Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Chef Todd Fisher shows off the freshness of the Salinas Valley to the Cuisineist

Chef Todd Fisher is a local icon and knows the culinary value of the Salinas Valley first hand. He showed off his culinary talent to the Cuisineist and created a lunch that showed off the products of this very fertile valley that supply's most of the U.S.A's vegetables

Of course no lunch would be complete in Salinas with out Guacamole and Fresh Salsa. Chef Todd made a Broccoli Rabe Guacamole and Fresh salsa that would rival any we have had. This was a great way to start our lunch off.

The Chef's Caesar salad with Andy Boy Romaine Hearts was probably the freshest that we have had, understating we were very close to where it was grown.

We have always considered Chefs culinary artists. Todd Fisher's
Broccoli Rabe & Carne Asada Tacos was a true culinary work of art. He really captured the flavors of the Salinas Valley with this dish.

The next dish that was layered in flavor was his Colored Cauliflower Enchiladas . This dish was paired with the Nth Degree 2007 Pinot Noir and was in our opinion the best pairing of the afternoon.

Last but not least Chef came up with a very interesting and very appropriate desert, Pickly Pear Sorbet. This was so on target as we had just visited a Cactus Pear farm with Margaret D Arrigo of D Arrigo Brothers Farms in the Salinas Valley.

Join Scott from The Cuisineist as he speaks with Executive Chef Todd Fisher about the dishes he created and the Salinas Valley. To find out more about Chef Todd Fisher please visit

Monday, December 7, 2009


RAOs Guests Will Taste the Victory; Rao’s at Caesars Palace Las Vegas Celebrates

by Offering New “Throwdown” Menu on Christmas Eve and Day

You Can’t beat the Italians when it comes to the fishes. On The Food Network’s “Throwdown with Bobby Flay,” the Pellegrino family of the world-renowned Rao’s defeated Bobby Flay. The challenge: who could prepare the best Feast of Seven Fishes, the Italian holiday tradition where families gather and share a delicious multi-course meal of fish.

'Tis the season for the tables to be turned when the Pellegrino family of Rao's Restaurant at Caesars Palace challenged chef Bobby Flay of Mesa Grill fame to a holiday Throwdown! But despite the victory, this was a lovefest or perhaps love-“feast” all around.

“Really, we both won,” says Frankie Pellegrino. “It was an honor to work with as well as compete against such an esteemed colleague as Bobby Flay. This was an incredible experience. Family is why we do what we do and it was great to bring home a win for Team Pellegrino. We wish everyone a very happy holiday season.”

Flay turned up the heat and fired up his team in order to compete against a notorious family of more than 100 years of Italian tradition on its side. Three mouth-watering fish dishes were the menu du jour. As an excited audience gathered, they cheered and basked in the festive charm as our chefs got down to business.

“Family was everything in this competition, even down to the recipes. One of the winning dishes was a fresh spice Rosso Bruno tomatoes and lobster medallions. This is a dish I have been cooking since 1986. The fresh ingredients make all the difference in making the dish light and full of flavor,” says Carla Pellegrino.

On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, guests at RAOs can experience the “Throwdown Menu” inspired by “Throwdown with Bobby Flay.” The menu begins with the antipasti: Cacciuco Toscano, a seafood soup with lobster, shrimp, calamari, sea bass, PEI mussels, cockles clams and scallops in white wine and tomatoes broth over a Italian garlic bread. Next: Pellegrino’s perennial recipe, the Linguini All’aragosta. The third is the classic Brazino Sotto Sale, a Mediterranean sea bass baked under salt crust.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Join the Cuisineist as we cook with Dos Caminos Corporate Executive Chef Scott Linquist and Executive Chef Roberto Hernandez and enjoy a great meal

Dos Caminos Corporate Executive Chef Scott Linquist made his mark in Mexican restaurants throughout the country. Scott began his long relationship with Chefs Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger of the renowned Border Grill while still at CIA.

After graduating , he worked at the Boulevard in San Francisco and Lutece and Gotham Bar and Grill in New York. Mary Sue and Susan asked Scott to become Chef of Border Grill and help with expansion. He went back to California for two years and then moved on to Southwestern Restaurant Arizona 206 in New York were he created his well known upscale Mexican dishes . Chef Scott also returned to his alma mater of CIA for a teaching position as well.

Dos Caminos is Scott's current home and he has taken over as Corporate Executive Chef. The New York Dos Caminos has been doing themed cooking demonstrations for many occasions throughout the year. Scott decided to come to Dos Caminos located in the beautiful Palazzo Resort in Las Vegas to share his award winning skills along side Executive Chef Roberto Hernandez.

The Cuisineist met up with both Chefs and enjoyed a two day education on upscale Mexican dishes and participated in making fresh Guacamole.

The first word that comes to mind with Dos Caminos Las Vegas is "BIG ". Dos Caminos Las Vegas offers authentic, inventive Mexican dishes along with a bar that is large and and has a "scene" of its own. Using the foundation of classic Mexican staples of guacamole, empanadas and tacos, the menu also includes signature items created exclusively for Las Vegas by Chef Scott Linquist, who has overseen the brand expansion and openings of all Dos Caminos locations as well as co-authored the Dos Caminos cookbook, Mod Mex.

The Menu tantalized us with dishes including Roasted Chicken Enchiladas with Mole Poblano and Salsa Verde, Lamb Shank Barbacoa, Grilled Marinated Skirt Steak with Frijoles Borrachos and Roasted Tomato Salsita as well as Chilean Sea Bass Veracruzano. It also features such brunch offerings as Dos Caminos Rancheros, Chilequiles Con Huevos (Baked Tortilla Casserole with Sunny-Side-Up Eggs), Pan Torrejas (Mexican-Style French Toast with Toasted Pecan Maple Syrup and Fresh Berries) and Mexican Benedict, available daily. A "MUST " is the made-to-order guacamole heralded by Food & Wine magazine as "New York City’s Best."

The cooking class opened our eyes to what upscale Mexican cuisine really is. The interactive lesson on making fresh Guacamole was a true experience.

Each guest attending the class were given the classic ingredients of cilantro leafs , yellow onions , Jalapeño and Serrano chiles , Avocado ( of course ) plum tomatoes and lime. Then it was time to go to work. With the coaching of both Chefs , guests learned how to "properly " score an avocado and remove the seed. Then after mashing and mixing in a specific order , the Guacamole was finished to each individual taste.

The absolute best way to learn something is by doing it with the ever watch full eye of a true professional and cooking is no exception.

Along with the exceptional guacamole, we sipped on El Caminos Classic Margarita and the Pomegranate Sangria. Up next, we were instructed on creating roasted plantain empanadas filled with black beans and cotija cheese topped with chipotle aioli. Each of these bocaditos or little starters was savory and filling.

We then watched As chef prepared the main course or platos principales, Arrachera-Grilled Marinated Skirt Steak with Frijoles Borrachos. The secret to the flavorful steak was the aromatic marinade of lightly toasted cumin seeds combined with olive oil, lime juice, jalapeno chiles, garlic, salt, and black pepper pureed until smooth and them rubbed into the meat. The meat is then rolled into light logs, put into resealable plastic bags and then refrigerated 24 hours.

After grilling the steaks until seared 3-4 minutes, they are left to rest for 5 min.and then sliced across the grain into thin strips. Served with the frijoles barrachos, our palates were delighted and our stomachs satiated. But there was more to come! The dessert prepared by Chef Reyes was worth putting the fork down to rest between courses.

Pastry Chef, Hugo Reyes, flew in
from New York for this cooking
occasion and we were very glad
he did. His postres Y Dulces or
sweets and pastries are his passion.

We were shown how to make his Crepas de Cajeta. The Crepas
or crepe is filled with the cajeta that is made from goats milk, sugar and vanilla extract that is heated and reduced into a condensed
milk consistency. This creamy sweet mixture is spooned over the
crepas that are filled with bananas warmed with a brown sugar and vanilla mixture and then served with a scoop of house made vanilla ice cream. (Fresh ice cream is made daily at the restaurant). Candied Pistachos are spoon over the top, for
a delicately sweet and satisfying dessert.

Just when the guests thought It could not get any better, some returned for a Mexican 6 course dinner with new signature cocktails in the large and spacious dining area.

The architecture , with its marble floors, lighting , statues and booths rivaled any Michelin restaurant we have dined in. At times, it reminded us of a South Beach restaurant with a hip , easy going vibe.

The classic dishes started to arrive with the award winning Fresh made Guacamole & Tortilla chips served family style. For many , this was a meal in its own right but we were just getting started.





Crispy Yucca Fries, Hot Papaya Salsa , Herb Salad, Pasilla Oaxaca Vinaigrette


Crispy Skin Spiced Rubbed Half Free Range Chicken , Fall
Vegitables , Hominy , Roasted Tomatillo -Hojo Santa broth , Herbed Mojo

Baby Arugula , Spinach , Grilled Portobello Mushrooms, Butternut Squash , Roasted Jalapeno-Blue Cheese Dressing




We have stopped in at Dos Caminos on many occasions and took full advantage of the large and spacious bar with one of the best Tequila lists we have seen in Las Vegas. To have the opportunity to enjoy a fabulous meal and learn how make many of these signature dishes from such renowned Chefs was an honor and an experience . We look forward taking advantage of upcoming cooking classes at Dos Caminos at the Palazzo Resort in Las Vegas. Stay tuned for upcoming dates !

Join The Cuisineist as we learn how to cook some of these dishes, make Guacamole and speak with Chef Scott Liquist about Dos Caminos and his book Mod Mex.

For more information please visit or if in New York visit

Monday, November 9, 2009

Double Layer Pumpkin Cheesecake a decadent twist on a Thanksgiving tradition

We are coming up fast on the Holiday season which is all about tradition. Here at The Cuisineist we will try to keep it traditional but with an interesting twist. We tried this recipe in the Cuisinest's kichen and it worked fabulously . This is an easy recipe that will make you look like the culinary star that you are !


Ingredients :
  • 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 (9 inch) prepared graham cracker crust
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 pinch ground cloves
  • 1 pinch ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup frozen whipped topping, thawed

Directions :

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
  2. In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Blend in eggs one at a time. Remove 1 cup of batter and spread into bottom of crust; set aside.
  3. Add pumpkin, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg to the remaining batter and stir gently until well blended. Carefully spread over the batter in the crust.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until center is almost set. Allow to cool, then refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight. Cover with whipped topping before serving.
  5. ENJOY !

Saturday, November 7, 2009

A great place for a real lunch in Las Vegas off the "strip" Terra Rossa in the Red Rock Resort

Most people look at lunch as a late breakfast or early dinner. Many Americans choose the type of lunch you can eat in the car.

However, Most parts of the world may not feel that way. Even in the culinary epicenter , Las Vegas, A good healthy lunch may not be too easy to find.

When Terra Rossa in the Red Rock Resort located in Summerlin opened for lunch we welcomed a chance for an opportunity to experience Las Vegas fine dining in the middle of the day. The Cuisineist held our breath and jumped into Terra Rossa and hoped to find a mid day dining oasis.

Terra Rossa Italian Restaurant offers authentic Italian foods such as homemade pastas, wood-fired pizzas, fresh fish and an extensive antipasto table. Their wine room hosts a collection of 1,500 bottles of premiere Italian and California wines. From his post in the open kitchen, Chef Nicola Nieddu, from Sardinia brings the authentic flavors and warmth of Italy .

The restaurant’s intimate setting brings the feeling of a Tuscan villa and overlooks the outdoor pond and water fall. You get the best of both worlds with a choice of indoor and outdoor seating.


salmone rustico…grilled and served with sautéed rapini and extra virgin olive oil
pesce spada…swordfish and grilled vegetables, with Mediterranean relish
scaloppine al limone…with lemon sauce, served with spinach “all’agro”
scaloppine al marsala…with sauteed mushrooms
pollo ai carciofi…chicken filets sauteed with artichokes in lemon white wine sauce
pollo alla piccata…free range chicken breasts with lemon caper sauce and spinach
pollo alla parmigiana…breaded, pan fried and finished with tomato sauce and cheeses
pollo al mattone...whole hen cooked under a brick with mustard wine sauce and rapini


Pasta capellini al pomodoro…angel hair pasta with tomato, garlic, basil and olive oil
capellini primavera…with fresh garden vegetables, plum tomatoes and basil
spaghetti a la Renato…tossed in tomato sauce and finished with butter and parmesan
spaghetti con polpette…with tomato sauce, parmesan and meatballs
pappardelle al ragu’…tossed in our three meats sauce
linguine alle vongole…with clams in a lightly spiced white wine garlic sauce
penne al pesto…fresh basil pesto with green beans and potatoes
gnocchi…soft potato dumplings tossed with tomato sauce and basil
tortiglioni con salsiccia...with peas and sausages in tomato cream sauce
agnolotti…filled with Italian ricotta cheese and sauteed with tomato and basil sauce
ravioli…filled with spinach and ricotta with three meats ragu
( you can add chicken or shrimp )


espresso soaked ladyfingers layered with marscapone creame, served with Tuscan biscotti

fresh fruit and sabayon

amaretto sabayon, fresh seasonal berries, shortbread cookie
chocolate molten cake a warm chocolate cake with homemade vanilla gelato
fresh cannoli stuffed with sweet homemade ricotta cheese, toasted hazelnuts and pistachios
cheesecake ricotta and marscapone cheesecake topped with whipped cream
homemade gelato and sorbetti

With each course we were able to breath a little easier and knew that we found a great way to dine in Las Vegas for lunch. This is a lunch that we will have to repeat as the choices were too much to experience in just one visit. We do know however that we will breath a sign of satisfaction the next time we want to enjoy a great lunch off the strip in Las Vegas. Enjoy and Bon Appetit !

Friday, October 30, 2009

Steve Wynn and Chef Chef Kim Canteenwalla team up at Encore Society Cafe named one of the "Best New Restaurants in America" by Esquire magazine

Society Cafe Encore, the innovative American restaurant located inside Encore at Wynn Las Vegas, has been named one of the "Best New Restaurants in America" by Esquire magazine (November 2009).

The restaurant, featuring a menu of creative American cuisine by Chef Kim Canteenwalla, is the only Las Vegas restaurant to receive this honor this year. The annual Esquire list is written and compiled by world-renowned food writer John Mariani and features the magazine's recommendations for the best new restaurants nationwide.

"I'm delighted and humbled that Esquire selected Society as a place that stands out on the dining scene," says Canteenwalla. "There are many great new restaurants and we're thrilled to be acknowledged amongst this distinguished group."

Society is known for its fun signature dishes, regardless of the time of day. Guests start with fresh pretzel bread and house-made grainy mustard butter and progress to the restaurant's favorite dishes. These include lunchtime's lobster roll club with pancetta and avocado and grilled chicken salad with cherries, figs, pears, cashews and a pomegranate vinaigrette. There is also a section devoted to sliders including the BBQ filet mignon, charred rare tuna and "sloppy Joe" options.

The popular mac 'n' cheese bites with truffle dipping sauce and the grilled artichoke with chipotle spiced dip are two great ways to start dinner. Choose from main courses such as bone-in cowboy rib-eye with peppercorn rub and potato and bacon hash, seared ahi tuna with togarashi spice and cucumber shiso salad and grilled jidori chicken breast with Yukon mashed potatoes. Diners can top off their night with the restaurant's coveted warm donut bites.

Chef Canteenwalla partnered with Elizabeth Blau and Sean Christie to open Society at Encore. Blau has helped establish Las Vegas as one of the country's finest culinary destinations, while Christie is credited for changing the profile of Las Vegas nightlife.

"I'm honored to be a part of this impressive list of restaurants," adds Blau. "I love reading John's selections every year to find new culinary treasures whether in big cities or remote locations."

Society Cafe Encore has quickly become the choice of locals, tourists and celebrities for power outings during breakfast, lunch and dinner. The Society Bar provides a great spot for a cocktail with its creative drink list and extensive mojito menu. Society is open Sunday through Thursday from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 7 a.m. to 1 a.m. Reservations are encouraged and can be made by calling (702) 248-DINE (3463) or (888) 352-DINE (3463).

Chef Kim Canteenwalla joined forces with Steve Wynn to open Society Café Encore as Executive Chef/Partner at the new signature resort in the Wynn collection. His restaurant offers guests a classic American menu of old school favorites with a modern twist. Open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and late night on weekends, Society Café Encore features enjoyable food in a casual, fun and dynamic atmosphere.

He began his culinary career in Montreal at the Institute of St. Denis. He continued to work in his native Canada as Sous Chef for the luxury five-star Four Seasons Hotel in Toronto. He then went to serve in executive chef positions that took him all over the world, including Raffles International Hotel Group, Hotel Le Royal Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and Grand Mirage Resort Bali, Indonesia.

Upon his return to North America, Chef Canteenwalla held the position of executive chef at Beau Rivage, where he met Elizabeth Blau. He was then recruited to serve as executive chef for the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Thomas Keller's Buchon Bakery gets in the Holiday Spirit

Chef Thomas Keller and his Bouchon Bakery get us all in to the Holiday Spirit with some very special treats.

It does not get any better than dinning at any of Chef Thomas Keller's renowned restaurants. But , we must not leave out another big name in his culinary arsenal, Bouchon Bakery .

Chef Keller has some great treats for the Holiday season that can only make our mouths water !
  • Bat TKO’s – A Bouchon Bakery Halloween favorite; crisp, bat-shaped chocolate cookies filled with sweet white chocolate ganache; $3.25 each

  • Pumpkin Brittle – This classic brittle is fused with pumpkin seeds to highlight the flavors of the season; $5.50 per bag

  • Halloween Cupcakes – Bouchon Bakery’s classic cupcakes festively decorated for Halloween; $3.50 each

  • Pumpkin Shortbread Cookies – Homemade shortbread cookies festively shaped into pumpkins and glazed with fondant
    • Available for $3.25 each
    • Also available in packages, including pumpkin, cat and ghost cookies for $6.50

Orange and Chocolate Rice Krispy Treat – a classic treat reinvented for the holiday; $3 each

Monday, October 19, 2009

Mezzo Bistro Italiano shines off the Las Vegas Strip

Mezzo \Mez”zo\, a.[ It., from L. medius middle, half.]

We have had the opportunity to dine a Mezzo on many occasions. This lovely restaurant located in the North West section of Las Vegas only proves what we have been saying for quite along time. There is great dinning OFF the famed Las Vegas Strip

Mezzo uses only the best ingredients to create traditional dishes over seen by Chef Alfredo. The fish is brought in fresh daily and calamari is hand cut to order. Even their sausages and meatballs are ground and made in house as a well as their sauces and dressings. They even imported a wood burning oven from Naples, Italy just to have the best possible flavoring and addauthenticity to their dishes.

You cant have a great Italian restaurant without wine . They are continually changing their wine list offering wines from all over the world. With a list of over 100 wines by the bottle and more than 30 by the glass, there’s a great wine for for every palate.

The Cuisineist stopped in at Mezzo for a wine dinner hosted by Jim Lambert of Stanley Lambert wines from the famed Barossa Valley in Australia. The Chef and staff pulled out all the stops for a great imaginative culinary experience.

Wee Be Pumkin Bisque

Pumpkin Bisque , toasted pumkin seeds and ginger creme freich

Stanley Lambert Pristine Chardonnay , Barossa Valley 2008

Salmon Rilletes

Fresh salmon rillets on a bed of organic spinach, chanterelle mushrooms and a roasted red pepper vinaigrette

Stanley Lambert Nordic Frost , cold pressed dry Riesling Barossa 2008

Pappardelle Calabrese

Pappardelle pasta , house made chicken sausage , porcini muchrooms and arugula

Stanley Lambert Black Sheep , Shriaz Blend Barossa 2004

16 oz. Ribeye Steak

Brown sugar grilled 16oz Ribeye steak , fingerling potatoes , green beans and micro carrots

Stanley Lambert Silent Partner , Cabernet Sauvignon Barossa 2005

Sweet berry tart shell

Sweet tart shell paired with a sweet pastry cream topped with fresh raspberries and blueberries

Stanley Lambert Choc-a-bloc , Port South Australia NV

The Staff of Mezzo did an amazing job putting on this dinner. The food pairings by Chef Alfredo were spot on and showed off his culinary expertise. We have attended dinners all over the country and some of the best held in Michelin resturants on the Las Vegas strip. In our opinion , Mezzo is a sparkling diamond in off strip dinning in Las Vegas. For more information on Mezzo please go to . For complete coverage on the Stanley Lambert wines visit VINO LAS VEGAS .