Playing With Matches

Our rogue foodies trump with four winning pairs

1. The Chef’s Choice: Bubbles and Trouble

The Dish: A double-double In-N-Out burger, animal-style (chopped, grilled onions and an extra smear of Thousand Island dressing), no tomato, with fries.

The Drink: One bottle of nonvintage Krug Champagne.

“Here’s the skinny: Crisp, sharp, yeasty French Champagne with an all-American burger equals a naughty combination!” coaches chef tournant Andrew Knudson of Neros steak house in Caesars Palace. Why no tomato? “Because that’s the way I like it.”


Photo by Sabin Orr

2. Power Pairing

The Dish: Foie gras risotto at Michael Mina in Bellagio.

The Drink: ’99 Gravner Ribolla Gialla from Fruili Venezia Giulia in northeastern Italy.

“Gravner uses skin contact during the fermentation process, which imparts texture,” says Michael Mina’s master sommelier, Joseph Phillips. “We’re matching power for power and richness for richness here.”


Photo by Sabin Orr

3. Up-and-Coming Juice

The Dish: Coriander-crusted loin of tuna on carrot-sesame sponge cake at Aureole in Mandalay Bay.

The Drink: ’08 Iberian Remix Central Coast Red (Tempranillo).

“California Tempranillos are coming into their own,” says Aureole sommelier and Iberian Remix contributing winemaker William Sherer, “and the fruit and acidity stand up well to an oily fish like tuna.”


Photo by Sabin Orr

4. Sweet, Sweet Georgia

The Dish: Satsivi (cold chicken with creamy walnut sauce) at Forte Tapas.

The Drink: Tamada Khvanchkara (a sweet red from the Republic of Georgia).

“The sweetness of the wine gives the creamy walnut component an almost dessert-like appeal,” says Vegas Seven food critic Max Jacobson. “The spice notes complement the chicken and add complexity.”

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