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?

IMG_2814

 

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.

IMG_2776

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.

IMG_2777

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
Advertisements

May You Have Nothing But Good Fuku

I’ve travelled to several places in the world, and I can tell you that some of the best food I’ve tasted is often street food. Well, Las Vegas is no different.

Street food in Las Vegas, is of the food truck variety. While there are several food trucks in Las Vegas serving up good eats, my current infatuation is with Fukuburger (Fuku comes from the last name of truck co-owner Colin Fukunaga and means luck in Japanese). While the Fuku patties themselves are yummy, cooked to perfection and made with beef from a local butcher, Larry’s Great Western Meats, what keeps me coming back is the unique Japanese inspired flavor combinations. Ingredients like kabayaki sauce, wasabi, ginger and kaiware sprouts, add unique flavor kicks that change the ubiquitous hamburger, into something oh so special.

If I had to give Fukuburger a rating, it would be 5 mics. That’s right mics. Anyone who’s a fan of hip hop, or who’s ever read The Source, knows that 5 mics is the highest honor an album can receive. It means an album is a classic. Something that you can throw in your CD player and listen to all the way thru, without skipping any tracks. You might have your favorite song on a given day, but you love the whole album. That about sums up the way I feel about the menu at Fukuburger. And then, just when I think I might be getting bored with the menu, they’ll serve up an amazing special. It’s like the food world’s version of a mix tape.

One day, I might be yearning for the smokey, sweet flavor of the Buta Burger, a Fuku patty with applewood smoked bacon, American cheese, pickled red onions, red ginger, japanese bbq sauce and wasabi mayo.

On another day, I might feel the urge for a Tamago Burger, a Fuku patty topped with a fried egg, teriyaki, wasabi mayo and finished with crispy onion strings. The egg is fried over easy, so when you bite into the soft yolk, yellow egg juice goes running everywhere. Make sure you catch it in the little paper tray they serve the burgers in, so you can sop up a little of that creamy yellow egg juice, with each additional bite.

If you want something to make your taste buds tingle, try the “spicy” Karai Burger, or an all beef hot link Naga Dog. And don’t worry, if you’re not in the mood for beef, Fuku Burger still has you covered, with the Chicken Katsu; a panko crusted chicken patty, topped with shredded cabbage, katsu sauce and “crack” sauce. Yes, “crack” sauce, aptly called because it will have you fiendin’ for more.

Buta Burger aka "Pig" with Jazz Fries

To accompany your Fukuburger of choice, you can’t go wrong with either the Togarashi Garlic Fries or the Jazz Fries (shown above). The Jazz Fries are also topped with some of that “crack” sauce, and gravy.

Currently, there is a Fukuburger restaurant in LA, but as they say, All the fresh Hollywood food places always start off as a good little hood thang. So, pull up a bucket, have a seat, and enjoy your burger.

Fukuburger Truck 
At a location near you –> schedule
$6-$10/person

Fukuburger (Mobile Truck) on Urbanspoon

Delicious Authentic Italian Pizza, No Passport Necessary

You’re hungry, but you don’t want to cook and you want to stay out of the drive thru. When most people find themselves in this predicament, ordering pizza is usually the answer. Unfortunately, when most Americans think of pizza, their only reference point is something from the ubiquitous chains that offer game day specials, with a side of hot wings. We in Las Vegas are lucky, we don’t have to travel to Italy to try some authentic Italian pizza. Just head down to Henderson, and visit Settebello Pizzeria Napoletana.

The mark of a VNP certified pizzeria

Settebello Pizzeria Napoletana is a member of the Vera Pizza Napoletana. When I first visited Settebello, I had no idea what the Vera Pizza Napoletana (VPN) was, all I knew was that I hadn’t tasted pizza like this since I visited Italy. Whether it was the cheese, tomato sauce, dough, or toppings, what I tasted was the true flavor of each ingredient.

San Marzano Tomatoes

Vera Pizza Napoletana literally means true Neapolitan pizza. VPN was created to protect and defend the art of traditional pizza making as it began in Napoli (Naples) over 200 years ago. The VPN requires VPN certified pizzerias to follow certain standards. Many ingredients come directly from Italy like the crushed San Marzano tomatoes used in the sauce at Settebello. I find that a lot of people don’t like tomatoes and it’s usually because they’ve never tasted a home gown tomato, picked ripe. A good tomato should be more sweet than acidic and full of flavor. This is the flavor that the San Marzano tomatoes bring to the sauce at Settebello. Settebello also uses fresh milk mozzarella cheese, not the processed mozzarella used on most pizzas. Settebello pizzas are cooked in a wood burning oven at high temperatures, usually for no more than 90 seconds. This, along with chef Carmine D’Amato’s cooking skills, creates a pizza where the cheese has melted to perfection, yet more delicate items like basil are cooked just long enough to bring out the flavor.

Bags of flour used for the pizza dough imported from Italy

While I don’t think you can go wrong with any pizza at Settebello, my favorite pizza is the Pizza Lasagna. It’s topped with tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, wood oven sausage, dollops of ricotta cheese, parmigiano regiano, basil, extra virgin olive oil and mushrooms (on my Pizza Lasagna I like to replace the mushrooms with artichokes). Another favorite of mine at Settebello is the Pizza Bianca or White Pizza. The Pizza Bianca comes with prosciutto crudo, arugula, parmigiano reggiano, and extra virgin olive oil. The Pizza Bianca has no sauce on it, and while I love the flavor of the San Marzano tomatoes, the Pizza Bianca allows you to really taste the clean milky flavor of the fresh mozzarella.

Pizza Lasagna

As good as the pizzas are at Settebello, if you only have pizza there, you’re doing yourself a disservice. There is a great happy hour menu at the bar. One of my favorite offerings is the Fritta, a calzone filled with prosciutto cotto and fresh mozzarella. The calzone is fried just enough to give the outside a slight crispiness, then it’s topped with those slightly sweet crushed San Marzano tomatoes. And for a starter, I recommend the Involtini di Prosciutto. Call it a salad if you like, but it’s much more exciting. Involtini means little bundles and that’s exactly what you’ll get, little bundles of baby arugula wrapped up in creamy goat cheese and prosciutto. The bundles are topped with shaved pieces of parmigiano reggiano, then drizzled with a balsamic reduction and extra virgin olive oil. With each bite you get to savor the combination of the peppery, salty and sweet flavors of the ingredient as they come together in the bundle. And last but not least, what would a dinner of true Neapolitan pizza be without homemade gelato for dessert.

Involtini di Prosciutto

The next time you want pizza, put down the phone, hop in your car, and head to Henderson for some authentic Neapolitan pizza at Settebello.

Settebello

$15-$25/person

across from The District at Green Valley Ranch

140 Green Valley Parkway

Henderson, NV 89012

Settebello Pizzeria Napoletana on Urbanspoon
Settebello Pizzeria Napoletana on Foodio54

More Sushi, Please

I’ve been enjoying sushi since I was about 10, but I’d never heard of the concept of all-you-can-eat sushi before I moved to Las Vegas. Then I stumbled across Oyshi. While there are several all-you-can-eat sushi restaurants in the valley, I have to say that Oyshi is one of my favorites.

For sushi snobs, I would categorize Oyshi falling somewhere in the middle of the sushi spectrum, with the stuff you can pick up at the grocery store on one end, and a place like Bar Masa, that gets fresh fish flown in daily from Tsukiji market in Tokyo, on the other end. But in lieu of dropping $300 per person at Bar Masa, Oyshi has some really great sushi.

Spicy Tuna Crunch Roll and Oyshi Roll

My favorite roll is the Spicy Tuna Crunch roll. It’s made with tuna, jalapeno and cream cheese, then the roll is flash fried in tempura batter. The outside is crunchy and warm, while the cream cheese and tuna stay cool on the inside, helping to abate the flavor explosion from the jalapenos. There isn’t just sushi on the all-you-can-eat menu, items like miso soup, seaweed salad, tempura, and mochi ice cream are included as well. Sashimi however, can only be ordered a la carte.

Sake

While any size group can enjoy Oyshi, it’s a great place to go with a group. They have private party rooms and sharing sushi is always fun, especially when you know everyone’s food bill will be the same. (Sharing is allowed as long as everyone orders all-you-can-eat). I dread getting sushi and when the bill comes, suddenly your friends have amnesia about what they ordered.

To make your experience at Oyshi better, I’ll share some advice. Order a few rolls at a time. Don’t let your eyes be bigger than your stomach because they will try to charge you the a la carte price for anything you don’t eat. Skip the Teriyaki. And make sure you go hungry.

Samuri

Oyshi

$21/lunch, $26/dinner All-you-can-eat

7775 S. Rainbow Blvd.

Las Vegas, NV 89113

Oyshi Sushi and Sake on Urbanspoon
Oyshi Sushi on Foodio54