Tuesday, August 8, 2017

The Las Vegas Restaurant Scene Highlights Las Vegas Landmarks And New Celebrity Chefs.



 
Out with the old and in with the new seems to be a Vegas theme for restaurants that transition to include an updated look and invigorated menu items. Lately there has been a bevy of transitions and new comers to the restaurant scene in Las Vegas including a Food network star throwing his chef’s hat into the Las Vegas ring of fire of restaurants.


Starting with a look at the new, we met with Chef Robert Irvine for a menu preview of Robert Irvine’s Public House at the Tropicana Hotel and Casino, along with a much awaited makeover of a Vegas Icon Hotel and brewery Ellis Island. New, improved and exciting is what keeps things heating up as the temperatures soar into the desert summer months and there is so much to keep hungry palates pulsating.


Starting with a several grand entrances and engagements to get the buzz bubbling in restaurant news, Chef Robert Irvine, swept into town with a dynamic performance of rappelling 22 stories off the Tropicana to make everyone aware this man means business when it come to bringing “it” to Las Vegas. The former host of Dinner Impossible and Restaurant Impossible is steering his time and attention in bringing his expertise and culinary star to the Las Vegas Strip.


Robert Irvine’s Public House will be showcasing his comfort classic menu highlighting items like buttermilk fried chicken, fork and knife burger and good old chicken wings with Robert Irvine’s bbq sauce and moonshine glaze. As Chef Irvine states, “This will be comfort food with a twist”.

The change up will be in the familiar mixed with the freshest and most sustainable ingredients to the plate while also paying tribute to the men and women in the military with specials and discounts for those who have served to keep our liberties and freedoms in place. Irvine’s genuine interest in helping people through his TV shows, charitable organizations that embrace healthy living and the nutritional needs of our military is clearly demonstrated in a persona that doesn’t let anything stand in his way of bringing the best to the culinary epicenter of the nation. The new Robert Irvine’s Public is now open at the Tropicana hotel and casino


Around the corner from the Tropicana is a Las Vegas institution for gaming and dining that doesn’t devour every dime to cover the cost of a cocktail or a bet at the tables. The family owned Ellis Island Casino Hotel and Brewery has been a Vegas institution for over four decades with the addition of the brewery in 1998 but is now facing a construction make over in bringing a little more swagger and shine to this Sin city icon. Beginning early July, the construction begins on the $10 million two-story dining, entertainment and gaming facility.


The much anticipated make over is now going to be deemed the Front Yard. “This is an exciting addition to the property that will offer something new and engaging to the guests while retaining the inviting, family-oriented feeling that Ellis Island is known for,” says Christina Ellis, Director of Marketing for Ellis Island. The Front Yard will have a unique garden atrium area for drinking and dining that provides a lighter and brighter atmosphere to the front of the house. Also featuring a two story restaurant where live entertainment will be available to guests as they sip their fresh seasonal beers from the adjacent micro- brewery and soon to be distillery for house made vodka. An elevated bar bite menu will be offered alongside the famous Ellis Island old school steak special.Upgraded rooms completely remodeled with modern and sophisticated silver accents, leather sofas and premium bedding are to be completed by the end of 2018. “This is a big project for us and we are very proud of this,” owner Gary Ellis said at a recent press conference. “This is taking it to a whole other level.” The casino will continue to offer hundreds of gaming opportunities in the midst of the construction.  For more information on go to www.ellisislandcasion.com

Thursday, May 25, 2017

The Pasta Shop in Henderson Nevada combines pasta and paintings into food for the body and soul.

The late Chef David Alenik created some of the finest Italian gourmet food on the Las Vegas Strip for over 20 years beginning with first job at Las Vegas restaurant icon Piero’s and continuing on his culinary journey as personal chef for Steve Wynn where he served dozens of A-listers that came through Vegas craving a good dish of pasta and “gravy”. In 1989 he opened his own Pasta Shop Ristorante with his lovely wife Ann that stood as an Italian restaurant institution for several decades. His widow Ann and their children continue to honor his legacy at their Henderson Nevada location, the Pasta Shop. We were invited in to visit with this special family as they continue to carry on the wholesale pasta business, restaurant and art gallery all combined into inspirational and imaginative cuisine and art.
Son Trent now manages the business aspects of the Pasta Shop with loving dedication and concern for the family legacy. “This is truly a family style business,” said Trent. “I remember having to help my Dad cut the pasta when I wasn’t even tall enough to reach the counter, so he made me stand on a milk crate. Later he taught me how to run the machine feeds to make the angel hair pasta, fettuccine and pomodore.” The family still sells their house made pasta to area restaurant and businesses. “This is a true family business and when my Dad passed we wanted to come together to keep the legacy alive since he put his heart and soul into this. He built a community here. What other restaurants can you go to where they know you by name?  To create such a community within a larger town despite the transient nature is so special and that is what my Dad wanted to happen here,” added Trent.
Ann Alenik has taken her talents as a visual artist and continues to combine them with the culinary history of husband David bringing color and vibrancy to the wall space within the small dining venue. While she proceeds in engaging customers in the front of the house with her lovely art pieces, her warm smile and management skills make everyone feel like part of the family when they enter the doors of the Pasta Shop.
The dedication to family and stellar food is clearly seen in the dishes presented to our table beginning with the thinly sliced artichoke platter, drizzled in balsamic vinegar and EVOO and then moving onto the Linguini & Clams comprised of fresh littleneck clams sautéed with EVOO garlic and claim juice bathed in a lovely red sauce with the perfectly cooked pasta heartily nestled in between three juicy prawns. The passion and dedication to quality was tasted in each bite, and with our palates beaming with delight we knew that the next dish of chicken parmesan with a side of rigatoni pasta pomodoro would be as lovely as our previous menu item and we are more than correct with that assumption. The chicken parmesan was extremely well executed, juicy and sumptuous with a generous portion of the famous house made rigatoni pomodore adjoining in perfect union with our taste buds. Not only were we pleasantly and delightfully pleased to meet the family but the food brought our upmost appreciation and gratitude for the Alenik’s mission in creating a lasting culinary heritage. Finishing our meal with of course, a homemade Tiramisu and cappuccino we felt that we had crossed over from being restaurant goers to warmly welcomed family members. As George Bernard Shaw stated, “There is no love sincerer, that the love of food,” and this is made evident through the Alenik’s tribute to the husband and father who instilled and modeled that love of food to carry on for generations to come. For more information go to: www.pastashop.com

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Hawthone Grill opens at the JWMarriott Resort and Casino in Las Vegas.

Away from the famed Las Vegas strip there is another world of great restaurants and hotels. Recently we had the occasion to stop by one of our favorite upscale hotels in Summerlin Las Vegas, the J W Marriott resort and casino. Inside is their newest restaurant venue, Hawthorn Grill and it is sure to put some invigoration into the dining scene with its massive and expensive remodel of the former Ceres and the Carmel Room.



Known For its tranquil gardens and lush pool setting with large palm trees and cascading waterfalls, this lovely hotel respite is conveniently close to hiking trails at the famous tourist area of Red Rock and world class golfing greens at nearby TPC. With such attractive offerings, the JW Marriott is keeping pace with the demands of excellent and sophisticated dining highlighting their stellar reputation for ambience and elegance. Hawthorn Grill is conveniently located in the Spa Tower on the south side of the resort and boasts,“more than 18,000 square feet with seating for more than 370 guests in the main dining room, many overlooking bubbling fountains and lush landscaping with an, outdoor patio, and an chic ultra-lounge area.”




The entrance into the restaurant glimmers with an opulent wine cellar, showcasing more than 170 bottles and 30 wines by the glass. With a stunning lounge and bar area, diners have the ability to choose many cozy banquettes and booths facing tranquil pools and waterfalls that offer colored lighting for evening ambience.




Chef Joesph Swan whose culinary lineage includes working with some of the best in the industry including a stint with celebrity Chef Michael Symon and a long residency with Chef Alex Stratta.







Chef Swan is excited at the new prospect of bringing a freshness and vibrancy to a Summerlin mainstay.  “I want to keep the classic steakhouse idea, but add some interesting and new items, such as tender Kurobuta pork chops and the succulent Colorado lamb T-bone,” he said.





Diners can also indulge in a classic Maine lobster, diver scallops and prime short rib.  Side dishes are a la carte, but can easily be shared family style, including roasted broccolini, thick-cut onion rings, and classic creamed spinach.  A Sunday brunch buffet is also offered along with unlimited mimosas or bloody Mary’s and with Spring weeks away this gorgeous outdoor setting will be a draw for those who love to brunch their Sunday into Monday.Expertly prepared dishes, ambience, and stellar service are waiting for the Summerlin crowd and those who dare to venture into the burbs for a bite that is sure to please. For more information go to: hawthorngrilllv.com

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Santiago RuizAlbarino from RíasBaixas Spain Shows Off A Perfect Albarino From This Renown Region.


Leo Tolstoy coined, “true life is lived when tiny changes occur.” Those changes can be as subtle as changing up the everyday wine habit. Most people are quick to reach for that glass of go-to Chardonnay as the day turns into dusk, but how about trying something a little different in 2017? Get away from the wine-rut and venture out into the world of Spanish white wines and kick a little ole into the hum drum daily wine habit. You may be pleasantly surprised.



 Recently, we had the opportunity to try some very interesting wines from the Santiago Ruiz winery located in the Rias Baixas wine region. The mineral rich soils prepare indigenous grapes such as Albarino, Cano Blanco, Loureira and Treixadura to be melded together by regional wine makers in producing white wines that truly exude the terroir of this mountainous region.
Winemaker Luisa Freire selected grapes from the estate vineyards in San Miguel de Tabagon and Tomiño, located in O Rosal area.  This wine is perfectly blended with of course Albariño (69%) then Loureiro (13%), Godello (5%), Treixadura (9%) and Caiño Blanco (4%) to finish it off.
Santiago Ruiz O Rosal bottle presentation comes with a charming label of a hand drawn map of the winery and the surrounding region that was created by Ruiz’s daughter Isabel on the day of her wedding.

 What’s inside the bottle is indicative of the land and the people that work so diligently in crafting this golden liquid. Hints of citrus, melon and apricot on the front palate along with minerally underpinnings accent the wine’s bright acidity making this light to medium bodied wine a pleasant daily drinking companion. The companion bottle, Nai E. Senora, reflects feminine characteristics along with the charming senora décor on the bottle and the classic golden day bright color. On the nose, Nai E. Senora exudes fragrant apricot notes intermingled with white flowers and on the palate, lime citrus notes burst forth making this creamy wine a complementary pairing alongside lovely octopus or shrimp cerviche.

Albarino is typically not meant to be stored for any length, so imbibe frequently and enjoy this refreshing break from the afternoon Chardonnay chill down. Make 2017 a year international adventure, one bottle at a time beginning with Spain and see where you end up. Cuisineist Tasting Panel: December 2016:   93 points 

Elaine and Scott

Elaine and Scott
Elaine and Scott