The Latest

This Week in Your City

What’s hip, what’s happening, what’s going on—and what you need to know right now.

Drive-Thru? Slide-Thru!

Gourmet specialty food trucks are all the rage in places such as New York and Los Angeles, and now Las Vegas finally has one to call its own. Slidin’ Thru recently began catering to local foodies, and the man behind the wheel, Ric Guerrero, says business is already booming.

Whereas other cities have trucks with gourmet gimmicks such as cupcakes, dumplings and upscale hot dogs, Slidin’ Thru sells mini burgers on the move.

“We’re trying to do something a little different,” Guerrero says.

The self-described “culinary school dropout” traverses the city, serving up three different $3 sliders along the way. He cites the Captain’s Order (bacon, tomato, onion, feta and spring greens with a balsamic reduction) as one of the more popular menu items, while the kalbi rib slider he just introduced has been well-received, too.

The 23-year-old entrepreneur’s kitchen on wheels is a former taco truck that customers home in on using Twitter (@slidertruck). “It’s really cool using the social media to get our name out there,” Guerrero says, noting that “the Twitter following has been just crazy.” He also posts location updates to the Slidin’ Thru website (slidinthru.com) and Facebook page.

If you’re social media-challenged, fear not: Guerrero mobile mini burgers slide on through to First Friday downtown on April 2. twitter.com/slidertruck.

Green Power

Environmentalists and clean-energy fans are rejoicing, as plans to build a 750-megawatt coal-burning power plant in Mesquite have been—how shall we put this nicely?— recycled in favor of a new natural gas and solar power project.

The greener initiatives will emit as much as 60 percent less carbon dioxide and use about 60 percent less water than the coal-fired plant, according to Sithe Global.

Plans for the 700-megawatt natural gas plant and 100-megawatt photovoltaic solar plant come with a price tag of $1.4 billion, but could create as many as 1,000 jobs. Sithe expects to break ground by year’s end.

The decision joins a growing list of canceled plans for coal power: Former Public Utilities Commissioner Tim Hay says 125 proposals for have been abandoned nationwide in favor of other, greener options. Closer to home, NV Energy and LS Power have also shelved plans to build coal-burning power plants in Ely.

Coal-fired power plants were responsible for 22.3 percent of Nevada’s carbon-dioxide emissions in 2006, according to the Sierra Club.

Need for Speed

Taylor “The Bomber” Barton’s skilled lead-foot has helped him secure a spot on Thompson Motorsport’s NASCAR team.

The native of Las Vegas, who honed his skills in Go-Karting, Legend Cars and Super Late Model racing, calls signing on with team Thompson a dream come true.

“It changes my life dramatically,” he says. “I grew up in a Boys and Girls Club and grew up with no money.”

Barton’s deal with Thompson was announced March 26 and he made his NASCAR debut the following day in Roseville, Calif. He finished in 12th place and now has four more K&N Pro Series races and two Camping World Truck Series to look forward to, including a race April 8 in Phoenix.

When Barton isn’t on the track, he likes to put his orange ’69 El Camino 396 SS through its paces—out on Smoke Ranch Road and Buffalo Drive, especially. He has also been known to lay the pedal to the metal while driving the roads of Mount Charleston—but after receiving six tickets in two months, he says he has “learned to go my speed limit.”

The Worst Bracket in America

Forget your crumpled-up NCAA bracket: The Consumerist’s fifth annual ladder-style competition for Worst Company in America is under way, and things are heating up.

“Bank of America is the No. 1 seed, followed by Comcast,” Consumerist editor Meg Marco tells Vegas Seven. “Comcast has come in second for the past two years, so we’re wondering if the proposed merger with NBC will help push them over the top.”

Powered by a series of online polls, 32 companies arranged in NCAA-style brackets began battling for the uncoveted title on March 24. Competition continues with the Sweet and Sour 16 (April 2), Elite 8 (April 14) and Final Four (April 21), before the “Lucky Golden Poo” trophy is awarded April 26.

The so-called “poster child for irresponsibility and corruption,” AIG, is back to defend its title and faces Cash4Gold in the first round of competition.

Other preliminary matchups to watch include CitiBank vs. Bank of America, Microsoft vs. Apple, Toyota vs. GM and Verizon vs. AT&T. Meanwhile, Wal-Mart, Time Warner Cable, four airlines and two banks are also on the list.

Curiously enough, three companies in the tongue-in-cheek tournament—Hewlett-Packard, Time Warner and Best Buy—also made Ethisphere’s chronicle of the World’s Most Ethical Companies.

Phone of the Future

3-D may be the hottest thing in theaters, but 4G has taken the cell phone world by storm.

Sprint unveiled the country’s first 4G phone, the HTC Evo 4G, during the recent CTIA Wireless trade show in Las Vegas. And the buzz over it has to do with speed: 4G phones are 10 times faster than 3G phones, allowing users to e-mail photos, post to Twitter, update Facebook, upload video and watch HDTV movies more quickly.

Sprint’s new wonder phone (see overview on page 88) is its first to use WiMax technology and it will be the most advanced Android handset on the market when released this summer. Features include a 4.3-inch touch-screen display, front- and back-facing cameras, GPS, a 1 GHz Snapdragon processor, 1 GB of built-in memory and a “kickstand” for easy picture-taking. Price TBA, sprint.com/evo.

Walk This Way

Easter Seals invites the community to take a stroll on April 3 at the second annual Walk With Me at Bunker Family Park. The two-mile event helps support more than 4,000 Nevadans living with disabilities. Last year the event raised $40,000 for the cause. Those who raise a minimum of $35—enough to pay for one child’s physical-therapy session—will be given T-shirts, while everyone can enjoy the Easter carnival with the purchase of a $5 wristband. Southwest corner of West Alexander Road and North Tenaya Way, registration at 8 a.m., walk at 9, carnival until noon, walkwithme.org/lasvegas.

An Egg-cellent Gift

Henderson-based chocolatier Ethel’s puts a peanut-buttery twist on the traditional chocolate Easter egg this year. Its newest confections are made with homemade peanut butter and covered with milk chocolate. And, trust us, they are delicious. Like Ethel’s other limited-edition Easter goodies, the Fruit Truffle Egg Box makes a great gift—not only for the contents, but for the cheerful, bright-green, egg-shaped box, too. $22 for a box of eight, multiple locations, ethelschocolate.com.

Chow Bella

Food Network celebrity chef Giada De Laurentiis visits Las Vegas on April 5 to promote her fifth cookbook, Giada at Home: Family Recipes from Italy and California ($35, Clarkson Potter).

De Laurentiis—who honed her culinary chops at the Ritz in Marina del Rey and for Wolfgang Puck in Beverly Hills—shares some of her family recipes in the new release and adapts complicated and time-consuming aspects of Italian cuisine—such as skinning tomatoes or preparing homemade breadcrumbs—for the busy American lifestyle.

The Everyday Italian host’s monthlong book tour makes two stops in our city: at Williams-Sonoma (1001 S. Rampart Blvd.) at 1 p.m. and at Sur La Table in the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood at 5 p.m. Until then, fans and aspiring chefs who purchase the book at either location will get passes to meet De Laurentiis—or you can win your way in, by scanning the barcode to the right.

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