Viva Max! Cocktails 101 and Springtime at Yellowtail

Tacos & Tequila

Tacos & Tequila

On Thursday, March 13, Tacos & Tequila in Luxor will be the latest restaurant to participate in Chefs to the Max, the benefit dinner series for Vegas Seven food writer Max Jacobson, who was critically injured in December. Viva Max! offers a three-course dinner ($100), accompanied by Mexican mariachis and top shelf margaritas, with a menu by chef Saul Ortiz. Passed hors d’oeuvres include sopes, flautas and quesadillas. The first course features spicy crab cakes paired with a shot of Maestro Dobel tequila, and the second offers guests a choice of lamb shank with mole verde or red snapper a la talla with achiote and lime aioli. For dessert, classic Latin flavors abound, with banana empanadas and cinnamon ice cream.

Jacobson has been progressing well; his family says he’s now able to respond to and communicate with visitors, and will soon move to a local physical rehabilitation center. All of the proceeds from the Viva Max! dinner go toward his recovery. For tickets, call 735-8322 or email

At home, I prefer my drinks to be of the ice + vodka + tonic variety, with hopefully a lime and barely a stir. But Double Helix Wine & Whiskey Lounge (in Town Square, 735-9463) seeks to change this, with its interactive cocktail-making class at 7 p.m. on March 19. The latest installment of the drinking lessons uses Bulleit bourbon in a Stone Sour and Redbreast Irish Whiskey to make an Irish Godfather, and includes recipe cards so you can replicate the drinks in the privacy of your own bar. I’ve got my vodka tonic down pat; maybe it’s time to work on my whiskey game.

It’s the prime time of year to sit outside for a meal, so I hightailed it back to Yellowtail (in Bellagio, 693-8300) because I’d remembered they have patio seating—complete with a front-row view of the Fountains of Bellagio. And chef Akira Back’s menu is ideal for springtime dining, featuring light dishes with lots of flavor. One of my favorites is the jeju domi ($27), which gives a nod to his Korean roots. Fresh, line-caught snapper is served raw like sashimi, enhanced with chojang, an earthy, Korean red pepper paste that has a bite of sweetness to it. His other big hit is the bigeye tuna pizza ($26), in which thin tuna carpaccio sits atop a cracker-like crust, with a whisper of truffle oil and micro shiso leaves to add some greenery.