Eating Las Vegas

John Curtas is …

Dumbed Down Ducasse

They come in waves, but it begins as a trickle. First a couple, then another, then a four-top of salesmen in cheap suits slides by. A few curious souls from the bar pop their heads in. “Wow,” you hear them say, “this place is one of those famous French chefs (sic).” Then the elevators expel four, six, eight, a dozen hungry souls in various stages of convention dress: the obligatory Dockers and Rockports —  adorned with the customary jewelry of the day: name tags, badges and lavalieres. Before long a group of twenty streams in — dressed for a big night at the Outback — all ready to spend the company’s money at this hi-falutin’ joint 64 floors above the Las Vegas Strip. “Gol-o-ly,” you can practically hear them saying to themselves. “This place ain’t like nuthin’ back home.” Before too much longer they’re presented with a menu of familiar sounding items that appear at their tables as small Trojan Horse plates of food that sounded like one thing, appeared as another, and tasted like something else entirely, and before they know it, the mind-numbing bill is presented to someone who will willingly pay it because it ain’t comin’ out of his pocket and a rape will just have occurred without the victim even knowing they were penetrated.

Welcome to Rivea.

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My respect for Asian chefs — Japanese in particular — has always surpassed my feelings for many of their European and American counterparts. Not because they work harder or are better cooks (which may or may not be true), but because they readily make sacrifices we round eyes are unwilling to suffer.

Everyone from Wolfgang Puck to your average line cook loves to give lip service to opening a “small, personal restaurant where I can cook my food for friends and others who appreciate it,” but that’s a bunch of hooey (dished to credulous critics and such) and they know it. Truth be told, once you’ve got a taste for casino money — whether as an employee or owner — the idea of risking it all for the uncertainty of running your own, barely profitable business is a gamble very few want to take.

Except for Asian chefs — Japanese in particular.

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A Citrus Bonanza in Summerlin

Large bergamots seen on sale at The Intuitive Forager Saturday farmers' market in Downtown Summerlin, Sat. Jan 30, 2016. (Photo credit: Greg Thilmont)

Large bergamots on sale at The Intuitive Forager Saturday farmers’ market in Downtown Summerlin, Sat. Jan 30, 2016. (Photo credit: Greg Thilmont)

Since before Christmas, it’s been impossible to miss boxes of Clementines and Satsumas in Las Vegas grocery stores. Winter is, after all, citrus season. For the next six weeks or so, however, there will be an even more resplendent display of lemon cousins at The Intuitive Forager‘s Saturday farmers’ market in Downtown Summerlin (the place that’s really more uptown in my cartographic mind).

There, Kerry Clasby and her produce-tive staff have brought in a number of rather exotic or uncommonly seen members of the citrus botanical “family.” The first to catch my eye was a selection of calamansi. They are like modest-sized kumquats and are mouth-popping friendly whole. Curiously, the skin is sweetish, and the interior pulp somewhat tart. It makes for an interesting eating experience.

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