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Desert Companion

DEALicious meals: Dare!licious meals -- where eats go extreme

Scaling Nacho Mountain Range

I Can’t Drive $55 Nachos at Cabo Wabo Cantina

Sounds cheesy, huh? Bad puns aside, when you become an ’80s rock frontman and start your own brand of tequila and corresponding themed restaurant chain, you can name some nachos after one of your terrible songs. But this is no ordinary platter of nachos — this off-menu challenge dares you and a friend to inhale eight pounds of crunchy tortilla chips slathered in melted cheese and queso sauce, pico de gallo, loads of jalapeños, and pretty much whatever’s loose in the kitchen. Clean the trough in 55 minutes and it’s on the house. I was told a different couple knocked it out earlier in the day when I visited, but I have my doubts. It’s hard to do justice to the scope of eight pounds of nachos. Think of a mountain range, and then drizzle it generously with beef, chicken, salsa, beans. The sad part is that they’re pretty damn good nachos. I just wish I had 10 more people along for the ride. (Brock Radke) Inside Planet Hollywood, cabowabocantina.com

 

When fries and kimchi = ’80s movie explosions

Angry Kimchi Fries at Buldogis

Having the Angry Kimchi Fries delivered to your table at Buldogis, a crazy Korean hot dog joint, equates to that part in ’80s action movies when one guy shoots a machine gun and the other guy pulls out one of those wide-barreled grenade launchers. It makes you smile — because you know something is going to blow up. In this instance, the explosion will be in your face, as your hapless taste buds attempt to understand how vinegary kimchi belongs with a mountain of crisp sweet potato fries. For fun, there’s also spicy-sweet grilled pork, diced onions and jalapeños, mounds of melting cheese to glue it all together, and a nice fried egg, because why not? Funky, sweet, spicy and rich, this basket of insane flavor confetti cannot be defeated. And even though you’ll only eat half, it’ll stay with you for days. (BR) 2291 S. Fort Apache Blvd. #102, buldogis.com

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Rubber gloves and wing sauce

Blazin’ Wings at Buffalo Wild Wings

You may not want to believe one of the most incendiary foods in town can be found at a totally typical chain of chicken wing sports bars. I didn’t want to believe it, but years ago I was invited to sample the Blazin’ sauce by the original franchisee that brought Buffalo Wild Wings to Las Vegas. The wings are surprisingly good here, crispy and meaty and spun in your sauce of choice (there are 16 flavors now).

After two bites of this nuclear orange devilspawn, I was reeling. For a few seconds, it’s slightly sweet and cayenne-peppery, like wing sauce usually is. Then, the flames. Icy beer barely helps. If you’re gonna walk this plank, I recommend wearing gloves. Rub your eyes within 12 hours of touching Blazin’ sauce and you’ll be in the emergency room. (BR) Multiple locations, buffalowildwings.com

[HEAR MORE:   How about dining in tonight — in a cargo container? Hear how on "KNPR's State of Nevada".]

What the duck?!

Balut (boiled duck fetus) at Kapit Bahay Filipino Fastfood

Balut is a Filipino delicacy infamous for its fearful qualities. Why fearful? Well, because balut is a hard-boiled fertilized duck embryo. Yeah, duck embryo. So you can imagine my joy in having the honor to eat one for you, our loyal readers. Mine was slightly larger than a regular egg — the first sign something was amiss. The second was the shell shading. Only makes sense that since light can’t shine through a duck, it’d be darker than a normal hard-boiled egg.

The white — called bato — was off too. Hard and practically inedible, but not shocking. Neither was the juice. Upon cracking open the shell, a meaty aroma emerged from a soupy liquid infused with duck essence which, while abnormal, wasn’t difficult to stomach either. But then there was the yolk. 

The yolk was regular except for the duckling leering up at me. Simply put, balut is difficult to eat due to the baby duck. Thankfully, mine hadn’t progressed to the point of feathers and bones — I understand that’s an even rarer delicacy — but it was a duck nonetheless. And it was unnerving.

With a beer alongside and an ample amount of salt, I managed to down the whole thing. The embryo was actually gelatinous and outside of the visual, not terribly untasty; however, there is always that visual. I’m glad I tried it. Once. (Jim Begley) 4115 Spring Mountain Road #E104, 889-4922

 

Fred FlinTstone’s choice cut

32-ounce lollipop ribeye at Old Homestead

There may be a grand American tradition of feasting on a big ol’ steak, but these days we’re all cutting back on red meat. A two-pound ribeye for one doesn’t make a lot of sense. But this is different; this is Pat LaFrieda beef, prime cow specially chosen by the best butcher in the biz and dry-aged for at least a month. It comes out clinging to a huge, dinosaurish bone and takes up the majority of a massive plate. And breaking through the excellent outer char-crust on an Old Homestead steak for that first juicy bite is pure carnivorous bliss. Ten ounces in, you consider quitting, getting a doggy bag. But tomorrow it will only be leftovers. Tonight it’s perfect, so you keep going.

Before you realize it, there’s one bite left on your two-pound ribeye. You're heavier, yes, but so much happier. (BR) Inside Caesars Palace, theoldhomesteadsteakhouse.com

 

Organ music … for your tongue

Organ menu at B&B Ristorante inside the Palazzo

Coming off an ill-timed, self-induced, weeklong meat-free diet, I was ready for something non-leafy. This being Vegas, I went all in with the organ menu at B&B Ristorante. Antipasti? Warm lamb’s tongue with chanterelle mushrooms and three-minute egg. Garnished with microgreens and a neon extra virgin olive oil. Mild. Slightly sweet finish. Runny eggs typically aren’t my thing. But in the context of tongue, it didn’t take much to conquer this fear. Then I proceeded to conquer the whole dish, mopping with bread. No shame.

Secondi? Bone marrow ravioli with osso bucco ragú. A dozen or so petit round, crimped-edge pasta pouches filled with the super subtle marrow and a touch of saffron. Topped with osso bucco so tender, if it were served on the bone, it would surely fall off.

Primi? Crispy polenta sweetbreads with oyster mushrooms, fava beans, and green garlic fonduta. Looks like battered fish. Eats like chicken. Not for the faint of heart, this menu will take your taste buds and perceptions on a wild ride — one well worth the price of admission. (Dana Satterwhite) Inside the Palazzo, 266-9977

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