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.

 

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I’m Back.

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It’s been quite a while since my last post (almost a year to be exact). During that time, I’ve update the look of my blog, hope you like it, and I’ve partnered with Foodio54 and FoodSpotting. I’ve also changed my eating habits slightly, there will be a future post about that coming soon.

In the year I’ve been away, I’ve missed a lot:
The Restaurant vs. Food Trucks War was settled. The City Council instituted a 150 foot buffer zone, between restaurants and food trucks on public streets, and is in the process of implementing a pilot program, establishing designated parking areas for food trucks downtown. To make sure there was no lingering tension between food trucks and downtown restaurants, Fukuburger and Bar + Bistro “Burried the Hatchet” during a cook-off between chefs; Robert “Mags” Magsalin (from Fukuburger) vs. Beni Velazquez (from Bar + Bistro). Bar + Bistro owner, Wes Isbutt, was pretty vocal about instituting a buffer zone for food trucks downtown, so it was good to see the two representatives of each side, in a friendly competition.

In other downtown food news, there are several new restaurants that opened, while others closed. Downtown said hello to a Las Vegas favorite, Rachel’s Kitchen, as well as newbies, Eat and Pizza Rock, and it said goodbye to a late night hangout, Mamita’s Mexican and Cuban Restaurant. The owners of Mamita’s, helped to start the petition that initially began the Restaurant vs. Food Truck war, because they were concerned that food trucks were stealing their customers. In an interview on KSNV, Maria Corvino, the owner of Mamita’s, mentions that “people are not afraid to come to Fremont Street anymore.” They might not be afraid to come to Fremont anymore, but they might have been afraid to eat at her restaurant, since it was closed on several occasions by the Southern Nevada Health District. It looks like instead of being so concerned about the competition from food trucks, Corvino should have been more focused on keeping her restaurant open and demerit free. Like I said, cream always rises to the top. But on the bright side, an upscale grocery store is in the works for the former Mamita’s location, something that has been on the wish list of downtown residents for some time.

And if those weren’t enough happenings, I also missed all the spectacular food events that took place in Las Vegas just last month alone. There was the Las Vegas Food and Wine Festival, the Foodie Fest, the Food and Wine All-Star Weekend, Lucky Rice, the Aki Matsuri Festival, Grapes and Hops, Pure Aloha, the Lebanese Festival, Taste of the Nation, and the brand new, Life is Beautiful Festival. I get full just thinking about all the good food served at each of these events. We might as well dub October, Foodie Month in Las Vegas.

Well, I’m back now with new ramblings, reviews and recipes coming soon. Enjoy!

Update – Las Vegas Food Fight: Restaurants vs. Food Trucks

So it looks like the Las Vegas City Council  couldn’t come to an agreement on the distance for the proposed buffer zone and the issue was tabled during the September 5th City Council meeting. While the matter may still be brought up at a later date, it looks like at least for now, your favorite food truck will be able to freely roam the streets of Downtown Las Vegas.

Las Vegas Food Fight: Restaurants vs. Food Trucks

I’ve been away from here for a while. I worked the past month with only 1 day off so it was pretty hard to find time to write, but I’m back. While I still have more posts to share about my trip to Annapolis, something really important came up that I just had to write about.

If you follow the food truck scene in Las Vegas, then you’re probably already aware of the August 15th September 5th City Council meeting to take up a proposed ordinance that would prohibit Las Vegas food trucks from parking within 300 feet of an established restaurant.

The initial proposal, by the City Council’s Recommending Committee back in March, was 1300 feet (about the length of 3 football fields). The recommendation was based on pleas from downtown restaurant owners, arguing that food trucks poach their customers by moving into restaurant space during peak foot traffic hours. Restaurant owners also argue, that food trucks operate at an advantage because they don’t have to pay rent or property taxes. Ultimately, members of the City Council’s Recommending Committee voted in favor of a 300 foot zone, which will be brought before the City Council for review on Wednesday, August 15th September 5th.

While I think that some sort of buffer zone between brick and motor restaurants and food trucks is fair, I think that Councilman Bob Coffin, along with certain restaurant owners, are unfairly trying to give food trucks the short end of the stick.

My thoughts:

  1. Cream always rises to the top. It’s as basic as if your food is good, people will want to eat it. I’ve eaten at some of the restaurants that have been the strongest supporters of the ordinance, and I have to say, the food they serve just isn’t that good. The food trucks they’re so mad at, aren’t “poaching” business, they’re just offering a more appetizing option.
  2. It’s called survival of the fittest. Animals can become extinct and so can a business. Food trucks have been around for a while, but they’ve only become the “hot thing” the last couple of years. Maybe the food truck trend will last, maybe it will go the way of polaroid cameras and disco music. Either way, only the strong and delicious will survive.
  3. It’s called a marketplace and America is full of them. Have you ever been to a mall, how about a grocery store? Well, they’re full of different brands/stores selling similar stuff, all clustered together. It’s the stuff our capitalist society was built on.
  4. Get in the game. If you think that food trucks have an advantage because they can follow foot traffic, then do what Pop’s Cheesesteaks did when they added a food truck to their existing brick and motor establishment.
  5. Can’t we all just get along. I’ve been to a food truck that’s run out of something and has referred me to another truck. It shocked me at first, but it was a pleasant surprise. In the end, isn’t that how communities are built? Because if you aren’t for competition, how about cooperation.

If you want to know more about how food trucks and other street vendors contribute to economic growth and enrich communities, then you should read the Institute for Justice report, Streets of Dreams: How Cities Can Create Economic Opportunity by Knocking Down Protectionist Barriers to Street Vending

Fukuburger has been very vocal about their opinion on the proposed food truck ordinance, and has scheduled a Park and March to the City Council Meeting on Wednesday, August 15th at 9am. Since writing this, the City Council meeting has actually been pushed back until September 5th. Follow Fukuburger on twitter @fukuburger for more info and updates.