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December 04, 2003
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FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Trendy Restaurants?

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So what is there to write about on this Thursday after Thanksgiving. How about my Turkey food hangover, which persists to this day. Or my refrigerator full of more carbohydrates and leftovers than it usually gets in a month of Sundays. I could go on about Christmas food gifts, but I'll do that next week. Or how about my favorite restaurant of the year...no I'll save that for the end of the month.

But something does interest me enough to spend my weeknights thinking and writing about it, and that's how little people in this town really care, or talk about food. Now I'm not talking about me a my snooty foody friends comparing the pasta from Valentino and Tre, or where the best wine bar is......No I'm talking about our town's complete lack of any food culture. I mean even compared to something as arcane as art, food is a poor stepchild in this land of the lost. Look at downtown for example, where public art is everywhere, we celebrate our neon heritage and First Fridays (and the Ice House) have raised the hipster quotient to 'must see' levels for the 30 somethings (and the wannabe thirtysomethings), out there.

But people don't go to trendy restaurants here (or talk about them), because there ARE no trendy restaurants here. Unless of course you're counting the lines out the door at the Claim Jumper-where quantity trumps quality at every turn. Yes sports fans, we live in a town where The Claim Jumper and The Cheesecake Factory are our trendiest restaurants. And hey, maybe that's a good thing. I mean it works well in Omaha, and I'm sure Fresno would love to have one to call their own.

Both these icons of overeating pack'em in and give good perceived value for all the salt and carbs they load into every item. And the hoi polloi can't get enough of it.....God Bless'em. And even the Red Robin, soulless as it is, is packed nightly while locally owned places with much better food (and similar prices), go begging.

What I've decided is that it's all about size, predictability, ......and cheese! Yes if you study the menu's at these trend-setters, you'll notice that they're big on smothering everything thing with cheese . At the Claim Jumper ... so cheese friendly is the menu that .i'm surprised they don't put it on the ice cream....

That's it ---- I've figured it out....Make food oversized, predictable, and melt cheese on it, and the world....or at least Las Vegans, will beat a path to your door. Other town's may have their celebrity chefs and famous recipes, but we've got our cheese. Now there's something to talk about.

See discussion rules.

Archives

Nov 24, 2010 | Thanksgiving 2010 - Another Beanie Reveal
John Curtas delves into family history to discover the real story behind Grandma Schroader's Sour Beans.

Nov 19, 2009 | Valentino -- You don't know the truffles I've seen
According to Food Critic John Curtas, no other Italian restaurant in Las Vegas has performed at such a high level for so long.

Oct 1, 2009 | Blow It Up
In at least one part of town, our dining critic John Curtas says the food used to be a lot better.

Sep 25, 2009 | Social Media Meltdown
For our dining critic, John Curtas, social media has started to intrude on dining out.

Sep 2, 2009 | Discovering LOS ANTOJOS
Our dining critic John Curtas finds a new affordable favorite.

Aug 20, 2009 | Chinois R.I.P.
For John Curtas the recent closing of Wolfgang Puck's first Las Vegas restaurant brings back memories.

Aug 3, 2009 | Food, Inc.
John Curtas turns movie reviewer today - but the subject is in his usual area of expertise. Hear his review of "Food, Inc."

Jul 16, 2009 | The Steak That Saved Las Vegas
Dining critic John Curtas finds some steak aged for EIGHT MONTHS and he tells us how it tastes.

Jul 2, 2009 | Bang for Your Buck
Everyone's food budget is tighter these days. But if you still want to dine out now and then, our dining critic John Curtas has a few tips on restaurants now giving you more bang for your buck.

Jun 19, 2009 | Whassup with Wazuzu
Explore Dining Critic John Curtas' love/hate relationship with Wazuzu. If you want to spice up your dinner go for at least a "4 or 5."

Jun 12, 2009 | Two Farmer's Markets
Fresh, locally produced food has become a big trend across the U.S. Our food critic, John Curtas, says there's more of this trend in Las Vegas than you might think.

Jun 4, 2009 | MandM Soul Food
John Curtas tells us about one of his favorite dining spots - a surpsingly affordable one.

May 28, 2009 | Checkpoint Charlie
While fine dining has seen a downturn in Las Vegas in recent months, our dining critic John Curtas says at least one dining legend intends to stay put. Charlie Trotter is standing pat in Las Vegas. John Curtas reviews Resturant Charlie.

May 8, 2009 | Food Festival Frenzy!
It's a time of many food festivals in Las Vegas. John Curtas has an overview.

May 5, 2009 | Peppermill Coffee Shop and Fireside Lounge
A landmark Las Vegas restaurant gets a visit from John Curtas. He takes you to the Peppermill.

Apr 23, 2009 | Thai Me Up Thai Me Down
Thai cuisine is starting to show up in more places in Las Vegas. John Curtas has some recommendations

Apr 9, 2009 | A Gourmet Corner - In Spring Valley?
Food Critic John Curtas takes a trip to the strangest gourmet corner in town.

Apr 2, 2009 | Pip's is a Pip
If you're looking for good dining near Aliante, our dining critic, John Curtas, has found a new place to go.

Mar 26, 2009 | Stripped to Its Bare Essentials
Dining on steak at Planet Hollywood! John Curtas takes you along.

Mar 19, 2009 | Hachi is absolutely amazing!
John Curtas has a find - a Japanese-fusion restaurant on the west edge of the city.

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