Nevada Public Radio Listen Live

"Fresh Air"
Facebook Twitter Follow Nevada Public Radio

Support Nevada Public Radio
June 10, 2004



When I read 2 articles cheek to jowl about how offal food is becoming, I figured something was afoot.

Now If you can stomach it, and don't bust a lung in all the excitement, I'll explain how there's a cerebral trend brewing that celebrates eating....the cerebrum....of animals that is....

So let me vent my spleen a little and I'll help you get in touch with your innards self...

Yes, like trucker hats and lounge music, the bland and utilitarian is now on the cutting edge of butcher shops and with-it restaurants. So now it's hip to eat hip....or pancreas, tongue or tail....and the most un-fashionable food of all is being cooked (and written about), by every chef or writer worth his fleur de sel. Offal gets its name from the waste and bit parts that fall off a butchered animal. Traditionally it was the stuff the po' folks ate. You might say it was the last place most would go for sustenance, but now, it's the last stop on the trendy food train. I attribute this to the faddishness of food in America, and our chefs always looking for the Next Big Thing to bedazzle their customers with least those wishing to be bedazzled.

Of course, across the pond, just like sex and public corruption, eating offal is no big thing.

In fact, when I was in Rome a few months ago, I made a point to visit Checchino....a venerable establishment in the old Testacccio meat market neighborhood. Checchino has been in business since 1887, and specializes in what they call the fifth quarter of the animal. There I dined on tiny tubes of pajeta (or the small intestines of baby lambs still redolent of mother's milk and a sumptuous salad laced with veal trotters. Son of Food Man devoured a plate of unrecognizable beef entrails, and, ever the trooper, even the Food Gal got into the act by lapping up some soft, custardy marrow directly from the bones.

But in the world of can you top this, these are the equivalent of a Big Mac. Lambs tongue and chicken hearts are small potatoes next to such exotica as rooster testicles, squid intestines and pork penis, Gosh, I'm getting' hungry just thinking about 'em

I'm guessin' Insects are next, but somehow I can't see Mario Batali whipping up a stew of fried cicadas, with an earthworm mole.

And speaking of Big Mac's, if you've ever dined.....did I say dined? Mickey D's, you owe it to yourself to see "SuperSize Me", the very funny fast food film by Morgan Spurlock. See it, and you'll never be that happy about a happy meal again.

See discussion rules.


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.

Web hosting facilities provided by Switch.