Why not bring home a Las Vegas souvenir that takes up zero space in your luggage? In between the slots and shows, carve out some time to learn how to make a Five-Star meal, craft mixologist-status cocktails and pair wine like a master sommelier.
Wine tasting classes at Mandarin Oriental, Las Vegas
Las Vegas’ newest master sommelier is also one of its most active. At Sips With a Master Sommelier in Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas, Will Costello will share with you some of the blind-tasting know-how that helped him achieve his industry’s highest honor. For $50 each at the luxurious Five-Star Twist by Pierre Gagnaire, you will receive instruction in a casual, inclusive environment on a rotating list of subjects, such as how to approach wine without knowing what’s in the glass.
Among the classes slated for select Saturdays in 2017 are “Price Differences: Can You Tell Them Blind?” (March 18); “High Octane Wines for Tax Day Blues” (April 15); “Cabernet from Around the Americas” (May 13); and “Why We Should All Drink Beaujolais” (June 17). Classes are held 4 to 5 p.m. in the private dining room.
Cooking lessons at Restaurant Guy Savoy
Until now, about the only way to get face time in the kitchen with Restaurant Guy Savoy executive chef Julien Asseo might have been to be the person who delivers the truffles. Luckily, you can still rub elbows with the chef during private cooking lessons that score you back-of-house access at Savoy’s eponymous Five-Star restaurant in the Four-Star Laurel Collection by Caesars Palace.
You and up to five others will learn to make an appetizer and an entrée with Asseo as your personal guru. Past creations have included a surprisingly complex heirloom salad, chestnut and celery soup, and duck breast with carrots and button mushrooms.
Perhaps the best part is that when you’ve finished plating your masterpiece, you then get to sit down at the chef’s table in Savoy’s own champagne-themed Krug Room and enjoy the fruits of your (let’s face it, not terribly arduous) labor. Classes are held 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday and cost $265 per person; call for reservations.
Traditional tea service at Lucky Dragon Hotel and Casino
Befuddled by the Chinese-first signage at the Strip’s newest resort-casino? You’ll be in compassionate and capable hands at Cha Garden, an indoor-outdoor tea garden and lounge around the pool at Lucky Dragon. Here Lola Zhao, the city’s only tea sommelier, can guide you through an extensive list of more than 50 options sourced directly from generations-old tea farms throughout Asia.
Grab a table or secure a “tea hut” of your own for a more intimate experience — either casual or formal — while Zhao points out the more intriguing items on the list such as vintage pu-er (smoked) tea from the 1990s; Hunan yellow tea; the curiously named Jin Jin Mei (“Golden Beautiful Eyebrow”) from Tongmu Village; or Ya Shi Xiang (a.k.a. “Duck Sh*t Fragrance”) from Wudong Village. Pots of tea range from $10 to $58 and are served gongfu style, according to a 21-step process.
While traditional Chinese tea service is not usually a food-pairing occasion, Zhao can lead you to some tea pairings with yum cha (Chinese tapas). Call ahead for reservations and Zhao’s availability.