Monday, November 24, 2014

Restaurateur Irma Aguirre has a huge hit in the making at the 64 year old El Sombrero in Downtown Las Vegas.

Let’s all say Mucho Bueno and a well deserved Mucho Gracias to Restaurateur Irma Aguirre for transforming the 64 year old El Sombrero Restaurant on 807 S. Main Street. She has done a remarkable make over to bring a fresh new face and bright lively tastes to the once old school Las Vegas eatery.

Irma will have to knock out a few more walls once the word gets out on how “hot” this little tamale can be as the customers may be lining up to experience the lively authentic flavors of Mexico.
Utilizing the small dining space with open seating and crisp black and white d├ęcor, exposed brick wall accented with mirrors. Although the room gets noisy with the excited gossip of the local diners, the space is inviting and casual.
 House made guacamole
House made guacamole
We sampled of El Sombrero’s offerings, along with a conversation with Irma and her staff. We invited a friend to just happened to be in town to join us. She is perhaps one of the least culinary adventurous eaters that we have ever met. Recently she has become more interested in expanding her culinary horizons and she was able to try some real authentic Mexican food.

As we tried the house made guacamole with a twang of heat and dotted with chunks of ripe tomatoes she remarked that the chips were the best she had ever had and we had to agree. Usually chips have a tendency to be rather greasy but these were light and crispy, perfect to load up with all the lovely guacamole. Off to a great start, we tried the flavored waters and then homemade Sangrias that were refreshing and authentic.
Scanning the menu, Calamari caught our attention and waited in great anticipation for it to arrive tableside. This gift from the sea, thankfully was not breaded, it was charbroiled and touched off with a homemade sauce of squid ink to our palates delight. This dish alone is a reason to visit El Sombrero for lunch or dinner.

Irma suggested we try the chile relleno and we can see why. This classic dish with a new spin is probably the best we have ever had. A Mexican favorite, this version features poblano chili ala brasa filled with rich butternut squash potato, onion, a blend of Mexican cheeses on a bed of charro beans and a roasted tomato-oregano sauce. El Sombrero’s chile relleno will become a signature that guests will travel for miles to enjoy.
Executive Chef Elias Hernandez
Executive Chef Elias Hernandez

As owner Irma Aguirre states, “This is true comfort food with authentic sauces and ingredients. Anyone can do rice and beans but we do it with love.” That love and respect for authentic Mexican Cuisine comes shining through in every dish. With this unrelenting desire and passion to elevate the palate of every diner, this will indeed become a destination eatery.

For those who want traditional tacos, El Sombrero has a tasty assortment that is sure to please. Select from chicken, chorizo, rib eye, fish and carne asada all served with homemade tortillas and Mexican garnishes. To get the meal started right we highly suggest shredded brisket flautas , spinach and mushroom quesadillas and the bean dip. Don’t forget the wine list featuring very nice Mexican wines to complement your dining adventure.


The El Sombrero experienced put a big grin on our friends’ face as she tasted flavors that she had never even dreamed off. Irma and El Sombrero opened her eyes to a whole new world and we are certain it will do the same to anyone who takes a seat at this newest hot spot at the gateway to downtown Las Vegas.

Aguirre and her team have taken a classic local restaurant spot and evolved it into something exciting. On December 1, El Sombrero Cafe will begin Saturday and Sunday brunch, already growing and changing an energetic and welcome addition to the Downtown scene. Put it on your must-try list.

Monday, November 3, 2014

The Pantry at The Mirage Reminds Us Of Home .

A Pantry engages the images of shelves lined with canned fruits and veggies. Whether your pantry is a well-stocked bastion of cans, spices and dry goods or a container of dry pasta and tomato sauce, you are the one that must do the work, putting everything together for your next culinary creation.

The Mirage Hotel has taken out the work for you and has opened up a 24 hour eatery, The Pantry. Open 24 hours of a day and offering Breakfast during those hours, and dinner is served from 11 a.m. to 6 a.m. Focusing on sustainable ingredients, The Pantry gives you the many options for the best of comfort food and beverages for the tourist and local alike.

Fresh juices are available alongside excellent cocktails. You can now leave the kitchen behind and let the Pantry at the Mirage do the cooking. The interior is open and bright, reminding you that you are sitting in Grandma’s old farm kitchen with the charm of country casual.

Some of the outstanding items for the breakfast eater, include short rib hash with poached eggs, root vegetables, creamy horseradish on the side or the eggs benedict with poached eggs, black forest ham, arugula, and a rich hollandaise sauce proudly presented with atop of a crisp english muffin. A great cure for late night of Vegas excess, or just a hearty meal to get fueled for a day on the Strip.
Our favorite and we would garner everyone’s after trying a batch of these pancakes, is Valhrona “Grand Cru”, milk chocolate pancakes, with a dusting of powdered sugar and dollops of creamy milk chocolate.

These light and fluffy pancakes could be a decadent dessert or breakfast selection. White chocolate brioche french toast with the berry compote and whipped mascarpone is another offering that would make anyone want to have breakfast 24/7.

Aside from the variety of breakfast items offered, don’t forget there are many more entrees on the menu for every hungry guest. Burgers include the backyard burger with creek stone farm beef, caramelized onion, tomato, greens, cheddar on a potato bun. These juicy burgers a great for the carnivore in the crowd but what about the your vegetarian friend? The Garden Burger, comprised of a veggie patty , roasted tomatoes, pickled onions, arugula, tzatziki, on a potato bun would sure to please.

For those folks who love seafood, the shrimp and cheesy grits in a tasso gravy, with plump sauteed shrimp, topped with crispy onions will satisfy any comfort food craving. The Mussels and Clams or the mahi-mahi Taco with Lime cabbage roasted tomato salad and guacamole are also sure to please. And don’t forget to order up a nice side of fried green tomatoes to share with your Down home friends.

Of course Dessert cannot be missed. Remember when everyone made sure to leave room for “Grandma’s Apple Pie no matter how full they were at the moment?You will feel the same way when you are served up Pantry’s Mom’s Apple Pie, with vanilla ice cream and rum caramel.

Not in the mood for Pie, try the yummy little mason Jars that provide a jar of family favorites such as strawberry short cake and banana cream pie. Whether you come in for breakfast or a midnight snack, there is plenty of tempting treats and hearty eats at the Pantry at Mirage.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Executive Chef Sydney Jones Takes The Culinary Helm at Trump International Hotel Las Vegas .

 The famed Trump International Hotel™ in Las Vegas has added Chef Sydney Jones as the hotel’s new executive sous chef. This young chef is known for using cutting edge and progressive cooking techniques and will oversee all aspects of culinary operations at Trump International Hotel™ Las Vegas.
Executive Chef Sydney Jones
Executive Chef Sydney Jones
“Executive Sous Chef Jones is extraordinarily talented and we are excited to welcome him to Trump International Hotel Las Vegas,” said Brian Baudreau, vice president and managing partner. “He has spent many years developing his own unique cooking style and artistry and guests will enjoy the new culinary concepts and menu creations he has planned for our hotel.”

This rising star of a chef has quite impressive culinary background that includes positions at some of the country’s most prestigious resorts and notable dining destinations.

He joins Trump International Hotel Las Vegas with 12 years of culinary experience and has just completed a 10-year tenure with five-star Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. 

In addition, he has graced talented culinary teams across the country at properties in Arizona, California and most recently, Atlanta. He has also worked at the two-Michelin star Charlie Trotter and staged at Michelin-star Restaurant Gary Danko.

“I am honored to lead the culinary team at the best luxury hotel in Las Vegas,” said Sydney Jones We have some exciting new things on the horizon centered on utilizing quality farm-fresh produce, which allows me to apply my background in cooking with regional, artisanal products and be creative in developing new delectable dining experiences.”

We plan on visiting this very talented Chef and experiencing his culinary talents first hand in the very near future.