Archive for the ‘Liquor/Liqueur/Libations’

HERBS & RYE Shakes Things Up on Channel 3

August 22, 2014 By: John Curtas Category: Liquor/Liqueur/Libations, Wake Up With the Wagners 1 Comment →

Master mixologist (or is he a bartender?) Nectaly Mendoza brought his luscious libations to KSNV TV – Channel 3 this morning as we featured his bar/restaurant: Herbs & Rye in our review of favorite Vegas watering holes.

Kudos to Nec for being such a good sport (and for starting our weekend buzz early), and congrats to his crew for scoring the “People’s Choice” award last month at “Tales of the Cocktail” in New Orleans.

And for those of you looking to up your drinking game this weekend, here are my favorite watering holes:

Herbs & Rye

Scullery

Downtown Cocktail Room

Velveteen Rabbit

Carnevino

DB BRASSERIE Deliciously Beckons

May 15, 2014 By: John Curtas Category: Chefs, Food, Liquor/Liqueur/Libations, Openings, Reviews, Wine 8 Comments →

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ELV note: Daniel Boulud is back, and gastronomes everywhere are licking their chops. But before we dive into reviewing his new spot db Brasserie (opened just three weeks ago), perhaps a little history lesson is in order.

When it was announced ten years ago that Daniel Boulud would be coming to Las Vegas (at the Wynn Hotel and Casino), no one in Las Vegas was happier than yours truly. When the Daniel Boulud Brasserie opened there in May of 2005, no one was a bigger fan or more loyal customer.

When Philippe Rispoli — the on-premises chef de cuisine who made the restaurant hum — was shown the door in ‘o7, things went downhill rapidly. Between the Wynn’s wanting to steak-i-fy the place, and a kitchen crew that had neither the heart nor the chops for true French food, it was pretty much a relief when they closed the joint (on July 4, 2010), so as to no longer sully the name of one of America’s greatest chefs.

But Boulud — being neither a fool nor a bad businessman — knew there was still gold in them thar hills; he just needed the Great Recession to recede a bit more before throwing down for another try in our humble burg. This time he’s maintaining more control (he owns the restaurant in partnership with the hotel, we’re told), and this time he’s gonna stick.

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In Defense of the Whiskey Pairing

April 28, 2014 By: mitchell Category: Liquor/Liqueur/Libations 2 Comments →

Could you imagine being some old shepherd in the rolling moors of Scotland, in the times of antiquity?  You scrape out your livelihood, everything you own either generations old or slung together from the fauna around you, your whole world a tiny blip of stacked stones in an endless sea of nature.  But there is one thing in your life, seemingly pulled out of the ether with prestidigitation, that brightens your eyes, livens your disposition, and warms your heart.  It’s the ol’ water of life, that crystal clear brown liquid, whiskey.

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Rum Diaries

February 15, 2014 By: mitchell Category: Liquor/Liqueur/Libations 3 Comments →

I awoke with a start at the crack of sundown, and I knew what I needed: RUM.

It was a craving resulting from whatever odd-humors cause a person to fall asleep in a tweed suit (shoes on, tie loosened) in the early evening, on a pink 60′s art-deco Swedish chair, and like the cultural barometer that is Swedish Life, it was something not to be ignored.  Perhaps an example of the mystery of human premonition, my body knew to prepare itself for a late night battling the little brown devil.

I plied some insider knowledge from the usual suspects and made myself an itinerary for a whirlwind one-night education on the subject.  Wrangled up what I needed: a couple cheap cigars for sharing, a few good ones for myself, pen and pad, Blood Alcohol meter, personal defense items (pocket flail and switchblade), and an emergency vial of ginger syrup, in case of extreme sickness. All that was left was to write “Hosea 8:7” on my left hand, “Psalm 104:15” on my right, to remind me of this night’s mission.  A Crusade, as it were…

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Round Ice Cubes(?) Do It For ELV

December 04, 2013 By: John Curtas Category: Liquor/Liqueur/Libations 4 Comments →

ELV just loves cocktails made with round ice, don't you?

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If you’ll allow us to go all Tony Abou-Ganim on you for a second, we know there are plenty of reasons you shave and chip ice for some drinks (surface area, melting points, etc.).

But a round, renowned mound drowning amidst a cocktail compound seems to us to be the sexiest thing in a glass.

And on this we are always happy to expound.

Do you agree?

Cocktails Go Crazy at JALEO

June 25, 2013 By: John Curtas Category: Liquor/Liqueur/Libations 4 Comments →

Jaleo is on fire:

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…and we’re not talking about its world class, off-the-hook, mind-boggling, one-of-a-kind paella pit.

No, we’re talking cocktails….lots of cocktails. Cocktails so good and ingenious they may have usurped Comme Ça’s place as the Cosmo’s preeminent purveyor of potent potions.

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Sake To Me

June 18, 2013 By: John Curtas Category: Chefs, Events, Food, Liquor/Liqueur/Libations 4 Comments →

“The trouble with sake,” said Troy Polee  after two hours of sipping and soaking it in, “is that it’s all made basically the same way and with the same ingredients.” In other words, how is the untrained palate supposed to distinguish such miniscule differences in mouthfeel, taste and aroma when it’s all the same thing?

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Hot Mixologist Watch – Rose at MINGO

May 26, 2013 By: John Curtas Category: Hot Hostess Watch, Liquor/Liqueur/Libations, Openings 7 Comments →

What oh what could ELV be looking at?

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Many of Rose’s charms are not immediately visible to the naked eye.

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ELV Got a Boner at MINGO

May 06, 2013 By: John Curtas Category: Liquor/Liqueur/Libations, Openings 9 Comments →

Anything butt hard

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The trouble being: said Boner was too weak, too sweet and overpriced to boot.

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Spring Menu Highlights: Starting Off 2013 Right

April 24, 2013 By: mitchell Category: Food, Liquor/Liqueur/Libations, Miscellaneous, Reviews 2 Comments →

Over the past couple weeks, as is our position, Mr. Curtas and I have eaten out on our own, and have noted some new dishes of the season’s menu change that deserve their due recognition.  We’ve taken the best of the best and are bringing to you those that really struck a chord with us.

For anyone wanting to take up the fun little occasion of a “Dine Around”, this would be a great guide for it.  Why did I do a top 9 instead of a top 10?  Well, you could say that last spot is for YOU, dear reader, to tell me in the comments your top pick in new spring menu items.  I look forward to reading it, and maybe even trying it out for myself…

Curry Scallops with Cauliflower (Les Saint-Jacques au Chou-Fleur et Curry) – Le Cirque in Bellagio:

New Executive Chef Paul Lee is making full use of his new position as “fine dining guy to keep your eye on” by really veering away from the commonplace, the expected, and the national dining character itself.  While everyone is tripping over themselves trying to chip this and gelee that, Chef Lee is de-complexifying things.  These scallops were indeed scallops, but the specter of a spicy green curry and nutty roasted pistachios added to its natural sweetness and buttery flavor.  Each bite (I took mine with the endive salad) finishes off with nutty roasted Sicilian pistachios and tangy, umami tamarind vinaigrette.   It wasn’t in your face, but it was really in your head.  If I had to really describe it, it would be the difference between a pretty lady coming up and ripping your shirt off, and the same just giving you a wink from across the room.  Paul Lee is really exemplifying the maxim “Less is more”.

Foie Gras with Rhubarb compote – Public House in The Venetian:

Danged near everywhere, I’m seeing this massive influx of rhubarb, especially rhubarb and foie gras.  I think I’ve seen four in the past couple weeks that all had that same formula.  I think this was the best example of it (I have yet to try the Foie Gras w/ rhubarb 3-ways by John Courtney at Pinot Brasserie.) because of simply the quality of the brioche, the range in flavor of the compote and jus, and the technical precision of the foie.  Each bite had that livery richness, a perfect level of salt, not too much sweetness, and a beautiful blend of spice notes from the jus.  While I usually prefer to err on the savory side of the foie gras spectrum, this was a wonderful example of the sweet side.

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