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Food for Thought

by Sally Bernstein (a WomensForum Food Blogger and Network Partner)

Sally Bernstein is the Editor of the acclaimed internet watering hole for women known as Sally’s Place as well as the Co-Host of Sally’s Place Internet Radio Network. Sally's blog on WomensForum is a place where fellow foodies can join Sally on her passionate journey through the world of food and wine.

Sally Bernstein
A Taste Of ARIA Las Vegas

 Photo Credit: Biondo Photo

The ARIA Resort & Casino in Las Vegas is a great place to spend your vacation. Swimming pools, a spa, casinos, shopping, nightlife, and theater - they have it all. But it was the dining options that really excited me. There are over 15 choices in both the signature dining and casual dining categories. I recently tried a trio of French, Spanish and Italian cuisines. Below I recommend the places you absolutely cannot miss and the tastiest most authentic dishes to order. 

BARDOT Brasserie

Photo Credit: Biondo Photo

James Beard Award-Winning Chef Michael Mina’s BARDOT Brasserie is a nod to the cafes of Paris. The menu reads like any of the best in Paris and your meal begins with excellent classic French baguettes, brought to the table warm, with butter, in paper bread sleeves.

Other French favorites include escargots with hazelnuts in puff pastry, foie gras parfait, fresh shellfish platters, croque madame, le steakburger made of prime rib, mussels mariniéres, roasted chicken, steak frites and other French favorites. Mina's French brasserie offers a polished central bar, upscale fare, a patio & a 1920s vibe. Dinner is served daily as well as weekend brunch, on the Promenade Level. The atmosphere is lively and the mixologists at the bar will gladly offer Parisian cocktails. The champagne cart showcases four French champagnes. Go and enjoy, but don’t plan to have an intimate conversation as this place gets noisy when full.

Julian Serrano Tapas

Photo Credit: Biondo Photo

Julian Serrano Tapas offers Spanish Tapas, Paella, Seafood, and Beef in small tapas portions. Serrano’s food is an interpretation of his native Spanish fare and there is much from which to choose. The menu is large with many choices. In addition to the tapas, there are six paella offerings, from the traditional Valenciani to paellas with vegetables, ribs, seafood, or mixed foods. Family size orders need a bit of time to prepare (45 minutes to an hour) but who is in a hurry? The chuleton is a 40 oz. bone-in rib eye with piquillo pepper confit, vegetables and fries. This order certainly feeds a crowd. But let’s get back to the tapas. Here are just a few of my favorites: stuffed medjool dates with goat cheese, pancetta and tomato marmalade; lobster gazpacho (served chilled); seared scallops with a romesco sauce; gambas (prawns) a la plancha (cooked on a griddle) with a lemon garlic oil dressing; imported Spanish “pate negra” ham, a black ham with a garlic tomato sauce.

And don’t get me started on their desserts. With 10 offerings I had to make some serious decisions. The arroz con leche or traditional Spanish rice pudding were my favorites but the churros or fried Spanish pastries with a spicy hot chocolate sauce was a close second. The churros were fried to perfection. Lunch and dinner is served daily on the Casino Level. Go with a big appetite!

FIVE50 Pizza Bar

Photo Credit: Biondo Photo

FIVE50 Pizza Bar is named after the temperature of the wood-fired stone ovens at this lively pizza spot. James Beard Award- Winning Chef and Restaurateur Shawn McClain runs the show here. Although pizza is the name of the game here, there are other offerings such as Italian sandwiches, salads, a mozzarella bar, small plates, shakes, floats and craft beer. If you begin your meal with the garlic knots (rolls) with cheddar and garlic butter or the mushroom arancini, risotto balls with a roasted tomato sauce, you won’t go wrong. But I suggest the FIVE50 chopped salad made with soppressata, provolone and garlic oregano vinaigrette.

All this is a prelude to the signature pizzas, which are hand crafted with east coast flavors such as sausages, cheeses, and seafood, with a variety of sauces. I decided to try something different. The farmstead pizza has prosciutto, crème fraiche, and country olives with a farm egg on top. Very different and very delicious. Another popular offering is the Gotham pizza with pepperoni, sausage, salami, mozzarella and grana padano - for the meat lovers among us. Or build your own pizza. Or order 1 pizza with 2 choices. Shakes and floats round out the menu, from classic milkshakes to an Elvis shake with bananas and peanut butter to a s’mores shake with chocolate ice cream, graham crackers and marshmallows. I could go on and on. Lunch and dinner is served daily on the Casino Level and the slice counter is open late, 1 a.m. during the week and 3 a.m. on weekends.

A new restaurant is opening this fall at the ARIA. Carbone, with New York-inspired cuisine, pays homage to the Italian-American restaurants of the mid-20th century. Think Lobster Fra Diavola, Chicken Scarpariello, Veal Parmesan and Octopus Pizzaiolo.

For more cooking tips and notes about food, visit Sally's Place.

Sally BernsteinRead More
Pear Cornmeal Cake with Vanilla Syrup

There are over 3,000 varieties of pears grown worldwide. Most of the pears in the U.S. grow in the Northwest, principally Oregon and Washington. 

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6 Spices To Have Ready For Fall Cooking

Prepare your spice cabinet this fall by stocking up on the staples for your favorite seasonal recipes!

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Vegetarian Winter Salad Recipe

Don't think that summer is the only season for salads.

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Do You Know Your Winter Squash?

A sure sign of fall and winter is the arrival of winter squash in our grocery stores.

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The First Recipe I Baked As A Child

What's the first dessert you remember baking as a child? 

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Easy-To-Make Healthy School Lunches

With the start of August comes plenty of back to school planning.

If you've got a little one who has food allergies, is a picky eater, or you just want to have healthy options for your child - check these ideas out! The start of a new school year is prime time to kickstart your child's healthy eating routine. From snacks to full lunches, the following suggestions are particularly good for younger children, as they need a good balance of foods in their diet.

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Easy Baked Kale Chips

Kale, one of the new darlings of our health-obsessed world, is actually quite good for us.

Kale is a member of the cruciferous vegetable family, which also includes Brussels sprouts, broccoli, collard greens and cauliflower. Kale is very high in vitamin K, beta-carotene, vitamin C, and is rich in calcium. It is known to help fight cancer and lower cholesterol. Other than it's nutritional benefits, kale can be molded into a simple, delicious snack!

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What Is A Mangosteen? Try This Recipe To Find Out

If you happen upon this fruit, be sure and taste it.

Called the “Queen of Fruits,” a mangosteen is juicy, tangy and sweet. The rind is purple in color when ripe while the inside is white. The taste has been described as a combination of tart lychee, pineapple and rose. A mangosteen is a fruit from Southeast Asia (Thailand), South America, India or Puerto Rico that you might see in upscale U.S. produce markets or in Asian markets. 

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A Meal the Whole Family Will Enjoy

Have some family fun while enjoying KFC chicken.

KFC has a new Family Game Night meal that’ll bring everyone together to enjoy tasty food and make long lasting memories. To ensure the whole family has a great time, pick up a KFC meal with 12 Extra Crispy Tenders and four dipping sauces, two large homestyle sides, four biscuits and a free game of I Spy printed right on the bucket with riddle cards and bonus posters. The family will love playing together, who knew sitting at the dinner table could be so much fun?

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Mother's Day Recipe: Shrimp, Cauliflower And Broccoli Stir-Fry

If you are cooking for Mother’s Day this year and have never prepared Chinese food, here is a simple recipe for beginners.

Even if you are an advanced cook, you’ll appreciate how good this recipe is without spending a lot of time preparing it. My friend Dorothy Huang is the author of Chinese Cuisine, Made Simple.

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Sally’s Top 10 Favorite Dishes

I'm sharing my Top 10 favorite dishes with you, hoping this will spur you on to try some new foods.

Anyone who cooks is always looking for new recipe ideas. I’ve been cooking for many years. It all started when my mother would not let me in the kitchen as a child to cook. I’m sure she was afraid I’d make a mess.

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Mother's Day Recipe: Mussels With Garlic And White Wine

Surprise mom with a new delicious dish on Mother’s Day.

When I attended La Varenne Cooking School in Paris many years ago I was taught how to make Mussels a la Marinière. This can be a perfect Mother’s Day light meal. It is versatile and can be an appetizer or main course.

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Kohlrabi Recipe: A Dieter’s Dream

Last year, brussels sprouts were added to many restaurant menus in the U.S.

So many menus in fact, that people are now tired of this green. Time for a new vegetable to be the star of the show! Kohlrabi, is it? Kohlrabi (kol-ROB-ee) is a vegetable that is high in fiber, low in carbohydrates and calories and has antioxidants that help fight cancer. In other words, this vegetable is a dieter's dream.

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Endive & Feta Appetizer Recipe

Endive is a versatile vegetable that is a novelty to many home cooks. Here is a yummy appetizer recipe that utilizes it! 

Endive (on-deev), a somewhat bitter green, is grown in northern California at California Endive Farms in Rio Vista.

It took farmer Rich Collins 10 years of trial and error to perfect his growing methods and he now produces both red and white endive. The elongated-shaped endive has its final growing process inside in the dark after starting life in an outdoor field.

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Get Kids Involved in the Cooking Process

A few weeks ago I wrote "Get Kids Involved in the Kitchen" about websites to inspire the kids in your life to cook with you. Now, I’d like to talk about more ways to give kids “hands on” experience to help build food enthusiasts for life.

Kids are usually curious about cooking and love learning how to do new things. First, I’ll start with special pint-sized tools and equipment that really engage kids to try their hand at creating their own meals. 

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Peach Ice Cream Cookie Sandwich Recipe

Check out this unique ice cream sandwich recipe that uses a surprising ingredient: peaches! 

Legend has it that the ice cream sandwich originated in 1899 in the pushcarts of Lower Manhattan’s Bowery. The early ice cream sandwiches were just ice cream in between tiny slabs of water wafers, which later changed to graham wafers. By 1905, the carts were appearing outside of New York City, and a trend was born with these sandwiches selling for between one and three pennies. That was then and this is now.

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Get Kids Involved in the Kitchen

Some of the best memories are often made in the kitchen with your kids.

Summer is a great time of year to get the kids in your life cooking. With lots of free time on their hands, kids are more open to adventures in the kitchen, especially when they get to enjoy a yummy treat after all their hard work. There may be more messes in the kitchen to clean up, it may take longer to get dinner on the table, but the long-term benefits of spending time with children in the kitchen far outweigh the negatives.

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Gazpacho Soup Recipe

Nothing says summer more than a cold cup of gazpacho soup.

With fresh garden tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers available during the summer months, July is the perfect time to learn a new recipe. What's more refreshing than a cup of cold soup? All you need is a blender to get started. 

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Strawberries in Champagne

I've got a fruity drink recipe that is quick and refreshing!

Summer brings an array of fresh fruits that are in season. Fruits like apples and oranges are typically seen all year round, but strawberries taste best during the hot months. Their season is generally April through June, so this may be your last chance to enjoy this strawberries in champagne recipe!



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