Sneak Peek at Sloppi Jo’s

What I consider to be the biggest story in the Las Vegas food scene in 2010 is the advent of gourmet food truck. There are a variety of players offering foods varying from sliders to shaved ice to Hawaiian foods, though there is still room for some more types of cuisine. As 2010 comes to an end, we get our final entrant into the fray in the form of Sloppi Jo’s.

Now Sloppi Jo’s moniker comes not from the the sandwich (though there is one on the menu) but rather as a play on the owner Jolene’s name. So take note – this is not a Sloppy Joe-related truck but rather a truck whose menu makes use of a single ingredient in a variety of ways – Hatch green chiles.

Hatch, NM is famous for its green chiles and Sloppi Jo’s has ordered them en masse in order to serve the masses. Jo’s menu has six item

Sloppi Jo's caldillo or green chile stew

s on it and we were lucky enough to get a sneak preview of three.

First on the menu was Sloppi Jo’s green chile stew. This is a very traditional New Mexico preparation and was chock full of succulent roasted pork, potatoes, and of course green chiles. The stew will be hit a during Vegas winter months and is not for the faint of heart, though Jo tells me she’s going to try to temper the spiciness of her dishes. Irregardless, this is a hearty meal that is well worth the spiciness.

The second dish was the Sloppi Jo, marinated pork top with a fried egg served alongside tortillas and pickled onions. This eponymous dish is almost obligatory since some people will indeed come looking for a Sloppy Joe, but is by no means an afterthought. First off, the combination of pig and eggs is ALWAYS a good one – this is a never-fail combination of tastiness that Sloppi Jo’s hits perfectly. Secondly, rather than having the messiness of the soggy bun you’re presented with piping hot tortillas while the pickled onions give the dish a bit of textural balance not normally found in Sloppy Joe’s. The sauce itself has the right amount of kick and exudes bold flavors that are sure to delight. This’ll be a favorite soon and is a dish that can be eaten throughout the year.

Sloppi Jo's Sloppy Joe!

The pièce de résistance is the green chile burger. Once again, this dish forgoes the traditional trappings of a bun by wrapping the burger in a tortilla instead. The burger itself is topped with both green chiles and pepper jack cheese and the combination provides a nice gooey center to the handheld treat. The portability of this dish will most likely make it the most popular selection with the on-the-go crowd.

You can taste these dishes and the rest of Sloppi Jo’s offerings this week at their grand unveiling. Sloppi Jo’s will make their public introduction alongside Fukuburger at the 6PM grand opening of 9037 Salon at 9037 W. Sahara on Thursday, December 30th so be sure to check it out! You’ll be glad you did!

Sloppi Jo’s can be followed on Twitter @sloppijos.

Martini Madness!

Andre’s brings back the three-martini lunch … for dinner

Jim Begley

Tue, Nov 23, 2010 (4:10 p.m.)

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Andre’s three-martini dinner

Most employers frown upon workday drinking these days, which might explain why Andre’s is offering a three-martini “lunch” at dinnertime. For only $22, you get three specially created drinks replicating a three-course meal.

The appetizer: a clean version of the traditional Bloody Mary—Hendrick’s gin, artisanal tomato juice, muddled cucumber and dashes of salt and pepper. The flavors are clean and distinct, providing a refreshing (dare we say healthy?) drinking experience.

The main course: a smoked vodka martini, whose aroma is complemented by accompanying caviar-stuffed green olives. The caviar’s saltiness enhances the drink’s smokiness. Think Double Down’s bacon martini all grown up.

And for dessert? A combination of vanilla-infused vodka, Frangelico and ginger liqueur, with a sugar crisp atop the glass and a spoon aside to break through it. It’s like traditional crème brûlée with the added benefit of alcohol. Now that never goes out of style.

At Monte Carlo, 798-7151
Three-martini lunch served Tuesday-Sunday, 5:30 p.m.-closing

If You Want Meat They’ve Got It

Head north to La Hacienda, and bring lots of friends

Jim Begley

Wed, Jun 30, 2010 (4 p.m.)

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That’s a lot of meat.

Photo: Beverly Poppe

If you’re in the mood for something a little different, why not check out La Hacienda Restaurant, in the shadow of Lone Mountain in North Las Vegas? It might appear to be a typical el barrio Mexican restaurant … ah, but looks can be deceiving.

Much like the costumed lucha libre heroes of Mexican wrestling, the unassuming Hacienda transforms around nightfall. Thursday through Sunday evenings after 4, the front parking lot transforms into an impromptu BBQ stand with al pastor spinning on a vertical rotisserie. These delicious tacos are inexpensive ($1.25 each) and plentiful; have them alongside the cheap Mexican beers served by the bucket. Adorned with hot salsa, cilantro and onion and served in housemade tortillas, they are a shining example of simplicity at its best.

If the al pastor is the headliner of the menu, the parilladas de carne ($35) are its hardworking partner. Imagine an aluminum tray overflowing with three kinds of meat — bistec, carnitas and pollo — and you’ve got the picture. The menu advertises that the entrée serves four, but I’ve had upwards of eight and been unable to dent it. The meat is accompanied by papas fritas, freshly sliced avocado, a sprinkling of queso fresco and housemade tortillas, all of which complement the smoky meats.

Adding to the fun: street-roaming mariachi bands periodically appear to belt out tunes. Meat, beer and mariachi — what more could anyone need?

La Hacienda Restaurant
5482 E. Lake Mead Blvd.
437-3608
9 a.m. – 10 p.m., closed Tuesday