Dining News & Notes: October means food festivals

Raku chef Mitsuo Endo works the grill at the Las Vegas incarnation of the LuckyRice food festival Saturday, June 23, 2012 at Cosmopolitan.
Photo: Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

‘Tis the season for fall food festivals, and there sure are lots of ‘em this year. Here are a few:

The Taste of the Nation fundraiser for Share Our Strength returns to the Palms, featuring 35 local chefs and restaurants from the Country Club and B&B Ristorante to Border Grill and Stripsteak. October 2, 7 p.m., $100-$125. Rain Nightclub, ce.strength.org.

LuckyRice Night Market returns to Cosmopolitan for an evening of Asian cuisine from chefs including Pichet Ong, Cédric Vongerichten and Miguel Trinidad, with local eats from China Poblano, Chada Thai, Sweets Raku and more. October 4, 8 p.m., $88-$150. Boulevard Pool, cosmopolitanlasvegas.com.

It’s not just a food event, but Wednesdays Downtown returns to the Fremont East Entertainment District this month, featuring a painters lounge, a silent disco, a collective happy hour at area bars and more. The food truck village will feature chefs John Courtney and Nicole Brisson popping up, as well as local trucks Dragon Grill, Truck-U Barbeque, Can’t Dutch This, Hummus Factory and Slidin’ Thru. October 8, 6 p.m.-midnight, free admission. FEED, fremonteast.com.

Wednesdays Downtown returns to the Fremont East Entertainment District this month.

Nathan Adelson Hospice’s 15th annual Wine & Food Tasting Extravaganza offers samples of popular wines and cuisine plus music and silent and live auctions. October 9, 5:30 p.m., $75. Gaudin Motor Co., nahwine.auction-bid.org.

Communities in Schools of Nevada’s fourth annual Harvest for Hope features food from Cosmopolitan restaurants Blue Ribbon, STK, Comme Ça, Scarpetta, Wicked Spoon and more, plus a new fall cocktail from Cosmo chief mixologist Mariena Mercer. October 10, 5 p.m., $100-$350. Cashman Center, cisnevada.org/harvest-2014.

Red Dragon’s popular Foodie Fest has a new home this year: the Linq. Fifty food trucks will converge on the Strip, including newbies Me So Hungry, Dos Chinos, Cambalaches and Frach’s Fried Ice Cream. October 15-19, times vary, $10-$50. Linq, lasvegasfoodiefest.com.

The Epicurean Charitable Foundation’s 13th annual M.E.N.U.S. gala features a poolside dine-around preceding a concert by Zac Brown at the Grand Garden Arena, with snackage provided by Aureole, Crush, Gordon Ramsay Steak, Hakkasan, Public House, Sensi, Heritage Steak, Zenshin and more. October 17, 6 p.m., $600. MGM Grand, ecflv.org.

Five Guys Burgers & Fries is among the new restaurants opening this month at Downtown Summerlin.

There’s plenty of speculation regarding the location(s) for the recently announced Wahlburgers expansion to Las Vegas. The Hingham, Massachusetts-based burger joint is owned by famous brothers Mark, Donnie and Paul Wahlberg and is the subject of its own reality show on A&E, and a franchise agreement has three stores opening in Las Vegas in the next five years. One spot it will almost certainly not take? Downtown Summerlin, which opens this month and just recently announced it will be the home of the eighth Las Vegas location of Five Guys Burgers and Fries. Other recently announced restaurants for the 106-acre urban center are: Bonanno’s New York Pizzeria, California Pizza Kitchen, Earl of Sandwich, Grape Street Café & Wine Bar, Marketplace, Moe’s Southwest Grill, MTO Café, Panda Express, Trattoria Reggiano, Gelato Messina, Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar, Pancho’s Mexican Restaurant, Pieology Pizzeria, Ribs & Burgers, Rice Republic and Wonderland Bakery.

Chef Takeshi Omae's wok-charred ramen is a study in complex flavors.

Just next door to Downtown Summerlin at Red Rock Resort, Mercadito is part of the national Tacos for Strength campaign beginning October 1. Chef Patricio Sandoval is inviting a variety of chefs to join him in creating unique tacos to support Share Our Strength and its mission to end childhood hunger, and you can help by eating those tacos. Various specialty tacos will be available throughout the month for lunch ($13.50) or dinner ($15.50) with a portion of proceeds going to SOS. Last year, Mercadito restaurants sold almost 3,000 Tacos for Strength.

Buzzy new restaurant Japanese Cuisine by Omae is also doing some fundraising. Through the end of October, the tiny restaurant by Michelin-starred chef Takeshi Omae will be open for a special ramen lunch with some proceeds going to an orphanage house in Kumamoto, Japan, where Omae stayed briefly as a youth. Since his recent relocation to Las Vegas to open his “dream” restaurant, Omae is unable to return to the orphanage for its annual fundraiser in November. Lunch reservations are available online here.

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