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Issue 11 Volume 11

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Las Vegas Chef Chris Hanmer Wins Bravo Channel’s Top Chef: Just Desserts page 7

Brother George has left us for his next photo-shoot. George passed in peace after battling with health issues on October 24 at 8pm at home with his brother Mike & nephew Miko at his side. In the last few years, George’s joy in life has been performing his duties as the lead photograher for The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional at restaurants, functions, expos, and organizations. George was thrilled to receive an award for his dedicated contribution to the ACF Chefs Las Vegas for his photography. George’s wish was to be cremated and have his remains buried with his mother, Juanita Fryer, at Golden Gate National Cemetery in San Bruno, California.

George A. Fryer March 19, 1944 - October 24, 2011

November 2011





Our November issue cover is dedicated to Chef Chris Hanmer, the winner of Bravo’s Top Chef: Just Desserts Season 2 competition. Chris owns and teaches at The School of Pastry Design here in Las Vegas, which is co-housed with Chef Rubber Pastry and Baking Supplies. Chris has been a great contributor to our publication, offering his monthly pastry column for members of the F&B Industry to improve their skills. Cover photo courtesy Bravo.

2 October saw the passing of our associate, friend, and brotherGeorge Fryer, whose health problems finely took him to his next photo shoot…


Over the years, taking photos for The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional, George would remark, “I’ve taken over 50,000 photos at most major Food & Beverage events, shows, and expos here in Las Vegas.” We have been reviewing his work and have counted over 75,000 so far and still counting.

26 Recently we had the two major Foodservice distributors

showcasing their products for the upcoming holiday season. Sysco Foodservice and US Foods both had exceptional attendance at their respective shows, both of which were within a week apart.


Page 2 Goodbye George

Page 12 Brett’s Vegas View

Page 25 Guardia 33

Page 5 Asian Food Festival & Wine & Food Tasting Extravaganza

Page 15 Canaletto Ristorante

Page 26 Sysco Food Show & US Foods Show

Page 16 Laughlin’s Chefs Food Festival & Nove

Page 27 Latenight with Ryan

Page 6 HR Insights Page 7 Chef Hanmer wins Top Chef: Just Desserts

Page 18 Tom Recine

Page 8 G2E & Wines of Italy Page 9 What’s Brewing? Page 10 Food for Thought Page 11 Bourbon, Guns & Roses

Page 19 The New Tropicana Page 20 Nine-Ten Restaurant Page 22 The Future of Green Dining Page 24 Signature Chefs & ACF Chefs Tailgate BBQ

Page 28 Wine Talk with Alice Swift Page 29 Via Brasil Steakhouse Page 30 Anime Ramen & National Beer Wholesalers Association Convention Page 31 Advertiser Index

November 2011 I The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional 3

The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional 1200 S TORREY PINES SUITE 172 Las Vegas, NV 89146


November 2011 Mike Fryer Editor-in-Chief Thank you for joining us in this issue of The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional. For any questions, comments or advertising inquiries please email

The Annual Signature Chefs of Las Vegas was recently held downtown at the Golden Nugget with a great turn out. The March of Dimes is lucky to have their key man on the spot for the event, Southern Nevada Division Director Matt Gormley, who we welcome back to this great organization and event.

Bob Barnes Associate Editor

Valentino at The Venetian was host to a Classic Wines of Italy presentation featuring various boutique wineries of Italy. Our longtime friend in the industry was there to present his fine wines from Renegade Brands, Owner Mario Longabardi, who had several excellent wines for tasting.

George Fryer Award-Winning Photographer

The newest attraction to our dining experience in Chinatown is Anime Ramen & Teriyaki, the brainchild of Jason Lo, who also owns and operates the Satay Thai Bistro & Bar on Paradise. This is a unique concept to Las Vegas but has many such outlets in Japan and is sure to be a big hit with the Anime followers. Note: No waitress over 5’ tall sighted!

Juanita Aiello Creative Director


Contributor Jackie Brett

Contributor Les Kincaid

Contributor Juanita Fryer

Contributor Shelley Stepanek

Contributor Chef Brian

Contributor Linda Bernstein

Contributor Martin Koleff

Contributors Lucille Thaler & Tony Zanoff

Contributors Scott & Elaine Harris

Contributor Ryan “Hollywood” Wieczorek

Contributor Michael Oshman

Contributor Chef Jet

Contributor Alice Swift

Contributor Chef Allan Asch

Contributor Simone Hammond

Contributor Chandra Paige

Contributor Linda Duke

Contributor Jan-le Low

Contributor Lara Baldwin

Contributing Photographer Emil Rajkowski

Contributing Photographer Rose Powell-Carver

Contributing Photographer Alyssa Mayhew

Business Development George Baggott

Pre-Press Technician Brandon Yan

4 The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional I November 2011

Photos by Emil Rajkowski

1st Annual Asian Food Festival

Photos by Juanita Aiello

12th Annual Wine and Food Tasting Extravaganza Benefitting Nathan Adelson Hospice

November 2011 I The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional 5


By Linda Westcott-Bernstein

Linda Bernstein has provided sound human resources advice and guidance to Fortune 500 companies and others for over 25 years. She has helped these organizations review procedures and implement solutions that are designed to reduce liabilities and increase their profits. She also assists with the development of human capital through focused employee retention and training programs designed for all levels of employees. Linda has written a selfhelp book entitled “It All Comes Down to WE!” which offers guidelines for building a solid and enduring personal work ethic. You can find her book on the website (below) or on Amazon or Google books. Phone: 702-326-4040 Email: Booksite:


Question of the Month

Achieving Customer Service Excellence I may sound a little philosophical on this one, but I truly believe that everything in life happens for a reason. In my opinion, our nation was on the fast track to customer service annihilation just as the bottom fell out of our economy. We had become complacent, arrogant and a bit greedy. It seemed as though we had forgotten the value and purpose of our customers. In our insatiable desire for more and more profits, we lost sight of the connection those profits had to meeting the needs of our valued customers. I believe that it is time to return to our roots. We must breathe life back into service again and return to the basic yet sound principle of “the customer is always right.” And when that customer is not right, we make them feel as though they are – doing everything we can to satisfy their needs. It is more important than ever during these challenging times that we learn from our past mistakes and resolve to never make them again. So, how do we achieve customer service excellence, you might ask? By doing just three (3) very basic things; smile/welcome, listen/serve, and thank/invite back.

1. Smile and Welcome. Don’t we all want to feel genuinely welcome and appreciated? Regardless of where we go to spend our hard-earned (and it is!) money, we enjoy it when we are welcomed with a sincere smile, hear “hello” and a “may I help you?” How difficult is that for us to do? It isn’t!

2. Listen and Serve. Service could still be a great experience if we’d take a step back from the cash register and let the customer speak. Remember in the not so distant past when your customer’s input was valued? When listening came before interjecting our insightful opinion? Well stop…just stop, look and listen! Then serve – take care of their needs. Remember, serving is the main component of service.

3. Thank and Invite Back. I am certain that you feel the same way as I do about receiving a “thank you.” It kind of makes you tingle inside. A smile slides from your brain right onto your lips, and you instantly feel better! Isn’t it great! So, THANK your guests for visiting your place of business and then be sure to INVITE them to return.

IT’S THAT SIMPLE! Excellence is just a matter of caring and connecting. So easy to do - yet so elusive. But chivalry is not dead…and a few places of business never lost it. Keep your eyes and ears focused squarely on those essential customers that cross your threshold and you may just find you have excellence in your future! I can honestly say that I have already begun to notice slight improvements in service focus and a return to the above foundational values of customer service excellence. I sense a bit more courtesy, an increase in patience and understanding, and return to value for the dollar you spend. Don’t you notice it too? If not, may I suggest that you take a closer look and focus on your own efforts first. Thanks for stopping by, reading my column, and come back again real soon!

Next month’s topic: How and Why Business Must Connect with their Community. Does your organization get involved in activities and/or give back to your community? If so, how? Explain. Send responses to (Responses may be printed in next month’s column.)

6 The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional I November 2011

Las Vegas Chef Wins Bravo Channel’s Top Chef: Just Desserts Chef Chris Hanmer, owner of The School of Pastry Design, defeated 14 rivals and claimed the coveted title of ‘Top Chef’ from season 2 of Bravo’s Top Chef: Just Desserts. Hanmer’s rewards are a grand prize of $100,000, a feature in Food & Wine magazine and a showcase at the annual Food & Wine Cayman Cookout. Among the challenges Hanmer had to perform was his favorite, the ‘Real Housewives’ challenge, in which he had to work with flowers, reeds and bamboo, mediums he had not worked often with, to build a flower chandelier that set him and his teammates apart as working outside the box. Hanmer’s win is a monetary blessing that comes three months after his baby girl’s open heart surgery. Fortunately, Hanmer’s daughter is now fully healed, and doctors say she won’t have to have another surgery. When asked what he plans to do with the $100,000 prize money he said, “The surgery and the medical expenses drained our finances, so I’m fortunate that it comes at this time and now we have some breathing room. I also think there’s some shoes in the future for my wife! Being a small business owner, this win and this monetary compensation that comes with it is just really going to bless my business and actually help me grow and sustain.”

Photos courtesy Bravo

The first local culinary star to win on Bravo’s dessert competition, Hanmer also distinguished himself in 2004, becoming the youngest world pastry team champion ever, and one of the few champions to come from the United States.

Chef Rubber would like to congratulate Chris Hanmer on winning Top Chef: Just Desserts. Chef Rubber is proud to sponsor The School of Pastry Design and Chris Hanmer.

November 2011 I The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional 7

Photos by John & Laury Bakie

Global Gaming Expo - G2E 2012

Photos by Juanita Aiello

Classic Wines of Italy at the Pallazzo

8 The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional I October 2011

By Bob Barnes

Bob Barnes is a native Las Vegan, associate editor 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:



ew Head Brewers

Two Southern Nevada breweries have new head brewers. Jeff “Bubba” Amos has been promoted to head brewer at Barley’s after serving as assistant brewer at both Barley’s and Gordon Biersch. Just down the road at Joseph James Brewing, Alex Graham, a native Las Vegan, has also been promoted from assistant brewer to head brewer and has brought on Matt Breen as his assistant brewer. Both Alex and Matt have been very active in SNAFU, the local homebrew club, and have numerous awardwinning brews under their belts.

Silver State GABF Medals

Nevada unearthed two medals at the Great American Beer Festival, one each from breweries hailing from the northern and southern ends of the state. Las Vegas’s Chicago Brewing Company earned a silver in the Belgian-style Abbey Ale category for its WildWestmalle Tripel and Reno’s Great Basin Brewing Company was awarded a bronze in the Sweet Stout category for its Outlaw Outmeal Stout. Great Basin continues to lead the Silver State in medal wins, with this latest award logging in as its 10th GABF win. When I asked Brewmaster Tom Young about his latest win he said, “We brew our Outlaw Oatmeal Stout with fortitude, celebrating the complexity of a blend of barley and oats. We have worked on this beer for many years and this example displays the latest in our endeavors.” Chicago Brewing holds onto its claim as the most award-winning brewery in Southern Nevada. This win is its 9th GABF accolade, but equally impressive is that this beer has now medaled for the 4th time (twice in the World Beer Cup and twice in the GABF). Brewmaster Dave Pascual said, “Ever since this beer first medaled I knew it was a winner. It’s nice to see consistency year to year. It has a nice Belgian character with a light sweetness and it’s well balanced.” Since the GABF combined the dubbel and tripel categories, and the gold winner was a dubbel, Dave’s was technically this year’s best tripel.

BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse Hosts Beer Dinner

BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse hosts beer dinners every few months and magnanimously features brews other than its own. Its next pairing will make a departure by spotlighting all BJ’s beers, with a five-course dinner matching tastes of LightSwitch Lager,

Piranha Pale Ale, Harvest Hefeweizen, Jeremiah Red, P.M. Porter, Tatonka Stout, and my favorite, the Annual Grand Cru. Dates for the Southern Nevada locations are Nov. 28 (Summerlin) and Dec. 5 (Centennial and Henderson). As usual, the price for this feast is a very reasonable $30. Call the restaurant of your choice or visit <> to make a reservation.

Aces & Ales Winter Celebration

Aces & Ales will celebrate the beginning of the winter season with the “12 Days of Decadence with Deschutes” from Dec. 12-23. Each day will feature multiple Deschutes rarities on tap, visits from reps, give-aways and the Abyss Vertical Tasting will take place on the night of the 23rd.

Beer Spotlight This month the spotlight shines on Sam Adams Bonfire Rauchbier. This brew has a distinct smokiness derived from specialty malt being dried over an open fire. It sports a bold (but not too bold) smoky character with a rich malty finish balancing the smoked character. The name is fitting, as sipping this beer is reminiscent of sitting around a campfire. Beyond the campy character you’ll notice hints of caramel and toffee sweetness.

More Local Beer on the Vegas Strip The latest beer nugget I’ve unearthed on the Vegas Strip is the newly opened Rí Rá Irish Pub at the Mandalay Bay. It has considerably more choices than the average Irish pub, with more than 100 beers covering a large spectrum of beer styles. What’s even better is that Nevada breweries are well represented, with varieties of Tenaya Creek, Joseph James, Knee Deep and Sin City Brewing on its menu. You’ll appreciate the pub’s authenticity, for it was constructed from a pub that was meticulously restored and shipped from Ireland, and almost every inch of the five bar areas are decorated with Irish bric-a-brac and salvaged materials.

As always, great beer happens in Vegas!

November 2011 I The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional 9


Just in time for the Holiday!

By Les Kincaid

Remember the old fashioned round bunt pans? Well, I’ve had this recipe since that was common. I used a couple store bought products to even make this easier to put on your table, including a good decorating idea. With much of the preparation already done in a box for you, this will brighten up your table. It’s a great taste and people will love it…try it!


1 package Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe Spice Cake Mix 2 large eggs 1 cup water 1 cup canned pumpkin

1 cup chopped walnuts 2 tubs Duncan Hines Creamy Home-Style Classic Vanilla Frosting green, red and yellow food coloring 1 flat bottom ice cream cone

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour 10-inch Bundt pan. Combine cake mix, eggs, water and pumpkin in large bowl. Beat at medium speed with electric mixer for 2 minutes. Stir in nuts. Pour into pan. Bake 40 to 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 25 minutes. Invert onto serving plate. Cool completely. Measure 1/4 cup frosting into small bowl. Tint with green food coloring. Place ice cream cone upside down on waxed paper. Frost with green frosting. Refrigerate. Tint remaining frosting with red and yellow food coloring until frosting is desired orange color. Measure 3 tablespoons orange frosting in small bowl; add green food coloring to brown frosting. Frost cake with orange frosting. Make eyes, mouth and nose with brown frosting as desired on pumpkin. Place green frosted ice cream cone in center hole of cake for stem. Yield: 6-8 servings

Les Kincaid is a food, wine, and golf expert and cookbook author. He hosts a nationally syndicated wine radio show each Thursday from 7 to 8 pm. You can enjoy his website or his broadcast at or email FOLLOW ME ON FACE & TWITTER leskincaid leskincaid

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Second Annual Bourbon, Guns & Roses By Chandra Paige When I heard that the ladies would get to shoot machine guns and pistols at this women only event, I knew just who to invite as my guest, my good friend, Carla Pellegrino, from Bacio at the Tropicana and Bratalian in Henderson. If anyone deserved to blow off some steam with me and guns, it would be her, since she is always on her feet and working so hard with her restaurants. Of course, she said she wouldn’t miss it and we were looking forward to it. I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect, but it was an amazing night! I spoke with Ryan Wieczorek, who is employed at Back Bar USA, the company responsible for planning the evening. De’anna Jones and Ryan worked together with the ideas and schedule for the night. The president and owner is Tim Haughingderry. Ryan said one of the reasons they started this event was because there are already enough events going on in this town for men to have fun, but not enough for women. Another reason is to get people more familiar with the Wild Turkey brand. It is hoped that it will be a long term annual event for the women in the hotel industry such as MGM, Harrah’s, and Cosmopolitan, along with women in the press. Last year, a little more than 20 women were in attendance. This year 54 women were lucky enough to have the experience. They are hoping to double the amount next year; I told them I didn’t think they need to worry about making that goal. We were greeted at Simon in Palms Place with drinks and appetizers. We sat down and chatted with other invitees and Tim gave us a run-down of what to expect for the rest of the time. The staff was very pleasant and had great humor. Then we all got on 2 limo buses, danced and had a dancer from Men of X dance for us for our ride to American Shooters. Once at American Shooters, we were briefed on safety and put our headphones and goggles on. I don’t think there was one woman there that wasn’t wearing high heels and looking sexy. Who is to say we have to compromise style for shooting guns? We shot machine guns, semi-automatics and pistols. It was an adrenaline rush for sure! We were all wound up from shooting when we got back on the limo buses to head back to Simon. Jimmy Russell, who has worked for Wild Turkey for 57 years and is the master distiller, rode with my group on the way back. He had a smile on his face the entire time. Once back at Simon, they had a placemat of small cups of different kinds of Wild Turkey bourbons. Jimmy was the star of the evening, and we could see the love and passion he has for Wild Turkey. He explained each kind and was quite funny. We got to eat delicious desserts with the pairings of the bourbons. As a special treat, each of us got a goody bag to bring home. Beautiful roses and a 10 year old bottle of bourbon named after the master distiller himself, Jimmy Russell. He signed the bottles individually and took pictures with us. The 4 hours flew by and already I cannot wait for next year. This event is appropriately titled Bourbon Guns, and Roses, and I see success in the future for this fun, exhilarating event aimed for the ladies!

November 2011 I The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional 11

Brett’s BY


Replacing Sherwood Café, Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Southern rock band, will open its first restaurant at the Excalibur in early December. The venue being modeled after the tin shack “Hell House” will feature BBQ & Beer and offer breakfast, lunch and dinner, then transform into a late nightclub. The new restaurant Marbella on W. Flamingo Road in the former Ruth’s Chris Steak House space has opened for breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Marbella transforms into a trendy lounge and afterhours hotspot nightly and offers happy hour from 4 until 6:30 p.m. The Lady Silvia located inside the SOHO Lofts is the newest urban lounge in downtown Las Vegas’ arts district and features fine crafted cocktails, an extensive wine menu and five gaming machines.


Barry Manilow will close his show at Paris Dec. 11 and move to Harrah’s early next year while “Jersey Boys” will close its run at The Palazzo and take over the Paris showroom. Holly Madison has signed a multimillion dollar extension contract to remain as “Bo Peep” in “PEEPSHOW” at Planet Hollywood through 2012.

Recycled Percussion has returned to Tropicana Las Vegas. The band was introduced nationwide on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” when they placed third. Jazz and cabaret stars will experience Las Vegas when the 258-seat Cabaret Jazz at The Smith Center for the Performing Arts opens in March 2012. Jazz artists already scheduled include the San Francisco Jazz Collective and Branford Marsalis; cabaret stars include

Barbara Cook, Andrea Marcovicci and Las Vegas’ Clint Holmes, who will be a resident the first weekend of every month. Due to critical acclaim and popular demand, “Absinthe” returned with its outlandish acts at the Roman Plaza at Caesars Palace in a newly transformed venue. “The Price is Right Live™” Stage Show will celebrate five years at Bally’s with Jerry Springer as special celebrity host Nov. 9 – 20 and Nov. 30 – Dec. 11, and new prizes including a Mexico vacation at every show starting Nov. 9. Grammy Award-winning musician and producer of The Black Eyed Peas will host and perform his first-ever New Year’s Eve DJ set at Surrender Nightclub at Encore and Wynn.


Last month, the 15,000-square-foot Margaritaville Casino at the Flamingo opened. It adjoins the restaurant and offers 22 gaming tables, 220 slot machines and 5 O’clock Somewhere Bar. Downtown’s Golden Gate, which opened in 1906, is expanding with a new five-story structure with 16 new hotel suites and completion next spring. The existing deli will be modernized and move, the hotel lobby will move to the new structure, the casino floor will expand, and some conference rooms will be added.

The MGM Grand is currently undergoing a $160 million remodel that includes all 3,570 guest rooms and 642 suites in the hotel’s main tower with expected completion by September 2012 and the initial set of redesigned rooms by November 2011.

12 The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional I November 2011

The Palms has created the Playboy Party Pit with Playboy bunny dealers and six blackjack tables open Thursday – Sunday.  

Clothing store Original Penguin’s first Las Vegas store and authentic East Coast style pizzeria D’Amore’s Famous Pizza are new at the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood. The Nevada State Museum opened at its new location in the Las Vegas Springs Preserve. The 70,000-square-foot new $51.5 million museum is double the size of the former museum in Lorenzi Park. Martin Lawrence Galleries has opened possibly the biggest United States art gallery at The Forum Shops at Caesars with more than 26,000 square feet of gallery, exhibition and event space with an Erté exhibition on Dec. 1.   Hormeta, a leading high-end internationally-known cosmetics line in Europe and Asia, has expanded to the United States with its first retail stores in Harrah’s main lobby and at McCarran’s D Gates. The new First Friday owners plan more art booths and music stages; an expansion of art locales; and more and better artists.

makeup: Lisa Berczel, wardrobe: Nyx Valentine, model: Kyara Tyler, photography: Adam Chilson

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Restaurant Review


By Shelley Stepanek

This beautiful restaurant, sitting in St. Mark’s Square on the Grand Canal at The Venetian, is certainly a place to have a romantic dinner. The indoor dining area has 16-footceilings, with polished hardwood floors, where you can see the open kitchen. The outdoor dining in the square lets you watch the mimes and magicians perform during dinner. We dined on a busy Friday night, as the Assistant General Manager Matthew Galli, attended quickly to our table. We started with a pinot noir, MacMurray Ranch, and a glass of sparkling “Carpen Mavoliti” wine. Our antipasto courses were fresh sardines soaked in vinegar, oil, pepper and chili, with sweet onions on crostini, along with imported salt cod, marinated in milk overnight, and then sautéed in a pizza oven and served on a soft polenta. My main course consisted of a risotto with baby tomatoes, arugula, onions, garlic, Grana Padana and fresh mozzarella; my guest dined on a fillet-filetto di bue al arrostito, with rosemary and garlic sauce, served with sauteed organic spinach and tomatoes. It was hard to not have one of the great looking pizzas, or to try the rack of lamb. From free range chicken to Chinook salmon, there is a wide range of flavors for everyone. The desserts consisted of a caramel pear, a crepe marinated with grappa and a marvelous tiramisu. Our service was gracious, and our waiter spoke French and Italian. We couldn’t have asked for a more spectacular evening with this setting. Upstairs, there are five private rooms for groups from 6 to 175, all with views over the Grand Canal and the gondolas passing below you. Canaletto is part of the Il Fornaio restaurant chain, which has a great reputation. There is another Canaletto located in Newport Beach as well.

702.733.0070 • Open Sun.-Thurs. 11:30-11, and Fri. and Sat. 11:30-12 a.m.

November 2011 I The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional 15

Laughlin Chamber Chefs Food Fest The Aquarius Casino Resort hosted this year’s event on October 6, 2011. The evening showcased the imaginations, creations and talents coming out of the finest properties along the Colorado River. The event featured as many as 16 beautifully adorned booths bearing the most outrageous foods and delicacies ever “engineered” by the very finest culinary artists in the southwest. “This is the only event that collectively features the chefs doing what they do best, creating amazing cuisine,” explained Tony Timmons, Chamber Board President. “It’s exceptional in terms of food quality and presentations. This is the opportunity for these chefs to show off their specialties, making the event fun and very competitive.”

The Laughlin Chamber traditionally contributes $15,000 to the River Fund, a non-profit organization making the event even more important. Attendees will experience the ultimate in fine dining, enjoy the festive atmosphere, network a little and local charities will be the beneficiary. “Much of the proceeds have made their way to local emergency service referrals, special cases of displaced homeless families as well as regional disaster relief for the local area,” said Executive Director Connie Davis.

Photos courtesy Laughlin Chamber of Commerce

As in the past, each property competes for “Best Presentation & Food” and “Best Booth Design” which, by its nature, has resulted in a major competition to win the trophies. “Chefs have never really been limited on what they can prepare or how much they can spend,” Timmons explained. “Each property has been known to spend several thousand dollars devoting a lot of time and effort into preparing for this event which of course, is for a great cause.”

Photos by Bill Bokelmann


16 The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional I November 2011

Tom Recine Vice President of Food & Beverage and Retail Tropicana Las Vegas By Bob Barnes

I recently chatted with Tom Recine, the Tropicana Las Vegas Vice President of Food & Beverage and Retail, about his role in the recent transformation of the property and how that transformation has renewed one of the oldest resorts on the Las Vegas Strip. Tom has an extensive background in the food & beverage industry. He came to Las Vegas in 1989, and opened the Mirage, followed by the MGM Grand and New York New York. These experiences led to him developing into a transformation specialist. He transferred to the Luxor in 2005 and later served as Senior Vice President of Operations at Planet Hollywood. In December 2009 he was hired by the Tropicana Las Vegas’ new owner Alex Yemenidjian and President Tom McCartney, as they were looking for a team to transform the property into its now resplendent South Beach theme. How has the Tropicana Las Vegas been transformed into a South Beach theme? How do your new restaurants and bars reflect that? The Tropicana opened in 1957 and is one of the oldest resorts on the Strip. It needed a lot of attention and I have been blessed to be on a team that worked together to redo every aspect of the property. The whole property was transformed in a very short period of time, which was miraculous. Through the leadership of Owner Alex Yemenidjian and President Tom McCartney we went after quality in food and beverage and sought out the best talent. Our Executive Chef George Bargisen has really taken a lackluster program and enhanced each and every part of it to be quality oriented and culinary focused. Everything we do is to fit into the theme. The feel and design, menu and cocktail offerings and style of service we provide all come together to reflect the theme. Nothing is pretentious, and we want guests to feel welcome and have fun. How have your guests responded to this transformation? All of the focus is on quality, and we are offering a ‘Plus One Experience’-giving people more than what they expect. 100% of the focus is on providing the best and friendliest service on the Strip, and Alex Yemenidjian is relentless in his quest for making that happen. We’ve received great feedback on Trip Advisor, with our Biscayne Steak, Sea & Wine steakhouse currently ranked #13 of all Las Vegas restaurants and Bacio by Carla Pellegrino is ranked #44 out of 1,380 Las Vegas restaurants. In Bacio, Carla Pellegrino has created the best 18 The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional I November 2011

Italian restaurant and the best offering on the LV Strip. She’s done an amazing job, and is not only a fantastic chef, but is a vibrant and great personality that lights up the restaurant. She puts all of her heart and soul into what she puts on her culinary offerings and we are very proud of what she does. I understand that the Tropicana has a beverage system that is unique to the industry. Can you tell us about it? In our suites we are using a new product called Smart Bars, and are the first hotel casino property to purchase it. These are automated beverage machines that pour mixed cocktails that guests select by ordering on a touch screen. With 14 sodas and juices and 16 different spirits, the combinations are endless and you can make virtually any cocktail. It’s a revolutionary invention that will revolutionize the industry. What direction is the Tropicana headed next? We continue to move in the right direction. In the next year or so we have some unbelievable and exciting venues coming. Club Nikki will be transformed into RPM Nightclub, which stands for revolutions per minute, for it’s a music-based energy venue. The re-launch will take place on December 30 with a lineup of headliner talent to be announced soon. RPM will be run in-house with Richard Wilk heading up operations as Vice President of Nightclub Marketing and Operations. In addition, Café Nikki will be rebranded and renamed within the next 30 days and the beach club will also be rebranded, which we will be announcing in January.


November 2011 I The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional 19


Nine-Ten Restaurant

By Bob Barnes

Contemporary Seasonal Cuisine in the Heart of Historic La Jolla Nine-Ten Restaurant takes its name from its address on Prospect Street, right in the heart of the shopping district in the beautiful beach town of La Jolla, California. Set in the Grande Colonial Hotel that dates back to 1913, dining at Nine-Ten is a blending of historic charm and contemporary seasonal cuisine. The restaurant’s interior is casually elegant enhanced with stone marble columns, rich mahogany wood accents, natural light via skylight and front windows and a wall of wine displaying the extensive selection. Sidewalk tables on Prospect Street allow for people-watching and dining al fresco while appreciating the pleasant climate of La Jolla. The restaurant has garnered a bevy of awards and accolades, and most recently was recognized with a 2011 “extraordinary to perfection” rating by ZAGAT; named Best Fine Dining Hotel Restaurant by the San Diego Restaurant Association in 2011; awarded the 2011 “Silver Fork Award: Best Overall Restaurant in San Diego” by the San Diego Home/Garden & Lifestyles Magazine; and received a San Diego Magazine 2011 “Best Restaurants in San Diego” Critic’s Choice Award. Executive Chef Jason Knibb has also been honored with several awards. He recently was named Best Chef in the 2011 La Jolla Village News Readers Choice Awards; in 2010 he was a Rising Star Chef Winner, one of only 2 chefs in San Diego to be recognized for this coveted honor; and in 2009 was one of the first three chefs to be inducted into local Chef Hall of Fame (sponsored by San Diego Home/Garden & Lifestyles Magazine and KUSI Television). Chef Knibb excels at delivering innovative cuisine with a commitment to using only the freshest produce and adjusts the menu seasonally to bring the best of the harvest from local artisan farmers. Knibb selects produce daily and local fish selections are used whenever possible, along with items arriving daily from Hawaii and the North Pacific and Atlantic regions.

An excellent beginning to your meal is the delectable Hamachi Sashimi with marinated baby shiitake mushrooms dressed with a delicious scallion vinaigrette; or the Fig & Ricotta Salad, a great melding of flavors and textures with a combination of la quercia prosciutto, hazelnuts, arugula and a white truffle oil vinaigrette. Main course gems include the Port Wine Braised Beef Short Ribs with roasted Chino Farms carrots, gingered shallots, mushroom puffs and a sesame-carrot puree. Braised for 36-hours in port wine and cabernet, it’s so tender it almost melts in your mouth. The Northern Halibut is a delightful mixture of sea beans, hon shimeji mushrooms, peanuts, kaffir lime, coconut & green curry and Chino Farms corn.

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


Sommelier Cristiana Sa is well equipped to suggest a wine to complement your meal, with mainly small producers of varietals that are sustainable and organic growers. The menu contains the most recognizable and best wineries from each region, with representation from Portugal, Italy, New Zealand, South Africa, France, Germany and Spain. The beer menu holds its own as well, with a well-rounded selection of 27 craft brews, several of which hail from the San Diego area, such as Ballast Point and Stone. The restaurant’s commitment to serving local food and drink is evident in the beer menu’s listing for Bud and Bud Light, which is captioned ‘Hang Your Head in Shame.’ Perfect finishes include the 910 Signature Half Baked Chocolate Cake, a lava-like rich indulgence that is served with caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream; and Caramelized White Chocolate Mousse---marshmallow fluff, graham cracker, and a dark chocolate-rosemary sorbet. This dessert has a beautiful presentation with vibrant colors and a very unique flavor nuance of the essence of rosemary in a sorbet.

Nine-Ten Restaurant

910 Prospect Street in the Grande Colonial Hotel • La Jolla, CA 92037 • (858) 964-5400 • Open nightly for dinner from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Sundays and Mondays. 20 The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional I November 2011


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The Future of Green Dining:

Where We’ve Come and Where We’re Going Michael Oshman, CEO and Founder Green Restaurant Association (

At a trade show last year, I witnessed two they have made it clear they want clean water, Certified Green Restaurants® have a friendly safe and renewable energy, sustainable food and mildly competitive conversation about and safe and tested chemicals. The ambiguity who would be the first 4 Star Certified Green Restaurant®. One of them achieved the goal of has receded, and the consumer’s voice has becoming a 4 Star Certified Green Restaurant® been heard by restaurants around the globe. just last month. I’ve also Starting a few years ago, seen a concentration of those restaurants began chafing fuel companies to clamor to meet their coming out with products consumer’s desires, but that meet the GRA Endorsement standards. the pickings were few. The I’ve had manufacturers variation of green products that have confided that to meet the restaurants’ they are losing restaurant needs were lacking. Now, customers because they had no green product competition has evolved offerings. The GRA then a creative upward force of facilitates those companies products and solutions that to produce products that create more sustainability, so meet the GRA Standards, Michael Oshman, CEO and Founder and all of a sudden those the consumer has affected Green Restaurant Association manufacturers are now part the restaurants, distributors of the Green Economy. and manufacturers, who then get rewarded up We are in the midst of a supply-side green and down the vertical green chain. As that has solutions revolution. The competitors are out happened, prices and quality have improved. of the gates, leaving behind those companies that were trying on greenwashing rather than We’ve had the privilege of both facilitating producing real green solutions. and witnessing this process, and it is nothing In the area of waste, hauling companies less than one of the most historical moments are becoming competitive with the goal of modern society. The race to the green top of helping restaurants achieve Near Zero Waste™ status. There are more packaging is where efficiency, safety, health, prosperity, items that have higher post consumer waste. and security converge. Using resources more Linen companies are competing to help wisely is what we, as a species have always restaurants get the proper Green Points™ in done, until recent human history, and we are that category. LED lighting options are now becoming prolific. We are seeing not just now coming back to that natural order, and we incremental changes…but some significant will all reap the benefits for that. leaps in the environmental merits of certain products. Even items that were out of the 2011 to 2015, we’ll be witnessing a green reach for restaurants, such as solar, are now energy and green transportation tipping point worth a conversation. In some areas like that will impact all of our lives, including the Massachusetts, solar is so competitive, that restaurant industry. So, if you haven’t jumped in some scenarios it is cheaper than dirty on yet, it’s not too late. The free ticket to the energy. Green Economy Express is contributing a The best of capitalism is now at work. Soccer product or service that significantly increases moms, businesspeople, executives, blue collar workers, college students and all facets efficiency and safety… which will then lead to of society have voted with their dollars, and more Green for your balance sheet.

DID YOU KNOW? GRA isn’t just a certification program for restaurants. Manufacturers: The GRA provides an endorsement program for the best environmental products in the restaurant industry. Distributors: The GRA works with distributors to help them carry the best environmental products, green their own operations and educate their sales staff as to the most important environmental issues of the day. 22 The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional I November 2011

Michael Oshman is the founder and executive director of the Green Restaurant Association (GRA), a national non-profit organization formed in 1990 to create environmental sustainability in the foodservice industry. Michael has worked tirelessly over the past two decades by providing research, consulting, education, and certification to hundreds of restaurants so that they can better serve their customers, employees and the environment. He has been featured in Time Magazine, NBC Nightly News, NPR, CNN, Fox News, ABC, The New York Times, The Boston Globe and hundreds of other local and national media outlets. He has also given keynote speeches and guest lectures at conferences across the country, including the National Restaurant Show, Food Service Packaging Institute, New York Restaurant Show, International Hotel/Motel Restaurant Show, SPECS, Green Festival, and more. As the pioneer of the green restaurant movement, Michael continues his mission to educate consumers and restaurateurs… affecting change one bite at a time. About the Green Restaurant Association 2010 marks the 20th anniversary of the Green Restaurant Association’s (GRA) founding in 1990. The Green Restaurant Association is a national non-profit organization that provides the only official Certified Green Restaurants® mark in the country. For two decades, the GRA has pioneered the Green Restaurant® movement and has been the leading voice within the industry encouraging restaurants to listen to consumer demand and green their operations using transparent, sciencebased certification standards. With their turnkey certification system, the GRA has made it easy for thousands of restaurants to become more environmentally sustainable in a profitable manner. The GRA is endorsed by scores of national environmental organizations such as NRDC and Environmental Defense, and esteemed trade organizations including the New York State Restaurant Association, Orange County Restaurant Association, and America Public Garden Association. The GRA is also an Energy Star partner. In 2010, Citysearch announced the GRA as their official Green Restaurant® listing partner. The GRA has been featured on CNN, NBC Nightly News, NPR, and in The New York Times, and The Washington Post. For more information visit

Green Restaurant Association


Since 1990

Thinking of Going Green? Take a strategic approach.

a non-profit organization Phone: (617) 737-3344 Email:

Photos by Bill Bokelmann

March of Dimes Signature Chefs

Photos by Miko Fryer

ACF Chefs Las Vegas Associate Advisory Board’s Annual Tailgate BBQ “Feast for 50” Auctioned Off at Chefs For Kids Gala

24 The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional I November 2011

Guardia 33 Wines Make a Big Impression on a Las Vegas Executive Chef As a journalist it is always “fun” to experience a birth of a restaurant, resort, winery or a wine that is new to the region or even the country. Recently a new line of wines arrived in Las Vegas and all we can say is BRAVO! Guardia 33 is a wonderful line of wines that has arrived in Las Vegas and is making a big splash in this land of All-Star Chefs and Master Sommeliers. The roots of Guardia 33 start in the quaint village of Guardia Sanframondi in the region of Campania. We started with the lovely Guardia 33 white wines with great anticipation. The Sannio DOC is aged in stainless steel and has gentle aromatic notes, balanced minerality and straw-colored in the glass. On the palate hints of melon and citrus notes are prominent. Fiano, Sannio DOC is much more intense. On the nose there are light aromas of all-spice, green herbs, almonds and pine nuts. The palate confirms the nose with a creamy mouth feel and nice balanced acidity on the finish. On the nose Fiano Apiano shows aromas of almond, pine nuts and citrus. All of these are confirmed on the palate with a nice long bright finish. Falanghina, Guardiolo DOC is a nice refreshing wine. Just like the other wines previous to this, there are notes of herbs, green pepper and a slight nuttiness on the palate with very light citrus notes on the finish. The final white wine was a real treat and is one that only a few Americans have tried, Coda di Volpe, Sannio DOC, “fox’s tail.” In the glass this very special wine was straw colored and the nose and palate exploded with white fruit and citrus notes and finished with light well balanced acidity. It was time to “bump” it up, and that we surely did as we tried the first of the red wines. Aglianico, Guardiolo DOC is aged in stainless steel. For a red wine that was aged in stainless steel it was rather complex and reminded us of a Barolo in many ways. Old world signature earth notes come through on the nose and on the palate with lingering notes of smoke, cherry, raspberry and other red fruits that all combine with a long finish and smooth tannins. The Aglianico, Rosso Riserva, Guardiolo DOC was our final wine and well worth the wait. The lovely blend of 80% Sangiovese/20% Aglianico makes this wine unique and classic all in the same glass. The blend is not common; using the Sangiovese gives this wine a lot of complexity. To really experience a wine properly you need to pair it with food. Being that these wines come from a coastal region, what a better place to take these wines out and put them to the

test than with a restaurant whose chef knows how to prepare a variety of dishes. Executive Chef Tim Horrock at the very famous KOI in the Planet Hollywood Resort was up to the challenge. There could not be a better chef and restaurant than Koi to sample these wines with creative dishes. Chef Tim was excited to get started. He explained that his philosophy has always been, “…to do as little as possible to the dish to bring out the best in the dish and the wine. These light bodied red wines allow me to create a variety of choices.” With nice wines and anticipation of great creations we put ourselves in the very capable hands of Melody Pender and her staff. The Fiano was paired first as Chef Tim joined us at table. The Hamachi fusion, soy yuzu, truffle essence paired nicely as we expected, with flavors from the sea and land lending to a perfect marriage of food and wine. The second dish of a Hot Hamachi Roll, with yellowtail tartare inside, topped with sliced yellowtail and jalapeno put the wine to its first test with some “heat.” It passed with flying colors with the acidity in the wine balancing perfectly with the spice in the dish. Seared tuna, jalapeno and crisp garlic chips provided a chance to see these wines from the coast paired with a fish and did a perfect job bringing out the best in both. The biggest test for these lovely wine wines was the Steamed Chilean Sea Bass with ginger, ichimi and shitake mushrooms. Once again, the sea bass paired with shitake mushrooms allowed the wine to take on its more mineral qualities for a delicious pairing.

By Elaine & Scott Harris

Elaine Harris, sommelier, owner of Vino Las Vegas LLC and Editor-In-Chief of The Cuisineist. Scott Harris, sommelier, President of Vino Las Vegas LLC and a staff journalist for The Cuisineist. Email:

It was now time to bring on bigger wines. The challenge to Chef Tim was not to overpower the dish or the wine. He succeeded with the Aglianico in three perfect pairings: Salmon Carpaccio with black truffle, citrus sauce; Seared Tuna with truffle and foie gras; and Australian Wagyu filet served toban yaki style with asparagus and Japanese mushrooms. All three dishes were food and wine pairing works of art and we experienced how the wine changed from dish to dish like a perfect symphony in tune. The Guardia 33 is a wonderful line of wines that are unique and should easily find a home on many of the finest wine lists in the country.

November 2011 I The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional 25

Photos by Bill Bokelmann

Sysco Food Show

Photos by Juanita Aiello

US Foods Show

26 The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional I November 2011


Palms Party Suites:

By Ryan “Hollywood” Wieczorek

Better than a Nightclub Nobody loves to party more than Las Vegans. Most of us have been to every club at least five times this year. We are always craving something new. When we hear a new nightclub is set to open, it is like Christmas came early. But, the same old routine gets mundane after a while. There are only so many times you can go to Party-Rock Monday at Marquee before you start seeing the same people, week after week. Luckily for us, Vegas has more alternatives to nightclubs than most people know. Some promotion companies shave started running late night parties inside hotel suites and large hotel rooms. But if you’re looking for the best suites to party at, look no further than the Palms. UNLV Beverage Club recently put on the Pink Party over at the Barbie Suite of the Palms in honor of breast cancer awareness month. A variety of over 300 different people crowded the room throughout the night. The bar boasted an array of shock-top flavors and Absolut Vodka flavor cocktails. R&B artist, Slykat, sang many of his new songs including “Lucky” and “Hotel Cloud Nine.” DJ SAM was also in the house spinning house music. Where is the next Palms Party Suite night-party going to happen? Follow the Beverage Club with the link below.

After Bacardi rented out Marquee to showcase their torched cherry flavor, I never thought they would be able to outdo themselves. Well, they came close with their Industry Launch of Bacardi Oak Heart. Hundreds packed into Carnival Court to try the new vanilla and oak flavored Bacardi flavor. Cocktails were flowing, including the signature Oak and Coke (Not good if you’re a Pepsi lover). One of the attendees created his own cocktail, Oak-Coke-and Smoke, in which he indulged in the cocktail and then helped himself to a Camel Light Cigarette. Besides the mind blowing open bar, flair bartenders created a fire around the bar and started serving shots through the fire. A bartender balanced an array of Bacardi bottles on his nose. The highlight of the night was seeing “Young the Giant” perform a plethora of songs for the Bacardi fans. The band is fresh off the hype of their recent MTV VMA performance, where they received performance of the night from fans. Now, I’m just waiting for the next Bacardi Flavor to come out so we can go to one more crazy Bacardi Party.

Call or email suggestions for nightlife stories or if you have an industry-friendly event or property with latenight hours. Phone: 714-721-2670 Email:

Bacardi Launches Oak Heart-Now Let’s Invite the Industry and Get Ready to Fist Pump

Ryan is a classically trained chef and a veteran mixologist plying his trade in Las Vegas. As the Event Director for Getout! Las Vegas he has been involved with a number of projects in expanding the Vegas Nightlife Scene.


Must-Attend Nightlife List November 12th Brewers Best Beer Festival beer-fest

November 19th Ghost Bar Day Club

November 22nd 3rd Annual Gobble a Go-go at LAVO

November 2011 I The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional 27

Wine Talk with Alice Swift

St. Francis Interview, Part 2 St. Francis Winery, Sonoma, California This month’s St. Francis interview is part two of a two-part interview. This month includes continued interviews with Christopher Silva (President and CEO) and Heather Munden (Artisan Winemaker), and the scoop on their harvest for this year. St. Francis Winery in Sonoma, California, has over 600 acres of vineyards, as well as having working relationships with nearby vineyards. In addition to the practice of fully handpicking all of their grapes, St. Francis has also begun the movement towards the green conservation practice. In 2004, St. Francis installed a solar panel system on the roof of the winery, as well as having bottle and water conservation/recycle programs. Furthermore, the winery is a beautiful sight to see, with hospitable and welcoming employees. In fact, St. Francis was just honored as the only winery to win “Best Place to Work in the North Bay.” The following is an interviewed I conducted with both Chris and Heather. Chris, do you cook a lot at home as well? What is your specialty? My kids know that I pretty much keep it simple and healthy and I love to grill; steaks, chicken, chops are often what we have for dinner, always with big salads. We are Swiss-Italian so I am still practicing my grandmother’s risotto recipe. And we always sit down together as a family for dinner and talk about our day. My mother always made family dinner a top priority when I was a kid, and I think that sitting down to dinner together—everyone in the house—is one of the single most important things parents can do for their children. No one kid can ever get lost or stray too far if he or she is part of a family dinner on a regular basis.

water table below the ground. The Wine Spectator named our “Old Vines” Zinfandel the top Zinfandel in the world back in 1999, and the rest is history!

What is your favorite wine at St. Francis? Our St. Francis Sonoma County “Old Vines” Zinfandel. I couldn’t imagine not having it on our Thanksgiving table, as those wonderful flavors and aromas of berry, spice, cherry and pepper complement all the different flavors and dishes of Thanksgiving. Our Zinfandel also goes very well with ribs and pizza and BBQ; just a lovely wine, and one that is tied to the history of winemaking in Sonoma County as far back as the 1850s. Some of the vines we still get grapes from for our “Old Vines” Zinfandel are over 120 years old, and are almost entirely dry-farmed, meaning no drip, sprinkler, or irrigation is used to grow them—just rain above the ground and roots that grow as far down as the subterranean

When I went to St. Francis over the summer, you mentioned that you love cooking and that you grew up in the kitchen. How did you transition from working in the culinary world to the winemaking world? I just jumped in. I got a job during harvest working in the lab while simultaneously going to the junior college taking chemistry classes. It was an absolute killer but after harvest they gave me a full time position running the laboratory.

How are you involved in Las Vegas, specifically at UNLV? I have served as Dean of the Harrah Hotel College’s National Advisory Board since 2006. I had met Board Member Debi Benedetti, who is an executive coach, at a charity function here at the winery and she called and asked me if I would consider being nominated. I agreed because I think it is important that the dean hears from people in the hospitality industry, and from the wine industry in particular.

blend that we just made called Block 7 and it was super yummy.

Christopher Silva, President & CEO, St. Francis Winery & Vineyards Healther, what was your background before St. Francis? Prior to St Francis I worked for Hartford Winery producing Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Zinfandel and Syrah. Before that I was traveling around the world making wines on both sides of the hemisphere. The opportunity to work with so many different varieties within Sonoma County brought me here. I am now responsible for approximately 19 different wines whose production is between 90-500 cases each.

After your article in Wine Spectator (July 31, 2011 Issue, At Home With Heather Munden), I discovered a couple new things about you. You obviously love working in the kitchen, and I love your wood-fired oven that you made yourself. Do you have any other unique tidbits about yourself that you can share with us? I started keeping bees about 6 years ago. I have been known to make cheese and of course there is the Charcuterie. I am also pretty handy with a sewing machine and a hammer. The next skill I am going to work on is fly-fishing. I think it would be very calming for me.

What are your current “experiments” in wine at the moment? I am always looking for something new to play with. I may have found some Grenache that I can co-ferment with some Syrah and Mouvedre to make a Rhone blend. I am also getting a ton of Primitivo from Sonoma Valley to evaluate. What is your favorite wine at St. Francis at the moment? That would depend on the time and day of the week. Yesterday I tasted a new Cabernet

28 The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional I November 2011

Heather Munden, Artisan Winemaker, St. Francis Winery & Vineyards


Via Brasil is a tried and true Brazilian steakhouse located on Fort Apache Road and West Charleston. It is an authentic ‘Churrascaria’ that delights your palate with scrumptious and succulent meats served on wooden skewers – the way the gauchos of South America prepared their meats over slow roasting fires for hundreds of years. It is absolutely terrific!!! Having spent many vacations in South America – their food is authentic! The wait staff is 85% Brazilian, and many have come from its other and original location in New York City. This is not just another Brazilian restaurant – it is a uniquely created place for relaxing over a long and never rushed dinner! The interior is very South American modern, and lifts your spirits. From the moment you enter its doors, you feel the ambiance and hear the sounds of live musicians who play gentle jazz with Brazilian overtones – classical acoustic guitar, saxophone and electric guitars are background music that transports you into the wondrous world of the true South America. A background waterfall glass wall adds to the calming mood and you feel like slow dancing to the beats of the bossa nova. Via Brasil offers a ‘Rodizio,’ a prix-fixe meal that features over 16 meats and delicacies that arrive at your table by gallant waiters. Please, sample a Caipirinha, which is the national cocktail of Brazil. It has overtones of a mojito, but is in a class of its own! Delicious!!!! It is a blending of Brazilian rum (Cachaca) mixed with fresh limes, sugar, and served to unbeatable perfection.

The salad bar has delicacies including grilled portobello mushrooms, seafood salad, mussels, beef carpaccio, fine cheeses, hot dishes and many more daily chosen delights, even mushroom ravioli. Remember, South America has a large international population, especially in Brazil, Argentina, and Venezuela. The European and global influence on these countries on the eastern portion of South America is decidedly obvious and the entire meal is totally continental. Large families are easily accommodated in the spacious restaurant; so do consider this place for a great family occasion, or just a get together with friends and relations or dating experiences. Via Brasil offers special event catering in their private dining room and has facilities for presentations with event capabilities. You may consider this place for a different type of holiday gathering.

The Valley News Team

Lucille Thaler & Tony Zanoff

Leandro Tavares is the head captain. He is a man who will make you feel like a very special guest as you enter the doors of Via Brasil. Marcolo Burgos, who has spent ten years as a chef, comes from Sao Paulo, and hand selects the meats and produce for each day’s meals. Lucio Viana, is from Belo Horizonto, and has served as a chef for the past five years. Luiz Gomes and Adam Gomes are the owners of this sensational restaurant that premiered several years back (1999) in New York City. The South American style of pride in being in the restaurant business is evident in the care of each detail (whether it be the food, design, or treatment of its clientele) that makes Via Brasil stand out in the new wave of the popular Brazilian restaurants in Las Vegas.

As you are seated in this special world, Via Brasil’s captains explain the traditions of the food, formally greet you, and explain how it will be served to the table. You are even given small discs – green on one side for go – and the meats will start coming by for your selection. On the other side is red, for stop – so you may get up and choose from an unbeatable and gourmet salad bar or just to rest yourself for a bit.

November 2011 I The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional 29

Anime Ramen and Teryaki

Photos by Juanita Aiello

National Beer Wholesalers Association 74th Annual Convention at Caesars Palace

30 The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional I November 2011


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November 2011 - The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional  

Magazine for Las Vegas Food & Bevererage Professionals