The epicenter of the culinary world last week was a four-mile stretch of asphalt known as the Las Vegas Strip. Vegas Uncork'd food and wine festival brought out top chefs to cook for each other and for fans. Here, in no particular order, are the best things I ate during the four-day festivities.
Brown sugar-brined pork chop with corn succotash: Carlos Guia served up this sweet, smoky dish off the regular menu at Country Club. This is what summer tastes like if you're a chef from New Orleans with serious skills.
Greek lamb-and-olive sliders with garlic sauce: Most of the chefs engaged in culinary one-upmanship. Bon Appétit's Cat Cora kept it simple with sizable sliders that hit all the right notes.
Spaghetti e polpette di coniglio: Valentino chef Luciano Pellegrini made a thick, toothsome spaghetti with rabbit meatballs tasty enough to make you forget about beef.
Manchego cheesecake with Rioja reduction and caramelized summer stone fruit: A cheesecake that actually tastes like cheese? SushiSamba paired Spanish manchego cheesecake with a topping made from Spanish wine and ripe fruit. It worked!
Whole fish in aromatic salt crust: Paul Bartolotta stuffed whole fish with orange slices and fennel, baked it in a heavy salt crust that locked in the juices, and served it with a Sicilian citrus sauce. It was all about having the right product and letting it sing.