Monday Fun-Day at Monte Carlo with a “Pub”lic Relations Foodie

There is no better cure for a “case of the Mondays” than a craft beer festival to re-launch the fabulous menu of pub grub at The Pub at Monte Carlo. Last Monday, I immersed myself in just that. Not only was I lucky enough to sample the brews of Pyramid, Blue Moon, Sin City Brewing Co., Sierra Nevada, Leinenkugel, Woodchuck, Stella, Leffe, Hoegaarden and more, but I got my hands on a coveted Locals Card. This card gets me automatic all-day happy hour Monday-Friday and 50% off beer on Sundays upon every return visit – now that’s refreshing.

Aside from mingling with some of my favorite local journalists and clients, The Pub’s new menu had to be the highlight of the event for me. All of the food is delicious, but there are three dishes that you cannot miss:

1. The Pub Crunchy Potato is pure heaven – a deep fried ball of mashed potatoes sprinkled with bacon and accompanied by spicy ketchup dipping sauce.
2. While such a decadent hors d’oeuvre is impossible to beat, second place undoubtedly went to their famed sliders in Ground Beef with melted cheddar cheese, crisp lettuce, sliced tomato, red onion and The Pub secret sauce and Pulled Pork varieties.
3. Another new dish to take note of is The Pub’s Wood-Fired Flat Breads. I’m partial to the BBQ Chicken with red onion and cilantro but also heard rave reviews of the Grilled Vegetable and Braised Short Rib.

On top of the phenomenal fare, The Pub unveiled its new Beer Lockers – a unique amenity which guests can earn by enjoying all 136 beers on tap or by spending $5,000 on beer within one year. While a feat like that may be out of my league, I can’t wait to feel like a VIP when I return with my Locals Card! 

Food & Wine All-Star Weekend Overflows With Celebrity Chefs, Amazing Food

Last weekend, Las Vegas was invaded by celebrity chefs and notables from Bravo’s Top Chef for the first annual Food & Wine All-Star Weekend at ARIA Resort & Casino, Vdara Hotel & Spa and Bellagio. Here are just a few of the highlights:

FIRST COURSE
The weekend kicked-off at Bar Vdara with a star-studded event and phenomenal cuisine, prepared by Chef Martin Heireling of Silk Road at Vdara Hotel & Spa and Sensi at Bellagio.

In the house were Gail Simmons, host of Bravo’s Top Chef: Just Desserts, Anthony Giglio of Food & Wine magazine and Vinny Dotolo, named one of Food & Wine’s Best New Chefs of 2009. In addition, Top Chef Masters and Mandalay Bay chefs Hubert Keller and Rick Moonen reunited with Top Chef friends Stephen Hopcraft (SEABLUE by Michael Mina at MGM Grand), Fabio Viviani, Carla Hall, Jennifer Carroll and Hosea Rosenberg. MGM Resorts’ renowned chefs Masa Takayama, Shawn McClain, Julian Serrano, Jean-Philippe Maury, Brian Massie, Vincenzo Scarmiglia, Robert Moore and Claude Escamilla joined in the festivities.
 
Chef Heierling prepared lamb “Naan-wiches” on Bar Vdara’s patio, in addition to roaming appetizers such as Sweet Potato Fries and Foie Gras Brûlée. Cucumber Martinis were a hit, while other guests were partial to the well-stocked champagne bar as they chilled to the sounds of DJ88.  

DEUCE AFTER DARK
The after-party featured Gail Simmons and many of the celebrity chefs each hosting their own blackjack tables at ARIA’s Deuce Lounge.

LUXE LUNCH
Kicking-off Saturday’s events, guests enjoyed a three-course lunch, prepared before them at Bellagio’s Tuscany Kitchen by Bellagio chefs Marc St. Jacques of MICHAEL MINA and Pastry Chef Philippe Angibeau of Le Cirque, as well as Top Chef fan favorite Fabio Viviani. The lunch was hosted by Gail Simmons and Bellagio Director of Wine, Jason Smith, M.S. who paired each course with a complementary wine.

COCKTAIL SEMINAR
Anthony Giglio, FOOD & WINE Contributing Editor, hosted a cocktail seminar at ARIA’s Café Vettro, which featured Chef Julian Serrano’s award-winning cuisine, as well as a surprise appearance by the chef himself.

ALL-STAR TASTING
Featuring cuisine from ARIA restaurants Sage, AMERICAN FISH, Bar Masa, Jean Georges Steakhouse, Julian Serrano, Sirio Ristorante, UNION, Jean Philippe Pâtisserie, and signature dishes from all of the Bravo Top Chefs, the main event was one not to be missed. Set around the gorgeous pool at ARIA Resort & Casino, each chef had a tasting booth and the wine was flowing.

Each of the ARIA chefs’ booth was a spectacular mini representation of their restaurant. Always imaginative, Jean-Philippe Pâtisserie booth featured rotating oversized chocolate flowers and even a sculpture made of sugar with a real goldfish swimming in a bowl at the center.

While all of the food was delicious, some of our favorites included Julian Serrano’s Traditional Spanish Chicken Croquetas, Veal Gnocchi from Sirio Ristorante and Toro from Bar Masa. Desserts from Jean Philippe Pâtisserie included Cream Filled Beignet with Greek Yogurt Panna Cotta and Farmers Market Strawberry and Intense Dark Chocolate Cream with Coffee Emulsion and Dark Chocolate Pearl. Sage served up delicious Dungeness Crab with Cauliflower Panna Cotta, Taylor Gold Pears and Orange Chilli Pearls. Giveaways included personalized muddlers from Patron and gift bags full of ARIA swag.

CHAMPAGNE & CAVIAR BRUNCH
The weekend wrapped up with an exquisite brunch set to the backdrop of the famous Bellagio fountains. Anthony Giglio and Fabio Viviani hosted the event, which included a Specialty Bloody Mary Bar and Fabio’s gourmet version of an egg sandwich. 

While we are still a little full, we can’t wait to see what the chefs have in store next year!

- Rachel Feinberg

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Vegas’ Best Chefs and Bravo’s Top Chef Cheftestants Come Together For An Unforgettable FOOD & WINE All-Star Weekend

The inaugural FOOD & WINE All-Star Weekend , hosted by FOOD & WINE’s Gail Simmons  and an array of culinary all-stars, will take place in Las Vegas at luxury resorts

Bellagio, ARIA, and Vdara  November 5 -7.  For the detailed event schedule, ticketing and more information about the FOOD & WINE All-Star Weekend visit www.foodandwine.com/vegas.

 The celebrity chef-filled weekend will include events featuring Bravo’s Top Chef cheftestants Fabio Viviani , Carla Hall , Jennifer Carroll , Hosea Rosenberg  and Stephen Hopcraft , Top Chef Masters Rick Moonen  and Hubert Keller  and FOOD & WINE Best New Chef Vinny Dotolo .  These unparalleled culinary experiences will include:

 Friday, November 5

 8 – 10 p.m. – First Course: Kick-off party hosted by Gail Simmons, Anthony Giglio  and Fabio Viviani at Bar Vdara , featuring a star-studded lineup of celebrity chefs and Top Chef  Alumni and music from DJ Bree Cohen aka DJ88.

 10 p.m. – midnight – Deuce After Dark: After-party featuring Gail Simmons chefs Shawn McClain, Julian Serrano, Rick Moonen, Jean-Philippe Maury, Fabio Viviani, Carla

Chef Rick Moonen

 Hall, Jennifer Carroll, Hosea Rosenberg, Vinny Dotolo and Stephen Hopcraft each hosting their own blackjack tables at ARIA’s Deuce Lounge .

 Saturday, November 6

 Noon – 2 p.m. – Luxe Lunch: Guests will enjoy a three-course lunch, prepared before them by Bellagio chefs Marc St. Jacques of MICHAEL MINA  and Pastry Chef Philippe Angibeau of Le Cirque  as well as Top Chef fan favorite Fabio Viviani.  Hosted at Bellagio’s Tuscany Kitchen by Gail Simmons and Bellagio Director of Wine, Jason Smith , M.S. who will pair each course with a complementary wine.

Chef Julian Serrano

 8 – 10 p.m. – All-Star Tasting poolside at ARIA featuring Bravo’s Top Cheftestants and showcasing the signature restaurants of ARIA: Jean Georges

Chef Shawn McClain

Steakhouse , AMERICAN FISH , Sirio Ristorante , Julian Serrano , Bar Masa  and Sage.  Many of ARIA’s award-winning chefs and restaurateurs will be in attendance including Masa Takayama, Shawn McClain , Jean-Philippe Maury  and Sirio Maccioni .  Featuring music by DJ 88.

Sunday, November 7

 11:30 a.m. – Champagne & Caviar Brunch: The weekend will come to a close with a lavish brunch set against the backdrop of the breathtaking Fountains of Bellagio, featuring guest host Anthony Giglio, who will present a specialty Bloody Mary Bar and Fabio Viviani who will put a modern spin on the classic egg sandwich.

 Sponsors and partners for the festival include Alexia, Fiji, Kerrygold, Nicolas Feuillatte, Patron and Stella Artois.