Not all the hot new star-chef restaurants in Las Vegas are in casino resorts on the Strip. Late last year Louis Osteen, one of the pioneer lights in contemporary Southern cuisine, brought his South Carolina Low Country cooking to Town Square, a big new upscale shopping mall out by the airport.
Everyone I met attending the Palazzo's opening celebration in Las Vegas last week was trying to figure out why it was happening. Only four of the 13 restaurants had opened in time. All of the chefs and restaurateurs involved showed up anyway to participate in a media presentation, but they were kind of scratching their heads.
Of the four big-name chefs opening new restaurants at the Palazzo, the glitzy new addition to the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas, only Mario Batali managed to get his restaurant open in time for the Jan. 17 opening.
Several interim chefs have come and gone at Fifth Floor , a Wine Spectator Grand Award winner, since Melissa Perello left in late 2006. The other shoe finally dropped this week, as chef-consultant Laurent Manrique , chef of the Aqua restaurants, named Jennie Lorenzo as the day-to-day chef de cuisine.
What is it going to take for Americans to truly understand Australian wine? I ask this with all seriousness, because some of the most sophisticated wine drinkers I know still think Australia is nothing but big, fat, overpriced Shiraz and cheap, easy-drinking quaffers.
In a scientific study just reported, Caltech researchers measured brain waves in 21 test subjects as they sampled wines. The subjects' pleasure center got more excited when they thought they were drinking more expensive wines.
Do you read back labels on wine bottles? Most of these little puffs of PR are designed solely to entice someone holding the bottle in a store to put it in the cart and roll it up to the checkout. Although many make me roll my eyes, some good ones offer useful information.
Miss Manners' column caught my eye when I opened the morning paper today and the headline read, "Thanks for the Party, but Leave Wine at Home." She basically sided with a host who didn't know what to do with all the bottles handed him by guests, and wished they hadn't brought them in the first place.
I first met Matt Gant when he was making wine at St. Hallett , one of Barossa Valley's venerable wineries. I had only a vague impression of him because chief winemaker Stuart Blackwell more or less monopolized the conversation.
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