Wolfgang Puck’s artisanal bread rises to the occasion

“Good bread is the most fundamentally satisfying of all foods; and good bread with fresh butter, the greatest of feasts.” James Beard said this, and yet bread still gets a bad rap. While the rest of the world celebrates bread daily, anti-carb diets (and voices in our heads) keep us from the ultimate comfort food, one that has been a nutritious staple for thousands of years. Enter the artisanal breads at Wolfgang Puck’s restaurants in Las Vegas, where each loaf…

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New Zealand Sips for Summer

Summer beckons us to find something that refreshes and tantalizes the palate. Vibrantly aromatic sauvignon blanc from “The Land of the Long White Cloud” assails the senses with gooseberry and citrus characters, passion and other tropical fruits, and green herbaceous notes. They are distinct and bold enough to carry big flavors of spicy food, capable of cutting into creamy dishes, and lifting seafood dishes. Greywacke Sauvignon Blanc 2014, MarlboroughThe founding winemaker at Cloudy Bay, Kevin Judd, turns out a lovely…

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They polished the glassware

Written by Marisa Finetti and Kirk Peterson. Originally published in DAVID magazine. Awarded best non-staff writer(s), Nevada Press Association   The lights are extinguished. The room now dark. The only glimmer of light comes through the floor-to-ceiling window panes facing Las Vegas Boulevard, twenty-three floors below. The lowest lumens are enough to keep us from knocking over the wine glasses, enough to find our fork. But that’s about it. There’s no color, only shades of grey. Dinner tonight appears like a…

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The gift of ancient grapes

During his travels through mountain villages of Greece, Dr. Vassalis Logothetis, a professor of oenology, came upon a dilapidated pergola on the southern coastal town of Nafpaktos.  Growing wildly on this ancient arbor was a grape vine called Malagousia.  Until his “discovery” in the 1970s nobody had heard of this indigenous, aromatic white varietal. The vigorous vine had survived from the days when viticulture was abandoned in the area during the 1940s Greek Civil War. Logothetis brought the vine cuttings…

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Pilgrim Era Thanksgiving Ingredients and Lambrusco

Originally published in VEGAS SEVEN By Marisa Finetti & Kirk Peterson (Updated in 2019) The huge, ungainly bird that has become the de facto centerpiece around which the entire Thanksgiving feast is built gives us a feeling of authenticity, as we imagine that America’s settlers might have chomped on a crispy turkey leg in November 1621. But the “first Thanksgiving” meal was far different from our modern holiday offerings. While the starring meats included deer, ducks and geese, cranberry sauce…

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The Dirtiest Dog in Town, Liberating Fourth of July Eats and Happy-hour Bubbly

Certainly an unsavory name for a street-food outfit, but Dirt Dog, the “Official Hot Dog of Los Angeles” has arrived at 8390 S. Rainbow Boulevard. When founder Tim Cam was a child, he and his brother were eager to try hot dogs that were being sold on the streets of L.A. Wrapped in bacon and topped with grilled onions, peppers and all the sauces, they were tempting, but the boys’ mother wasn’t going allow them to eat hot dogs that…

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Rosés for Summer

Hemingway wrote about his favorite rosé, Tavel, in The Garden of Eden, a novel of the perils of adventurous love. While rosés have long evoked romance, perhaps the real love comes from the food and the company that conspire to make the pink wine experience that much better. The gorgeous color and bouquet raise the moment to sheer contentment, and thanks to the moderately low alcohol levels, they allow us to enjoy yet another glass with abandon. Regardless of how…

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Giving a Hoot About OWL, Homage to the Egg, and the Key to Your Mondays

It’s been nearly one month since Stephan Galdau opened OWL, located in an industrial business park in the southwest part of town (3990 W. Russell Rd., 702-659-9762). Promising to make his mark in this city with a nongaming, nonsmoking tavern, Galdau delivers a respectable selection of craft beers and an eclectic farm-to-table menu. While the start of OWL wasn’t as smooth as expected—with a broken air conditioner during the hottest week of the year thus far—what has quickly become a…

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Finding the roots of Zinfandel

Originally published in LUXURY MAGAZINE  Winemaker Paul Draper’s visition and commitment contributes to discovery of ancient vine. Steadfast in his vision, philosophy-major-turned-erudite-dean of American winemakers, Paul Draper naturally was interested in history, as well as in the origin of zinfandel. Since 1969, when he joined Ridge Vineyards, the chief winemaker and CEO, who is known for his celebrated cabernets of the Monte Bello Estate vineyards, also pioneered the production of long-lived, complex and exuberant zinfandels, in particular those from the…

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Merlot, call it a comeback

Like a blockbuster talent absent from the big screen for years, we’re often left to wonder whatever happened to merlot. A superstar varietal during the 1990s, all its stardom seems to have fizzled over the years. So what happened to the generous, plush, dark fruit flavors that everyone was so proud to claim as his or her main squeeze? One widespread urban legend claims that merlot’s spotlight was knocked sideways in 2004 by a certain movie set in Santa Barbara’s…

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