Ramen: Cult and Culture

A steaming, umami-rich bowl of ramen is an international symbol of cultural prowess of Japanese cuisine. It’s a celebrated experience which brings enormous satisfaction and happiness to many who slurp it up.  But the rise of ramen from the humble and historically unglamorous fuel of the working poor, to the international icon of Japanese culture took all of its 100 years to impact the world. And in its process, it’s garnered a reputation as an affordable and fashionable representation of…

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Darjeeling tea and why wine lovers drink it

A conversation with a friend the other day reminded me of my long-time favorite tea, Darjeeling. Why it hasn’t made a regular appearance in my cup as of late is something of a mystery, but I’ve been enamored with this tea for over 25 years. I came across Darjeeling at Rosallie, a French café in Las Vegas this week, and as I sipped it on that cold, windy morning feeling utterly content, I thought about owner Jonathan Pluvinet and how…

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DISH & TELL: Edible silk handkerchiefs and porchetta happiness

I’ve got one word for you.  Mandilli. OK, full name – Mandilli di Seta.  It means silk handkerchiefs (in the Ligurian dialect) and you know how they feel – soft, silky, supple, luxurious. Now imagine folds of pasta with the very same textures that is then generously loved with the most refined basil pesto you’ve ever had. The flavors of aromatic basil and almond gently pull through your spools of tastebuds like luscious, velvety ribbon, all to be enjoyed at The…

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DISH & TELL: Gelato made with love

Can we agree that ice cream in its many forms is one of the most beloved foods on this planet? But, there’s only one other dairy-based dessert that can hold its ground against good old fashioned American ice cream. That is the Italian gelato. At Gelato di Milano (4950 S. Rainbow Blvd.) in Las Vegas, the cones are from a company in Rome that has been in the business of making cones since 1938, the pistachios are from Sicily, the hazelnuts from Piedmont.…

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Tasting the flavors of Piedmont

Piedmont, like other regions of Italy has a good problem.  Location. It’s because of Italy’s geographically varied landscape, the 20 regions are distinct in every way. Situated in the northwest corner of Italy, Piedmont is bordered in the north by the Swiss Alps, on the west by the French Alps,  and to the south, the Ligurian mountains. This unique isolation has served to preserve their extraordinary cuisine. Highly influenced by France, dishes are rich with milk, butter, cream, meat, and…

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Tasting Giada Vegas

Light, fresh and simple. This is Giada De Laurentiis’ style.  And inside Giada Vegas at The Cromwell, she greets summer with seasonal dishes that stay true to Italian classics with a casual California spin.  New tastes to discover is the generously portioned charred octopus panzanella, prepared with tomato, asparagus and charred tomato vinaigrette.  Pair it with Borgoluce’s prosecco superiore for a little effervescence. For the secondi, the fettuccini with sweet garlic scampi with heirloom tomato. With a light touch of…

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Mass Osteria’s tasting menu, Egyptian pots and Jaleo’s pre-show bites

Chef Scott Conant doesn’t like the word concept when referring to restaurant style. It’s too sterile, he says. His new dining spot Masso Osteria is a simple Italian restaurant that offers “place of conviviality—a place for guests to have fun and enjoy themselves.” That includes the ambience of an inviting open kitchen supported by food with aromas and flavors that make you feel right at home. Just about everything is made in-house and with a whole lot of love. Case…

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Holy Hot Smoked Trout at The Kitchen at Atomic

Originally published in my weekly column, Dish & Tell,  at VEGAS SEVEN MAGAZINE.   The menu changes when “the mood strikes” the staff at The Kitchen at Atomic,where fine dining meets elevated bar food. And with a flash, now you can enjoy brunch. Chef Justin Kingsley Hall, formerly of Sparrow + Wolf, struts his own style, which is best described as refined rustic. He drew inspiration from the places where he’s lived and the people who have influenced him over…

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Burgers and Banh Mis on the 595, a South Indian Bar Brunch and a Sip for Scholarship

Van-Alan Nguyen wanted to root himself in the community. The recent transplant from San Diego and former In-N-Out manager (with 10 years’ tenure) delivered something he thought his Las Vegas neighbors would like: a family-friendly smoke- and gaming-free gastropub with revolving craft beers and delicious food. The name 595 Craft & Kitchen is a nod to the strip of Rainbow Boulevard that is also part of Route 595. Inside, the space pays homage to what once was in place of…

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Downtown’s New Jam, There’s a Baby in My Cake, J-Pop Cravings and a Unicorn

When you walk into Paid in Full (7225 S. Durango Dr., Suite 105), the eatery brought to you by chefs Michael Plourde (Suzuya Patisserie) and Jason Olson, make sure to wash your hands. Not only will you want them clean to pick up and devour the smoked salmon takoyaki and get every last ikura (salmon egg) off the plate—but you also want to visit the women’s restroom. Whimsical pink with framed photos of bubblegum-blowing celebs, a disco ball and a unicorn…

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