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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Banh Mi Burger, Bachi Burger

Dishing With Grace

Banh Mi Burger, Bachi Burger

By Grace Bascos

A hamburger is already pretty good on its own, as is banh mi, the Vietnamese paté and vegetable sandwich served on a baguette. Bachi Burger has combined the two to build a better sandwich. The burger starts with Angus beef, but the Asian flavors enter the blend with ground pork, shrimp and lemongrass, also in the patty. After it’s cooked to medium, the burger is topped with pork paté, herbs and aioli, and served with the traditional Vietnamese accouterment of pickled vegetables, and a dressing of the sweet and spicy fish sauce, nuoc mam.