For many Las Vegas transplants, the holidays can be a difficult time to stay in town. Midwesterners like me, and those who originate from the east side of the country, admit that while we may not miss the wintry weather, we definitely miss the food. I’d like to dedicate this column to those of you from the Big Apple. (No offense to my Las Vegas-based Boston, Philly, Baltimore and Washington D.C. homies.)
While obvious, it’s a must-do: Carnegie Deli (in The Mirage, 702-791-7310, Mirage.com). Here, one of the quintessential New York sandwiches is named for the quintessential New Yorker: the Woody Allen, who used the original Carnegie Deli for a scene in Broadway Danny Rose. The towering behemoth pairs smoky pastrami with thinly sliced corned beef, all precariously stuffed between two slices of soft rye bread. It’s an architectural feat to get a sandwich to stand this tall; it’s even more of a feat to deconstruct it so you can actually take a bite of the tender cured meats. You also have to make room for at least a few bites of the giant potato knish—fluffy mashed potatoes in a dough wrapper.
With the right resources, an East Coast feast can always be re-created at home. Head to the west side for Glaziers Food Marketplace (8525 W. Warm Springs Rd., 702-614-1111). To be fair, I did discover Glaziers while hunting for Chicago hot dog ingredients, but the independent grocery store has a little bit of New York in it as well. Sure, it’s got Nathan’s Hot Dogs and all the accoutrements you need to perfect your Coney Island dog, but dig a little deeper for some hard-to-find regional items. The bialys may be boxed, but Glazier’s does import delightfully chewy bagels (toasting not even necessary!), as well as Junior’s New York cheesecake and the festive little cookies you buy by the pound from bakeries in Little Italy.
The Cosmopolitan isn’t the only spot with a legit New York-style slice in town. The guys who brought you the not-so-secret-anymore pizza have set up a new shop—and this one is out in the open. Inna Gadda di Pizza (in Pawn Plaza, 702-998-0776, InnaGaddaDiPizza.com) nails the most important part of the pizza—the chewy, blistered crust—and then it builds up from there. The Sunday Gravy specialty pie is the winner, rich with tangy red sauce, sliced meatballs and big hunks of ricotta. Then follow it up with a cannoli filled to order. It’s enough to hold you over until you can get on a plane for the real thing.