John Curtas is …

Spring Mountain Road

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Summer Dish Review – Cumin Lamb Skewers at CHENGDU TASTE

Can lamb cum any cumin-i-er?

Does Szechuan get any spicier?

Does pungent, peppery, pulchritude present any prettier?

We doubt it.

We also doubt you’ve ever eaten this southwestern Chinese cuisine in more authentic form.

They take no prisoners at Chengdu Taste. They ask no quarter and they give none. You know you’re in a pain-pleasure battle from the first bite, and the only way to achieve victory (and a higher form of eating bliss) is to surrender to the savagery of these wonderful peppers, and let them overwhelm your palate’s defenses.

Trust us, you’ll be happy you did.

No draftees, though. This duty is for volunteers only.


3950 Schiff Drive.

Las Vegas, NV 89103


Summer Dish Review – Sushi at YUI EDOMAE SUSHI

 It doesn’t get any better in our humble burg.

Not the fish. Not the slicing. Not the passion nor the authenticity.

It’s sushi the real way. The Japanese way. The Tokyo way.

The reason Yui Edomae Sushi is so good is because it’s not on the Strip.

It doesn’t have a phalanx of sushi chefs, nor does it serve 300 customers at night.

Any true sushi chef in Japan would be appalled at the prospect of serving 300 customers a night. (They do those kinds of numbers at the Tsukiji sushi bars, but those are more like sushi factories for tourists.)

In a true sushi bar, you have a relationship with your sushi chef. He asks you what you like (or tells you what is best), and the two of you work out your meal together – as the chef (who wants to please his customer) communicates, sometimes non-verbally, with a client who puts his trust in the chef’s talents.

True sushi eating is based upon appreciation – for the purity of the rice to the knife skills of the chef to the magnificence of the animals that gave their lives for your meal.

It is the closest thing to a zen-like experience you can have while eating.

It is not for wimps and it’s not for cowards and it’s not for cheapskates.

But once you give yourself over to the experience, you achieve a higher-state of eating consciousness than you do in any other form of sating your hunger.

It is the sushi way. It is the Japanese way. It is the way of Gen-san at Yui.

All of us would be better off if we ate this way more often.


Szechuan Superiority

imageBesides being a fun read about the birth of a food writer, Fuschia Dunlop’s Shark’s Fin and Sichuan Pepper: A Sweet-Sour Memoir of Eating in China is a great primer on the glories of Szechuan cooking.

An unabashed fan of the Szechuan province (she considers it the ne plus ultra of Chinese cuisine) her book explores everything from the tongue-numbing effect of those mysterious peppercorns, to the Chinese propensity to eat “everything that flies except an airplane, and everything with four legs except the table.”

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