Sunday, January 7, 2018

La Jolla California Offers Fine Dining, Resorts and Plently of outdoor Adventures to enjoy.

The holidays would not be the same without glittering gifts, twinkling lights and our favorite holiday stories. One such story seems to make the heart swell with warm emotion as the main character learns of the importance of kindness that transcends monetary value and façade. Dr. Suess’s The Grinch, tells the story of an villainous curmudgeon that puts away his evil pursuit of destroying Christmas for the inhabitants of the fictitious Who-Ville as he hears their joyous voices echo into the canyon, unhinging his plans on ruining their holiday celebration.
Where did this redemptive character receive his fictcious embodiment? In a place known as La Jolla (la hoya) California where bestselling author Theodore Ted Geisel, aka Dr. Suess, resided for many years. Not only did Suess create his greeny mean Grinch here, this place also inspired his hundreds of other fantastical characters that made their way onto the printed page through his masterful rhythmical prose. The University of California at San Diego in La Jolla exhibits the most extensive collection of Geisel’s material and is must visit for the Suess obsessed. A trip to La Jolla turned into a fabulous two day adventure that gave us insider information on this famous La Jolla resident and the many lovely recreational and dining options that are available to the general public, but we are sure, were frequented by this famous resident.
La Jolla is known as the “Jewel” of San Diego and for good reason there are a myriad of natural and physical wonders that abound in this pristine destination that does conjure up creativity and inspiration. Starting with a short drive to our Balanise style boutique hotel, the Pantai Inn.We thought of Seuss’s love of exotic places and faraway mythical lands and this boutique resort would have fit right into his creative outlay.
The Pan Tai Inn embodies the perfect holiday get-away as it rests peacefully over the ocean cliffs where the echoing calls of the nearby sea lions fill the air with their mournful bellows and gliding sea gulls gawk back as though consoling the languorous mammals.

Complete with flowing fountains, bamboo fixtures and exotic art work, we felt we stepped into a Balinese paradise as our effervescent concierge escorted us to the best suite that sat directly adjacent to panoramic ocean view. Complete with rattan style furnishing, gas fireplace, and a full kitchen we felt embraced by the spirit of island hospitality. Pantai Inn has a boutique collection of rooms, suites and cottages for every travelers needs that also includes lavish complimentary breakfast, wireless internet access and parking. With a lovely gift of baked goods to welcome us, we were ready for a sweet treat and some Seuss style adventure.
Our first outing for the day was an electric bike tour at San Diego Fly Rides for a SoCal Riviera Tour of La Jolla. We were going to get an up close look at the flora and fauna while burning off the copious amounts of sugar that we just consumed. Adjusting to the bike took a few minutes of finagling, but our handsome guide made sure we all felt comfortable as these bikes don’t need much man power to take off down the road. Helmet on, wheels in place and we were off to our first stop; the coastal cliffs right below the Pantai inn.
The weather was indeed stellar, as we glided to a halt in the city park to hear our guide give us the first of many mini lectures on his beloved city. Today we were getting up close and personal with the sea lions but with their close proximity to humans, many try to get too close for a sealion selfies regardless of federal laws. We were quickly reminded us of that quandary as our guide quickly reprimanded a middle aged couple for getting to close to this seemingly relaxed animal.
Our next route took us along the gated multi-million dollar luxury homes and a look at a secluded beach that was the site of the first surfing craze. “You can see the most beautiful people sun bathing here,” quipped our guide. “And competition for the waves here is always a challenge for the surfing crowd,” he continued. “Brawls have been known to break out on this seemingly idyllic slice of coastline.” The fresh salty sea air coupled with such breathtaking scenery dispelled any picture of angry surfers as the scene before us was exuded the tranquil splashing of whitecaps.
Our final ascent was to the top of Mt. Soledad, the highest point in La Jolla that encapsulates a stunning 360 view of the area. This mountain is also where Geisel resided as he wrote many of his popular books, including “The Cat in the Hat” and “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” At the top is a memorial to fallen veterans where we gazed at their memorials giving silent gratitude for their service in keeping our freedoms secure in order for us to enjoy a day such as this.
After working up an appetite it was time for lunch at the award winning A.R.Valentien at the Lodge at Torrey Pine.   The Torrey Pine is rare tree that grows wild along the local stretch of the San Diego coastline has become the symbol associated with the Lodge and the premier municipal golf course where many come to watch the many world class golf tournaments or a round of golf.

The original 74 room inn was built in 1961, but in 2000 the hotel was demolished and reopened as the Lodge at Torrey Pines resembling the 1900’s California craftsman movement with lots of dark wood, tiffany style lamps and a well established art collection including the work of the namesake, A.R. Valentien. Known for his California botanical water color paintings the Lodge pays homage to a man who produced hundreds of detailed paintings and exquisite pottery.
The Lodge at Torrey pines offers 170 luxury hotel rooms including two restaurants, lounges, full service spa, outdoor recreation areas, including pool and fitness center. Today we were going to lunch overlooking the 18th hole of this iconic gorgeous green space. Chef Jeff Jackson seasonally inspired menu captures the true essence of the local farmer’s, small growers, ranchers and fishermen that labor to produce some of the freshest and delectable ingredients available.
The day offered dazzling sunshine that sparkled like glittering diamonds across the swimming pool that lie just below the outdoor dining area. As we settled into our scenic seating, our appetites were primed for a meal that is lauded as one of the best of the coast. Starting out with the Ahi Tuna Crudo garnished with fresh cucumber, spring onion, radish, mint and Vadouvan yogurt harmoniously paired with the Tablas Creek Vermentino the stage was set for an exceptional culinary journey.
The specialty dish of smoked trout, roasted beets, sugar snap peas, crushed hazelnuts, pickled mustard seeds accompanied by a zip of horseradish crème fraiche was indeed another delightful dish on this dining excursion. Chef Jackson’s alchemic blend of the best ingredients has put this restaurant into the must dine category for anyone wanting a true So.Cal farm to table dining experience.
As the sun started to set over the hilly landscape, we took a stroll along the famous greens as a way to unwind and take in the scenery. The Lodge at Torrey Pines will arrange for a guided nature walk to the nearby Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve upon request, but anyone can venture off on the many hiking trails and it’s dramatic cliff-top setting. Filling our senses with sunshine and stunning vistas, it was time to returning to the PanTai where we enquired on the local’s favorite dining spot and Georges’at the Cove situated close to the hotel was the recommendation.
La Jolla’s dining scene is a mix of long established fine dining restaurants mixed with newer venues featuring everything from California coastal to vegan. There literally is a dish for everyone to enjoy. Chef Trey Foshee is at the helm of the historical Georges at the Cove. The décor is traditional chic California accented by floor to ceiling windows overlooking the cove and Pacific Ocean. Chef Trey calls his menu California Modern; an ever-changing menu of creative regional cuisine utilizing the area’s seasonally-driven produce and proteins. George’s also features the lounge-style Level2 bar and rooftop Ocean Terrace.
We started with Beef Tartare, levain crisp, mustard-fennel kraut, horseradish, pickled shallot and fines herbs and followed that up with a very fresh Snapper Crudo with local melons, charred cucumber, coconut, lemon verbena, and jalapeño. Looking over the menu our eyes met on one delicacy that we just had to experience. Our server must have read our mind. He gleefully arrive tableside with a perfectly seared Hudson Valley Foie Gras highlighted by preserved citrus-fennel marmalade, persimmon, brioche and almond to accent this very flavorful dish.
Settling on a wine pairing we prepared for what would become an epic seaside experience as the sun began to sink below the horizon. With aromas of the pacific tantalizing our nose, a Baja Striped Bass appeared on our plates. Beautifully plated with sunchokes, wild mushroom ravioli, egg yolk, sunflower seed pesto and chevri, this gift from the sea started off our entrée courses just right. Georges at the Cove not only features delights from the Pacific Ocean but from the land as well. Red Wine Braised Beef Cheeks with potato-horseradish puree, pickled cabbage, puffed beef tendon, mustard seeds, carrot and spring onion provided a rich, decadent gastronomic experience not to be soon forgotten.
For the grand FINI, Yuzu Semifreddo, Asian pear, white pomegranate, lime meringue, and white chocolate along with a sumptuous Ewenique, sheep, gouda, sweet vanilla and salted caramel from the nearby Central Coast Creamery was a magnificent way to end our evening at this renown coastal dining venue.
Great food and fresh sea air were the perfect elixir for a good night’s rest, and today we were moving into another lovely venue. When in La Jolla one must enjoy the best. Our accommodations at Hotel La Jolla-Curio Collection by Hilton were breathtaking. This beachy boutique hideaway is romantic and cosmopolitan offering many amenities to be enjoyed. With only 108 guestrooms you feel cozy in your spacious guest room or venture out the Hiatus poolside lounge, work out in their fitness center and best off all have cocktails at Cusp rooftop restaurant on the 11th floor, featuring a seasonally-inspired menu and spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean.

Settled into our new quarters, it was now time for some sea adventure with the La Jolla Kayak Tour of La Jolla Cove. This company specializes in guided kayak and snorkeling tours that depart daily from the La Jolla Shores. The La Jolla is known for their seven sea caves and today we were going to paddle our way along the coast for a closer look at a sea cave and the teeming marine life that reside in these protected waters. We climbed aboard our bright yellow ocean kayak as sea spray and rollicking waves ushered us into the big blue ocean. We wanted to see the orange Garibaldi fish (California’s state fish) since we were told was that this unique fish was immortalized as the mischievous fish in Seuss’s “Cat in the Hat”.

Just as we approached the sea cave, the orange fish were in abundance just below our splashing paddles, looking like undulating orange dots of color in the wavy water. Along the coast sea lions basked in the sun drench craggy banks oblivious to the many gawking kayakers. We carefully made our way through the cave, our voices echoing off the narrow rocky walls as dappled sunlight filtered between the hallowed rock formations. Gingerly we made our way back out and journeyed back, enjoying the refreshing air and the splashy sea spray. Bobbing like a cork, we somehow managed to navigated back to dry land, although we were soaked and needing dry clothes, and some more great California cuisine. Today we were going to head over to another local favorite, the Marine Room.
Keeping in step with exploring San Diego landmarks, The Marine Room fit the bill for our last night in this beachy utopia. Famous for its dramatic on-the-surf location and award-winning global cuisine, the Marine room has been wowing diners for over 75 years. Executive Chef Bernard Guilla’s expertise was about to be seen as we took our seats in awe of ocean waves breaking, white froth and all against the wall to ceiling windows just feet from our table. First order of dining business this evening would be in choosing a fine from their very large and carefully crafted wine list. Their Sommelier excitedly offered to pair our meal with a variety of wines and liqueurs. That is an offer we could not refuse. We leaned back in our chairs and let him and Chef Bernard “drive culinary the bus”.

Our first course proved to be an excellent way to start off the evening. Chef presented a Fennel Pollen Roasted Maine Diver Scallop and Foie Grais that was a treat for our eyes and our palate. This dish featuring kabocha purée, kumquat confit, pain d’ épice and sortilege liqueur was impressive and creative, culminating in layers of flavors. The staring entrée, Sea Salt Crispy Skin Branzino rubbed in bacon brioche spice, crab meat, parsnip, rouille and corail sauce was prepared to perfection. Of course if Lobster in your thing, dive into the Absinthe Butter Basted Lobster Tail with cumin gouda polenta, smoked onion sausage, mint medley and pyrat xo rum sauce! To finish off this Oceanside gastronomic evening, the signature Spindrift Cobblestone Pie with espresso and vanilla ice cream, toasted hazelnuts and maker’s mark bourbon sauce adds to a nice ending to a beautiful day in La Jolla.
“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose,” stated Dr. Seuss and with that is mind, we suggest that everyone takes time to steer themselves in the direction of La Jolla; a place where magical memories can be experienced anytime of the year. We certainly came to that conclusion and we believe you will too.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

A Weekend in Fort Worth Texas Offers Western Nostalgia In a Modern Metroplex For all Ages to Enjoy.

  Fort Worth Texas is featured as “The City of Cowboys & Culture and is lauded as the 16th-largest city in the United States and part of the No. 1 tourist destination in Texas, welcoming 6.5 million visitors annually,” according to

Photo Scott Harris

Before it was a notable tourist destination Fort Worth was an Army outpost from 1849-1853 protecting the Western Frontier after the Mexican American War  and then it became known as “Cowtown” as  Fort Worth became a resting point for cowboys driving their cattle to Abilene, Kansas along the Chisholm Trail and with the influx of Cattle came the rough and ready cowboys who filled their time drinking, gambling and carousing in the gentlemen saloons. Gone are the days of bawdy cowboy debauchery in Hell’s half acre but the ambience of the Stockyard National Historic District reverberates with stories of outlaws and gamblers.    Walking down the weathered plank walkways you feel like your stepping into the old timey West. Rustic buildings now house tourist attractions, restaurants and plenty of souvenirs shops for every type of traveler.

Photo Scott Harris

Being such a tourist draw for Texas, we had to take a trip to the Lone Star State to see what attracts thousands of tourists to the place of Cowboys, cattle and some of the best down home cuisine in America. Fort Worth has district areas for visitors that offer a plethora of recreation and dining options. We spent time investigating the Stockyards National District, the Downtown area, and the cultural district on a weekend giggy-up tour of this iconic American city. The Stockyards are a historic district that plays into the inner cowboy within every red blooded American.  This district is the place to experience authentic western heritage at every turn; unique western saloons, the world’s only twice-daily cattle drive; the Fort Worth Herd, Billy Bob’s Texas also known as the world’s largest honky- tonk, and plenty of two stepping, beer drinking, and guitar twanging amongst the cowboy culture of this unique slice of Americana.  And let’s not forget about the food. Whether you are seeking the best steak, BBQ, Tex Mex, or fine dining, the Stockyards offer a plethora of dining options as well.

Photo Scott Harris

Starting out with a meal is usually a good way to gage a place and its environment, and we were mightily encouraged to try the Chicken Fried Steak at a place known as the Horse Shoe Hill Café. What is Chicken Fried Steak? Is it steak or a chicken or a combination of both? We quickly got the low down on what consists of this down-home dish at this notable newbie eatery located along the rustic weathered restaurant row of the Stockyard district.

Horse Shoe Hill Chicken Fried Steak Photo Scott Harris
Chicken Fried steak may owe its  culinary origins  from German immigrants who brought the beloved Weiner Schnitzel to the United States.  The first terming of “chicken fried steak” came from a 1914 Colorado Springs restaurant advertisement. As more people sought their fortunes out west this tasty breaded tenderized cube steak coated with seasoned flour and then pan fried and smothered with a white salt and pepper gravy was sought out as a dining staple.  Horseshoe Hill Cowboy Café offers a variety of chicken friend steaks that would have any good old boy begging for more. Native cowboy cook Grady Spears opened this place to combine great home-style cuisine with down-home southern hospitality.   The menu gives many “ways” in which to enjoy your chicken fried steak , including, the Cowboy Way with peppered cream gravey, The Vaquero Way saddled with ancho cheese enchilada, The Farmers Way loaded with chili gravy and a fried egg, Matt’s Way with chili con carne and queso blanco . Our choice was the Frontera Way offering a thoroughly tenderized flank steak, dredged and dipped and then fried to a golden crust and  nestled under a savory blanket of peppered cream gravy with several bright green ancho chili rellenos to add just the right Mex to the Tex of this iconic dish.  With a large portion to share amongst ourselves, we found that we would have gladly had our own since each bite was a miniature moment of culinary bliss. Larry McMurray aptly stated, “Only a rank degenerate would drive 1,500 miles across Texas and not eat a chicken fried steak”.  We were glad to stop by this homespun kitchen to indulge in a dish that did truly feed our souls and spirits with a glimpse into  authentic Americana.

Photo Scott Harris

Photo Scott Harris
We paid our bill and meandered down the path into the iconic White Elephant saloon. This saloon is located in the once famed Hell’s Half Acre, where rough and tumble cowhands made their way to raise a little hell after driving their herds for hundreds of miles to Kansas. The Historic building  resonates with nostalgia  and Chef Tim Love has revamped this historic building to include a dance floor and  a chili bar for a good bite to eat after all those cold beers. Refreshed with a cold beer from local Rahr Brewery , we toe-tapped to the country music band and then made our way down to the Famous Billy Bob’s Texas to catch some live bull-riding. We really felt like we are part of cowboy culture as we walked into a crowd of wrangler wearing cowpokes adorned with the expensive leather boots and Stetson hats as they made their way to the bleachers to cheer on the brave bull riders as they struggled to hold on to the reigns of a massive writhing bull. 

Photo Scott Harris

We joined in with the boisterous cowboy crowd and yelped and yahooed with the best of them as one rider after another gallantly heaved up and down on the enormous agitated animal. After that it was time to try some toe-stepping around the vibrating dance floor already filled with couples sashaying with fancy footwork while twirling dipping and swirling their partners with skill and grace. We were indeed intimated at our meager attempts to move about with some sort of coherence. We managed to glide along with the other dancers and gracefully bowed out after a few rotations. With a country music band playing on the main stage, we took our seats to hear a few songs and then made our way back to our hotel after a complete evening embracing the fun and spirit of the Historic Stockyard District.

Photo Scott Harris

Day two brings us to a celebration of the 150 year of The Chisholm trail with period costumed Civil War and Confederate Soldiers giving us a true glimpse of history. The Fort Worth Herd was about to make its way through the streets just as they did in times past. The Texas Longhorns meandered slowly down the cobbled street as real cowboys lead them through the captivated spectators.

Photo Scott Harris
Truly this is the reason that Forth worth has been nicknamed “Cowtown” since this remembrance offered us a look into the life of the American Cowboy. We worked up an appetite and decided to change gears and head of the cultural district to try Heim BBQ which has been deemed as one of the best places for BBQ in the entire city. All the meat is smoked daily, sides are made in house, and with that in mind we were excited to sink our teeth into some really good Texas style brisket.  And we were not disappointed as the signature savory slices of smoky fork tender brisket were just we had hoped for in bringing a smile to our faces and a deep satisfaction to our empty stomachs.

Heim BBQ Photo Scott Harris

After all that great brisket and green chili mac and cheese,we made our way back to the Stockyard area for some rest and relaxation before our final moments in the Fort Worth area. Morning came quickly and a breakfast burrito at local favorite Esperanza’s Mexican Bakery and Café. Homemade tortillas, tangy sauces, and tender carne asada was just what we needed to begin our last day as we refueled for a look at the Downtown district. 

Esperanza’s Mexican Bakery and Café. Photo Scott Harris
  We had to stop at Sundance Square to see the Downtown area that marries the best in modern architecture with historic buildings from the 1800’s. Right in the middle of all the action is Downtown’s Sundance Square a unique urban area that is the perfect place to people watch and enjoy a cup of Joe or a refreshing ice tea on a hot Texas afternoon. With a 35-block of shopping and entertainment area that filters out from the Square there is something for everyone on the itinerary.

Photo Scott Harris

As we enjoyed the relaxing ambience we watched the multiple water jets that spring up from the metroplex to the delight of the many little children that were playing amongst the water features.
Photo Scott Harris
The 32-foot tall Teflon umbrellas brought needed shade to the area that is home to three live theaters, art galleries and plenty of shopping.  Our time was gone and we took one more look around at a city that retains its western heritage with style, creativity and that good old cowboy charm.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

The Pasta Shop in Henderson Nevada combines pasta and paintings into food for the body and soul.

The late Chef David Alenik created some of the finest Italian gourmet food on the Las Vegas Strip for over 20 years beginning with first job at Las Vegas restaurant icon Piero’s and continuing on his culinary journey as personal chef for Steve Wynn where he served dozens of A-listers that came through Vegas craving a good dish of pasta and “gravy”. In 1989 he opened his own Pasta Shop Ristorante with his lovely wife Ann that stood as an Italian restaurant institution for several decades. His widow Ann and their children continue to honor his legacy at their Henderson Nevada location, the Pasta Shop. We were invited in to visit with this special family as they continue to carry on the wholesale pasta business, restaurant and art gallery all combined into inspirational and imaginative cuisine and art.

Son Trent now manages the business aspects of the Pasta Shop with loving dedication and concern for the family legacy. “This is truly a family style business,” said Trent. “I remember having to help my Dad cut the pasta when I wasn’t even tall enough to reach the counter, so he made me stand on a milk crate. Later he taught me how to run the machine feeds to make the angel hair pasta, fettuccine and pomodore.” The family still sells their house made pasta to area restaurant and businesses. “This is a true family business and when my Dad passed we wanted to come together to keep the legacy alive since he put his heart and soul into this. He built a community here. What other restaurants can you go to where they know you by name?  To create such a community within a larger town despite the transient nature is so special and that is what my Dad wanted to happen here,” added Trent
Ann Alenik has taken her talents as a visual artist and continues to combine them with the culinary history of husband David bringing color and vibrancy to the wall space within the small dining venue. While she proceeds in engaging customers in the front of the house with her lovely art pieces, her warm smile and management skills make everyone feel like part of the family when they enter the doors of the Pasta Shop.

The dedication to family and stellar food is clearly seen in the dishes presented to our table beginning with the thinly sliced artichoke platter, drizzled in balsamic vinegar and EVOO and then moving onto the Linguini & Clams comprised of fresh littleneck clams sautéed with EVOO garlic and claim juice bathed in a lovely red sauce with the perfectly cooked pasta heartily nestled in between three juicy prawns. The passion and dedication to quality was tasted in each bite, and with our palates beaming with delight we knew that the next dish of chicken parmesan with a side of rigatoni pasta pomodoro would be as lovely as our previous menu item and we are more than correct with that assumption. The chicken parmesan was extremely well executed, juicy and sumptuous with a generous portion of the famous house made rigatoni pomodore adjoining in perfect union with our taste buds. Not only were we pleasantly and delightfully pleased to meet the family but the food brought our upmost appreciation and gratitude for the Alenik’s mission in creating a lasting culinary heritage.
Finishing our meal with of course, a homemade Tiramisu and cappuccino we felt that we had crossed over from being restaurant goers to warmly welcomed family members. As George Bernard Shaw stated, “There is no love sincerer, that the love of food,” and this is made evident through the Alenik’s tribute to the husband and father who instilled and modeled that love of food to carry on for generations to come. For more information go to:

Sunday, March 26, 2017

We sit down with Chef David Chang and learn about his passion and his new venue in Las Vegas at the Cosmopolitan Resort and Casino.

Having the drive and ambition that demonstrates the wattage of Las Vegas, Chef David Chang is the man that knows how to get things accomplished. His acclaimed Noodle bar and culinary exploits are expansive and his reputation as being determined and disciplined in learning and gleaning from the best kitchens in the world is reflective in his focus and fortitude in an industry that is fraught with disaster . 

Chef David Chang continues to move forward in his creative process while maintaining the integrity of his vision and branding as a culinary entrepreneur and restaurateur. We had a few minutes to spend with Chef Chang to find out his take on his newest addition, Momofuku located in the upscale, hipster swank of the Cosmopolitan Hotel, Casino and Resort in Las Vegas and learn of his perspective of the turbulent restaurant world.

VLV: How long where you eyeballing Las Vegas for this venue and are you elated to finally be opened?

DC: We have been looking at Las Vegas since the economic collapse in 2009. It has been a long time with working with the Casinos. I feel like Goldilocks following the breadcrumbs, until we found the right fit here at the Cosmopolitan.

VLV: I have read that Momofuku is a “hype-generating, buzz magnet” is that how you would describe the venue?

DC:  We don’t do any of that; we just try to do great food. We hope that we are more substance than flash. We have a lot to figure out in Las Vegas.

VLV: Hospitality is the mainstay of the economy in Las Vegas, what is your definition of hospitality and how will be presented in Las Vegas?

DC. Hospitality has a multiple of viewpoints and has multiple roads but I believe for a long time hospitality was defined as one kind of way which was a Western or Michelin star French way. But I think how I define hospitality is in what really matters and that is how the customer leaves the restaurant. Hopefully they leave ecstatic and they got value from the experience. How you get there doesn’t really matter as long as you do it with ethical and moral guidelines.

VLV: What do you want people to encounter when they first enter you restaurant? 

DC: Most of our restaurants are very different; some are what I would term bare boned. After traveling and working abroad and in Asia, I have found that décor and ambience is certainly a very Western perspective to what is delicious and what is great that can be Euro-centric in most part. Living and working abroad and in Asia opened my eyes, in that some of the best food in the world is made in the most humble of places. I would rather have a place that has to overcome its limitations, than to be accentuated by them. It does not mean I don’t enjoy great ambience, but for me it is about seeing the happiness in people’s faces when they are having a good time. It’s a high bar, but that’s the road that I chosen. 


VLV: What do you look for in your employees especially in such a transitional type of business?

DC:  First thing I look in an employee will they be harder on themselves than I would be? Are they willing to make mistakes? Do they want to work hard and be a part of the team? It doesn’t necessarily mean they have to be exceptionally talented but do they have the grit and fortitude to go forward.

VLV: What are some of your expectations of your venue here in Las Vegas?

DC:  This menu has been really difficult. We have never done the same menu anywhere and that makes it difficult on ourselves, but some things are the same and certain things are not. We try to work with local purveyors to source different ingredients, so things taste different. This restaurant had to get a lot of targets, one is that it is in a Casino that doesn’t really have a Noodle house and there is every type casino in the world that doesn’t have some sort of noodle house, and it has to appeal to a wide range of people; It has to appeal to foodies potentially; it has to appeal to people from out of town looking for a fun night, well it literally has to hit just about every type of demographic. It would have been easier to say we are a steak house but we aren’t, but in fact the challenge is in hitting all our goals and having a menu that we could execute.

I have been talking to a lot of our customers and thankfully most people are enjoying us, but there are people with super expectations that maybe let down, I wish we could blow people away, but we just opened so that doesn’t make me happy. So let’s see how we are judged in year 2 or year three. It’s not like a movie premier; the movie is not like going to get any better. We will get better after six months, a year.

VLV: As we the final note, what words of advice would you give an aspiring Chef?

DC: You are going to have to push harder than everyone else; you are going to have to tough it out. That’s true. Every time you think you are at a bottom, there is a lot lower that you can go. And when you reach your top, wherever that might be it’s just a higher fall.

When is Las Vegas, Chef David Chang’s Momofuku is worth a stop to dine and explore a mouthwatering venue with a view.