Mario Batalli – my new fav

by Michelle

Researching where Ralph and I will eat while on vacation takes away all of my ‘must find the perfect grub’ stress. A couple of years ago, we walked for four hours while our flip-flops melted into the sidewalks of Livorno trying to find the quintessential Italian seaside lunch spot. We settled for a less than stellar meal out of sheer frustration from not knowing where to go.

I would never come to Vegas without our dinner reservations booked. Las Vegas is a foodie mecca. Wolfgang Puck, Bobby Flay, Thomas Keller, Emeril Lagasse and Mario Batalli are a sampling of the chefs developing restaurants on the Strip. I think of the chefs as my teachers and the Strip as my classroom!

Last night I took a lesson with Batalli, metaphorically speaking…

I love to source out ‘little hole in the wall’ places to eat but not when I am in Vegas.

 Our favorite appetite whetters! Guess who drinks what…

Carnevino is a massive Italian steakhouse featuring an encyclopedia sized wine list. The sommelier passes the list to Ralph. Ralph passes the list to me. We have done this before…

The menu is superb. We started with squid and octopus.

We usually share all of the dishes so that we can both sample as much as possible – such gorbs!

From the fish, we moved on to the pasta course. Ralph had a traditional puttanesca while I ventured into a braised duck stuffed ravioli in a fois gras sauce. There is no evidence of me licking the plate.

The carne/meat course offered massive portions so we shared one dish.

This ride-on pork chopped was brined in apple cider. The cider caused the outside to caramelize when it hit the fire of the grill.

We wrestled for the bone. Ralph won…

As a student of Italian cooking, this was a most memorable class!

Thanks for reading.