As far as I’m concerned, every day is macaron day, but according to Payard Patisserie & Bistro (in Caesars Palace, 731-7292) the delicate French cookie’s official day to celebrate is March 20. Payard makes some of the best in the city, in varieties from classic chocolate and vanilla to the more unorthodox raspberry lychee and coffee. Macarons are notoriously difficult to make because the shell of the cookie, composed of egg whites and almond flour, is so fragile. So Payard has created a take-home kit for ambitious bakers who are ready to create the ganache-filled treats themselves. Normally only sold online, the Makecaron kit will be available at the bakery on March 20, containing pre-made cookie shells that home macaron-makers can fill with ganache of their choosing. Fortunately, my favorite flavor, the green-hued pistachio, is already assembled for me at Payard, so I’ll skip the DIY kit and purchase them straight from the display case by the dozen—and I never need a holiday as an excuse.
The front of Monte Carlo is undergoing a major transformation, with three dining experiences soon to be all up in Las Vegas Boulevard’s grill. First there was Diablo’s Cantina, and Chicago transplant Yusho is on its way, but firing up its own grills right now is Double Barrel Roadhouse (222-7735). With garage doors on the patio that open the restaurant to the Strip, there won’t be a shortage of foot traffic, and inside there’s no lack of down home food and drink choices, right down to the cocktails served in Mason jars. The menu from former Osteria del Circo chef Michael Vitangeli focuses on Southern-inspired dishes, including a massive platter of well-constructed barbecue nachos with pulled pork and soul food sides such as collard greens and cheese grits.
Westside favorite Honey Salt (1031 S. Rampart Blvd., 445-6100) continues its commitment to community with the introduction of the Farm Table dinner series, taking place the second and fourth Mondays of each month. The beer or wine-paired affairs will feature seasonal comfort food, with as much produce as possible coming from local farms, including Prime Time Farms, Prime Color Farms and Grow Smart Gardens. The series kicks off March 17 with a timely Irish feast, beginning with vegetable crudite served with eggplant, pepper and cheese spreads, followed by Patrick’s Salad, composed of spinach, pine nuts, dried cherries, six month-aged Manchego and cider vinaigrette. The family style main course gets super Irish with ale-braised lamb shanks, cabbage-wrapped corned beef purses, colcannon (a gratin of potatoes, leeks and carrots), and Irish rose soda bread with honey butter.