You Never Sausage Place!

Magura serves up sausage, stuffed peppers and tasty free cheese bread

Jim Begley

Wed, Jan 19, 2011 (5:55 p.m.)

Image

Magura’s regular sausage.

Photo: Beverly Poppe

Magura Restaurant offers Valley denizens an ethnic cuisine rarely found outside larger metropolitan areas—Bulgarian. But be forewarned: The place is decorated like a European swap meet, plays P.M. Dawn and Ricky Martin music and features service best described as … incredibly casual. Trust me, though, it’s worth it.

I suggest starting with chushki burek (stuffed red peppers, $7.50), a sort of Eastern European chile relleno. Simply breaded and stuffed with a mixture of Bulgarian feta and spices heavy on dill, the gooey, cheesy concoction bursts with flavor. Oh, and there’s Magura’s piping-hot, made-to-order cheese bread, one of the tastiest free offerings in town. It’s actually pizza crust from the adjacent pizzeria—did I forget to mention the Bulgarian pizzeria of the same name next door?—topped with something akin to mozzarella. The mystery mixture of Bulgarian spices reminiscent of a next-level Jane’s Krazy Mixed-Up Salt blend elevates the whole thing to ethereal status. It’s like eating the best cheese-covered pretzel ever.

Want meat? Unsurprisingly given Magura’s European heritage, a wide variety of meats is available. My favorites, all brought to you by the letter K, were karnache (spiral sausage, $9), kebapche (regular sausage) and kiufte (meatball strangely shaped like a burger). The latter two are part of the mixed grill ($15.50), alongside a pork chop and shish kebab, though I recommend them a la carte.

If you’ve got room for dessert, the baklava ($4) is as good as any in Las Vegas. More robust than your standard Greek presentation, it’s served a la mode and rounds out a seriously good meal.

Magura Restaurant
1305 Vegas Valley Drive, 693-6990.
Sunday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-10 p.m.; Friday & Saturday, 10 a.m.-midnight.

A Corny Good Time!

El Elote Loco serves grilled corn on the cob the Mexican way

Jim Begley

Wed, Jan 5, 2011 (6:20 p.m.)

Image

That’s the good stuff: Grilled corn on a stick with mayo, squeeze butter, cotija cheese and chili flakes from El Elote Loco.

The Mexican street food elote plasero (grilled corn) is not easily available around the Valley. So when I heard whispers of a Northtown swap meet offering the dish, I felt obliged to compare it to the version I’m enamored with at Hussong’s at Mandalay Place.

From a booth near the northwest entrance of the Broadacres Swap Meet, El Elote Loco (The Crazy Corn) is a purveyor of corn in a variety of preparations. You can get corn on the cob (boiled or grilled, each $2) or in a cup ($2.50), pancake ($1.50) or tamale ($2). All are mighty good, but the grilled corn is the rightly acknowledged star. It comes slathered with your choice of mayo, squeeze butter (Parkay!), cotija cheese or chili flakes, and is a simple foil to Hussong’s more intricate offering. It’s also a bargain at a third the price of its Strip doppelgänger. Even with swap-meet admission (50 cents to $1.50) you come out ahead.

Which is better? Depends on your mood: laid-back swap or lavish Strip? Either way, you’re in for a treat.

El Elote Loco
Broadacres Swap Meet, 2930 N. Las Vegas Blvd., 642-3777.
Friday, 6 a.m.-3 p.m.; Saturday & Sunday, 6 a.m.-4 p.m.

2010’s Best Bites – My Five Favorites

Wed, Dec 29, 2010 (5:10 p.m.)

ImagePeanut butter waffles served with Bananas Foster and white chocolate mousse? Too much is never enough.

Photo: Christopher DeVargas

JIM BEGLEY

1. World Famous Spinach Salad Nittaya’s Secret Kitchen Individual leaves of lightly battered and fried spinach, served alongside a tart-yet-sweet larb gai (Thai chicken salad), combined for one of the most unique new tastes of 2010. Don’t let the “salad” part fool you; it’s better described as a meat dip with spinach chips.

2. Peanut Butter Belgian Waffle Roxy’s at the Stratosphere What happens when you bake a Belgian waffle with peanut butter, top it with Bananas Foster and serve it alongside white-chocolate mousse? Your daily sugar intake—courtesy of this maniacal concoction from chef Rick Giffen on Roxy’s revamped menu.

Fukuburger co-owners Colin Fukunaga (right) and Robert "Mags" Magsalin. Photo: Justin Massongill

Fukuburger co-owners Colin Fukunaga (right) and Robert “Mags” Magsalin.

3. Chicken and Waffles Fukuburger Be on the lookout for Fuku’s chicken and waffles—honey and sesame fried chicken skewers on cinnamon-coated andagi (Okinawan doughnut holes similar to malasadas). Served with plenty of maple syrup, they’re a periodic offering that has already garnered such a resounding following the boys guarantee you’ll see them again. Good reason to look forward to 2011!

4. Chicken Marsala Cafe Martorano’s at the Rio For years chef Steve Martorano has offered his wares in our humble burg, yet only in 2010 did I try his take on this classic Italian dish. Pounded-thin chicken makes the perfect base for the sinfully superb sauce—the secret of which we’d tell you if he didn’t scare us so much. You’ll just have to try it yourself.

5. Stir-Fried Crispy Beef China Mama This westside favorite offers a number of incredibly good, authentic dishes, probably none more famous than the xiao long bao—steamed pork soup dumplings. As good as they are (and they are really good), our go-to dish is the stir-fried crispy beef, whose crunchy sweetness provides an ideal complement for the carrot slivers on which it rests.