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Thursday, January 15, 2015

Las Vegas, NV: Sandwich competition, pub grub, and Container Park – Day 2

The 2014 World Food Championships took over Downtown Las Vegas for competitions for the best Bacon, Barbeque, Burger, Chili, Dessert, Pasta, Sandwich, and Seafood. The Sandwich Competition started at 8:30am so sandwiches were on the menu for breakfast. The competitors were setting up their outdoor kitchens while judges were being prepped on competition rules. The clock started and the teams were cooking up a storm. They had two heats: First, each team had to prepare and present their best sandwich recipe. Second, each team had to prepare and present their best sandwich recipe utilizing kale, bacon, and tomato.

This is a sample at one of the judges’ tables for the main sandwich competition:

  • Sin City Steak Sandwich: The sandwich presentation was nice with sliced steak, bleu cheese, bacon, and, sautéed red onion. Unfortunately, the taste wasn't up to par to its presentation. The strong flavors cancelled each other out. The beef was chewy and dry. They should have used a tender cut of beef like filet mignon and let the meat rest before slicing.
  • Island Po Boy (Hungry Chef’s Keoni Simmons) : Visually stimulating presentation with panko-crusted Hawaiian roll bun, spicy scallop mixture (similar to what you would get at a sushi bar), topped with bright orange ikura (salmon eggs) and microgreens. The flavors were Hawaiian in style. The scallops blended well with the creamy mayonnaise mixture. The burst of saltiness from the ikura added the right amount of salt to bring out more of the sweetness from the scallops. The microgreens added a nice green flavor contrast to the dish.
  • Chicken Street Taco Torta: Interesting presentation of tortilla-crusted torta bread, Mexican-spiced chicken, tortilla chips, lettuce, red peppers, and cilantro sauce. The chicken was tender. Great crunch effect from the tortilla chips on the outside of the torta and inside. Unfortunately, there were too many flavors inside from the chicken to the sauce and tasted muddled. A slight sweetness might have made it pop – maybe a red pepper sauce instead of the cilantro sauce.
  • Beef Me Up Scotty: Panini sandwich with steak, with sautéed onions and mushrooms. Cute presentation with Captain Kurt watching the main presentation. Unfortunately, the sandwich was very bland. The steak was underseasoned, but it was grilled to perfection. It also lacked a creamy component. A sauce or even cheese like a creamy brie or fontina would have been perfect melted on the panini grill.
  • Entry with No Name or Description: It looked like a bacon grilled cheese on a bagel. The presentation was rather sloppy and not visually stimulating. The beer paired with sandwich did not match. Save the beer for marinating a protein and add it to the sandwich for more depth and flavor. 

This is a sample at one of the judges’ tables for the sandwich competition utilizing bacon, tomato, and kale:

  • Korean Fusion BKT: Bahn Mi style sandwich with bacon, tomato, kale, cheese, black sesame seeds and served with soju. The sandwich had good Asian flavor profile. The tomato was visually there but could not taste it. The bacon was very meaty like thick sliced pork belly and cooked barbeque-style – lots of caramelization on the outside.
  • Kale Sundried Tomato BKT: White bread with bacon, tomato, kale, caramelized onion, mayonnaise. While not very visually stimulating, this was actually the best execution and flavor using bacon, kale, and tomato. Using the white bread helped pushed the main ingredients forward for an awesome sandwich.
  • Kale Yeah BKT:  Grilled bread with bacon, chicken, tomato, shredded kale, shredded carrots, and cheese. The presentation was quite colorful along with the orange sweet potato chips. But the bread was too soft and became soggy during tasting. A thicker, heartier bread would be better and layered so wet ingredients are inside instead of making direct contact with the bread.
  • Southern Fried Fish BKT:  Croissant with fried fish, bacon, kale, cheese, and tomato. The presentation was very messy but an interesting idea. Unfortunately, the fish became the main flavor in the sandwich muting the main ingredients for the challenge. Might have been better to do a Southern fried pork belly slice or thick cut bacon.
  • Baked PKT Breakfast Sandwich: Kale waffle sandwich with bacon, tomato, sautéed kale, soft cooked egg, and cheese. The presentation was very colorful with a brunch attitude. It was very messy to eat as a sandwich as the waffle got soggy from the juicy tomato and runny egg. The flavors were amazing but definitely need a knife and fork for this one.

The winner of the World Sandwich Competition was Kelli Fairchild-Cochran from Kelli’s Kitchen. Her prize was $10,000.


Fremont Street also had a stage set up for cooking demonstrations during the day as well. Chef Pat “Shubee” Bearry was one of the demonstrators. You may have also seen him on a recent episode of Cutthroat Kitchen.

Watching all of these competitors cook and then the aroma of food makes you hungry. Might be time for a late lunch. There are many restaurants Downtown, but why not explore what Las Vegas has to offer. Get away from the hustle and bustle of the hotels and casinos. Steiner’s A Nevada Style Pub is a great place to go to relax and just have some great food. 

  • Death Valley Chips are homemade, crispy waffle cut potato chips tossed in Yosemite Sam Steiner’s Spicy Seasoning blend of Lawry’s Seasoning Salt and paprika. These chips are cross-cut thinly on a mandolin and fried to light crispy perfection. Ask for some ranch or bleu cheese dressing for dipping! Rating: 5/5
  • Battle Mountain Buffalo Shrimp is six deep-fried whole shrimp tossed in hot sauce and served with celery, carrots, Brew City Fries, and cool ranch dressing for dippin’. The shrimp are huge (16/20) and lightly battered which will remind you of fried chicken. It is perfectly fried to a crispy golden brown. The shrimp is perfectly sauced so it not too messy. The dressing is awesome! Tastes like homemade and reminded me of Bob’s Big Boy. The fries are done to perfection with tender potato inside. Rating: 5/5
  • Sea Breeze Mediterranean Steiner’s Pub Salad is a mound of crisp romaine topped with a dressing of marinated cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, jicama, and green peppers mixed into a balsamic and herb vinaigrette and served with crispy pita chips, kalamata olives and a sprinkle of feta cheese. You can choose to top this salad with 3 lamb chops or grilled chicken breast. The lamb turned out be quite a fine choice. The lamb chops are fantastic and grilled to perfection. They are tender, juicy, and full of flavor. The gaminess is subdued by the rosemary and olive oil marinade (I personally like the rustic flavor, but tasted great all the same). The Greek compote dressing on top has just the right amount of flavor to flavor all of the vegetables. There is no need for extra dressing. All of the vegetables are crisp, fresh, and vibrant. Rating: 5/5


Bourbon, BBQ, & Banjos was the public tasting event where championship pitmasters in the World Barbecue Championship served up award-winning ribs, perfect for bourbon pairings, while local musical acts entertain the public. Attendees helped decide the People’s Choice winners in the rib fest. Unfortunately, the event was oversold so tastings were not possible. The barbeque aroma was so overwhelming delicious. The Shed Barbeque & Blues Joint from Mississippi barbequed a whole pig. It looks so delicious with the crispy skin and tender juicy pork being served from it. Luckily, Fresh and Easy had a food truck and they were preparing and giving out samples of some of their readymade items like turkey and cheese panini and pizzas. 


If you walk back to the El Cortez Hotel from the Fremont Street Experience, you’ll be in a new updated part of downtown called Fremont East District. New shops, restaurants, and nightclubs have opened down this stretch of the street. The Downtown ContainerPark is an innovative “mall” of sorts. At the entrance, you are greeted by a giant metal praying mantis who shoots fire from his antennas to music. The structures are made from recycled shipping containers stacked up for a multi-level shopping and eating experience. It’s funky, yet beautifully arranged. In the center, there is a playground for children and towards the back, a stage for live music for local bands, and lots of seating. 

Another Vegas day of food challenges and more Hawaiian food just a sleep away.

To see more photos, please visit OC Food Diva's Facebook page.


For more information:

November 3-10, 2015
Kissimmee, FL USA

8410 W Cheyenne Ave
Las Vegas, NV 89129
+1.702.395.8777
Hours: Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

1750 N Buffalo Dr Ste 115
Las Vegas, NV 89128
+1.702.304.8084
Hours: Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

8168 S Las Vegas Blvd
Las Vegas, NV 89123
+1.702.214.6700
Hours: Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

600 E Fremont St
Las Vegas, NV 89101
+1.702.385.5200

707 Fremont St
Las Vegas, NV 89101
+1.702.359.9982
Hours: Monday through Thursday from 11am to 11pm, Friday and Saturday from 11am to 1am, Sunday from 11am to 11pm

2 comments:

  1. Oh wow!! Amazing variety of food!! I just loved all these dishes. I really wish that I can get these dishes in San Francisco restaurants. Hey, Can you recommend me any restaurant?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi benihalk - Are you looking for recommendations in SF or Vegas?

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