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Most people love ‘best of’ lists. If not to inspire argument, best of lists at least open doors to topics or places you might want to explore.
From food, drink, entertainment and personalities, local writers scoured the city to come up with places they think best serve the tastes of Las Vegas.
On how the "best" are decided:
Editor Andrew Kiraly: “We figured in such a protean, superlative city why not create a best of the city every year for Desert Companion. We don’t go the readers’ survey route we tap our expert contributors who write pretty much for every addition of Desert Companion magazine. So, our picks are from our in-house team of experts, including our food writers… arts writers… and from me and Scott and [staff writer] Heidi [Kyser] and our travels throughout the city as well”
On creating the categories:
Kiraly: “It kind of instructs our readers how to best experience the city whether it’s from arts and entertainment to food and dining to shops and services. So we didn’t so much get into the personalities and politics because I think doesn’t jibe with the spirit of the package, as it were. “
Kiraly: Our pick was by James Reza. He chose the happy hour burger at Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steakhouse. It’s just a simple, flavorful burger. It’s got ground, in-house beef. USDA prime beef. He calls it “rich, flavorful, juicy and satisfying.” What more could you ask for from a burger.
Best tasting menu...
Kiraly: Other Mama has broken out of the gate. Since they opened in 2015, they just made a name for themselves with these excellent craft cocktails and this incredible tasting menu. They’re kind of known for a couple of different things: some innovative Asian fare, this ridiculous oyster happy hour that Jim Begley loves and that’s what he calls out in his item about the best tasting menu.
Top three local artists...
Deputy editor Scott Dickensheets: They are Wendy Kveck, Gig Depio, Joan Pereira. They were chosen for a variety of reasons but the interesting thing about them – and this was not planned – is that all three are figurative artists. None of them work in abstracts – primarily. Maybe this is a time in our culture where we’re grabbing at the concrete and the tangible rather than the high concept.
Best local photographer...
Dickensheets: Ed Fuentes submitted the pick and he’s a very well trained and knowledgeable arts commentator. And his argument is that [Mikayla Whitmore] works on a couple of different levels as a fine artist and she does some really great work about the nature of photography. But then she is also a photojournalist for the Greenspun Media Group. And he contends that even her photojournalism has very artistic element to it.
Best live music venue...
Kiraly: We went with the Brooklyn Bowl that was submitted by Molly O’Donnell. And I hardily agree. Between the sound system, the ambience and the kind of just perfectly scaled nature of the venue makes it a perfect place to go and see concerts.
Best Local Singer-Songwriter...
Kiraly: Christ Bitonti choose Halsey Harkins and I have to agree. She is just an amazing singer-songwriter who has this sort of unaccountably, unexpectedly, surprisingly, brassy, torchy voice that goes along with her piano playing in such a way as that creates these really just confident, powerful songs. I definitely think she is one to watch.
Dickensheets: We have Vdara on the Strip, Downtown Grand downtown and then a couple of places out at Lake Las Vegas. The point was a sense of variety. So, if you want a quiet, reflective staycation, you can go out to Lake Las Vegas. If you want to plunge into the heart of downtown, the Downtown Grand is the place to do that. And then on the Strip, you have that higher-end, tourist experience, if you want.
Andrew Kiraly, editor, Desert Companion; Scott Dickensheets, deputy editor, Desert Companion
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