Jamón Ibérico at L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon

Jamón de bellota, ham from black-footed Spanish pigs fed exclusively on a diet of acorns, has no peer in the world of cured meats. It is served in thin, almost ephemeral slices, and should be eaten on rounds of tomato-rubbed toast. $59, in MGM Grand, 891-1111.

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Giovanni Mauro

Giovanni Mauro

By Max Jacobson

For those of us who maintain a connection between fine dining and music, I offer, as an example, Giovanni Mauro. He’s the son of Italian parents who run the locals’ favorite Nora’s Cuisine, 6020 W. Flamingo Road, and he’s one of the most passionate Italian chefs in the city. Gio, as everyone calls him, studied opera at Long Beach State University and later in Milan with famed tenor Carlo Bergonzi. He’s fluent in both Italian and Italian cooking. Today, he expends most of his energy at Nora’s Wine Bar & Osteria in Boca Park.