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Issue 1 Volume 17

US $3.95

Rao’s Celebrates a Decade of Excellence and Longevity




SOME WINES ARE WORTH CELEBRATING Celebrate Robert Mondavi Winery’s 50 th Anniversary of uncompromising excellence and generous inspiration.

Please enjoy our wines responsibly. © 2016 Robert Mondavi Winery, Oakville, CA

Enjoy our limited edition anniversary release of 2013 Maestro.

“This is just the beginning.” Learn more at

January 2017



WELCOME TO THE NEW YEAR 2017 AND THE LAS VEGAS FOOD & BEVERAGE PROFESSIONAL’S 11th YEAR PUBLISHING here in the Las Vegas Valley. We could have never come this far and grown this much without the continued support of our loyal readers, public relations companies and departments, chefs, restaurants, and of course, advertisers. We thank all of you and look forward to bringing you even more in this New Year 2017…





Speaking of milestones and longevity, our cover and feature article on page 16 tells the story of the great success Rao’s has had in New York and Las Vegas, as we celebrate with them the 10th anniversary of their opening at Caesars Palace. Our Editorial Director Bob Barnes sat down with fourth-generation Co-Owner Frank Pellegrino Jr., Las Vegas General Manager Marie-Joe Tabet and Las Vegas Executive Chef Fatimah Madyun to learn some of the reasons for the Southern Italian restaurant’s long lasting success and to add our congratulations to completing their first decade of operation. For the past nine issues in our sister publication, The SoCal Food & Beverage Professional, John Rockwell has been reporting on the ins and outs of making cheese at home. This column has been so well received that now in The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional we bring you the first installment of his fascinating journey in the world of cheese. We’re sure you’ll find it informative, enjoyable and mouthwatering. Check it out on page 23! In December we had to say good-bye to three luminaries that shone as beacons to the food and beverage industry and in lighting up our hearts, as we lost our beloved writer and friend Margie Mancino, Founder of Three Square Food Bank Eric Hilton and Las Vegas food & beverage industry pioneer Muriel Stevens. Please check out our sincere and respectful tribute to each of them on page 27. CHEERS! Mike Fryer

Page 4 Hot off the Grill! Page 5 Wine Talk

Page 12 Brett’s Vegas View Page 13 USBG Las Vegas

In Pursuit of Balance Ceases Operations in November, 2016 Page 6 What’s Brewing Page 7 Dining out with the Harrises Executive Chef Timon Balloo Opens SUGARCANE Page 8

Page 14 UNLV Epicurean Society Page 16 COVER FEATURE Rao’s Celebrates a Decade of Excellence and Longevity Page 18 Food for Thought Start Your Year Out with Tradition

West Eats East New Year Page 9 Chef Talk Braising in the Winter


Page 10 Good for Spooning Vic Vegas Comes Full Circle

Page 20 Product Spotlight Bob’s Beer Bits and Sips Three New Releases to Help Get Us Through the Cold Winter Months Page 22 Major Changes at the California Hotel & Casino

Page 23 Cheesemaking in Southern California PART I Page 24 Human Resources Insights My New Year’s Advice: Be the Best that You Can Be! Page 25 The Bottom Line Restaurant Table Place Setting Do’s and Don’ts Page 26 What’s Cooking Other Mama—Small Plate Creativity Galore Page 27 In Memoriam Page 28 Our Picks Page 29 Product Review Book Review Beer FAQ: All That’s Left to Know About The World’s Most Celebrated Adult Beverage Page 30 Events Ad Index

January 2017 I The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional 3

The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional 7442 Grizzly Giant Street Las Vegas, NV 89139


January 2017 Mike Fryer

Sr. Editor/Publisher

It appears the new Bailiwick gastropub at the Orleans is in excellent hands, with Chef Richard Wells, an industry professional with 40 years of experience as Room Chef, and TJ McNally as General Manager, who readers of this publication may remember from our coverage of him in the August 2015 issue when he was GM of Beverage Operations at the LINQ. The name Bailiwick is an English word for “your comfortable place,” and we can attest that the name certainly is a fitting description. Check it out!

Thank you for joining us in this issue of The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional. For any questions or comments please email

Juanita Fryer

Assistant To Sr. Editor ACF Chefs Liasion/Journalist

Juanita Aiello

Bob Barnes

Editorial Director

The California Hotel & Casino in downtown Las Vegas recently hosted a media dinner to unveil the new look of its remodeled Redwood Steakhouse, which has been designed to resemble an upscale Waikiki resort, with a Hawaiian motif and tropical-style ceiling fans. Here Redwood Steakhouse Executive Chef Henry Jones, who has been at Redwood for 15 years, talks about his new menu with LVFNBPro Editorial Director Bob Barnes. For more info on the Cal’s new upgrades read Shelley Stepanek’s column on page 22.

Elaine & Scott Harris Editors at Large

Other Mama Chef/Owner Dan Krohmer and David English (who recently won the NvRA Bartender of the Year award) demonstrated to LVFNBPro Editorial Director Bob Barnes how innovative cuisine can go hand in hand with equally creative mixology, with both using ingredient combinations that are both intriguing and compelling. For a rundown on this extremely unique eatery see Bob’s What’s Cooking column on page 26.

Adam Rains

Creative Director

Beverage Editor


Article Submissions/Suggestions

Calendar Submissions


Press Relase Submissions

General Information


The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional


Journalist Aimee McAffee

Photographer Joe Tholt

Accounting Manager Michelle San Juan

Journalist Brett’s Vegas View Jackie Brett

Journalist Shelley Stepanek

Journalist Food for Thought Les Kincaid

Journalist UNLV Epicurean Society Matthew Cairo

Journalist John Rockwell

Journalist Kim Trevino

Journalist Good for Spooning LeAnne Notabartolo

Journalist East Eats West K. Mike Masuyama Ph.D.

Photographer Audrey Dempsey

Journalist Chef Talk Allen Asch

Journalist Al Mancini

Journalist Heidi Rains

Journalist HR Insights Linda Bernstein

Journalist Green Restaurant Association Michael Oshman

Journalist Wine Talk Alice Swift

Journalist Latenight Megan Nicolson

Journalist The Bottom Line Ben Brown

Photographer Bill Bokelmann

Photographer Joe Urcioli

SoCal Journalist Margie Mancino

Journalist Lisa Matney

4 The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional I January 2017

Wine Talk with Alice Swift

By Alice Swift Alice Swift has been a resident of Las Vegas since July, 2011, and is currently an instructor as well as a Ph.D. student at UNLV’s William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration. She also works as Learning Design & Development Business Partner for MGM Resorts University. Check out her website at www. for the dish on wine, technology, or even both! She is happy to take suggestions for article topics or inquiries.

photo by Alice Swift

In Pursuit of Balance Ceases Operations in November, 2016

For those of you who have not heard of In Pursuit of Balance (IPOB), it was an organization established a little over 5 years ago, by Rajat Parr of Domaine de la Côte and Sandhi Wines and Jasmine Hirsch of Hirsch Vineyards. It all began with a conversation at the famed RN74 in San Francisco. Parr, the restaurant’s wine director at the time, was discussing with Hirsch about how their wines were so different from other comparable wines of the time. The goal was exactly as the organization name states—to pursue balance. IPOB sought to produce wines with an authentic and true expression of place, to genuinely represent the term “terroir.” Rather than catering wine styles to the demands of the consumer, Parr and Hirsch sought out the Old World style of winemaking, focusing on the natural process and bringing out the classic varietal characteristics of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Balance is key to all great wines, and the IPOB Manifesto of Balance explains it well, “a wine is in balance when its diverse components— fruit, acidity, structure and alcohol—coexist in a manner such that should any one aspect overwhelm or be diminished, then the fundamental nature of the wine would be changed.” (see for the full manifesto) The non-profit organization was established to hone in on wine producers who sought the same goal of balance in their wines. Annually,

wine producers submitted their wines to a blind tasting panel made up of a committee of wine professionals in order to be accepted into the IPOB list of members. From there, a series of annual wine seminars and tasting events were held throughout the U.S. and internationally, showcasing wines from the approved members. These “balanced” wines truly epitomized where they came from, with lower alcohol levels and a less demand-driven style. While the intent was never meant to stir up controversy, there were definitely opinions on both sides of the argument from many acclaimed voices. The great thing about this organization was that this non-profit highlighted wineries that were smaller family-owned and -operated establishments that might not achieve the recognition of the other big name labels. The latest IPOB 2016 Member Wineries list included 36 wineries, with producers such as Drew Family Cellars, Hanzell Vineyards, LIOCO, Littorai, Wenzlau Vineyard, and Wind Gap Wines. In mid-2016, Hirsh and Parr announced that they would be closing operations of the IPOB organization at the end of 2016. The goal was to “change the dialogue around the meaning and importance of balance in California wine,” said Hirsch, and they have truly attained this goal. November 14, 2016 was the final IPOB event, which ended at the same restaurant where it all began, at RN74.

Who best to conclude this article and the close of In Pursuit of Balance than with Jasmine Hirsch explaining their decision to cease operations? Hirsch says it best: “We created IPOB at a time when this conversation was not taking place on a broad and public level. We achieved what we intended—to bring the debate around balance and winemaking styles to the forefront of the wine community. This debate will continue in California and around the world, and it is by no means finished. We wanted to end on a high note, and the impact of the IPOB events held around the globe this past year shows that our message is resonating solidly in the wine trade as well as with consumers. This discussion about balance and wine’s place at the dinner table has become a common part of the conversation about California wine all over the world.” ( To Jasmine Hirsch and Rajat Parr, I personally have had the opportunity to attend one of your events during the Vegas Uncork’d event in 2015 (see image) and truly respect the passion you have for the cause. Thank you for your contributions to the wine industry, and I hope that the conversation around the pursuit of balance will continue to permeate throughout the industry. Until next month, Cheers~! Alice

January 2017 I The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional 5

By Bob Barnes


photo courtesy of Able Baker Brewing


Able Baker Co-Owner and Brewer Randy Rohde, Five Finger Death Punch Bassist Chis Kael and Able Baker Co-Owner Chris Manos.

Able Baker Brewing Beers Now Pouring If the name Able Baker Brewing sounds familiar, you’ve probably had the brewery’s beer at one of the many local beer fests they’ve poured at over the last several years. Now the owners’ dreams are coming to fruition as their beers are pouring around town. I recently met with Co-Owners James Manos and Randy Rohde and got the rundown on the progress of the opening of Able Baker Brewing. Plans for a brewery location are still in the works, but the new brewery is now contract brewing its beer at Joseph James Brewing in Henderson, which are brewed by Joseph James Head Brewer Kyle Weniger and Able Baker’s Co-Owner Randy Rohde. After a launch in October its core beers are popping up around town. While Manos has a degree in microbiology and curated the unique yeast combinations they are using in some of the beers, he mostly handles the marketing, branding and

sales, while Rohde takes care of the brewing and handling the financial end of the business. The name is reflective of the partners being longtime Nevadans, and refers to the state’s atomic history, as the very first two atomic bombs detonated at the Nevada Test Site were named “Able” and “Baker.” As for its Atomic Duck logo with a duck head inside an atomic star symbol, it’s rumored that a duck was the only animal to survive the blasts and the use of this symbol represents perseverance and good fortune. As for the beers, currently the core beers are Test Site Saison—made with fresh chamomile flower and ginger root; Atomic Duck IPA—a floral mild palate, not piney or resiny, with mango papaya notes that drinks more like a pale ale; Honey Dip Imperial Stout—11.1% ABV with fresh Madagascar vanilla bean and honey aged in an unfinished oak barrel; and Chris Kael Impale’d Ale—named for and made in honor of the Las Vegan Five Finger Death Punch bassist who is a

Bob Barnes is a native Las Vegan, editorial director of The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional, regional correspondent for Celebrator Beer News and covers the LV restaurant scene for He welcomes your inquiries. Email:

big beer fan and longtime friend of Manos, this Imperial Brown Rye Ale is aged in Angel’s Envy Bourbon barrels, which adds a vanilla and glazed sugar flavor. Look for Able Baker beers in pubs throughout Las Vegas, including Tacos and Beer, Grape Street in Downtown Summerlin, Hard Rock Cafe on the Strip, PKWY Tavern, both Pizza Rock locations at GVR and downtown, Pampas Brazilian Grill at Planet Hollywood and Yardbird at The Venetian. This is only a partial list; for the complete listing, visit

Number of US Breweries Reaches an All-time High?

In this column in January, 2016, I reported that according to the Brewers Association, the number of US breweries had reached an all-time high, with a year-end review totaling 4,144 breweries in the country topping the previous historic high of 4,131 breweries set in 1873. Now, it’s nearly 1,000 more, for at the end of November the number of breweries now tops 5,000. Does this mean that we have a record number of breweries in the US? Yes and no. While the brewery count is the highest ever, it’s nowhere near the record high set in the mid-1870s as a proportion of the population, which at that time with the US population of roughly 45 million equaled one brewery for every 11,000 people. With our current population of 325 million the breakdown per capita is one brewery per 65,000; to equal the 19th century high we would need to have nearly 30,000 breweries.

Southern Nevada Beer Events Aces & Ales will begin the New Year in style with its 7th Annual Winter Beer Fest, Jan. 13-15. Held at its Nellis location, more than 60 rare & specialty brews will be tapped over the three days, with a fresh new lineup each day at noon. Visit for more info. Big Dog’s Brewing will host its annual Winterfest, a celebration of hearty food and beers, on Saturday, Jan. 28 from 3 to 9 p.m. in the outdoor area at the Draft House at Craig Rd. and Rancho Dr. As usual, there will be live music, more than 40 beers poured, including several from local breweries, and admission is free. For the lineup of beers being served, visit On February 4th CraftHaus Brewery in Henderson will celebrate Comrade Day, a day of celebration with food trucks and six special editions of its Comrade Russian Imperial Stout. The name is a nod to it being made in the spirit of camaraderie with the brewery’s friend George, of Las Vegas Distillery, as the beer was oak aged on the distillery’s whiskey. As always, great beer happens in Vegas! 6 The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional I January 2017

By Elaine & Scott Harris

Dining out with the Harrises

Sommeliers and Editor-In-Chief of Nationally Recognized and Vino Las Vegas LLC. They are the Las Vegas City Editors for TheDailyMeal in New York City. • Facebook:ElaineScottHarris Twitter: VinoLasVegas • Instagram : Cuisineist

We have had our eyes and ears to the ground for years as we eagerly awaited the opening of SUGARCANE in Las Vegas. Finally, the moment arrived when we walked into SUGARCANE to spend an afternoon with Chef Timon Balloo as he gave us a tour and dined on his innovative cuisine. Our first impression was how much the décor reminded us of Miami. Guests enjoy classic Cuban architecture and design with a touch of Old Havana. The venue is a space that is both comfortable and artistic. Period correct cane-back chairs, inlaid wood flooring, and tray ceilings trimmed in a rich red patina bring you back in time. The design of the private dining room, which we named the Hemmingway Room, features a large mural of one of the world’s most loved writers. Already impressed and eager to find out more about the cuisine we sat down with Executive Chef Timon Balloo in front of the large open kitchen. Chef explained he was born to Chinese and Trinidadian parents where the influence of these cultures was evident in the food that he ate as a child. “I use simple ingredients to create great dishes,” he said. His signature style uses a mix of bold, locally sourced items and vibrant flavors meant for sharing in a fun environment. In 2010 SUGARCANE Raw Bar Grill took “Best New Restaurant” and Balloo was dubbed “Best Up-and-Coming Chef” by Miami New Times. Chef Balloo started us off with an excellent kombu marinated fluke with red grapes, charred onions and sesame seeds accenting this very tasty dish. Staying inspired by the sea, the hokkaido scallop with compressed apple, black truffle, lime & jalapeño is a must for any table. A perfect appetizer choice to commence the dining experience is the sea urchin & avocado toast with cilantro & radish, which shows off Chef Balloo’s creativity. Off the grill, you can’t go wrong with a lovely yellowtail collar with Singapore curry & pickled chilies adding a spicy tang to the dish. SUGARCANE is not just about creative dishes with fresh ingredients, it’s also about mixology. Mixologist Jason Hughes has crafted some signature cocktails that are some of the best in town. Have Jason and his staff make you a Barrel Aged Rum Manhattan. This mix of Mount Gay Black Barrel Rum, sweet vermouth, Angostura Amaro liqueur, Luxardo and maraschino cherry is a fantastic way to get your palate ready. Jason’s Garden Essence Botanist—gin, lemon, peppercorn syrup, fresh basil and black pepper— will impress any gin lover. We have been waiting for SUGARCANE to come west to Las Vegas and are glad that this new restaurant venue is finally here. Chef Timon and his staff are serving up some of the most innovative dishes we have seen in quite a while. The Venetian Resort has a plethora of excellent dining choices and SUGARCANE is the perfect fit amongst the best of the best.

photos courtesy SUGARCANE raw bar grill Las Vegas

Executive Chef Timon Balloo Opens SUGARCANE at The Venetian Resort Bringing the Caribbean to the Neon of the Las Vegas Strip

January 2017 I The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional 7

By K. Mike Masuyama Ph.D.

West Eats East New Year

Mike Masuyama is a bi-cultural science-technologybusiness consultant. He earned a Ph.D. in Food Science at Cornell University, is involved in teaching, research and business in major-beer, micro-beer, soft drinks, sake, sea salt, rice, white soy sauce and other areas both in Japan and the US., and has published several books and dozens of articles. “Ask Doctor Sake” was his last series in this journal.

A new year again! Gee! A gift of one year older to everybody. An old proverb says time goes so fast without much accomplishment, which sounds true to me. On the New Year day and in the new month of January, let’s put such reality aside for a while and celebrate another new year with J-foods and J-drinks! Let’s hope this year we will be better off with work, money, family, friends and many ahead. Let’s not look back at what we have done last year. The New Year celebration is for that! Then, get serious about a new resolution for this year. In the Chinese zodiac, 2017 is the year of the rooster (hen or chicken). There are twelve animals to celebrate the first day of the year with God. In the old days God spread his word to animals to come to him for that. Among the ones that hastened to him, twelve animals were bestowed to the twelve zodiacal honors: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, ram/sheep, monkey, rooster/chicken, dog and pig/boar. They may have been common animals in our living when this idea was born. A rat was smart enough to ride on an ox’s shoulder and jumped over to be the first of the twelve. Alas there was the thirteenth. That was a cat. A rat told a cat to go to God one day after. A cat showed up on following day, and missed the opportunity. This was the beginning of a cat chasing a rat, like Tom and Jerry. This was the legend of the zodiac birth. Everyone is born in a particular zodiac, which is often characterized by the respective zodiac. The one who was born in the year of ox, may be strong, steady but occasionally slow to react. Another who was born in the year of the dragon or tiger, particularly female, may have a distinctive character with a decisive will. And so on and so forth. It may be true, but remember, there are always exceptions. So the one who was born in this year of the rooster/chicken, tends to wake up early and announce its presence loudly without much concern with others. Though, they are cautious of a pecking order in a pen. FYI, I do not belong to this zodiac. For the Japanese New Year celebration, rice cake and sake are the most symbolic food. Japan is often called the country of rice because rice, the

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highest yield crop per acreage among grains, is able to sustain a large population in a limited land. Everything in daily life appears to be geared up with rice and its farming, including tradition, work attitude and human relationships. Many Japanese are almost born with the rice farmer’s mind, which is often characterized by the behavior in mass. They have to do the same things in a farm village to assure rice growing properly. Little exception is allowed. It worked positively for corporate activities but negatively in mass hysteria. It can be said such a character has enabled Japan’s economic progress after WWII. Rice has been a source and pride of the national progress. Rice cake is made by pounding sweet rice (not regular table rice) in a mortor. Rice cake is common throughout Asia for daily eating and ceremonial offerings. Grilled rice cake is made into a chicken broth soup with Kamaboko fish paste or something green, which is a must dish on the New Year day table. It is also wrapped by sea-veggie Nori, or eaten after marbled with a mixture of soy flour and sugar. Sake is the utmost significant item in the celebration, cold or warmed, or flavored with Toso herbs. It is to offer to God, and to toast together with family or relatives. Sake is a sacred alcohol drink made out of rice and almost a national drink, though its consumption has been slammed down to only several percent of the total alcohol drinks consumed. Despite the popularity of beer, sake is the center of the celebration. After sake, many go to their own favorites: beer, shochu, wine, spirits or non-alcohols. Most of us here pay not much attention to the things on the day of New Year probably because we have had so much pleasure, food and drink at Christmas. Though, many people may watch the countdown at Times Square on TV. Time goes on as usual but the particular last 10 seconds make the whole world completely anew. Since most Japanese are not Christians, the New Year is more important. By the way, Chinese people have a different, lunar calendar to celebrate the New Year, later, maybe in February. For us, it is the time to make a resolution this year again. Eat and drink moderately, properly and wisely. Work hard to be active, prosperous and happy. Reading books/stories and saving money are my additional. How about yours?

By Chef Allen Asch

Chef Talk Braising in the Winter

Chef Allen Asch M. Ed., CCE is a culinary arts instructor that has earned degrees from Culinary Institute of America, Johnson and Wales University and Northern Arizona University. He is currently teaching at UNLV. He earned his Certified Culinary Educator Endorsement from the American Culinary Federation in 2003.

desirable flavor. This happens at around 320 degrees. Without this step you will not develop a depth of flavor in the meat. The next step is to add liquid. If you add a flavored liquid such as stock, you will be adding flavor, but if you add water you will dilute the flavor of the sauce because the flavor of the meat will have to flavor the water, while if you use stock you will not need to add flavor to the liquid. When you braise foods you do not cover the product with the liquid, while when you are stewing you usually will cover the meat with the braising liquid. The most common braising liquid is beef stock. I like to make my own but that is not always feasible since it can take 8-10 hours to make. In a commercial kitchen I do make it often but at home I do not attempt this task. There are many products available to replicate homemade stock; some are good and others are not. The first thing I look for is that there is no MSG in the product and the second thing I look for is that the first ingredient is the flavor I am looking for. Whether it is beef, chicken or any other flavor, the protein should be the first ingredient, not salt. Of the brands available widespread and to the public, one of the best brands is Better Than Bouillon, which is available in most supermarkets. Commercially I prefer a brand called Minors. Other ingredients can also be added with common ones being mushrooms for further umami flavor. This is also why tomato paste is often added. Another common ingredient is some form of an acid such as apple cider vinegar or wine. The cooking time is hard to gauge, with the internal temperature being the key factor. Often a braised item is refrigerated overnight to allow the flavors to merge. This chill will also aid in the cutting of this very tender meat.

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Winter is not my favorite time of the year, hence why I live in Las Vegas. As I am writing this, the temperature outside is 66 degrees. I was raised in New Jersey, which is currently less than 40 degrees and my sister lives in Park City, Utah which is expecting fourteen days of snow and the Arctic Blast. One of the only good things about the winter season is that one of the cooking methods of choice is braising. I love all aspects of braising foods. As I wrote about earlier I sous vide cook a lot so in the summer I can braise without heating the house, but the long slow cook in an oven cannot be beaten for the warmth and the smells that fill the house for hours. Generally speaking, during the winter months the meat cuts that are cooked by grilling, among other methods, are the cheapest at this time since most of the country is not grilling this time of year. These cuts usually come from the middle part of an animal. This is the opposite of the cost during warmer months. The opposite is true for the cuts that need long slow cooking methods. These cuts generally come from the front and back ends of the animal and are usually much cheaper in the warmer months since people do not want to turn on an oven for an extended time when it is warm outside. This is why braising is a popular cooking method in winter months. Cuts of meat from the front and back of the animal, especially the front, have a lot of flavor due to the collagen and elastin in the meat, but they need to be cooked to an internal temperature of at least 185 degrees. I usually aim for over 200 degrees to melt the most collagen and elastin. The cuts from the front of the animal often have the word “chuck” in it and the cuts from the back of the animal often have the word “round” in their names. In comparison, the middle cuts of meat are usually cooked to 135 to 150 degrees. The only way to get the meat above 185 degrees is to cook it with moisture. If you are only using dry heat the meat will burn before it can reach that internal temperature. When you braise, which is the same as stewing except with large cuts of meat, the first step is to brown the meat. This is very important because by browning the meat you are creating flavor. The process you want to achieve is called the Maillard Reaction, which is a chemical reaction between amino acids and reducing sugars that gives browned food its

Feel free to contact Chef Allen with ideas for comments or future articles at

Steak & Table Knife Re-Serration / Sharpening

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January 2017 I The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional 9

By LeAnne Notabartolo

Good for Spooning

photos by LeAnne Notabartolo

Vic Vegas Comes Full Circle

Vic Vegas

Vic Vegas moved to Las Vegas at age 14 and has called the city home since then. After several years of jobs, Vic Vegas comes full circle with the opening of his 7 Sinful Subs shop on Maryland Parkway a few doors down from where he started his culinary journey. Vic started his culinary career at the now closed Tom & Jerry’s Grub & Pub which was located on Maryland Parkway near UNLV. He was a dishwasher. He subsequently worked at several places in Las Vegas. He worked hard and learned what he could at each restaurant and bar, but he says he knew he wanted a career in culinary the first time he walked into the kitchen at Ferraro’s. Vic Vegas has never been to culinary school, but has had plenty of on-the-job training. With each restaurant and every position in the kitchen, he learned something new. When I used the term “self-taught,” he gently corrected me and said,

The Baller - a Meatball Parmigiana sandwich

A culinary event coordinator and live cooking demonstrator, this “Edu-tainer” with more than 1000 demos under her belt lives to cook and eat. She works with chefs at events and learns from them and translates info for home cooks. She is the Chick in Charge of Good for Spooning – read her blog here:

“No, I am not self-taught. I am self-inspired. I had the desire and other people taught me.” For me, that is a really telling statement. He credits all of the chefs, cooks and staff he has worked with over the years with helping him to become the person he is today. He never says he did it himself. I first learned of Vic Vegas when he appeared on the TV show, Next Food Network Star. And like many Las Vegans, I cheered him on and rooted for him to win. He didn’t win, but that show shifted his life and his career began to snowball. He said he had applied to the show numerous times and the one time he didn’t send in his application was the time they called him and said they wanted him. He quit his job at the Rumor Hotel to film the show and has never looked back. The most surprising thing about Vic is that although he has always worked, and worked hard, he was, at one time homeless. After splitting with his ex, he moved out of his home, and continued to pay the bills, so his kids would have a safe place to live. He couldn’t afford two places, so he couch surfed and lived on the streets until he could make all the ends meet. This was shortly before we all saw him on Next Food Network Star. Since the airing of that season, his life has changed drastically as you can probably imagine. Despite his celebrity, he is a private person and though we are friends, was somewhat reluctant to sit with me for this interview, because he knew it would be about more than the shop and his career. One of the things that makes Vic Vegas special is that no matter how busy he is, he continues to make time for the important things. Family is everything to Vic and his friends are a close second. He also makes time to give back to the community. He’s actively involved in St. Jude’s Ranch for Children in Boulder City. He volunteers for Three Square Food Bank and the day I met him for this interview, he was appearing as a local celebrity at a fundraiser for a child with cancer that was being held at a local pizzeria. Unlike some, he knows with celebrity comes public expectations and a responsibility to give back. He doesn’t look at it as a burden, but as a gift to share what he has been given in his life. When you go to 7 Sinful Subs, you may not see Vic Vegas. Don’t be disappointed. He’s a busy guy! You can catch Vic on episodes of Bar Rescue on Spike TV (he is part of a team that goes into struggling bars with food programs to help them move their business forward). In addition to the sub shop, he works as a culinary consultant with Nicholas & Co. food distributors. And, as if he wasn’t busy enough, he’s getting ready to launch additional locations of 7 Sinful Subs (locations to be determined). What you can expect when you walk into 7 Sinful Subs is what I like to call Classic Italian Subs with a Vegas twist. Clever sandwich and salad names, combined with interesting artwork round out the theme. The subs are fantastic! 7 Sinful Subs is located at 4632 S Maryland Pkwy #12, Las Vegas, across from UNLV. They open daily at 11 a.m.

Club to the Head - their spin on a classic Club sandwich

10 The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional I January 2017

Part of the menu at 7 Sinful Subs


By Jackie Brett Jackie is a freelance public relations specialist and writer specializing in the Las Vegas entertainment and travel scene. Her writings have appeared in magazines and newspapers nationwide and on numerous websites. She is also an instructor covering Special Events at CSN- College of Southern Nevada.


Entertainment Spotlight

News about The Colosseum at Caesars Palace headliners…Jeff Dunham will perform 15 Perfectly Unbalanced shows beginning Wednesday, March 8 and one show a week from June 16-Sept. 13. Reba McEntire, Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn will continue another year with 12 new shows June 21-July 2 and Nov. 29Dec. 9 in addition to six February-March dates. Multi-talented Jim Gaffigan will visit with his Fully Dressed arena/theatre tour May 6 and 7. Mariah Carey’s final Mariah #1 To Infinity dates April 26–May 13 have been rescheduled July 8–18 and she plans to return in December 2017 with six holiday shows. Powerhouse brother-sister duo Julianne and Derek Hough will bring their all-new production Move – Beyond – Live On Tour inspired by earth, wind, fire and water elements to The Smith Center Friday, June 16.

IL VOLO will bring their Notte Magica – A Tribute to The Three Tenors tour to Park Theater at Monte Carlo Saturday, March 25. Bruno Mars will start his 24K Magic Tour North American leg at the T-Mobile Arena Saturday, July 15, and added dates at the Park Theater at Monte Carlo over Labor Day Weekend Sept. 2-3. Latin music’s youth idol Maluma will bring his first U.S. tour to The Chelsea inside The Cosmopolitan Friday, March 24. Pop superstar Rick Astley will headline at the Pearl inside the Palms Saturday, Jan. 21 and rock legends Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo will perform A Very Intimate Acoustic Evening there on Friday, March 24. Comedian Ralphie May will begin Ralphie May: No Apologies 10 p.m. shows at Harrah’s at the end of January with dates most every month next year. Kehlani with her Sweet Sexy Savage World Tour will visit Brooklyn Bowl at The LINQ Promenade performing her debut album on April 20.

Gordie Brown closed at the Golden Nugget after 8½ years, Million Dollar Quartet concluded at Harrah’s, Band of Magicians at the Tropicana only lasted about three weeks and Country Superstars tribute show at Hooters split.

Dining Highlights

A former Beano’s location at 7200 West Lake Mead Blvd. has been transformed into PT’s Gold, the company’s 53rd tavern in Nevada. The Hard Rock Cafe on Paradise Road built in 1990 with the jumbo corner guitar sign closed Dec. 31. After 19 years, the freestanding Harley-Davidson Cafe with a famous motorcycle on the building’s front side closed.

Evel Pie all-American pizzeria founded by hospitality group High Horse with Evel Knievel’s son Kelly opened on East Fremont Street paying homage to the motorcycle daredevil. Restaurateurs Kris and Bindi Parikh opened their second Mint Indian Bistro location with space for private parties around a live tandoor, a 250-capacity banquet hall, and a sports bar. Las Vegas celebrity chef Vic Vegas opened his new innovative sub shop concept, 7 Sinful Subs across the street from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Plantone’s Italian Market opened at 8680 W. Warm Springs Road offering pizza, pasta, subs and salads in a family-friendly setting for lunch and dinner daily.

The 200-room Lucky Dragon hotel-casino is open with five atrium level restaurants and a tea garden with a tea sommelier. Visually dominate is the good luck 1¼-ton glass, 23-feet tall dragon sculpture. Marvel Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. opened its world’s largest retail experience at Treasure Island offering a Hulk-errific “green screen” photo opportunity and Become Iron Man interactive experience. Wynn and Encore will be adding Amazon’s Echo device to its hotel rooms allowing guests to control room elements by speaking commands. Paid parking on the Strip started with MGM Resorts International’s properties. Now Caesars Entertainment Corp, Wynn, Encore and The Cosmopolitan are following. The Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC) will return to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway June 16-18. Cigarbox is back with a new location west of the Strip at 4046 Dean Martin Drive. The Golden Tiki in Chinatown added to its Cabinet of Curiosities with former Review Journal gossip columnist Norm Clarke’s shrunken head. Promenade at Juhl, a 344–residence, multibuilding community downtown, opened with seven retailers including Greens & Proteins with healthy comfort food and cocktail lounge Classic Jewel.

Virgil’s Real Barbecue opened at The LINQ Promenade. The two-story Virgil’s seats 300 and features three outdoor spaces along with three private dining rooms. The restaurant offers lunch, dinner and entertainment nightly 9 p.m. to midnight. Five-year-old Rí Rá inside The Shoppes at Mandalay Place has unveiled a new event and dining space at the back of the pub called The Bordello with an assortment of eccentric furnishings. Redwood Steakhouse at the California Hotel opened a reinvented fine dining concept in a contemporary island-inspired atmosphere and a lounge 4–6 p.m. social hour daily. John Rich of the duo Big & Rich in early 2017 will expand his Redneck Riviera brand with an all-new country music bar at the Grand Bazaar Shops at Bally’s on the second floor above Wahlburgers. Chicago pizzeria Giordano’s with a patio and bar will open above Starbucks and be its first location in Southern Nevada.

12 The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional I January 2017

About Town Happenings

By Adam Rains


Adam has a true passion for food, wine, beer & spirits. He is a barman at CarneVino, a brand ambassador for Brooklyn Brewery, long-time cocktailian, and the Social Media Chair for the United States Bartenders Guild in Las Vegas. Adam strives to learn every day and during his career he’s studied at SDSU, USBG, BarSmarts, International Sommeliers Guild and the Certified Cicerone Program. His mantra with both food & cocktails is, “fresh is best.”

Las Vegas SALUTE TO 15! On November 4th, the USBG in Las Vegas celebrated the founding of our chapter with the Salute to 15! Many of our newer members and former counsel, along with the founding fathers, looked at the history of the Las Vegas USBG chapter. The now legendary original members, Livio Lauro, Bobby Gleason and Tony AbouGanim helped bring us back to the beginning of the chapter and as we gazed towards the future! In the scope of human history, 15 years may not be a lot, but for the local F&B scene it has meant worlds of change. Vegas has long been a 24-houra-day beverage epicenter where mass quantities have been consumed by people from all over the world. While we had all of those things, including one of the most prolific flair scenes anywhere, there was something missing. The beverage renaissance that had been well under way in other cities had not quite taken hold here. We just needed a spark. Then entered the USBG… Along with the cultural shifts around the country, the United States Bartenders’ Guild was a key factor in helping spawn the movement. After its inception in 1948, it has spread to every state with the tenant of reinvigorating our profession. In our great city, it has done just that. Kristen Schaefer is a longtime bartender, USBG member, nationwide Absolut Elyx ambassador, and the President of the Las Vegas chapter of the guild. She spoke to this, saying, “From a social standpoint, it looks like many of our members have met new lifetime friends thanks to the guild. From a hospitality standpoint the guild is a motivator for its members and therefore raises the bar.”




The event was there to celebrate that spark. It was held at the new location of Nora’s, which has long been a beacon for finely made drinks and food in the valley. It was quite poignant being there and being reminded of how far we have come, and where we can go. Many of the founding fathers that have helped shape and inspire us were there to revel in the moment. Our new USBGLV logo was unveiled, showing the iconic skyline & our new motto, “Hospitality First,” and members had the opportunity to purchase pins, shirts and the now infamous Fernet coin. Kristen Schaefer noted, “It was a little surreal. I didn’t quite realize the magnitude of what was happening until it was happening. We made history that day. For all of us, it was pretty powerful.” The culmination of the event was a toast and the burying of our first ever time capsule! The time capsule was buried in the front of Nora’s and will remain underground until November 1, 2031 (for 15 years). The time capsule contained our current member list, a copy of the very first minutes from the first meeting, photos, cocktail menus and work cards. In 15 years, we will rejoin with past and then current 2031 members to unveil what was encapsulated. There will be many cocktails, a lot of food and even more stories to be had; it will be a part of USBG history! Looking ahead we have much to be excited about. We have more products, access to knowledge and desire to do it right, than we ever have. Our city is at the precipice, but we must keep moving forward.


“The Truth Lies Low” By Adam Rains

1 3/4 oz Don Pancho 8 year Rum 1/2 oz Contratto Bitter 1 oz Lime 1/2 oz Pineapple 1/2 oz Orgeat 1/4 oz Chick Pea Water 3 dashes of BarKeep’s Chinese Bitters photo by Adam Rains

Combine all ingredients into mixing glass. Shake hard without ice; add ice and shake again. Pour into an ice-filled Collins glass. Drop in an Amarena Cherry with a dash of the cherry sauce and let it sink to the bottom of the glass.

Founding father Livio Laurio had this to say, “We will continue to set the bar for the nation. The hospitality of our bartender members and the service provided to guests are just as good as any other major city; but Vegas displays an unmatched level of humility and positive attitude.” Kristen expounded on this point, “I am proud of our city and the camaraderie it has built over the past few years. We still have a ways to go, but as someone who travels a lot, there is no city in the world that compares to Las Vegas when it comes to passion, encouragement of each other and a yearning to be the best! I have no doubt that the fire has been sparked and the new council will continue to feed the flame. They are already proving that with their plans for AZCW and Slinger. I am excited to see what comes next!” While it was a truly amazing day and it was a great chance to look back at where we were and where we are going, it gave us a chance to reflect and give thanks and pay homage to our forefathers. With the sun shining in the western sky, we could feel the connection to the great esteemed lineage of barmen that gave birth to our profession. The founding members and former and current counsels have all been an inspiration to us. I want to thank all of the members for making our chapter great and especially for the council who have given their blood, sweat and tears to the guild and to our profession. Kristen Schaefer, Raul Faria, Cody Fredrickson and Adam O’Donnell have made us all proud! And cheers to all members past, current and future, and to the passion that lies within! Salute!

About the USBG The United States Bartenders’ Guild is comprised of spirit professionals dedicated to the art of the craft of Bartending. For information on how to join, please go to


1/16 WSET Level 1 Wine Certification Napa Valley Wine Academy at Total Wine Summerlin.

January 2017 I The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional 13

UNLV Epicurean Society

By Matthew Cairo

photos by Ariel Larson

Matthew Cairo, a Hospitality Management student at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, represents the Epicurean Society, a collective of food and restaurant enthusiastic students, where he is on the leadership staff. Originally from San Diego, he moved to Las Vegas to feed his desire to learn all that he can about restaurants, food, and the tourist industry.

throw a barbeque at the garden for the other Hotel College clubs on campus. We sent out invitations, rented a great charcoal grill, and started cooking away. It was going great until the sun went down and it hit 45 degrees. Although it was cold by many people’s standards we roughed it out, huddled around the grill, talking and eating for a few hours before we wrapped it all up. In the future we might invest in heating lamps for similar events if the weather requires it. We also hosted the first annual Epicurean Winter Social, an event open to the entire student body. In the front-of-house we set up an ornament creation station, a picture backdrop, sugar and gingerbread cookie table decorations, and showing of the Christmas movie Elf. In the back-of-house we made all the cookies, apple cider, hot cocoa with an optional chili water additive, a hearty potato chowder and three different kinds of tamales. The tamales had a pork and cheese option, a vegetarian option and also a vegan option which excluded lard from the dough. The event lasted for many hours and attracted many people coming by for the atmosphere and the food. The cider and tamales were a hit. Understanding the scope of my new position, I fear I will not be able to give as much time and attention to this publication as it deserves in the upcoming year. As a result, I have decided to step down from my position and give my fellow club member and friend Kimberly Verdin the opportunity to share her perspective and experiences at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas with all of you. I look forward to reading her work and keeping

14 The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional I January 2017

up-to-date on the happenings of Food and Beverage in Las Vegas along with all of you as a consumer instead of a producer. Until the foreseeable future, enjoy the food you eat and remember to try something new every chance you get. Try cooking a dish you’ve never made before from a culture you want to learn about. Next on my list is (Mapo tofu).

photo by Alycia Theilgro

As the last month of the semester came to a close, the Epicurean Club anointed a new Vice President, executed two very different but fun events, and found a new journalist to take my place as I become Epicurean Society President. As the year approaches its end our wonderful Club President Ariel graduates, leaving UNLV to begin her full-time career in the restaurant industry. I will be stepping up to fill her role leaving my position as Vice President vacant. Stepping up to that role is Alycia ThielGroner, a transfer student from Palm Springs, CA. She’s worked in the industry for almost 10 years and wants to become a restaurant developer/consultant in the future. She’s also a member of Sigma Kappa’s Theta Eta chapter here at UNLV. She’s greatly invested in the front-of-house because of the interaction with guests. Her favorite part is helping people try new foods and flavors. I know she’ll be a great addition to the Epicurean Family and look forward to working with her over the next semester. We hosted two events at UNLV in the last three weeks of the Fall Semester. First was a UNLV hospitality Organization Barbeque social hosted at the community garden. The garden has numerous plots that can be reserved for use by UNLV students and staff for planting. Chef Sandoval has reserved two plots and has allowed many of his students and Epicurean Club members to help fill them. We have numerous root vegetables, huge Thai and Italian basil bushes, numerous kinds of leafy greens and rosemary all growing in planters. The Epicurean Club decided to

Rao’s Celebrates a Decade of Excellence and Longevity

By Bob Barnes Photos courtesy Rao’s Rao’s, one of our nation’s oldest family-owned and -operated restaurants, located at 455 East 114th Street in East Harlem, was founded in 1896 by Charles Rao, and is still thriving to this day, celebrating its 120 year anniversary. With such long lasting success, the legendary Southern Italian restaurant expanded to Las Vegas, as Frank Pellegrino Sr., Frank Pellegrino Jr. and Ron Straci carried on the century-long family tradition of home-style Italian cooking by opening a larger version inside Caesars Palace on December 6, 2006. Now exactly one decade later, and like its original rendition, it continues to flourish. We sat down with fourth-generation Co-Owner Frank Pellegrino Jr., Las Vegas General Manager Marie-Joe Tabet and Las Vegas Executive Chef Fatimah Madyun to learn some of the reasons for the Southern Italian restaurant’s long lasting success and to add our congratulations to completing their first decade of operation. First of all congratulations on your 10 year anniversary! Can you share with us some of the history of Rao’s and what led to the decision to branch out from NYC to Las Vegas? FPJ: Speaking from my own history of Rao’s, I grew up in the restaurant beginning as a busboy while watching my Great-Aunt Anna and father cook in the kitchen. This started my love for food and hospitality. I’m still “head busboy” and am waiting for my promotion! We’ve been blessed with wonderful opportunities that were just too good to pass up, which have led to our Caesars Palace partnership and newest location in Los Angeles, CA.

Frank Pellegrino Sr.

Frank Pellegrino Jr.

Ron Straci

16 The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional I January 2017

To what extend does the Las Vegas Rao’s resemble its New York counterpart? MJ: Las Vegas holds 2 “Rao’s rooms” which are replicas of the restaurant in NYC. The restaurant in NYC is nearly impossible to reserve a table since tables are passed through generations with a total of 10 tables. One unique tradition NYC has is that there are no menus and the host of your table will choose with the server based on that evening’s selections and all items are served family-style. In Las Vegas, we have the capability to really give everyone a taste of Rao’s since we can hold up to 350 people at a time. We have established our regulars who are extended family but hope to acquire their 120 years of loyalty. We only have 110 more years to go! ☺ What makes Rao’s stand out from other Italian restaurants and other fine dining eateries? FPJ: At Rao’s we make our guests feel as though they are dining at our home. We want people to experience our restaurant, not just “dine.” This has afforded us the opportunity to create friendships and only want to create more. MJ: I always try to explain to people that Rao’s is a destination in itself. Usually, people go to dinner and their highlight for the evening is a show or nightclub, but for people who have experienced NYC, that’s their final destination. In Las Vegas, we try to replicate that experience but being a transient city it’s hard to create that.

What are some of your favorite items on your food menu? FM: My favorites on our menu are the Caesar Salad, because I believe we have the most flavorful in town; Eggplant Parmesan, which gives vegetarians an option to enjoy something fulfilling; and the Lasagna, which is full-bodied, rich and delicious. MJ: My favorites are the Seafood Salad, which was a winner on Throwdown! with Bobby Flay; our Veal Chop with hot & sweet cherry peppers; and lastly, you can’t forget desserts which are made in-house (the NY cheesecake is my number 1!). How about some of your top cocktail creations? MJ: The “New Yorker” is our favorite and our guests agree as it is our top-seller. The drink is made up of Skyy Moscato Grape, St. Germain, fresh lemon & fresh basil and served martini style. It’s a great refreshing starter. We have a great wine variety for selection. Our specialty however, is Italian wines.

Frank, we know you started out as a part time busboy at the East Harlem Rao’s when you were 13 years old. Can you tell us about those early experiences at the restaurant? At what point did you know that this business was your calling? FPJ: One experience that sticks out is when I was excited that summer was here and I was going to be able to hang out with my friends at the beach. These plans were abruptly changed when my father, Frank Sr., surprised me with a summer job. You can guess where and what my reaction was at that moment. This moment was the beginning of the rest of my life. Rao’s attracts a good share of regular customers, including entertainers, politicians and sports figures. Who are some of the top names that frequent Rao’s? MJ & FM: You never know who you may run into at any of the three locations. That means you’re just going to have to dine with us and see! (wink)

Frank was recently on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and also on Harry with Harry Connick Jr. talking about the new Rao’s Classics cookbook. Can you tell us about these cookbooks? Do they give away the famous Rao’s recipe secrets? MJ: The first cookbook titled Rao’s Cookbook: Over 100 Years of Italian Home Cooking was written by Frank Pellegrino Sr. and is the original cookbook with original recipes. The second cookbook titled Rao’s Recipes from the Neighborhood: Frank Pellegrino Cooks Italian with Family and Friends has recipes that Frank Sr. grew up with and from friends and family in the neighborhood. The third cookbook, Rao’s On the Grill: Perfectly Simple Italian Recipes from My Family to Yours, was Frank Jr.’s first cookbook. It takes the traditional in kitchen recipes and moves them out to the grill. There are also some new fun recipes for the summertime. Lastly, his most recent cookbook is Rao’s Classics: More Than 140 Italian Favorites from the Legendary New York Restaurant, which was released on Nov. 4. What I really love is the story in this book: Frank Jr. speaks about growing up in the restaurant and shares some great memories he has. Every book shares secret recipes but Frankie always says the most important ingredient is love and without that the dish doesn’t come out right! The books also touch on history and family, which is exactly what the restaurant stands on and wants to deliver to each and every guest! What does the future hold for Rao’s next 10 years? FPJ: Our guest’s happiness is our ultimate success, so I look forward to the next decade being more jubilant than the first!

January 2017 I The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional 17

FOOD FOR THOUGHT Start Your Year Out with Tradition

By Les Kincaid Les Kincaid is a food, wine, and golf expert and cookbook author. He hosts the nationally syndicated wine radio show Wines Du Jour each Thursday from 7 to 8 pm. You can enjoy his website or his broadcast at

Hopping John

photo by Juanita Aiello

(rice cooked with black-eyed peas)

As our New Year emerges the world welcomes a fresh start, usually with hopes of a new beginning with some luck thrown into the mix. The practice of welcoming a new cycle in the calendar is probably one of the most universal holiday celebrations in the world, and often celebrated with enjoying certain foods, especially legumes, for luck. Legumes, including beans, peas and lentils, are symbolic of money and thus considered a harbinger of prosperity and good luck into the New Year. Several of them resemble coins and the fact that they swell up when soaked in water, also extends the analogy that the prosperity grows with time. Traditions vary in different parts of the world. In Italy, there is a preference for sausages with green lentils that is eaten just after midnight. In a similar vein in Germany they bring in the New Year with split peas, and in Japan lucky foods eaten during the first three days of the year include sweet black beans. Closer to home in the Southern United States, it’s traditional to eat black-eyed peas in a dish called Hopping John. When the dish is served with collard greens, the odds of prosperity are increased as green symbolizes the color of money. Our New Year often comes with resolutions for eating healthy and legumes are healthy and readily available during these winter months when other things are somewhat lean. The cornucopia of red, yellow, green and white lentils, along with the dozens of red, white and black beans ensure that we have plenty of options to pick from at the beginning of the New Year and beyond. Legumes are rich in protein and high in fiber and are lower in calories than most meat-based sources of protein, offering a healthy and filling option for your plates and palates. While most legumes will cook down to soft and satisfying goodness, they have a whole variety of flavors, tastes and textures ensuring that your palate is interesting and innovative. For my recipe of the Southern dish, I have ditched all meat-based products to create a dish that is flavorful, delicate and if served with love and affection will indeed convince you that this year you shall be lucky with or without money. My secret ingredient is that I do, in fact, cook my black-eyed peas from scratch and save some of the simmering liquid, and use it for cooking my rice dish. The dish resembles a pilaf which probably takes it closer to the Senegalese roots of this traditional dish. To maximize the green, I garnish my variation of Hopping John with finely chopped green onions. New Year’s or otherwise, add this dish to your table and you are bound to feel well-nourished on a cold day. I love it. 18 The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional I January 2017

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 1 tablespoon sweet butter 1 medium sized onion, diced 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 or 2 ribs of celery, finely chopped 1 or 2 carrots, diced 1 cup of white rice (I used basmati rice, which will give this recipe a very delicate and elegant finish.) 2 ½ cups of stock or water ¾ cup of cooked black-eyed peas 1 teaspoon salt or to taste 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar (optional) chopped green onions for garnish In a pot with a tight-fitting lid, add in the olive oil and the butter and heat until the butter is melted. Add in the onion and garlic, and sauté for about 5 minutes, until the onion softens considerably and begins to turn pale golden. Add in the celery and the carrot and stir well. Stir in the rice and mix well. Add in the stock or the water and the cup of black-eyed peas. Add in the salt and the pepper and bring the mixture to a simmer. Cover and cook the rice for 18 minutes (Please note, this time works for the basmati rice; for other rice varieties allow a few more minutes, essentially the rice should be soft and all the water should be absorbed.) Let the rice rest for about 10 minutes. Remove the lid and fluff the rice. Sprinkle with the red vinegar if using and garnish with the green onions if using. Notes: If you are cooking the black-eyed peas yourself, save the cooking liquid and add in to the rice, in lieu of the stock or water. Yield: 6 servings

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Bob’s Beer Bits and Sips

Three New Releases to Help Get Us Through the Cold Winter Months By Bob Barnes

Goose Island Rare Bourbon County Brand Stout for 2015 First brewed in 1992 in commemoration of Goose Island’s 1,000th batch at the original Clybourn brewpub in Chicago, this Imperial Stout is widely considered to be the first mass marketed beer to be aged in bourbon barrels. Over the years it has garnered a cult fan following and is released annually on Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving), when true beer aficionados skip the department store lines and instead head to their favorite craft beer store. This year’s version packs even more notoriety, as it was aged in barrels from Heaven Hill Distilleries that had aged the bourbon for 23 years before being bottled. Goose Island then filled the barrels in 2015 and aged its stout for another year before releasing it this year. If you’re lucky enough to procure a bottle, you’re sure to enjoy its rich, thick and chewy character that must be savored slowly to appreciate its complexity, with flavors of sweet chocolate, roasted malt, vanilla, dark fruits and pronounced bourbon. And, at 14.5% it’s for sure a sipping beer that will help warm you up on a cold winter’s night. 14.5% ABV, 60 IBUs

Rogue Hazelutely Choctabulous Rogue Ales & Spirits is notorious for brewing funky beers with unusual ingredients and flavors. Its latest, described on the label as Candy Bar in a Bottle, is the result of a longtime practice of fans mixing two of its most beloved beers, Chocolate Stout and Hazelnut Brown Nectar. “For over a decade, our hardest-core fans and loyal pub patrons have been drinking this blend, which they say tastes like a nutty chocolate candy bar,” said Rogue President Brett Joyce. “We’re thrilled to share this secret menu item with the world.” Dark and decadent, with a rich nutty flavor up front followed by a chocolate truffle finish, Hazelutely Choctabulous will be available in 22-ounce serigraphed bottles and on draft starting in January 2017. For a humorous video of Brewmaster John Maier magically creating this beer, go to 5.7% ABV, 51 IBUs

Ninkasi Believer Back by popular demand, the independent Oregon craft brewer Ninkasi Brewing Company announced the return of Believer Double Red Ale to its Seasonal Release Series, available through April 2017. Originally released as a winter seasonal in 2006, Ninkasi co-founders Jamie Floyd and Nikos Ridge brewed Believer Double Red Ale as a way to thank those who believed in their mission: to start a craft brewery dedicated to community. Unlike a typical Red Ale, Believer balances a rich malt complexity with a plentiful hop presence. Brewed with 2-Row Pale, Munich, Crystal and Carahell malts and hopped with Centennial and Summit, it brings notes of caramel, toffy, fig, and date that meld with the earthy and floral hops making it a full-flavored brew. Here’s to drinking to a good cause: Ninkasi will donate $1 per case and $7 per keg of Believer sold to three non-profit organizations who exemplify the foundation of Beer is Love—Conscious Alliance, Team River Runner and Women Who Code. 6.9% ABV, 60 IBUs

20 The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional I January 2017

photos courtesy California Hotel and Casino

Major Changes at the California Hotel & Casino

The California Hotel & Casino has announced new menus and upgrades. The Boyd Gaming Corporation has completed its sweeping redesign and renovation of the property. Redwood Bar & Grill has been renamed Redwood Steakhouse and has been completely modernized from top to bottom and with an outstanding new menu. Redwood Steakhouse has many steaks to choose from, along with fresh seafood and chops. The theme is Hawaiian flair. One can have glimpses into the bar and main dining room from large windows. A new custom butcher block countertop, and huge over-scale chandeliers brings elegance to this lovely restaurant.

By Shelley Stepanek Shelley Stepanek is President of DSA, the oldest non-profit tourist association in the state, along with being on the board of ticket brokers. Shelley has previously owned three restaurants.

The Redwood offers a social hour daily from 4-6 p.m. with small bites and a couple of new cocktails, such as the Blood Orange Whisky Sour and a spiced Mai Tai. Seared ahi tuna, filet mignon, Prime flat iron steak, Chilean sea bass and seafood fra diavolo are all on the must try list. The creamed corn and macaroni and cheese are especially good side dishes. Ryan Fahey is the food & beverage director for the downtown region of Boyd Gaming and he would be happy to talk to you about booking parties. Next to Redwood is the California Noodle House, opened a year ago. Aloha Specialities is an outlet for authentic Hawaiian food like saimin and oxtail stew. Holo Holo-the Happy Bar, and the Cal Sports Lounge have all been upgraded with new colors, walls, artwork and floors. A long list of delicious appetizers and noodle dishes await. The Boyd properties include the Orleans, with the famous Alder & Birch Cocktails and Dining, Ondori Asian Kitchen and Bailiwick-the Hub of Bites, Sips and Sounds, which opened last month; Gold Coast with longtime Chinese local favorite Ping Pang Pong; Suncoast with Brigg’s Oyster Co and Du-pars Restaurant and Bakery; Fremont with The Filament Bar and Second Street Grill; and Sam’s Town with the brand new Angry Butcher Steakhouse and Big Mess Bar-BQ, both of which opened in October next to the Mystic Falls Park and laser shows. Boyd has been a staple in Las Vegas for years, and offers wonderful service at all of its locations. They are undergoing a $100 million campaign for their properties nationwide, in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana and Mississippi; this company has definitely cornered a big piece of the market in gambling towns

Allan Karl’s best-selling book FORKS: A Quest for Culture, Cuisine, and Connection has been a #1 best-seller in three Amazon categories.

FORKS brings the world to your table: An around-the-world adventure story. A colorful photo book with more than 700 color photographs. A global cookbook with 40 signature recipes. Why would someone sell nearly everything he owns, pull roots, and travel for three years--alone--on a motorcycle? One day Allan Karl woke up to discover that he was unemployed and his marriage had ended in divorce. Allan looked at these forks in the road of his life as an opportunity to both follow a lifelong dream and pursue his passions. He hopped on his motorcycle and traveled around the world--alone. After three years and 62,000 miles of riding, through 35 countries on 5 continents, he returned home only to set out on another journey--to share the truths he’d uncovered and the lessons learned during his adventure around the world. Between these pages, Allan shares the discoveries, cultures, and connections he made on this global adventure. Through stories, color photos, and the flavors of real local food, FORKS brings his adventure to life and the world to your table: the kindness of strangers, the beauty of humanity, the colors of culture, and the powerful gift of human connection. Every photograph, story, and recipe in this book presents readers with an opportunity to witness new cultures, taste exotic flavors, or journey into dangerous and unknown territories. Every experience is an opportunity to connect with others. The second edition of FORKS is widely available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Indie Bookstores everywhere. Autographed and personalized signed copies are available on the FORKS website 22 The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional I January 2017

Cheesemaking in Southern California PART I

photos by John Rockwell

He is an ardent fan of the waiver theater culture in Los Angeles. He is new to cheesemaking, but has been a homebrewer for over twenty years.

Mozzarella in its final form—not very impressive, but also not bad for a first attempt.

At the end of December 2015, I decided to make mozzarella cheese for some holiday get-togethers. I had been thinking about making cheese since my drought-induced hiatus from homebrewing as a way to assuage the guilt I felt each time I walked past my retired stainless steel brew kettles. By chance, I found some Junket-brand rennet tablets at my local specialty grocery store, and that was all the motivation I needed. (Rennet is an enzyme that makes milk curdle.) I grabbed some extra milk and cheesecloth, and proceeded to follow the best instructions I could find on YouTube and some cheesemaking websites. I then failed at making my first batch of mozzarella cheese. It didn’t even set—from everything I read, I figured the rennet was bad. That may not have been the whole story. Making cheese is a deceptively simple process. Get some milk. Acidify the milk by adding a bacterial culture or an acid like citric acid or vinegar. Heat the milk. Add rennet to coagulate the milk solids. Separate the solids (curds) from the liquid (whey) with some sort of straining device, and the solid remnant is cheese. So why doesn’t every home cook make this staple food? From my homebrewing experience and my earlier failure, I suspected it had something to do with time, temperature, and access to the right supplies. I wanted to solicit the help of a cheesemaking supply shop, because my local homebrew supply store did such a great job of setting me on the right path when I began that hobby. However, from my home, I am equidistant from the only two cheesemaking supply shops that exist in the four counties around me--Curds and Wine in Kearny Mesa (San Diego), and The Home Wine Beer and Cheesemaking Shop in Woodland Hills. Both are around 100 miles away. I chose The Home Wine Beer and Cheese Shop in Woodland Hills and was helped by their cheese guru Nancy who set

After a “clean break,” the curds are cut into squares with a curd knife.

By John Rockwell John Rockwell is a native Southern Californian and career English teacher working in the Riverside area. In his spare time, he rides his bicycle to breweries, restaurants, and cheese shops, and is always looking for culinary delights within riding distance of the vast network of SoCal bicycle trails.

me up with some expert advice, a good recipe book, some lactose-eating cultures, some plastic cheese molds, citric acid, cheesecloth, rennet, wax, and because I was wanting to have some fun, some Penicillium Roqueforti mold. In the course of this conversation, I discovered that my first challenge would be securing the main ingredient: milk. I was assured that the milk at Whole Foods works, but the nearest store is deep in Orange County. According to the research I’ve done, there are two potential problems with grocery store milk: age and pasteurization temperature. As milk gets older, the rennet has less of an effect on it, and the same problem occurs if the milk is pasteurized at too high a temperature. Ultra-pasteurized milk (even if it is organic) can never be used for cheese. And let’s clear up a couple of misconceptions about milk. It does not need to be “raw”—in fact, for most styles it would have to be pasteurized. Second, it is okay if it is homogenized, though non-homogenized milk is preferred for certain cheese styles. This is good news, because raw milk and non-homogenized milk go for $10-15 a gallon everywhere I’ve seen them in Southern California. I began a search for a local dairy that had fresh milk. Unfortunately, there are only two that I was able to find within reach of the Inland Empire. There is Broguiere’s Farm Fresh Dairy in Montebello, and DeJong’s Dairy in Wildomar. I chose DeJong’s because it is only 35 miles away and Montebello is nearly twice the drive. So I tried DeJong’s milk and using my citric acid and fresh rennet from Woodland Hills, made some excellent Mozzarella just in time for our family’s New Year’s Eve party. I had my milk source. Armed with my new supplies, and my stainless steel brewing pots, I began the weekly ritual of acquiring milk and attempting different styles of cheese. I started with an English Derby, which is a lightly-aged pressed semi-hard cheese (about five weeks of aging), moved on to Gouda (six to eight weeks of aging), and then tried making some Camembert and Castle Blue—both mold-ripened “bloomy” cheeses. Each new style has revealed a nuance that confounded the simplified process I described at the beginning of this article. In Part II John will delve into other subtleties of cheesemaking and how to have fun with curds. The Home Wine, Beer and Cheesemaking Shop 22836 Ventura Blvd. #B Woodland Hills, CA 91364 818-884-8586

DeJong’s Cash and Carry Dairy 31910 Corydon Road Wildomar, CA 92595 951-674-2910

200 Easy Homemade Cheese Recipes: From Cheddar and Brie to Butter and Yogurt (second edition) By Debra Amrein-Boyes

Mozzarella curds set up and ready to be “melted” in hot salt water. From there they are stretched and folded into the layered cheese we know and love.

Washed Gouda curds stacked into this mold for pressing. Gouda is then brined in salt water before aging.

January 2017 I The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional 23

Human Resources Insights

By Linda Westcott-Bernstein Linda Westcott-Bernstein has provided sound human resources advice and guidance to Fortune 500 companies and others for over 25 years. Linda has recently re-published her self-help book entitled It All Comes Down to WE! This book offers guidelines for building a solid and enduring personal work ethic. You can find her book on Amazon or Google Books. Phone: 702-326-4040 Email:

My New Year’s Advice: Be the Best that You Can Be! I always start out each new year with a few resolutions, because in my heart I know that I can always do better and be a better person. I tell myself... “there is room for improvement, what will it be this year?” I know, it sounds corny and a bit self-serving, but what am I really trying to resolve to do? For me, I just want to be better than I was. Ok, better than before. No, more precisely, I want to always strive to be the best I can be. So what advice can I give you for the coming year that can help you “be the best that you can be”? Here are a few thoughts and ideas for you to ponder on self-improvement as well as self-awareness. Start each day by doing the following kinds of things... • appreciate every day, breathe in some fresh outdoor air, and give thanks for the new day! • exercise your body and your spirit, take a bike ride to the park, say hello to everyone you see and with a smile. • slow down, find beauty in simple things—like one of our gorgeous Nevada sunsets—the sound of the birds in the trees, or a wild flower blooming by the road. • treat others with kindness, be considerate, and don’t judge. • try compassion; put yourself in other’s shoes and try to imagine how you would feel if you were in their situation. • give someone a hug—I mean a real life, pull you close to me, put my arms around you, “care about you” hug! • be thankful for the blessings that you have, help others in need, and give to local charities without hesitation. If you don’t know me by now, by reading my column, I am in human resources, and I love helping people. I deal with easy, difficult, unique, and troublesome issues every day. But I have to say, I get the biggest kick out of hearing from my customers—our employees—how much they appreciate what we do! I take pride in my work and strive always to

be very thorough, just like I’d want someone to be with something that was important to me. Just recently, I held our enrollment sessions for our annual insurance meetings, and I had some really special feedback from one of our employees. She watched and listened while I carefully covered the various benefits options, helped her with her enrollment paperwork, and then meticulously highlighted all the key information in her plan booklets so that she would be able to find the answers to her medical questions about providers, costs and benefits when she was at home with her family. To me, this is an important aspect of people’s lives—so I do not take it lightly. I make sure that I am thorough. And as she left our offices, she commented to our insurance representative that I take such good care of her and that she appreciated it, and then she gave me a hug! I was so pleased and appreciative of her comments that my eyes welled up with tears. When you apply the above calming, relaxing, and genuine efforts and actions at work, you will experience the many beneficial outcomes that I do. We all know that people respond better to positive feedback than negative; compassion rather than judgment; assistance is better than barking out orders, and showing real sincerity as opposed to “insincere” comments or gestures. In my humble opinion, our world needs more “real” people these days because we have way too many phony ones. We all need to find our patience, be a little more humble, and act in a way that feels right and good, right from our very heart and soul. Since new year is a time for a fresh start, let’s focus our efforts on renewal and being the very best we can be for our loved ones and for our fellow man and woman. In closing, my new year’s wish to you and yours: may your coming year be filled with good health, prosperity, and most of all, great outcomes to you for striving to be the best of who you are and knowing that all you have to do is try!

HR Question of the month:

Please send your HR questions and concerns, or share your thoughts on your human resources challenges via email to the following address. Send input to Your comments, questions or concerns will help determine the direction for my next month’s column and earn you a copy of my book. Include your mailing address when sending your responses.

24 The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional I January 2017

The Bottom Line Restaurant Table Place Setting Do’s and Don’ts

By Ben Brown Benjamin Brown, MBA is Restaurant Editor of The SoCal Food & Beverage Professional. A seasoned writer and consultant, Ben works with Fortune 500 companies and mom & pop shops alike in Marketing, Analytics, Consumer Insights, PR and Business Development. Contact Ben at or follow him @Foodie_Biz.

As restaurants grow increasingly creative with their menus, interiors, seating arrangements and overall business models, they’re also changing things up with the otherwise traditional place setting. The typical setup of silverware, napkin and glass atop a tablecloth is still present and commonplace, but no longer ubiquitous at full-service establishments. The reason for most of this change: cost savings. But is it worth it in the long run? Let’s take a look at a few new restaurant place setting trends and see where they work best. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution here, so the key is to match your place setting to the atmosphere and overall brand you’re trying to create.


Centralized Silverware

Tablecloths have all but disappeared from the restaurant scene, in that very few new restaurants will use them. Why? Tablecloths cost money to wash and take time to fold, set up, take off and bring to storage. Why use a tablecloth that has to be changed with every meal when it’s so much easier to wash and dry a bare tabletop? And to many young patrons, tablecloths are ‘old school’ and give the restaurant a dated feel.

A growing number of restaurants will pile silverware in a glass at the center of the table for patrons to set themselves. This can be a big cost saver, allowing for quicker turnover and for servers to spend more time tending to tables with customers. It can also save hours at the end of a day that are otherwise spent rolling silverware into napkins.

When to use tablecloths

When to use centralized silverware

Tablecloths should be used in almost any true fine dining setting. White tablecloths do give off a more ‘old school’ sense while black tablecloths come off a bit more modern. If you are trying to cast an intimate, high-end atmosphere, tablecloths will boost that vibe to justify a higher price point. Many places make the mistake of skipping tablecloths as a costsaver while not noticing the bigger problem of the atmosphere not lining up with the food.

Use this method if you have a higher-volume restaurant with a casual ambiance and a lower price point. Roadhouse barbecue joints are a perfect example.

When not to use tablecloths Restaurants with a modern look and feel really don’t need tablecloths. Tablecloths would actually detract from the vibe in these cases. However, you can skip the tablecloths if and only if your tables are nice enough on their own.

When not to use centralized silverware If you want to convey a classy, full-service experience, you should avoid this tactic. Customers dine out not just because they want your food, but because they want to be served. If their first impression is having to set the table themselves, it may be quite off-putting. A set table conveys a sense of luxury that puts people in a more relaxed mood, prepping them to spend more and be more responsive to upsell.

Communal Water Communal water at the table has similar goals to centralized silverware, with even greater cost saving potential and wider acceptance. If a server greets guests with a swing-top glass bottle almost frosted over with cold water, that’s both full service and a good first impression. Communal water drastically reduces demand on bussers, and can certainly lead a restaurant to require fewer bussers overall.

When to use communal water Communal water can work in almost any setting where tablecloths aren’t a necessity. Guests are much more receptive to communal water, often preferring the freedom to refill themselves over searching for a busser over and over. With establishments on the higher end of the spectrum, however, servers should come out with both the bottle and the glasses. This extra step creates another layer of service with the experience.

When not to use communal water Fine dining and other settings where you want to convey full service from start to finish should come with full water service. Restaurants with higher price points, regardless of the ‘casual’ atmosphere they’re trying to create, should consider full water service as well, to reflect the financial commitment guests are making to dine there. Table place setting techniques can be great costsavers, but should never be used to simply cut corners. Guests recognize it when a restaurant’s shortcuts undercut its price point, and very quickly and easily at that. Just be sure that your table setting tactics are in line with your restaurant brand.

January 2017 I The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional 25

By Bob Barnes

Other Mama Lead Mixologist David English, Owner/Executive Chef Dan Krohmer and LVFnBPro Editorial Director Bob Barnes.

Other Mama—Small Plate Creativity Galore Situated in a non-descript strip mall at Durango and Twain, Other Mama has been procuring rave reviews since it opened in March, 2015, and has garnered an impressive number of accolades including Best Restaurant Off Strip (Vegas Seven and Desert Companion); Best Dream Come True (Las Vegas Weekly “Best of Las Vegas 2016”); Neighborhood Restaurant of the Year (Eating Las Vegas); and Best Restaurant Cocktails (Vegas Seven “Best of the City 2016”). One of the prime reasons for Other Mama’s early success is Executive Chef/Owner Dan Krohmer, a Placerville, CA transplant who spent nearly two years in remote Kumamoto, Japan learning the disciplines of sushi and kaiseki on the job. Other valuable on-the-job experiences included working for farm-to-table restaurants, where he furthered his appreciation for quality ingredients and simple preparation; spending time at Morimoto, Philadelphia as sous chef, executive sous and sushi chef; working for a catering company serving musicians on tour with musical acts including Taylor Swift, Neil Young, Jay Z, Godsmack and Metallica; and in Las Vegas, working alongside the legendary Michelin-starred Takeshi Omae. Chef Dan says he named his restaurant in honor of his great grandmother, who raised his dad. Inside the restaurant you’ll find a cozy atmosphere with bright blues and reds peppering the space, a handpainted wall mural, an open kitchen and wood tables and chairs. Also prominent is a blackboard

listing daily sashimi choices, daily specials and where the seafood (which is procured daily) was sourced from. In fact, the seafood is so fresh that some of it, such as the scallops and lobsters, arrive live and are kept in a tank until the day they are served. In this reporter’s opinion, the best seats in the house are at the raw bar, where you have a bird’s eye view of chef’s handiwork, but also where you can see Lead Mixologist David English in action. David’s honors include the Cocktail of the Month award from Desert Companion, Best Bartender Award from Eater Las Vegas and most recently the Nevada Restaurant Association bestowed on him the Bartender of the Year honor. David’s unique and bold cocktail creations, some of which change seasonally, are all named for women,

26 The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional I January 2017

He welcomes your inquiries. Email:

such as the Geraldine made with bourbon, grilled pineapple, house cherries, burlesque bitters and togarashi; and the Ingrid comprised of vodka, Triple Sec, huckleberry balsamic shrub and cava. Beer fans, like myself, will appreciate Other Mama’s beer list—that is way better than most eateries—with 21 brews, most of which are unique, rare beers not found elsewhere, including Evil Twin Wet Dream (Brown Ale with coffee), Bruery Terreux Rueuze (a sour Belgian-style Gueuze) and the tart Stillwater Tropic Punch. Those that like sake with their sushi are covered, with nearly a dozen choices with the likes of Rihaku Wandering Poet, or you can go with a flight of three 2-oz pours of house choice sakes. The focus of the menu is Japanese-influenced small plates, fresh oysters and sashimi. Chef Dan says he likes to surprise people who may have never seen a white sushi chef, but other surprises await in unusual combinations you may not have seen anywhere else. Take for example, Oyster Rockefeller with foie gras and creamed spinach; French Toast topped with caviar; Tostada with live ME lobster, habanero aioli, cherry tomato, avocado and cabbage on a homemade tostada; and Ceviche of octopus, shrimp, white fish and habanero with house-made sweet potato chips. Desserts change nightly, and during our visit we enjoyed the chocolate walnut brownie with candied orange and house-made rummed cherries, but there is always house-made ice cream in flavors such as Nutella and miso honey. The prices, which fall within a range of $9-$21, are quite reasonable, especially considering the quality of a restaurant that has already collected such a wide array of honors in its first year and a half of existence. For the ultimate experience of Other Mama, I suggest the seven-course Chef’s Tasting Menu, available every Friday and Saturday evening in limited numbers for $75 (reservations must be made in advance by calling 702-463-8382), in which you will get a true sampling of Chef Dan’s mastery of fresh, seasonal, sustainable seafood. Tell them I sent you. You’re welcome. 3655 S Durango Dr #6 Open 5-11 daily 702-463-8382

photos courtesy Other Mama

photo by Stephanie Barnes

What’s Cooking

Bob Barnes is a native Las Vegan, editorial director of The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional, regional correspondent for Celebrator Beer News and covers the LV restaurant scene for

In Memoriam Marjorie Ann Mancino,

Friend and Journalist of The SoCal Food & Beverage Professional By Senior Editor/Publisher Mike Fryer On December 26 Marjorie Ann Mancino passed away from medical complications including cancer of the tongue. Margie was my friend, my companion, my love, my sweetheart, my partner and that special person you know you want to spend the rest of your life with. Now she’s gone…and this void in my heart may never mend completely, but we must move on as they say…still I find it hard to accept, for just a few months ago we were out eating, drinking and just enjoying ourselves and life! I promise you this Margie, I will never take life for granted and will do all that I can to live life to its fullest! And I can only hope to make the people around me glad they knew me… My warmest regards for Margie’s family and friends who she respected and loved so dearly! A special thank you to daughter Lisa, who stayed by her mother’s side with me throughout the ordeal and has become my extended family as well. It all reminds me of one of Margie and my favorite songs by Jim Croce…“If I could save time in a bottle…there never seems to be enough time to do the things you want to do, once you find them!” Rest well Sweet Marjorie and be well for your future journeys!!! With all my heart, Mike

Eric Hilton,

Founder of Three Square Food Bank It is with sadness that I am writing to inform you that the founder of Three Square Food Bank, Mr. Eric Hilton, passed away Saturday, December 10, 2016. I wanted you to know this because you so generously support the cause he passionately championed — the cause of hungry people here in the valley. Mr. Hilton founded Three Square in 2007 with his wife, Bibi, when he learned that Clark County was going to be without a food bank. Today, Mr. Hilton’s legacy of generosity and compassion helps provide more than 40 million pounds of food and groceries each year to our neighbors in need in Southern Nevada. I want you to know that you have made an impact in Mr. Hilton’s vision by volunteering, donating, working with, and supporting Three Square. Thank you for continuing his legacy of helping others. Sincerely, Brian Burton President & CEO

Muriel Stevens,

Las Vegas Food & Beverage Industry Pioneer The Las Vegas food and beverage community recently lost Muriel Stevens, who wore many hats in her long history as newspaper columnist, author, radio and television show hostess, community leader, restaurant critic, gourmet cook, consumer advocate. Muriel Stevens passed away peacefully Dec. 12, 2016, after a very lengthy battle with Alzheimer’s disease. Born in Philadelphia, Dec. 22, 1925, Muriel began cooking at the tender age of eight, practicing on her three younger brothers before moving on to larger audiences. Her love for learning began early and she spent every spare moment riding her bike to the library in search of new and exciting information. Muriel’s life in the public eye began with a career in modeling. At the age of 18, she married Maury Stevens, a fellow Philadelphian, and a few years later added their son, Bruce, to their family. Muriel and Maury ventured out west to start a new life shortly after their daughter, Robin, was born. After short stops in Denver and Los Angeles, Maury gave Muriel a choice of where they would settle down permanently New Zealand or Las Vegas. Deciding she didn’t have enough mutton recipes, they settled in Las Vegas and became an integral part of the community. Muriel’s broadcasting career started in 1955 and included stints as a weather girl, news reporter and magazine editor. If there was a party, an opening or an event, you can bet Muriel was there to cover it. Her live call-in radio talk show was on the air for over 25 years. “If you cook with love, they’ll love your cooking!” That was the philosophy of her daily cooking show which started out on local TV and then was syndicated nationally. The show featured guests from the fields of entertainment, sports, politics and the arts, plus professional chefs from Las Vegas and around the world. Muriel was a member of The International Gourmet Society, The Confrerie de la Chaine des Rotisseurs, The National Association of Food Writers and American Women in Radio and Television. She served on the boards of many local organizations and was on the original founding board of Nathan Adelson Hospice.

January 2017 I The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional 27

By Adam Rains

photos by Adam Rains & Jose Salinas

Our Picks

Adam has a true passion for food, wine, beer & spirits. He is a barman at CarneVino, a brand ambassador for Brooklyn Brewery, long-time cocktailian, and the Social Media Chair for the United States Bartenders Guild in Las Vegas. Adam strives to learn every day and during his career he’s studied at SDSU, USBG, BarSmarts, International Sommeliers Guild and the Certified Cicerone Program. His mantra with both food & cocktails is, “fresh is best.”

Standard & Pour

From his time at CarneVino & Carson Kitchen, Chef Jacob Dielemon has been a champion for freshness and flavor. Now as head chef at Standard & Pour, he is “bringing it” to Henderson. There is much to be said about the nuances of a composed salad, with varying textures, flavor, use of produce, as well as visual appeal. They are often overlooked by many a chef, who instead like to focus on the big ticket & meat-centric items. With the Beet Salad, Chef Jake does not disappoint. After grilling the beets, he adorns them with small dollops of creamy goat cheese. The beats are plated on top of a vibrantly colored beet mascarpone mousse and tossed with a cherry gastrique. For a green color contrast it is garnished with Hearts on Fire micro greens, and for spice and an addition textural component, spicy pistachio crumbles are graced. When in Henderson, please go to Standard & Pour; be sure to try their happy hour and new Sunday brunch. Open daily from 4-10 p.m. • Sunday Brunch hours 10 a.m.-3 p.m. • 11261 S. Eastern Ave., Henderson, NV 89052

Black Tiger BBQ I got so much soul…

Real food from real people cooked with heart & soul is hard to beat and difficult to replicate. Black Tiger BBQ & Soul Food Collective is the valley’s newest mobile BBQ and can bring it to your doorstep! Sourcing ingredients as locally as possible, they even use a local pig farm in North Las Vegas when going “whole hog.” In addition to whole pig roasts, briskets and tender delicious chicken, Black Tiger can prepare an array of savory sides. Brought to you by a man with fire in his belly and flavor in his fingertips, Gene Samuel knows there is no substitution for real soul and feels there is no place for counterfeit BBQ. Along with being a maestro of the grill, Gene is also a champion mixologist. Ask him about his “Punch Package” where he can take care of your beverage needs for any party.

Tacos & Beer

There is something about a long cooked & labor-intensive sauce made with love. The mole sauce at Tacos & Beer brings a beautiful concentration of flavor along with multiple layers of sapor. In a genre that is seldom perfected, this sauce is an example of what a mole should be. You can seemingly taste all of the ingredients; it is savory and nutty with hints of winter spice and cocoa and has a wonderful and lasting heat on the finish. In this rendition, it adorns roasted chicken enchiladas which are the perfect venue to soak up all of sauce and distribute the flavor on the palate. It is late-great Chef Jesus “Chuy” Ochoa’s recipe and they most certainly continued his legacy with this dish. But how could one match that with a beverage? General manager Felicia Ledger has many choices to offer. In this case, she poured an Imperial Stout infused with coffee beans called the Más Aún Café Jesús by Evil Twin brewing. This is a big beer (12% ABV) with a savory sweet complexity all on its own. It was a great complement to the dish and allowed the intermingling of flavors at an optimum level. For this, or anytime of the year, this pairing will leave you with an uncontrollable yearning for more. Open Daily 11:30 a.m.-2:30 a.m. • 3900 Paradise Rd, Las Vegas, NV 89169

28 The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional I January 2017

Product Review By Bob Barnes

Cognac de Collection Jean Grosperrin Petite Champagne VSOP

Cognac, named after the town of Cognac, France, is a variety of brandy produced in the wine-growing region surrounding the town from which it takes its name. Jean Grosperrin founded the House Grosperrin in 1992, which stands out as one of the last independent Cognac houses. Grosperrin dedicates itself largely to vintage cognacs (only about 1% of all cognacs produced are vintage because of highly restrictive and onerous regulations). Relying on his deep network of growers, Jean and his son Guilhelm purchase barrels of cognacs that they age and release once it is properly matured. One such vintage I had the pleasure to sample is the Cognac de Collection Jean Grosperrin Petite Champagne VSOP. Distilled in an Alambic Charentais copper pot and aged a minimum of twelve years, it’s made from different Cognacs coming from the same cru (terroir), which are chalky limestone and “groies” type soils. The result is a luscious nose of vanilla, fresh fruit and spice, followed by bold flavors of the same and a woody and spicy finish that is not overpowering. Cognac de Collection Jean Grosperrin Petite Champagne VSOP is imported by Domaine Select Wine & Spirits and is distributed by Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits in Southern Nevada and Southern California. Suggested retail price is $79.99 per 750 ml.

Kerrygold Irish Cream Liqueur

Kerrygold is the international brand of the Irish company Ornua. and is the marketing and sales division created by Ireland’s small dairy farmer co-op creameries to export butter and cheeses around the world. Kerrygold butter and cheeses are widely available in US supermarkets and specialty stores, but now for the first time its Irish Cream Liqueur is available in the US. Named World’s Best Cream Liqueur at the 2016 World Drink Awards, Kerrygold Irish Cream Liqueur is a premium blend of natural Irish cream, real chocolate and oak-aged Irish whiskey. Most cream liqueurs tend to use chocolate flavorings, but Kerrygold is made with real chocolate. The flavors in this liqueur blend quite nicely and complement each other offering an intense experience of creaminess, and its 17% ABV provides a warming velvety richness. Kerrygold Irish Cream Liqueur is imported exclusively in the US by Infinium Spirits at a suggested retail price of $24.99. In Southern California it is distributed by Young’s Market and in Southern Nevada through Breakthru Beverage.

Book Review

Beer FAQ: All That’s Left to Know About The World’s Most Celebrated Adult Beverage by Jeff Cioletti By Bob Barnes Now with the number of breweries in the US setting new records every day (which at last count topped 5,000) and yearly beer sales in the US topping more than $100 billion, the need to know the basics about the world’s most popular beverage is tantamount. As the title suggests, this 408-page no-nonsense guide to the world of beer answers the most common questions many have about the diverse array of styles, ingredients and international brewing and drinking traditions. But don’t let the title lead you to believe that the book is simplistic. Rather, with great detail it delves into topics including beer traditions, beer styles, the history of beer in the US, how beer is made, an explanation of the three-tier system, the evolution of modern beer packaging, proper glassware, a guide to the best beer bars, beer cocktails, beer festivals and homebrewing. Author Jeff Cioletti is an internationally recognized beverage writer, having served as editor-inchief of Beverage World magazine and written articles for a variety of publications, including Draft and All About Beer. He is also the author of the book The Year of Drinking Adventurously and writer/producer/director of Beerituality, a feature-length comedy set in the world of craft beer. Beer FAQ is available from Backbeat Books. For more info visit

January 2017 I The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional 29



Welcome back to our Las Vegas edition of Food & Beverage Pro. Now that we welcome 2017 we are looking ahead to this month and the coming months for some local and regional events well worth your consideration for attending.

Al Dentes’ Provisions 702-642-1100

page 32

Jay’s Sharpening Service 702-645-0049

Big Dog’s Brewing Company 702-368-3715

page 28

Major Foods 702-838-4698

Bivi Vodka 631-464-4050

page 11

Designated Drivers 877-456-7433

page 28

Don Julio

page 19

FORKS: A Quest for Culture, Cuisine, and Connection

Page 22

January 17 the Nevada Restaurant Association will hold its Annual Meeting of the Members at Siena Golf Club during which the 2016 directors and committee members will be honored and the incoming 2017 officers and directors will be inducted. On January 27 the Prostart Invitational, with 80 Nevada high school students competing in Culinary, Knife Skills, Management and Cake Decorating competitions, will be held at the Red Rock Casino, Resort & Spa. March 27-29 the Nightclub & Bar Show comes to the Las Vegas Convention Center for the largest beverage and bar show in the world, with unlimited tastes and treats! Don’t miss it. March 27-30 the Pizza Expo returns to the Las Vegas Convention Center with the world’s largest pizza, ingredients, products, and service expo, including demos and contests plus samplings all day long! The inaugural Vegas Food Expo March 30-31 will convene at the Gold Coast Hotel & Casino and will bring together innovative budding brands in the first ever show for young producers. Designed to give emerging food producers a forum to showcase their beautiful bounty, the Expo will bring together 100 of the nation’s most exciting up-and-coming brands.

page 9

page 21

Nevada Restarant Association page 31 Robert Mondavi Winery

page 2

Southwest Gas

page 30

Uncle Steve’s 718-605-0416

page 15

White Soy Sauce

page 8


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✆ 30 The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional I January 2017

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You are Invited

2017 Annual Meeting of the Members Tuesday, January 17th 2017 10.00 AM to 11.30 AM Siena Golf club 10575 Siena Monte Avenue Las Vegas, NV 89135 There is no cost to attend but registration is required Join us at the 34th Annual Meeting of the Members for an opportunity to learn more about the NvRA. Show support as the 2016 Directors and Committee Members will be recognized for their efforts and dedication to the NvRA. Induct and welcome the 2017 Officers and Directors on board as we begin a successful new year of promoting, protecting, and educating the restaurant industry.

More inforamtion at

• Wholesale distributor of exceptional quality dried spices and specialty foods to the finest hotels and restaurants • Owned and operated by a former chef with over 20 years of experience • Custom packed Herbs and Spices • Custom Spice Bends • Private labeling • Now Certified Kosher

Profile for The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional

January 2017  

Trade publication for food & beverage professionals in the Las Vegas area

January 2017  

Trade publication for food & beverage professionals in the Las Vegas area

Profile for lvfnb