Haute Event: Barbecue and Beer at the Bellagio

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Chef Edmund Wong does a cooking demonstration for the Epicurean Epicenter on barbecue secrets.

A showcase of barbecue favorites paired with beers at the Tuscany Kitchen at the Bellagio helped about 100 people come up with tasty treats to celebrate the Fourth of July. The event on Saturday gave Bellagio Executive Chef Edmund Wong a chance to walk guests through how to create the dishes in the three-course menu on three flat-screen televisions that gave everyone a personal view of his cooking skills.

Bellagio Barbecue Secrets and Beer Too started with a Bellagio Fountains Shandy made with Bombay Sapphire, yuzu, Kaffir lime and Stella Artois, and tasted fresh and light. Guests found their way to one of four long tables inside the Tuscany Kitchen to nosh on grilled flatbreads with two olive tapenades, locally sourced honey and buttermilk biscuits you could top with country gravy.

Wong got guests ready for their first course, a Maine lobster bake, by showing how to prepare the complicated dish. The healthy serving featured fancy zucchini with a burrata blossom in a tempura coating and fingerling potatoes topped with a roasted corn vinaigrette. Jason Smith, Bellagio’s master sommelier and director of wine, and Matt Myers, assistant director of beverage and master mixologist, paired the appetizer with a New Belgium Somersault Ale.

The main course featured three dishes: crispy chicken and waffles with maple butter, boneless pork ribs paired with a jalapeño and citrus vinaigrette and a prime dry-aged rib eye with a goat cheese and apricot souffle. On the side, guests found English peas and carrots, macaroni and cheese, pickled beets and cucumbers and grilled stone fruit and tomatoes. While Wong showed guests how to make each dish, they sipped on a trio of Hitachino Nest beers including Red Rice Ale, Real Ginger Brew and Commemorative Ale 2011 from Ibaraki, Japan.

If anyone had room left for dessert, they were treated to blueberry pie, a trio of ice cream lollipops, ice cream sandwiches and push pops. Myers took liberties with the beer theme by making a root beer float as the beer pairing.

Guests left with recipes for each of the dishes and drinks.

Bellagio Barbecue Secrets and Beer Too is part of the Epicurean Epicenter group of events. If you missed last Saturday’s event, you can get in on the fun beginning with Art & Wine: A Perfect Pairing tonight at the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art. Wander through the “A Sense of Place: Landscapes from Monet to Hockney” while supping on champagnes, beers, tequilas or whatever adult beverage Smith finds fit to pair with the art from 5 to 7 p.m. Bellagio Gallery of Art Director Tarissa Tiberti gives an interactive art conversation at 6 p.m. The cost is $30 for members and $38 for non-members. Tickets may be purchased by visiting the BGFA ticket counter or calling 1-877-957-9777. If you can’t make this one, you can show up on the second Wednesday of the month for the next one.

Or wait until Sept. 17, when Husic Vineyards and Prime’s Sean Griffin pair Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon with delectable cuisine. The event begins at 7 p.m. in Tuscany Kitchen and tickets are $195 per person all inclusive.

On Nov. 15, the series wraps up when Araujo Estate pairs legendary wines with the extraordinary cuisine of Picasso Executive Chef Julian Serrano. On hand will be Master Sommelier and Director of Wine at Bellagio Jason Smith along with Daphne and Bart Araujo, owners of Araujo Estate. The event begins at 7 p.m. in the Tuscany Kitchen and tickets are $325 per person all inclusive.

Epicurean Epicenter, Bellagio, 3700 Las Vegas Blvd. S.; 1-877-957-9777

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