Picnic Time, Chicken-Fried Foie

2014-04-30 04.30.15It’s a lovely day for a picnic—for now anyway. And Downtown Grand has the perfect urban oasis at which to lay down a blanket and enjoy the view: its rooftop pool. The 35,000 square-foot Picnic (702-719-5100, DowntownGrand.com) might be the one element that makes the rooftop truly feel like a social, community space where you want to hang out. There’s live entertainment and movie screenings at the ’50s-like setting, along with communal picnic tables, lawn seating, and an infinity pool for hotel guests and locals to enjoy. Executive chef Charles Wilson has a spread ideal for your wicker picnic basket, including well-spiced hummus and edamame dips for snacking with fresh pita chips, cute mini turkey sandwiches, and the OMG Picnic Burger topped with bacon, grilled tomato, shallot aioli, fried onions and house-made pickles.

Chicken fried foie gras

Chicken fried foie gras

Speaking of OMG, what makes foie gras even better? When you batter and deep-fry that bad boy! One of the new menu items for spring at Comme Ça (in the Cosmopolitan, 702-698-7910) was the brainchild of corporate executive chef Brian Howard, who told chef de cuisine Daniel Ontiveros that he wanted to do “something dirty” with foie. Ontiveros had recently eaten a chicken-fried steak, and this is the result. Available during Social Hour from 5-8:30 p.m. in the bar and lounge, the chicken-fried foie gras is served slider-style with caramelized onions and black-truffle gravy that’s similar to the sausage gravy that normally accompanies a chicken-fried steak, all on a soft, sweet brioche bun. It doesn’t get much dirtier than that. Also new for spring are a mushroom tart and pan-roasted sweetbreads, as well as some badass carrots—yes, carrots—glazed with spicy harissa and tossed with goat cheese.

On the subject of things you shouldn’t miss, a couple of events have piqued my interest: BrewBQ (SinCityBeerFestival.com) on May 17 pairs barbecue and craft beer for a drink-around at Ellis Island that benefits Three Square. Tickets are $55 for all-you-can-drink, while the VIP price of $85 includes all the beer, plus a half rib, half chicken and corn.

If a progressive dinner is more your speed, Dishcrawl has landed in Las Vegas with an event May 20. The Sin City Spring Thaw Crawl ($45, Dishcrawl.com) takes on Summerlin this time around, and to keep everyone on their toes, organizers won’t announce the restaurants to be visited until 48 hours before the gathering. Last year, diners hit up Cantina Laredo, Kabuki and Pizza Lounge, so expect a variety of cuisines.