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Issue 12 Volume 12

LasV egas Dining Tours Las Vegas Dining at its Finest

Culinary Dining Tours of Las Vegas on the Strip presented by The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional • Dine at 4-5 different specialty restaurants on one visit • Experience some of the best culinary dishes in Las Vegas • Take the guessing out of “Where to eat?” and no waiting in lines • Specialty cocktails - selected wines and beverages are all included • Perfect for visitors & locals looking for unique dining experiences • Great for convention-goers and spouses - three tours per day • Excellent for company dining tour and team-building experience

Restaurants you may visit depending on the day and time include: SushiSamba • Valentino • Delmonico • Aquanox • Public House Lagasse’s Table 10 • First Food & Bar • Double Helix

Las Vegas Dining Tours visit 4-5 restaurants per tour Luncheon Dining Tour 11am - 2pm Mid-day Dining Tour 2pm - 5pm Dinner Dining Tour 5pm - 8pm NOTE: Guests must be 21 or older - sorry, no children or pets due to restaurant policies. Tours limited to 20 guests per tour with average tours of 10-12 guests. Dining tour prices from $150/pp are all-inclusive including tax and tips. Custom & private gourmet tours available on request.

Contact: The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional Dining Tours Scott & Elaine Harris - 702-812-0346

December 2012




FEATURES EATING LAS VEGAS is one of the top books for getting to know the top restaurants here in Las Vegas first hand, by three of our very well known and knowledgeable food critics, each with his own interpretation of good! Want to see who’s in and who’s out this year and which restaurants are now in the 50 essential restaurants of Las Vegas? Full story on page 16





Back Cover

LAS VEGAS DINING TOURS is an exclusive dining experience for diners who want to experience some of the best cuisine here in Las Vegas but are limited on time. Your professional Food & Beverage Guide takes you on a “Fantastic Foodie Fest” through the Las Vegas restaurant scene like only a local F&B Professional can. Book your tour early as space is limited. NIIGATA SAKE FESTIVAL TOUR is scheduled from March 12 to 19 and your personal guided tour will be conducted by longtime Japan resident and Tokyo University Language graduate Mike Fryer, Editor-in-Chief of LVF&B Pro. Join this exclusive tour and you will see a part of Japan few nonJapanese have experienced taking in the sights, sounds & tastes of this unique culture. Perfect tour for aspiring sake enthusiast who want to learn more firsthand. NUTELLA RECIPE CONTEST FOR CHEFS has been kicked-off and will close on February 15, 2013, so get your personalized recipe in as soon as possible to be a winner of the $6,000 total prize money and make your name known.

Page 4 Hot Off the Grill!

Page 14 Cantina Laredo

Page 5 Ask Doctor Sake

Page 15 ACF Chefs Meeting

Page 6 HR Insights

Page 16 Eating Las Vegas: The 50 Essential Restaurants 2013

Page 7 Wine Talk

What’s Cooking? Page 25 Interview with Chef Michael Minor Page 26

Page 18 Niigata Sake Brewers Association

Best of Green

Page 9 What’s Brewing?

Page 19 Fabulous Feast for Fifty Fundrasier

Page 29

Page 10 Food for Thought

Winter In Venice

Page 11 Culinary Clash

Page 21 Niigata Sake Festival

Page 12 Brett’s Vegas View

Page 23 Chandra’s Latenight Picks

Page 31

Industry Nights


Page 8 Chef Beni Velazquez and BarBistro

Page 13 Cooking 101

Page 24

Dining in 2012

McCall’s Heartland Grill Page 30 F&B Associations

Advertiser Index

December 2012 I The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional 3

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


December 2012 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

Bob Barnes Editorial Director

The Venetian-Palazzo recently kicked off its annual Winter in Venice program with an array of events to last from now through the New Year. We were delighted to see our favorite chefs there presenting their various tastes of the restaurants. Here Chef Luciano Pellegrini of Valentino in The Venetian enjoys dividing a burger from Sammy D’s new restaurant “Rattlecan” with his bare hands. Nice going, Chef! Lee’s Annual Wine Experience was recently hosted by the Las Vegas Hotel, with all proceeds going to several local charities. Besides a great selection of wines from around the world, tastings included beers, spirits and sake. Momokawa Sake’s representative, seen here, proves that drinking sake does put a smile on your face!

Juanita Aiello Creative Director


Southern Wine & Spirits was recently visited by the Niigata Sake Brewers Association’s Vice Chairman Shunji Odaira.

The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional

A tour of the SWS facilities was conducted by the warehouse management and SWS Asian Portfolio Director Luis de Santos MS, and included LVF&B Professionals, Mike Masuyama Ph.D. (Doctor Sake) and Odaira-san.

The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional welcomes letters to the editor. We are always striving to improve this publication and would like to know your comments and thoughts. Here’s your chance to be heard. Send your comments to and they may be published in next month’s issue! NOTE: All submissions become the property of The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional.


Pre-Press Technician Brandon Yan

Journalist Chef Jet

Journalist Juanita Fryer

Journalist Jackie Brett

Journalist Shelley Stepanek

Journalist Les Kincaid

Journalists Scott & Elaine Harris

Journalist Mitchell Wilburn

Journalist Beth Ellyn Rosenthal

Journalist Kim Trevino

Journalist K. Mike Masuyama Ph.D. “Dr. Sake”

Journalist Chandra Paige

Spirits Editor Adam Carmer

Journalist Charlotte Maher

Journalists Lucille Thaler & Tony Zanoff

Journalist Linda Bernstein

Journalist Michael Oshman

Journalist Alice Swift

Journalist & Photographer Ben Brown

Journalist Kellan Bartosch

Photographer Jessica Kuiper

Photographer Bill Bokelmann

Photographer Rose Powell-Carver

Photographer Shanna Magnuson

4 The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional I December 2012

By K. Mike Masuyama Ph.D. Mike Masuyama is a bi-cultural science-technology-business 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 and food areas both in Japan and the US., and has published several books and dozens of articles.

ASK DOCTOR SAKE… We have heard about the Niigata Sake Festival in Japan March 16-17. Should we attend, and if we do what can we learn? The Niigata Sake Festival is the world’s largest sake event. Can you imagine more than 100,000 people drinking sake for two days in March, 2013 in Niigata, Japan? The Niigata Sake Brewers Association has been holding such a sake event since 2004. There are some small, limited presentations but no such sake events in Japan or the US. The association wants it be equivalent to the Oktoberfest of beer in Germany. I am sure it will be. Though, it is not well known outside of Japan. Niigata is located in the central region of the Japanese major island of Honshu, about 160 miles north or an hour and a half bullet train ride from Tokyo. It belongs to the climate zone of the Sea of Japan where there are plenty of hot summer days and snowfalls in winter. It is excellent for rice farming. Good rice means good sake! Sake brewed in Niigata has a character of “clean-smoothgracious” flavor-taste, which is different from traditional heavy body sake from western regions. Niigata sake is superb for drinking straight cold, pairing with food from surf and turf, mixing or even drinking hot without flushy aroma, pressing flavor or lingering after-taste. Niigata sake brewers are proud of their sake made by good climate, clean water and big smile of people.

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I was personally there in 2008 and was overwhelmed by the enormousness of the event and too many people attended. There were more than 90 brewers presenting almost 500 sakes. I could not taste all of them. I enjoyed very much sake, sushi, culture and people there. Since then, I have been advising the association of informing this event outside Japan in order to spread sake and its culture to the world. “Seeing is Believing” and “Tasting is Believing!” Let’s go and enjoy Niigata sake next year. Can you taste all of sake to be presented? Besides just drinking, it will be a great opportunity for anyone to learn more about not only sake but also “food-beverage culture” in Japan. I have learned The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional plans a sake tour to Japan in March, 2013. It will include sake brewery tours and educational seminars (sake science-tech, sales and business). It will also be a rare chance to learn about Japan, a country of Toyota-Honda, SONY, Manga-comic books or a Kitty Cat character as well as sake. Japan is different but good to know with sake. You will be able to enjoy sake more after returning from Niigata. Kanpai or Cheers. December 2012 I The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional 5


Attention to Moods and Mindsets During the Holidays

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 self-help 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.





Holiday time can be a challenge for pretty much everyone. There may be too much to do and not enough time or money. But of particular concern are those who experience mood swings and negativity during these times. As we have all heard, depression is a common occurrence during the holidays. The reality is that during this time of year many people experience feelings of separation, loneliness, and even fear – oftentimes manifesting itself in depression. What are some of the signs to watch for in a family member, friend or co-worker? One of the first signs might be withdrawal, followed by noticeable sadness, and later on total lack of contact with others. One skill that few have developed an aptitude for in today’s busy world is coping.


Question of the Month

An inability to cope is marked by a feeling of being overwhelmed, that things are out of our control, or an unexplained fear, including an inability to function in day-to-day life, etc. As we all know, in some instances people may experience mood swings due to a lost job, some worry about finances, others may be suffering from abuse at home, and still others may have just gone through the trauma of a loss, separation or divorce. One of the best ways to battle the challenges that those around you may face is by lending a hand, offering your time to visit another in need – especially seniors who may be housebound, and/or suggesting some things to do and then joining the person in the activity. Now, more than ever, while times

remain tough and friends, neighbors and family may be challenged just to put food on the table, it is essential that we be available with our time, our ears to listen, and sometimes even our wallets, to help out others in need financially. No matter what the circumstance, it is more important than ever that we pay close attention to and care for those around us. So open your heart and mind, and ultimately you will invigorate your soul by helping those in need this holiday season. Together we can “pay it forward” by showing compassion for our fellow man. In closing for 2012, here’s my wish to you – have a wonderful holiday season and a prosperous new year by doing unto others as you’d have done to you!

Next month’s topic: Encouraging Creativity at Work Do you encourage creativity at your workplace? If so, please share how you do that and then give examples. Share your opinion or a situation. (Send to (Responses for next month’s column earn a copy of my book [see left]. Be sure to include your mailing address when sending useful responses.)

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Wine Talk with Alice Swift

By Alice Swift Alice is teaching as an adjunct instructor in wine education at UNLV’s William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration, while working as an Instructional Designer in the Office of Online Education. Follow her new blog site at for the dish on wine, technology, or even both! She is happy to take suggestions for article topics or inquiries.

Alice’s Picks As the year comes to a close, we celebrate the holidays with family and friends, great food and drink. With one year of teaching wine at UNLV under my belt and various wine events throughout the city, I have tasted quite a variety of wines, some familiar and many new. With the numerous wine writers and critics out there rating and reviewing wines, I thought, “Why can’t I share my picks for the holidays?” And so, I bring you two of my memorable picks for the year, complete with storytime and a bit of education in the mix. Winderlea Pinot Noir

— and feel happy that by naming our winery Winderlea® — we are always keeping this special place close to us.

Bill Sweat and Donna Morris, Founders Robert E. Brittan, Winemaker/Viticulturalist

Photo courtesy

I have yet to try the Chardonnay, but their various Pinot Noirs tend to be very smooth, with elegant tannins, complex flavors of spice, earth, and bright red fruit, and potential for aging. In Las Vegas, they are only offered at local Total Wine and More stores, but are in numerous stores throughout the United States. They are highly regarded by Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate reviews, consistently scoring 90+ points, with a price point of $30-50. Making only a few hundred cases yearly, Sweat and Morris are able to continue their education in all things wine, while constantly improving their viticulture and resulting wine quality.

Winderlea itself is an invented name, with special history behind it. Sweat and Morris explain the label’s origins: Winderlea® — pronounced Win-dur-lee — is the name of a Vermont property we purchased in 2001. As former owner Jim Gerard explained, the word Winderlea was crafted by his parents combining the word, “Wind,” with the word “Lea,” meaning meadow or pasture, evoking the meaning “Wind in the Meadow.” As we searched for a name for our winery – we kept coming back to the word Winderlea®. We believe it sounds like a word that describes the feminine, sensuous and elegant wines we are making. We also love Winderlea® the place

Equifera Donald Ziraldo, Founder Photo courtesy

Ironically, what first attracted me to the Winderlea label was the elegant bottle and label design, with a unique tapered burgundy bottle shape. Making only Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines from Dundee Hills in Willamette Valley in Oregon, Sweat, Morris, Brittan and the rest of their team have been successful in sourcing quality fruit from local sustainable practicing vineyards, after seeking out the perfect region. The wines are sourced from a number of high quality single vineyards in the Willamette Valley.

Anyone who knows or likes Ice Wine should be familiar with the producer Inniskillin. However, not everyone is familiar with the face behind the label, Donald Ziraldo. A man of many talents, Ziraldo not only co-founded Inniskillin with Karl Kaiser (winemaker), he also was the founding chair of the Vintner’s Quality Alliance (VQA), which designated appellations and standards promoting wine quality. In 2006, Ziraldo left his position as president after Constellation took over Inniskillin in order to pursue other projects. Some of his numerous

contributions to Canadia Icewine included the design of an Icewine Riedel wine glass (2001), and the collaboration with Karl Kaiser to write Icewine: Extreme Winemaking (2007). In addition, Ziraldo has also managed to keep his winemaking interests alive by creating two labels: Ziraldo and Equifera. Equifera is located in the Short Hills sub-appellation within the Niagara Peninsula, which is most well-known for its Canadian Icewine. “The [Equifera] 50-acre estate was once home to champion racehorses in the 1950s and 1960s. The Equifera name is derived from ‘Equus Ferus,’ the binomial name for ‘Wild Horse,’ and exemplifies the spirit, grace, and passion that is put into the making of this fine wine.” The Icewine is created by pressing grapes that have been frozen on the vine at a continuous freezing temperature at least -8°C (17°F). The result is a beautiful golden viscious wine concentrated with a honeyed taste but with lively acidity that balances out the sweetness. The 2008 vintage of Equifera Vidal wine was rated 91 points by Wine Spectator, and noted the classic characteristics or apricot, quince, orange peel and baking spice aromas. I would also add honeycomb, jasmine and honeysuckle, orange marmalade and Christmas spices to that profile. This wine is a gem, and at a price of $39.99 (release price $49.99) at your local Total Wine and More, it’s a steal! The main key characteristic that shines through the above producers/founders is passion. The passion that these people have for wine proves successful, and is apparent when tasting their wines. Support Winderlea and Equifera by stopping into your local Total Wine and More to experience the shared passion that other wine proprietors have for wine. Until next time, Happy Holidays! Cheers~

December 2012 I The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional 7

Chef Beni Velazquez and BarBistro in the Arts District Is a Hit with an Eclectic Latin Fusion Twist

BarBistro is located in the Arts Factory, in the heart of the Las Vegas Arts District. The man at the helm of the eclectic Latin fusion menu is Beni Velazquez. Chef Beni is no stranger to Las Vegas and knows the area well. Chef Beni explained, “Every dish, every sauce, every meal, is homemade with fresh ingredients. We support our community and locally source ingredients whenever possible. We make all of our sauces, dressings and stock, and many ingredients are imported from Spain and Italy.” Executive Chef Beni Velasquez’s Latin fusion focus on the menu shows his heritage growing up in a Puerto Rican family in New York City, traveling through Spain, cooking with Italian and French chefs at the Ritz-Carlton and Four Seasons resorts and working with Asian and Indian cuisines in Los Angeles. He went on to add, “I am selftaught, but through my travels, I have picked up many techniques.” This very passionate Chef is not afraid of making some interesting desserts as well. His warm chocolate ganache cake, ricotta citrus cheesecake and black current scones are decadent and mouthwatering. BarBistro also features the only certified fire pit in Las Vegas that turns

out some very tasty Lechón (suckling pig). For the whisky lovers, Chef Beni has put together whisky flights that feature Glenfiddich and Jameson, just to name a few. Tapas are all the rage now and BarBistro features some of the best in town. Chef’s B+B CANGREJO with lump crab meat, piquillo peppers, scallions, panco, egg, mojo mayo, mustard, lemon juice and honey mojo sweet chili sauce will not disappoint. You can’t go wrong with a lovely treat from the sea. The tantalizing GRILLED FISH TACOS-mahi mahi, jicama slaw, mango salsa and tomatillo sauce is a great way to start your meal. Chef Beni’s latin roots come into play with his take on the Classic Cuban Sandwich. The CUBANO PANINI features Black Forest ham, roasted pork, swiss, pickles and mojo mayo that conjure up memories of Calle Ocho in Miami. If you are in the mood for a salad, their CHIMICHURRI STEAK COBB with real Kobe flat iron steak, egg, tomato, Cabrales cheese, pancetta, pumpkin seeds, avocado, organic greens and citrus dressing is a meal in itself. BarBistro is very well known for its hangover brunch. We can’t think of a better way to spend a weekend morning than sitting at their outside patio listening to live music and sipping on a Bloody Caesar. However, the brunch is all about the food as well. Chef Beni has put together a tasty brunch that has something for everyone. We started off with BLACK CURRANT SCONES-honey, cream fresh and jam that are probably some of the best we have tasted. A very nice BRIOCHE FLAN FRENCH TOAST with powdered sugar, warm lemon sugar glaze and whipped cream is tasty and light. CANGREJO BENEDICT MOFONGO-lump crabmeat, plantain garlic mash, Romesco butter and quail egg is a treat for your eyes as well as your palate. Flan is good, but Chef Beni’s FLAN CAKE that is whiskey soaked with a sugar glaze is out of this world! BarBistro is a shining star in the Arts

8 The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional I December 2012

District in Las Vegas. No matter when you stop in, guests can enjoy great dishes, wine, spirits, interesting people and art amongst the eccentric surroundings of BarBistro. Chef Beni and BarBistro will only continue to gain national and international recognition from critics and guests alike. It just goes to show if you do it right, they will come.

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: Website:

BarBistro is located in the Arts Factory at 107 East Charleston Blvd. Las Vegas, NV 702-202-6060

By Bob Barnes



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 Gayot. com. He welcomes your inquiries. Email:

Winter Cheer Through Beer

Aces & Ales continues to celebrate the winter season with three more beery events. The 10 Days of Deschutes will begin on Dec. 13, adding an additional tap of the Oregon brewery each day and concluding on Dec. 22 with Abyss-mass, a vertical tasting of the 2009-2012 versions of Abyss.

Photos by Tom Dalldorf

Dec. 12, 2012 will prove to be the perfect date to commemorate the final chapter of the Stone Vertical Epic Release series. All 11 versions, from 2-2-2 through 12-12-12, will be served, along with a five-course food pairing for $75. Two sessions are planned, one from 5:30-8:00 and one from 8:30-11. If you want to attend both, the price is discounted to $120. Aces & Ales is only one of five locations in addition to the brewery to receive all of the Vertical Epic Ales. (l to r) On the awards stage at the GABF, Big Dog’s Brewing Company Assistant Brewer Sam McKinney, Brewmaster Dave Otto and Charlie Papazian, founder of the Association of Brewers and the Great American Beer Festival

Las Vegas Breweries Claim Two Medals at the GABF

Nevada unearthed two medals at the Great American Beer Festival, both going to Las Vegas breweries. Chicago Brewing snagged a gold medallion for its Cocoa for Coconuts in the Chocolate Beer category. Brewmaster Dave Pascual’s brewery now has garnered more medals than any other in Las Vegas, and has accumulated an impressive 10 GABF medals. Reflecting on his latest win Dave said, “I don’t know what it is that makes us consistent winners; all I know is that we must be doing something right. I never go into any of the festivals expecting to win, especially seeing how much the industry has grown and the quality of beers so many breweries are now producing locally, statewide and nationally. I’m just really thankful that I’m in a job that I love!” The other victor was Big Dog’s Brewing, earning a silver for its Red Hydrant Ale in the English-style Brown category. Big Dog’s is also no stranger to major brewing awards, with this latest bringing its total to eight GABF wins. And, the Red Hydrant as well is not new to the winner’s podium, having earned a gold medal twice at the World Beer Cup in 2010 and 2006, and a GABF bronze in 1994. It’s quite an accomplishment to medal with the same beer four times, and one very few brewers can claim. Brewmaster Dave Otto commented on

his most recent win, saying, “It’s always fun to go up on stage and receive a GABF medal from Charlie Papazian. Plus, it’s great to bring home a medal for Big Dog’s and Nevada.”

Beer Spotlight

With the end of the world approaching on December 21 (at least according to the Mayan Calendar theorists), I sought out a proper beer to celebrate the end of mankind (or at least as we know it). Shock Top End of the World Midnight Wheat, an amber-hued 6% ABV Belgian-style wheat ale, is made with ingredients including chocolate malt, wheat, chili and other spices. The label ominously depicts remnants of buildings, Mr. Shock Top’s mane of wheat and nearby trees all combusting into flames. As you toast to the end of the world, you’ll discover a flavor that’s full on toasted malt and spice, with a hint of pepper heat at the end. This beer will be available until December 21, 2012, or until Dec. 31 if the world doesn’t end.

The Aces & Ales 3rd Annual Winter Beer Fest will run Jan. 18-20, with more than 70 rare & specialty brews from Europe and the US. Each day at noon new beers will rotate into the lineup, so it’s worth showing up for more than one day. Visit <> or call (702) 436-7600 for more info. or to sign up for the Epic party. Big Dog’s Brewing will host its annual Winterfest, a celebration of hearty food and beers, on Saturday, January 26 from 2 to 9 p.m. at the Draft House location at Craig Rd. and Rancho Dr. Admission is free, and after purchase of a commemorative pint glass for $5, tastes of more than 50 beers will run from $1-5 depending on the style and pour size. There will also be live music throughout and a raffle for prizes. For more info. and a list of beers being served, visit <>. Okay, it’s not beer, but it’s made at a brewery. I’m talking about the highly anticipated Ellis Island Eggnog, which is an annual treat not to be missed. The recipe dates back to Gary Ellis’s grandfather, who learned the recipe while traveling by ship to his new home in America. This eggnog with a kick is sold by the bottle or by the glass at Ellis Island Casino or at any of the Village Pubs throughout the Vegas Valley.

As always, great beer happens in Vegas!

December 2012 I The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional 9


Seasonal Foods Taste

By Les Kincaid 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

It’s a harvest sensibility wrapped around the crispness of apples & the mellowness of pumpkins, potatoes & squash and there is a change in the air. A little understood white wine may just hold the key for perfect pairing amidst the bounty of these tastes. With its distinctive taste, Gewürztraminer is a beautifully unique white wine. It’s similar to a Riesling-- yet not. The truth is, there are lots of things this wine doesn’t work with. It’s quirky in that way. Gewürztraminer has a deep mineral flavor, along with layers of dryness & sweetness, depending on the variety you choose. It’s just got its own thing going on. It’s a fruit/root deal. This is a flavor you understand as you experience it. Gewürztraminer comes out of cool climates which give its grapes potently high sugar content. Most well-known varieties come from Germany and France, as well as the US - especially upstate New York, Oregon and Washington states. Our twilight summer farm bounty and this complicated loner of wine share pungency, complexity and a depth of flavor in their delicate sweetness and body. Here’s a way to work it all together, massaging out the fullness of each:

Warm Harvest Bake 2 cups chopped, Apples & Pears 2 cups peeled, chopped Sweet Potatoes ¼ cup Golden Raisins 1 pound Sausage links, such as Bratwurst or Italian Sausage ¼ cup Gewürztraminer ¼ cup Apple Cider ¼ teaspoon Salt ¼ teaspoon Cinnamon ¼ teaspoon Caraway Seed ¾ cup grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. If you are using sausage, bake them in a separate pan. Mix all but the cheese together, place in an oiled baking dish and cover. Bake 50 minutes until the potatoes and apples are tender. Remove and top with grated, room temperature sharp cheddar, letting it just melt on the surface. Serve with rye rolls and a chilled Gewürztraminer.

Romantic Reds Warm Up Winter Red wine has a great way of balancing off the new-found chill early winter. Its warmth isn’t heavy handed, though. As we ease into winter this is just the right time for the delicate aroma and taste of elegant, soft reds. Not only do these wines have less acidity, they have a lower level of tannins, as well. Tannins are the structural parts of the grape that provide backbone to wine. Without them, wine wouldn’t have so many interesting tastes or colors. Reds with higher tannin levels have lots of depth, heaviness and bite. Not only do these wines have less acidity, they have a lower level of tannins, as well. Tannins are the structural parts of the grape that provide backbone to wine. Without them, wine wouldn’t have so many interesting tastes or colors. Reds with higher tannin levels have lots of depth, heaviness and bite. Lighter tannin wines, though, have an ease and smoothness to them. They hold the complex flavors of a red while maintaining a fresher, more low-key feel. While they’re not sweet, you can sense a greater closeness to the fruity qualities of wine. A few of my favorites include Beaujolais, Cabernet Franc and Pinot Noir. Though the tannins are less intense, the body in these wines can have a light to medium weight. They’re lovely with an array of great cheeses & pears on a cool afternoon. They’re also fantastic with full flavored fish like Wild River Salmon & fresh Diver Scallops. And they can pair well with all poultry and pork, as well. 10 The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional I December 2012

‘Culinary Clash’ Brings Great Taste to ‘Winter in Venice’

By Ben Brown Benjamin Brown is a food and travel journalist residing in Las Vegas. He writes for as a local food critic, where his love for exercise qualifies an appetite that borders on ‘Man vs. Food.’ Dining and adventuring around the world, Ben is also a contributor for travel blog and Amble Resorts LLC.

The Venetian and Palazzo’s second-annual Winter in Venice brings Italian-inspired festivity to the Las Vegas Strip, granting eyes, ears and taste buds a glamorous holiday experience. From November 16 to January 6, this “Gift of The Venetian” features an extensive lineup of nightly events and activities, from an outdoor ice rink to performances by Mannheim Steamroller and a gigantic Christmas tree on Las Vegas Boulevard. Highlighting the ‘taste’ of this celebration, however, is the Culinary Clash, where The Venetian and Palazzo’s esteemed chefs will showcase their talents in sumptuous style. Formally known as The Venetian Culinary Clash Master Chef Competition, the Culinary Clash puts the resorts’ sous chefs and chefs de cuisine from dozens of famed restaurants against each other in head-to head competition. A fascinating combination of ‘Chopped,’ ‘Iron Chef’ and ‘Extreme Chef,’ this 4-week adventure will give rise to a new culinary legend come Christmastime. Competitors will be challenged to create recipes using ingredients provided in a “mystery basket,” to be prepared in mobile “food truck” kitchens. Among those competing for the championship title are representatives from SushiSamba, Table 10, FIRST Food & Bar, TAO, Aquaknox, Zine, Lagasse’s Stadium, Carnevino, Public House, Valentino, Delmonico Steakhouse, B&B, Rattlecan, LAVO, Otto Enoteca and Bouchon. Each head-to-head clash will be broadcasted live on a giant screen on the Venetian Clock Tower for audience members’ viewing pleasure. Each chef’s creation will be available for sampling upon completion. Each cooking battle will be highlighted with street entertainment, DJ music and an after party provided by TAO. At the conclusion of the Culinary Clash, the surprise chef and prestigious judging panel will

crown a champion. This Venetian Victor and a guest will receive a trip to Italy, the inspiration behind The Venetian. “This event is going to be a lot of fun,” said Sebastian Silvestri, Vice President of Food and Beverage at The Venetian and The Palazzo. “And what better place to host such a competition than Las Vegas, which has become one of the greatest food cities in the world.” Venturing to this iconic food capital are a number of celebrity chef judges, whose expertise will reaffirm the champion’s status as culinary rockstar. Emeril Lagasse [Delmonico Steakhouse, Table 10, Lagasse’s Stadium], Mario Batali [B&B, Carnevino, Otto] and Sammy DeMarco [FIRST Food & Bar, Rattlecan] will make appearances as special guests through the first three rounds. A surprise celebrity judge will host round four, the final night of competition. These late-evening events will take place from 10 p.m.-2 a.m. at The Venetian’s Doge’s Palace plaza, located directly in front of The Venetian and Palazzo bordering Las Vegas Boulevard. Culinary Clash festivities are scheduled for Thursday, November 29; Friday, December 7; Friday, December 14; and Friday, December 21.

Photos by Ben Brown

December 2012 I The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional 11

Brett’s BY


Bill’s Gambling Hall and Saloon will undergo a $200 million renovation remodeling rooms, the casino and adding a rooftop pool and new nightclub next year. The Lady Luck being transformed into the Downtown Grand will open late next year. The surrounding Downtown3rd area currently has Triple George Grill, Mob Bar, Hogs & Heifers, The Mob Museum and when completed will have more retail, dining and entertainment options including Pizza Rock in the old Celebrity Theater. Light will open at Mandalay Bay in March 2013 and be the first nightclub involving artistic creators Cirque du Soleil. Ruth’s Chris Steak House will open at Harrah’s in 2013 inhabiting the space formerly occupied by The Range.


The ACT Las Vegas has opened inside The Shoppes at The Palazzo. Up to 1,000 folks can enjoy the multi-level performance-based nightclub.

Commonwealth, a new cocktail bar inspired by a pre-Prohibition era design with a backroom speakeasy, opened on East Fremont Street with an open air rooftop bar offering live music. The Hard Rock Hotel will have a grand reopening of Body English nightclub on Dec. 28. After a two-month $500,000 remodel, Costa Del Sur Spa & Salon at South Point is unveiling a fully-renovated salon this month. La Casa Vegas is a new cigar lounge located at Tivoli Village with a large walk-in humidor and outdoor patio.


The Castle Walk Food Court at Excalibur is a new food court with the first Cinnabon, Hot Dog on a Stick, Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, Pick Up Stix and Schlotzsky’s on the Strip along with Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Tropical Smoothie Café, Auntie Anne’s, Popcornopolis, and the Big Chill. Andrea’s will open Dec. 28 at Encore in the space formerly occupied by Switch. The restaurant named after Steve Wynn’s wife Andrea will debut “vibe dining,” combining a restaurant and nightlife experience and serving Asian fare. FIRST Food & Bar’s creators opened Rattlecan, an urban burger concept, at The Venetian that captures a New York City East Village vibe with a down and dirty interior look and street chic graffiti art. Celebrity Chef Angelo Sosa is taking over the former Petra Greek Taverna space at Tivoli Village and introducing Poppy Den, an Asiangastropub, on New Year’s Eve with a rustic, country setting and outdoor Poppy Garden. Fú meaning “luck” in English has opened at the Hard Rock offering Asian fare including dim sum. Project Pie is a new casual eatery at MGM Grand with custom-build artisan pizzas. Block16 Hospitality is adding a second Pink’s Hot Dogs in Las Vegas at year’s end at Red Rock Resort where Turf Grill used to be. Honey Salt is a new Summerlin restaurant offering a farm-to-table inspired menu.


Terry Fator has signed to continue starring at the Mirage through 2016. Def Leppard has announced an exclusive nineshow residency from March 22-April 10, 2013, at The Joint inside Hard Rock featuring their greatest hits and “Hysteria” album played in full.

12 The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional I December 2012

“Zarkana” opened at Aria and stays true to its Cirque du Soleil roots with bizarre artistic sets, costumes and dramatic music. In seamless fashion, “Zarkana” fluidly changes sets and moods setting up each incomparable acrobatic act or awe-inspiring circus performer. The feel-good love story, “Rock of Ages,” will begin performances Dec. 18 at The Venetian.


Liquor Library at McCarran Airport is making history as the first and only packaged liquor store located within the baggage claim area of any airport in the country. The Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art will open “Warhol Out West” Feb. 8 and focus on Warhol’s depiction of all things Western and showcase 59 works through Oct. 27, 2013. DoubleTree by Hilton and New Tropicana Las Vegas now have a strategic franchise agreement that marks the return of Hilton Worldwide to the Strip. Bagatelle Beach & Supper Club at the New Tropicana after delays is open. The Ovation Room at Green Valley Ranch closed after nearly six years offering live music.

By Kim Trevino

Cooking 101: The students from the Southwest Career and Technical Academy show off their skills

Photos by Kim Trevino

The students in Chef Linda Burns’ cooking class know a thing or two about the culinary industry. As part of a five-star school by the Clark County School District, the students who attend the Southwest Career and Technical Academy are not only lucky, but extraordinary as well. Walking into the cooking classroom of Chef Burns, I was instantly taken aback by all that I was viewing. A full-sized kitchen. Check. Walk-in freezers. Check. Full-sized stoves. Check. It was as if I were standing in the kitchen of a world-renowned chef. Instead however, I was standing in the presence of many potential world-renowned chefs to be, and I was excited. Chef Burns teaches the courses on culinary and hospitality subjects, such as the basic foundations of each, pastries, and food and nutrition. She moved to Las Vegas six years ago, from the heart of New Jersey and New York areas, and decided that a change in climate would be nice as well. “I was going from the culinary Mecca of cold to the culinary Mecca of warm, and I thought it would be a great choice,” said Burns. When the SCTA broke ground four years ago, Chef Burns jumped at the chance to teach there, receiving her teaching license just for the school,

Kim Trevino is an avid lover of all food and wine. She received her degree in Journalism and Media Studies from UNLV and currently freelances for the, where she hosts two columns based on fashion and relationships. Her biggest passion is writing, and you can visit her personal blog site at

even if it meant having to wait a little while for the school to open. She knew that the SCTA was where she wanted to be and she even taught classes at Foothill High School in Henderson for the time being. As I panned the classroom, I noticed that the students in attendance were all working so diligently and effortlessly as one grand team. From prepping the food to washing the dishes, each student participated in a way that would make any teacher truly proud. I met up with one of the students, Lacey Long, a senior, who was helping her fellow classmates prep for the Palo Verde Cross Country Awards Banquet that would be taking place later in the day. As she prepped the butter for the event, she informed me of her goals after graduation and what she loves about working in the kitchen. “I want to work more in the management side of the restaurant business,” said Long. “I’m really enhanced in the kitchen almost every day. It’s very hands-on, and I’m always learning how to make new things.” Every student does their share of work and it was amazingly wonderful to see each of them owning their individual task. They prepped butter and frosted pastries (cupcakes, cannolis and cream puffs), washed dishes and put them away, and filled cups with batter for the next batch of cupcakes that were ready to be baked. “The kids are a lot of fun,” said Burns. “They are very well behaved and excited about the class and it makes me excited about it. I was an executive chef at a high-end hotel on the East Coast and now it’s my time to pass the torch along to these students.” One of the foundations of teaching these culinary students derives from instilling

a great work ethic in the kitchen and according to Burns, she makes sure that each student knows this all the time. “They need to respect each other, have consistence and move quickly,” said Burns. With reality TV shows such as Top Chef, it’s no surprise that the students in Burns’ class have dreams of becoming the top chef one day. Last year, six students were invited by Bravo channels Top Chef: Masters to participate on the show, where they were paired with the Master Chefs to create the chefs’ creations through instructions only, with no actual help. The students also partake in competitions at the state, national and regional levels and some even received scholarships. Next year, on February 5-6, Clear Channel will be broadcasting the Junior Iron Chef competition that will feature Chef Burns and her students. Tune in to see what these talented students have to offer.

To attend the SCTA, a blind lottery is involved, making the outcome of enrollment left up to chance. The criteria for students to apply comes down to the basic qualifications that they must meet and out of 2,600 applicants last year, only 400 spots were filled. But no matter what the chances are, it always comes down to the kids of SCTA and what their presence means. “The kids are awesome,” said Craig Statucki, the Community Partnership Coordinator and Gaming Development teacher. “The environment is nothing like I’ve ever seen in education and the kids here challenge themselves. They all work together.” “It’s a very healthy place to work in,” added Burns. The Southwest Career and Technical Academy is located at 7050 W. Shelbourne Ave. in Las Vegas. For more information on the school and its programs, visit

December 2012 I The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional 13

Photos by Ben Brown & Rose Powell-Carver

Media Opening of Cantina Laredo at Tivoli Village

14 The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional I December 2012

ACF Chefs Las Vegas Dinner/Meeting

Photos by Mike Fryer

December 2012 I The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional 15

Eating Las Vegas:

The 50 Essential Restaurants 2013 Features 11 New Entries – Plus Three New In The Top 10 Langdon Flynn Communications

Las Vegas, Nev. (December 3, 2012) – In recent years Las Vegas has experienced a meteoric rise to become, arguably, the best restaurant city in the world. The names attached to the eateries on the famed Las Vegas Strip represent a veritable “Who’s Who” of the culinary universe, now home to James Beard Foundation awardwinning names pulled from the industry’s top food magazines, blogs and television shows. The 2013 edition of Eating Las Vegas: The 50 Essential Restaurants (Huntington Press, December, 2012) accomplishes what no other restaurant guide has, compiling the opinions of the city’s three most respected critics (John Curtas, Max Jacobson and Al Mancini) to create a reference book that lists their agreed-upon “Essential 50” restaurants in Sin City. But it’s much more than just a list of restaurants, as each entry receives a thoughtful and candid description from all three authors. The guide also includes a 44-page specialty guide dedicated to “Additional Recommendations” – from beer to buffets and from Sunday brunch to sushi – plus everything else in between. The contentious (and ever-popular) “Vetoes” section pits author-against-author, a literary version of a free-for-all food fight. “When we green-lit this project three years ago, I wasn’t sure its realization was even a possibility, as we were dealing with three highly knowledgeable but incredibly strong-willed personalities,” said publisher Anthony Curtis. “But John (Curtas), Max (Jacobson) and Al (Mancini) have continued to deliver on their promise to seek out, and agree upon, Las Vegas’ 50 Essential Restaurants.” The 2013 edition of Eating Las Vegas with its foreword written by 14-times James Beard Foundation award-winning food journalist, Alan Richman, adds three newcomers to the vaunted Top Ten list – including two off-strip restaurants – a first for the book – in Marché Bacchus French Bistro and Raku Japanese Charcoal Grill. The other newcomer is Piero Selvaggio’s Valentino at The Venetian. Rounding out the “Top Ten,” and repeating from 2012, are Estiatorio Milos at

The Cosmopolitan, Joël Robuchon and L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon at MGM Grand, Restaurant Guy Savoy at Caesars Palace, CUT at Palazzo and Le Cirque and Picasso at Bellagio. In addition to the “Top 10,” 11 new restaurants made the “Essential 50,” including Bread & Butter, Comme Ça at The Cosmopolitan, Due Forni, Fleur at Mandalay Bay, Gordon Ramsay Steak at Paris, Kabuto, Le Thai, Mint Indian Bistro, miX at Mandalay Bay, Public House at The Venetian and Sirio at Aria. Of course, when restaurants are added, casualties are inevitable. Eleven previously listed restaurants didn’t make the cut this year. Some may be easier to swallow than others, but the authors refuse to place celebrity above credibility, as one notable inclusion in the “Vetoes” section amply demonstrates. About Eating Las Vegas: The Essential 50 Restaurants The 2013 edition of Eating Las Vegas: The 50 Essential Restaurants features all the elements -- fully updated -- that have made the ELV brand such a success, including the Top Ten and 40 best-of-the-rest picks from the city’s topthree (and ever-feisty) food critics, to make up the list of the “50 Essential” restaurants in Las Vegas. With each year this unique guide keeps getting bigger and better. While still in handy

16 The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional I December 2012

pocket-sized format, it’s expanded the popular Vetoes section, and for the first time added Best Buffets to the Additional Recommendations. The authors have also embellished many of the other “Best of” lists, to reflect the city’s ever-increasing array of enticing eateries, from bakeries to sushi restaurants. There are some big changes at the top, too, including three all-new entries in the Top Ten, so this restaurant roadmap truly never gets stale. From the Michelin-starred gastronomic temples to ethnic hole-in-the-walls you’ve never heard of, Eating Las Vegas now features close to 200 restaurants and bars, with tempting options for every taste and wallet, plus mouth-watering full-color photographs throughout. It’s a must-have pocket companion for anyone planning to eat a meal in Las Vegas -- whether you’re in the market for a quick snack or a 10-course chef’s tasting menu -- and makes a great stocking-filler for the gambling foodie in your life. This handy full-color pocket guide is available in paperback ($12.95) and e-book formats ($7.77) from Amazon and Barnes & Noble, as well as directly from the publisher at In 2013 authors John Curtas and Al Mancini will co-host a show on Travel Channel that will document them eating, and arguing, their way through the top food cities in America.

“An opinionated guide to Sin City eateries [with] a great premise.” —Kitty Bean Yancey, USA Today “If you spend much time in Las Vegas, you need this book.” —S. Irene Virbila, Los Angeles Times “Expect kitchen knives to be sharpened. The comments— both sweet and sour—are funny, biting, candid, and relevant.” —Robin Leach, Vegas Deluxe “A lively and smart guide to the city [from] a Rat Pack of reviewers.” —Julia Moskin, New York Times

Al Mancini

Al Mancini has spent more than 15 years as a correspondent for ABC News Radio, first as the network’s rock editor, and most recently covering the plethora of pop-culture news from Las Vegas. For nearly 10 years, he’s also served as the restaurant critic for Las Vegas CityLife magazine. He’s also written extensively about dining and the food and beverage industry for numerous local lifestyle publications such as 944, WHERE Las Vegas, What’s On, Desert Companion, and Luxury Las Vegas; and has served as a contributor to the international guidebook Time Out Las Vegas. Al was also the host of the internet TV program, Top of the Food Chain, which broadcasted live on Vegas Video Network. In 2010, he created and co-authored the book Eating Las Vegas: The 50 Essential Restaurants, which just released its third edition (www. Al discovered his passion for food while living in New York City, where he attended law school by day, and by night, tended bar and made pizza at the infamous punk club CBGB. He grew addicted to exploring the New York’s dynamic dining scene during every spare moment in between. Al has been married to his high school sweetheart for more than 20 years and currently lives in Las Vegas. Follow him on Twitter @AlManciniVegas. He blogs at

Max Jacobson

Max Jacobson is a food, wine, and travel writer with over 25 years’ expertise and a devoted following. A native Bostonian, Max left a doctoral program in Linguistics at the University of Wisconsin at Madison to report on food and restaurants for the Los Angeles Times. Explains Max, “I wrote a long letter to the dining editor, pointing out inconsistencies in the paper’s Chinese food reviews. She hired me to see if I could do better.” Max adds, “I had the reviewer job for 15 years.”

John A. Curtas

John A. Curtas has been Las Vegas’ reigning voice of food and restaurant commentary on KNPR, Nevada Public Radio, for the past 15 years. During that time, he has also served as restaurant critic for Las Vegas Life magazine and the Las Vegas Weekly (for which he still contributes), and is the man behind the “Eating Las Vegas” food blog ( Curtas

Max relocated from Los Angeles to Las Vegas in 1999 at the urging of his friend Wolfgang Puck, the first celebrity chef to open shop in Vegas. Max caught a cresting wave and has been one of Sin City’s premier dining critic ever since. He writes for a variety of newspapers, magazines, and websites.

was also the co-host for KLAS-TV’s (CBS)

There’s more than one elite food and travel writer in the United States. But not a one shares Max’s inimitable attribute. He speaks about a dozen languages including French, Spanish, Italian, Finnish, Swedish, German, SerboCroatian, Japanese, Cantonese, and Bahasa Indonesia. (Max can get by in Polish, Russian, Greek, Portuguese, Yiddish, Mandarin, Korean, Hindi, and Nepali.)

Vegas, Fodor’s Las Vegas, Best Places Las

“Because I can talk to the locals pretty much wherever I travel, I can really get into the culture and cuisine,” says Max. “I strive for my food and travel writing to convey this insider sense, and give my readers a real ‘you are there’ feeling.” In 2010, he created and co-authored the book Eating Las Vegas: The 50 Essential Restaurants, which just released its third edition (www. Follow him on Twitter @askmaxjacobson. He blogs about Vegas Dining at about-max-jacobson

“Dishing & Dining” and appears regularly on KSNV-TV’s (NBC) “Wake-Up With the Wagners.” Nationally, he’s written for Time Out Las Vegas, and for John Mariani’s The Virtual Gourmet. He’s a voting member for the James Beard Foundation restaurant/chef awards and San Pellegino World’s 50 Best Restaurants, as well as a frequent guest on Food Network programs, including 4 stints as a judge on Iron Chef America and a recent appearance as a judge on the finale of Bravo’s Top Chef Masters. In 2010, he created and co-authored the book Eating Las Vegas: The 50 Essential Restaurants, which just released its third edition (www. Follow him on Twitter @eatinglasvegas. He blogs at

December 2012 I The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional 17

Photos by Juanita Aiello

Recent Las Vegas visit by Niigata Sake Brewers Association Vice Chairman, Shuji Odaira and Doctor Sake, Mike Masuyama

18 The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional I December 2012

ACF Chefs Las Vegas Associate Advisory Board’s Fabulous Feast for Fifty Fundrasier

Photos by Mike Fryer

Venetian’s Winter in Venice Intro

Photos by Ben Brown

December 2012 I The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional 19

March 16-17 2013

To u r J a p a n w i t h T h e L a s Ve g a s F o o d & B eve r a g e P r o f e s s i o n a l a n d Yo u r Pe r s o n a l G u i d e a n d L o n g -T i m e R e s i d e n t o f J a p a n , M i ke F r ye r Yo u W i l l E x p e r i e n ce J a p a n A s F e w V i s i t o r s Ca n Yo u r p e r s o n a l t o u r i n c l u d e s v i s i t s t o : • Tsukiji Fish Market - the largest in Japan • Ginza - and its underground food markets

• Shinjuku - known for famous food stalls • Massive sake bars - featuring all regional sake

You will travel via bullet train from Tokyo-Niigata Province where you will: Experience the true Japanese countryside, its homes and its Have an exclusive tour of an 11th generation working sake people brewery Be the personal guests of the Niigata Sake Brewers Association

Attend the Niigata Sake Festival-over 100 sake brewers-the largest in Japan

Learn about sake brewing with a tour of the only sake university in Japan

Don’t miss this incredible once in a lifetime personal sake tour of Japan Book early, this exclusive tour is limited to keep it personalized Tour dates: March 12 to 19, 2013 - Wednesday through Wednesday Sake tour to Japan is inclusive of all air fares from LAX to Narita, transportation to and from the airport in Tokyo and to and from Niigata, hotel and inn accommodations and daily breakfasts.

Niigata Sake Festival Niigata sake, nurtured by people and nature in Niigata, is the crystal of the continuing pursuit for ideal sake and the superb environment for sake brewing. Niigata sake is characterized by a superb, “c l e a n - s m o ot h - g ra c i o u s ” taste and pleasant drinking, and is admired by many sake lovers. Niigata sake can be created only when conditions such as climate, rice quality, water quality and brewing technology satisfactorily meet certain criteria. ENVIRONMENT: The Climate in Niigata, Perfect for Sake Brewing The temperature variation increases between days and nights during summer in Niigata, enabling rice farming to yield good sake rice. In winter, consistent snowfall cleans the atmosphere, stabilizing low temperatures to furnish a good sake brewing environment. Thus the climate in Niigata is a perfect environment for sake brewing.

RICE: Rice Grown in Fertile Fields Sake rice varieties such as “Gohyukamangoku” or “Koshitanrei” are indispensable sake gemstones or ingredients, and are grown in the fertile fields of the rice heartland, Niigata.

WATER: Clean Water from the Ground Rain or snowfalls in the mountains are filtered through the earth, becoming clean ground and river water. High in quantity and low in mineral content, Niigata water brings out the characteristics of the “clean-smoothgracious” Niigata sake.

PEOPLE & SKILL: Harmonized Craftsmanship and Technology Highly sophisticated sake brewing technology, the result of many years of R&D, harmonizes with traditional skill, sustaining and further fostering Niigata sake.

Niigata Niigata is located in the central area of the Japanese major island of Honshu, about 160 miles (250 km) north of Tokyo or about an hour and a half by bullet train. The area was well developed by the precious metal mining industry in the old days and also by the marine shipping business between Hokkaido, the northern island, and Osaka, the commerce center before it shifted to Tokyo. Niigata Prefecture is composed of part of Honshu and one of the largest islands in Japan, Sado Island. The area has a long shoreline, flat fields and mountains behind. It has abundant natural beauty and many national parks. It belongs to the climate zone of the Sea of Japan where there are plenty of hot summer days and snowfalls in winter. Its fertile land allows it to be one of the major rice farming areas in Japan, yielding renowned table rice such as “Koshihikari.” The area has been prosperously and culturally developed as a result of the mining industry, the shipping trade and cultural transfer. The area is in a rare location in Japan to produce natural gas and oil, though their quantities are limited. There has always been high demand for high-quality rice and sake for many years in this area. The climate, rice, water, people and skills of the area have fostered excellent sake. It has led to the promotion of skilled craftsmanship and the pioneering of many important sake brewing advancements. Today Niigata enjoys a great reputation as the sake heartland of Japan.

December 2012 I The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional 21

Industry Nightlife By Chandra Paige

Chandra’s Latenight Picks

Chandra Paige is a PR director for mobiAdzz, and is also an independent marketing and business consultant nationally. She writes about food, nightlife, events and life stories.

Meatball Spot

with the pride and seriousness in the art of making a cocktail, much

Town Square

like the finest Japanese sushi chef takes his work of sushi art. Space






is 200 square-feet of vibrantly contemporary lounging with sultry red


accents to finish the chic décor. Scarlet is located on the main floor of

competitor, found a hot

what was once Stuff Store.

spot at the perfectly busy and beautiful outside shopping center at Town Square. There is a menu of different types of meatballs, large


and sumptuous, and you choose the sauce from traditional marinara

Tropicana Casino Resort

to garlic cream. Selections of creations made of love include

Bagatelle is a restaurant and nightclub

scrumptious artisan salads to nosh on. The pizzas shine, and come

and has finally opened after a long

out on a big baking sheet, more square than circular. Of course, add a

anxious wait for this New York venue

meatball to whatever other fixings you would like on this. It is cheesy

to come to Vegas, and it opened big.

and delicious. Listen and enjoy the awesome music while drinking an

Think of STK, as to how lively the

ale or wine with your meal. Star spotting is common. You may even spot Carla dancing around and getting you to dance!

restaurant is. Bagatelle did it a step or two further. Yes, you can eat breakfast lunch and dinner there. Think of elaborate costumed beautiful ladies, artwork on display. A bit of a


naughty soiree, while eating and dancing in the lounge area. Dancers

Palms Casino Resort

are skimmed along the room up high. This place will make you feel

9Group decided it was time for a high-end

you stepped into a new era. Let down your conservative side and

sophisticated bar and elaborate mixology created

join in the party. Eat well before popping those bottles! Don’t worry

by Francesco Lafranconi. Top shelf liquors, very unique infused

about your dance moves, there will be a song that will make it look

spirits, exclusive cocktails and much more. The drinks will be taken

on purpose.

INDUSTRY NIGHTS Blue Martini Town Square Mon-Sun

Foundation Room Mandalay Bay Monday

Krave Miracle Mile Sunday

Blush Wynn Tuesday

Gallery Planet Hollywood Wednesday

Lavo Palazzo Tuesday

Crown Rio Monday

Ghost Bar Palms Wednesday

LAX Luxor Wednesday

Chateau Paris Tuesday

Haze Aria Thursday

Marquee Cosmopolitan Monday

Drai’s Bill’s Sunday

Jet Mirage Monday

Moon Palms Tuesday

Pure Caesars Tuesday Revolver Santa Fe Station Thursday Rok New York, New York Wednesday STK Cosmopolitan Monday

Surrender Vanity Hard Rock Encore Beach Club Sunday Wednesday The Bank Bellagio Sunday Tryst Wynn Thursday Tao Venetian Thursday

XS Encore Monday Does your bar or restaurant have industry specials? Have them listed here!

December 2012 I The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional 23


By Bob Barnes

High Scores Bar-Arcade: Come for the games, stay for the food and beer

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 Gayot. com. He welcomes your inquiries. Email:

Assistant General Manager Freddie Delatorre and Chef Chris Sailer

Photos by Bill Bokelmann

Want a reason to get out of the house? How about free play on an assortment of 22 video games and pinball machines, more than 50 craft beers or a gastropub food menu? High Scores offers all of these amenities and is packing in a wide variety of clientele, from the gamer enthusiasts to the craft beer aficionados and basically anyone who appreciates great food. The stand alone building on Stephanie just south of the 215 is hard to miss, with neon green paint on its exterior. Three different environments offer something for everyone. One side, for those 18 or older, is on the lively side, and is where you’ll find the majority of the games. A separate entrance leads to the Player’s Club, for those 21 and over, with a quieter, more relaxed ambiance and a handful of video poker machines and some free-play video games as well. A third option is an outdoor patio area complete with more games.

The Departed-a handcrafted cocktail with Jameson and hand-whipped cream, created by Mixologist Mke Pryzdale

As for the games, you’ll find vintage pinball and video games that are a blast from the past such as Blasteroids and Battle Pac Man alongside more recent renditions like South Park and Street Fighter. There are many that owner Richard Ditton’s Illinois-based Incredible Technologies (the largest manufacturer of amusement games in the US) company designed, including Golden Tee Golf and Silver Strike Bowling. If beer pong is your game, you’re covered here, with a lightup beer pong table and portable beer towers that hold 100 oz. Ditton convinced his former colleague Leif Marwede to sign on as general manager and entrusted him to design the décor and find talented people to run High Scores. Marwede struck gold with Assistant General Manager Freddie Delatorre, who has been in the F & B business since he was 15. Delatorre opened the Mirage, where he worked for 13 years. While at the Mirage he spent time under the tutelage of culinary luminary Gustav Mauler, before moving on to management positions with the Lodge and Roadrunner bars. The next gold nugget Marwede unearthed was Chef Chris Sailer, a Hawaiian native who helmed the kitchen at Johnny Mac’s for 10 years. At High Scores he has been given the freedom to tailor the menu to showcase his creativity. Chef said, “I’m excited to come to work every day. Research and development has to be your friend. You have to keep that edge in everything you do.” Chef Sailer has added some Hawaiian inspiration to the menu, such as the Ahi Poke with avocado and fresh ginger, which Chef says is a staple in Hawaii. His inventive Angry Birds is a creation he should consider patenting; after eating these Buffalo-style wings you’ll still have clean hands, for the hot sauce is contained inside the batter instead of outside. Selections made with

24 The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional I December 2012

beer are scattered throughout the menu. An innovative idea is serving the same brew with the dish that it is cooked with. Examples are the Fish and Chips made with batter that contains Rogue Morimoto Soba Ale or Dead Guy Ale Steak marinated with Rogue Dead Guy Ale, both of which are accompanied with a 4.5 oz glass of the beer used in the preparation. Even the desserts may contain beer. The GingerbreadStout Cake features Rogue Hazelnut Brown Ale in its batter and Dogfish Head Brown Ale in the caramel sauce that it’s topped with. The beer menu is thanks to Delatorre, who is equally passionate and knowledgeable about the brews he stocks. High Scores offers what this beer aficionado/writer proclaims to be the best craft beer selection in Henderson. What makes the selection stand out are excellent brews you just don’t find on most beer lists. 16 taps and about 40 bottles include several varieties of Rogue, Uinta’s Crooked Line, Wasatch Devastator Bock, Anderson Valley’s Brother David’s Tripel, Dogfish Head Witches Brew and local-brewed beers from Joseph James Brewing. New beer gems are added to the lineup frequently, so it’s worth stopping in to see what’s new. Not surprisingly, craft beer choices are the barcade’s best sellers. The prices are quite reasonable, and a happy hour Mon.-Sat. from 2 to 5 p.m. and midnight to 3 a.m., offers several 22 oz beers for $5 and half off on onion rings, wings and jalapeño baconwrapped corn dogs. High Scores is filling a void for gamers, beer fans and food lovers, providing a fun and inviting hang out haven. If you’re not careful, you may find yourself returning night after night, which might not be a bad thing at all.

High Scores Bar-Arcade 65 S. Stephanie St. Henderson, N 89012 (702) 522-7766 High Scores is open daily from 9 a.m. till 2 a.m. and the Player’s Club is open 24/7.

By Mitchell Wilburn

Interview with Chef Michael Minor:

Mitchell Wilburn is a food and drink writer living in Las Vegas. You can view his restaurant, beer, spirits, and event articles at, or follow him on Facebook at mitchellwilburnofficial.

The Meeting of the Mustaches

A Las Vegas personality, the Executive Chef of Mandalay Bay’s Border Grill is a man dedicated to his craft. His critically acclaimed brainchild, the All-You-Can-Eat Weekend Brunch has not only emerged as a staple for those seeking to recompose themselves after a long night, but as a must-eat in national publications. His warm personality, commitment to the excellence of his work, and open advocacy to sustainable, local Southern Nevada food has made him a person of great character in the Las Vegas food and beverage scene. I sat down with him at Border Grill to see what makes this Chef tick. Let’s get the big one first: Tell me about your opinion, what is the most important part of brunch at Border Grill. that movement?

Executive Chef Michael Minor, the mastermind of Border Grill, is a Vegas treasure. Whether he’s talking about locavore food initiatives or tweeting about a secret Bacon Michelada on the Sunday brunch, he brings a passion and care for his food that really comes through. Keep an eye out for Chef Mike’s secret menu items and events by following him at @ChefMikeLV on twitter, or check out recipes, learn about sustainability and read his blog at

Photos by Mitchell Wilburn

Our newest and latest creation is our The most important part is that you’re using brunch. We just got best brunch of the year ingredients that are in season. The food for 2012 from two major publications; we’re that I do use from the local farmers, I make really excited about that. We do it Saturday sure it’s in season, it’s stuff they’re trying to and Sunday, 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. There’s move. This season, squash is a big thing in something on the side I’ve been working on the winter; if I’m using something from the for the brunch, a Secret Menu. If you follow summer the squash is just going to go bad. me on twitter (@chefmikelv), you’ll be in the I push the sous chefs to keep that in mind. know for what the secret menu item will be Right now we’re doing a Butternut Squash for the day. It’s always a surprise, off the cuff. Empanada with cranberry-jalapeno corn It keeps me edgy, keeps me moving, and it’s relish; it’s all in season, so I’m using that. good brain food for myself. I’ve got a Peanut Someone here in Nevada is getting ready to Butter and Jelly Sandwich on there that’s make a pig farm where you can buy local pigs incredible. It’s got fresh jalapenos, applein Las Vegas. I’m on board with that, again smoked bacon, an over-easy egg, and it sits to support the community and farm-to-plate. on a Manchego cheese biscuit. There was an Besides Syrian and the traditional Mexican article, 50 Best Things to Eat in Vegas and you were trained in, what is your favorite that’s number nineteen. You definitely have to genre of food? try that when you’re here. Right now, it’s street food. I’m really into food Your biography shows that your cooking that’s fun, unique, easy and approachable. is greatly inspired by your grandmother’s I think nowadays food that is smaller, Syrian cuisine. Was cooking an important bite sized, like unique tacos, or something part of family life? artisan. If you come to our brunch, you can A huge part of my family life. I was definitely kind of get that vibe. I just came up with these inspired by my grandmother’s Syrian Carnitas French Fries; we cut the fries here cooking, and also the whole idea of one at Border Grill, and I made my own chipotle person preparing a big meal for fifteen or cheese sauce, put bacon over them, and fresh twenty people. I was so intrigued that you onion, cilantro, and crispy carnitas. They would find me as a little boy standing on a were to die for incredible. chair in the kitchen, peeling potatoes or And of course, I’m into barbecue. It’s my making Kibbeh, a Syrian raw beef salad. She love; it’s in my heart. I’m very passionate would even make her own cheese. Really, I about it, and it’s something I want to be think that’s where I got my love of food from. known for as well. I have an awesome rib You’re doing a great deal of sustainable food recipe I’ve been working on for many many and farm-to-table work these days. In your years, almost all my adult life. I plan on

doing more stuff with barbecue, and you’re going to see more of Mike Minor in 2013. Street food and barbecue is my favorite right now because I’m a very fun-loving, easy, laid-back, relaxed guy. I don’t run around and take myself too seriously, and my food is the same way; I want it to represent me.

December 2012 I The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional 25

Best of Green Dining in 2012

By Charlotte Maher Charlotte Maher is the Communications Associate for the Green Restaurant Association, a national non-profit that has been helping restaurants become environmentally sustainable since 1990. For inquiries, please contact

As 2012 comes to a close, the Green Restaurant Association (GRA) celebrates the ongoing green accomplishments of Certified Green Restaurants® across the country. These achievements in sustainability made 2012 a year for dining green! Composting Programs

Over the past year, composting has become a more common practice in the food service industry, offering both economical and environmental benefits. Near-Zero Waste™ Restaurants have eliminated their total landfill input by 95% through recycling and composting programs, reducing their waste-hauler costs in the process. The composting process of recycling organic waste back into our food system enriches soil and minimizes pollution. For these reasons, composting has been mandated in cities and states across the country, including San Francisco, Vermont and Massachusetts. The GRA requires Certified Green Restaurants® in areas with competitive composting services to implement composting programs, including those in Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Washington DC, New York City, Philadelphia, Portland OR, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle and St. Louis.

Energy-Efficient Lighting

Incandescent light bulbs are being banned in the U.S., and many restaurants have been adjusting to this recent legislation by implementing more energy-efficient lighting solutions. For example, the Green Sage in South Asheville, NC updated 90% of its lighting to LEDs, earning 16.2 GreenPoints™ towards becoming a 4 Star Certified Green Restaurant®. Recent innovations in the evolving LED technology have made LEDs even more conducive to restaurant environments, such as the 10W Award-Winning LED Bulb from Philips Lighting, the recipient of the LPrize® from the U.S. Department of Energy. This innovative 60W equivalent LED bulb offers a dimmable lighting quality that lasts for 25,000 hours – all while saving restaurants up to 83% of their lighting-related energy costs. Realizing that efficient lighting means efficient business, restaurants have not only made progress to replace incandescent bulbs, but will also continue updating their lighting solutions for years to come.

Alternative Fuel

New technology has made it possible for restaurants to turn used grease into energy. Given the benefits of this growing market, the GRA updated its Endorsement Standards to include companies that either convert 100% of used grease into biodiesel, electricity or Straight Vegetable Oil (SVO), or haul the grease product to a company that does. Certified Green Restaurants® in Asheville, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, southern and central Connecticut, Washington DC, Los Angeles, southwest Montana, New York City, Philadelphia, Portland OR, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle and Spokane are required to convert grease to energy

through waste-haulers, or by implementing an on-site pumping station, such as SpringBoard Biodiesel’s BioPro EX device. This safe and easyto-use appliance automatically converts grease to biodiesel, which burns 78% cleaner than regular diesel, according to the EPA. With devices such as the BioPro EX, it has never been easier for restaurants to convert their grease in a clean, reliable way.

Transparency Tools

The GRA understands the importance of transparency, and acts as an outside source to verify the environmental accomplishments of Certified Green Restaurants® across the country. After all, 94% of people want any green claims to be vetted by a third-party organization as being true. The GRA’s online tools provide customers with Green Labels that outline the specific steps each restaurant has taken to become more sustainable across their operations. Find Certified Green Restaurants® and view their Green Labels by visiting: customers/default.asp

Green Dining Trends for 2013

As the new year approaches, the Green Restaurant Association anticipates exciting green opportunities for restaurants across the country in coming months. These exciting trends offer new ways that restaurants can satisfy sustainable-minded consumers who prefer to dine green.

Water Conservation

As much of the Midwest is suffering a severe drought, water conservation is certain to be a big priority in 2013. Both restaurants and manufacturers will continue to adapt to the repercussions of the drought, and take steps to reduce the 300 billion gallons of water used annually within the country’s restaurant industry. For example, while the least efficient Spray Valve sold today is 1.6 gallons-per-minute, many Certified Green Restaurants® have installed Spray Valves that flow 1.2, 1.0 or even 0.6 gallons-perminute, an incredible step to conserve water. More restaurants will integrate these simple devices to improve water-efficiency in the coming year. Additionally, restaurants will be more particular about purchasing water-efficient equipment, such as dishwashers. And while this is not the norm yet, there are even Certified Green Restaurants® that recycle greywater, previously used in sinks, showers, baths and washer machines, for use in their irrigation and plumbing practices. As water becomes scarcer and more expensive, conservation will evolve from a point of interest to a place of need, and many restaurants understand that this is a trend that will continue.

26 The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional I December 2012

Electric Car Charging Stations

With the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf evolving the car market, modern highways have never seen so many electric vehicle drivers, and this number is only increasing. Now, diners can charge their batteries while enjoying a meal at Certified Green Restaurants® across the country. From the corporate cafeterias on Microsoft’s Redmond Campus to Michael Jordan’s Chicago Steakhouse in Chicago, there are Certified Green Restaurants® that already provide electric vehicle charging stations. On the edge of this technology, before charging stations are everywhere or vehicle batteries last longer, restaurants that meet this growing demand for electric car charging stations will attract more business.

Schools and Universities

Colleges across the country understand the importance of offering environmentally sustainable dining options on campus. In the past year, Boston University’s Union Court earned the title of “The Greenest Food Court in the Country,” while dining services for Northeastern University, Harvard Business School and Bates College have become Certified Green Restaurants®. In California, UCLA and San Diego State University are taking steps to green their dining services. Research by the Princeton Review shows that 66% of college applicants and parents “would find information about a college’s dedication to the environment useful in their college selection process,” and as a result, more food courts and cafeterias are expected to become Certified Green Restaurants® in the next year than ever before.

Hotels and Resorts

Hotels large and small are taking steps to become more sustainable, including greening their dining options. Last fall, the InterContinental Hotel Group committed to certifying all of their restaurants through the GRA, and the renowned hotel chain recently achieved this tremendous accomplishment. Additionally, Doubletree and Wyndham hotels have also made exceptional environmental progress by earning certification for their dining services as well. Within the next year, more boutique hotels and large chains will be offering environmentally sustainable dining options that are vetted by a third party. At that point, their visitors can be confident that they’re dining green! It is an exciting time for Certified Green Restaurants®! 2013 will demonstrate even more environmental progress across our nation’s restaurant industry.

Green Restaurant Association


Since 1990

Thinking of Going Green? Take a strategic approach.

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

p ro t ect aga in st the u ne x p e c te d “With Stem Locks, we have saved hundreds of dollars per month on breakage; spilled drinks accompanied by customer dry-cleaning; and complimentary dishes.” — David Whitestine, Olde Port Inn, Avila Beach, CA

“BeSt neW restaurant and bar PrODuCt Of 2012.” — Leonard Cohen, Ciopinot, San Luis Obispo, CA

trADe: SySco · COnSumerS: inSTawareS · vISIt: YOu tuBe:

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7 AM


By Shelley Stepanek

Take a small country bar, tear it down and transform it into one of the nicest new restaurants in Las Vegas. McCall’s Heartland Grill is offering hearty and healthy Midwestern-style steaks, fresh seafood and some creative new foods, all served with a “Cowboy Chic” feel. The portions are large, and feature 100% natural beef from Harris Ranch Cattle, raised on the grassy hillsides of Southern California. The Coffee Rubbed Center Cut, The Pepper Crusted Filet of Beef or the Grilled Choice 1 lb. Porterhouse, are all great choices. Creamed Spinach with Roasted Poblano Chilis, Grilled Lobster Risotto Cake and Lime Dusted Sweet Potato Fries are a few new items to try. There is a “sampling” wine bar as you enter, where you can try the wine of the day. Happy hour features champagne and mimosas for $2 a glass. The room is warm with intimate booths, stone and natural woods. Master designer Brian Thornton has built a private dining room for 20, and a soon to be unveiled 12-seat room with a view of the kitchen. He has overseen every detail from carpet to china. His next project will be the Top of the World Restaurant. Open for lunch and dinner, Chef Rick Giffen, who oversees the menu, and Matt Mascali, VP of Food & Beverage, have come up with some new twists and turns on traditional food. Giffen has over 28 years of restaurant experience, including opening more than 40 restaurants across the country. At the Stratosphere, he oversees 150 BOH employees in eight full service venues. For reservations call 702-380-7777. Open daily 11-11.

December 2012 I The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional 29

F&B Associations ACF Chefs of Las Vegas

Meetings & Events Las Vegas


Las Vegas Hospitality Association

Guild of Sommeliers

Nevada Tavern Owners Association

National Concierge Association Nevada

Destination Services Association

Green Restaurant Association IFSEA Nevada Hotel and Lodging Association United States Bartenders’ Guild Nevada Restaurant Association

Photos by Bill Bokelmann

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Al Dentes’ mission is simple: Provide our customers the best, safest products and service available at the lowest prices possible. We take pride in being a Las Vegas company committed to safe, fresh, & high quality products.



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Big Dog’s Brewing Company 702-368-3715

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December 5 NVRA-Nevada Restaurant AssociationChristmas Mixer Ferraro’s on Paradise

January 9 Potato Expo

December 9 Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund Raiser Event New York New York

January 8-11 CES - Consumer Electronics Show LVCC

December 9 ACF Chefs of Las Vegas Annual Holiday Party The Orleans Hotel

January 20-22 Fancy Food Show-San Francisco

December 11 Chefs WarehousePramil Product Showcase RM SEAFOOD RSVP to

January 19 Chefs for Kids 5 K Run/1 Mile Fun Walk

December 12 Stone Vertical Epic Release The Final Chapter Aces & Ales December 13-22 10 Days of Deschutes Aces & Ales December 15 Festivino Venetian-Palazzo

Niigata Sake Festival Nutella Rock n Roll Wines 702-240-3066 Southern Nevada Health District 702-759-1099 Stem Locks Three Square 702-644-3663

page 20 page 32 page 10 page 15 page 28 page 22

January 26 Big Dog’s Winterfest N Rancho Brewery

To see more events, visit calendar.htm Don’t See Your Event Listed Here? Email Your F&B Events to

December 2012 I The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional 31

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December 2012 Issue  

Las Vegas Monthly Trade Publication for Food & Beverage Professionals

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