Chicken flu prompts an international egg scramble

Almost everyone, with the exception of vegans and people on restricted diets, eats eggs. Now, an outbreak of avian flu in Mexico has caused egg prices to spike mildly here and radically in Mexico, where, according to the poultry industry, consumption is 430 eggs per capita each year, or almost twice the number of that in the States. The Mexicans who live below the poverty level have been severely affected.

The U.S. has since shipped 15 million eggs to Mexico, but it seems that our eggs do not suit the Mexican palate. They’ve been called thin-shelled and rubbery there, with pale yellow yolks, as opposed to the darker orange yolks found in farm-fresh eggs.

So, the question is this: Do farm-fresh eggs really taste better? The answer is open to debate. I’d answer yes. Farm-fresh eggs have a creamier texture and a deeper flavor by my lights. There is also the organic issue, for those who insist that their eggs come from barnyard chickens and be sold un-candled.

The best eggs in Las Vegas are sold by Bob Howald at his recently relocated store, Valley Cheese & Wine. Howald gets the eggs in limited quantity, and they are in such high demand that he is forced to allocate them. So, what do you think? Are they worth the extra dollars? Let me know.

Meanwhile, if you have not yet discovered Tender, the steak house at Luxor, it’s time to visit. Chef K.C. Fazel has one of the most creative steak-house menus around, so prepare yourself to be dazzled. I recently attended a dinner there to celebrate the leather-and-wood-trimmed room having been honored with a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence, a four-course dinner with wine pairings for $95, an amazing deal.

The dishes—wild Alaskan halibut cioppino, heirloom tomato soup topped with wild boar loin, a three-meat tasting with sides and a dessert trio—were all top drawer, as were the wines chosen, such as a MacMurray Ranch pinot noir, La Marca Prosecco with dessert and various reds with the meat tasting. Fazel will be doing many of these dinners in the future. We’ll keep you posted.

Finally, Forte may be my go-to Balkan restaurant in town, but Reneta Ivanova—from Bulgaria like Forte’s Nina Manchev—keeps a few under-the-radar Bulgarian dishes in her westside cafe, Ambrosia (7377 S. Jones Blvd., 407-0014). Tarator, a cucumber-yogurt dill soup, is delicious here, as is kofta, a spicy grilled Bulgarian sausage. Ivanova will also make kebabche sausage from beef and pork, and pljescavica, a spicy, grilled Serbian beef patty, on request.

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The Doyennes of Fine Dining

The Doyennes of Fine Dining

By Debbie Lee

Attention snobby oenophiles: the next time you dine at La Cave Wine & Food Hideaway, don’t be so quick to ask your female server to fetch the sommelier. Chances are, she’s it. “The look on some guests faces when they find out that we’re an all-female wine team is priceless,” says Chloe Helfand, the restaurant’s wine director. Unfortunately, an inconvenient inquisition begins once the shock ends. “That’s when they ask how long I went to school and studied to earn my position. There have been times when gentlemen have practically shooed me away from the table.”

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