photos by Sk Delph

‘Sake To Me’ at Kumi Restaurant, Mandalay Bay Hotel and Resort 

Few experiences can match ‘Sake To Me’ featuring an exclusive secret menu developed by Michelin-Star Chef Akira Back, the mastermind behind Mandalay Bay’s Kumi Japanese Restaurant. This delicious secret menu is presented every Friday evening from 5:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. with a live D.J.rockin’ out chart-topping jams to kick off the event. 

At a glance, the full-service bar sports several top shelf spirits of every kind, including a great Scotch selection from Macallan 25, Balvenie 21 to Glenfiddich 21. There’s also Japanese whiskey including Nikka, Kaiyo, Yamazaki and more. The sake selection is to die for with many well-known brands including Kubota Senju ‘1000 Long Lives,’ Niigata and Tosatsuru ‘Azure’ Kochii (it’s impossible to name them all here) and for the hardcore Asian in you, Shochu and Soju are on the list!  May I mention the service will blow you away? Oh yes, I knew this would be an adventure for Vegas royalty as soon as I was led to my seat. I was greeted, wined and dined by some of the best service in the business. 

First to arrive was an artful AB Pizza of aged hamachi and grilled zucchini topped with microgreens and edible floral delights. It was so beautiful, and I was almost reluctant to eat it. Almost… Next was the ‘Absolut Honey,’ a show-stopping sushi roll created with Spicy Absolut Elyx Vodka and tempura kani topped with slices of strawberry. As they placed the roll before me, the delicate scent of strawberries wafted my way and the surprises continued. Pop My Sake hand roll literally exploded in my mouth. Sprinkled into the roll were Pop Rocks! Yes, you read that right. Pop Rocks folded into a baked miso salmon and crispy furikake kale makes this a must-try sensation. It’s exciting and delicious. 

The New York steak (which was tender and cooked to perfection) with a burnt onion puree and topped with fried shallot rings arrived smoked under glass. We were astonished as expert hands lifted and circled the smoke in swirling patterns of wonder, but the meal was far from over. I wish I could describe every dish. I loved them all.

It’s always interesting to investigate a chef’s background, especially when he has a Michelin Star. Chef Akira Back, born in Seoul, Korea and raised in Colorado, became a professional snowboarder before he crashed the culinary scene with that same energy and creativity. Since opening Yellowtail, he’s been named ‘Best Chef in Las Vegas’ and has hosted the prestigious James Beard House dinners from 2008 to 2018, before being awarded his Michelin Star just last year at his restaurant Dosa in Seoul, Korea, crowning an already lengthy list of credits. Way to go, Chef!

Bite of Vegas Delivers Again

On September 14th, Mix 94.1 Bite of Vegas food and music festival at the Downtown Las Vegas Events Center proved once again that our city loves great food, amazing music and coming together. It was a cozy kickback with people lounging on blankets savoring bites from some of the best eateries that Vegas has to offer while enjoying the heady music in the air.

A warm summer night is perfect for Smoothie King. Their motto is “smoothies with a purpose” and wow, refreshment was instantaneous. Fresh fruit flavors blended with super grains and other delectable health supporting ingredients is almost too much to ask for. I slurped with confidence!

With so many diverse cuisines in one spot it was hard to choose what to eat. For the first course, my choices finally narrowed down to Tacotarian, Texas De Brazil, The Spice Is Right, Bok Bok Chicken and Taj Palace Indian Cuisine and plunged into exotic international flavors. 

Tossing my diet to the wind, I descended into culinary overdrive and went back for round two and it was worth it! CRAFTkitchen, Shake Shack, Scenic Brewing Company and Stripburger and Chicken were calling me. How could I say no? 

Did I mention the music? The festival was perfectly balanced with the sounds of Shine Down (acoustic), Rob Thomas (Matchbox Twenty), James Arthur, Shaed, Delacey, The Rua and OBB. If you missed it this year, be sure not to next year.