A Taste of the Nation amuse bouche

Something small on a spoon? Yes, please.
Photo: J Ludwig and Heather Hugues / NightVissions

Maybe it’s because my microwave burrito lunch was unsatisfying in the usual microwave burrito sort of way, or maybe it’s because I just browsed through the 30+ restaurants that will be offering up bite-sized delicacies at Taste of the Nation Las Vegas, but I can’t wait for Thursday night.

It probably has something to do with Kim Canteenwalla, chef and partner of Society Café at Encore, who told me what he’ll be preparing for the 17th annual Taste of the Nation held this year at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino’s Muse Ballroom: pulled pork sliders finished with bbq sauce and served with homemade sea salt and vinegar potato chips.

Look into the ice sculpture closely. Very closely.

Look into the ice sculpture closely. Very closely.


Taste of the Nation
June 4, 6:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m., $75, VIP $100
Hard Rock Hotel and Casino
Taste of the Nation Las Vegas

Taste of the Nation: 5 points

Frozen burrito: 0 points

I also blame my Thursday-craving on Carlos Guia, recently named executive chef of Country Club restaurant at the Wynn, who is the restaurant chair of Taste of the Nation 2009 and will be helming SW Steakhouse’s TOTN booth. On Guia’s menu: prime NY strip steak with charred vegetable succotash and a jalapeño tropical fruit sauce.

Taste of the Nation: 10 points

Frozen Burrito: -5 points

And there are plenty of other reasons that Thursday can’t come fast enough, like booths from Aureole, Rosemary’s, B&B Ristorante, N9NE Steakhouse and Sushi Roku or the interactive cocktail station manned by mixologist Tony Abou-Ganim, where he’ll be teaching guests to make custom cocktails like the master.

Of course, it’s also knowing that proceeds from the $75 tickets for the culinary flea market, part of Share our Strength’s national campaign to end childhood hunger, will raise money that stays in Nevada, split between organizations like Three Square Food Bank, Catholic Charities and Project MANA. Last year Taste of the Nation Las Vegas raised close to $50,000.

Or maybe it’s just that I’m still a bit hungry, disappointed in my lunch choice and hankering for something with a little more flare and flavor. I only have one question: Is it Thursday yet?

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