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!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Beef Shawarma To-Go at the delicatessen in the Mediterranean Market, Las Vegas!

Armenian Nazook

Great selection of old world food and good prices!

     I published an article about the Mediterranean Market a little bit more than a year ago.  As Las vegas residents know, this market is the "go to" place for Middle Eastern, Persian, Arabic, Egyptian, North African, Turkish, Grecian and Armenian food.  A wide variety of prepared food, canned goods, cheese, teas and sweet treats from the old world can be found at this market.  The fresh produce department has a unique selection of popular Middle Eastern vegetables.  This market has a full butcher shop that specializes in old world style cuts of meat.  
     To read more about the details of the Mediterranean Market in the previous article, follow this link:  The Mediterranean Market in Chinatown, Las Vegas!   

     Catering to the needs of customers is is what the Mediterranean Market is all about.  Since the time that I published the old article, The Mediterranean Market added a delicatessen style restaurant.  Now customers can order freshly cooked meals while they shop.  The deli menu is extensive and the prices are a bargain.  The deli food is hand crafted and authentic.  The old traditional flavors will bring back many pleasant memories.

     Going shopping for food when hungry is always a good way to drain the bank account.  When hungry at a market, everything looks good and it is far too easy to fill grocery cart sky high with food.  I was hungry as a hippo when I stepped through the doors.  I had to gather myself and find some self control or I would be broke before my next college tuition support check arrived.  Fortunately, the delicatessen is located near the entrance of the market, so the first thing I did was place an order, so I could fend off my hunter gatherer instincts.  
     Originally, I thought falafel was what I had in mind, but when I saw Beef Shawarma on the menu, I almost started to drool.  As anybody from the Middle East and Turkey knows, beef shawarma is classic old world munch food.  Fresh marinate beef is slowly roasted on a big Turkish donor kabob skewer, just like gyro meatloaf at a Greek restaurant.  The beef is sliced off of the kabob onto a warm Khubz Arabi (pita).  The meat is garnished with vegetables and a thin goat milk yogurt sauce that is flavored with traditional herbs and spices.  The flat bread it rolled into a cylinder shape, then it is grilled in a panini press till it becomes lightly toasted.  Beef Shawarma has been around for many centuries and there is one good reason why.  The flavor is fresh and awesome tasting!  

     While at the market I purchased some turmeric, lupini beans, virgin olive oil al peperoncino and Armenian String Cheese.  I had a craving for something sweet and the Armenian Nazook really looked good.  Nazook is an Armenian rolled walnut and butter pastry.  Just like classic European pastries, Nazook is not excessively sweet.  Honestly the price was hard to beat.  For $3.50, I got 12 Nazook pastries.  That is a real deal in this day and age!

     * One word of caution concerning lupini beans.  Lupini Beans were one of the favorite foods of the Romans.  Lupini Beans are very bitter and they contain a toxic poison called Lupin.  Lupini beans need to be soaked in salt water and drained several times.  The beans also have to be simmered and drained several times.  After the leaching process is completed, there should be no bitter flavor.  No bitter flavor means that the toxins have been removed. 

     The Mediterranean Market is located at 6020 Spring Mountain Road, near the intersection of Jones in Las Vegas.  Korea Town is a few blocks away and the Mediterranean Market is located on the edge of the Chinatown shopping district. 

    Once again, I recommend the Mediterranean Market for those who crave traditional Mediterranean food!  I also now highly recommend the cuisine at the delicatessen in the Mediterranean Market!  This market deli is close to the Las Vegas Strip, so there is no excuse for visitors to not experience classic mouth watering old world flavors.  Yum!