Nam Kao Tod, at Lotus of Siam

By now, even people in Tonopah know that Lotus is the most famous Thai restaurant in the United States. Saipin Chutima, the genius in the kitchen, is probably best known for her crispy rice salad, nam kao tod, arguably the best finger food dish on earth. It has bits of Thai sausage, roasted peanuts, lemon grass and amazingly crisp rice, plus a hint of hot chili. Kellogg’s couldn’t have imagined.

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Wow, time sure flies. Food & Wine magazine’s All-Star Weekend is already upon us this year, Oct. 21-23 at Aria and the Bellagio. Last year, the food at the main event, the All-Star Tasting ($150, 877-318-2472), was incredible, featuring dishes from star chefs such as Shawn McClain of Sage, who prepared cauliflower panna cotta with a tiny Dungeness crab cake and 48-hour beef belly on smoked potato purée. Sven Mede of American Fish served ocean water-poached Ruby Red shrimp.

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