When did we know we were actually making an impact on the Las Vegas food scene?
Hard to tell, but when the Asian restaurateurs start paying attention to critics and mainstream media, you know the word has spread.
For years we joked that we could be on the cover of Time magazine and not a chef or owner along Spring Mountain Road would know or care who we are.
But something happened in the past five years, and round eyes by the dozens (hundreds?) have “discovered” our greatest culinary treasure enough to make the operators there pay attention to who is writing about them.
We’ve even been busted/recognized a few times in Chinese and Korean restaurants that wouldn’t have given us a second glance ten years ago.
We can’t take total credit for this heightened awareness, mind you, but we were there first (in 1994) and we’ve been crowing about it the most for seventeen years. (In 1997, ELV’s first article for the inaugural edition of the now-defunct Las Vegas Life magazine was about the 99 Ranch Market.)
When people who speak English (not so well) as a second language recognize you as a food writer, and thank you for publicizing their obscure, tiny restaurants — places without an inclination or dime to spend on publicity — that is the most rewarding thing a food writer can experience.
When white people get out of their comfort zones, start being receptive to a world of healthy, delicious and cheap eating, in our own backyard, and start seeking out foreign gastronomic gems in their passionate pursuit of culinary peculiarities, then you know you’ve had an impact.
And when you see your picture on the door of J & J Szechuan Restaurant, you know you’ve arrived…and that a small revolution has occurred in our food culture.
J & J SZECHUAN CUISINE
5700 Spring Mountain Road # A
Las Vegas, NV 89146-8861