Viva Las Vegas: 36 Hours in Sin City

I did something I never thought I would do — willingly go to Las Vegas. For pleasure. In June.  The reason I say willingly is that I’m not at all into gambling, and it is perilously hot in Vegas in June (Triple digits hot!). My best friend Michele and I made the trek to the desert to witness what was rumored to be the final Guns ‘N Roses show, either ever or for quite some time. The concert was so disappointing that the former might be for the best; Axl should hang up his Hot Topic jacket and oversized caballero hat for good. The bright spot in the brief trip was the incredible dining — three amazing and decadent-yet-relatively-affordable meals at highly regarded restaurants: Bouchon, Nobu, and Otto. Please note that I say affordable as each of our meals included multiple courses and glasses — plus a bottle — of wine or sake. Compare this with the $36 (!) we spent on two meager, over-iced Bloody Marys at the casino bar, for some perspective.

Continue Reading

Chef Watch: Michael Voltaggio Cooks and Tells; New York Post Has a Beef with Alain Ducasse; Norman Van Aken Opens His Recipe Book; The World’s Most Influential Chef; Charlie Trotter’s New Hire, and More

Chefs making food and headlines…

•    Michael Voltaggaio, winner of season 6 of “Top Chef” shows football fans how to have a very molecular gastronomic Super Bowl party. Does that mean deconstructed nachos? [Los Angeles Times]

•    Speaking of Chef Voltaggio, who is chef de cuisine at The Dining Room at The Langham, he answers questions about his post-TC life. [Orange County Register]

•    Jose Garces, whose Philadelphia restaurant empire includes Amada, Chifa, Distrito, and Tinto, reveals what’s inspiring him lately. [The Daily Beast]

•    Charlie Trotter hires visually impaired chef Laura Martinez to join his kitchen at Charlie Trotter’s. [Grub Street Chicago]

•    If Chicago’s Graham Elliot Bowles’s food at Graham Elliot were an album, it would be Feed the Animals by Girl Talk. At least this week, anyway. [Time Out Chicago]

•    Meet the U.K’s own Fergus Henderson of St. John restaurant in London. He’s also the world’s most influential chef. No, really. [Men’s Health]

•    Chef Norman Van Aken shares some of his signature recipes from Norman’s at the Ritz-Carlton in Orlando, but it’s probably just easier to go ahead and let him make them for us at his eponymous restaurant. [The Daily Beast]

•    Thomas Keller (Ad Hoc, Bouchon, Bouchon – Beverly Hills, The French Laundry, Per Se) loses his right-hand man. As long as it’s not his right hand. [San Francisco Chronicle]

•    Restaurant critic Steve Cuozzo of the New York Post has a bone to pick with Alain Ducasse (Adour Alain Ducasse at The St. Regis New York, Benoit New York) over his recent comments about the New York restaurant scene. Call me a coward, but it’s probably not all that wise to start a beef with anyone who wields knives for a living. [New York Post]

Well-Reviewed: Bouchon Earns a Rave; Danny Meyer’s Maialino Can’t Miss; and More.

Recent reviews around the nation…

* Critic Tom Sietsema heads to the Hill for a meal at Bistro Cacao. [The Washington Post]

* S. Irene Virbila welcomes Thomas Keller’s Bouchon with open arms and three shiny stars. [Los Angeles Times]

* Minneapolis’s answer to Jean-Georges scores another hit with D’Amico Kitchen, according to Rick Nelson. [Star-Tribune]

* Virbila also likes LA’s neighborhoody House Café for a bite. [Los Angeles Times]

* Chris Colin finds the view’s the thing at Oakland’s The Lake Chalet Seafood Bar & Grill. [The New York Times]

* Danny Meyer’s Maialino is so nice, this week it’s been reviewed twice. [New York Post, The New York Times]

* Pelago wows the Windy City’s Phil Vettel. [Chicago Tribune]

* Michael Bauer remains loyal to old favorite Rivoli. [San Francisco Chronicle]