What Qualifies as ‘Local Food’ in Las Vegas?


Is there a food or cuisine indigenous to Las Vegas?

I’d vote for steak and eggs. Or, in the words of the late G.L. Vitto, “The Great Boo-fay!”

Seriously, though, “eating local” may be all the rage, but our city is too young, dry and (for most of its history) remote for anything to develop like the Cajun/Creole scene in New Orleans. I suppose Anasazi-based crops such as corn and squash—both of which my grandmother grew in her Las Vegas backyard—qualify, but unlike Northern Nevada, which has a rich history of Basque immigrants who transplanted their shepherding culture there, Las Vegas has almost always been an import city.

To wit: Flights full of fresh seafood touch down daily in our desert (shrimp cocktail, baby!). But we simply don’t yet have an abundant selection of local sources for farm-to-table goods. Most of the foodstuffs found at our farmers markets are more accurately “regional.” While new ideas (hydroponic indoor farms?) are bandied about for growing more here, for now, what few sources we have typically lose ground to development (Gilcrease Orchard is a prime example).

Witness Mario Batali’s heralded Bet on the Farm market at Springs Preserve (reopening December 1). The website clearly states that items are “limited to what’s in season, locally grown in the Las Vegas areas or trucked in from SoCal.” Sure, truly local items (honey, eggs) are offered, but the strongest advantage Bet on the Farm has over your supermarket is that its produce is not flown in from South America. Meanwhile, many of my neighbors have trees that produce copious amounts of lemons, pomegranates and figs … Now there’s a missed opportunity!

What’s the proper way to say ‘Huntridge’?

Who knew this was a problem? Though given recent efforts to revitalize the Streamline Moderne theater (which opened at Charleston Boulevard and Maryland Parkway in 1944), I guess it was bound to come up. As someone who waited with my grandmother in lines stretching about 100 feet to the street to score a seat for first-run Disney movies at the Huntridge, and who then enjoyed dozens of concerts during the theater’s second (perhaps third?) life, I’m one of those who embraces the soft, rolling pronunciation of “Hun-tridge,” rather than the hard-syllable “Hunt-ridge” I’ve occasionally heard. Still, that’s not as cringe-inducing as “Ne-VAW-duh” … though residents of the Huntridge neighborhood may disagree.