Spanish ham with tiny cigar shaped crackers. These crunchy treats are paper thin and delicate with a mild saltiness, which provided us a true taste of Spain. A nice sharable plate we highly suggest are the charred Padrón peppers with garlic chips, and onion crisps. Although not too hot, they were an perfect companion to our Tapas line up.


Our favorite of the evening was the special beef cheeks. They were meltingly tender with a deep rich flavor highlighted even further with little bits of Medjool dates,spiced with jalapeno, sprinkled with sesame seed, on a bed of pureed chic peas and braised red wine sauce. Each bite was exquisitely prepared and the meat melted with the spicy sweetness of the sauce. We had to reboot and to halt the motion of the fork in order to try our next dish that was the special Paella of the evening.


Highly recommended was the Paella with squid ink that created an inky blackness, and fresh seafood flavor. It’s cooked to order in shallow pans using bomba rice, dense rice that is similar to Arborio rice. Rice is the most important ingredient in paella, which is the reason many paellas are called “arroces” in spain.

The rice is cooked to a socarrat. Socorrat, from the Spanish verb socarrar (meaning to singe), is an intrinsic part of paella, which when done properly creates a crisp bottom crust that needs to be scraped from the metal pan. The deeply toasted texture lends the dish its signature quality.

We were glad we saved this dish to share later in our culinary journey. Although Tapas is known as small plates, there was nothing small about the flavors and textures of each dish. With several of these plates, we were well satisfied.

Amid, our tasting and conversation, we indulged in the house sangria, of wine and fresh fruit mingled together that was refreshing and thirst quenching. Of course we had to indulge in a glass of Tempranillo to further our “Spanish” cuisine experience. Although the wines by the glass were very reasonable we felt the wine list needed more flexibility in price and range.


Last but now least, was the Flan. Being a native Miamian, Flan was something that was the dessert of choice while growing up. Not just any Flan will do, this one has a firm, dense,creamy texture, layered with a caramel sauce that adds to the sweetness but doesn’t overwhelm with too much sugar.

Growing pains are normal in any new restaurant, and we believe Chef Stratta ‘s depth of culinary excellence far exceeds any beginning hiccups. Adjusting to a more approachable dining experience creates a learning curve for everyone involved. We can only hope that many will come by to share several outstanding Tapas crafted by one of our cities greatest chefs. Having this caliber of restaurant aside from the glare of the neon, is both refreshing and exciting.

Tapas by Alex Stratta is open Dinner:
5:30PM to 9:30PM (Sunday-Thursday)
5:30PM to 10:30PM (Friday & Saturday)With a seven day happy hour menu available from 4:30-6:00 pm.For reservations call 702-483-3555 or visit

Friday, June 5, 2015

Newport Beach , California to host Food and Wine lovers from across the country can enjoy one of the nation’s best epicurean weekends October 2-4, 2015

Newport Beach, CA has become one of the biggest destinations in the U.S. for its luxury lifestyle and picturesque beaches. Recently it has been gaining a reputation for its exploding food and wine scene.  The 2015 Newport Beach Wine & Food Festival  sponsored by American & Southern Wine & Spirits will bring together some of the nation’s biggest chefs while spotlighting Orange County’s best restaurants, wine experts, wineries and more. 

This year’s Newport Beach Wine & Food Festival features an all-star Lineup. Bravo’s “Top Chef Masters” and Recent “Top Chefs” reunite for Live Cooking Demos While the Region’s Most Renowned Executive Chefs Offer up the Best in Restaurant Tastings.

Guests will enjoy celebrity chef cooking demos by Rick Bayless, Hubert Keller, Rick Moonen and recent “Top Chef” Alums. Regional chefs get into the action with Orange County’s most renowned restaurants like Montage, Pelican Hill, Mastro’s, Roy’s, Fig & Olive and RED O. Oenophiles will take their seats at    Elite wine panels led only by Master Sommeliers, including Fred Dame and Michael Jordan (as seen on the movie Somm). There will even be 200 world-renowned, “cult" and boutique wines to be enjoyed and a jazz lounge showcasing live music, mixology courses, hand-crafted cocktails and beers samplings.

At the daytime festival on Saturday, guests will have the unique opportunity to learn from Chefs Rick Bayless and Hubert Keller’s culinary mastery through live cooking demonstrations, while also mingling with them during book signings and special events. Chef Bayless will also be cooking in one of the Grand Tasting Pavilions, personally serving cuisine from his acclaimed Newport Beach restaurant RED O.

 During Sunday’s Daytime Festival event, Orange County fare will collide with Las Vegas cuisine, as Golden Truffle Executive Chef Alan Greeley takes the stage with Chef Moonen. As long-time friends, this will surely serve as a highly entertaining cooking demonstration. 

 This year, there will be an ultimate hands-on cooking competition, where guests will channel their inner chef skills on stage while being coached by “Top Chef” Alumni. Season 11 Finalist and TWENTY EIGHT Executive Chef Shirley Chung will be leading this Top Chef Home Cook Challenge. 

Each of the four contenders will be chosen from the audience and compete on stage with celebrity coaches like Bravo’s “Last Chance Kitchen” Winner and “Top Chef” Finalist Louis Maldonado. One winner will be honored as the very first Newport Beach Wine & Food Festival Top Chef Champion.

Join Cuisineist editors when the festival kicks off on the evening of Friday, October 2 (6:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.) with the official Launch Party & Charity Event at Oak Grill & Aqua Lounge. On Saturday, October 3, and Sunday, October 4 (1 p.m. – 5 p.m.), the Daytime Festival at the Newport Beach Civic Center will feature celebrity chef cooking demos, book signing, restaurant and wine tastings, sommelier panels, mixology courses, handcrafted cocktails, live jazz and more. Net proceeds benefit charity partner Project Hope Alliance.
 Tickets for the Festival are on sale now. More information on the Newport Beach Wine & Food Festival, please visit or call (888) 511-FEST. For ongoing updates, follow the Festival on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. See you there!

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Cuisineist Review: A visit Hawaii's Honolulu Cookie Company, A tatse of Paradise.

Recently we had the wonderful opportunity to take a little trip to Honolulu via a cookie. A simple pineapple shaped cookie transported us to the tropical paradise.

Each bite of these delectable shortbread cuties brought waves of flavor cascading through our taste buds like the undulating waves upon the lovely sands of the a Honolulu shore. With flavors like Lilikoi Mango, pineapple macadama, kona coffee, and a range of delightful chocolate chip cookies, your sweet cravings will be richly satisfied.

 With natural flavors, and Guittard chocolate for the dipped cookies, a rhapsody of richness and flavor are delicately intertwined in each bite.

In 1998, Janet Sung and artist husband Keith started their cookie empire with a simple shortbread cookie. Getting rave reviews from the islanders was just the beginning of their cookie journey. With Keith using the symbol of hospitality, the pineapple, as his symbol of success, the Island Gods were with him. Through wholesale distribution and direct marketing, the Aloha spirit was embraced in a big way through these amazing gems.

Now with outlets around the world, the mission to spread the spirit of Aloha has been accomplished and continues to expand with new retails stores yearly. The Honolulu cookie company now offers a reward program, a corporate program, a bridal and party favor line of cookies, and an extensive array of gift boxes for any occasion.

With the integrity of prime Hawaiian ingredients and attention to freshness and quality, Honolulu Cookie Company is your answer to all your gift giving needs. For more information please go to www.Honolulu cookie company .com