Festivals, Farmers' Market Keep the Culinary Atmosphere Local

By Michaela Jackson on April 28, 2011 at 2:18 pm EST
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Deep in the heart of casino buffet country, Henderson has a few tricks up its sleeve.

Every May, for example, the Las Vegas suburb becomes the height of culinary sophistication when Bon Appetit magazine heads to town for the Annual Bon Appetit Wine & Spirits Focus. The weekend is passed at several area hotels, enjoying demonstrations, wine tastings, brunches and dinners.

At the opposite end of the gastronomic spectrum (but equally intriguing) is the Henderson Salsa Challenge. This spicy festival celebrates salsa as the nation’s number one condiment – yes, more popular than ketchup- with salsa tastings, best mild, hot and fruity salsa awards and a jalapeño eating competition. Visitors at the October festival enjoy live music and vote for their favorite salsa in the people’s choice award.

What else do folks in Henderson eat? According to the popular restaurant review Web site Trip Advisor, fish is on the menu – whether it’s cooked or not. The No. 1 reviewed restaurant is I Love Sushi, which is basically self-explanatory, and close behind is Todd’s Unique Dining, which serves different dishes each day created from fish caught just hours earlier. Just because the fish is fresh doesn’t mean it’s local, though – Todd’s fish come from as far away as Alaska and Cape Cod. In 2005, reviewer for Las Vegas Weekly named Todd’s in a top 10 list of restaurants in the region, beating out several Vegas hot spots.

Other cuisines scattered throughout Henderson include Thai, Greek and Mexican.

If you’re after a more neighborhood feel, stop off at the Country Fresh Farmers’ Market, open Fridays through the spring and summer in the Water Town District. It may not look as fancy as the casino dinners, but at least you’ll be with the locals.

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