Breakfast ’cue, Chinese wine and aphrodisiacs for your Valentine’s Day pleasure

I drive by Memphis Championship BBQ at 2250 E. Warm Springs Road almost every day, but it took me nearly two years to stop by for the weekend breakfast advertised on their sign. What a surprise to discover they now have the best breakfast east of the Strip, since Original Pancake House is no longer at Green Valley Ranch.

The restaurant smokes its own bacon, serves great buttermilk biscuits and johnnycakes (thin cornmeal pancakes), and even makes a pulled pork and egg dish. Seniors may order from a menu of hearty breakfast combos starting at only $5.29, 8 a.m.-2 p.m. on weekends. has published its second annual list of the 50 Most Powerful People in Food, and Yours Truly was not on it. Little do they know!

Those with ties to Las Vegas include Danny Meyer (No. 47), Tom Colicchio (No. 38), José Andrés (No. 33), Thomas Keller (No. 31), Mario Batali (No. 22), Wolfgang Puck (No. 13) and Food Network president Brooke Johnson (No. 1).

Did any of you know China is the world’s fifth largest producer of grapes, following France, Italy, Spain and the United States? I sure didn’t until I dined with Dave Henderson, president of Dragon’s Hollow Wines from China’s Helan Shan Mountains, a region 600 miles west of Beijing, close to the Mongolian border.

I sampled chardonnay, riesling, cabernet sauvignon and merlot, wines that will hit the retail shelves with a $10-$15 price point. It remains to be seen whether local Chinese restaurants will stock them, but one that does is China MaMa, where the dinner was held.

The restaurant (3420 S. Jones Blvd., 873-1977) made its reputation on shao loong bao, juicy pork dumplings, but don’t miss the green onion pancake, Szechuan beef roll (the un-wrap), crunchy pot stickers and a new dish, hand-pulled noodle with green onion sauce, tossed tableside. Three-cup chicken (braised with one cup each of sugar, soy sauce and oil) is a hearty entrée.

As to the wines, let’s call them, er, a curiosity.

Finally, Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, and Wynn is doing a number of imaginative menus for the occasion.

Two I’d be keen to try are Mark LoRusso’s five-course menu at Botero, offering duck a l’orange for two as a main course, and one at Country Club Grill for chef Carlos Guia’s aphrodisiac dishes. How about chilled oysters on the half shell with cucumber-ginger granite and wasabi-flavored caviar?

Hungry, yet?

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