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Desert Companion

On the plate: December's dining events you don't want to miss

La Cucina Italiana Food and Wine Festival

Dec. 5-8. This long weekend celebrating Italian culture and cuisine features four days of colorful events and culinary experiences, including a landmark collaboration between some of the best Italian chefs and culinary celebrities, including Chef Mario Batali, Dario Cecchini, Chef Wolfgang Puck, Buddy “Cake Boss” Valastro, Roberto Caporuscio, Anthony Giglio and Robin Leach. Events include “The Grand Banquet” done Tuscan-style, as well as Italian cooking demonstrations, including courses on how to make pizza and mozzarella. $50-$500. At the Venetian hotel-casino, 414-9000


Las vegan eatz dinner club

Dec. 7. At this holiday gathering at Panevino, guests will enjoy a five-course vegan meal that will include lemongrass soup with lemon spaetzles; grilled vegetable lasagna with layers of grilled eggplant, zucchini, squash, roasted tomatoes, roasted bell peppers and mushrooms in a creamy vodka-tomato sauce; spinach "ricotta" ravioli; organic "meatloaf" with garlic mashed potatoes; and organic apple and peach strudel drizzled with vanilla creme anglaise. $63. Panevino Ristorante, 475-0477


The best of silver state restaurants and lounges awards

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Dec. 13. This event celebrates and honors the best industry chefs, operators, restaurants and nightclub/bars in Nevada in 17 categories. Proceeds from the event benefit the Nevada Restaurant Association Educational Foundation’s education and scholarship programs, including ProStart, a national high school culinary and restaurant management curriculum. Celebrity Chef Emeril Lagasse will be a special awards presenter. Dayna Roselli, Nina Radetich and Robin Leach will emcee the event. More than 300 prominent Nevadans, including restaurant, nightlife and industry leaders, will honor the nominees and winners in the food and beverage industry. $40. In the Sands showroom at the Venetian, 5:30-8p

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