If we’re really being honest, food is the star of the Life Is Beautiful festival (LifeIsBeautiful.com). With more than 20 chefs participating, three days hardly seem enough to get one’s fill. This year the spotlight is on local eateries. We’ve already checked in with Itsy Bitsy Ramen & Whisky, VegeNation and Gimme Some Sugar. Here, we greet three more neighborhood restaurants that will be feeding you September 25-27. So while Duran Duran and Stevie Wonder will depart at the end of the weekend, you can revisit the culinary magic all year round. Beautiful, indeed.
For those who’d like to pre-game Life Is Beautiful, the culinary event that kicks off the festival, Grills & Guitars, is the place to be. On September 24, 15 chefs will show off their grill skills at Foxtail Pool in SLS. One of them is Jerry Misa, who co-owns Mochiko Chicken with his wife, Sandra Lenska. Mochiko, which specializes in chicken tenders and chicken bowls dressed in a variety of ways, has gained a steadfast following. Misa describes Mochiko’s style as “Asian fusion with Hawaiian and Polynesian influences.” But the secret is in the sauce, and there are many to choose from, including the signature Asian Q and Polynesian varieties.
Find it at Grills & Guitars: Misa is dishing up the restaurant’s signature chargrilled chicken with Asian Q sauce and truffle brown rice with Asian cole slaw garnished with furikake. For dessert, he’s making a coconut pudding with taro topped with roasted coconut exclusively for the event.
Find it in town: 2101 S. Decatur Blvd., 702-789-7103, MochikoLasVegas.com.
Truffles N Bacon Café
The name may sound quaint, but one trip to this Southeast restaurant will make you realize that its chef, Jacqueline Lim, is a formidable talent. Lim, along with her business partner Magnolia Magat, are no culinary newbies. They honed their palates in New York City, and Lim has worked with notable names such as Lidia Bastianich and Wolfgang Puck. Truffles N Bacon is known for its mouthwatering specials (a recent appearance includes lobster and bacon mac and cheese drizzled with truffle oil), but most especially for Lim’s homemade bacon jam, which can make everything taste better.
Find it at LIB: The ladies of Truffles N Bacon will be playfully urging festivalgoers to “Bite your tots!” with a trio of nibbles—mac and cheese bites, truffle tater tots and cinnamon sugar sweet potato tots.
Find it in town: 8872 S. Eastern Ave., Suite 100, 702-503-1102, TrufflesNBacon.com.
The Funnel Cake Café
What is a state fair or a street festival without funnel cake? Nothing is more beautiful than fried dough topped with sugary goodness in the form of syrup or powder. Funnel Cake Café has been serving up sweetness since 2009, and what began as a fun side business for owner Dennette Braud and her husband, Elbert Sr., is now a full-time job, with the truck traveling everywhere in town for food fests, corporate and school events, and First Friday. Now in its second year at Life Is Beautiful, it’s a familiar sight for festivalgoers who last year enjoyed listening to their favorite musicians while sitting on the grass licking powdered sugar from their fingers.
Find it at LIB: While the regular menu has more exotic toppings such as bacon and maple syrup and banana split, LIB fans will be treated to the classics: strawberry, chocolate, caramel, cinnamon or powdered sugar atop warm swirls of hot fried dough.
Find it in town: First Friday, FunnelCakeCafe.com.