Photos by Shelley Stepanek

Love Mexican food? How about tamales? How about making your own? HUSSONG’S MEXICAN CANTINA in the Shoppes at Mandalay Place now offers that experience. The culinary team greats you with a Margarita, where you meet your fellow participants. You then adjoin into a private room, where you feel like you are in school, with your paper and notes and full booklet on how to prepare tamales. After a brief orientation, you are sent into the kitchen where Chef Noe Alcal helps you learn just how to make the tamale dough. Mixing and kneading until it is the right consistency, you learn how to put the paste down into the corn husk, fill it with meat, vegetables or even fruits and sauce. Tamales date back as far as 3,500 BC and are present in everyday life and for all special events. Each state in Mexico has a different version. After you have mastered your craft, back to the classroom, where we learn from Dave Michel about 5 different Tequila brands, where they originate and how to taste and smell the various added ingredients such as smoke. A great lunch is served afterward with Ceviche, Crispy Shrimp, Chile Rellenos, Tamales and Churros for dessert. Hussong’s also has a pizza making class. 

ETHEL M’S CHOCOLATE has a new experience. Where before you could enter a classroom for a chocolate tasting class, now they have added a wine experience along with it. The class starts with a short video about how cocoa is processed to get to the United States from Africa, to where it arrives in Pennsylvania to be processed. Starting with a bubbly glass of Prosecco, it was paired with a white vanilla truffle where the honey butter taste overwhelmed the taste buds. Las Vegas has 6 Ethyl M’s outlets, with a full complimentary tour at the location in Henderson. Tammy Jo, who has been with the company for 18 years, was our instructor and told us how Ethyl M’s opened in 1981 on a 3-acre parcel with nothing around it but desert. Now they will celebrate their 25-year anniversary on Nov. 6 at their lighted cactus garden. The store was recently remodeled, and now makes up to 50 different candies on a weekly basis. Their processing can handle up to 2 tons of chocolate a day within their 3 huge tanks which each can hold up to 50 tons of chocolate and is powered by solar power. We moved on to various samples of wine, perfectly paired with a pecan camel raptor, a pecan cocoa caramel creation, and ended with a lemon satin cream, tasting of lemon and cherries. Approximately 90 minutes in length, you can book up to 30 people. Why not schedule a bride’s event and treat all attendees with a lovely box of chocolate? Price $25.

KITCHEN TABLE SQUARED has added new extended hours and a summer Tapas menu from 3-8 p.m., and are also now doing their all-day brunch every day of the week.

TIVOLI VILLAGE is hosting another extravagant event on Oct 5-6, the LAS VEGAS FOOD AND WINE FESTIVAL. Beginning at 8 p.m. for VIP, with general admission at 9, come out and stroll, sip and dip with some wonderful restaurants. The Katsu-Ya Group, Lotus of Siam, Cafe Americano, and dozens of notable chefs and Chefs Dan Rossi and Arnold Masset of Tivoli Village will all be serving up their creative dishes. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the American Cancer Society’s Real Men Wear Pink Campaign. No shorts, strollers or anyone under 21 allowed. Tickets can be bought at

And later in the month, on Oct. 25, The Nevada Restaurant Association will be putting on its first event Downtown, entitled TASTE OF DOWNTOWN, held at the Plaza Pool. The Nevada Restaurant Association is known for running the Epicurean Affair, so this should also be a great event. Beginning at 6:30 p.m. at $65 per ticket, wristbands will be issued to allow everyone to participate with drinks and appetizers from over 20 of Downtown’s best restaurants. Committed so far are Esther’s Kitchen, Hash House, Le Pho and Corduroy. Music and entertainment will also be provided.