“Carnival of Cuisine” at The Venetian

August 15, Las Vegas

August 15, Las Vegas

Second annual.  My first. What was excellent: from Tao Asian Bistro, the Lobster Dumplings in Shitake Miso Broth, yeeeuuum.  What should never happen: beer meets ice cream, as in “Blue Moon” + Vanilla= no. The photo to the right shows center stage: chefs from premier restaurants giving instruction.

I wasn’t too concerned with that however, I was interested in the food and drink. For flat $50 entry, ballroom was open from 12:30 – 4:00.

Admission covered as much food as you could stand-in-line for (the lines were insane for the first two and a half hours, really) and alcohol.  Yes, you read correctly: AND alcohol.  Stranger still: no lines for the alcohol.  There were reds, whites, blends, and mixed drinks available (and that sincerely sinister “Blue Moon” concoction which looked so good, but really gave my taste buds a nasty jolt.  Drink this regularly and you will cure yourself of both beer and ice cream forever.) See..doesn’t it look good?

Blue Moan (Blue Moon ala mode)

Blue Moan (Blue Moon ala mode)

On to better things like: lobster bisque, black cod miso (from Woo), fig salad with shavings of cheese, shrimp shumai, ahi tuna taquitos, gourmet sandwiches & giant meatballs.  Some of the signage wasn’t very good – verbal descriptions only at some tables, plus long lines so that made capturing long descriptions difficult.  Plus of course, I’m juggling plates, glasses and enjoying myself so I’m not overly concerned with every last detail.  Anyway, here were some of my other favorites:

Tasmanian ocean trout with fennel and pearled barley

Tasmanian ocean trout with fennel and pearled barley

Kudos to “Restaurant Charlie” for not only having great sample portion sizes but also for incredible cuisine & wonderful signage.  Both this Tasmanian ocean trout and their Japanese tai was excellent (though, actually, I haven’t ever tasted tai before so I really have nothing to compare it to, except to the knowledge that I’ve never a “Blue Moan” either and you know when something just isn’t right.  Tai, we will meet again.)

Japanese tai, black grapes and celery

Japanese tai, black grapes and celery

Other notable yum-factors:

Aforementioned lobster dumpling...

Aforementioned lobster dumpling...

Seared Ahi Tuna on a Corn, Shitake and Cabbage Chow Chow

Seared Ahi Tuna on a Corn, Shitake and Cabbage Chow Chow

One other thing I really have to mention – such beautiful visual arrangements:

At the wine bar

At the wine bar

At each cocktail station

At each cocktail station

At the food stations, here's Woo

At the food stations, here's Woo

After braving the long lines at the beginning of the event, it was nice to just sit back, enjoy something called a “Back Nine” (my new favorite cocktail of Grey Goose Citron, ice tea and Limoncello garnished with a sprig of mint) while listening to the live band belt out the theme from the “Pink Panther” and nibbling a bit of an itty-bitty dessert:

Itty Bitty Dessert

Itty Bitty Dessert

Fortunately, you are never alone at these kinds of events; mingling with the crowd was great while I was separated from my Foodie Friends.  I met some locals on a “stay-cation” and was approached by the traveling entertainment.  Of course, a photo:

IMG_1834

And if that weren’t enough.  If you didn’t get enough food, wine, dessert, coffee and cocktails, If you weren’t satiated (oooh, I forgot to mention that I also had java and a fine chocolate something or other with a raspberry top), then there was always the one last thing of which you could partake at this event:

CHAIR MASSAGE!

CHAIR MASSAGE!

All in all, I’d highly recommend this event.  Though this year seemed a bit chaotic, I overheard chefs and guests alike commenting that it was better organized last year.  But, still, for $50.00 it was a beyond-well-worth-it-over-the-top value!  What else should I have expected: Vegas is always over the top!

You, too, will be saying:

"Nooo, no more"

"Nooo, no more"

Please comment if you’ve been to this event or to similar ones around the country – what did you think?

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