Issue 11 | Volume 20
Foley Family Wines Bullish on Industry Growth and Innovation
SC URRE OU NT I NT SSUE LIQ S AT UO R
The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional 7442 Grizzly Giant Street Las Vegas, NV 89139 www.lvfnbpro.com
HOT OFF THE GRILL!
In loving memory of our Sr. Editor, father and friend.
We stopped in to the newly opened Triple B—Brooks Brothers Burgers at the Rainbow Club Casino in Downtown Henderson and were delighted to meet the casino’s new Co-owner Tim Brooks, pictured here with Editorial Director Bob Barnes. Tim had the foresight to hire our friend Scott Pajak as Executive Chef. For a full reporting on this fun casual eatery read Elaine and Scott Harris’ Destination Dining column on page 7.
Mike Fryer Photo Credit: Bill Bokelmann
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F&B Manager Mario Morales, shown here with Bob Barnes, illustrates that The Front Yard at Ellis Island is an optimal place to watch football games, with a giant 18-foot big screen and other TVs throughout tuned to the games. Plus, their weekend brunch served Sat. & Sun. from 10 a.m.-3 p.m., includes sweet eats like the French toast waffle stuffed crunch toast, savory bites like the brisket Benedict and brunch staples with a twist like the avocado toast with a beet glaze. For more on The Front Yard, read Bob’s reporting on their recent beer dinner in his What’s Brewing column on page 8.
Photo Credit: Lally Barnes
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The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional
Journalist USBG Adam Rains
Journalist The Bottom Line Ben Brown
Accounting Manager Michelle San Juan
Journalist Brett’s Vegas View Jackie Brett
Journalist Best of the Best Shelley Stepanek
Journalist UNLV Epicurean Society Nicholas Bilt
Journalist HR Insights Linda Bernstein
Journalist The Restaurant Expert David Scott Peters
Journalist Front & Back of the House Gael Hees
Journalist Chef Talk Allen Asch
Journalist Dishing It Sk Delph
Journalist SoCal Craft David Mulvihil
Journalists Twinkle Toast Erin Cooper & Christine Vanover
Journalists Dining Destinations Elaine & Scott Harris
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2 The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional I November 2020
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Contents and Comments from Editorial Director Bob Barnes
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Welcome to our November, 2020 issue of The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional. As we head into the beautiful fall weather in Southern Nevada now is an opportune time to enjoy food and beverage options available to us outdoors, and we are fortunate to have so many choices to choose from. And, even in these unusual, difficult times, we can still find several openings and reopenings occurring. Our cover feature, written by Ben Brown, delves into a wine company that is truly bullish on industry growth and innovation: Foley Family Wines. Ben talks at length with Gerard Thoukis, the company’s Chief Marketing Officer that has dedicated his career to the wine world, who tells of how Bill Foley (also owner of the NHL Vegas Golden Knights), after founding the company in 1996, through his ambitious mindset fueled the company’s growth to become a dominant force in the wine world that now encompasses dozens of labels across California, the Pacific Northwest and New Zealand. In case you weren’t aware, one of the biggest wine holidays in the fall takes place in November: Beaujolais Nouveau. Our Assistant Editor/Columnist Alice Swift fills us in on everything we need to know about the interesting history of this special release of wines made from the Gamay grape. In Elaine and Scott Harris’ Dining Destinations we catch up with our friend Chef Scott Pajak and learn about his newest endeavor, his role as executive chef of Rainbow Club & Casino and Triple B Burgers and the great value this newly-opened restaurant offers. Speaking of other new beginnings, in my What’s Brewing column I have details of the newly-opened HUDL Brewing, the reopening of Trustworthy Brewing and the gradual return of beer events, namely the Oktoberfest beer dinner at Ellis Island’s The Front Yard. As always, we can count on Jackie Brett to keep us up to date on the most current news about resorts, entertainment, dining and beverage and what’s happening about town in her Brett’s Vegas View. In her Front & Back of the House column this month Gael Hees introduces us to Zoey D’Arienzo, VP of F&B at the STRAT Hotel, Casino & Skypod. In this profile we learn of the journey this talented woman has taken in F&B management that has literally taken her geographically from one end of the Strip to the other. As COVID has changed the behavior of virtually everyone, it’s an interesting time for our Twinkle Toast columnists Christine Vanover and Erin Cooper to discuss with local sommeliers how these challenging times have affected the types and styles of wines they have been drinking and what gems $20 or less they would recommend. Cheers! Editorial Director Bob Barnes
Page 2 Hot off the Grill! Page 4 What’s Cooking Page 5 Best of the Best X Pot
Page 11 UNLV Epicurean Society
Page 6 Wine Talk with Alice Swift Wine Holidays and the Upcoming Beaujolais Nouveau Day
Page 12 Foley Family Wines Bullish on Industry Growth and Innovation
Page 7 Dining Destinations Rainbow Club & Casino in Henderson Finds Culinary Pot of Gold with Addition of Chef Scott Pajak
Page 10 The Bottom Line Rallying the Troops: Michelin-Rated Restaurateur’s Podcast Brings in World-Class Industry Talent
Page 8 What’s Brewing
Page 14 Brett's Vegas View Page 15 USBG Las Vegas Erik Kluever Page 16 Front & Back of the House A Position of One’s Own!
Page 18 The Restaurant Expert How to Build a Management Team You Trust Page 19 Human Resources Insights Does Your Leadership Team Value Diversity? Page 20 Product Review Page 21 Chef Talk Pizza 102 Page 22 SoCal Craft GABF 2020 Page 23 Foodie Biz Pie and Ice Cream Duo Making Waves for the Fallidays
Page 17 Twinkle Toast 2020 Values
November 2020 I The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional 3
By Bob Barnes Bob Barnes is a native Las Vegan, editorial director of The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional and covers the LV restaurant scene for Gayot.com. He welcomes your inquiries. Email: email@example.com
ARIA Resort & Casino Finger Licking Foodie Tour Since 2015 Don Contursi has been offering the guided Lip Smacking Foodie Tours, in which guests visit multiple restaurants in one outing. The tours have proven to be quite popular, but like many food and beverage businesses, the onset of COVID delivered a real gut punch. Don was not deterred though, and switched gears by adding a new variation: a two-hour, self-guided, socially distanced tour for parties of 2-6 visiting three restaurants dubbed the Finger Licking Foodie Tour. After reading and writing about Don’s foodie tours and conversing with him for more than a year, I finally got around to experiencing one of his tours. The one I chose was the new ARIA Resort & Casino Finger Licking Foodie Tour. What appealed to me was the extreme high quality of the three world-renowned restaurants included, all located in the same resort just steps from each other, and that the tour includes 3 dishes at each restaurant. Our tour began at 5 p.m. at BARDOT Brasserie, where we enjoyed three appetizers, including a wonderful creation of king crab and caper aioli nestled inside Belgian endive. At 5:30 we moseyed across the way to Carbone and dived into three Italian specialties that included a very delicious penne alla vodka. Lastly, at 6:15 we ambled over to Jean Georges Steakhouse and indulged in a perfectly cooked New York Strip and finished with a very unique panna cotta dessert encased in white chocolate made to look like a lemon or lime. One aspect I found appealing was the element of surprise, as we did not know beforehand what dishes we would be served. However, we were given the opportunity when booking our tour to inform of any dietary restrictions. One of our party did have some limitations and thankfully each of the restaurants provided alternate dishes as needed. After finally experiencing one of Don’s tours I have to say all of the great things I had heard about the quality was true and I highly recommend them. And, you certainly will not leave hungry! Several tours are offered with multiple variations and options. Check them out at fingerlickingfoodietours.com.
As soon as you walk in you are welcomed by tributes to cars, trucks and motorcycles, which happen to be hanging from the ceiling. There’s also an immense display of Americana and I found myself mesmerized, dazzled and entertained by colorful nostalgic signs, old bottles and license plates from all 50 states (including a collage in the shape of our nation’s flag) filling nearly every inch of the walls. As there is a garage theme, it’s fitting that some of the walls are actual garage doors that can be rolled up when the weather permits and extending to two outdoor patio areas. There’s a definite family-friendly vibe, but the 30 TV screens throughout and the 50 beers offered also qualifies Sickies as a sports lovers’ hangout. The garage theme, as well as the moniker, is derived from the founders’ practice of calling in sick to work on cars and eventually getting into making creatively insane burgers. The first location opened in Fargo, North Dakota in 2012 and was followed by a handful more in South Dakota, Minnesota and Nebraska, but this Vegas opening marks its first venture out west. When CEO Ken Harris was asked why open during these difficult times he replied, “Once COVID gets under control, those who have survived will do very well, with less competition and more demand.” As to why open in Las Vegas his response was, “It’s fun and appeals to both tourists and families.” The massive menu lists every comfort food imaginable, with the likes of fish & chips, chicken tenders, nachos, fried pickles, quesadillas and sandwiches, but the real “meat” of the offerings are the burgers, which feature ½ pound Angus patties and come in 50 creations with a myriad of toppings and bun variations (such as gluten-free, doughnut, pretzel). Patty choices also include chicken, turkey, veggie, American Wagyu and pork sausage. Another expansive collection are the chicken wings, with 25 varieties, such as mango habanero, Jamaican jerk, kickin’ bourbon, Carolina chipotle and some unusual choices like PB&J (which surprisingly is quite good). As for those 50 brews, I’m glad to see some support for local, with taps pouring CraftHaus Belgard Stout, Hop Nuts Golden Strong and Lovelady Paleo Porter. The regular prices, with entrées around $15, will keep you coming back, but there are also several other enticements, such as burgers and sandwiches including a side; $9.99 daily lunch specials; military and first responders 20% off; daily happy hour with apps for $5.99, $1 off select beer and wine and Bud & Burger and a side for $10.99; and all day drink specials. Just be careful you don’t become so addicted that you find yourself calling in sick to visit. sickiesburgers.com/locations/las-vegas
Photo Credit: Sickies Garage Burgers & Brews
Photo Credit: ARIA Resort & Casino
Americana Is Alive and Well at Sickies Garage Burgers & Brews Sickies Garage Burgers & Brews opened in Town Square over Labor Day weekend in the former space of Claim Jumper, and while it was mentioned briefly in this publication, after my visit last month I feel this unique restaurant deserves further reporting. 4 The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional I November 2020
By Shelley Stepanek
Best of the Best
Shelley Stepanek is President of DSA, the oldest non-profit tourist association in the state, along with being on the board of ticket brokers. Shelley has previously owned three restaurants.
Photo Credit: Shelley Stepanek
X Pot is an incredible new hot pot restaurant at the Grand Canal Shoppes at The Palazzo. The place has marvelous ambiance and great atmosphere with its all black walls and muted lighting. At the front is a small bar seating about eight, and a few small booths which altogether can seat up to 50 people. For now, the lounge offers a menu of oyster shooters, Wagyu beef sushi, seafood platters and marinated cherry tomatoes. Video screens totally surround the bar area. As you enter the dining area, there is a dry aging room for meat that is open to view along with the wine station which carries over 50 brands. Jay Shin, the dining room manager, escorted us to one of the tables, which all seat four diners. He also gave us a grand tour and showed us the four private dining rooms, with movable walls that can be combined into one. The hit feature are four robots, which automatically can be programmed to go throughout the restaurant and carefully avoid diners. Dishes are loaded on the shelves and the robots arrive where the servers are waiting to unload the items directly onto the tables. Once completely open, the restaurant will feature an entertainment experience with 360-degree projections in high-def, interactive light shows, accompanied by themed sounds to go along with Sichuan hot-pot tradition. Creators Haibin Yang and David Zhao, who started with Chubby Cattle in Chinatown, have come along with Asian fusion dishes, including www.lvfnbpro.com
A5 Wagyu beef and Kobe beef dry-aged for 100 days. Diners can select the quality and level of meat, based on how long the beef has been aged. Diners can also if they choose, cook their own ingredients, ranging from seafood, meat and vegetables. This was a dining experience that I had not tried before. First the server gave us both aprons, and a package with thin plastic gloves and then placed a freshly-made house salad on the table, followed by appetizers called one bite, truffle tofu roll and homemade crispy pork. The pork had been fashioned to look like a small black swan, on a wooden platter with dry ice coming out of a small barrel. Beautiful piece of art. Then came the main course, the soup base, which can be one of two, either a golden chicken/creamy lobster, or a red pot with assorted mushrooms, slightly spicy. The server placed the broth in a small heated area next to each person with its own temperature control. As we picked the chicken/lobster soup, there was a nice claw floating on top. As it bubbled, the server carefully placed various pieces of vegetables— tomato, bok choy, spinach, mushrooms and black tofu—into the bowl. As they cooked, she came and placed them into our small eating bowls. We thought we had filled up with the soup, but it was only the starter. Most people, it seemed, let the server work their magic, by totally waiting on you. Served on a bronze calf bowl, were various pieces of A5 wagyu rib eye cap, A5 wagyu
brisket, prime Angus rib eye, sashimi, beef tongue and chuck short rib. Again, each piece went into the boiling broth, from 10-30 seconds. There were pieces of handmade X Pot ham, X special black tofu, X Pot wagyu meatballs and seasonal veggie and mushroom combos. These items we cooked ourselves, taking them out when we thought they were done. Another surprise—a small wagyu sandwich, cut in four, served in a white cow with mushroom dipping sauce to keep the beef theme. Dessert was heavenly. A Szechwan ice jelly with mixed nuts and fresh fruit served in a martini glass and a green tea dessert called Wagyu Flir Gras Bibimbap in a circular shape, most likely a type of Chinese flan. There is nothing else in Las Vegas anywhere near to the experience they have created here. Simply marvelous. The chef’s tasting menu featured above runs $148 per person and is well worth it. X Pot will feature performances that include ancient Chinese face-changing ceremonies, noodle dances and table animation shows, all of them paired with its smart-robot technology. For a memorable experience, please try my recommendation of X Pot. X Pot, Grand Canal Shoppes, 3377 Las Vegas Boulevard S., 866-888-9768. Open Monday through Thursday from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. and Friday through Sunday from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. Located in the North End, in the old Victoria's Secret space.
November 2020 I The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional 5
By Alice Swift Alice Swift, Assistant Editor and Journalist for The Las Vegas Professional, is passionate about hospitality/ F&B, education and instructional design, with 15+ years of experience. In 2016, she moved from Las Vegas to Oʻahu, Hawaiʻi, working for the UH System as a multimedia instructional designer, while maintaining her hospitality/F&B ties through writing, teaching and consulting (Swift Hospitality Consulting). email: firstname.lastname@example.org | website: www.aliceswift.com
with Alice Swift
Wine Holidays and the Upcoming Beaujolais Nouveau Day
Aside from wine harvest celebrations, one of the biggest wine holidays in the fall takes place in November. The third Thursday in November is marked as Beaujolais Nouveau day in France, and is celebrated with celebrations, fireworks and other festivities throughout the country. French law dictates that the wine is to be released precisely at 12:01 a.m., only a short month or two after the grapes are harvested. The wine gets its name from the region from which it is produced, Beaujolais, a small region just south of Burgundy, France. There are 10 Cru classified wine regions of Beaujolais wine, made from the Gamay Noir grape. The resulting wines are aromatic, fruit-forward, terroir filled, complex wines with unique personality. But that’s a story for another day. This month, I’m drawing your focus to Beaujolais Nouveau (translated to “new” in English), which is a special release of wine that has an interesting history. Originally, the wine was meant to be a fun, inexpensive wine to be drank as a close to harvest season. Then, in the 1970s, one of the greatest marketing strategies made famous by Georges Duboeuf brought this entry-level Beaujolais Nouveau wine out of the woodwork. Duboeuf created a November festival dedicated to its release, in conjunction with a race challenge to carry the first bottles of the new vintage to Paris. In the decades to follow, the popularity grew internationally, spreading across Europe, North America and even to Asia in recent years. FUN FACT! Traditionally, the marketing slogan was “Le Beaujolais nouveau est arrive,” or “The new Beaujolais has arrived.” In 2005, this slogan was updated to a more modern “It's Beaujolais Nouveau time.” Learn more about Beaujolais Nouveau Day at www.beaujolaisnouveauday.com. The other unique aspect of Beaujolais Nouveau is its wine vinification process, which uses carbonic maceration. The wine is fermented in whole clusters and sealed off without oxygen. The enzymes then break down the grape skins and induce fermentation in the presence of CO2, a.k.a. carbonic acid (hence, “carbonic” maceration). After the macerated grapes are pressed, the remaining fermentation occurs. The wine is meant to be consumed young, sooner rather than later (within 6 months if possible). The resulting wine is an easy drinking light red with
low tannins and intense aromas and flavors of red berries, violets, sweet spices and earthiness. Surprisingly, the most unique aroma and flavor characteristics that make Beaujolais unmistakable are the banana and bubblegum. Weird, I know, but it works somehow! Don’t forget to slightly chill the wine before drinking, approximately 54-58°F (12-14°C). Georges Duboeuf passed away in January of this year, but his legacy lives on with his son, Franck. The winery used to release their wines with a different selected artist, but since 2017, has held an annual contest accepting bottle artwork submissions for the fall wine release, which has also grown in popularity with social media coming on scene. To see the 2020 winning artist and design that will be released on this year’s bottle, go to https://nouveaulabelcontest.com/2020-winners/, or maybe even submit your artwork next year for a chance to showcase your artwork! Get your bottle soon after its release. FUN FACT! Did you know that while the US has remained one of Beaujolais Nouveau’s largest export market, a close rival is actually Japan? In the past decade, Japan’s import of Beauolais Nouveau has ranged from the mid-20s to 50% of the annual production! Other Wine Holidays to bookmark for November: • Nov. 7 – Merlot Day • Nov. 9 – Tempranillo Day • Third Wed. of Nov. – Zinfandel Day • Third Thursday of November – Beaujolais Nouveau Day • Nov. 24 – Carménère Day If you’d like to see a list of the more popular wine days along with a downloadable Google Calendar that you can add to your phone/personal calendar so you can be in the know of the different wine holidays throughout the year, check out this link https://winefolly.com/lifestyle/national-wineday/#google. Until next month, Cheers~! Alice
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Elaine and Scott Harris are full time journalists for over a decade covering resorts, spas, fine dining, wine, spirits and luxury travel. The husband and wife writing duo are sommeliers through the Court of Master Sommeliers and their work has appeared in the LA Times, Travel and Leisure, Google Travel, Modern Luxury, French Quarter Magazine in France and Monaco and Lausanne Tourism City Guide. Visit their website at Cuisineist.com to read articles and view over 400 videos featuring celebrity chefs, winemakers, sommeliers and Food Network stars.
Photo Credit: Elaine and Scott Harris
Rainbow Club & Casino in Henderson Finds Culinary Pot of Gold with Addition of Chef Scott Pajak
By Elaine and Scott Harris
Even within the age of COVID, entrepreneurs and twin brothers Tim and Mike Brooks, owners of the Emerald Island Casino, acquired the Rainbow Club & Casino in Henderson from the Peppermill Resorts. This updated locals casino continues to beckon eager locals and visitors alike as the historic Water Street experiences a resurgence of activity. A refresh on the exterior highlights the bright and colorful wall mural depicting the local area history that overlooks the newly paved parking lot. Aside from the cosmetic boost on both the exterior and interior, one of the greatest changes that has happened has been the appointment of Chef Scott Pajak as Culinary Director and Executive Chef. Pajak, a winner of Food Network’s Chopped, spent over a decade within the Emeril Lagasse organization where his last stint found him as Chef de Cuisine at Lagasse Stadium at The Palazzo Resort and Casino. With countless hours in the kitchen, serving hundreds of hungry sports fans—upwards to 800 covers each day during football season—this opportunity came at just the right time. “We found out Lagasse’s Stadium was closing and with the COVID, I was concerned for the future as so many of those in www.lvfnbpro.com
the food and beverage industry are looking for employment,” said Pajak. But as fate would have it, Scott’s earlier charitable work brought him in contact with Mike Brooks. On Sept. 17, the Brooks brothers sealed the deal on the casino, and reached out to Pajak offering him the position to revamp the entire culinary operation. The most exciting addition is Triple B Burgers AKA Brooks Brothers Burgers, found just inside the casino. “We are working through the new protocols and the new dining systems which can present initial challenges for employees who have been with the Henderson casino for decades,” said Pajak. “We are getting through the process, and we are excited to feature our Triple B Burgers with an incredible price point—everything on the menu is $10.99, and that includes a drink, entrée and side.” The new menu features two 5oz handcrafted double Angus Beef patties placed on specialty buns. The Po Boy Shrimp Sub pays homage to Pajak’s New Orleans-influenced menu with plump golden friend shrimp served with shredded lettuce, juicy tomatoes and pickle chips with a slathering of creamy mayo on top of fresh French bread.
The fries, known as dippers, are unique to the restaurant menu. The crispy golden potato scoop-like French fries are perfect for getting the ideal amount of ketchup or condiment with effortless ease from your plate to the palate. The Triple B Classic Cheeseburger, Creole Burger, BLT Burger or Southwest Burger are carefully curated affording that heart-warming burger bite that will not bust your budget. The Footlong Hot Dog is loaded with house-made beef chili, topped with diced onion served with a comforting side of golden tater tots. Sip on a refreshing root beer float, or a cold beverage of your choice including a new frozen bar featuring eight types of Margaritas, Daiquiris, Pina Coladas and Mudslides with rotating flavors, and non-alcoholic options have been introduced within the Casino’s bar program. “We are glad to provide great food for the enjoyment of our guests and players and with Chef Scott working with us we couldn’t be more pleased,” said Tim Brooks, Co-Owner of the Rainbow Club. The colors of the food rainbow just got brighter with Chef Pajak at the helm of Triple B.
November 2020 I The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional 7
By Bob Barnes
HUDL Brewing Now Open in Arts District As the burgeoning Arts District in Downtown Las Vegas continues to blossom with new eateries and craft beer establishments, last month’s opening of HUDL Brewing brings the total of breweries and taprooms to 7, along with a handful of craft beer bars now pouring or opening soon. Situated at 1327 S. Main in the same building and just steps from Nevada Brew Works (which opened a month earlier), the two breweries share a sizeable outdoor patio. Inside you’ll find a coated concrete floor, repurposed wood wall and a black and gray color scheme with black tables and black/gray chairs. There’s also an attractive high def screen above the bar listing the beers with descriptions. Like many other new ventures, this one was two years in the making and COVID slowed things down, including the backlog of required inspections. At the soft opening I was informed by Co-owner Ken Cooper that the name HUDL is a shortening of huddle, but is not a football reference, but rather denotes a community getting together to have a good time. Head Brewer Joe Cuozzo had a full roster of eight beers ready to pour. I especially enjoyed the Wrathful Rose, made with raspberries
and hibiscus tea, which thankfully was more tart than sweet; Shaggy Assassin, a hazy IPA; Vanilla Oak Cream Ale with a slight oak character; Salty Swabber, a 9.4% American DIPA made with all US hops; and best of all, the 8.2% 115° Imperial Stout on nitro aged on dark chocolate in a bourbon barrel. Joe tells me up next will be a pilsner. I’ve talked about the Arts District morphing into a beer district, and although I’m not suggesting changing the name, with this and other recent openings and more coming soon, it certainly qualifies as one.
Trustworthy Brewing Reopens
three new Vegas beers, which included Test Pilot Unfiltered Ale, which GM Robert Parekh informed us was the initial batch and the name references how unforeseen mechanical issues with the never before used brewhouse proved to be challenging, yet it still came out to be pretty good. Also poured were Palazzo Pale, an American pale ale, and A Year in the Making, an American amber ale named for how long it took to finally obtain their brewers license, which ironically was issued the day before the shutdown in March. Regarding the beers he is making, Head Brewer Zach Johnson, who started brewing at Trustworthy in Feb. 2017, said, “I don’t try to get too much into one style of
On October 1 Trustworthy Brewing at The Palazzo reopened, which happens to be the only brewery on the Vegas Strip. A few weeks later a media event was held, hosted by Co-founder Chipper Pastron, who said, “We’re really happy and so excited to get the doors open again and the staff back to work.” He also shared with the group that the brewery is now brewing its own beers. (When Trustworthy opened in July, 2019 government licensing was still pending and beers were being sent over from the other Trustworthy location in Burbank, CA.) It was an honor to be one of the first to try
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Photo Credit: Joe Urcioli
Photo Credit: Dave Canela
Bob Barnes is a native Las Vegan, editorial director of The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional and covers the LV restaurant scene for Gayot.com. He welcomes your inquiries. Email: email@example.com
beer, but am a big fan of lagers, so there will be some coming down the line, including a Helles and Mexican lager.” Along with the reopening is a new daily happy hour from 3-6 p.m. and 9 p.m.-close with $2 off drafts and ½ off select appetizers and 24 oz drafts for $9 during football games. Hours are Mon., Thu., Fri. and Sat. 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m.; and Sun. 1:30-9 p.m.
Great American Beer Festival Although due to the pandemic there was no onsite festival at the Great American Beer Festival, the Brewers Association did hold its annual beer judging competition, which this year attracted the most ever entries: more than 8,800. The record-breaking amount was due to the BA allowing an unlimited amount of entries from the more than 8,200 US breweries entering as many as they wished. Although no Southern Nevada breweries medaled, Northern Nevada breweries brought home five medals. Reno’s Great Basin Brewing Co. took gold for its Razzle Fo Shazzle in the Berliner-Style Weisse category, IMBIB Custom Brews earned silver for its Triad Blanc in the Wood- and Barrel-Aged Sour category and BJ’s Restaurant & Brewery was awarded bronze for its BJ’s Coffee Blonde in the Coffee Beer category; and Carson City’s Shoe Tree Brewing Co. received two medals: gold for its Coco Burrito Porter in the Specialty Beer category and bronze for its Stoutacus in the Imperial Stout category. Worth mentioning is the fact that Great Basin has now amassed 16 GABF medals, the most of any brewery in Nevada. Congrats to our friends up north for their impressive showing! www.lvfnbpro.com
After Governor Sisolak okayed gatherings larger than 50 people, Ellis Island wasted no time in putting together an Oktoberfest-themed beer dinner. This turned out to be The Front Yard’s very first Oktoberfest and I was happy to attend; interestingly, the last beer dinner I attended before everything was clamped shut was Ellis Island’s inaugural beer dinner event, held in early February. Present were the entertaining and affable Head Brewers Michael Key and Eddie Leal, who led us through the Oktoberfest-themed pairings; and the masterful Chef John Alers, who created and directed the preparation of all the courses. The dinner began with German Cucumber Salad and Mini Pretzel Sticks with Beer Cheese paired with Koval Pilsner, which is hoppier and darker than traditional German pilsners. We were informed the beer cheese contained the Pilsner, and this cheese was so delectable I would have happily unabashedly drunk a pint of it. Next up was Chicken Schnitzel Fries with Honey Mustard and Lemon Aioli, a German take on chicken tenders, matched with Weizenbock, a very enjoyable brew filled with malty-sweet goodness.
CraftHaus Brewery & Taproom New Patio Just in time for the great fall weather, last month CraftHaus Brewery & Taproom on California St. in the Arts District opened a new extended patio. The brewery has teamed up with neighboring Garagiste Wine Room & Merchant to share the 1,500-square-foot patio which will be open through January 5. The patio is equipped with picnic tables and benches that seat up to six and wood barrels from CraftHaus’ barrel-aged program give the space more of a beer garden vibe. As for food to go with the taproom’s 22 drafts, the menu includes curated cheese and charcuterie boards, spent grain soft pretzels with beer cheese or beer bacon jam, prosciuttowrapped dates stuffed with goat cheese and a vegan deli board. As always, great beer happens in Vegas!
Photo Credit: CraftHaus
Photo Credit: Dave Canela
Ellis Island The Front Yard Oktoberfest Beer Dinner
This was followed by Bratwurst, Kale and Apple Salad paired with Oktoberfest, with the bratwurst being enlivened by having the Oktoberfest infused in it. Pork Loin Roast with German Potato Salad was matched with Bourbon Barrel-Aged Rauchbier. We were privileged to be the first ones to ever experience this beer, which Eddie told us had been aged for 11 months in the barrel, and had only been tapped minutes before. The pork loin was also cooked in the Oktoberfest, making this another beer-infused dish. We finished with Mini Chocolate Cakes with Luxardo Cherry Reduction paired with Chardonnay Barrel-Aged Helles Bock. What an interesting (in a very good way) and delicious beer this was, and I reflected on how rare it is to see a light-hued beer that is barrel aged. Social distancing was enforced between tables with a maximum of six guests at each table. The dinner was sold out, with 55 guests in attendance, and the price was $65, a very reasonable fee for the amount of excellently prepared food and beer we enjoyed. Next up is a winter-themed beer dinner, which is set for December 17.
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The Bottom Line
Photo Credit: Josh Kopel
Rallying the Troops: Michelin-Rated Restaurateur’s Podcast Brings in World-Class Industry Talent
The hospitality world has been littered with questions since this pandemic has taken hold. And in a naturally fragmented field where so many small, independent operators may feel like they’re wandering through the dark, one industry vet is bringing some answers. Josh Kopel, a Michelin-rated restaurateur and tech entrepreneur, has brought in some of the country’s biggest names to discuss hard-hitting issues around how businesses both small and large can effectively reopen. His podcast, FULL COMP, is now in its second season. “What we need more than anything right now is tactical help in getting through this pandemic,” Kopel said. “We don’t speak in the abstract. We speak in the concrete about things people are actually doing…[FULL COMP] is a platform where we can have really candid, honest conversations with people whom I’ve looked up to my entire career.” Some of those people include SBE Founder and CEO Sam Nazarian, Bar Rescue’s Jon Taffer, best-selling authors Seth Godin and Jim Collins, and Focus Brands COO Kat Cole among many
others. While many of Kopel’s guests are notable hospitality leaders, many more come from outside the industry, providing fresh perspective. “[Restaurants] are a naturally fragmented business. You have a lot of owners and operators who work 80-100 hours a week in their own little worlds and we’re often so busy that we never think we have the time to talk to each other,” Kopel said. “Now their businesses are closed, and they have time and the ability to make big changes. If there’s a moment for the industry to make big changes, it’s now.” Kopel, born and raised in Louisiana, began his hospitality career in the Alligator Bayou Bar [“it’s exactly as you picture it,” he jokes]. After rising through the ranks, he moved to Los Angeles with the intention of bringing a touch of the big city back down to Louisiana. He’s stayed in Southern California ever since doing quite the opposite, owning and operating Southerninspired establishments that have accumulated just about every award in the book.
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By Ben Brown Benjamin Brown, MBA is a seasoned writer and consultant. Ben works with Fortune 500 companies and mom & pop shops alike in Marketing, Analytics, Consumer Insights, PR and Business Development. Contact Ben at Ben@lvfnb.com or follow him @Foodie_Biz.
Then the pandemic hit. Kopel’s most recent venture, the highly-lauded Preux & Proper in Downtown Los Angeles, recently closed its doors for good. “I’m a parent. I’m invested in my staff and the community we serve…not knowing how to keep my family safe, my team safe, my patrons safe, it didn’t seem like the responsible choice to stay open,” Kopel said. The decision to close permanently came six months later, yet with that perpetual smile and hospitable Southern attitude, Kopel saw opportunity. “All entrepreneurs have exceptional amounts of optimism, but for restaurant owners it borders on craziness. The day we closed, I turned to my wife and said ‘this can either be an opportunity or a curse, and whichever path we choose will determine what that will be. Let’s make this an opportunity.’” FULL COMP debuted shortly afterward. “Everyone was blaming the pandemic for the decimation of the industry, but I didn’t see that. That may have been the final blow, but that’s not the only thing that did it in for us,” Kopel said. He sees the Coronavirus pandemic as the catalyst that accelerated the inevitable demise of so many businesses that were already hanging by a thread. FULL COMP investigates the underlying factors that made hospitality so susceptible to failure, and how the industry can improve on these issues moving forward. Supplementing the podcast is the FULL COMP Industry Guide to Restructuring, a physical manifestation of the of best practices shared by Kopel’s extensive Rolodex of partners. “There have been noble efforts made by so many different organizations, but I didn’t see a holistic guide out there that could guide me through a successful future. Through this show, I’ve had the pleasure to speak with such prolific people in the industry and ask them really pointed questions. This restart guide is the culmination of those conversations,” Kopel said. And while the restart guide and podcast cover a breadth of topics for success in the industry, Kopel was quick to hone in on the lowesthanging fruit: marketing. From formatting your website to investing in beautiful photography and video, efforts to showcase the people behind the product will go a long way. “The ‘aha’ moment for all of us is that the restaurant business is a business. If every other business on the planet is spending a ton of time and money on marketing their goods and services, why aren’t we? Why aren’t we telling our story?” Kopel said. FULL COMP can be found on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and Spotify. The FULL COMP Industry Guide to Restructuring can be downloaded for free on JoshKopel.com. www.lvfnbpro.com
By Nicholas Bilt
Photo Credit: Candice Imam
Nicholas Bilt, a Hospitality Management student at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, represents the Epicurean Society, a collection of food and restaurant enthusiasts. Nicholas is the journalist for Epicurean Society, and is sharing the club’s experiences with the public. Coming from an arts high school for culinary arts and hospitality, Nicholas looks at food and service from an artist angle.
Epicurean had a jam-packed last couple of weeks. We started off with our social game night where some of our members played Among Us, a game of deception, chaos and betrayal, and some of us played Tokaido, a vacation in a boardgame. Among Us is a lot like the old John Carpenter movie The Thing where you play with up to 10 people and 1 to 3 of you are imposters trying to sabotage the crew making sure they cannot complete all of their tasks. The game is won when either all the imposters are discovered and ejected from the ship, all the tasks are complete or the imposters kill all the crew. This game can get intense and maybe not the best game to play when we are trying to learn about each other, since a big part of the game is lying to win, but we had fun. As for Tokaido, it is a game where you are on vacation and you www.lvfnbpro.com
earn points by sightseeing and experiencing the culture; the game ends when everyone makes it to the end of the board. We hosted Tokaido games for our members to have a more casual experience with less screaming at each other with friends. Over all that was a fun night and we all got to know each other better, which made the next week’s activity even more fun. After getting to know each other better, the next week we did our food debate: Epicureans Culinary Clash. We set up a Google slideshow for our members to make slides based on their opinions about food for us as a club to discuss. We talked about ranking fry cuts, and that crinkly cut fries are the best according to our member Mei. One of our members shared his opinion on how oversized food is overrated, an opinion by Linh. And a ranking of beef cooking
temperatures and beef cuts, done by Bryan. Also, we talked about if cereal can be classified as a salad. It was a ton of fun talking about all things food and even had to reset the Zoom meeting so we could talk even more about the topics. We are planning on doing another food debate on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving all about our opinions on Thanksgiving foods. That same day we uploaded the second episode of Dorm Chef on our UNLV Epicurean Instagram. This month, I demoed a 4-ingredient chocolate cake in a mug, consisting of a banana, egg, cane sugar, and cocoa powder. It takes about 3 minutes to make, so it is a quick and easy treat for people in dorms with only a microwave, a mug and a spoon. Finally, this past month we had our first guest speaker for the semester. Candice Imam, the Assistant Director of Alumni Engagement & Events of the Hospitality College. She talked to us about what it is like to work events for the Hospitality College. First, we talked about the Chaine de Rotisserie dinner that UNLV hosted. She, along with training from Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits, ran front-of-house service and she talked about the process of planning the events and what goes into designing and setting the atmosphere for the event. Then she talked about her role in planning the Women in Hospitality event. She showed us what the information packet for the venders looked like, showing what materials they would get and the directions to find the building and information about how to unload all equipment. Candice also told us about how she learns things from every job and told us about how she walked around with the health inspector and how she learned more about handling more back-ofhouse experiences. Then we touched on the preplanning stages for an event that got canceled by COVID-19 and the timeline of planning events. Overall, we got great insight on front-of-house event planning and what it is like working and collaborating with other companies, delivering the best product for the client. For the next few weeks we are looking at doing a trivia night in the form of Jeopardy. The categories will be fast food chains, food in movies, baking, equipment and utensils and Halloween candy (got to keep that Halloween spirit up). Then we are planning on doing a watch party for some food-related content; we are still picking what we want to watch but we want to try to find something new and exciting to bring to our members. We will also be having our second guest speaker for the semester and while I will not say who it is now, we want to have this guest speaker give prospective on back-of-house operations. This semester, while very challenging due to everything being over Zoom, has still been a blast.
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Foley Family Wines Bullish on Industry Growth and Innovation
By Ben Brown | Photo Credit: Foley Family Wines Part of an artform that’s evolved over millennia, Foley Family Wines is a relatively new player on the field. But since its founding in 1996, what started as a single vineyard has grown into a global enterprise, encompassing dozens of labels across California and the Pacific Northwest all the way down to South Island, New Zealand. Relative to its time in the industry, Foley Family Wines has grown at breakneck speed, and despite a whirlwind year of wildfires, a global pandemic and resulting business closures, doesn’t look like it’s slowing down anytime soon. Foley Family Wines was built on passion, its growth reflective of an ambitious mindset fueled by Founder and Vintner Bill Foley. While his ownership of the Vegas Golden Knights has garnered substantial fame across the Las Vegas Valley in recent years, it was Foley’s keen eye for a good business deal that got him to a position to make such a purchase. The Air Force vet made his mark on the business world when he bought and turned around the then-struggling Fidelity National Financial. Now, nearly 50 years later, he remains Executive Chairman of the Board, and applies the same acumen that’s garnered such success into other areas he’s passionate about.
Any Golden Knights fan can attest to the team’s incredible milestones and the positive impact they’ve made on the city. Wine aficionados can say the same with Foley Family Wines. “As I began researching [Bill], I realized that the Foley family and Foley Family Wines organization was committed to investing in the business for the long-term and striving for success in the luxury wine market,” said Gerard Thoukis, Chief Marketing Officer at Foley Family Wines. “The portfolio is comprised of a long list of iconic winery estates that have rich pedigrees and deep rooted stories, derived from some of the world’s most renowned wine growing regions.” That portfolio is the product of a relentless series of acquisitions, made year after year, geared to grow and diversify Foley Family Wines while preserving the natural art and culture of each label they take under their wing. “The key to managing such an expansive and diverse portfolio is prioritization and maintaining authenticity,” Thoukis said. “From an authenticity perspective, it is imperative that each brand in our portfolio maintains and shares their unique, compelling brand story and maintains product profiles that are consistent with the brand’s history, heritage and place of origin.”
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“From a prioritization perspective, [we have] identified key brands and even individual SKUs to focus our attention and investment. This prioritization enables all FFW functional areas, our wholesaler partners and customers to clearly understand which initiatives are most important.” Overseeing that many labels and perfecting each of those brand stories to uphold a reputation of ‘distinct style and legacy’ is much easier said than done. But the portfolio keeps growing, and Thoukis is among those at the helm looking out for the next great acquisition. “Early in my tenure, Bill asked me to compile a list of brands which would be great additions,” Thoukis said. “When evaluating potential acquisitions, it is imperative that we look for brands that fill a gap in our existing portfolio.” One of the more recent brands that filled that gap is Sonoma County-based FerrariCarano, knowns for its Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay, as well as Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and a Tuscan-style red blend. The deal adds more than 1,200 acres of vineyard and an estimated 480,000 cases of annual output to the Foley Family Wines umbrella. Bill Foley’s goal is to get to 2 million cases. www.lvfnbpro.com
But Thoukis is adamant about the company’s preservation of each label’s legacy. This mission doesn’t just apply to the wine itself, but the tasting experience as well. “We’re in the process of revamping the consumer experiences at all winery sites,” he said. “Our objective in doing this is to ensure that each onsite winery experience reinforces the authentic, unique stories for each specific winery and location to consumers.” Thoukis has dedicated his career to the wine world, taking after his father, who served with E. & J. Gallo for 45 years, retiring as VP of Winemaking, and his grandfather, a wine and spirits maker in Cyprus. Thoukis himself became enamored with wine as a child, not by drinking it of course, but seeing how it brought together his family and their friends, symbolizing the best of times. Now, with a 21-year stint of his own with E. & J. Gallo behind him, Thoukis is in his third year with Foley Family Wines and his second year as CMO. He was recently nominated for the “Wine Executive of the Year” Wine Star Award from Wine Enthusiast Magazine. The deep industry experience that got him into the C-suite and a revered nomination is what’s also allowing Foley Family Wines to navigate its way through the ever-evolving digital age. E-commerce is somewhat of a low-hanging fruit at this point, not to say that it’s easy to manage from an operational or financial perspective. “Today’s consumer has an expectation of purchasing what they want, when they want it,” Thoukis said. “As a result, e-commerce has become a growth avenue for many in the wine industry, including us.” But Foley Family Wines’ initiatives go far beyond basic online sales. In a time when in-person tastings have all but disappeared, the company is leveraging another one of its
arms, the Foley Food & Wine Society, to take consumer engagement to another level. “We’ve developed and launched virtual tasting capability featuring some of the world’s mostcelebrated wines, and hosted by the wine world’s greatest wine experts,” Thoukis said. “Virtual tasting packages bring the elegance and exclusivity of a private cellar tasting directly to a consumer’s home.” The Foley Food & Wine Society is a luxury lifestyle community where members gain access to a variety of culinary, travel and entertainment experiences, as well as highly acclaimed wines. Started by Bill and Carol Foley, the community is another example of personal passion becoming a reality for others through mindful execution. But it hasn’t exactly been smooth sailing for Foley Family Wines, or anyone growing in California for that matter. The pandemic has forced countless restaurants, hotels and other business partners to close their doors indefinitely, inevitably hurting sales. Thoukis did note that he’s seen some resurgence in recent months, however. And as if a global pandemic wasn’t bad enough, wildfires have been scorching California’s wine country for months. With the potential to wipe out entire crops, these fires could prove fatal for many in the area. And while the Foley Family vineyards located in California, Oregon and Washington seem to be largely unaffected, the company is nevertheless supported by its broad geographic diversification. “Unfortunately, wildfires seem to have become the new normal in wine growing regions,” Thoukis said. “Over the past few years, we’ve had a few properties touched by wildfires. Fortunately, due to extraordinary and selfless work done by first responders, no [Foley Family] wineries have been destroyed.”
Thoukis is also optimistic about the wine industry continuing to move forward, with an eye set on innovation. Even in a field that’s existed for thousands of years, he sees a breadth of areas ripe for change. As consumers continue along their wine journey and become more and more comfortable with wine, I see continued growth of the category over the next five years,” he said. “But in order for my projection to be true, the wine industry must continue to innovate. Flavor innovation, packaging innovation, lower-alcohol offerings, marketing innovation, especially around digital consumer outreach and engagement, all must take place for the wine industry to attract and retain the next generation of wine consumers and drive growth.” Foley Family Wines has become a dominant force in the wine world over the last 25 years. Now, with an army of labels in tow, there’s a new corner to turn, and that’s the art of effectively communicating these masterfully-crafted brand identities to an increasingly digital consumer with an elusive palate. And as we eye a hopeful recovery from a pandemic that’s put the hospitality industry effectively on pause, brands have had substantial time to think about how they’re going to approach this next generation of consumer, whose habits have inevitably changed as well amidst the lockdowns. Finding the exact channels and engagement tools will continue to be a priority for Thoukis and his team. But for a group founded on passion, they will undoubtedly continue to lead the field. For more information on Foley Family Wines, visit FoleyWines.com. For more information on the Foley Family Food and Wine Society, visit FoleyFoodAndWineSociety.com.
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By Jackie Brett Jackie is a freelance public relations specialist and writer specializing in the Las Vegas entertainment and travel scene. Her writings have appeared in magazines and newspapers nationwide and on numerous websites. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Video game developer Atari plans to build video-game themed hotels in the US with one in Las Vegas. Downtown Grand opened its new eight-story Gallery Tower and property art collection. The centerpiece is “Transmigrations,” an interactive art installation available to guests in rooms in the Virtual Pad collection with artwork outside the window. There is also a new casino floor entrance. Operations for weekend stays, Thu.-Sun., at Planet Hollywood started last month with the resort opening its newly branded William Hill sportsbook. Tropicana Las Vegas, now a DoubleTree by Hilton and a Penn National Gaming destination, reopened with “Legends in Concert” showgirls.
After nearly a decade at The Cosmopolitan, Mediterranean seafood restaurant Estiatorio Milos is moving to The Venetian’s restaurant row this year in space formerly occupied by Aquaknox. Primarily Prime Rib with some new menu items and Baja Miguel’s cantina reopened at South Point. Joy of Hot Dog, Corner Bar Management’s kitschy, neon-lit trailer serving over-thetop hot dogs, reopened in the Fremont East Entertainment District, with a new a 30-foot art installation “Electric Dandelions” with firework effects. To Be Frank, a new ghost kitchen serving specialty hot dogs and sausages, is open for delivery, takeout and catering Mon.-Sat. 5 p.m.midnight at downtown eatery Every Grain, which closes its lunch business at 2:30 p.m. Letty’s De Leticia’s Cocina replaced the El Sombrero Café Mexican dining place since 1950 at 807 S. Main Street. Local restauranteur Leticia Mitchell added a 19-seat front patio and is serving breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Street artists transformed the building’s exterior. Tailgate Social, an all-day sports-obsessed bar by Clique Hospitality, is coming to Palace Station in November with 30 high-definition TVs, billiards and approachable meals and bites.
Cultural British icon Morrissey rescheduled his five-night residency “Morrissey: Viva Moz Vegas” at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Aug.-Sept. 2021. R&B singer Usher will begin a residency at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace on July 16, 2021, with 12 performance dates set. The Sahara’s new two-story Magic Mike Live Theater under construction is preparing for the 2021 premiere of Channing Tatum’s “Magic Mike Live Las Vegas.” Nearly 50 percent larger than the former showroom at the Hard Rock Hotel, the venue will feature new amenities including zip lines, a QR code-based ordering system and full bar adjacent to the entrance.
DINING • BEVERAGE
With an industrial design, Victory Burger & Wings Co. opened at Circa Oct. 28 overlooking the world’s largest sportsbook with a 78-millionpixel sportsbook screen, 16 TVs and a designated radio booth. Restaurant operators are thirdgeneration owners of Detroit’s 103-year-old American Coney Island. Esteemed Taiwanese dumpling and noodle house Din Tai Fung with more than 170 restaurants in 13 countries opened its first Las Vegas location at Aria in October.
Maverick Helicopters and Lip Smacking Foodie Tours are offering the fine-dining and helicopter night flight experience Savory Bites & Neon Lights. The culinary journey visits The Cosmopolitan’s Rose. Rabbit. Lie., Momofuku and Scarpetta, as well as Mastro’s Ocean Club inside The Shops at Crystals followed by an aerial trip over the Strip. Buddy V’s Ristorante reopened with menu updates, new hours and a new happy hour in the Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian after a renovation this summer. CraftHaus Arts District, a local brewery taproom downtown, celebrated its first anniversary and has opened a new extended seasonal outdoor patio for al fresco dining and sipping space on California Ave.
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Olive Garden’s eighth local expansion will take over third-floor space at the Showcase Mall above Target on the Strip. El Cortez downtown has reopened its intimate Parlour Bar where there is a happy hour daily. Ferraro’s Italian Restaurant & Wine Bar will hold its exclusive Italian wine and white truffle dinner on Nov. 19.
When the Hard Rock’s former Vinyl venue opens at the new Virgin Hotels Las Vegas on Jan. 15, 2021, it will be rebranded as 24 Oxford, which is a nod to the first Virgin Record Store opening in 1971 at that address in London. The Joint showroom will also be renamed. The Wee Kirk Las Vegas Wedding Chapel downtown, the city’s oldest continually running one, was unexpectedly after eight decades demolished by a new private owner.
Nightmare Toys is a new year-round horror and Halloween warehouse-sized shop in downtown’s Arts District with the building’s façade painted by a local artist, featuring horror icons. Topgolf Entertainment Group has partnered with Rovio Entertainment, creators of the Angry Birds franchise, to launch the newest familyfriendly Angry Birds gameplay, now available in Las Vegas. Las Vegas artist David Fay’s original 250-pound sculpture with a “Thinker”-like figure titled “On Second Thought” utilizing 600 decommissioned guns and ammo is on display near Park on Fremont honoring the Oct. 1 massacre. The Moulin Rouge sign, originally displayed in1955 at the first major racially integrated casino, has been re-illuminated at The Neon Museum Boneyard. The weekly Friday farmers’ and artisan market started up again at Tivoli Village 3 to 8 p.m. The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway is scheduled to host two NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series events in 2021 on April 16-18 and Oct. 29-31. The Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada transitioned the RTC Bike Share program to a completely online and mobile pass purchase. www.lvfnbpro.com
By Adam Rains Adam is lead bartender at The Golden Tiki and a member of the Health & Wellness Committee for the Las Vegas USBG. He has studied at SDSU, USBG, BarSmarts, International Sommeliers Guild, Certified Cicerone Program and Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits Academy.
The myriad of personalities that our Las Vegas service industry collects never ceases to amaze. Just when you think that you can put your finger on the pulse of it, you will meet someone new that challenges your preconceived notions. What is the typical Las Vegas bartender? We can only hope that it is Erik Kluever. He’s a man that moved through several career paths before settling on hospitality and if you ask him how, you can say that the whiskey made him do it! Tell us about your professional journey. How did you land on the hospitality industry? My foray into this industry began five years ago, vacillating between career paths and upholding family expectations. Whiskey did it! It sounds absurd maybe, but whiskey moves me—how various grains, production methods, traditions, climate and wooden barrels create a beverage exhibiting such depth of flavor and complexity. This fixation, this enthusiasm, pushed me towards hospitality, where I could impart my wonder and passion to guests while staying abreast of the latest trends and innovations. At some point, despite my love for bartending, I aspire to transition into whiskey representation and ownership of a liquor store. Okay, fine, maybe a bar too. We have all lived through a traumatic year and an economic shutdown. What did you do to stay sane? Amidst the pandemonium, uncertainty and dread that settled over Las Vegas during the shutdown, I took refuge within my books. The shutdown afforded me extended time for reading on various subjects by many authors, from the literature of Hemingway and Goethe to whiskey encyclopedias by Dave Broom and Michael Jackson. And when I wearied of my studies, my neighbor and friend, Amy, who I regard as my “sister,” would accompany me on walks outside with her dogs, Molly and Amelia. Tell us about Oak & Ivy and your role there. Oak & Ivy is an American whiskey and craft cocktail den, nestled cozily within two repurposed shipping containers and equipped with a dizzying array of booze—by no means limited to only whiskey. My role, as a Creative Lead, entails a visible component, behind the stick, interacting with guests and crafting cocktails, and a behind-the-scenes component, where I help conduct managerial aspects of business. The Bartenders Guild has been a guiding force for many in our industry. How long have you been a member and what is your take on the USBG? I’ve been a USBG member since 2016. My love for the USBG proceeds from its commitment to mentor, educate and develop members into bar professionals who will elevate the drinking and dining experience for our guests. Its esteem, for me, grew twofold during the shutdown. Recognizing the peril many of its members faced without employment or government assistance, our local chapter partnered with liquor brands to provide groceries and warm meals every week. Those groceries and warm meals helped satiate our hunger and alleviate our stress while everything around us appeared so bleak. It reminded us of community. It reminded us of the good, even during this unprecedented pandemic. What inspires you outside of bartending? Well, if people felt reluctant to label me “odd” before, this answer will remove any doubt. The ancient philosopher Plato’s work, The Apology of Socrates, inspires every facet of my life. Socrates delivers a powerful line towards its conclusion: “the unexamined life is not worth living.” www.lvfnbpro.com
Photo Credit: Erik Kluever
ERI K K L U E VE R
This line inspires me to embrace adventure, travel wide, question authority, acquire knowledge, pursue truth, discover meaning and live a full life ultimately. What do you love about our bars, bartending and bar culture? Oddly enough, much that I love about our industry mirrors that which I love about literature. I love stories and meeting new people. Bartending exposes me to a sea of diverse people daily with whom I exchange ideas and experiences. Just like reading books, by conversing with guests, I’m transported to distant places and informed of matters unknown before. Bars promote community, celebration, safety and escape. Sometimes all a person needs is a clean, well-lighted place to exist, like a bar, and I feel privileged to contribute to such a place. It excites me to introduce guests to new flavors and sensations that transform their conception of cocktails and drinking generally. No shortage of guests have little regard for cocktails, figuring alcohol, no matter what, tastes the same—mostly unpleasant—and is desirable solely for its effect. I derive great satisfaction dispelling this misconception by tailoring cocktails to fit the flavor preferences guests relate while exercising my creativity. Drinking should be fun, tasty and satisfying.
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Front & Back of the House
Photo credit: Zoey D’Arienzo
A Position of One’s Own!
By Gael Hees Gael Hees is a Las Vegas freelancer, and founder of the blog, The Steamy Side of Vegas, Living the Spa Life. She writes for national publications and has won numerous awards for printed materials and videos. Follow her at steamysideofvegas.com or email, email@example.com with questions, suggestions or comments.
If someone offered you a position as vice president of food and beverage in an upscaling, remodeling, rethinking casino/resort, with the world still struggling with C-19, would you jump on it? Possibly yes, but probably not as fast as Zoey D’Arienzo did. Oh, and by the way, it is a position new to the organization so there is no model and no precedent for activities or accomplishments. Zoey D’Arienzo has now spent just two months as VP of F&B at the STRAT Hotel, Casino & Skypod and is already feeling the confidence sinking in. “It’s honestly been scary and incredible at the same time,” said D’Arienzo. “If you would have asked me ten years ago, if I thought I'd be a vice president, I might have told you no, because I didn't think I had what it took at the time. But now I know that I’m really meant for this and plan to hit it out of the park!” she added. D’Arienzo has literally worked her way geographically down the Strip, starting on the
south end with MGM Resorts International. She was the director of beverage at MGM Grand and then Luxor and Excalibur for about seven years. Her first management position was at The Venetian/Palazzo (pre-Palazzo opening). D’Arienzo’s most far-reaching position was at Caesars Entertainment where she was the corporate director of F&B strategy. Here she did everything from buffet development, to working with the Hell’s Kitchen rollout, to pricing Starbucks items in Mississippi. “It’s such a fun experience to be all over the Strip, and then end up at some place as iconic as the STRAT,” D’Arienzo said. “It’s one of those places that you see every time you look at the Strip; I feel like I’ve worked my way into being at one of the best properties around.” D’Arienzo has spent her first two months listening, making notes and asking a lot of questions. How? Why? And perhaps most importantly, “Is there anything you think we should do differently?” She has found when
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transitioning to other properties that many people won’t speak up because they don’t think they’re being heard. When she listens, she gets ideas and insights into the real workings of the restaurants and is much better prepared to provide support and make changes. Much of this comes naturally to D’Arienzo. She obtained a degree in communications because she is fascinated by interpersonal communication, the human interaction. Working in restaurants while in college, she saw the fit between F&B management and her degree. At the STRAT, D’Arienzo has seven food outlets open, and four closed: the pool service, which is seasonal, and the buffet, room service and McCall’s Heartland Grill due to C-19. When talking about the food at the STRAT, she starts right at the top with the Top of the World Restaurant in the Skypod, 800 feet above the Strip. “I went to Top of the World 12 years ago for dinner,” she said. “I would bet money that no one would believe what it is like today. The food offerings developed by Bradley Manchester, our executive corporate chef, are nothing short of incredible.” She goes on to tout the lobster mac and cheese, served in an open lobster shell, the tomahawk steak for two, and the Tajima Wagyu ribeye from Australia, plus many new appetizers and sides. One of her goals is to promote the reputation of the Top of the World as a destination steakhouse. She knows it is already up against stiff competition with STK and SW Steakhouse! D’Arienzo knows her way around a menu and she knows how to bring out the best in a chef: “I've never met a chef who didn't want to be creative. When you’re helping a chef with a menu, the number one thing you have to do is take a look at costs. A lot of times they feel like they're handcuffed and aren't able to be creative because of the costs involved. But if we look at the menu as a whole, reduce the menu a bit and do 15 really amazing dishes instead of doing 30 that are really good, we can possibly reduce costs, get creative and serve items that people are going to order every time.” D’Arienzo brings years of experience to her job, not only in strategizing and management, but in training as well. Her ability to communicate, coupled with her energy and enthusiasm, will help make the STRAT a better place to work AND, a better place to visit. The STRAT is the flagship property of Golden Entertainment, which owns nine other casinos, 60 PT’s Pubs and video gaming operations in more than 1,000 locations. The company’s mission statement shows that it wants guests—no matter the venue—to feel like it’s “their place.” www.lvfnbpro.com
Twinkle Toast 2020 Values
By Erin Cooper & Christine Vanover Erin Cooper and Christine Vanover have been residents of Las Vegas since 2007. Vanover is also a UNLV Alumnus. Cooper is a Territory Manager for the Resort Wine Team at Southern Glazers Wine & Spirits. Both women founded Twinkle Toast in 2017. firstname.lastname@example.org • www.twinkletoast.com Facebook: @TwinkleToast Twitter: TwinkleToastLV Instagram: TwinkleToastLV
Photo Credit: Erin Cooper Photography
Since many people are on a tighter budget this year, are there any gems you’ve found at Costco or similar retailers that offer an incredible value for $20 or less? I have enjoyed Justin Sauvignon Blanc from Paso Robles. It is refreshing, light and perfect for day drinking! If you had to select a wine, or varietal, to represent 2019 and a wine, or varietal, to represent 2020, what would they be and why? 2019 = Grand Cru White Burgundy and 2020 = Natty Light What would you pair with the wine you selected and why? With the Grand Cru white Burgundy, I would choose something fantastic and elevated like a butter poached lobster tail with a topping of Golden Osetra Caviar. A Natty Light in 2020 goes with sloppy joes, Tiger King viewing from a well-worn couch and a dash of depression.
It is no surprise that this year has prompted most of us to reevaluate priorities, reexamine budgets and reconnect with ourselves and our families in simpler, yet often more meaningful ways. While our bank accounts may not be in a position to splurge on the luxury-priced wines of yesteryear, it doesn’t mean that we can’t still enjoy a delicious bottle and allow it to elevate a meal or a moment. We recently connected with a few local sommeliers and discussed how this year’s events abruptly separated them from daily tastings of some of the world’s finest wines, and provided them with the opportunity to shift their perspective and reacquaint themselves with value wines that the greater majority has access to.
MICHAEL RONE How have the events surrounding COVID-19 impacted the types of wines you’ve been drinking over the past several months? Being home and cooking more than ever, I’ve gone back to my roots and have been drinking more Italian wines to complement the food I’ve been preparing. Is there a varietal or style of wine that you are surprised you’ve been enjoying? I’ve really enjoyed reconnecting with Chianti Classico. It’s often overlooked here in Vegas especially compared to its big www.lvfnbpro.com
brother, Brunello di Montalcino. The quality has never been better since the conclusion of the Chianti Classico 2000 Project and the establishing of the Gran Selezione category. Since many people are on a tighter budget this year, are there any gems you’ve found at Costco or similar retailers that offer an incredible value for $20 or less? Easy question! Castello di Monsanto Chianti Classico Riserva 2015. Long established traditionalist focused on Sangiovese. The 2015 is a base of 90% Sangiovese with Canaiolo Nero and Colorino making up the rest of the blend. Classic notes of wild red fruits, earth, leather and “mentuccia” pair with an array of dishes from grilled vegetables to pastas to meats. If consumers didn’t know what Chianti Classico should taste like, this is the one to try.
JASON SMITH, M.S. How have the events surrounding COVID-19 impacted the types of wines you’ve been drinking over the past several months? I have gone through the vast majority of every day drinking white wine in my cellar and started to look at those “special occasion” types of wines that are still too young. This has me purchasing easy drinking sauvignon blancs and chardonnays at retail shops.
How have the events surrounding COVID-19 impacted the types of wines you’ve been drinking over the past several months? Well, there's not much in the way of trade tasting going on, so the variety is lesser by a factor of a lot. At home, it's Oregon pinot and chardonnay, Paso Robles whites and bubbles. I look for easy going and food friendly wines with interesting character, wines that just make me smile and wines on sale. Seriously though, Oregon chardonnay is where it’s at for me. Lingua Franca, Evening Land, Domaine Serene, Bergstrom—all Willamette Valley chardonnays, all different, all quality and all great with seafood (among other things). Since many people are on a tighter budget this year, are there any gems you’ve found at Costco or similar retailers that offer an incredible value for $20 or less? Marques de Riscal Reserva Rioja always seems to be available at Trader Joe's. It's a great wine for your Manchego. It's a steal and a half. Since reopening, which types of wines, varietals and/or regions have you recognized to be the most popular amongst your guests? Champagne is up. Now that's a happy sentence. We're selling half bottles of Perrier-Jouet at a pretty good clip, Ruinart Brut Rose is a wine that never stops moving for us and basically goes with everything, while Roederer Estate Brut Rose’s return to the list is mighty welcome.
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The RESTAURANT EXPERT How to Build a Management Team You Trust
Building systems so anyone can run your restaurant will transform your business, but the only way you can get it all done is to have a management team in place to do the work, and they must be stellar. On their journey to building this stellar management team, one of the mistakes I see restaurant owners make over and over again is finding their best employee and then dragging them, kicking and screaming, into management. They’re usually an employee you love and think does a great job in their non-management role. You approach them and when they hesitate, you strongarm them, talk them into becoming a manager. You explain they’d be great because the customers love them, the team loves them, they’re great with numbers, etc. They keep telling you no until your nonstop begging breaks them down to finally say yes. When you do this, very often you take your best employee and make them your worst. If they didn’t want it and weren’t suited for it, they quit or get fired in six months to a year because they should have never been a manager. • They don't have the skill sets to be a manager. • They don't communicate and hold people accountable.
By David Scott Peters David Scott Peters is a restaurant coach and speaker who teaches restaurant operators how to cut costs and increase profits with his trademark Restaurant Prosperity Formula. Known as the expert in the restaurant industry, he uses a no-BS style to teach and motivate restaurant owners to take control of their businesses and finally realize their full potential. Thousands of restaurants have used his formula to transform their businesses. To learn more about David Scott Peters and his formula, visit www.davidscottpeters.com.
• They don't do the things we need to get the numbers we need. • They don't follow the systems. They were the best server, the best cook or the best bartender, but they should have never been a manager. I used to make this mistake all the time. You just can't throw keys for the restaurant to a server and promote them to a manager. No way. You have to teach them what their job is, how to do it, how well it should be done, and more importantly, by when. And the key to your success is simple systems for everything you do combined with great training. A lot of restaurant owners will tell me they know they’re supposed to spend money on managers, but the managers never do the job the way the owner wants it done. That leaves the owner still working in the restaurant and still not making the money they deserve. Here are the three tips to avoid these outcomes and build your stellar restaurant management team. Number one, you have to understand that there's a system, a process, a way to doing anything and everything in your business. You can't have five managers on the team, whether they're salaried or hourly, that each count a bar
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drawer to $300 their individual way. There can't be five different ways. How can you audit five ways? How can you train five ways? How do you make sure when a manger moves on for a new job that the new person does it the same way? You can't. Instead, there is your system, your process, your way and everyone follows it. Number two, you have to train them what their job is, how to do it, how well it should be done and by when. For example, it's important to understand that taking inventory isn’t just counting stuff. It's making sure it's accurate, that it’s on time and that all the steps are completed. Every system has to be followed so you get the right information, the right numbers, the right details. Number three, you have to be willing to write them up. Here's the deal. We're all too often so easy, so eager to write up a line employee. “Hey, you showed up late. I'm writing you up.” But when a manager shows up late, we're like, “Dude, dude, you're killing me here!” Restaurant owners—really, most business owners—are afraid to write managers up because if you lose the manager, who's going to do their job? You know you don’t have 40 more hours in your week to do the work. So, you give them all this rope and are too hesitant to hold them accountable. Here’s the deal: You have to be willing to write them up. And in my world, I will write up a manager only once. See, when I write them up the first time, they're either so embarrassed that they're going to tow the line and get onboard and do things my way, or they're going to quit or get fired very quickly. Either way, I win. See, I win by them doing it my way, and I win when they go away, because why do I want to spend six months, a year, two years investing in a person who is never going to do it my way? If you want to have a stellar management team, follow these three tips.
By Linda Westcott-Bernstein
Human Resources Insights
Linda Westcott-Bernstein has provided sound human resources advice and guidance to Fortune 500 companies and others for over 25 years. Linda has recently re-published her self-help book entitled It All Comes Down to WE! This book offers guidelines for building a solid and enduring personal work ethic. You can find her book on Amazon or Google Books. Phone: 702-326-4040 Email: Vegaslinda89129@yahoo.com
Does Your Leadership Team Value Diversity?
There is a lot of discussion these days on diversity in the workplace. In my humble opinion, it comes down to how each of us view one another and the value that each of us brings to the table. Valuing diversity is truly a matter of respect, but even more than that, it is about supporting and nurturing a culture of acceptance and tolerance that truly pave the way and sets the tone for diversity in any workplace. I believe that the leadership in any organization today is influenced by the behaviors and actions of those at the top. When or if a culture of respect and acceptance is expressed by those who set the example for all, then your organizational culture will likely be characterized as a team of tolerant, respectful and encouraging leaders who move your company forward and into the future. You’ll do this with a strong and confident workforce that is driven by their passion for what they do and supported by your leaders with moral and ethic behaviors and actions which emphasize and support the new Company mission, vision and culture of respect and engagement. How do you make this diversity happen in your organization? Let me give you some ideas… Start with a clear vision, mission and cultural acceptance message of your intent. I don’t believe in policies—I think this effort should be borne out of honest, simple and clear discussions, with the goal of understanding why this effort is important and why it has value.
Begin with your top executive(s) and leaders and talk to your management team about the changes in our society, in our neighborhoods and in our organizations as it relates to diversity and explain how diversity has value to the Company now and into the future. Start your training or introduction of these concepts with simple discussion of respect for other cultures, peoples, traditions and beliefs, and the potential that different perspectives can provide to the company. Ensure that your management team has a clear understanding of the intent and that they do not feel threatened or uncertain about next steps, development of their staff and their role in these processes. Encourage participation and identification of strong leadership team members who will champion this effort and get the ball rolling on this new endeavor. Begin a communication campaign and share the excitement and enthusiasm with your employees about what this process means to them and the organization. Set fair and equitable parameters for participation and development of all employees regardless of race, age, sex, religion, national origin, sexual orientation and so forth. Establish coaching and mentoring resources for those who need it and/or struggle with how to engage and participate as well as how to
identify their strengths and areas to improve on. Keep the moment going by having regular progress meetings, communication pieces such as newsletters or websites and visible support and encouragement from the entire management team. Celebrate the successes! Highlight the contributions, achievements and changes in business methods made by those who are engaged in and participating in your new diverse culture and improvement efforts. Hold recognition events that are small but meaningful—most individuals don’t want public recognition—they want most of all to be appreciated and to feel in on things, as a valued contributor. Setting the tone for success with diversity is more about helping others than it is about getting credit for it. You have to embrace the importance of seeing others advance and succeed, and do so by knowing in your heart that you did all that you could do to help another human being succeed without the need for getting recognition for it!
HR Question of the month:
Please send your HR questions and concerns, or share your thoughts on your human resources challenges via email to the following address. Send input to email@example.com. Your comments, questions or concerns will help determine the direction for my next month’s column and earn you a copy of my book. Include your mailing address when sending your responses.
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Product Review By Bob Barnes
Spa Girl Spritzer Gift Set Just in time for holidays the Spa Girl company has launched a limited-edition Spa Girl Spritzer Gift Set in collaboration with St-Germain, the French liqueur made with freshly handpicked wild elderflowers. The three-piece kit includes a 750ml bottle of Spa Girl Cocktails Vodka, a 375ml bottle of St-Germain Elderflower Liqueur and a 1-liter StGermain logoed crystal cocktail carafe, making for a gift-worthy purchase for yourself or a loved one. Simple to prepare, the cocktail contains just three ingredients: your Spa Girl Cocktails Vodka flavor of choice (with options of cucumber, pear or peach), StGermain Elderflower Liqueur and club soda or sparkling water (not included in the kit). Worth noting are the flavored vodkas are vegan, gluten-free, low in carbs and sugar and only 48 calories a serving; and the carafe is very attractive and has markings to measure out the three ingredients to make the spritzer cocktail. With a limited run of 5,000, the kits are exclusively available for purchase on WineGlobe.com and in select liquor stores from October-December. www.wineglobe.com/products/spa-girl-holiday-spritzer-gift-set
Wild Basin Boozy Sparkling Water The Longmont, Colorado-based Oskar Blues Brewery made a name for itself as one of the first craft breweries to package its beers in cans, and is mixing things up with its Wild Basin Boozy Sparkling Water. There are four flavors in its new cocktail-inspired line: Fruity Sangria with notes of citrus and stonefruit; Mango Mai Tai, with sweet orange and lime flavors with a juicy boost of tropical mango; Habanero Piña Colada with beachy flavors of pineapple and coconut mingling with a hint of habanero spice; and Bitter Citrus Spritz, a bright citrus spritz modeled after the simple and refreshing Italian aperitif cocktail. As each 12oz can has only 100 calories, 1g of carbs, are gluten-free and weighs in at 5% ABV, they’re a good option for consumers who value the outdoors and healthier living. www.wildbasinboozywater.com
Maple Flavored Bourbon Pecans Pumpkin Spice Almonds Bourbon lovers take note: You can definitely taste the goodness of the whiskey in this delectable vegan-friendly snack from Sugar Plum. I was pleasantly surprised with how well the bourbon flavor balanced with the sweetness and it’s nice to know that there are not any unhealthy fats, oils or dairy products and the ingredient list is pecans, brown sugar, sugar, cinnamon, natural maple flavor and good ‘ol all-American Kentucky bourbon. I see this as an excellent gift for the bourbon lover in your life. The company also offers Pumpkin Spice Almonds, well-timed for the fall season. The nuts are generously coated with a specially-crafted and tailor-made blend of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and other exotic spices which tastefully amplify the nutty flavor of the almonds to craft a pumpkin spice flavor. www.sugar-plum.com
Folios Cheese Wraps Many are looking for grain- and gluten-free and low carb alternatives and now we have one for tortillas. Made from 100% cheese, naturally gluten free and lactose free with no added sugars or additives, the lightly baked wraps are a healthy snack alternative to bread or traditional tortillas and have 11-13 grams of protein and only 1gram of carbs per wrap. There are three flavors: Cheddar, Parmesan and Jarlsberg, and they can be used in much the same way as one would a tortilla, with recipe suggestions on the packages suggesting filling with meats, crisping to use as chips or melting for use as part of a quesadilla, omelet or a cheesy layer over soups. My preference is crisping in the microwave for a chip-like snack. Go to the link below for the Folios store locator. www.cheesefolios.com
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By Chef Allen Asch
Chef Talk Pizza 102
I hope everyone is doing well with this craziness happening around us. Last month I wrote about pizza dough, and now I’m going to write about the toppings for a pizza. The most common first topping for a pizza is a pizza sauce. This is different than a pasta or tomato sauce. Tomato sauce is made by cooking the tomatoes with aromatics while a true pizza sauce is an uncooked puréed tomatoes and aromatics. Neapolitan pizza is where the dish got started. Naples is in the southern region of Italy and lies on the west coast of the Italian peninsula. On a map of the boot-shaped Italy Naples is just above the ankle. It is the third largest city in Italy behind Rome and Milan. Since Naples is close to the Mediterranean Sea, vegetables are a big part of their diet. As well, since it is on the shore of the Tyrrhenian Sea, seafood is another big part of the diet. In Naples they take their pizza very seriously. For a pizza to be called Neapolitan there are strict guidelines on how it is made, the ingredients and the cooking method. The prize designation for a pizza is a VPN, which stands for Vera Pizza Napoletana, also called the Veraci Pizza Napoletana. Many people go to Naples to get a certification showing they have learned to make the Neapolitan pizza, but the certification can cost about $2,000. The guidelines for a VPN have a few components, such as the sauce, which is limited to one of two types: marinara and margarita. The former consists of tomatoes, oil, www.lvfnbpro.com
Feel free to contact Chef Allen with ideas for comments or future articles at firstname.lastname@example.org. Chef Allen Asch M. Ed., CCE is a retired culinary arts instructor who has earned degrees from Culinary Institute of America, Johnson and Wales University and Northern Arizona University and taught at UNLV. He earned his Certified Culinary Educator Endorsement from the American Culinary Federation in 2003.
oregano and garlic. The latter sauce includes mozzarella, grated cheese and basil. The second component is the texture. The finished pizza should be soft elastic and easy to manipulate and is foldable. The third criteria is that the dough must be made with finely milled white flower with a 00 designation. This designation shows how finely ground the wheat is. The most commonly available here in the United States is the King Arthur brand, unless you want to mill your own. The VPN would prefer that. Additionally, no dried yeast or fat is permitted in the dough; if it needs to be added the requirement for yeast must be freshest or natural yeast as in sourdough. Additionally, the fermentation should be at room temperature about 77°F and the dough ball needs to be completely made by hand with no mechanical or rolling pins allowed. The oven must be wood fired only and the baking temperature should be between 800° and 900°F. The baking should not exceed 90 seconds. Some people say the tomatoes from San Marzano are the best, but there are bad tomatoes that come from that region. Another thing that you should do is buy a DOP tomato, which is a protected designation of origin. White pizza traditionally comes from the northern part of Italy. This is where the temperature is more seasonal and there are a lot of dairy farms that produce white cheeses. White pizza is made from a sauce very similar to an Alfredo sauce, but much richer. It’s made
with milk, salt, pepper, garlic and Parmesan cheese that thickens with a roux (butter and flour). Now onto the cheese. There are a huge number of variables as well, and the marinara pizza has no cheese. Most pizza is made with shredded mozzarella, which is easy and convenient. If you buy it shredded, it has been coated with cellulose, which is made from wood pulp. The cellulose is an anti-caking product. This prepackaged product melts well and has a very mild flavor to it. You can also put fresh mozzarella cheese on the pizza. This is the same product before the drying part. Fresh mozzarella is another variable including what milk it is made from. The most common is from the cow but the water buffalo is the original milk used to make fresh mozzarella and is still available today. Another thing to think about is the water content of the fresh mozzarella. When heated, the cheese can exude water while cooking, so you should test different brands. No one wants extra water on the pizza. For hard cheeses many people use ParmigianaReggiano, which can be quite expensive. A cheaper version many people use is Grana Padano, which will be cheaper but still costly. Pizza dough is very versatile and can be used for any course, including dessert. Who knew there was this much to learn about pizza?
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By David Mulvihill
David Mulvihill experiences and writes about the ever-evolving Southern California craft beer scene. He also covers Orange County for Beer Paper and provides business-side support to local breweries and brewers guilds (SoCalCraftBeer.com). email@example.com
Photo Credit: David Mulvihill
Docent Brewing Co's Brett and Bryan Giesen
Every year since 1982 the Great American Beer Festival has taken place in Colorado. First starting in Boulder, Denver has been its home since year 3. Presented by the Brewers Association, it has become the Industry’s largest annual tasting event that brings together brewers and craft beer enthusiasts from all over the country. Coupled with mammoth tasting sessions and ancillary events is the festival’s Beer Competition. This year’s pandemic may have prevented the onsite festival, but with extra distancing and extended judging, the Beer Competition was able to go on. There were over 8,800 entries vying for medals in 91 categories. Courtesy of The Brewing Network, the Award Ceremony streamed online on the evening of Friday, October 16.
Orange County 12 MEDALS Orange County had two multiple award winners. Ian McCall and his brewing team at Riip Beer Co, Huntington Beach, garnered three medals: Gold for Tangible Passion (Belgian-Style Specialty) and Silver for The Riizzo (Coffee Stout) and Black the Riipper (Black IPA). The brewing brothers, Bryan and Brett Giesen, and Docent Brewing in Dana Point received Gold medals for Hefty Fee (Session IPA) and Super Tonic (Coffee Stout). OC ADDITIONAL AWARDS: Golden Road Brewing, Anaheim—Gold: Get Up Offa That Brown (English-style Brown). Chihuahua Cerveza, Costa Mesa—Gold: Rico (Mexican-style Strong lager). Karl Strauss Brewing, Anaheim—Silver: Golden Stout (Coffee Beer). Stereo Brewing, Placentia—Bronze: Summer Sun (Fruited American Sour). TAPS Brewery & Barrel Room, Tustin— Bronze: B.A.DUNKEL (Barrel Aged beer). Bootlegger’s Brewery, Fullerton—Bronze: Funfest (German-Style Oktoberfest).
GameCraft Brewing, Laguna Hills—Bronze: Umbeereon (German Dark Lager).
Los Angeles County 10 MEDALS Two Los Angeles County breweries received two medals apiece. Continuing its award winning run, Claremont Craft Ales received two GABF 2020 Gold medals. Its winning brews were Pepper & Peaches (Experimental IPA) and Happy Days (Strong Red). Claremont Craft Ales has taken home GABF awards every year since 2017. The team at El Segundo Brewing Co received Gold for its coveted Hammerland DIPA and Silver for Devil’s Path (Strong Red). L.A. COUNTY ADDITIONAL AWARDS: Beachwood Blendery, Long Beach—Gold: Funk Yeah (Belgian-Style Lambic). Three Weavers Brewing, Inglewood—Gold: Deep Roots (English Mild or Bitter). Firestone Walker Brewing-The Propagator, Marina del Rey—Gold: Wookey Jack Black Rye IPA (American-Style Black Ale). Bravery Brewing, Lancaster—Silver: Bourbon B.A. Big Game (Barrel-Aged Strong). Ogopogo Brewing, San Gabriel—Silver: Boeman Belgian White (Belgian-Style Wit). Beachwood BBQ & Brewing, Long Beach— Bronze: Barrel-Aged Full Malted Jacket (Barrel-Aged Strong). Highland Park Brewery, Los Angeles— Bronze: Sugar on My Tongue (Juicy or Hazy Imperial IPA).
San Diego County 13 MEDALS San Diego County’s multiple-awarded brewery was Second Chance Beer Co, located in the Carmel Mountain area of North San Diego. Marty Mendiola and the Second Chance brewing team once again scored Gold for Tabula
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Rasa Porter. This beer also received GABF gold in 2016, 2017 and 2019. Silver for Slightly Sour (German-style Sour) rounded out the brewery’s 2020 GABF bling. SD COUNTY ADDITIONAL AWARDS: Wild Barrel Brewing, San Marcos—Gold: Vice Sans Fruit (American Sour). Pizza Port Carlsbad—Gold: Locals Only (International Pale Ale). Pizza Port Ocean Beach—Silver: Guillaume (Session or Non-Alcohol Beer). Port Brewing/The Lost Abbey, San Marcos— Silver: Peach Afternoon (Fruited American Sour). Coronado Brewing, Coronado—Silver: Salty Crew (Blonde). Burgeon Beer Co, Carlsbad—Silver: Carlsbad Crush (International Pale Ale). Eppig Brewing, Vista—Silver: Glitz & Glam (Specialty Berliner-Style Weisse). Belching Beaver, Vista—Silver: Fresh Hop Ride the Pine (Fresh Hop Beer). Two Roots Brewing, San Diego—Bronze: Straight Drank (N/A IPA). Ocean Beach Brewery, San Diego—Bronze: Tres Tres (Bohemian-Style Pils). Dos Desperados Brewery, San Diego— Bronze: Hell Camino Belgian Quad (BelgianStyle Strong).
VENTURA, SANTA BARBARA, SAN LUIS OBISPO, KERN No strangers to GABF recognition, the brewing team at Kern River Brewing Co came through again this GABF season, earning three medals (gold and a pair of silvers)—Gold: Brown Claw (Brown Porter), Silver: Rioveza (Pilsener) and Silver: Side Hike (Strong Red). The team’s previous accomplishments in 2019 included two gold and two silver medals, and being named 2019 Brewery Group and Brewer of the Year. Camarillo’s Institution Ale Works received two medals, a Silver for Somewhere Golden (American-Style Pale Ale) and Bronze for On Pins & Needles (Session IPA). ADDITIONAL AWARDS: Ventura Coast Brewing, Ventura—Gold: Beachscape (American Pilsener). Topa Topa Brewing, Ventura—Silver: Dozer Line (German Dark Lager). Santa Maria Brewing, Atascadero—Silver: Holy Smokes! (Smoke Beer). Third Window Brewing, Santa Barbara— Bronze: III Belgian Blond (Belgian-Style Ale). Figueroa Mountain Brewing, Buellton— Bronze: Stagecoach Stout (Oatmeal Stout). www.lvfnbpro.com
By Ben Brown
| Foodie Biz |
Contact Ben at Ben@socalfnbpro.com or follow him @Foodie_Biz.
Photo Credit: Haley Hill
Pie and Ice Cream Duo Making Waves for the Fallidays
Benjamin Brown, MBA is Restaurant Editor of The SoCal Food & Beverage Professional. A seasoned writer and consultant, Ben works with Fortune 500 companies and mom & pop shops alike in Marketing, Analytics, Consumer Insights, PR and Business Development.
Fall has progressed into something far larger than Thanksgiving and Halloween. The ‘fallidays’ have seemingly blended into one another, making for a months-long pumpkin spice-lined stretch that gives just about every warm-blooded American the desire to indulge in something rustic and homey. Pie is the magical answer for many, à la mode to make it even better. So, it should be no surprise that a pair of pie and ice cream parlors are hitting the falliday season at full speed. Pop Pie Co. and Stella Jeans Ice Cream have attracted cult-like local followings in the quaint University Heights neighborhood of San Diego as well as their sister location in Costa Mesa. Their fan base is so strong, in fact, that it’s not uncommon to see patrons running along Park Blvd. at full sprint in the minutes before the stores’ closing. It’s then heartwarming to see those same groups exchange congratulations among one another minutes later, slices and scoops in hand and a ‘we made it’ look on their faces. While they’re connected at the hip, Pop Pie Co. and Stella Jeans run independent of one another, separated by a wall with different staff and walkup counters. You can also expect a moderate line at both, but with each place operating like a well-oiled machine, the wait is no more than a few minutes, and more than worth it. Every great pie starts with a great crust, and Pop Pie Co. has undoubtedly mastered its craft. Richly decadent for sweet, buttery and flaky for www.lvfnbpro.com
savory, strong enough to hold whatever’s inside but soft enough to give way to that first stroke of a knife in all cases. And since it’s what’s on the inside that counts, after all, Pop Pie Co.’s delectable creations embody excellent culinary creativity and masterful execution. Having spent time in Sydney, Australia, where savory pie shops line the streets like taco stands do in Southern California, I have a special place in my heart for a good meat pie here in the US. Pop Pie Co. does just that, with a small but mighty selection of American and worldly classics. Their chicken pot pie delivers in full on luscious creaminess, melding perfectly with that flaky crust. The steak and ale is a crowd favorite with slow-braised beef, barley, mushroom and carrots, and those looking for something plant-based will enjoy the classic veggie pie, made with roasted Brussels sprouts, and portabella mushrooms in a creamy herb sauce. Then, of course, there’s the iconic Aussie meat pie, a staple from the land down under, with Worcestershire-sauteed beef ‘mince.’ If you have the stomach space and want to get the full experience, pair it with one of their equally satisfying sausage rolls. Then there’s the sweet selection, where the fallidays are in full swing. Their pumpkin pie is one to remember, made with a pumpkin custard and a secret house pumpkin spice blend, beautifully decorated with homemade whipped cream and candied pepitas. Pecan pie gets a
makeover here as honey bourbon pecan pie, spiked with orange zest and of course a strong but pleasing bourbon essence. Custard fans will enjoy the salted honey pie, made with Madagascar vanilla. And while savory pies are made in single serving sizes, sweet pies are made to serve 6-8. Order them by the slice at the counter or reserve a whole pie for the falliday season. Next door, Stella Jean’s Ice Cream embodies that same novelty, freshness and incredible attention to detail. Other-worldly flavors with that oh-so-perfect creamy and not-yet-meltingbut-instantly-melts-in-your-mouth texture are worth sprinting for before closing time. You’ve never seen a s’mores ice cream like this one, where instead of a standard chocolate or vanilla, you’ve got a space gray toasted marshmallow ice cream, with chocolate-covered graham crackers and mini marshmallows mixed in. The falliday season rings true with their pumpkin cornbread + pepita brittle…all one flavor and quite the mouthful! Salty caramel corn, brown butter pecan and ube + pandesal toffee are just a few more exotic flavors that fall nothing short of wow. And with ‘craft ice cream’ getting pricier and pricier these days, Stella Jeans keeps things quite reasonable, especially considering the giant scoops they dish out. And those waffle cones are hot, sweet and perfectly crunchy. For more info, visit PopPieCo.com and StellaJeans.com.
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