Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Armenian Erebuni Beer, Chicken & Beef Tenderloin Kabob and Baklava at Shish Kabob House, Las Vegas!

Armenian cuisine in Las Vegas!

     Just another typical afternoon college beer break at a local craft brewery?
     While taking a summer afternoon college pilsner beer break at the Tenaya Creek Brewery the other day, I started playing a game of Jacks or Better Five Card Draw on a poker machine.  I only intended to have one quick beer and play a few cards, before returning home to finish writing essays for classes in college.  
     As every poker machine player knows, sometimes the game takes a dead heat path.  The game progressed in a pattern of allowing me to get a few dollars ahead, then it set my chip count a few dollars behind, before returning to even money.  This pattern seemed to go on forever.  In fact, after about an hour, I still had the same amount of money that I walked into the craft brewery with.  The only concession was that I got one complimentary beer, because I was gambling.  When I finally ended up $5 ahead, I cashed out and left the extra greenback winnings on the counter as a tip. 

     While playing poker, a friendly couple plonked down on the bar stools next to my seat.  I overheard them speaking to each other in a couple of languages that sounded familiar, so I asked them where they were from.  As it turned out, they were from Armenia and Russia.  They got married just before moving to Las Vegas and they had been working at casinos in this city for quite some time.  
     Their faces looked familiar and I know that we had talked in the past at some point.  To outsiders, Las Vegas might seem like a big city that has very low odds of seeing the same two strangers twice in a lifetime.  In reality, when hanging out away from the Las Vegas Strip and the downtown tourist destinations, one finds that Las Vegas is kind of a small town.  Like many small towns, a fair percentage of the local working population have a habit of frequenting a narrow range of places, that offer a comfort zone that is to their liking.
     When I heard the one vaguely familiar face say that he was from Armenia, I thought this was a strange coincidence, because I shopped for some Armenian food items at the Mediterranean Market a few days before.  After shopping, I did some educational research reading about Armenian cuisine and later that day I created an Armenian style summer salad, then I published the recipe article.  A series of events like this dies make a person realize that this is a small world that is filled with deja vu.  Oddly enough, food karma often seems to be the cause of coincidences.  In other words, an oddsmaker would set very long odds on a chance meeting like this occurring.  
     Since the small world of Las Vegas that afternoon had just turned into a small poker playing world with long-shot odds, it then became easy to strike up some fun conversation with the Armenian and Russian couple.  We were having a grand old time yakking about everything from Armenian food, to hot rod cars, sports and good vodka from their homeland.  I was stuck in a stalemate poker game and they were lucky enough to hit one winning nickel poker hand after another.  
     After calling my poker game a draw, I popped one final question, before heading back to the home front.  I asked the couple if they knew if there were any Armenian restaurants in Las Vegas.  I had to laugh because they both blurted out an answer at the same time, while stepping all over each others words trying to describe how good this Armenian restaurant was!  Apparently their Armenian restaurant suggestion was worth heeding, because they had nothing but good things to say about the place.  

    On my way out the door of the brewery, I gave the friendly couple some thankful gratitude, wished them luck and bid them adieu.  Off I went in the direction of home and suddenly, hunger set in.  The thought of good Armenian food caused my tummy to growl like a lion.  I suddenly veered right onto the highway and set a course for the Armenian restaurant across town.  I figured that since I had just overstayed my visit at the Tenaya Creek Brewery while doing some quality socializing, spending some extra time dining out before returning home to do a few hours of college essay writing was okay, since the homework due date was not yet critical.  I was hungry, it was summer, the weather was too hot to slave over cooking in my home kitchen and I needed the stress relief anyway.  

     Shish Kabob House, Las Vegas!
     So, off to the Armenian restaurant in the early evening it was.  I have driven past the Shish Kabob house several times in the past.  For some odd reason, which probably had something to do with stereotypical preconceived notions, I pictured the Shish Kabob Restaurant as being a standard big city Arabic or Persian fast food style restaurant with a tiny dining room that mostly did a local neighborhood to-go food business.  I later found out that what I pictured this restaurant to be, was in fact totally in error.  More often than not, when I have a preconceived idea about a place that I have never visited before, the preconceived notion later becomes a source of embarrassment.  This is one of life's important little lessons.  Sometimes it does not pay to figure a place out, till one actually arrives at the destination.  Ce est la vie!     

     When I arrived at the Shish Kabob House, I immediately figured out that this place was not a to-go style kabob shop.  The clientele were dressed sharp, there was a large group of people attending an event in the banquet room and the large dining room theme spelled out elegance.  This was not a big city kabob to-go shop.  This place was a real nice restaurant that offered elegance and comfort.  I was impressed to say the least.

     I initially placed a chicken and beef kabob order to-go, but after getting into the comfortable friendly atmosphere, I sat at a table and asked the host to change my order to dining in-house.  A asked what kind of beer they had and the waitress named a few American national brands, then she said that they also carried Armenian beer.  Since I could not remember any specific Armenian brews, I asked for a refreshing Armenian lager of some kind.  She delivered a bottle of Erebuni Beer and the beer poured nicely into the glass with a thin foamy head.  This is a characteristic of good old world lagers.  Erebuni definitely is a nice brew.   

     Customers at the table next to me commented about the beer I was drinking and a nice conversation ensued.  Those folks were regular customers and they had nothing but good things to say.  The evening was quickly turning into a pleasant social event.  A good restaurant atmosphere and good food has a way of promoting this.  Obviously the couple back at the Tenaya Creek Brewery, suggested the Shish Kabob House for far more reasons than just good food.  This restaurant epitomizes what a good dining experience is all about.   

     The chicken and beef kabob showed up from the kitchen a short time later.  While chatting with the server, she proudly exclaimed that the beef on the kabob was actually filet mignon.  As a chef, I realized that this means this restaurant purchased whole beef tenderloin sections, which are a bit pricey.  
     A chef has to fabricate the tenderloin section efficiently or the restaurant food cost will go through the roof.  Armenian restaurateurs have a reputation for being efficient restaurant managers.  My step grandfather was a great restaurant manager and consultant who learned the ropes by working his way up in Armenian owned American diners way back when.  He was the first to teach me to never waste good food and he said that an ounce of good food that goes in the trash each day, can add up to thousands of dollars over a long period of time.  
     I have worked as a sous chef for a couple of billionaire Armenian entrepreneurs in the past that owned fine French restaurants.  They liked my work because I waste no good food and I keep food costs low.  I happen to know for a fact that it is possible for a mid priced restaurant to serve beef tenderloin in all menu items that call for beef and still make a good profit.  A restaurant that successfully accomplishes this feat, does achieve high quality marks!  

     Warm pita bread covered the Chicken & Beef Tenderloin Kabobs, to keep the entree from cooling down.  The old world café style food presentation was appealing and it was refreshingly uncomplicated.  The plate of food simply had the look of pure comfort.  I was hungry as a "fasting elephant" by then, so I dug right into the food.  All I can say is the chicken and beef tenderloin were tender beyond belief and the favor was old world Armenian at its best.  The rice and accompaniments were perfect too.  This was a great plate of Armenian food and the portion size was generous!

     I filled up my tummy, till I could eat no more.  I actually had leftovers to take home by the end of the dining venture, so I asked for a "doggie bag."  While placing the leftovers in a to-go container, waitress reminded me that I had also ordered Baklava for dessert, when I first placed my original order as take-out food.  I completely forgot about this during the time that I decided to dine in the restaurant, instead of carting the meal home.  I looked at my swollen belly and said to myself, "I must be crazy!  What have I done to you?  Sweet Baklava is on the way!"  
     Since I was full already, I requested the baklava to-go.  It was getting late and I needed to get back on track with the school homework that I put off.  I figured that the baklava would a perfect snack for later that night and it certainly was.  There is nothing like baklava for taking the edge off of a hectic day and adding sweetness to life!    

     The Shish Kabob House atmosphere was comfortably elegant.  I do suggest breaking out some fine threads and shining the shoes, before venturing to this restaurant.  
     The dining room and kitchen looked spotless.  Outdoor dining is available and the view of the moon over the palm trees created a romantic atmosphere for couples that night.  
     The chefs are talented and they prepare authentic food that appeals to the local Armenian, Russian and gypsy populations that live in the surrounding neighborhoods.  The service staff was professional, cultured and attentive.  
     The Shish Kabob House offers menu prices that are a real bargain in this modern age.  Dining value is the key to success and this increases customer satisfaction.  Lets put it this way.  Only satisfied smiles could be seen in the entire dining room.  Nice!
     A small band stage for entertainers is located near the host station, so this place really must be happening on weekend nights.  A large banquet room is available for special events, like weddings, birthdays and business meetings.  
     The Shish Kabob House also runs a busy catering business.  The host informed me that their food is a favorite of employees in the neighboring business and medical office parks.  They also cater to large parties on the Las Vegas Strip, which is fairly close by.  
     This restaurant also maintains a good friendly business relationship with the Armenian bakery that is located next door.  The host mentioned that the bakery is a place that I should check out.  This will be a future dining venture that will be featured in an article sometime in the near future.

     The Shish Kabob House is centrally located at 6620 West Flamingo Road in a small plaza, between Torrey Pines and Rainbow.  The parking lot is well lit and there are plenty of spaces.  For more information, follow this hyperlink to their website:  Shish Kabob House

     Recommending the Shish Kabob House is very easy to do!  Everybody likes good Armenian shish kabobs, especially on warm summer evenings here in Las Vegas.  This restaurant has an extensive clientele base and they simply are doing everything right.  Yum!         

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Beef Bulgogi Dog and Gang-Nam Dog at Buldogis Café, Las Vegas!

     Gourmet Korean Fusion Hot Dog Creations in Las Vegas!  

     A few days ago, I mentioned that several interesting Las Vegas restaurant articles would be published this week.  Today's Buldogis Café article was at the top of this list for several good reasons.  The idea of combining classic Korean ingredients, trendy Asian street vendor style food and the all American hot dog really is unique, novel and new.  Trendy creative cuisine like this not only adds excitement to the dining experience, it also introduces classic old world flavors to consumers that have never tasted food like this before.  This truly is what the modern global chef arena is all about!

     Way back in 2002, when I first relocated to Las Vegas, I was in awe when I discovered the wide range of ethnic cuisine diversity in this city.  My tastes buds were literally in "seventh heaven!"  While experiencing many international cuisines that are not common back east, I did plenty of literary research to learn about each cuisine's traditions and trends.  
     One traditional cuisine that I took a liking to was authentic traditional Korean food.  I happen to be a hot chile pepper fanatic and I occasionally like strong food flavors, so naturally, Korean food was something that I "fell head over heels" for.  
     Shortly after starting this food website, I made a point to feature several Las Vegas Korean restaurants, in order to hopefully create more public interest in this fun traditional cuisine.  The Korean dining experience involves a family style meal, with several shared main entree courses and a vast array of banchan appetizers placed on a large dinner table.  Everybody at the table digs in while chatting away.  Classic Korean cuisine is social food at its best!  
     Apparently there was a high percentage of people in America that never have seen Korean food before and they must have taken some interest in this cuisine, because the statistical data at this food website showed that these articles were getting plenty of views each day.
     Buldogies Unleashed
     Just about the same time that the Korean restaurant articles were published, the gourmet street vendor style food truck scene went full swing.  The Buldogis Unleashed Food Truck was getting a lot of praise from gourmands that were tired of seeing the same old food at the same old restaurants.  The demand for something new was high and the Buldogis Unleashed Food Truck satisfied this consumer demographic niche in a big way.  
     Buldogis Unleashed is in such high demand, that this food truck actually publishes its daily vending route at the Buldogis company website, so customers know where to cross paths with this mobilized gourmet hot dog dining destination.  
     Buldogis Unleashed is a great modern business success story, especially when considering that this company was founded during a severe economic depression!  The secret to the Buldogis Unleashed success can be attributed to offering a unique high quality product, that no other hospitality business offers.  Monopolizing a niche market spells success, not matter what!      

     Buldogis Café
     Buldogis Gourmet Hot Dogs is an example of a business that is doing everything right.  Buldogis opened two casual café style shops in the Las Vegas Valley and they were careful to not expand operations beyond the range of feasibility.  Many new restaurateurs make the mistake of expanding business operations too fast and then the bottom falls out.  During lousy economic times, a wise restaurateur takes a conservative approach.  So far, Budogis is playing their cards right and they certainly have earned a credible Las Vegas poker face!
     I have driven past both Buldogis locations and I have been meaning to check out what the food was like for quite some spell.  One Buldogis location is located in the Summerlin neighborhood, which is across the street from the landmark Chicago Brewing Company near Fort Apache and Sahara.  
     The location that I visited for today's article is located smack dab in the middle of Chinatown and Korea Town.  Buldogis Café can be found in a small plaza at 6000 West Spring Mountain Road, between Red Rock Street and Jones Boulevard.  A few weeks ago, I published an article about the Mediterranean Market in this same plaza.  This central valley location is fairly close to the Las Vegas Strip.  

     I do not know why, but it seems like every time that I visit a restaurant for the first time, it just happens to be a slow day or a slow business hour.  After 30 year of working in the restaurant bizz, I know when the slow business hours are most likely to occur.  I actually do plan my visits around this kind of lull time period, because it creates a better opportunity to chat with employees and gather information.  
     When interested readers of this article visit Buldogis, I do suggest interacting with the restaurant staff.  Ask questions, because the Buldogis staff cordially responds with smiles and good information.  These people certainly know what hospitality is all about and they are proud of the creative food products that they offer.
     Buldogis constantly redefines and reshapes their menu.  There is no such thing as an old worn out tired menu item that is a slow seller at this place.  A restaurant that aggressively manages menu offering strategies on a regular basis certainly does maintain a high level of consumer interest.  For example, I was a sous chef in a French café.  We wrote seasonal menus daily and we were always busy.  In the world of trendy "cutting edge" gourmet street vendor style food, variety and innovative product development is an important factor in the business success formula.     

     Gourmet hot dog creations that have a theme are currently in high demand.  Buldogis offers a fantastic array of tasty gourmet hot dog creations that have a modern Korean fusion cuisine theme.  All one simply has to do, is try one of these fancy hot dogs and they are hooked!  
     While at Buldogis, I decided to order the Beef Bulgogi Dog, because traditional bulgogi is something that many people in the western world are now familiar with.  The food was cooked from scratch, the marinated bulgogi beef topping tasted great, the Asian Slaw was crisp and the G-Onions were savory.  Best of all, the hot dog presentation looked awesome.  The hot dog was painted with Buldogi Sauce, which is similar to sushi roll dynamite sauce.  The spicy sauce really added some punch!  
     Koran Gang-Nam Style is going on, baby!  Just the name Gang-Nam Dog alone was enough reason to make me want to order this menu item.  The menu description reads like this:  "Roasted Pork Belly, Cucumber, Nori, Sesame Seed."  Obviously the chef reserves the right to add a few pleasant surprises that support the Gang-Nam style theme.  The thick slice of Korean style roasted pork belly topping was a culinary delight in itself.  The cucumbers add a fresh crunch.  The Gang-Nam Dog was glazed with a mildly spicy semi sweet Asian sauce that is kind of like a well crafted Char Siu Sauce.  
     Gourmet hot dog fans will be happy to know that the plump hot dogs were grilled or roasted, so the full flavor develops.  The hot dogs had a classic juicy snap that wiener connoisseurs expect.    
     Many food historians credit Korea for the invention of Chinese BBQ Sauce (Char Siu), so the chefs at Buldogis really know there stuff!  Knowledge is the key to making great street vendor style food and educated modern consumers expect to be satisfied at this level when chowing down.  Ce est la vie!  

     The dining room and kitchen looked spotless.  The parking lot is well lit and the amount of spaces are ample, but more parking space is located on either side of the plaza.  The entire plaza hosts businesses that have quick customer turnover rate, so there is a constant busy traffic flow.  The café atmosphere was relaxed and comfortable.  The service was friendly, informative and attentive.  The food quality was innovative, trendy and excellent by any standard.  Even the beverage that I tried had a gourmet touch.  The iced tea was infused with exotic Asian fruit flavors.  
     The server that I chatted with eagerly pointed out an advertising banner while I was there.  Apparently Buldogis was recently featured in an Oprah Winfrey production, so this place really has it going on.  For more information about what Buldogis has to offer, follow this hyperlink to their company website:  Buldogis Gourmet Hot Dogs
     Buldogis Café in Las Vegas?  Awesome!  I definitely recommended this restaurant all fans of innovative gourmet street vendor style fusion food.  Yum!  

A Classic Banana Split at Calamity Jane's Ice Cream Parlor ~ Elvis Memorial Weekend at Sam's Town Hotel & Gambling Hall, Las Vegas!

     Some folks celebrate by popping a champagne bottle cork a mile high.  Some folks celebrate by by doing something they have never done before, like sky diving.  Some people celebrate by doing a porterhouse steak dinner at a posh restaurant.  Those who truly accomplish the trill of victory always manage find a fitting way to enhance the experience.  When celebrating sweet success, an old fashioned ice cream parlor ranks as a top choice for a celebration destination!  
     The writing that I do in college certainly has kept me busy the last two weeks.  The final two weeks of a six week school term session always ends up being a stress filled cram and writing jam session.  I happen to be an adept one finger typist, like many novelists are in America.  One finger typing symbolizes originality.  For some reason, it is easier to focus on content when the mind is not preoccupied with concentrating on regimented ten finger typing.  On the other hand, when spending over 90 hours per week writing research papers during the final two weeks of a collegiate term, a single digit typist can wear an index finger down to a nub.  
     By Friday night of last week, which was the last day of the college term, I was thoroughly "burnt to a crisp" after plugging away on the last research paper writing assignments.  All the recent college classroom one finger typing paid off in a big way.  I ended up getting three "A" final grades in three difficult BA degree classes.  Celebrating the decent grades was well within order, but a beer would have put me to sleep and my tummy was so torched from excessive coffee drinking, that a fancy steak dinner seemed unappealing.  Going for a celebratory sweet treat at a traditional ice cream parlor was the best choice.  Kids of all ages would definitely agree!

     Calamity Jane's Ice Cream Parlor
     Ice cream fans all agree that some ice cream parlors are better than others.  In my opinion, fast food style soft serve ice cream does not qualify as being ice cream.  This is because soft serve ice cream is made with a prefabricated dehydrated dry mixture of mysterious artificial ingredients.  One fast food restaurant chain in particular, which happens to be notorious for serving artificial food and GMO food, even adds a modified animal fat compound called Pink Slime to their soft serve milkshake products.  Pink Slime does pose a health hazard, especially to those who suffer from cardiovascular disease.  Instant soft serve ice cream is just about as low as the world of ice cream can get.  Needless to say, I avoid soft serve ice cream like the plague, because there is nothing natural about this frozen dessert product.
     When the ice cream parlor sign says "hand scooped ice cream," that phrase is not just a sales pitch.  It is more like a pride filled quality assurance statement that promotes better consumer relations.  It does not matter whether the ice cream is a commercial name brand or whether it is made from scratch, because hand scooped ice cream is much better than soft serve instant mix imitation ice cream.  

     Calamity Jane's Ice Cream Parlor features good old fashioned hand scooped Dreyer's Ice Cream.  Dreyer's has been making slow churned ice cream since 1928 and this is probably the most popular brand in the west.  Dreyer's is known for creating innovative novel ice cream flavors and their quality control is consistently good.  
     Calamity Jane's has an old fashioned ice cream parlor menu that features easy to recognize favorites, like sundaes, shakes, floats and of course, a banana split.  The menu of classic ice cream creations fits in with the Calamity Jane's old fashioned business theme and the old west theme of the Sam's Town Gambling Hall & Hotel.  One simply cannot go wrong with and old fashioned theme in  the world of ice cream! 
     It seems like every time that I write an article about an ice cream specialty at a restaurant or ice cream parlor, I order a classic banana split.  The reason why is because there is only one definition of a classic banana split and there is only one way to classically present this ice cream dessert, which was created in 1904 at a drug store soda fountain counter in Latrobe, Pennsylvania.  By ordering only classic banana splits, it makes it easier for viewers of this food website to compare.  Compare?  Just forget about comparing, because the real reason that I order the classic banana split is this ice cream creation is simply irresistible!
     A classic banana split is made with one scoop each of vanilla, chocolate and strawberry ice cream.  The three neapolitan ice cream flavors are served in a boat shaped dish between a banana that is split in half lengthwise.  Pineapple sauce, strawberry sauce and chocolate sauce are poured over the ice cream.   A classic banana split is topped off with crushed nuts (usually peanuts), whipped cream, and maraschino cherries.  

     I definitely liked the employee attitude at Calamity Jane's.  When I ordered the classic bananas split, she gave a nod of approval and said "I wish everybody ordered the classic version, because it really is the best!"  Her good attitude was reflected in her craftsmanship, because the banana split that she made was picture perfect.  This was one awesomely great classic banana split!

     Since it is so easy to become hopelessly lost in gigantic Las Vegas casino resorts, giving travel directions inside the casino is almost a necessity.  The easiest way to find Calamity Jane's Ice Cream Parlor in Sam's Town is to look for the Century Theatres.  This ice cream shop is conveniently located next to the cinema and there is no better way to finish a night at the movies than to give in to temptation at a good ice cream parlor.
     Calamity Jane's Ice Cream Parlor ...  Highly recommended for Las Vegas locals and visitors!  Yum! 

     Elvis Memorial Weekend at Sam's Town Hotel & Gambling Hall, Las Vegas!
     One of the saddest days in history was August 16th, 1977, when the King Of Rock & Roll passed away.  Many people reverently mourn Elvis Presley each year on this memorial weekend by making a pilgrimage to Las Vegas.  Since corporate casinos on the Las Vegas Strip have abandoned many Las Vegas traditions in recent years, the best way to find Vegas style Elvis entertainment is to head for where the locals go.  Sam's Town is touted as a locals casino and many tourists prefer this comfortable "off the strip" resort, because of its classic western theme charm.  
     Sam Boyd's Sam's Town Hotel & Gambling Hall truly is a place where Elvis never left the building!  When I was cruising along Boulder Highway on my way to Calamity Jane's to celebrate a college accomplishment with a banana split, I noticed the Elvis Memorial Weekend advertisement on the Sam's Town marquis sign.  I said to myself, "Elvis Memorial Weekend?  How could I possibly forget about this tragic day in history?  If Elvis is in the building, so am I!"  Destiny prevailed, because out of all the ice cream parlors in Las Vegas, I unknowingly chose to go to Calamity Jane's while the Elvis Memorial Weekend was going on.  Ce est la vie!
     Elvis was what was happening at Sam's Town that night.  Everything from Elvis Karaoke Contests to top Elvis impersonator bands at Roxy's and an endless array of back to back Elvis movies in the entertainment hall was taking place.  Sam's Town was literally Elvis heaven!  Fans of The King came from everywhere just to experience the Elvis Memorial Weekend events.  Sam's Town was definitely the happening place to be in Vegas last weekend.
     Sam's Town Hotel & Gambling Hall is located at 5111 Boulder Highway in Las Vegas at the intersection of East Flamingo.  From downtown, traveling east on Fremont Street is the way to go, because this street turns into Boulder Highway as it veers right in a southerly direction.  From the Strip, just head east on Flamingo.  Sam's Town is famous for its comfortable country western theme and the level of service professionalism is top notch.  Since there are currently no casinos on the Las Vegas Strip that have an old west theme, this resort gets top billing for those seeking a place that offers this venue.  
     Of course, a solid recommendation for Sam's Town is well within order, especially for fans of the wild west and Elvis!  The slide show above features some highlights at the resort.  For more information about the Sam's Town Hotel & Gambling Hall, follow this hyperlink to their website:   Sam's Town Hotel and Gambling Hall, Las Vegas

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Cardenas Market, Las Vegas!

     When in Rome, do as the Romans do.  When cooking Mexican food in Las Vegas, do as the Mexicans do!

     All I can say today is ugg and yawn.  The last two weeks of the Le Cordon Bleu College Advanced Pace BA Degree Program that I am attending were strenuous.  An advanced pace BA Degree program amounts to trying to finish the junior and senior years, in less than 18 months.  This kind of pace dramatically increases the student workload.  Over 95 hours per week were spent writing research papers, essays and Power Point Presentations during the last 14 days, so I have nerve spasms from coffee overdoses, my eyes are blistered and my typing finger is worn down to a nub.
     Yesterday was the last day of the six week college class term.  The last week of each term is a five day school week instead of a seven day week.  No late paper turn-ins are allowed during the last week, so there is no optional due date extension leeway.
     I completed the Event Management Course with high grades, so now I have a thorough understanding of planning events that range from weddings to festivals and concerts.  Because I already have several years of event supervisor and cooking experience, I introduced many new ideas to the curriculum.  The professors at Le Cordon Bleu always appreciate my insight and I often have to sign wavers, so my written material can be used for classroom teaching examples.
     For example, little mention was made of theme weddings in the Event Management Course, yet theme weddings are popular these days, especially in Las Vegas.  I participated in a classroom group project that planned a wedding at a gazebo in zoo.  Even though the other students were conservative in their approach, my postscript idea was to plan a zoo site wedding that had a "Planet Of The Apes" movie theme!  That kind of wedding would definitely create memories that last a lifetime.  Culinary arts professors really do like novel new ideas that expand horizons.
     Needless to say, there has been very little time for publishing new articles at this website.  Editing old sightseeing traveler destination food articles has been just about all that could be accomplished this month.  The list of articles sitting on the back-burner that are waiting to be published has grown to over 125.  As usual, the highest priority goes to publishing restaurant and market articles first.  Since the college workload is reduced in the next six week session, I will be able to get this website back on its normal pace.  Some interesting Las Vegas restaurant articles will be published in the next few days.    
     Fast loading slide shows are replacing the photographs in the travel destination articles.  This increases the page loading speed and reduces related viewer bounce rates.  In other words, the slide shows make the pages load faster.  Instead of only attaching a few photos to an article to represent a sightseeing destination, the entire album can be loaded at a photo storage site (Google Picasa) and the slide show transfer link is imbedded in the website article HTML script.  The viewers that have slow internet service providers or slow browsers may have to wait for the slide show to load, but the food & travel article will load instantly.
     Slide shows for grand picturesque destinations, like Bryce Canyon, have well over 400 photos, so viewers can get a thorough vision of what these kind of places are like.  Not everybody can travel to the scenic destinations in the west, so the slide shows do serve the purpose of letting viewers see images that are often not pictured in travel brochures or TV shows.  The slide shows also create interest and this benefits those who are looking for things to do and places to go.

     Cardenas Market, Las Vegas! 
     When I publish recipes that require odd items or items that are difficult to find, some readers scratch their head and wonder where in the heck they can find this stuff.  Fortunately, I also publish articles about where the exotic items can be found.
     Cardenas Market is located at 4700 Meadows Lane, at the intersection of Decatur.  This central valley location is only a few block away from the Meadows Mall and Highway 95 North.  This market is in a large plaza that has a large, well lit, parking lot.  The store is well managed and organized.  The entire market is spotlessly clean.  The employees are friendly and they familiar with all of the products, so questions are answered with informative responses.  

     Cardenas Market is a huge food market that specializes in Latino food and merchandise.  Practically anything from south of the border can be found at this nice market.
     The butcher shop display case is full of Hispanic Cuisine specialty cuts and the prices are good.  Prepared stuffed meats, fajitas mixtures and marinated asado meats are available.
     The produce department is stocked full and many hard to find items can be found there.  For example, I found good crisp fresh Amaranth Greens (Pigweed), perfect tiny limes and some big prickly pears.  Most standard American grocers do not carry these items.  The Cardenas Market produce department is one of the most well organized grocery store produce section that I have seen in years!
     The rest of Cardenas Market is stocked with standard Latino canned food, dry goods and there is a nice frozen food section.  One who is interested in learning Mexican cuisine can wander from aisle to aisle and get a good education in this place.  One who wants to experience good Mexican food is also in luck at the Cardenas Market.  The delicatessen actually has a restaurant and dining room!  Freh hot Mexican entrees are served during business hours and the food looked really good.

     I will be starting a series of Gourmet Craft Soft Drink Pairing in upcoming recipe articles, so grabbed a bottle of Sparkling Pineapple Cider, while browsing the soda aisle.
     As a chef, I have never liked national brand soda distributers at all.  I would rather invest in human resources and employ a couple of employees that can make hand crafted gourmet soft drink syrups.  There really is no limit when it comes to creating gourmet soda flavors, so this is wide open territory for an enterprising chef!  Western craft beer breweries have already jumped into the gourmet soda making arena.  Some of the craft breweries are currently marketing some awesome Root Beer and Sarsaparilla.  If a soda maker wants novel new soda flavor ideas, a trip to the Cardenas Market produce section or soda aisle will inspire a brainstorm!

     Cardenas Market in Las Vegas.  Highly recommended!  Yum!