Celebrity Grub Culture

Taco Trucks Form A Delicious Wall Outside Trump’s Hotel in Las Vegas

It seems like TV personality Donald Trump has had an affinity for walls since the start of his presidential run, so the The Culinary Union is hooking him up with his very own Taco Truck wall.

With Wednesday being the final presidential debate, in Las Vegas no less, the union has teamed with several political activists to have food trucks lined up outside of Trump’s hotel on the Vegas strip.

#walloftacotrucks at Trump International Hotel #debate2016 #lasvegas

A video posted by PaintThisDesert (@paintthisdesert) on

The American Bridge, Latino Victory Project, PLAN Action, iAmerica Action, Center for Community Change Action, For Our Future, and 50 immigrant advocacy activists have joined this protest as a clap back for not only Trump’s plans to build a wall bordering Mexico, but also a jab at Marco Gutierrez, who founded Latinos for Trump, and famously said:

“My culture is a very dominant culture, and it’s imposing and it’s causing problems. If you don’t do something about it, you’re going to have taco trucks on every corner.”

You’d think the Trump campaign wouldn’t embrace protest, but apparently they love the idea as Trump campaign senior adviser AJ Delgado told Buzzfeed, ““I never, EVER turn down a chance to eat some good tacos so I say ‘thanks’ for setting up shop right outside!”

As far as protests go, this is definitely the tastiest.


Tips On Making A Great Drink From World- Class Mixologist, Rob Floyd


To be served a drink by one of the world’s best mixologists means that you’re about to indulge in a perfection of craft. To share said drink with such a person means that you’re about to engage in some quality conversation.

Amidst a vibrant room soundtracked by clinking glasses and excited chatter, Rob Floyd, master mixologist-bartender, is letting this very scenario play out for me.  We’re both in Las Vegas — a city where you could say the drinks are flowing more than the money out of each casino patron’s wallets — and the energy of the scene is fueling our discussion.

The details of Floyd’s Vegas stay coincide with his involvement with Pepsi’s launch of a unique, sophisticated new beverage, “1893,” and Caesar’s Palace’s 50th anniversary. For the festivities, his expertise lent a hand to four exclusive cocktails in celebration of the occasion, adding to the enticement of the gala.

“Specifically, 1893 goes back in time and uses really simple ingredients. Now what I wanted to do for the cocktails for the festivities is that I wanted to give everybody a different flavor profile. First, I wanted to make it simple, so you can make it at home and have a great experience. Secondly, I wanted to have something for someone who loves spicy. Spice releases dopamine in the body. It gives you that natural pleasure, that rush.”

When it came to picking his brain about the good, the bad, and the ugly about cocktails and bartending, Floyd obliged and was scrupulous with his knowledge.

“Cocktails are binary — they’re either good or bad. And unfortunately, most of them are bad. So if you’re able to go back to the basics and make a great, simple cocktail, with bright colors and flavors to it, that’s something that somebody can make at home, you’ve really achieved something.”

Why do we love this? What makes us want to make this drink?

Such commentary about going back to the basics, was straightforward advice from the guru himself; albeit advice that I didn’t readily expect from the showman who’s been known to make some otherworldly concoctions.

“I can make a great cocktail — so what. What is that ‘why’? Why do we love this? What makes us want to make this drink?”

So a great drink needs to be simple, have good character, and include an interesting story behind it? Noted. I mean I do remember that one time I named one of my own half-baked home concoctions, “100 MPH,” in honor of the exact speed I got slapped with a ticket for that morning. It was a hit with my party guests.

Floyd continued, “Reaching someone, empowering them, that’s something that drives me everyday.”

And that mindset is a reason why he had linked up with Pepsi and Caesar’s Palace in the first place. Using both brands’ significant reach, he was now able to influence more of the everyday individuals who endeavor to learn the art of mixology.

For the many wondering what a master mixologist’s go-to drink would be at the bar, or what he’d have in his collection, Floyd divulges, “At home I usually have either a great rye, a great bourbon — I usually go a little dark — or I’ll go with a mezcal. I’ve been into mezcals lately, they’re dynamic and fun.”

Feature image: Jessica Zollman
Fast Food

Taco Bell Is Opening A Boozy Cantina In Las Vegas


Taco Bell has announced that they’ll be opening a flagship Cantina restaurant on the Las Vegas Strip. Because nothing says fun like booze and tacos.

Taco Bell’s 24 hour location will have a Vegas-like flare to it. The interior will feature an open kitchen layout, community tables and shareable menu items. The Cantina will also serve alcohol, beer and Twisted Freezes.

“Expansion into urban markets is a key focus for us both this year and over the course of the next several years,” said Brian Niccol, Chief Executive Officer at Taco Bell Corp in a press release. “When we talked about where to establish a flagship store, it didn’t take long to realize that having a presence in the heart of Vegas would undoubtedly create a unique, distinctive and fun destination and experience for Taco Bell fans.”

The Cantina restaurant is set to open sometime in the fall. It’ll be found on Harmon Corner across from the Cosmopolitan Hotel and CityCenter. The Vegas Cantina will join Taco Bell’s existing locations in Chicago and San Francisco.


How The Cavs Lavishly Celebrated Their First Championship Victory

For the seven people in the world that might not know, the Cleveland Cavaliers came back from a 3-1 deficit in the championship series against last year’s victors, the Golden State Warriors. After winning three games in a row to beat the Warriors 4-3, the Cavaliers knew they were about to party their freaking faces off, especially since this is the first NBA championship ever to be won in Cleveland.

The team decided to stop off in Vegas on the way home for their celebrations, and boy were they glad they did. The popular Vegas club XS (located at the Wynn) was hosting them and had the entire club prepped and prepared for their arrival.

The team walked into the club and that’s when shit started getting cray.

Kevin Love definitely got his party on with his teammates when he got to XS, although he had no problem getting it started early in the locker room.

The fun doesn’t stop there. Even before the team headed out to Vegas to really get their party on, they all began popping bottles and splashing each other as soon as they got to the locker room.

When they got to Vegas, the staff at the Wynn made sure to pull out all the stops for the champs. According to ESPN’s Darren Rovell, the team was presented with 350 bottles of Moet & Chandon Nectar Rosé that were emblazoned with the team’s logo, along with Moet & Chandon paying homage to the state of Ohio with a specialized crest.

Screen Shot 2016-06-20 at 2.16.55 PM

Each bottle has a crystallized version of the Cavs logo stamped on the front. The retail price of the entire order comes out to $21,000, although XS was/is selling them for $5,000 a bottle. Basically, if all 350 bottles were sold already, the club will be making $1.75 million.

Looks like the employees at the Wynn Hotel are the real winners here.

Screen Shot 2016-06-20 at 2.41.16 PM


Emeril Sous Chef’d For A Culinary School Student To Help Her Win A $20K Scholarship

emeril lagasse

In addition to having celebrity chefs taking over a Las Vegas BuffetBon Appetit’s Vegas Uncork’d Food Festival also brought together Chef Emeril Lagasse and Le Cordon Blue student Elsa Sabellano to compete at the Chase Sapphire Preferred Grill Challenge. The stakes? $20,000 of scholarship money toward culinary education. The twist? Chef Lagasse would have to take orders from first-year culinary student Sabellano whilst competing against the other chef-student duo of Michael Mina and Kristina Burdick.

Chef Lagasse would also need to leave his everyday responsibilities as a restauranteur and executive chef behind, exchanging culinary direction and celebrity meet-and-greets, for… chopping onion and celery. Both chef-student duos created an iteration of Bouillabaisse, a traditional fish stew originally from France, with the Lagasse-Sabellano dish taking home the prize with its black garlic and lemongrass variation (pictured below).

Photos by Isaac Brekken for Bon Appetit.

emeril lagasse black garlic lemongrass bouillabaisse

Elsa Sabellano Jenstad, Emeril Lagasse, Krista Burdick, Michael Mina


This is What Happens When 5 Celebrity Chefs Take Over a Vegas Buffet

Julian Serrano, Michael Mina, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Shawn McClain and Masa Takayama all took over various counters of The Buffet at Aria as part of Bon Appetit’s Vegas Uncork’d Festival in Las Vegas this past weekend. Vongerichten, of his self-titled steakhouse at the Aria, graciously took over the carving stations. And instead of asking for a sliver of turkey breast or standard prime rib, patrons had the opportunity to indulge in a Soy-Glazed Beef Brisket, Ancho-Chile Glazed Kurabota Pork Rack, Chimichurri Butterflied Prawns and his Tomahawk Prime Rib Roast (pictured below).

McClain was not to be outdone bringing his signature pizzas from the Aria’s Five50 including his Gotham and Forager varieties – a pepperoni, salami and Italian sausage pie and a mushroom, spinach ricotta and white sauce pizza (both pictured below), respectively. If you’re a long-time reader of the site, you may remember that he’s the guy that stole my heart away from The Secret Pizza Kitchen.

Mina, of the new and highly touted Bardot at the Aria, served a mixture of rillettes and charcuterie – but what really took the cake (outside of the dozens of desserts provided by the Jean-Phillipe Patisserie), was his puff pastry version of escargot (pictured below). Our previous visit to Bardot included this fantastic steak tartare, and this 6-inch vertical block of melt-in-your-mouth french toast.

Serrano of PicassoJulian Serrano and the brand-new Lago at Bellagio, introduced us to a fancy pig-in-a-blanket: a swiss bread stuffed with spanish chorizo. But it was his take on a Spanish Tortilla that deemed to be most interesting made of potato, egg, onion, an aioli bread (pictured below). And lastly, hidden in the back corner of the sushi station was Takayama’s Toro Tuna and Caviar rolls. A full roll at his Aria restaurant barMASA would normally cost $240, so obviously we indulged in a few. And then a few more. 

Check out the photo array below and stay tuned for more coverage from the Bon Appetit’s Vegas Uncork’d.

Michael Mina’s Bardot – Escargot Puff Pastry

escargot puff pastry michael mina bardot las vegas

Masa Takayama’s barMASA – Toro Caviar

Toro Caviar Sushi Roll Masa Takayama Las Vegas

Shawn McClain’s Five50 – Gotham Pizza

Shawn McClain Gotham Pizza Aria Five50 Las Vegas

Jean-Georges’ Steakhouse – Tomahawk Prime Rib

jean georges steakhouse aria tomahawk prime rib

Julian Serrano’s – Spanish Tortilla

Julian Serrano Spanish Tortilla

Shawn McClain’s Five50 – Forager Pizza

Shawn McClain Forager Pizza Five50 Aria Las Vegas

Michael Mina’s Bardot – Charcuterie




Fast Food

UPDATE: Halal Guys to Also Open Vegas and Bay Area Locations


Earlier we announced that the Halal Guys had plans to open locations in Southern California. Until recently, we thought the franchise would be exclusive to New York. Not so much the case anymore.

With the announcement of stores opening in SoCal, Texas, Washington, D.C., and the Philippines, we now have even more good news for those with the taste buds for halal.

We spoke exclusively to franchisees of Halal Guys who announced even more locations where they plan on opening stores.

My partner and I signed a 30-unit deal to be the exclusive Halal Guys franchisee in San Francisco, East Bay and the Las Vegas metro markets.
Whatttt. Looks like we’ll get even more locations on the West Coast than we thought.
We plan to open three stores within one year: One in SF, one at UC Berkeley, and one either on the Las Vegas strip or in Downtown Las Vegas. We are looking at sites now.
Seems like the franchisees have big plans for Halal Guys in the near future.
 We are excited as well – especially for Vegas since its a similar 24-hour market.
We’ll be sure to keep you posted on more Halal Guys news as it breaks.