LAS VEGAS: Mother’s Day Weekend at Vegas Uncork’d

New-Years-Eve_uncorkedWant to treat your mother (or your children’s mother) to a tasty getaway? Head to Vegas May 8-11th for the annual Vegas Uncork’d celebration and enjoy wine and food from some of the best vintners and chefs.

This year’s Vegas Uncork’d, sponsored by Bon Appetit magazine, takes place at various locations on the Strip. You have your choice of 23 events held at Aria, Bellagio, Caesars Palace, MGM Grand and the Venetian with celebrity chefs Joel Robuchon, Guy Savoy, Nobu Matsuhisa, Francois Payard, Bobby Flay and others tantalizing your tongue with delectable delights.

One of the big draws is the Master Series dinners, with a focus on a particular type of food. There are five of these, all being held on Thursday May 8th at Caesars Palace. They include Dinnertime Decadence with Guy Savoy, French Elegance with Francois Payard, Rao’s Italian Feast with the Pellegrino Family, The Great American Steakhouse at the Old Homestead, and Global Gourmand with Nobu Matsuhisa. Prices range from $175 to $315 per person.

Want something a bit less structure or alcohol-centered? No problem. There is a Mix Master showcase at the Lobby Bar at Aria, where you can watch master bartenders whip up some wicked cocktails, and then you get to step in and compete to create a drink to be featured on their menu. Price $100. (Friday May 9th, 1 pm) There is also The Perfect Pairing: Art and Wine at Picasso at the Bellagio, where you will be able to go wine tasting amongst the famous works of art. $80 per person. (Friday May 9th, 2:30 – 4 pm). Or maybe you’d like to go to Sommalier Feud: Guys vs Gals, where the action is based on the TV game show Family Feud, in which you will be in on the action providing the “survey says” answers and enjoying passed cocktails, appetizers, and a blind tasting of a mystery wine along with the contestants. $85 per person. (Saturday May 10th, 2:30-4 pm)

Another fun experience will be the Night Market and Grill Challenge at the Doge’s Palace in the Venetian. You will get to experience the taste treats of an Asian night market and then watch as studens of Las Vegas’ Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts pair up with famous chefs in a culinary showdown that will reward them with tuition money. (Thursday May 8th, 8-11 pm)

The crème de la crème of Vegas Uncork’d just might be the When in France: Joel Robuchon Dinner. Described as a “one-of-a-kind, six-course menu and wine pairing hosted by Chef Joël Robuchon and the restaurant’s Master Sommeliers,” you will not only enjoy great food by one of the world’s leading chefs, but will take home signed menus, Joël Robuchon’s book, and some special treats, all for the price of $775/person. (Saturday May 10th, 6-10pm)

A full listing of all events can be found here.

Vegas Uncork’d
When:
May 8 – 11th
Where:
Various Strip hotels
Cost: 
Varies, tickets available here

LAS VEGAS: French Master Chefs Coming to the Venetian

© Wolfgang StaudtAlways wanted to hobnob with the best chefs in France? Well, you can do just that without even leaving the United States, The Association of Maitres Cuisiners de France will be holding their annual general assembly in Las Vegas in early March, bringing to town 150 of the world’s best master chefs.

The Venetian Resort Hotel and Casino will play host to this event, which will run March 5th to 9th. This elite culinary group is making history by holding the event outside Europe for the first time, largely due to the efforts of Palazzo executive chef Olivier Dubreull, who is a member and lobbied for his adopted home to host the event.

The Association of Maîtres Cuisiniers de France serves to preserve and spread the French culinary arts, encourage training in cuisine and assist in professional development. Members advance and perpetuate the tradition of great French cuisine and actively promote French products of top quality, such as the Red Labels and “Appellations d’Origine Contrôlée” or European signs of quality, such as the IGP, AOP and STG. In addition, they are involved in culinary education in Europe and employ nearly 10,000 qualified iindividuals.

While most of the events are by invitation only, the public is invited to a special open house event: the Master Tour de France. Twelve chefs, as well as twelve wineries and spirit makers, will be showcasing their specialties from the various regions in France. For a mere $50, you can sample food from some of the best the culinary world has to offer, and you wash it all down with some lovely French wine.

Note: There is an age restriction. All attendees must be over the age of 21.

Master Tour de France: 12 Chefs/12 Wineries
Where:  Doge’s Palace, The Venetian Resort Hotel Casino
When: March 8th, 6-10 pm
Cost: $50 (tickets available here)

LAS VEGAS: Annual Restaurant Awards Tempt Travelers

Honey Salt's Farmer's Toast

Honey Salt’s Farmer’s Toast

One of the biggest conundrums when visiting Vegas is where to eat. I’m not just talking about the Michelin-star chef restaurants that are now requisite amongst Strip hotels, but the hidden gems in Chinatown, the cool new dessert bars, the outliers in Summerlin and Henderson that are worthy of a cab ride. With all the restaurant openings and closings, it can be a tough road for visitors, but Vegas Seven has just made your Sin City trip planning a little bit easier by announcing this year’s best restaurants, both on and off the strip, be it a brasserie, brunch, bar bite or buffet.

This year awards were handed out in 27 categories that run the gamut from Best Under-the-Radar to Best Obscure Ethnic Dish, with Best Mixologist, Pizzeria, Dessert and Buffet mixed in. While you can view the complete list of winners here, we thought we would share our favorites with you and encourage you to try something new on your next visit:

Best Brunch: This year’s surprise winner is China Poblano, the Cosmopolitan Asian-Mexican fusion restaurant. While you might frown at the pairing of these two cuisines, this restaurant makes it work. The a la carte brunch includes the more traditional dim sum and chilaquiles, as well as a fresh take on gazpacho that includes pineapple, cucumber, jicama, dragonfruit, queso fresco and chile pequin, a beautifully presented rainbow congee, and churros with hot Mexican chocolate to complete your meal.

Best Mexican Restaurant: Leticia’s Mexican Cocina, located on the north side of the valley, focuses their entire menu on authentic family-style items, prepared with fresh ingredients. You can enjoy community plates of carnitas, carne asada, enchiladas, or chile rellenos, or go a la carte with chef specials such as Cecina a la Tampiquena, Mojarra, and delectable Langosta.  They also serve hangover-worthy menudo (Friday through Sunday only) and authentic Mexican coffee and donuts.

Best Restaurant Off-Strip: Honey Salt over in Summerlin makes the grade here, using carefully sourced ingredients for their “farm-to-table inspired menu.” Drool-worthy items include grilled peaches & ricotta, caramelized sea scallops (with a vanilla bean cauliflower puree), and a brown bag baked peach pie. Chef Joe Zanelli also offers a three-course tasting menu ($45) for those who just cannot decide.

LAS VEGAS: Life Is Beautiful Festival in Downtown Vegas

October will bring the Life Is Beautiful Festival to downtown Las Vegas. Taking over 15 blocks, this year’s festival features art, culture, music, and several extraordinary culinary events.

Over the course of two days, art, culture and musical events abound, and the musical lineup alone is downright stellar: The Killers, Kings of Leon, Imagine Dragons, Alabama Shakes, Beck, Portugal The Man, Passion Pit, and more (yes, more!). There will also be featured performances from several Cirque de Soleil shows, the Jabawockeez, Rock of Ages, and artists D*Face, Vhils, Zio Ziegler, Intersni Kaski and Alexis Diaz.

At the heart of the festival is a culinary village featuring some of the world’s best chefs and restaurants. Over 50 vendors will be offering gourmet food, all for a price tag of $10 or less. Check out the offerings from Hubert Keller, Cat Cora, Rick Moonen, Michael Mina, Tom Colicchio and more. The companion Alchemy Garden will be offering liquid refreshment to festival-goers. Featuring craft brews, top-notch wineries and spirit distillers, you can purchase a-la-carte libations and taste to your heart’s content! And for those you who are really into the food scene, there are special culinary events, such as a Flight Tasting, Grills & Guitars, a Culinary Crawl, and a limited seating charity dinner called “Take A Stand.”

Life Is Beautiful Festival
Where: Downtown Las Vegas
When: October 26 & 27
Cost: Two-day pass $159.50, special events separate, VIP, hotel & travel packages available here.

 

San Diego: Celebrate Restaurant Week

SDRestaurantWeek_600

Cities around the nation are hosting Restaurant Week, a bi-annual event promoting local restaurants.  San Diego will be celebrating during the week of September 15th-20thwith over 180 restaurants participating throughout the county.  Each participating restaurant will have a special prix fixe menu for both lunch and dinner. Lunch options will be 2 courses for $10, $15, or $20, with dinner serving 3 courses priced at $20, $30, or $40.

A special website is set up for diners to search for participating restaurants, with the option to sort based on restaurant name, price, type of food or neighborhood. To make things easier, San Diego has been broken into 12 neighborhoods or areas, which include:

  • Central San Diego
  • Coronado
  • Downtown San Diego
  • East County
  • Gaslamp Quarter
  • La Jolla
  • Mission Bay/Beaches
  • North County Coastal
  • North County Inland
  • Old Town
  • Pt. Loma/Harbor Island
  • Uptown

Additionally, there is an Open Table feature on the site allowing you to make reservations instantly. Bon Appetit!

San Diego Restaurant Week
When
: September 15-20
Where: San Diego County
Cost: $10-40 per diner

San Diego: Spirits Festival on Tap This Month at Broadway Pier

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Culinary cocktails come to Broadway Pier for San Diego’s Spirits Festival on August 24th & 25th. Tickets for the two-day event include unlimited spirit and food tastings, bartender battles, chef demonstrations, craft beer and the Bayside Art Festival. And to keep you entertained during the event there will be Brazilian Carnivale Samba performances, a pin-up girl fashion show, the Risque Drop Dead Dames Burlesque, as well as musical guests. Among those guests will be Vince Neil, who will be opening the festival and launching his Tatuado Vodka label. More than 50 purveyors of spirits will be in attendance, which includes both large-scale as well as small-batch distillers. Must be 21 or older to attend.

San Diego Spirits Festival

When: August 24 & 25, 1-5 p.m.

Where: Port Pavilion On Broadway Pier, 1000 N. Harbor Dr. San Diego, CA 92101

Cost: $90/day