Chicago has its beef, New York its bagels, Miami its stone crab. And believe it or not, more and more food products are coming out of Las Vegas.
Some are made here, some distributed through here. But we can call them all our own.
LEVITY GOURMET MARSHMALLOWS
www.LevityGourmetMarshmallows.com or 702-306-2035
When Elisabeth Papadopoulos and Nathan Hollrith wanted to make a little treat for her mother's birthday a few years ago, homemade marshmallows sounded like fun.
"We were just looking for something unusual to surprise her with," she said.
Her mother was pleased, and so were they, so they started experimenting with different flavors. And Levity was born.
"It's literally just the two of us," Papadopolous said. "We do everything ourselves."
And the flavors keep on coming. OK, vanilla's probably a no-brainer. But how about strawberry? Lemon? Mint? Or a s'mores marshmallow for "all of the nostalgia with none of the smoke inhalation"?
They sell only through their website and have been in business nine months, but because of the nature of the Internet, they have customers throughout the country. (For local customers, they'll arrange for pickup, waiving the shipping fee.)
And their coffee caramel swirl and blueberry marshmallows (no, not together) will be pictured in the spring issue of Martha Stewart Weddings magazine.
www.DeliciousByDomacasse.com or 702-787-2918
Nelson Domacasse likes to use spices when cooking.
"Steak here or anywhere in the world tastes the same," he said; only spices can change that.
When he took a job running a cafe in a car dealership in the northern part of the valley, a lack of proximity to his pantry prompted him to work up a blend of five spices that he could grab quickly. His customers started raving about the flavor of his burgers and steaks, so he upped the ante to 10 spices. Then, the native of Curacao started researching and kept tinkering until he came up with the secret mix of 21 spices that make up Heaven's Seasoning. He later came up with a hot and spicy version (and somehow resisted the impulse to call it Hell's Seasoning).
"I really did a scientific study -- what goes with each other," Domacasse said.
The blend, he said, can be used on almost anything. "Last night I had pizza and sprinkled it with the hot spices."
He sells it on his website and so far has made sales all over the world. But he'd like to get the word out.
"I sent it to Oprah," he said, "but that lady is too busy."
2275 E. Sunset Road, www.ArtisanalFoods.com or 702-436-4252
When Brett Ottolenghi started his company at -- no lie -- age 13, he concentrated on fresh truffles, and by 2004, when he was a student at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, it had started to really take off.
Ottolenghi made the rounds of restaurants on the Strip and off, building relationships and selling his precious fungi.
But two things happened. One, chefs asked him for other ingredients they were having difficulty obtaining.
"I always knew who to call," he said. "I guess I've got that reputation around town. The chefs can rely on me to get them the exotic ingredients."
And two, he was getting bored. It was the research that he really enjoyed, and he'd pretty much researched the heck out of truffles.
He started branching out. And then -- mostly, he said, because of requests from chefs who wanted to be able to buy the products for home use, but also because it had always been a goal -- he opened a storefront last year.
The store currently carries about 300 products. They include many ingredients needed for molecular gastronomy, plus such esoterica as whole green walnuts in syrup, huitlacoche, blue agave syrup, whole lines of honeys (including one made in Pahrump) and Chinese teas, fresh duck breast, foie gras, mammoth prawns from Australia's Great Barrier Reef, and sliced prosciutto and Iberico and Serrano ham.
Ottolenghi is concerned that such foods aren't priced out of reach whenever possible. He chose a less-expensive packaging for his teas, and plans to sell caviar in a three-gram spoonful for $10.
He has attracted national publicity in The New Yorker, but seems more excited about the live sturgeon in his aquarium.
And he's spending a lot of time researching caviar.
FLAVORWRAP SEASONING SHEETS
When they were opening the first Montana Meat Co. five years ago, corporate manager Adam Wilson and his boss, operating partner Steve Meatovich, were looking for something a little different for their steaks. They heard about a company that was making a new type of marinade, in sheets that were wrapped around the meat, refrigerated for a while and then unwrapped before the meat was cooked. The sheets both flavored and tenderized the steaks.
"We tried that and it added so much flavor to the steak, it was unbelievable," Wilson said. They decided to use it on their signature rib-eyes.
"That became our No. 1-selling steak," he said. The wraps are used at both Montana Meat locations and Beanos Casino.
Over a steak with Meatovich one day, Wilson mused that it was a shame the sheets weren't available to the public. And a business was born.
Today there are four flavors of Flavorwrap Seasoning Sheets: garlic herb, honey barbecue, Southwest and steakhouse. They're $7.95 for a package of six, available on the company's website.
Since November, Wilson said, they've had buyers from spots as distant as the Philippines and Turkey.
"It's not," he said, "a novelty item."
BEAU JOIE FRENCH CHAMPAGNE
Local nightclubs, Total Wine and Whole Foods Market
When Jon Deitelbaum and his wife, Brandis, launched their luxury champagne brand, Beau Joie, last July, Las Vegas was a natural location. The Henderson residents have lived here for four years, and "I think it's one of the best places in the country to do business when you're talking about a luxury brand like Beau," he said.
The champagne comes with a pedigree: It's made of 60 percent pinot noir and 40 percent chardonnay in Epernay, France. And its packaging -- designed for the hospitality industry -- is 100 percent recycled copper, which Deitelbaum said keeps the bottle cold for the period during which champagne would normally be consumed.
The brut retails for about $79.99, the rose for $125.
Contact reporter Heidi Knapp Rinella at hrinella @reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0474.