Wednesday, May 14, 2014

WILD In Downtown Las Vegas introduces new menu developed by Chef Natalie Young of Eat.

 Downtown Las Vegas is constantly evolving with new bars and restaurants opening almost weekly. Keeping with that pace, the farm-friendly eatery and bar, WILD in downtown Las Vegas, has unveiled an all-new menu developed by Chef Natalie Young, owner and chef of locals popular breakfast and lunch restaurant, Eat.  WILD’s new menu stays true to its original intent to offer delectable comfort food favorites with a healthy twist.

“We were honored to have Chef Natalie lend her years of restaurant and culinary experience to us as a consultant and oversee the development of a new menu that brings the restaurant to the next level,” said Elyse Martin, general manager of WILD. “She has brought our menu from good to great.”

New appetizers include Pulled Chicken Nachos and WILD’s own guacamole and chips. Entrees include Emily’s Zucchini Pasta made with fresh julienned zucchini, broccoli, mushrooms, marinara, basil, garlic and parmesan cheese and a half free-range Oven Roasted Chicken served with fingerling potatoes and roasted seasonal vegetables. Tasty sandwiches also join the menu, including an Ahi Tuna Burger and a double decker Chicken Salad Club.
 Chicken Salad Club.

The menu retained  some of the signature items, like a selection of its oven flatbreads, including the Wild White with mozzarella, truffle ricotta, cracked black pepper and arugula, as well as WILD’s popular gluten free cupcakes created by Pastry Chef Tatiana Lewis. To end a meal on a sweet note, WILD offers three cupcake flavors daily, including vegan chocolate with mocha frosting, vegan lemon with blueberry compote, and carrot cake with orange butter cream frosting.
Tuna Shrimp Poke

In addition to the new menu, WILD has hired new culinary and front of house team members, including Sous Chef Judy Dezarn-Mack, previously a sous chef at  Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa.

 “Great food that just so happens to be gluten free, is their mantra and they live it. WILD’s new menu remains completely gluten free and continues to offer vegan options and whenever possible, using meats and cheeses that are hormone and antibiotic free, as well as local and organic produce.

This vibrant area is alive with locals and visitors alike, exploring the plethora of options awaiting them all day and into the night.  

UNLV Grad Guy Fieri Comes Back To Las Vegas in a Big Way .

It’s a wonderful feeling to see a home town boy do well. In this case we are taking about a very special UNLV grad that has become a household name. 

 That name is none other than Guy Fieri.  His highly anticipated Guy Fieri’s Vegas Kitchen & Bar opened at the Quad Resort & Casino in Las Vegas.
Excited guests entered and were greeted by Guy Fieri himself who was at the door greeting and thanking his wide eyed patrons.  He took time to sign autographs and take pictures before jumping back into the kitchen for dinner service.
Guy Fieri welcomes guests on opening day of Guy Fieri’s Vegas Kitchen & Bar Photo: Photo credit: Erik Kabik.
Guy Fieri welcomes guests on opening day of Guy Fieri’s Vegas Kitchen & Bar
Photo: Photo credit: Erik Kabik.
The menu features a taste of Fieri’s signature cuisine, featuring bold flavors and unique twists on traditional dishes. His new venture is open for brunch, lunch, dinner and even late night dining.  His 200 seat restaurant features a blend of casual foods including burgers, wings, tacos, small bites and shareable food items.
Over at the bar, we found an extensive drink menu featuring 16 craft beers, Sonoma County wine and a state of the art frozen tap system shot bar that creates a one-of-a kind experience for those that indulge. This very fun tap system bar dispenses eight different shots straight out of iced dispensers.
Guy Fieri  Photo credit: Erik Kabik.
Guy Fieri
Photo credit: Erik Kabik.
The 6,500 square foot space is highlighted by a large outdoor patio and dining area to seat patrons who are able to enjoy the panoramic views of the Las Vegas Strip. The cooking space features a metal, tile, and wood theme that closely resembles Fieri’s kitchen at home.
For a personal touch, Fieri’s tattoos are also incorporated as part of the design elements throughout the restaurant and bar, including coasters, napkins and dishware, as well as memorabilia from his alma mater, University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
 Guy Fieri poses with his executive chef, Tony Leitera,   Photo credit:     Erik Kabik.
Guy Fieri poses with his executive chef, Tony Leitera,
Photo credit:
Erik Kabik.

There is no doubt with his Food Network notoriety as well as his connection to the city, Guy Fieri’s Vegas Kitchen & Bar will be an instant sensation on the famed Las Vegas strip.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Contributing Journalist Mitchell Wilburn Takes A Look At Portland Oregon .

Mitchell Wilburn, Contributing Journalist
Mitchell Wilburn, Contributing Journalist
Situated on the artsy suburban Alberta St. in the north-east side of Portland (Concordia neighborhood, or thereabouts), Aviary is an upscale dining spot for the hip young professionals of Portland that want to rebel against the chalkboard-and-communal-bench style eateries that populate the majority of the neighborhood.

It has a modern style bordering on sterility, but a severity that preludes the equivalent severity that characterizes their cuisine.  Coming from Las Vegas, and a guest to the alien culture of P-land, it was refreshing to get the “Yes sir, right this way sir.” treatment again, as opposed to the “Comin’ right up boss, by the way if you like the Pixies you should come hear my band play at the Jukein’ Java on Sunday, no cover.” avery1Unfortunately, the cocktail list did not benefit from the same forethought.  Each of the four (out of ten) I tried looked alright on paper, unique ingredients or interpretations of classics, but in practice seemed like someone forgot to make them enjoyable. 

The wine list could have made up for this, if even a third of their selections could come by the glass.   This is kind of an odd situation, at least in my mind, as they share a name with one of the greatest cocktail spots on earth, Aviary (sister restaurant to the famous Alinea) of Chicago.  Note, the Chicago Aviary has a dedicated Ice Chef, on par with the Sous or Pastry Chef, it’s THAT kind of cocktail bar.avery2Honestly though, the best of their food should be enjoyed with the clearest mind.  This is nothing that leans on crowd-pleasing fried goods or heavy-handed smoking. 

Take for example; their Cauliflower Flan is an appropriate platform for an array of Japanese flavors, using sea urchin, salmon roe, crisp sweet potato, and a cold dashi broth.  Creamy, savory, and spiked with peaks of the sea flavors, it is a very attention-grabbing dish. avery3A dish that was a bit simpler, but still great, was the Chestnut Soup.  Very creamy and nutty (obviously), but topped with a dollop of crème fraiche and crispy fried brussels sprout leaves made it a rich, addictive treat.  There was a bit of bottarga grated on top, which could have been an interesting twist to it, but was just not enough to stand up to the rest. Crispy Pork Belly, which I would have assumed to be just another mandatory pork belly dish, was a great surprise.
  Sure, you have little Asian spice-rubbed cubes of pork, but an accompaniment of an endive, pomegranate, edamame, and parsnip “slaw” tossed with a black sesame seed vinaigrette is what really puts the dish over the edge.  Honestly, the slaw itself would have made a beautiful salad for any dish, but it’s crisp, almost smoky flavor was perfectly suited towards the fatty, savory pork belly.  It really was the first pork belly dish in a very long time to warrant any attention past stuffing it down with a pint. avery4Their mains seem like they were scaled-up versions of apps, but are no worse for the transition. 

Dishes like their Four-Cup Chicken, a kind of Asian/Euro fusion of vegetable stuffed breast rolls, on a taro purée and thinly sliced wood-ear mushrooms, are always complex and well executed enough to stay interesting the whole way through. Even something that can be at first off-putting, like a Douglas Fir smoked NY strip steak, can end up being a pretty original and fun dish. 
The smoke ends up just being a kind of herbal or resinous background note, not as overbearing as one would fear. The desserts are a matter of some acclaim for Aviary, and they are admittedly a good experience.  Chocolate pudding, a dish becoming quite rare at places like this, is made from scratch in a very telling way.  It’s a far cry from any kind of slick, slimy kids treat, and made quite delicious with the addition of black sesame ice cream, mango puree, and crispy candied rice.  While the rice helped keep the dish from becoming a completely homogenous texture, it was still a bit like eating (rather high-end) jaw surgery food.
  This dish needs something to raise it into the rest of the menu’s tier of quality. Aviary is not without flaws, but definitely rich in enough world-class food to more than make up for them.  Hell, they could be serving their small plates in a crack house and it would still be worth a trip.  Aviary survived a fire and four years in a very competitive and fine-dining resistant environment, and it’s because of dishes like their Cauliflower Flan, their Four-Cup Chicken, that just put themselves so head and shoulders above almost all their contemporaries.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Cuisineist Test Kitchens Kick Off Picnic Season with Easy Vegetable Dip Recipes .

Memorial Day marks the beginning of picnic season and summer fun that includes food-on-the-go. This year, discover how easy it is to save money and make treats you can take along on outings with family and friends.

Simply pack fresh vegetables and tofu-based dip into a container, and prepare to snack in style. The Soyfoods Council has shared some tasty recipes with the Cuisineist test kitchen. They offer convenient recipes like Tofu Ranch Dressing that allow you to indulge while eating healthfully. Here are tips for creating versatile take-along snacks made with tofu.
Before you buy tofu, consider what you need it to do. Firm water-packed tofu will keep its shape, whether its sliced, diced or placed on the grill. Silken tofu is ideal for blending smoothies, making fruit and vegetable dips, and for any recipe that requires a smooth consistency.
Remember that tofu adds protein to your vegetables, with less fat and no cholesterol. That makes tofu dip an ideal choice for picnics, backyard barbecues and all-around summer fun.
Discover how easy and economical homemade salad dressings can be. All you need Is a food processor and a few ingredients.
Salad With Tofu Ranch Dressing
Salad With Tofu Ranch Dressing
For Tofu Ranch Dressing, start with a package of silken tofu. Drain it, and add It to a food processor with 5 Tbsp. soybean oil, 2 Tbsp. lemon juice, 1 tsp. garlic powder, 1 tsp. parsley, 1 tsp. onion powder, 1 tsp. black pepper and 2 tsp. salt (or to taste). Blend, and add a little water if the dip consistency is too thick. Your vegetable dip is ready!
It’s very healthy! , independent of their nutrient content, there is very intriguing evidence indicating soyfoods reduce risk of several chronic diseases including coronary heart disease, osteoporosis and certain forms of cancer. Eat a couple of servings of soyfoods every day a feel better!
Bon Appetit