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'Caviar Queen of Las Vegas' talks Forte Tapas' comfort food

Forte Tapas
Forte Tapas
Forte Tapas

She's known as the Caviar Queen in Las Vegas, but her offerings aren't just for the upper crust. They're for everyone.

Nina Manchev is the owner of Forte Tapas in the Spring Valley area. And she joined State of Nevada producer Lorraine Blanco Moss to talk caviar and Eastern European comfort food.

"I think that most people just don't know where these different countries [are], or maybe what the typical cuisine is … when I opened it was like, Bulgarian food is like meat and potatoes or something like that, hearty, rich foods. But now I think people are understanding that it's very close to Mediterranean cuisine … Bulgarian food is close to Greek food … so it's just kind of changing people's mentality, understanding the region."

Manchev was born in Eastern Europe and came to the U.S. when she was 3.

"I think there's a reason why I'm here and why I'm in this kind of industry," she said.

She also spoke about food as a catalyst for memory.

"My biggest memories are gathered around food and family or friends, because you gather with people and it's more than just sitting down and feeding yourself. It's about a whole experience. So that's where the connecting moments happened, and it's like … going to like the country house and I have a couple of memories where it's in the middle of summertime, it's 100 degrees over there and 80% humidity. You go in and it's lamb roast and potatoes. … That's how you share love and the love language, right?"

Forte Tapas is celebrating 13 years in Las Vegas.

Guest: Nina Manchev, owner, Forte Tapas

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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.
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