Help Share Our Strength, Golden Week, Pork & Whiskey and Where to Drink Unicorn’s Blood

N9NE Steakhouse | Photo by Jon Estrada

N9NE Steakhouse | Photo by Jon Estrada

Dine-around season is back, and they’re always more fun when you’re eating for a good cause. The 22nd annual Taste of the Nation returns to Rain Nightclub at Palms on October 2 to benefit Share Our Strength. Once again, Wynn Country Club’s Carlos Guia leads the charge of 35 other restaurants and chefs providing bites for the affair, including B&B Ristorante, STK, Mix and Border Grill, along with Palms restaurants N9NE Steakhouse, Nove Italiano and the new Lao Sze Chuan. Off-Strip is represented by Raku Sweets, Raku, DW Bistro and Kuma Snow Cream. Of the many culinary dine-arounds that take place in our city, this might be one of the smaller ones, but it’s always one of the most memorable of the year.

After Chinese New Year, the Golden Week that surrounds October 1 is the biggest holiday in China. Where lunar new year revolves around people going home to their families, Golden Week, which celebrates the creation of the People’s Republic of China, usually includes international travel. However, like lunar new year, Golden Week involves lots of food,  but way fancier than its winter counterpart. And Hakkasan is definitely the spot for fancy Chinese food, offering a prix fixe menu from September 29 to October 12. Chef Ho Chee Boon’s $138 menu features extravagances such as Peking duck and Tsar Nicoulai Reserve caviar, as well as a dim sum platter, braised whole sea bass in a clay pot and Szechwan beef rib eye with enoki mushrooms. You’ll leave the meal full, happy and with your very own gold macaron as a parting gift.

I don’t know how pork and whiskey work together, but they must, especially if the pairing is thanks to Templeton Rye’s Heritage Pork project, which raises Duroc pigs on a diet that includes the grain spent from making whiskey. These awesome, well-fed, likely very tasty pigs become the star, along with Templeton Rye for an a la carte menu on September 27 at Delmonico Steakhouse (in Venetian, 702-414-3737).  The pork gets treated well, eventually being made into whole-animal dishes such as house made head cheese with wild arugula, Cajun boudin boulletes and what likely will be a winner, the caramelized porchetta with Brussels sprouts. Mixologist Max Solano even washed some of the pork belly fat into whiskey to create an infusion, and has created cocktails with the results.  I wonder what happens when you feed the pigs just straight up whiskey.

If, after an excess of whiskey and pork you need to cleanse everything, roll over to Juice NV (9500 S. Eastern, 702-463-1689). The new juice bar’s selection of cold pressed juices and bites are made from ingredients sourced as locally as possible, with careful balance of flavor in each. The Unicorn’s Blood is sweet from watermelon and pineapple, with some heat from ginger, and because Juice NV is a vegan spot, is not made from real unicorns.


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