Thursday, May 15, 2014 | 12:58 a.m.
Colorful “The Chew” TV star chef Mario Batali transformed his Carnevino at Palazzo into a sea of trademark orange for his “Beef and Barolo” extravaganza during the 2014 Vegas Uncork’d food-and-wine festival last week. It capped a day of golf at Cascata, where he proved as colorful and exciting on the links as he is in the kitchen.
Taking a practice shot on the fourth hole, Mario’s swing landed the ball less than an inch away. “That would have been a hole-in-one I would have bragged about for the rest of my life,” he laughed.
Mario, who played in orange shoes, orange gloves and orange shorts, handed out peppermill grinders as trophies. The after-dinner at his Palazzo restaurant ran four hours, and his “Chew” co-star Michael Symon attended with “Iron Chef” winner Kerry Simon, who is battling Multiple System Atrophy.
Mario served a delicious menu of house-cured Italian salumi, steak tartar with trumpet mushrooms, Piedmontese beef agnolotti and organic super prime beef.
The daylong and nightlong golf and dinner benefited the Mario Batali Foundation, which has opened three Books for Kids libraries for at-risk children in three New York locations. Now Mario will open a new library to serve at-risk preschool children in an impoverished area of Las Vegas.
“To be able to help children read, to give them this fundamental building block to a successful life is remarkable,” said Mario. “I’m so proud of the work we’ve done to champion literacy in New York, and we’re now looking forward to expanding to Las Vegas and giving kids this amazing gift here.”
Mario promises that it will open this year with at least 1,000 books, other learning materials, child-friendly furniture and print-rich wall murals.
Later during Vegas Uncork’d, television’s “Cake Boss” star Buddy Valastro gave guests a first-ever, up-close baking demonstration sharing baking tips and secrets at his Buddy V’s Ristorante. He served samples of his Grandma’s meatballs, savory dishes and sweet treats, including cannoli.
Star chef Thomas Keller curated a mouth-watering lunch at his Michelin-starred Bouchon. The gourmet dishes included house-made pate, fresh and smoked salmon rillettes, Scottish salmon, red wine-braised beef cheeks with French carrots, Tokyo turnips and egg noodles. Scrumptious! Wine lovers enjoyed a Stemmari Winery seminar in Palazzo’s Hospitality Parlor tasting intense Sicilian varietals.
2014 Vegas Uncork’d began at the Venetian last Thursday with the opening saber-off prosecco ceremony and continued with Master Series Dinners, The Night Market: East Meets West and Mario’s after-party. And it all tied in with the opening of Daniel Boulud’s French eatery DB Brasserie.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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With top accommodations, first-rate entertainment, high-end shopping and a slew of acclaimed chefs, the Palazzo has positioned itself as one of the most luxurious resorts on the Strip.
More than 3,000 all-suite rooms start at 740 square feet and are decorated in a modern, yet classic, Italian style. Each room features a sleeping area, with a king or two queens, and a sunken living room area with floor to ceiling windows.
A cathedral ceiling tops the Palazzo casino, while a second 80-foot dome brings natural light to the property's lobby. The 105,000 square foot casino features more than 2,000 slots and 80 table games but lacks the stale smell of cigarettes, as the property is LEED certified with smoking off limits in most of the Palazzo — including 50 percent of the casino floor.
Dining at the Palazzo is among the best of the Strip, starting with Wolfgang Puck's CUT. Chef Simon To serves up authentic Chinese cuisine at Zine, while Sushisamba combines Brazilian and Peruvian flavors with Japanese techniques. At LAVO, club-goers can dine on Mediterranean dishes before heading upstairs to the bath house-inspired nightclub.
In the spirit of Venice, The Venetian is a little piece of romantic Italy right here in Las Vegas. The Venetian is an "all-suite" hotel, with rooms accented with plush linens and Italian marble. The 4,027 suites are divided into two towers: The 36-story Venetian Tower that offers guests a taste of luxurious Las Vegas and the Venezia suites, which guarantee 12 floors of high-end elegance. The top five floors are the hotel's highest level of luxury with its private access, concierge lounge, upgraded features and even a dedicated staff.
The flagship of Venetian nightlife is TAO, an ultra-hip nightclub located inside of TAO Asian Bistro. V Bar is The Venetian's super smooth ultra lounge, made by the owners of New York City's club Lotus and Los Angeles' super swank Sunset Room.
The Venetian features 19 restaurants including Thomas Keller's award-winning French restaurant Bouchon, Mario Batali's B&B Ristorante, Aquaknox for fresh seafood and the 42,000 square foot TAO Asian Bistro. There's also the food court inside the Canal Shoppes for those looking for a quick bite.
Guests can float along The Grand Canal Shops in an authentic Italian gondola ride and pass stores like Burberry and Kenneth Cole along the way. And if you haven't caught a real celeb, on the street in Vegas, you can head over to Madame Tussauds to check out a wax version.