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Hit the road, Desert Companion readers! And while you're at it, have a look around. This issue invites you to not only escape to the outdoors, but also to think about the environmental issues affecting our pursuits and our world.

The Vegas Dish

Sandwiches stacked on top of each other
All’Antico Vinaio

New spots, locations, chefs, and tastes to try around the valley

In a flashy town such as ours, there’s no shortage of food spectacle. At the new Papi Steak (Fontainebleau,, you can order a steak presented in a diamond-encrusted gold “beef case” for $1,000. Extra sweet tooth? A gigantic cotton candy burrito stuffed with ice cream and sprinkles at Creamberry (7965 S. Rainbow Blvd., #140, continues to flood food lover feeds. And I can’t count how many times I’ve rolled my eyes at fine dining spots that take modernist cuisine to extremes with foams and gels and dry ice, only to create something that’s blah at first bite. Food hype makes me nervous; I proceed cautiously when restaurants go viral.

At All’Antico Vinaio (8533 Rozita Lee Ave., #100, in Uncommons, I stood in a long line similar to those seen in photos from locations in New York and Florence, Italy. As the scent of freshly baked schiacciata bread (like focaccia, but thinner and chewier) wafted over, I wondered whether it would be worth the wait. I devoured la paradiso — a sandwich layered with mortadella, stracciatella (pulled mozzarella curds mixed with heavy cream), and pistachio cream — and was transported back to my pre-pandemic Italian vacation. The shop’s Florentine founder, Tommaso Mazzanti, says the secret behind his family’s distinctive sandos goes beyond the edible components. “It’s not just work. It’s not just a business. It’s the tradition, the quality, the passion,” he says. “Two of the guys I have here in Vegas have worked with me for more than 50 years.” He adds that Las Vegas is a dream 20 years in the making. “It’s one of the most beautiful cities in the world. I’m honored. Wow.”

Bistecca's dining room
Tuscany suites & casino

Another wow moment happened at a Tuscany much closer to home, the newly renovated Bistecca (255 E. Flamingo Rd., in Tuscany Suites & Casino. The seductive space features dark walls adorned with original artwork, black shelves stacked with wine bottles, and corners lit with white candles. The new menu offers elevated dishes such as a tasty Scotch fillet, a ribeye with the bone removed. Everything, from the mushroom amuse-bouche to the medium rare filet mignon cooked to pink perfection, impressed my date and me. Bonus: The parking is free and easy, and the restaurant is — gasp — close to the casino’s front entrance!

Sponsor Message

Just past the front doors at Mucho Loco Mexican Cantina (1121 S. Fort Apache Rd., you understand the place’s name. An animatronic skeleton with orange eyes pours a drink near the host stand. There’s a wall full of sugar skulls and a bar concocting various smoky cocktails. This could be an influencer’s paradise or a food writer’s nightmare. I order the trompito loco, a wild version of tacos al pastor that arrives tableside with its own miniature spit and a knife to carve your pineapple-marinated pork onto a handmade corn tortilla. Surprise! It’s stunning and delicious. I’ve been thinking about that tender spiced meat for days. Although the dishes were delectable, the serving staff could use more training. When asked the ingredients in two different salsas, the wait staff had no idea. And our server described the ceviche as “fish.” Let’s hope after a little time, they’ll learn the menu better — or at least ask the chef when they’re unsure about the ingredients. But overall, you’d be crazy to skip this fun new eatery.

Speaking of joy, my favorite new place to wine and dine (or just wine …) is Wineaux (6887 Helen Toland St., #110, It’s a desert chic locals’ retreat, where you can unleash your inner wine nerd. Although you’ll find a great cab or pinot noir, this is your chance to go for a unique grape. With the guidance of a charming sommelier, I tried my first Timorasso wine, from an Italian white grape that’s textured and aromatic. It paired wonderfully with the roasted aubergine spread, an eggplant masterpiece with garlic confit, feta, mint, sesame, and chilis. The restaurateur is planning an outdoor patio next year— catch me outside, wineauxs!

That’s the Vegas Dish for now. Until we eat again …

Lorraine Blanco Moss is a classically trained chef who has worked at several restaurants on the Las Vegas Strip and in Los Angeles. She has also cooked at the James Beard House and Rainbow Room in New York City with the James Beard Foundation’s Women in Culinary Leadership program. You can find her on Instagram @cheflorraine.

Lorraine Blanco Moss is the host of KNPR's award-winning Asian American Pacific Islander podcast, Exit Spring Mountain. She's also a former producer for State of Nevada, specializing in food and hospitality, women's issues, and sports.