Archive for the ‘Miscellaneous’

EATING LAS VEGAS – The 50 Essential Restaurants – 50. ART OF FLAVORS

October 30, 2014 By: John Curtas Category: Chefs, Downtown, EATING LAS VEGAS - The 50 Essential Restaurants, Food, Reviews 4 Comments →

50. ART OF FLAVORS

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Let’s get one thing straight, shall we?

Art of Flavors is not a restaurant. It has no menu; it has no waitrons. There is no maitre’d to seat you, nor are there many real seats to be had. The flatware is plastic, the dishware is cardboard, and the appetizers and main courses are as non-existent as the good judgment of the girls dancing across the street.

So why is is number 50 on our list of The 50 Essential Restaurants of Las Vegas? Because, quite simply, no eating tour of our humble burg would be complete without a stop here.  Because, even more simply, lying in the shadow of both the Olympic Garden strip club (literally) and the Luv-it-Custard ice cream stand (figuratively), lies the best goddamned gelato ever to melt on a Las Vegas sidewalk.

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The brainchild of pastry chef Desyreé G. Alberganti, these luscious concoctions are all made on premises, with all natural flavors, no additives, and a ton of passion — passion (and intensity) you can taste with every silky smooth spoonful.

It is gelato so good that we at ELV have been in dozens of times and have to fight with ourselves not to go on a daily basis. It is gelato so good it single-handedly raised the foodie IQ of downtown Las Vegas the day it opened. It is gelato so good you will never be satisfied with store-bought ice cream again.

Yeah, it’s that good.

There’s nothing generic about AoFG. It is as hand-tooled and artisanal as food gets in the High Mojave Desert, and after one bite of Alberganti’s cioccalato di pepperocino (chocolate spiced with the back-of-the-throat warming glow of peppers),or her Fior di Latte (basic vanilla gelato base), or the Pumpkin Spiced Pie Creme Brûlée, or Smurf (yes, it’s very blue), or the last word in Cookies ‘n Cream, you will foreswear all other forms of frozen desserts forever.

And if it’s boundary-pushing sweets you’re after, you’ll swoon over things like Roasted Garlic with Herb and EVOO, Black Sesame Seed with Edamame and Caramelized Soy Sauce, or…..wait for it….Chicken Wings:

…each of which tastes exactly like the thing(s) it is named after….yet somehow manages still to be a sweet, palate-pleasing, slurp-worthy dessert.

How Desyreé does it is anyone’s guess, but one lick in and you’ll know you’re in the hands of a devilishly creative kitchen angel — with a heavenly sense of humor that’s going to be hell on your waistline.

Favorite dishes: The gelato, Bozo. All of them.

ART OF FLAVORS GELATO

1616 Las Vegas Blvd. South #130

702.569.3636

EATING LAS VEGAS – The 50 Essential Restaurants – 49. THE GOODWICH

October 28, 2014 By: John Curtas Category: Downtown, EATING LAS VEGAS - The 50 Essential Restaurants, Food, Reviews No Comments →

49. THE GOODWICH

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 ELV note: Until The Goodwich opened earlier this year, a good hot sandwich was harder to find than a Mormon distillery. Still less than a year old, it remains the only place to get a a superior version of the meal that made John Montagu famous. Rather than blather on and on about how good The Goodwich’s creations are, we’ll leave it to Mitchell Wilburn to extol its virtues, as he did in a posting back in March. Take it away Mitchell:

Damn man, damn.  I have been so consistently wowed by this place, that I’ve been going back about twice a week.  It does help that it is five  minutes away from my hip (and only slightly dangerous) digs in “The Downtown”, but I would drive from Summerlin consistently and even bear slumming it in Dino’s (and I REALLY don’t like Dino’s) to enjoy these seriously bad-ass sandwiches.

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EATING LAS VEGAS – The 50 Essential Restaurants – 46. “The New” EL SOMBRERO

October 20, 2014 By: John Curtas Category: Chefs, Downtown, EATING LAS VEGAS - The 50 Essential Restaurants, Openings, Reviews 1 Comment →

46. EL SOMBRERO

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The old El Sombrero was Las Vegas’s oldest restaurant. It opened its doors for the first time in 1950, and was considered time-worn and venerable when, in 1970, Teresa and José Aragon took over and started cooking their unique brand of Mexican-meets-New Mexican food. After a 44 year run, the Aragons retired in April and sold the joint to Irma Aguirre. It reopened in August, and what she and Executive Chef Oscar Sanchez have done to the 43 seat space is nothing short of amazing.

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My Food Film Faves on My News 3

October 10, 2014 By: John Curtas Category: Downtown, Events, Food, Wake Up With the Wagners Comments Off

Technical Difficulties Fixed

August 18, 2014 By: The Staff Category: Miscellaneous 1 Comment →

Thanks to all who pointed out the broken links. The server maintenance changed a setting and rudely did not inform us. Those responsible for the temporary outage will be sacked, or at least forced to eat Hot Pockets washed down with some Yellow Tail Merlot.

It’s an All-Italian Day at Eating Las Vegas!

December 07, 2013 By: John Curtas Category: Events, Food, Music Comments Off

In honor of the Winter in Venice festival going on at the Venetian/Palazzo today (especially the “How to Italian” food festival starting this morning), we at ELV thought a little music was in order:

Sirio Maccioni

June 20, 2013 By: John Curtas Category: Icons 3 Comments →

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He’s a worrywart, a raconteur, and a perfectionist. He’s thin-skinned one moment and a charmer the next. His love and loyalty to his family is only exceeded by his ability to drive them crazy. And if you work for him, he can also be an occasional, colossal pain in the ass. In other words, he’s just like my father. One of my many regrets in life is that the two of them never met.

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ELV’s Sabbatical to End Soon

May 31, 2013 By: John Curtas Category: Miscellaneous Comments Off

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To all of our loyal food fans: Please be advised that ELV’s self-imposed sabbatical will soon come to an end, and he shall resume posting articles this weekend.

As for the reason for said sabbatical, we can only say that making a living had something to do with it, and sometimes the drudgery of everyday life gets in the way of our eating….and sleeping.

Now that we’re caught up on the latter, we can resume the former.

Be talkin’ to you soon.

Best and bon appetit,

ELV

I Saw Him Drinking a Pina Colada at Trader Vic’s

April 26, 2013 By: John Curtas Category: Music 12 Comments →

Anything too stupid to be spoken is sung. – Voltaire


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ELV note: Yours truly is often accused of hating music. This is not true. ELV doesn’t hate music, he hates trite, tuneless, sappy, commercial, derivative, copycat, not-an-original-thought-anywhere music. Music that sounds like everyone else’s music. And jazz. ELV really, really, really hates jazz. And Guns ‘n Roses. He really hates Guns ‘n Roses. Other than that, he loves the stuff. Sort of.

THE TOP 66 JUKE BOX SONGS OF ALL TIME*

You know the drill.

You’ve been there a hundred times.

You’re in some bar with a friend or three. You’re a little drunk, but not too. You might be hitting on new meat or playfully noodling your significant other. Everyone’s happy and chattering away.  Tunes are playing on the Rock-Ola or Wurlizter, but no one’s paying close attention.

Over in the corner, there might even be a few people boogieing away and singing along to some mildly inoffensive ditty from J. Geil’s,  Billy Idol, Chili Peppers, Violent Femmes or Smash Mouth. Good times.

Then, just when things start peaking (a buddy has you in stitches, someone buys a round, she touches your knee/licks your ear/gently brushes the Amazing Python of Love, etc.) some punk-ass, lame-dick, shriveled-gonad pussy (or, even worse, some brain-dead, seen-better-days-bimbo) proudly strolls to the juke and punches in an hour of musical shite like Depeche Mode, “Satisfaction,”  “We Built This City on Rock and Roll,” or anything from the Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, Fleetwood Mac or, heaven forbid, the Eagles (Joe Walsh excepted).

And do you know what happens next?

You know what happens next, don’t you?

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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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