Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Della's Kitchen at The Delano Hotel at Mandalay Bay In Las Vegas Features Fresh, Sustainable Cuisine.

Della’s a fresh approach to food at the Delano hotel in Las Vegas is a refreshing and healthy way to start your day in Las Vegas. Open for breakfast and lunch only, Della’s is a homey, wholesome eatery located at the upscale, non-gaming hotel located within the Mandalay Bay Hotel..
This unique restaurant and chic hotel are a respite away from the clanging of slot machines but near enough to get your gamble on at the Mandalay Bay Resort.

Executive Chef Calimlim, Elaine Harris

Della’s refreshing urban chic approach to menu items includes, sandwiches, burgers and entrees featuring grass-fed sustainable beef as well as hormone and antibiotic-free chicken. A year has passed since the opening of the Delano and Della’s. These two gems continue to bring superior dining and hotel accommodations to Las Vegas visitors.

We had a chance to celebrate the one year anniversary of Della’s with a Farmhouse dinner showcasing the ingredients that make this venue stand out using sustainable and local ingredients. Not only was this dinner highlighting Executive Chef Calimlim and his “Rustic Harvest “recipes, the entire restaurant was transformed into focused display of local, sustainable products both edible and usable.

Upon entering the open restaurant, sans outdoor walls, we noticed the abundance of greenery that was encased in flat trays located on tables in the area that served as a reception space. Curious as to what this overabundance of greenery was all about, we were quickly introduced to John McCarthy owner of Las Vegas Herbs LLC; the man responsible for this incredible display of edible plants.

He quickly pointed out that this was an ample display of the many micro-greens used in the recipes at Della including, Genevese Basil, Arugula, Chives, and other assorted micro greens. These little plants are tiny versions of the large leaf plants that may seem minuet, but pack a punch of flavor in the various farm to table recipes. These vibrant miniature plants do add superior flavor into the dishes at Della and a favorite addition to many of the restaurants in Las Vegas; For more information on these delectable mirco-greens go to

Another interesting display was that of Blumarble glassware. Co-founders, Jennifer Jordan and Rachel Cohen started with a simple idea to collect as many bottles as possible from the Las Vegas strip and upcycle them into beautiful products for everyday use. Now collecting an average of 15, 000 bottles per month from various hotels, these ladies transform unwanted bottles into lovely jewelry, glassware, chandeliers and other home décor items. “What was once tossed aside and used up of all their worth, can now breathe a new life in a gorgeous sustainable way they stated”. Blumarble is located in the Downtown Container Park and can be reached at

Along the tables of greenery, waiters wandeedr about with trays of passed appetizers including Braised Beer Croquettes, Roasted Squash and Lobster Shooters, and our favorite of the night, House-Made Gnocchi with chanterelles served wih Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc , Marlborough, New Zealand and the Sebastiani Merlot , Sonoma USA.

Following our introduction of ample appetizers, we were presented with the first course salad, which was an Acorn squash roasted to perfection accompanied by a hint of Humboldt Fog bleu cheese and adorned with bright red pomegranate seeds. The sweetness of the squash worked well with the salinity of the pungent bleu cheese that again was accented by the pop of bright citrus from the pomegranate seeds. This dish was paired with the Chalk Hill Chardonnay, Sonoma, USA, which quickly became our favorite pairing of the evening.

We progressed through two meat courses of Durham Ranch pork cheeks with a celery root puree followed by a fabulously cooked Durham Ranch venison loin with parsnip puree which had us in awe of the Chef’s skillfulness in creating such lovely dishes with rather interesting meat choices.

We happened to be sitting next to the purveyors of the meat and discovered that Freedom Meats is a local company that believes in bringing the freshest meat to the table. We were glad to have this opportunity to try their products and we could not have been more delighted at the quality and freshness that was provided by Freedom meats which source form Nevada ranchers.

Although delightfully satiated, we were of course, presented with the FINI of spiced caramelized apple confit, and house made honey orange gelato, served with the Elvio Tinero, Moscato d’Asti from Piedmont Italy. This was the perfect ending to meal that was well worth the $100 dollar price point. We know that Della’s will continue to present the farmhouse dinners as the response was immensely positive. We don’t want to wait for the second anniversary to have another chance to dine for dinner at Della’s. Della’s is open for breakfast and dinner for more information go to:

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Jose Andres Star Shines Brightly At The SLS Resort In Las Vegas.

Inside the 13,058-square-foot space with plenty of open seating, lies the world of Bazaar Meat at the SLS hotel and casino in Las Vegas. Along with the open kitchen and wood grills and rotisseries, the atmosphere is reminiscent of a large hunting lodge donning taxidermy and old world paintings.
Tonight we stopped in to see how the acclaimed restaurant of Jose Andres was keeping pace despite rumors of struggles surround the SLS’s financial well being. As we took our seats at one of the many dining tables, we watched in wonder as an myriad chefs butchered and prepared the evenings fare.
If meat is not what you are after-(albeit, why do you come to a restaurant that specializes in meat to eat fish?) but there is a raw bar that will give you ceviche, carpaccio and tartars fresh from the ocean. We must say, starting with the tuna tartar is a nice way to ease into your carnivore cravings. But leave the fish behind and dig into the real reason you came here, The MEAT!

With a sense of whimsy and outrageous culinary genius, Jose Andres came to Vegas to “wow” the culinary crowd with the magic wand of his butcher knife. An entire wing of the casino has been devoted to his mission of creating a "celebration of the carnivorous, in all its forms." James Beard award winning Chef Andres has accomplished his meat magic with the team of his dedicated staff led from the helm of the impeccable General Manager, Yassine Lyoubi, and expert Sommelier, Chloe Helfand. Each member of the superbly trained staff has truly upheld the meaning and mission of the man behind this meat empire.

Here are some of the samplings we urge you to indulge in while taking your tour of the magical meat empire of Bazaar Meat. We started our carnivore tasting with the inventive and truly delightful, Cotton Candy Foie Gras , with crispy amaranth and signature Ferran Adrià Olives, modern & traditional liquid green olive, with gordal olives stuffed with piquillo pepper and anchovy . Both dishes are a must in elevating your palate into the realm of the imaginative food magic of Jose Andres.

The olives are another take on twisting tradition in a direction of simplistic perfection. But as you are dissolving the sweetness and the richness of the Cotton Candy Foie Gras, don’t forget to stop and try the 25 Pork-Skin Chicharrón,( which the waiter will break apart with, of course, a meat mallet) giving that extra boast to the senses as you hear the snap, crackle and pop of that pork-skin. As we dipped the airy, lightly, slightly brined skin into the greek yogurt with za’atar spices, we found our hands effortlessly and automatically going back through the motion. Alas….making a move away from this compulsion was indeed necessary to make way for the main attractions.

Moving on, mounds of meat soon appeared from every direction including, Jamón Ibérico de Bellota* (Fermín, Salamanca, Spain) hand-cut from the famous black-footed pig, which indeed was a highlight in this symphony of signature dishes. The Classic Beef sirloin tartar with Savora mustard, egg yolk, house prepared sauce, and anchovy, was indeed a delight to the palate as well as the eyes watching the waiter carefully prepared the raw fare into riveting mounds of creamy carnivore goodness. But wait…there is now the finale that exuded the reason why Chef Jose Andres has an entire wing to the building.

 A Perfectly prepared Chateaubriand Brandt Beef is 16 oz of pure beef ecstasy. The pomme soufflé , the star of the evening arrived without adornment, just exquisitely cooked, with enough to share with each other. We were both in awe with each lift of the fork.

 This is the point in the meal where we say, can I really do a dessert after entering into a meal that would cause a large mammal to go into hibernation. Yes, the answer is yes, simply because outside the doors lies the nightlife of Las Vegas and just a wee bit of sugar may be what we need to help with next phase of the evening.

As the tray of house made truffles and a sampling of chocolate confections arrived  we took just enough to realize that true artistry is when the end of the meal is just as enlightening as the beginning.
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Yardbird At The Venetian Resort In Las Vegas Has its Guets Crowing With Delight.

“We’re lucky enough to be building and operating the kind of places that we want to hang out and have a great meal and a great time in.”
Those are the words of John Kunkel, CEO of Yardbird a Miami, tradition that has many in Las Vegas crowing with satisfaction. Being open just a short time here is the city of lights, the word has gotten out about the southern hospitality that makes all just plain feel good all around when it comes to dining with friends, relatives or that special someone.

We stopped by to see what all the “clucking” was about and we were not disappointed. With a warm friendly welcome from the hostess, to the attentive service of our lovely waitress, we were treated with that great southern charm that Yardbird regulars come to expect.

We began our service with some hor’derves, which of course were Yardbird’s signature deviled eggs with rich creamy yellow yolk that is whipped to perfection with just the right amount of dill, chive and smoked trout roe to leave you wanting just one mo’. (We always wondered why they are called “deviled” since they are just so heavenly good). We also indulged in Charcuterie & Cheese, which including la quercia prosciutto, cured serrano ham, Benton’s smoked ham, asher bleu cheese, pimento cheese , Vermont cheddar cheese, house pickles, toasted country bread, and onion marmalade. This could be a meal in itself if you have a limited amount of time before a show.

Next was the iceberg wedge salad with baby iceberg lettuce, charred corn, heirloom tomatoes, house-smoked bacon and avocado adorned with house-made buttermilk ranch dressing. Although this was a very nice mixture of flavors, we did feel the textural components where a bit too creamy and with a big chunks of bacon that contrasted with the overall salad. A little more crunch of the iceberg lettuce and less dressing would have been more to our liking.

The sides of Roasted Carrots with coriander seed, orange, and cumin and Green Beans with smoked yogurt and toasted almond vinaigrette, were a nice accompaniment to our “star” dish of the night, the Lewellyn’s Fine Fried Chicken. This is the very famous bird served with honey hot sauce that many flock to Yardbird to sink their teeth into.

The crust that holds in all that good juicy chicken is something you just have to dig in for yourself to understand the depth of richness that this cakey, crumbling secret batter gives to recipe. It does garner a rather pricey $26 to your bill but sometimes it is worth every coin to partake of some really good down home fried chicken.

Along the way, a few cocktails made their appearance and one showed up in a large way and we mean LARGE. Out came a contraption that looked like part old fashioned still meets modern mixology gone a bit mad. The triple decker tower structure was used to funnel a few ounces of bourbon downward through a receptacle filled with herbs and into the cocktail glass below, leaving everyone in the restaurant gawking in goggle eyed wonderment that Bill Nye would be proud of.

 We must preface that this is something that is not on the main menu, so if you are so inclined you may ask for this “special cocktail contraption”  but only if you are a curious cocktail aficionado.  Watch out for this one, this cocktail will, “grow some hairs on your chest”, with the blend of herbs infused into strong whiskey or bourbon (upon your request).

The cocktail list does boast some standards like  the Yardbird Old Fashioned, a Southern spin on the timeless classic that features bacon-infused Buffalo Trace bourbon, Angostura bitters, orange bitters, and maple syrup, served in a lowball and paired with a 2-inch sphere ice. There are many inventive cocktails, craft beers, bourbon infusions, and select boutique distillery spirits that are sure to quench any thirst. Don’t forget to select one of the varieties of handmade flavored and garnished ice cubes that are added to select spirits to enhance the overall flavor and cocktail experience.
Dessert, oh the desserts are truly worth pulling away from the table for a few minutes to acquire a little room in the mid-section. In house creations such as the Dulce de Leche Strawberry Shortcake with layers of Chantilly strawberry cream and light sponge cake or the Chess Pie with sweet cornmeal, chantilly cream and creamy caramel sauce along with other takes on southern sweets is a perfect way to end a night enjoying southern comfort food.

You may develop an appetite for both southern hospitality and southern cuisine after your first visit to Yardbird. We are convinced that this is the place where you will continue to want to hang out, relax and just “set a spell”. For more information go to: