Superb soba, spring comes to Comme Ça and Spain comes to Las Vegas

Spring is in the air, and with it, many food festivals, including the granddaddy in these parts, Vegas Uncork’d, May 10-13. I will tell you more about that later. But there are two others impending as well.

The Silverton hotel-casino will host the inaugural Las Vegas Foodie Fest, a weekend event featuring more than 30 food trucks, food vendors, a beer garden and carnival rides. The event will be in the parking lot from noon-11 p.m. April 28, and noon-9 p.m. April 29.

The pools at the Palazzo will host the Las Vegas Epicurean Affair, sponsored by the Nevada Restaurant Association, 7-10 p.m. May 24. Expected to participate are Carnevino, Cut, Delmonico, Morels and many more. General admission will be $100, but if you wish to beat the crowds, for $50 more, VIP ticket holders get in at 6 p.m. Tickets go on sale April 24 at

Now that the weather is mild, you may wish to do as the Japanese do, slurp up some cold noodles—soba, to be exact. If that appeals, then the place to do it is I-Naba noodle bar (3210 S. Decatur Blvd. 220-6060). I-Naba is a branch of a successful noodle bar in Los Angeles. They have the best soba in Las Vegas, buckwheat noodles that you dip in a salty broth. Try the ten-zaru soba, which means “crisp tempura alongside.”

Over at Comme Ça in the Cosmopolitan (698-7000), ever-creative executive chef Brian Howard has rolled out a new spring menu. Just a few dishes on his seasonal Bistronomy menu include marinated butterfish, foie gras en terrine with country ham chutney, Atlantic skate with crispy clams and delectable Berkshire pork, head, belly and rack.

Finally, Las Vegas recently got a taste of wines from Spain’s Ribera Del Duero region, which some call “the pinnacle of Spanish wines.” I was l lucky enough to taste several of these wines, most of them the cream of the crop, made from tempranillo grapes grown just north of Madrid.

Wines such as Tinto Pesquera and Emilio Moro—both available here—are rich, earthy and spicy, and blow the socks off French wines in the same price category. The region’s most famous wine, Vega Sicilia, is often several hundred dollars for a good vintage. Chef Julian Serrano prepared his famous quail salad and Colorado rack of lamb to go with a number of those Vega Sicilia wines at a dinner he hosted at Picasso. Sometimes I really do love this job.

Hungry, yet?

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