Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2011 | 3:43 p.m.
Robin Leach's Vegas DeLuxe
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Congratulations to the good folks at our Ethel M Chocolates in Henderson celebrating the 30th anniversary of their confectionery company founded by Forest Mars Sr. as a tribute to his mom Ethel. The sweet factory set among a 3-acre cactus garden with 300 plant species receives about 700,000 visitors each year.
The company also operates eight retail stores in Las Vegas. To celebrate the milestone, Ethel M launched a 30th anniversary commemorative collection of 32 original chocolate pieces in a Las Vegas-themed keepsake tin.
*Chef Alex Stratta, who has relinquished both his Alex and Stratta restaurants at the Wynn, will now focus on charitable endeavors involving food. He’s already at work on one of his first projects developing food ventures to benefit Alzheimer’s patients at Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health downtown.
A cancer survivor, Alex is expected to launch a line of specialty, “good health” foods for people coping with the effects of that illness.
*When Hollywood stars hit Sugar Factory American Brasserie at the Paris, they really indulge. Kim Kardashian and sister Kylie like the frozen hot chocolate, Whitney Port the dark chocolate mousse cake, hip-hop artist Drake and Miami Dolphins star (and newlywed Kim’s ex) Reggie Bush the $1,000 Chocolate Gold fondue with 24-carat, gold-coated chocolate.
Wilmer Valderrama likes the Lollipop Passion cocktail, Vanessa Hudgens and Brittany Snow chocolate milkshakes. Holly Madison often brunches there with Peepshow and Holly’s World co-star Josh Strickland on red velvet pancakes, banana split waffles, bacon and eggs, Nick Cannon on crispy fried chicken and buttermilk waffles. Before he departs, he always spoils wife Mariah Carey with a Hello Kitty pail of Gummy Bears.
*Tonight, First Food & Bar at the Palazzo hosts its Third Annual Shuck and Swallow fundraiser where the Las Vegas Locos cheerleaders will lend their pompons to the culinary challenge. Donations go to our food bank Three Square as part of Restaurant Week.
This year’s winner has to eat more than 117 oysters in 8 minutes to claim a new record. Incidentally, while at First, sip their version of the Tigers Blood cocktail that Charlie Sheen boasted about in his rants. The bartenders will happily reveal the ingredients celebrating the craziness of pop culture.
*Rio Chef Steve Martorano is teaching the magic of his South Philly home-style cooking in a new, nine-part online series at CafeMartorano.com. Yo Cuz! The Italian-American Cook lets Steve show the preparation of the simple food he grew up eating as he shares the experiences that inspired his growing food empire. His show posted yesterday is about the delights of Orecchiette Pasta with Escarole and Beans and hot and sweet sausage.
*And don’t forget the Top Chef Just Desserts viewing party at Holsteins in the Cosmopolitan tonight, as Pastry Chefs Carlos Enriquez and Craig Poirier continue competing on the Bravo reality TV series. Gather at 9:30 p.m. for the 10 p.m. viewing.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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