Vaughn Pops Up All Over, Conant Takes to the Streets, and Aglibot Shares Kung Pao Tacos for Charity

Mercadito’s trio of  guacamole. | Photo by Anthony Mair

Mercadito’s trio of guacamole. | Photo by Anthony Mair

Ben Vaughn is keeping busy these days, despite the fact that his planned Southern Kitchen restaurant next door to Atomic Liquors has fallen through. As Vaughn searches for a new spot for that endeavor (he tells me he’s looking seriously at Summerlin), he’s launched a Southern Kitchen food truck, being overseen by local executive chef John Courtney when Vaughn’s not in town. But for fans who want a sit-down experience, the pair has two pop-up dinners planned for this month. The first will take place July 10 at Downtown’s Eat. Tickets to the five-course affair are $35 each, or two for $50, at They’ll host another dinner July 22 at Made L.V., $39 for four courses. You can make reservations by calling the restaurant at 702-722-2000.

Scott Conant was so excited about the recent introduction of lunch at D.O.C.G. in the Cosmopolitan that he rented himself a food truck, pimped it out with the restaurant’s logo, and spent June 29-30 touring the Valley, handing out free samples of his sandwiches. I caught up with Conant on Tuesday in the parking lot behind Vegas Seven’s offices, where he was treating our entire staff and plenty of other Downtown workers to a free lunch of Italian heroes and chocolate chip cookies. The chef joked with me about how he has wanted to offer lunch at D.O.C.G. since it opened, and four-and-a-half years later he finally gets his wish.

Rodelio Aglibot, of TLC’s The Food Buddha, is the latest participant in Mercadito’s Tacos for Strength campaign. Each month, a guest chef creates a special taco that’s sold at Mercadito restaurants across the country, with a portion of the proceeds going to Share Our Strength. Aglibot’s creation, available through the end of July, is called The Food Buddha’s Pastrami Kung Pao Taco. It consists of diced pastrami, red bell peppers, white onions and sliced scallions seasoned and caramelized kung pao sauce, served on a flour tortilla and topped with crushed, roasted peanuts and julienne celery leaves. You can get an order of four for $16.50—that’s enough for yourself, or for you to share your lunch for Share Our Strength.

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