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“A Meal to Tease Your Senses and Free Your Mind”;

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This columnist received an intriguing invitation to “A Culinary Journey,” a wine, food and music pairing event at the STRIPSTEAK Restaurant, in the Mandalay Bay Resort.

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A perfect evening usually includes fine wines and cuisine. The STRIPSTEAK Restaurant added more by bringing the perfect evening a step further.

For the first time, “A Culinary Journey” immerses you in the finest cuisines, wines and the music of France, Spain, Japan and the United States.

Some of the biggest names combined their expertise as consultants- Executive Chef Gerald Chin, Rajat Parr Wine Director of the MINA Group at the renowned celebrity chef Michael Mina’s STRIPSTEAK Restaurant and Michael Smith, CEO of the Playlist Generation.

When Michael Smith selected the music, he envisioned a sensory experience. Music provides a backdrop for the meals. Michael joined several musical expressions of each country. These provided the “feeling of being there.”

The result was unbelievable! They divided the evening into a half-hour sensory experience for each country.

The event began with California cuisine. Their coastal influence brought the delicate taste of the Dungeness crab set on the crunchy tostada. The oak grilled flat iron beef was topped with a tangy basil pesto sauce.

France was represented by steak tartar, named after the Tartare tribes. These tribes fought each other and did not have time to cook their food.

Guests sampled the French classic Gruyere Gougeres cheese puffs and tasted the creamy cheese with black truffle essence.

There are so many ways to serve scallops, but the classic "Coquille St. Jacques" is named for St. James, the patron saint of shellfish gatherers whose symbol is the scallop shell. A caviar-wine-and-white -butter Beurre Blanc sauce topped the scallops.

The chef captured the flavors of Japan with the king of beef, their Wagyu Satay.
He also prepared traditional Hamachi Sashimi and Ahi Tuna Poppers.

The choices for Spain, a delicate traditional Boquerones en Vinagre and Gazpacho soup.

Setting the pace for a California mood, the music selections brought a delightful mix of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Pharoyde, Doors and others.

Their French music spoke of love and relationships. There was even one French rapper.

Japan’s Asian beat was recognizable with Niji, Monochrome Tokyo and others.

Guests were enticed by Spain’s fiery music and their romantic numbers.

They matched the perfect wines with the delicate tastes of each countries’ cuisines-

California: Illumination Sauvignon Blanc 2010, Napa Valley and
Soliste Pinot Noir Sonatera Vineyard T-Block” Pinot Noir 2008, Sonoma Coast;

France: Pascal Jolivet Sancerre 2012, Loire Valley and
Jean Foillard Morgon “Cote de Py” Beaujolais 2010, Burgundy;

Japan: Japanese Blood & Sand, Yamazaki 12 year old Whisky, Cherry Herring, Carpano Antica and Gekkeikan Sake ‘Horin’, Junmai Daignjo, Kyoto;

Spain: Lopez de Heredia “Vina Gravonia” Crianza Rioja 2002, La Rioja;

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