Why the Epicurean Affair is one foodie’s favorite spring festival
Wed, Jun 1, 2011 (6:26 p.m.)
Photo: Jacob Andrzejczak
May is over and so is our season of food festivals. We ate and drank too much at Uncork’d at Caesars Palace, then did it again (for charity) at Taste of the Nation at the Palms. Last week, we closed out the good-spirited gluttony with my personal favorite, the Epicurean Affair, organized by the Nevada Restaurant Association at the Palazzo. Why do I like it so much?
1. It’s drunker. All these events are total boozefests, where your admission fee gets you endless beer, wine and more fruit-infused liquors than you’ll ever want to sample. But EA is serious about getting you buzzed, formatting booths like drink-drink-eat-drink instead of eat-drink-eat-drink. My pick for top cocktail of the night was a fresh, crispy treat made from Absolut’s new OrientApple, which sounds kind of racist for a vodka name.
2. It’s laid back. The third-floor pool is still a fancy spot with the Palazzo, Venetian and Wynn hotel towers spiraling above you. Maybe they weren’t spiraling; maybe I had too much OrientApple. But the vibe is always fun and casual. Perhaps it’s because …
3. There are local restaurants as well as tourist restaurants. At Uncork’d, only Vintner Grill represented off-Strip Vegas. At EA, there were all kinds of familiar foodie faces. There was our old friend Ricardo’s, with its comfy plate of ceviche tostada, albóndigas meatball and chicken flauta. There was Origin India, with a terrific, spicy potato slider. Even Downtown was there, with Hugo’s Cellar handing out lobster and Binion’s serving up scallops. Bite of the night? A draw between Nobu’s braised kurobuta pork belly and home team Delmonico’s awesome pot roast. I’m full.
With top accommodations, first-rate entertainment, high-end shopping and a slew of acclaimed chefs, the Palazzo has positioned itself as one of the most luxurious resorts on the Strip.
More than 3,000 all-suite rooms start at 740 square feet and are decorated in a modern, yet classic, Italian style. Each room features a sleeping area, with a king or two queens, and a sunken living room area with floor to ceiling windows.
A cathedral ceiling tops the Palazzo casino, while a second 80-foot dome brings natural light to the property's lobby. The 105,000 square foot casino features more than 2,000 slots and 80 table games but lacks the stale smell of cigarettes, as the property is LEED certified with smoking off limits in most of the Palazzo — including 50 percent of the casino floor.
Dining at the Palazzo is among the best of the Strip, starting with Wolfgang Puck's CUT. Chef Simon To serves up authentic Chinese cuisine at Zine, while Sushisamba combines Brazilian and Peruvian flavors with Japanese techniques. At LAVO, club-goers can dine on Mediterranean dishes before heading upstairs to the bath house-inspired nightclub.