Following the success of its innovative gourmet culinary walking tours through Las Vegas’ revitalized downtown and along its desirable Strip, the award-winning Lip Smacking Foodie Tours proudly introduces a brand-new itinerary to its roster – the eclectic “Arts District Lip Smacking Tour.” (Pictured: Tour participants listen to a presentation by a restaurant chef during the new Arts District tour – Photo courtesy of Lip Smacking Foodie Tour)
On this tour, attendees explore one of the city’s most spirited and colorful neighborhoods—home to a slew of talented artists and artisans. Here, the popular “First Friday’’ arts and cultural festival entices nearly 15,000 people on the first Friday of each month to stroll and admire one-of-a-kind local art. Spunk and creativity abound along the 18 blocks encompassing the Arts District, with a lively mix of independent businesses including vintage clothing boutiques, antique stores, theaters, art galleries, bars and restaurants.
This inspiring experience escorts groups to up to four locations, with each restaurant presenting an array of distinctive dishes while patrons relax and mingle. Guests are treated as VIPs as they are personally greeted by chefs and proprietors and whisked to the best seats in the house at each venue. Guests never wait in line or need to make reservations.
On this tour, guests will get a taste of the best the Arts District has to offer as they meet some of its most distinctive chefs. The first stop is Esther’s Kitchen, where the seasonal Italian cuisine is served on handmade tableware fashioned at a pottery studio just steps away from the restaurant. Chef James Trees, a Las Vegas native, has worked under such culinary luminaries as Gordon Ramsay, Eric Ripert, Ray Garcia and Michael Mina. The restaurant, named for his Great-Aunt Esther whose generosity helped him attend the Culinary Institute of America and open his first restaurant, specializes in scratch-made pastas, pizzas and breads.
At Jammyland, guests will feast not only with their palate, but also their eyes. Former New Yorkers Danielle Crouch and Allan Katz opened this Jamaica restaurant in a converted garage with a spacious patio with twinkling lights featuring two vibrant wall murals, including one that depicts the history of Jamaican music around the globe. Here, guests can groove to Reggae tunes, peruse an extensive rum list, and feast on modern Caribbean fare such as the classic meat patty with curried grass-fed beef enfolded in a turmeric-scented pastry, as well as the popular jerk wings which are marinated for 24 hours and smoked in-house.
Afterward, guests get a chance to stretch their legs while taking in iconic artwork, including “Paintbrush Gateway,’’ Dennis Oppenheim’s two 45-foot tall steel paintbrushes that emit beams of rainbow-colored LED light 2,000 feet skyward. They will also see the thought-provoking “Chain Migration’’ by artist Izaac Zevalking, known as the Recycled Propaganda, which depicts the Statue of Liberty in handcuffs.
The tour excursion ends with a sweet taste of history. At Cornish Pasty Co., Cornwall, England native Dean Thomas continues the tradition of making English, hand-held pies that originated in the 1200s when wives and mothers baked them as a convenient packable lunch for miners. Thomas also serves classic British desserts, including Banoffee Pie made with house-made caramel, fresh bananas and a fluff of whipped cream; Sticky Toffee Pudding; and Chocolate Bread & Butter Pudding that features warm, house-baked bread soaked in a rich chocolate-brandy sauce and served crisp on the outside and custardy within.
The new Arts District tour is $125 per person. For an even more elevated experience, guests may add an optional $50 per person beverage package that includes a pre-selected signature cocktail at each stop. Click here to make a reservation.