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April 16, 2014

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Counter Intelligence: Spago turns 20; app for chefs; Jose Andres’ Jaleo


Tom Donoghue/

Wolfgang Puck on the red carpet for the 2012 Keep Memory Alive “Power of Love Gala” tribute to Muhammad Ali’s 70th birthday at MGM Grand Garden Arena on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2012.

Hot off the grill! Here’s a celebration that will let you eat the menu of 1992 at those two-decade-ago prices. Chef Wolfgang Puck will celebrate the 20th anniversary of his first Las Vegas restaurant, Spago in the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace, on Dec. 11. He’ll greet guests, take photographs and cook in the kitchen at his legendary restaurant, which began the fine-dining trend in Sin City and the subsequent invasion of star chefs.

To mark the occasion, Wolf says he will offer a limited-time-only throwback menu with retro pricing and featuring signature dishes including house smoked sturgeon with crisp potato galette and horseradish cream; Cantonese-style roasted duck with wild huckleberries, ginger and stir-fried baby bok choy; and Wolfgang’s Kaiserschmarrn with strawberry sauce. The menu will be available during dinner from Dec. 10-14.

2012 Vegas Uncork'd: Wolfgang Puck Anniversary, Saber-Off

Wolfgang Puck celebrates his 20th anniversary on the Strip and opens 2012 Vegas Uncork'd by Bon Appetit with a saber-off on Thursday, May 10, 2012. Launch slideshow »

NEW CHEFS APP: To date, 500 chefs from eight U.S. cities have signed on as contributors to the new mobile app Chefs Feed. They have submitted nearly 100,000 dishes from hole-in-the wall recommendations to high-end haunts of the rich and famous. Although Las Vegas chefs en masse have not jumped onboard with local recommendations, that’s expected shortly.

However, several Las Vegas-linked chefs have participated: Mario Batali, Wolfgang Puck, Thomas Keller, Susan Feniger, Jose Andres, Alain Ducasse, Francois Payard, Michael Mina, Michel Richard, Pierro Selvaggio, Jean Joho, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Joachim Splichal and Scott Conant. Wolf lets you in on where he finds his sushi secrets, Thomas reveals his favorite places for pasta, and Mario spills where he gets his carnitas taco fix. Chefs Feed has all the answers of what to order where from the mouths of America’s best chefs. They provide real-time tips, and alerts are sent as chefs and dishes are added.

ONCE IN A LIFETIME: It’s a pre-auction taste treat when revered Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas chef Jose Andres offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to journey through his modern interpretation of traditional Spanish dishes on Thursday. You can find the preview package for Communities in Schools of Nevada’s Harvest for Hope silent auction items, but is up for bid now since his dinner will take place before the event itself.

Jose Andres' "e" at Cosmopolitan

Chef Jose Andres' unique and hidden Launch slideshow »

Thursday’s dinner will be inside Jaleo’s private dining room, the Biblioteca de Jose Andres, at the Cosmopolitan, with menu and beverage pairings curated by James Beard Award-winning chef Jose himself. Visit compete for Jose’s dinner and other auction items that will be showcased at Harvest for Hope on Friday at World Market Center Pavilion 3.

CHANGES AT MANDALAY: The Light Group has restaurant items of interest at Mandalay Bay in December: Citizens Kitchen & Bar, a casual American bistro by corporate executive chef Brian Massie, and a new vision for Red Square. Red Square is re-launching as a dinner, cocktail and nightlife destination, infusing American favorites with a Russian flair. Vodka and caviar, of course will remain a highlight.

Citizens Kitchen & Bar will feature Brian’s take on American comfort food (Maryland blue crab cakes, southern fried chicken and bacon-wrapped meatloaf) and is set to open in January. Remodeled by Munge Leung (1 OAK at the Mirage) -- Citizens also will offer a full-service bar and beer.

Eat well, laugh often and love much -- Mangi bene, ridi spesso, ama molto!

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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