Monday, April 20, 2009

The "Caipirinha" cocktail brings us a taste of Brazil

Elaine from the Cuisineist learns how to make a Caipirinha which is a refreshing drink made in Brazil.

The Caipirinha is a smooth refreshing blend of Brazilian Rum ( Cachaca ) , fresh muddled limes and a touch of sugar then shaken and enjoyed

Mixologist Pricilla takes us behind the bar at Via Brasil SteakHouse to make this traditional drink

The Cuisineist joins Slow Food USA in saving Wild Salmon

The Slow Food USA movement is a very important issue to all
of us in or out of the Food Industry. Slow Food celebrates food
traditions in North America through many programs. We and Slow
Food believe that we can enjoy food and even life itself more if we slow down and rekindle interest in the food we eat.

Slow Food was recently at Nora's Wine Bar in Summerlin. Chefs Giovanni and Marcello Mauro are
very involved in creating unique , authentic dishes that support
local sustainable food. This is what Slow Food is all about.

Saving Wild Salmon was the focus of the brunch held at Nora's .
We got quite an education from Paul Johnson of the Monterrey Fish Market in San Francisco as well as Bobby Hayden and Joseph Bogaard
from Save our Wild Salmon in Seattle Washington.

Many people think of Nevada as a desert with not much life. But we are so wrong in thinking that. Nevada was once home to abundant Wild
Salmon and Steelhead. Four Rivers in northern Nevada once supported
many runs of these fish

Dams over the years put an end to salmon migration and thus
the large salmon runs of the past. Today only about 2 % of Historic salmon runs remain. Salmon and Stealhead are as much apart of our western heritage as Elk and big horn sheep.

Slow Food Las Vegas is spreading the word about the disappearance of wild salmon from Northern Nevada. This is a very tragic loss but as we found out , it can be reversed. To find out how you can help and more information please go to

After quite an education we were
treated with some wonderful Wild Salmon dishes to celebrate our
Western Heritage.

Nora's started us off with some lovely Salmon Entrees:

Salmon Benedict , Crepes with Salmon mouse , Salmon salad over puff pastry , Roasted potatoes and Pear and radicchio slaw

The brunch continued on with a
Cheese Course that consisted of :

Smoked Salmon

Robiola Bosina

Podda Classico

and Crucolo.

Of Course no brunch at Nora's would be complete with out desert. The Melon salad , Panna cotta with poached quince and bread pudding was a great finish to an educational and informative presentation about Wild Salmon.

For more information please go to

Join VINO LAS VEGAS as we learn what we can do to help restore the Wild Salmon runs in the Western United States.

Tom from Slow Foods added the following :

"As you may know, Slow Food Las Vegas, a food advocacy organization, recently teamed up with Save Our Wild Salmon and Nora's Wine Bar and Osteria to celebrate and educate people about Nevada's historic wild salmon heritage.

Paul discussed how the federal mismanagement of salmon-producing watersheds has led to a coastal salmon crisis and urged attendees to "vote with your fork"; that by choosing wild salmon you create market demand for good policy decisions that lead to wild salmon recovery. Bobby highlighted the issues facing Columbia and Snake River salmon and the opportunities in the coming months. Both underscored Nevada's salmon heritage and Nevada's key role in salmon recovery. Take the Next StepThe rivers of northern Nevada once teemed with wild salmon, providing food to local communities and vital nutrients to the surrounding ecosystem. With the right leadership in Congress, Nevada can again enjoy this regional resource and reclaim their rightful place as a Pacific salmon state.

This special salmon brunch is only the beginning. Please help continue this effort by making a quick call today.Contact the offices of Senator Reid, Senator Ensign, and the rest of Nevada's Congressional delegation.

It only takes a moment to let your voice be heard - one quick phone call can make a big difference. Senator Harry Reid - 202-224-3542 Senator John Ensign - 202-224-6244 Congresswoman Shelley Berkley - 202-225-5965Congresswoman-elect Dina Titus - 702-256-3462 Congressman Dean Heller - 202-225-6155 Ask them to protect and restore an endangered national treasure and one of Nevada's key heritage foods - wild Pacific salmon from the Columbia & Snake Rivers - by supporting legislation to remove the 4 lower Snake River dams, and replace them with clean, salmon-friendly alternatives.

For more information on Nevada's wild salmon heritage, please visit: Food Las Vegas and Save Our Wild Salmon are planning to work together in 2009. We need you help! Please contact me for more information about how to get involved in this exciting project. "

The Cuisineist makes a stop at Via Brasil Steakhouse

The award winning Via Brasil Restaurant in New York City opened Via Brasil Steakhouse in the Las Vegas suburb of Summerlin.

Via Brasil is an authentic "Churrascara" that offers a gourmet salad bar with an array of hot and cold dishes, cold cuts, cheeses, and even sushi made fresh daily. The signature of Via Brasil is it's eighteen different kinds of meat, poultry and fish that are carved table side.

On our visit to Via Brasil we were greeted by the hostess and directed to the bar where we enjoyed a wonderful traditional Brazilian Caipirinha prepared by our mixologist Priscilla. After getting a lesson in how to make this wonderful cocktail we were escorted to our table to "learn" how this whole process works.

The MOST important lesson you can learn at Via Brasil is what the colored cards mean. It's very simple actually, but a lesson that you need to know. Green means start bringing the food and Red means STOP....No Mas ! As the evening progressed we kept these cards close at hand.

Before starting our meal we were enticed by their Gourmet salad bar will salads, hot and cold sides, cheeses , vegetables and even sushi that was mouth watering. We knew that this was only a precursor to what was about to begin.

We flipped over our "Green Card " and the parade of " Passadores" , very sharp knifes and meat began. The "Rodizio" style dining is a true show to behold. Our table captains started arriving table side with skewers of Prime Rib, Leg of Lamb, Rib Eye, Top Sirloin , Suckling Pig and Pork Ribs just to name a few. There were 18 meats available in this culinary parade and we did our best to sample as many as we could taking "Red Card" breaks for breathers.

With this amount of meat we knew there had to be a great wine list to add to this experience. Sommelier Jean Richardo Olivera has created a wine list that in our opinion is one of the best off the famed Las Vegas strip. We look for his hard work to pay off when this list could get some pretty high accolades from Wine Spectator. Only time will tell.

We thought that desert was not an option but being that we were dining in Brasil , the Carmel Flan was a dish we had to try along with some cappuccino to put a nice finish on this great meal.

Via Brasil is worth a visit and is truly an interactive dining experience with the mixologists, guests and table captains combining for a wonderful time. For more information about Via Brasil , vist

Join us as we speak to the owner of Via Brasil, learn how to make a Caipirinha and enjoy a parade of food that we have not seen in sometime.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Aureole at Mandalay Bay .. a well known landmark

As much as its hurts to say but Restaurant week has come to an end. But before it ended we had to make one more stop.

Aureole at the Manadalay Bay has been featured on most wine, travel or food shows about Las Vegas. The first thing you notice is the wine tower. Inside the tower are 1700 different vineyards from all over the world. There are about 10,000 bottles. The other interesting things is Aureole's "wine angels" that "fly" up , down and side to side on a harness in the tower to retrieve the bottle that you have ordered. When seated you receive a computer note pad from which you can sort the wine list by price,varietal, region and even bottle size. After playing with the wine list computer we selected a Castle Vineyard Merlot Sonoma Valley 2000 and sent the wine angel to flight. The menu consisted of three courses.

First Course Duo of Hudson Valley Foie GrasVanilla scented torchon, seared with port glaze Beerenauslese.

Second Course
Braised Beef Ribs and Hanger Steak Truffle-celery root puree wilted swiss chard, cabernet reduction

Third Course CITRUS SCENTED CHEESECAKE WITH HUCKLEBERRY COMPOTE Crème brulée ice cream, essence of Cassis, maple brown sugar sauce. The food was very good. The Braised Beef ribs were a real stand out.

The Castle Vineyard Merlot paired excellent with the meal. Now more about the wine. In the glass it showed light to medium bodied and dark red in color. On the nose, hints of spice and red fruit were prominent. As it opened up, chocolate mocha became prominent as well. On the palate spice, chocolate and red fruit came through with a nice medium silky finish. This vineyard specializes in small production hand crafted wines.

When in Las Vegas Aureole is a must stop !

Cheers !

When in Las Vegas Bertolinis is a place to relax

Bertolini's is a regular stop for us when in Las Vegas. Monday through Friday 3:30-630 they have a great happy hour. All of the appetizers are half price and wine by the bottle up to $ 49.99 is half price as well.
The appetizers are so big we go there just for the happy hour and there is no need to eat dinner after that. Bertolini's is an economical place to to unwind and have some good food.
The wine list is a little small compared to many other places we have dined. We can usually find a decent bottle to complement the food. The service is good and the waitstaff is personable. The last time we dinned there the General Manager Brandon Bueltel stopped by to introduce himself. Brandon told us about Bertolini's Rewards club where you earn points every time you dine. They even have several events from harvest dinners to winemaker dinners in a separate area of the restaurant.
Bertolini's is located at 9500 West Sahara Ave at Village Square in Summerlin. If you are in the area stop by and you might event run into us. If so stop by and say hello, maybe we will raise a glass or two. To take a look and the menus and more photos go to Http://

6th Annual Jean-Louis Palladin Foundation Dinner At Andres's

Some of the biggest names in gourmet dining came together at Chef Andre Rochat's Andres in Las Vegas to honor the late Chef Jean-Louis Palladin and raise money for his foundation.
In 1974, at 28 yrs old, Jean-Louis won 2 Michelin stars for his restaurant Tables Des Cordeliers in Gascony, France. At the time he was the youngest chef to have won 2 stars. In 1979 he came to The United States to open Jean-Louis at The Watergate, in the Watergate Hotel, Washington, DC. Jean-Louis found farmers in the area to grow fresh herbs and organic vegetables, and encouraged others to raise poultry and meats to his standards.
When Jean-Louis became ill, his friends, colleagues and customers sprang into action to help him. Benefit dinners were held all over America to raise money for his medical expenses. Jean-Louis passed away in November 2001. At the time of his death there was an excess of funds, these funds were used to initially fund the Jean-Louis Palladin Foundation.
The Jean-Louis Palladin Foundation was incorporated in June, 2002 to serve as an ongoing tribute to the memory of chef Jean-Louis Palladin. The goal of the foundation is to create a memorial to his determination in seeking out and using the best ingredients, mentoring talent wherever he found it, and encouraging creativity among chefs.
The dinner was a who's who of Chefs from all over the world. All were there to rasie money for this very important foundation. Each of the Chefs prepared a mouth watering course that was paired with a fabulous wine.

Passed Hors D’Oeuvres
Rose Wine Poached Silk Chicken and Ginger Radish
Kobe Shabu Shabu, Potato Dill Cake and Lobster Bolognese
Wolfgang Von Wieser – Bellagio Hotel and Casino

Foie Gras and Chicken Pressed with Brioche and Black Truffle
Kampachi Sashimi with Cauliflower Rémoulade and Meyers Lemon Emulsion
Bruno Davaillon – Mix Restaurant, THEhotel at Mandalay Bay
Ruinart Blanc de Blanc, Brut, Reims, NV
1st – Alternating Course
Crustcea – Chilled Shellfish Platter
Maine Lobster, Florida Stone Crab, Deer Creek Oysters with
American Caviar and Spicy Cocktail Sauce
Barry S. Dakake – N9NE Steakhouse, Palms Casino Resort
Napoleon of Alaskan King Crab and Celery Root Rémoulade
Jean Joho and Joung Sohn - Eiffel Tower Restaurant, Paris Hotel
Langwerth von Simmern, Estate Riesling, Rheingau, 2005
2nd – Alternating Course
Pan Seared Halibut with Yukon Gold and Truffle “Buchette”
Chicken Jus and Banyuls Vinegar, Petite Mâche with Hazelnut Oil
Laurent Pillard and Hubert Keller - Fleur de Lys,
Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino
Stuffed European Calamari with House-Made Chorizo and “Basquaise” Vegetables
Vincent Pouessel - Aureole, Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino
Qupe Chardonnay Reserve, Bien Nacido Vineyard, Block 11, Santa Maria Valley, 2004
3rd – Alternating Course
Sautéed Squab Breast on Foie Gras Toast, Chestnut Butternut Squash Gnocchi and Winter Truffle Sauce
Mark Purdy – Alizé & Greg Engelhardt, Andre’s
White Marble Farms Pork Belly Braised in Almond Milk with
Celery Root Purée and Blood Orange Gastrique
Michael Demers – The M Resort
Etude Pinot Noir, Carneros, 2005
4th – Alternating Course
Day Boat Scallop with Braised Pork Belly, Melted Leeks andGrain Mustard Beurre Blanc
Rick Moonen – RM Seafood, Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino
Scampi Lessi in Brodo di Cappone con Cavoletti e Tartufo Bianco
“Langoustines Poached in Capon Broth with Brussels Sprout Leaves and White Truffle”
Paul Bartolotta – Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare, Wynn Las Vegas
Kuentz-Bas Pinot Gris, Cuvee Tradition, Alsace, 2004
5th – Alternating Course
Bone Marrow Stuffed Veal Shank with its “Sugo”
Luciano Pellegrini – Valentino’s, Venetian Resort Hotel Casino
Bordeaux Braised Cured Leg of Duck of a Bed of French Green Lentils
with Sizzle Leeks and Infused Garlic Oil
Michael and Wendy Jordan - Rosemary’s
Chateau Gruaud-Larose, St. Julien, 1998
6th – Alternating Course
“Brillat Savarin” Cheese on the Spoon
Baby Farm Yellow Frisée and Celery Salad with
Hazelnuts Oil on a Toast of Roasted Flour Bread
Aged Port Wine in Tube
Eric Damidot – Caesars Palace
Black Truffle Salad with Walnut Brioche
Sven Mede – Nobhill by Michael Mina, MGM Grand
Moet et Chandon, Brut Imperial Rose, Epernay, N
7th – Alternating Course

Timbale of Pistachio Financier with Passion Fruit Chiboust and Compote of Exotic FruitQuenelle of Coconut Sorbet with Wild Strawberry Coulis
Jean-Philippe Dufoin – Café Soleil
Hazelnut Fondant filled with Caramelized Bananas and Chocolate Custard Topped with a Crispy Tuile and White Chocolate Creme Glace
Sean DiCicco-Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino
Inniskillin Riesling Icewine, Niagra Penninsula , NY
Apres Diner
Coffee or Tea and Petit Fours
Megan Romano-Aureole, Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino
The Cocktail Reception and Dinner was $325.00 per person. This magnificant dinner by these talented Chefs was followed by an Auction. All the proceeds of this event benifited the foundation.
For more information please contact Also a big thanks goes out to Southern Wine and Spirits for providing the wines. This was a fabulous event for a great cause and we look forward the the 7th Annual Fund Raiser next year !

Celebrity Chefs reach new heights in Las Vegas

Celebrity Chefs take Dining to New Heights in Las Vegas as they are raised 180 feet above the Las Vegas Strip.

We have said for years that Las Vegas has taken its place as one of the worlds top Food and
Wine destinations and the recent Michelin awards barred that out.

Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman and Bon Appetit Executive Chef Cat Cora along with some of
the biggest culinary stars in the world celebrated Las Vegas's accomplishment with a Champagne toast 180 feet above the Las Vegas Strip seated at a "table in the sky"

The day was cold by Las Vegas standards but that did not deter big name award winning Chefs like Kerry Simon, Francios Payard, Hubert Keller, Alex Stratta, Michael Mina, Rick Moonen and many others as they sipped Champagne and toasted what Las Vegas has become.

Scott from The Cuisineist spoke with Chef Michael Mina , Chef Kerry Simon, Chef Francois Payard, Chef Rick Moonen, Chef Mike Minor and Chef Theo Schoenegger of the new Sinatra at the Encore and Chef Marc Poidevin of Switch also at the Encore. They all spoke about what Las Vegas has become and where it is going in the culinary world as well as their own restaurants.


If this meeting of the Chefs is any indication, this years Bon Appetit's Vegas Uncorked will surpass last years event which was an incredible experience. Where else in the world can you sample the artistry and meet the worlds best except right here in Las Vegas. For more information about Vegas Uncorked please go to

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Cuisineist Celebrates the Ides of March with Executive Chef Nico Chessa

Executive Chef Nico Chessa is a native of Sardinia and has worked throughout Italy mastering the special dishes of each region. Nico had the privilege to be the executive Chef for the gala reopening of the Sistine Chapel and served Pope John Paul II. He joined the Valentino Restaurant Group in 2003 and is currently the Executive Chef at Ristorante Giorgio in the Mandalay Place in Las Vegas. Nico's culinary artistry is focused on truly authentic Italian dishes.

Giorgio Ristorante offered a Three Course "Ides of March" Roman Themed Menu to celebrate Julius Cesar's last day as ruler of Rome.


Mazzancolla avvolta con guanciale servita con insalata di fave ruchetta carciofi pecorino con olio alle acciughe
(Pork cheek wrapped shrimp alongside artichoke salad with arugula, fava beans, pecorino cheese, white anchovies and extra virgin olive oil)

EST! EST !! EST !!! Di Montefiascone 2007 Falesco


Abbacchio primaverile in umido con farrotto alle erbe (Stewed spring lamb with herb spelt, risotto style)

Falesco Umbria Merlot 2006

The entree dish showed off Nico's passion for authentic Italian fare.
The idea of a caramelized yellow onion with Lamb stew in one side and herb spelt in the other was very original and our favorite of the night.


Crema di ricotta ai frutti di bosco

(Mousse of sheep milk ricotta with spiced wild berry honey and grape must)

Passito 2004 Zaccagnini

The Best wine pairing of the evening came with dessert.
The Sheep milk ricotta and the fresh wild berry must burst
with flavor when paired with the Passito

Not only is the food delightful but the interior of the restaurant is lovely featuring an incredible hand blown crystal glass bar imported from Italy. Stop by and have a cocktail and appreciate this work of art.

Above you at the bar is another colorful display of glass balloons, created by Dale Chihuly. Inside
the banquet area are two signed Murano glass statues that accent the room with Italian flair

Giorgio Ristorante,
the casual expression of its partner restaurant, Valentino Las Vegas (located inside the Venetian Resort) specializes in both traditional and contemporary Italian dishes and reflects Sardinian Executive Chef Nico Chessa’s versatility with home-style cooking and authentic Italian ingredients. Giorgio Ristorante boasts one of the best appointed private dining venues on the Strip, ideal for wedding receptions, corporate events, holiday parties and banquets for up to 200 people. The restaurant is easily accessed via the Mandalay Place valet parking on Mandalay Bay Road between the Mandalay Bay and Luxor casinos. The restaurant’s hours are 11am to 10pm (MON-FRI) and 12pm to 10pm (SAT-SUN). Learn more at or call (702) 920-2700.

The Cuisinist's Elaine Harris enjoys some traditional Roman fare and speaks with Executive Chef Nico Chessa about his background and his culinary artistry.

The Cuisineist visits HOPPE's Garden Bistro and Wine Bar on the California Central Coast

We are always on the look out for great culinary secrets when we travel. While driving up the
California Coast we came across the lazy beach
town of Cayucos.

Hoppe's is located on scenic Highway One between Cambria and Morro Bay. When we asked where we should eat from our winemaker friends the answer was a unanimous HOPPE'S. Less than 100 yards from the Pacific Ocean HOPPE's provided us with a great culinary venue.

Officially called Hoppe's Garden Bistro and Wine Shop locals simply call it HOPPE's. They feature
organic meat and produce from both local farmers and farmers markets and use local Lobster and shellfish, including farmed Abalone direct from the nationally renowned Abalone Farm.

The first thing we always look at anywhere we go is the wine list.
Each of the 200 wines is hand picked by Chef Hoppe who has complied a unique list of wines from greater California as well as imports from around the world.

The menu has everything from Hamburgers to "Plateaus" of fresh seafood as well as wild game and venison to prime meats and vegetarian and vegan items all at a reasonable price.

HOPPE'S has been known as a local legend but not for long . In addition to many other honors, "Hoppe's Garden Bistro and Wine Shop" is currently rated as the number one restaurant on the Central Coast catering to discriminating individuals, groups and special events and they received a score of 26 out of 30 in the Zagat Survey.

HOPPE's was a very special find and will be a regular stop for us along the coast. Stop for some great food or have some wine at the bar. Most likely the person sitting by you is one of many winemakers who make HOPPE's their home .