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Tasting Las Vegas Takes A Vacay! But First, This Word About Vegas Uncork'd

I need a fucking break!  So I’m taking one.  Unless something major happens, or I get bored, there won’t be any new posts on TastingLasVegas.com until Monday, February 7th.  That’s a whole ten days for me to play poker, read the Twilight saga, figure out what the hell I’m going to do with this new cooking site, drink during the day and sleep.  Since I’m horribly addicted and can never leave the warm embrace of the TLV Army, I’ll still be hanging on Twitter at @TastingLasVegas.  But before I put my feet up and crack open Edward and Bella’s adventures in Forks, I must say a few words about the 2011 edition of Vegas Uncork’d.

Vegas Uncork'd Got Their Chefs In A Box

Vegas Uncork'd Got Their Chefs In A Box

Yesterday, the 5th annual Vegas Uncork’d got kicked off in grand fashion at the Fashion Show Mall.  An event marking the first day of ticket sales, the various members of the Las Vegas food-centric press gathered and watched in awe as a gaggle of chefs rose out of the ground in that contraption usually reserved for models on the catwalk.  Although, with a group of studly chefs like Francois Payard, Jet Tila, Rick Moonen, Julian Serrano, and Claude le Tohic on hand, I’d say the models were taken to school!

There are several new events to take note of for this year’s Vegas Uncork’d, which runs from May 5-8, 2011Chef Julian Serrano will host ¡Que Viva España! which is a culinary tour of Spanish regional cuisines.  The event takes place at his Picasso restaurant in the Bellagio on Friday, May 7th.  Another fun event should be A Night of High Spirits with Tom Colicchio at Tom Colicchio’s Craftsteak.  The King of Top Chef himself will host an evening of spirits, fine wines and steak on Thursday, May 5th.  Also, what might be the hottest ticket of them all, Chef of the Century (20th, that is), Joël Robuchon will be hosting a luncheon on Saturday, May 7th.  That won’t suck.

Fancy Centerpieces Representing The Host Resorts of Vegas Uncork'd

Fancy Centerpieces Representing The Host Resorts of Vegas Uncork'd

For more information about Vegas Uncork’d and to get tickets for the events, check out http://VegasUncorked.com.  Also, Vegas Uncork’d is on Twitter at @VegasUncorked.   And with that, I hope y’all have a great week and a half!

—–
Mike Dobranski is a professional musician, amateur blogger, eater of good food, poker junkie, master of the inappropriate comment and bad husband to a wonderful wife.

Follow Mike and Tasting Las Vegas on Twitter at @TastingLasVegas

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Tasting Las Vegas: The Podcast, Ep. 17 - 5 Sandwiches In Las Vegas That Can't Be Missed

This week on Tasting Las Vegas: The Podcast, Mike and The Wife talk about everything from the good and bad on TV, to a few international controversies over the last week as well as 5 Sandwiches In Las Vegas That Can’t Be Missed.  Then, of course, there’s The News With The Wife, the TLV Cheap Eats of the Week and so much more!

Click Here To Listen To Tasting Las Vegas: The Podcast, Episode 17!

Check Out Tasting Las Vegas: The Podcast on the iTunes here!

The Liberal from Layers Bakery and Cafe

The Liberal from Layers Bakery and Cafe

Joints That We Talked About:

  • Bachi Burger
  • Naked City Pizza Shop
  • Presidio
  • Weiss Deli and Bakery
  • Layers Bakery and Cafe
  • First Food and Bar
  • Pop’s Cheesesteaks
  • Botero
  • Whole Foods Market
  • Lotus of Siam

Tha’ Links:

Check out Crossings by Nathan Tanouye and the Las Vegas Jazz Connection on CDBaby.com

Follow The Wife on Twitter at @TLV_TheWife

Join us on the Facebook at http://facebook.com/TastingLasVegas

Follow Kelsey Nixon on Twitter at @KelseyNixon

My post on Bluefin Ranching is here

Follow VegasBilll on Twitter at @VegasBilll

Follow 2424k on Twitter at @2424k

—–
Mike Dobranski is a professional musician, amateur blogger, eater of good food, poker junkie, master of the inappropriate comment and bad husband to a wonderful wife.

Follow Mike and Tasting Las Vegas on Twitter at @TastingLasVegas

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Monday Mise en Place: Top Chef and Top Chef: Just Desserts Are Casting For Next Season

Padma's Casting Bed (photo: baltimoresun.com)

Padma's Casting Bed (photo: baltimoresun.com)

Think you got what it takes to make Padma quiver with delight?  Do you know someone that could put Tom Colicchio in his place?  Top Chef is now casting for its ninth season as is Top Chef: Just Desserts for its second.  Let’s get the 702 well-represented in both shows, we certainly have the talent!  Send your info, or the chef you have in mind’s info, to casting@magicalelves.com.  Good luck!

Would you buy chicken from this man? (photo: woooha.com)

Would you buy chicken from this man? (photo: woooha.com)

Remember those wings by Flavor Flav everyone was clamoring about a few months ago at Mama Cimino’s on Windmill?  Apparently it was the first step in a new fried chicken chain Flavor Flav is starting.  The very first Flav’s Fried Chicken opens today in the place where all new restaurant concepts should be born……..Clinton, Iowa.  As Flavor Flav’s colleague, Lil’ Jon, would say; “What?”

Professor Sara Steele

Professor Sara Steele

Pastry Chef extraordinaire at Botero at the Encore resort, Sara Steele, will be presenting a Valentine’s Day Dessert class on Monday, Feburary 7th at Whole Foods Market in Henderson.  In this class, Sara will cover Red Velvet Tiramisu and Truffle Pops.  The class will be held from 6pm-8pm.  Space is limited, so make sure you RSVP at 702-361-8183

I refuse to write a "What Happens In Vegas..." line. Refuse!

I refuse to write a "What Happens In Vegas..." line. Refuse!

According to New York Times writer Florence Fabricant, Saipin and Bill Chutima have separated from their partner Roy Welland and have removed themselves from Lotus of Siam in New York.  Also citing family health issues, it seems the bigger issue is a difference in vision between the Chutimas and Welland.  Where the Chutimas want to keep the more homey feel they have developed with their Vegas Lotus location, Welland seems to be going for a bit of a gouge on the customer.  Good for the Chutimas for putting pride, honor and reputation above dollar signs.  Check out the NYT blog about this story here.

—–
Mike Dobranski is a professional musician, amateur blogger, eater of good food, poker junkie, master of the inappropriate comment and bad husband to a wonderful wife.

Follow Mike and Tasting Las Vegas on Twitter at @TastingLasVegas

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TLV's Tweets Of The Week: 01/17/11 - 01/23/11

I have the pleasure of following some pretty damn funny people on Twitter.  Submitted to you in this series are the top tweets I read last week.  Some have to deal with food, some don’t, but all of them kick ass in 140 characters or less. Behold, TLV’s Tweets Of The Week….

January 17

@fukuburger - If you think medium is raw, I’d advise dining where Disney toys and clown antenna heads are available. Lol

January 19

@dribbleglass – Jesus Christ. @reviewjournal FINALLY Tweets something other than cut-and-paste headlines and it’s f’ing SPORTS?! Are you shitting me?

January 20

@NoReservations – I want to be able eat my burger medium rare. Anywhere. Would anyone think this an unreasonable expectation?

January 22

@theangrychef - You know it’s gonna be a good day when you get in and your dishwasher is rolling out biscuits and listening to Snoop Dog.

@VegasBilll – I have family coming into town soon. Which one of you suckers is going to put them up free so I’ll say nice things about your hotel?

@MistressDrea – Asshole kids running all over the street, screaming outside my window. I don’t care if you’re 5 years old, you are an asshole!

—–
Mike Dobranski is a professional musician, amateur blogger, eater of good food, poker junkie, master of the inappropriate comment and bad husband to a wonderful wife.

Follow Mike and Tasting Las Vegas on Twitter at @TastingLasVegas

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The Weekly Bad Picture Of Good Food: Butternut Squash Ravioli From Table 34

A few years ago it seemed like Chef Wes Kendrick and the fine folks at Table 34 hit nothing but home runs.  Perfectly executed, perfectly seasoned food flying out from the kitchen and over the fence; plate, after plate, after plate.  Then as the commissioner came down on certain performance enhancement techniques, so did the slugging percentage of baseball’s “greats.”  It seemed like Table 34 was on a similar path.  The Cream was no more, thus the sauces less fortified…so to speak.  Just as I was about to send Table 34 down to the minors, The Wife and I gave it one more at bat and, lo and behold, came this upper decker.  Unfortunately, the iPhone makes this delicious dish look like another kind of upper decker, thus making the Butternut Squash Ravioli from Table 34 this week’s Weekly Bad Picture Of Good Food.

Butternut Squash Ravioli from Table 34 - A solid home run!

Butternut Squash Ravioli from Table 34 - A solid home run!

—–

Table 34

600 E. Warm Springs Rd. #180
Las Vegas, NV 89119

(702) 263-0034

http://www.usmenuguide.com/table34.html

—–
Mike Dobranski is a professional musician, amateur blogger, eater of good food, poker junkie, master of the inappropriate comment and bad husband to a wonderful wife.

Follow Mike and Tasting Las Vegas on Twitter at @TastingLasVegas

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The Power Of Speaking Up: Bachi Burger Takes Bluefin Off Valentine's Day Menu!

The TLV Army rolled strong late last night as our beloved Bachi Burger posted a special Valentine’s Day prix fixe menu with the unfortunate choice of Bluefin Tuna Tartar on it.  I, along with O.G. TLV Army members Jerry Diegel and Alex Stopa, spoke out about our displeasure with Bachi’s choice of tuna.  This morning, I was contacted by Chef Lorin Watada who regrets the decision and has decided to eliminate the course.  In the e-mail, Chef Watada said;

When I was a corporate chef for Roy’s I banned our restaurants from using bluefin for the last 5 years that I was with the company.   I just did some research and yes I am not as up to date as I was in the past because I am running a burger place.  But it doesn’t excuse that fact.

Bachi Burger: Maker Of Good Food and Good Decisions

Bachi Burger: Maker Of Good Food and Good Decisions

It’s another win for the gravely endangered Bluefin tuna and a fine display that our voices can make a difference. We are not here to hold restaurants hostage, but we are here to hold restaurants accountable for what they put on the plate.  Some restaurants, like Bachi Burger, are man enough to correct an innocent poor decision, while others maintain their defiance on this globally serious issue.  Good on Bachi Burger!

By the way, the other courses look extraordinary on the special Valentine’s Day Kaiseki Menu for Bachi Burger.  A 7-course dinner that includes Lobster & Uni Chawan Mushi, Hudson Valley Foie Gras, Miso Broiled Black Cod and Mishima Ranch Wagyu Short Rib.  And before anyone says, “Hey Mike, why did you bitch about the tuna, but not the foie gras?” I say to you, “Hudson Valley is the best of the best when it comes to the ethical and humane treatment of the ducks.” As I told Lorin in my e-mail response to him, “we can’t hug every tree.”

The Kaiseki Menu comes in at a cool $40 and is far and away the best deal for Valentine’s Day that I’ve been notified of thus far.  Many thanks to Chef Watada and the Bachi Burger crew for making the smart and responsible decision to not serve Bluefin tuna on this special occasion.  Here’s to hoping restaurants still serving the nearly extinct fish will follow their lead.

—–

Bachi Burger

470 E. Windmill Ln. #100
Las Vegas, NV 89123

(702) 242-2244

http://www.BachiBurger.com

Follow Bachi Burger on Twitter at @BachiBurgerLV

—–
Mike Dobranski is a professional musician, amateur blogger, eater of good food, poker junkie, master of the inappropriate comment and bad husband to a wonderful wife.

Follow Mike and Tasting Las Vegas on Twitter at @TastingLasVegas

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A Quick Word About Farm-Raised Bluefin Tuna

As many of you know, for some months now I’ve been going all Rooster Cogburn on restaurants in Las Vegas that serve the gravely endangered Bluefin Tuna.  While this war has been waged, many defenders of Bluefin consumption have erroneously pointed to farming and ranching techniques as the savior of the Bluefin.  They call it “sustainable aquaculture,” but the farming and ranching of any fish, let alone the Bluefin, couldn’t be further from it.

Bluefin Tuna Where They Need To Be (photo: endoverfishing.org)

Bluefin Tuna Where They Need To Be (photo: endoverfishing.org)

The biggest problem with farming fish comes with the techniques used to feed the fish.  Large trawling nets are used to scrape up whatever they can, completely uprooting ecosystems as they pass through.  The “farmers” take what they want and need and toss the rest, senselessly destroying what little life remained in the spot where they trawled.  And by the way, it takes approximately 20 kilograms of feed to produce 1 kilogram of tuna.  Sustainable?

Bluefin ranches are sprouting up all across the Mediterranean, but they take small Bluefin from the wild and fatten them up in pens…so what’s the point.  In reaction to this, the defenders of Bluefin consumption point to the world’s largest consumer of Bluefin, Japan, for developing farming techniques that bring the Bluefin up from eggs.  It sounds all well and good until you realize that adult Bluefin won’t naturally mate in pens.  Bluefin are migratory animals that like to travel long distances, much like how eager beaver co-eds flock to Cancun.  Unfortunately, a candlelit room and Barry White on the radio doesn’t work on fish, so the Bluefin are injected with a synthetic version of the hormone, GnRH, so they’ll  feel frisky in the pens they’re held in.  One only has to look as far as Monsanto and Perdue to see how well that’s going to work.

At the end of the day, it’s simply best to stay away from ALL Bluefin Tuna.  We had a good run eating their tasty flesh, now it’s time to give them a break.  Both Bigeye and Yellowtail tunas that aren’t long line caught are fine alternatives to the Bluefin (as of the writing of this post).  Of course, to get the most up to date information on what to eat and what to avoid in the seafood world, check out the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch at http://seafoodwatch.org.

—–
Mike Dobranski is a professional musician, amateur blogger, eater of good food, poker junkie, master of the inappropriate comment and bad husband to a wonderful wife.

Follow Mike and Tasting Las Vegas on Twitter at @TastingLasVegas

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Tasting Las Vegas: The Podcast, Ep. 16 - 5 Restaurants For Las Vegas Newbies

This week on Tasting Las Vegas: The Podcast, The Wife and I talk about everything from the dust up at the Golden Globes to the dust up at Alex’s final service.  We dish on some Recent Eats and talk about 5 Restaurants For Las Vegas Newbies.  Then, of course, we’ll have The News With The Wife, the TLV Cheap Eats of the Week and so much more!

Click Here To Listen To Tasting Las Vegas: The Podcast, Episode 16!

Check Out Tasting Las Vegas: The Podcast on the iTunes Here!

Requisite Eats For Any Vegas Noob: First Food and Bar

Requisite Eats For Any Vegas Noob: First Food and Bar

Joints We Talked About:

  • Miko’s Sushi and Izakaya
  • Sierra Gold
  • Table 34
  • First Food and Bar
  • China Poblano
  • Bellagio Buffet
  • Bachi Burger
  • Fukuburger
  • L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon
  • Joël Robuchon
  • Alex
  • The Country Club at Wynn Las Vegas

Tha’ Links:

Check out Crossings by Nathan Tanouye and the Las Vegas Jazz Connection on CDBaby.com

Follow The Wife on Twitter at @TLV_TheWife

Join us on the Facebook at http://facebook.com/TastingLasVegas

Ricky Gervais at the Golden Globes is here

The girl’s name is Hailee Steinfeld, and she kicks ass in True Grit

Eater’s article on S. Irene Virbila getting the boot from Red Medicine is here

Norm’s column of Pope Curtas The ELV getting the “boot” is here

—–
Mike Dobranski is a professional musician, amateur blogger, eater of good food, poker junkie, master of the inappropriate comment and bad husband to a wonderful wife.

Follow Mike and Tasting Las Vegas on Twitter at @TastingLasVegas

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Monday Mise en Place: Cookin' With Jazz Brunch at The Country Club at Wynn Las Vegas Turns 1

Chef Carlos Guia of The Country Club at Wynn Las Vegas (photo: Becca PR)

Chef Carlos Guia of The Country Club at Wynn Las Vegas (photo: Becca PR)

Congratulations to Chef Carlos Guia and the crew at The Country Club at Wynn Las Vegas on celebrating one year for their beloved Sunday Cookin’ With Jazz Brunch.  On Sunday, January 16th, The Country Club marked its one year anniversary with a performance by David “Mojo” Poe and his Dixieland Trio.

THE UNLVgirl, Lori Cox

THE UNLVgirl, Lori Cox

I’ve got absolutely nothing else as far as Las Vegas Restaurant news is concerned.  Yeah yeah yeah, Alex closed on Saturday. BFD.  It seems like nothing is happening in this town until Valentine’s Day, so I put out a call for news that the TLV Army would like known to the world.  This is what I got….

@UNLVgirl informed me that The Rebels basketball team will be hosting two home games this week.  The Rebs play Colorado State on Wednesday at 7:30pm and New Mexico at 1pm on Saturday.  Hell, even if you hate basketball, just go to see Lori!

THE JerseyGirlMrsD with JerseyBoyMrD at the Tweetup at Naked City Pizza Shop. From across the globe!

THE JerseyGirlMrsD with JerseyBoyMrD at the Tweetup at Naked City Pizza Shop. From across the globe!

In breaking international news, @JerseyGirlMrsD informs me that she’ll be getting together with a few friends and having a Come Dine With Me style dinner this Saturday.  Best wishes to our favorite girl on the O.G. Jersey Shore!

@sirpearce discussing world affairs with Ted Danson

@sirpearce discussing world affairs with Ted Danson

A guy that goes by @sirpearce on Twitter said that he’s going to drink at JET Nightclub tonight.

@Traffic_Flo, complete with fabulous computer generated boobies.

@Traffic_Flo, complete with fabulous computer generated boobies.

@Traffic_Flo took some time away from the streets of Las Vegas to let me know that the NV Arts Associates will be honoring MGM CEO Jim Murren and the late Tony Curtis on Saturday, January 22nd.

There's A New Bitch In Town And She Ain't Happy! (pic: 3fatchicks.com)

There's A New Bitch In Town And She Ain't Happy! (pic: 3fatchicks.com)

Consider this official notice, Las Vegas:  There’s a new bitch in town and she ain’t happy!  As we speak a new blog about Las Vegas is being constructed at bitchinvegas.com.  Aimed at washing away the PR bullshit, the greased palms and the lined pockets that make this city run, bitchinvegas.com will be a breath of fresh air, no matter how dark it may be.  I’m looking forward to reading and hoping I don’t provide any good blog material for her!

—–
Mike Dobranski is a professional musician, amateur blogger, eater of good food, poker junkie, master of the inappropriate comment and bad husband to a wonderful wife.

Follow Mike and Tasting Las Vegas on Twitter at @TastingLasVegas

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TLV's Tweets Of The Week: 01/10/11 - 01/16/11

I have the pleasure of following some pretty damn funny people on Twitter.  Submitted to you in this series are the top tweets I read last week.  Some have to deal with food, some don’t, but all of them kick ass in 140 characters or less. Behold, TLV’s Tweets Of The Week….

January 10

@Misnoper@TastingLasVegas Tyler Florence makes the recipes in Woman’s World look sophisticated.

@DittoToo – my wifes response to the hair in her butter is to carry her plate to the kitchen while loudly announcing to the staff, “What is this?!?”

January 11

@tmwrnj - Seriously, what kind of civilised country has no free healthcare provision? America, you have a lot to learn from Cuba.

January 12

@SethMacFarlane – Boy, some days I just feel like I have a big surveyor’s mark painted on my back.

@Richter_Andy – Why don’t atheists ever make this point – pizza is delicious, and salad is awful. What kind of loving god would do that to us?

@fabioviviani - One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating.

January 15

@TLV_TheWife - Today’s lesson: Don’t step on the pedal when there’s a bucket of water sitting on your pottery wheel. http://yfrog.com/h870qdj (TLV Note: This is why I don’t by The Wife nice things!)

—–
Mike Dobranski is a professional musician, amateur blogger, eater of good food, poker junkie, master of the inappropriate comment and bad husband to a wonderful wife.

Follow Mike and Tasting Las Vegas on Twitter at @TastingLasVegas

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