Windy weather doesn’t damper dining for a good cause at Taste of the Nation

S’more lollipops from the Stratosphere’s Top of the World restaurant elevated the flavor at Taste of the Nation.
Photo: Jim Begley

Held to benefit a variety of local childhood hunger charities, Share Our Strength’s annual Taste of the Nation showcase enticed local foodies to partake in gluttony for a good cause May 17 at the Palms.

This year’s event featured restaurant booths inside Rain nightclub rather than circling the pool perimeter, a fortuitous shift as winds howled across the pool deck and set various sample-size dishes into flight with increasing regularity as the night progressed. I’m not certain the flying debris concerned many; attendees were encouraged to leave “tips for the kids,” and judging by the overflowing jars, they’ll be getting a whole lot more to eat in the coming weeks.

More than 30 local restaurants donated time and dishes for the event. I was enthralled by Aureole’s trio of meat dishes, duck rillettes, chicken liver mousse and country terrine, each adorned with a house-pickled cherry for a taste of tartness. Stratosphere executive chef Rick Giffen exhibited charming frivolity with his s’mores lollipops, making me long for a campfire while the temperature hovered near 100 degrees.

Like he did at the recent Vegas Uncork’d Grand Tasting, Raku chef/owner Mitsuo Endo once again drew crowds with his signature robata skewers, including the mesmerizing tsukune (grilled ground chicken). Not to be outdone, Border Grill executive chef Mike Minor served tomatillo-glazed barbecue short ribs from his own traveling grill.

If you haven’t been to Taste of the Nation, be on the lookout for the event next year. Drinking and dining for a good cause are never a bad combination.

Photo of Jim Begley

Jim Begley

Jim Begley is an avid food lover who began writing about his Las Vegas dining adventures to defray his obscene ...

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