Esther’s Kitchen adds pizza in downtown Las Vegas

The Arts District’s newly opened Esther’s Kitchen has taken delivery of its pizza oven, meaning chef James Trees will be adding pizza to the menu Wednesday. While early visitors to the restaurant may have been too preoccupied by the house-made pastas to notice something was lacking, this will be welcome news to those who follow the chef’s career. During the Las Vegas native’s years in California, he helped open L.A.’s popular Pitfire Pizza chain.

Sweets for all occasions

Freed’s Bakery has been cooking up some exciting stuff lately, not least of which was the Beer Unicorn cake. Featured on “Vegas Cakes” on the Food Network on Monday, it was made for the occasion of Club 365 beer-club member Mark Sabatini’s 500th unique beer. And for National Ditch Your Resolution Day on Jan. 17, Freed’s is offering The DYR Cupcake, chocolate cake filled with French-vanilla-infused chocolate ganache and topped with fudge buttercream garnished with candied almonds, shredded coconut, mini M&M’s, crushed Oreos, mini Reese’s cups, marshmallows and Snickers chunks. They’ll be $3.25 each, or $34 a dozen.

Chefs land N.Y. gigs

Two chefs with Las Vegas restaurants plan appearances at the James Beard House in New York this spring. Akira Back, whose 14 restaurants worldwide include Yellowtail at Bellagio and Kumi at Mandalay Bay (and who recently was awarded a Michelin star for his Dosa in Seoul), will cook there on March 15. And Lorena Garcia, who has Chica at The Venetian, will be there April 20. For tickets, visit jamesbeard.org.

‘Top Chef’ contestant search

“Top Chef” has begun casting for its 16th season. If you believe that you or someone you know is ready for their close-up, send your name, address, contact number and social media links to costacasts@gmail.com. The show will reportedly shoot “around May,” and require a five- to six-week commitment.

Sightings

“The Vampire Diaries” actor Ian Somerhalder and “Twilight” star Nikki Reed, and singer-songwriter Ashanti, on separate evenings at Tao at The Venetian. “Property Brothers” star Drew Scott at Lavo at Palazzo.

Have an item for Kitchen Confidante? Email hrinella @reviewjournal.com or amancini@reviewjournal.com.

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