What’s Going On: May

May the 4th be with you!  Let’s celebrate Cinco de Mayo (not Mexican Independence Day). Remember to tell your Mother you love her on May 8th, then rock out to Do Doubt at Rock in Rio. And I almost forgot IKEA opens this month, I used to love eating at their Swedish Market when I was little. Meatballs anyone. 

Here is a rundown of some great events to get your eat and drink on in and around Las Vegas this month:

– dates, times and prices subject to change. Check individual websites for details. *=Must be 21 or over to attend.
  • May 1st10th Annual Vegas Uncork’d times vary, prices vary – Locations vary per time and day. The last day of the Big Cheese of Las Vegas food events. There are 2 events taking place this day, both are brunches, so don’t sleep in or you’ll miss both.
  • May 1stGreat American Foodie Fest 12n-10pm, $10 – Sunset Station Casino. It’s the last day to enjoy some of the nations top food trucks and vendors. Formally the Las Vegas Foodie Fest.
  • May 4th-8thSan Gennaro Feast times vary by day, $10 – Craig Ranch Park. Honor the patron saint of Naples while enjoying great Italian food and music, as well as different vendors and events for the whole family.
  • May 6th – First Friday 5-11pm, free – Downtown Arts District. Monthly event featuring art, music and of course, food.
  • May 7th*Mother’s Day Wine Walk 3-6pm, $25 – Downtown Container Park. Enjoy a sampling of wines and bubbly, all in honor of Mom.
  • May 7thO’hana Festival 10am-4pm, $6 – Springs Preserve. O’hana means family, and more specifically extended family. So grab the whole “family” and enjoy a taste of Hawaii.
  • May 7th & 8thArt Festival of Henderson 9am-4pm, Free – Henderson Events Plaza. Featuring Art, music and stuff for the kids, all in downtown Henderson.
  • May 13thHappy Hour Gang 5pm-8:30pm, No ticket to purchase but you are responsible for your own bill – Herbs and Rye. If I had to join a gang this would be it. Their motto is: “Keep calm and have a drink!”and they meet up at various hot spots in the valley. This Friday, the location is Herbs and Rye for their Happy Hour, which features amazing cocktails and half off steaks.
  • May 13th & 14thTaste of Town Square times vary by day, price varies by event – Town Square. Spread out over 2 days, this event highlights food and drink from some of your favorites spots at Town Square. There’s a 4 course dinner Friday night, A Backyard BBQ Saturday, and a more casual small bites sampling Saturday evening. Ticket proceeds support various local organizations.
  • May 14th 5th Annual Southern Nevada Wine to Remember 6-8:30pm, $50+fees – Marroccofella Estate. Enjoy wine and hors d’oeuvres and support the Alzheimer’s Association Desert Southwest.
  • May 14th*Locals Only Beer Festival 2-6pm, $30+fees – Neonopolis. Celebrate local and craft beer breweries in the heart of downtown Las Vegas. Featuring music, games and The Food Junky food truck.
  • May 14thKingman Wine Festival 11am-6pm, $20 – Firefighter’s Park Kingman, AZ. Enjoy a taste of Kingman, Arizona featuring a sampling of area food and wine as well as entertainment and vendors.
  • May 15thBrunch on the Ranch 9:30am-12n, $35 – Craig Ranch Regional Park. Enjoy the farmers market, then head over to the pop-up brunch and enjoy a multi-course meal prepared by Chef Travis Pena. The brunch supports On the Ranch Alliance, a 501(c)3.
  • May 21stIce Cream Festival 10am-4pm, $10 – Springs Preserve. We’ve already had a few 90 degree days. So what better way to celebrate the heat, than with a little ice cream. Bring the kids because there will be face painting, story telling, a magic show and the chance to win an Adventuredome Birthday Party.
  • May 26th*Epicurean Affair 7-10pm, $115 general admission – Palazzo Pools. Featuring the best of Las Vegas’ food and drink scene. The proceeds from the event support Nevada Restaurant Association’s educational and scholarship programs.
  • May 27th & 28thBest Dam Barbecue Challenge times vary by day, free – Boulder City. The best of Nevada, California and Arizona will be competing for $12,000 in cash prizes and the crown of Nevada State Barbecue Champion.
  • May 28th*Brews and Blues 4-8pm, $35 advance – Springs Preserve. The name basically sums it up, live music, beer and food.

*=Must be 21 and over to attend.

– dates, times and prices subject to change. Check individual websites for details.

 

What’s in Season: Asparagus


It’s that tall skinny vegetable that’s known for making your pee smell a little funny. It’s one of my favorite vegetables, but I have to admit, before writing this I really didn’t know much about it.

So I hopped over to World’s Healthiest Foods to find out more. The most interesting thing I learned, was that in addition to having several beneficial vitamins and minerals, asparagus contains a substance called inulin.

Inulin is a carbohydrate that is able to survive your digestive track and make it all the way to your intestines. Once there, it helps to support the good bacteria in your gut. When there’s a healthy ratio between the good and the bad bacteria, you have a happy gut, but when the bad guys take over, that’s when you can start to experience all types of health issues. The bad guys live off all the junk we eat. And the good bacteria, well one thing that promotes their well being is inulin.

After suffering from UC for so long, anything the promotes a healthy gut is a winner in my book. Especially, something I love as much as asparagus.

Since I made the commitment to eating healthier, one of the things I’ve been trying to do is incorporate more veggies into my diet. I’ve found that a great way to do that is by starting my day with them, so asparagus for breakfast it is.

Asparagus Leek Frittata type

I found this recipe for an Asparagus and Leek Frittata at Epicurious. This is a perfect spring dish since both Asparagus and leeks are in season in the spring. This recipe is also vegetarian but my meat lovers can always add sausage to the frittata or serve with a side of bacon. Either way, you’ll feel good that you started your day with veggies and something that’s good for your gut. Frittatas are also an easy egg dish for those of us who aren’t skilled in the omelet flip.

First, wash and cut the asparagus into 1 inch pieces, removing the tough bottom parts.  

Next, wash your leeks then cut all the beautiful green parts off, so all you’re left with is the light green and white section. If you’ve never cooked with leeks before, make sure you pull off at least one of the outer layers. Leeks are grown partially under dirt, so it’s very common to find dirt trapped between the outer layers and no one wants dirt in their frittata.


I adjusted the recipe slightly. I added garlic because I love garlic but decided to skip the mushrooms since I’ve never been a fan of them. I also threw in some sundried tomatoes because of the mild sweetness they add.

Let the butter heat up, then add the asparagus, leeks, garlic and tomatoes, and season to taste with a little salt and pepper.

As a side note: I sampled the sautéed mixture before I added the eggs and cheese and I liked it so much I ended up cooking it (minus the tomatoes) for dinner as a side dish later that week. It went perfectly with Chicken Parmesan.

Once the veggies have cooked for a few minutes, add the egg and cheese mixture to them. Before your eggs completely set, sprinkle some more Parmesean and Fontina cheese on top and stick the pan in your pre-heated oven.

Your fritatta only needs a few minutes in the oven. You’ll know it’s done when the cheese on top has melted and starts to turn golden and when the eggs puff slightly.

When it’s done, it’ll be time to enjoy a dish featuring what’s in season, asparagus.

What’s in Season

Whats in season

In this crazy world, we’ve become accustomed to having everything, all the time, especially living in this desert oasis that is Las Vegas. But fruits and vegetables have seasons, and when you eat what’s in season there are plenty of benefits.

Reboot with Joe highlights 6 reasons it’s better to eat what’s in season. My two favorite: 1.things taste better and 2. they’re cheaper.

So when I buy what’s in season, I get fruits and veggies that taste better and they’re less expensive, that sounds like a win, win in my book.

 

What’s In Season*:

March -artichokes, asparagus, citrus, leeks, mangoes, pineapple

April – artichokes, asparagus, cherries, leeks, mangoes, pineapples, plums

May – apricots, asparagus, black berry, blueberry, cherries, nectarines, peaches, plums, strawberries, raspberries

*Check back for more posts and recipes featuring, What’s in Season.

What’s Going On: April

 

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It’s warming up outside and pool season has started. But if pool parties aren’t your scene, there are plenty of other places to hang out and enjoy yourself this month. Viva Las Vegas aka Rockabilly Weekend is this month, as well as Las Vegas City of Lights Jazz Festival. And for purely food and drink centered entertainment, two of the biggest food events in Las Vegas happen this month, UNLVino and Vegas Uncork’d.

Here is a rundown of other events this month*:

  • April 1st – First Friday 5-11pm, free – Downtown Arts District. Monthly event featuring art, music and of course food.
  • April 2ndBoca Park Wine Crawl 7-10pm, $25 in advance – Boca Park Summerlin. Enjoy a sampling of 20 wines while you get your shop and eat on in Boca Park.
  • April 3rdKirk Franklin Gospel Brunch 10am, $54.50 + fees – House of Blues. It’s not quite church, but then again this is Las Vegas. Created and produced by Kirk Franklin, featuring live gospel music and all-you-can-eat food.
  • April 6th-10thClark County Fair and Rodeo times vary by day, prices vary per event – Logandale, NV. Sometimes I forget we do live in the Wild Wild West and when that happens, it’s time to pay a visit to the County Fair and Rodeo!
  • April 9thThe Great Vegas Festival of Beer 3-7pm, $45 general – Downtown Las Vegas. What better way to celebrate National Beer Day, than enjoying some beer, beer infused and inspired food, and a little beer knowledge with “Brewlogic”educational sessions.
  • April 14th-16thUNLVino 7-10pm, price varies per day – Locations vary per day. Eat and drink a young person through college. Millions of dollars in scholarship funds have been raised over the years through this event.
  • April 14th-17th15th Annual Pure Aloha  7-9:30pm, $8 – Silverton Casino. They call Las Vegas the 9th Hawaiian island, save the money on a flight and enjoy a taste of Hawaii and the Polynesian islands right here.
  • April 17thBrunch on the Ranch 9:30am-12n, $35 – Craig Ranch Regional Park. Enjoy the farmers market then head over to the pop-up brunch and enjoy a multi-course meal prepared by vegan chef, Mayra Trabulse. The brunch supports On the Ranch Alliance, a 501(c)3.
  • April 28th-May 1st10th Annual Vegas Uncork’d times vary, prices vary – Locations vary per time and day. This is the Big Cheese of Las Vegas food events, taking place over 4 days, at 3 casinos and various off the strip locations, and featuring some of the top chefs and food personalities in the world. The main event is the Grand Tasting at Caesars Palace on Friday night, but I don’t think you could go wrong by attending any of the events.
  • April 28th-May 1stGreat American Foodie Fest times vary, $10 – Sunset Station Casino. If you’ve been priced out of some of the Vegas Uncork’d events, head to Henderson and enjoy food from some of the nations top food trucks and vendors. Formally the Las Vegas Foodie Fest.
  • April 30th Las Vegas Mela 11am-9:30pm, $5 – Clark County Amphitheater. Celebrate the traditional Indian festival of Vaisakhi, which commemorates the new year and harvest. Enjoy Indian food, entertainment, and vendors without leaving the valley.
  • April 30thPeace, Love and Hoppy-ness 3-9pm, $10 = 10 tokens – Big Dog’s Draft House. Continue the National Beer Day celebration with more beer, BBQ and music. This event is free and open to the public, but to eat and drink you’ll need to purchase tokens.
  • April 30thPicnic by Design 5:30-8:30pm, individual ticket starts at $125 – Symphony Park. Probably one of the swankiest picnics you’ll have the pleasure of attending and it’s all for a good cause. Bid on picnic baskets and tables designed by local artists and designers, then enjoy cocktails and top notch picnic fare in the park.
*dates, times and prices subject to change. Check individual websites for details.

Shelly’s Sweet Potato Peace Pies and Tea

Like the hot air balloon and the green buds of Spring “and still we Rise” Happy Resurrection Day!!!

This was the last text message I received from my godmother, Shelly. She sent it to me Easter morning two years ago. The next day, she passed away.

Shelly wasn’t my godmother in the traditional Christian sense but she was a part of my family for more years than I can remember.

When I first received the news, I was shocked. Shelly hadn’t been sick and wasn’t in the hospital. Then, I was in a state of disbelief. How could this be? Was she really gone? Finally, I reached acceptance. I accepted the fact that she would be with us forever, maybe not in the physical, but as long as I had my memories of her, no one ever really dies. 

Memories of Shelly are throughout my apartment, two of my favorites, of course, deal with food.

Hanging over my desk is a piece of paper she had created to go with her Sweet Potato Peace Pies. Shelly, had started selling her pies and had even attempted to freeze and ship one to my mom and me. I actually think this is where the paper came from. If I recall correctly, it was inside the box with the pie she shipped to us one of the first Christmas I spent in Las Vegas. My mom had flown out to spend the holiday with me, and Shelly wanted to make sure her pie was included in our celebration, even if she couldn’t be here. 

Shelly Pies

We didn’t get to enjoy that pie. When we opened the box, it looked as if a squirrel or some other pie loving critter had gotten inside the box and had a party in the pie. But I held on to the paper, as it told a story of the importance of the pies to Shelly.

The recipe Shelly used had been passed down from her third great grandmother and was a tradition in her family. This tradition was one which she brought to my family as Christmas or Thanksgiving wasn’t complete without one (or more) of Shelly’s pies. I wish I had learned the recipe, but part of the enjoyment was having Shelly make them. 

Hanging in my kitchen is my other favorite food related memory of Shelly. It’s the Romare Bearden postcard of Falling Star, she gave me some years ago. Knowing the tea snob that I am, Shelly had found the perfect gift for her goddaughter, an assortment of loose leaf teas and this postcard. I put it in a frame and hung it in my kitchen to watch closely over my tins of tea, in the same way I envision Shelly watching over me.

Happy Resurrection Day, Shelly. I know you’ll always be with us, even if it’s not in the physical. And just like your Peace Pies, this is my “offering of love, respect, honor and reverence.”

Sincerely
Your God-daughter.

Great Crepe Expectations

I spent the last day of 2015 with good friends, under the moonlight and bright lights of Las Vegas Blvd, watching the fireworks. After a night like that, how can I make the first day of 2016 as special as the last?

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In my dreams, I’d grab my passport, hop in my private jet and dash off to Paris to grab some drinks and breakfast someplace in view of the Eiffel Tower. In lieu of that option, I headed down Eastern Avenue to Crepe Expectations. Champagne check. Nutella check. View of the Eiffel Tower, nope, but this place has so much character you’ll forget you’re on Eastern Avenue. Walk past the outdoor seating and step into a charming room, accented with a dark wood bar that faces the crepe making station, stone detail around the counter, and purple walls.

Being the first meal of my day, I opted for a breakfast crepe, The Monterey, to be exact. Bacon, scrambled eggs, tomato, red onion, mild Serrano peppers, Jack cheese, and since I wanted to start the new year out on a healthy note, I added spinach. While the menu describes the Serrano peppers as mild, they definitely have a noticeable kick which works well with the slight sweetness of the crepe itself.

Usually, when I go to Crepe Expectations, I’ll choose a pot of warm jasmine tea or a glass of fresh squeezed OJ with my crepe, but today I went with the Mimosa Trio Sampler. My choices: pomegranate, blood orange and strawberry.

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After my breakfast crepe and trio of mimosas, my stomach wasn’t quite bursting at the seems yet, so I tried to convince my eating companion to go half on another crepe, something on the sweeter side, maybe the Avalon or a Simple Delight. We decided not to give in to gluttony and just savor the experience of breakfast. When I finally returned home and the “itis” settled in, I was glad we had taken the less gluttonous route.

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The Monterey Crepe with a side salad and Mimosa Sampler

The owners got it right in describing Crepe Expectation as “Yum in Action,” their trademark. With 3 categories of crepes to choose from: sweet, savory, and breakfast (served all day), plus an ample selection of both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, there are several reasons to love Crepe Expectations, and to keep coming back.

Crepe Expectations
<$8/person
9500 S. Eastern Ave.
Las Vegas, NV 89123

What’s Going On: March

It’s March! Hello spring, goodbye extra hour of sleep. It’s time to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, College Basketball, and Easter. Here are a few special events going on this month, in and around Las Vegas.

 

  • March 4th – First Friday 5-11pm, free – Downtown Arts District. Monthly event featuring art, music and of course food.
  • March 4thContainer Park Beer Festival 7-9:30pm, $20 + fees, Downtown Container Park. Take in some movies and sample a selection of craft beers, presented by Motley Brews.
  • March 5thWhiskey Revival 7-9pm, $45 Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino. Enjoy live entertainment while sampling southern cuisine, paired with moonshines, barrel aged beer and of course, artisan whiskey.
  • March 9thShare an Olive with Chazz 7pm, $50 Italian American Club Las Vegas. Listen to actor Chazz Palminteri, talk about his career while enjoying BIVI Sicilian Vodka.
  • March 12th25th Anniversary Rocky Mountain Oyster Fry 10am-4pm, starting @ $5 + fees, Virginia City, NV. Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in historic Virginia City. If you’ve never sampled these “oysters,” I would start with the Skeptical about Testicles tasting.
  • March 17th – 19thHoops and Hops starting @ $45 + tax & fees – The Cosmopolitan Hotel and Casino. Enjoy the tournament on stadium style screens, while partaking in some gaming, drink and gourmet food.
  • March 18thVegas Beer and Music Festival 7-10pm, $35 general – SLS Hotel and Casino. Hang out by the pool, listen to live music and enjoy samples of over 50 craft beers.
  • March 19thLittle Leprechauns 2-5pm, free – Downtown Container Park. Bring the kids and enjoy an afternoon of face painting, balloons, and art with your “little leprechauns”. RSVP on Facebook and registration is required for the art activity.
  • March 26th4th Annual Boulder City Beer Fest 1-7pm, $30 general – Wilbur Square Park. Featuring 30 brewery tents, 8 food trucks and “beer-centric” vendors. The event is open to the public, so all can enjoy the food trucks and vendors, you’ll just need a ticket and wristband for the beer.
  • March 26thEaster Wine Walk 3-6pm, $25 – Downtown Container Park. Spend an afternoon enjoying wine stations throughout the park.