This is the time of year in Las Vegas as winter turns to spring, that tasty food and beverage events sprout like flowers up and down the Las Vegas Boulevard.

For The Love Of Cocktails

Only in Las Vegas can one expect to spend three days with some of the most talented mixologists in the country in an event that engaged guests to the best in the trade as part of the proceeds went to help a noteworthy charity, The Helen David Relief Fund. We joined mixologists Tony Abou-Ganim, Salvatore Calabrese and Francesco Lafranconi as they showed off their creative skills to the delight of the VIP guests at the Bound Mixology Bar in the Cromwell Hotel. After mixing and sipping for hours we ascended up the escalator to Giada’s flagship restaurant for a taste of her delightful dishes and iconic wines from Ste. Michelle Wine Estates & Antinori, hosted by Joseph Phillips MS.

The second night brought us to downtown Las Vegas for a bar crawl and a visit to the area’s most eclectic and well-known venues of libation. In addition to the crawl, guests were treated to a food truck and cocktail pairing well into the evening.

Our final night was highlighted by a wine reception at the Franklin in the Delano lobby. After enjoying renowned wines from Justin, we soared 64 floors for a premier Vegas cocktail party at the luxurious and brand new venue, Skyfall. As we sipped on the city’s best cocktails prepared by the finest bar professionals and mixologists, we savored passed appetizers prepared by Chef Alain Ducasse’s restaurant, Rivera. This impressive roster of mixologists from all over the country had us exploring different flavor profiles highlighting everything from sweet, smoky, and sour as their creativity kicked into action.

“Meeting with the Masters” with Chef Rick Moonen and Fred Dame MS at RX Boiler Room.

RX Boiler Room hosted the first ever “Meeting of the Masters.” The main feature of the event showcased Duke Kentucky Straight Bourbon, crafted after John Wayne’s own bourbon collection and tasting notes dates back to the 1960s. In this case, spirits and wine came together in a competition. We knew it was going to be a very special day as we joined Master Sommelier Fred Dame, Top Chef Master Rick Moonen, internationally renowned and celebrated mixologist Francesco Lafranconi and Ethan Wayne John Wayne’s son for the competition. This first time event spanned over the course of two days with the masters and six of the top mixologists and chefs from around the country as they participated in a variety of challenges showcasing their skill set in pairing dishes with not only wine but spirits as well.

The first challenge was at Southern Wine & Spirits and was hosted by Francesco Lafranconi. Contestants were tasked to create three cocktails inspired by John Wayne’s movies and life. The contestants moved on to Yardbird restaurant where owner John Kunkel served up two dishes to the contestants. The contestants then paired one wine with each dish, which was judged by Fred Dame MS. The third challenge had the contestants experiencing the John Wayne lifestyle on a shooting range where they received a training session and the opportunity to “hit the bullseye.” The final challenge was hosted by Chef Rick Moonen, at his RX Boiler Room. He prepared a seafood and meat dish for the contestants to create both a specialty drink using Duke Bourbon and wine pairing with each dish. When things stopped shaking, Greg Richie, Executive Chef of Soco Restaurant, emerged the winner.

DB Brasserie and Chef Vincent Pouessel Debut a Duck and Truffle Tasting You Don’t Want
to Miss

You don’t have to twist our arm to enjoy truffles and duck. We joined a VIP group of journalists at Chef Daniel Boulud’s DB Brasserie at The Venetian Resort to experience a lunch that will be a welcome addition to the famous fare of Chef Boulud. Chef Vincent Pouessel has prepared a tasting menu that is sure to be a hit. Sommelier Devin Zendel joined us on the auspicious occasion with some classic French wines to pair with our dishes and the tasting began. Things started off nicely with a Marble of Foie Gras Au Torchon & Perigold Truffles. The next dish was a classic Double Duck Consomme that brought back memories of lunching on the Champs-Élysées. Moulard Duck à L’Orange was our next course and had our palates saying ooh, la la! The most interesting course was Pithivier of Duck Confit and seared Hudson Valley Foie Gras that was a gastronomic culinary highlight. The Gateau Basque with Armagnac Cherries Crème Glacee, encompassed the fini with a memory that one will not soon forget. This new bi-monthly tasting series at DB Brasserie is $99 per person, and is for a limited engagement.