There are two types of people who eat at restaurants – the spontaneous type, the predictable type, and the calculated type. Which category do you fall in?
The spontaneous type has no game plan. They walk in, try a beer they’ve never heard of, and eat the first thing they see on the menu – or whatever the special is that day. No real thought goes into the decision.
The predictable type has no desire for variety. They walk in, ask for their favorite beverage, and order the same food they ordered the last dozen times they at out. You almost never see them try anything new.
The calculated type has a unique approach. They walk in, ask for a glass of water, browse through the food and beverage menus, and then decide on a food and drink pairing that makes sense together.
Those who fall into the third category understand the importance of finding foods and beverages that pair well together. Whether you’re ordering at a restaurant, prepping a homemade dinner, or catering for a family party, always remember this – good food tastes even better with the right beverage, and vice versa!
Mastering the Subtle Art of Food and Drink Pairings
It’s not something most people think about when planning their next meal, but finding the right food and beverage pairing can make or break your dining experience.
It’s the reason your spicy dish is suddenly too hot to handle, or your semi-sweet wine suddenly tastes like water. If you’re not careful, you could be ruining your dish, without even knowing it!
Don’t worry – we won’t let that happen. We understand there’s an art to choosing the right food and wine pairings, but we’re going to share some of that art with you today.
Acidity. Acidic wines are your friend and can be paired with most foods, so use this as a go-to when in doubt. They work best with acidic foods, such as tomato sauces, citrus fruits, and creamy foods.
Alcohol content. Avoid pairing drinks with a high alcohol content with spicy food. You’ll end up with an even spicier dish, which isn’t always the goal. Instead, pair those high-alcohol wines with red meat.
Sweetness. Try pairing salty and spicy foods with something sweet, such as Moscato, White Zinfandel, and/or Riesling. Another general rule of thumb – make sure your drink is sweeter than your chocolate desserts.
Tannins. Try pairing fatty foods with drinks that contain high levels of tannins, which are commonly found in coffee, tea, red wine, and beer. The tannins help soften the fat – releasing more of its flavor.
Bubbles. If you feel like bringing out sparkling wine or champagne, try pairing it with something crunchy, like fried chicken. The combination of bubbles and crunch helps provide a little texture to your dish.
Pairing food with the right drinks requires skill, creativity, patience, and a basic understanding of how certain flavors interact with one another. Since everyone’s palate is different, we suggest taking mental notes (or real notes) about the food and beverage pairings you like or dislike, as you try them.
Food and Drink Pairings Worth Trying On the Las Vegas Strip
Las Vegas is known for its casinos and live entertainment, but let’s take a second to appreciate what the culinary scene has to offer. From fine dining experiences to casual dining affairs, bar and grill gatherings, and fast food findings – Vegas has a little bit of something for everyone.
So, what’s the occasion?
Are you enjoying a dinner party with the family? Do you have a hot date to impress? Is this a boy’s night or a girl’s night? Is it the one day of the year you get away from the kids for a date night with your wife?
It doesn’t matter what the occasion is, we’re going to share with you some of our favorite drink and food pairings found here on the Las Vegas Strip – featuring some of your favorite celebrity chef restaurants!
1. StripSteak by Chef Michael Mina
Food pairing: 10oz. American Wagyu Skirt Steak
Beverage pairing: Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon by Frank Family
StripSteak is a popular American steakhouse created by Michael Mina. It’s located inside Mandalay Bay and is one of six Las Vegas restaurants owned by the award-winning chef.
We chose the 10oz. American Wagyu Skirt Steak because it’s one of the juiciest steaks you’ll find on the Strip. It’s also one of the fattiest steaks you’ll find, which is why we paired it with the Cabernet Sauvignon.
The tannins and acidic nature of the wine help balance out the fat in the steak or beef roasts – cleansing your palate with every sip.
2. Nobu by Chef Nobu Matsuhisa
Food Pairing: Sushi Maki
Beverage Pairing: 2021 Robert Hall Sauvignon Blanc
Nobu is a popular Japanese restaurant created by Nobu Matsuhisa. He has three locations on the Las Vegas Strip – Caesars Palace, Paris, and Virgin Hotels.
If you like sushi, then you’re going to love what Nobu has to offer. Tuna, Salmon, Kappa, California, Oshinko, Lobster, Eel, Shrimp, Vegetable, Scallion, Scallop – the options never end!
We paired it with the Sauvignon Blanc because it’s heavy on the citrus, which ignites the flavor of the fish, and is very acidic, which helps balance out the saltiness.
3. Buddy V’s Ristorante by Buddy Valastro
Food Pairing: Fettuccine Alfredo
Beverage Pairing: Ruffino Chianti Riserva Ducale Tan
Buddy Valastro rose to fame with his family bakery, which was the subject of a reality show (Cake Boss) on TLC. To most people’s surprise, he does more than just bake – he can cook, too!
Buddy V’s Ristorante opened in 2013, and has been a mainstay ever since. The fettuccine alfredo is one of our favorites, but don’t forget to pair it with a glass of Chianti Classico!
It’s a red blend with a fruity, dry, and tannic taste, but it’ll match well with the richness of the alfredo. And let’s not forget, Chianti wines are a staple in Italian cuisine – so it helps set the mood!
Impressive Food and Drink Pairings at Il Toro
Next time you’re near the Las Vegas Strip and need a bite to eat, Javier Barajas has you covered at Il Toro E La Capra – one of the hottest Mexican-Italian restaurants in the country.
If you’re looking for an impressive selection of Italian and Mexican food and beverage pairings, you’ve come to the right place. Here are some of our favorites:
- Lamb chops with Rochioli Pinot Noir
- Filet Mignon with Mt. Cave Cabernet
- Pollo con Rajas y Crema with Terlato Chardonnay
- Lobster ravioli with Poppy Chardonnay (white wine)
- Italian cheesecake with Beringer Moscata
Located right around the corner from Mandalay Bay and Allegiant Stadium, Il Toro is the perfect place to make some memories – and new friends! Contact us today or book a reservation online to save a seat!