If you’re sitting down on Thanksgiving to enjoy roast turkey, you are part of the estimated 88 percent of people who will be eating that bird for Thanksgiving. We have long associated the Thanksgiving meal with this native bird, and even gotten a little creative with the cooking methods—braised, deep fried, smoked, stuffed with other birds, even propped up on a beer can—that doing anything else might seem out of the ordinary, right? If you’re willing to take flight (domestic turkeys don’t fly, by the way) and go for an original one-day only Thanksgiving dish but still stay with turkey, then Joseph Elevado, executive chef at Andrea’s (in Encore, wynnlasvegas.com) offers you a turkey with a twist. Just for Thanksgiving, the chef will be serving a Thai-inspired turkey green curry. Made with luxurious coconut, the sweet and slightly nutty kabocha squash, winter melon, dried cranberries and Thai basil are the makings of a delightfully fragrant meal. Available for $36 from 6-10:30 p.m.
After the tryptophan wears off, what are you planning to purchase on Black Friday? Certainly, something electronic is not as tasty as a meal at 50 percent off, and for that Veranda (in Four Seasons Las Vegas, fourseasons.com/lasvegas/dining/) has you covered. Just call on Black Friday between 9 a.m.-6 p.m. to reserve and dine for half off (food only) in December (excluding Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve). When you show up to dinner, may I recommend starting with beet carpaccio—roasted sugar beets and ricotta with citrus rainbow carrots, candied hazelnuts and passion fruit vinaigrette. The branzino with Manila clams, cannellini beans, cauliflower and seafood guazzetto sauce is a great choice for your secondi, and for dessert, indulge in the hot chocolate soufflé with Frangelico cream and dolce latte gelato.
Later in December, get ready for Ultimo: A Weekend of Excellence, which is perhaps the most extravagant culinary event of the year in Las Vegas, which returns to The Venetian and The Palazzo (venetian.com/ultimo) December 9-11. In honor of the theme “Le Grand Voyage,” the Grand Banquet will feature an international menu, taking guests around the world with courses celebrating each chef’s country of origin. Leading the esteemed group will be chef Thomas Keller of Bouchon (Yountville, Las Vegas), Per Se (New York City) and French Laundry (Yountville). The virtual culinary journey will include France by way of chef Jérôme Bocuse; Australia with Curtis Stone and Shaun Hergatt; Asia with Ming Tsai; India with Vikram Vij; Africa with Pierre Thiam; Italy with Paul Bartolotta; Sweden with Emma Bengtsson; and Morocco with Mourad Lahlou. A gastronomic adventure this big would not be complete without the finest wines from around the world, delivered in person by the winemakers behind them. Pio Cesare, Piedmont’s acclaimed fourth-generation winemaker, will bring his decadent single-vineyard Pio Cesare Il Bricco Barbaresco 2004; Vicente Dalmau Cebrián-Sagarriga, Count of Creixell, will travel from Spain with his Marqués de Murrieta Castillo Ygay Blanco Gran Reserva Especial 1986; brothers Daniel and Georges Daou will debut their spectacular Daou Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Patrimony; and Hayes Drumwright, Adriel Lares, and Adam Craun will present Memento Mori, their powerful cabernet sauvignon from Napa Valley. An ambassador of Dom Pérignon will pour both Dom Perignon Vintage 2006 and Dom Pérignon Rosé Vintage 2004, which will be enjoyed at the Grand Banquet in Lalique 100 Points Universal glasses.