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chef scott commings, hells kitchen, freedom beat in downtown grand las vegas

December 10, 2018

A Look Back on Culinary Road Trip 2018

What began as a novel idea to explore the tastes and tunes of the American road inside Freedom Beat has quickly become Las Vegas’ premier monthly dinner series in just two short years.

“We were just looking for a cool way for guests to experience Freedom Beat and expose Las Vegas to some of my favorite cuisines from across the country,” notes Chef Scott Commings, “but it has turned into this incredibly personal experience for myself and the guests and it continues to get bigger each year.”

With destinations that have included Texas, New Orleans, Portland, Miami, Nashville, Seattle, and Boston (to name a few) this intimate monthly dinner series designed to be family-style and interactive has served over two thousand regionally inspired meals over its first two years. Originally limited to just 25 guests inside Freedom Beat, Culinary Road Trip has been permanently extended to 55 guests to ensure there’s plenty of leg room for all of the loyal travelers who continue to make the monthly trip with Chef Scott each month. Unlike traditional dinner series, the Culinary Road Trip is designed for those who like good music, family fun and a LOT of food.

With December 6th being the very last #CulinaryRoadTrip of 2018 (tear) we wanted to take you back on the road for a little recap of just how awesome 2018 has been.

It all started back in February with a little trip to New Orleans.

Now we know this isn’t the first time we’ve been to New Orleans – we went in 2017 too. BUT THE FOOD! It’s so good we had to go back!

Serving up Crispy Oysters on the Half Shell, Soft Shell Crab and Andouille Sausage Po-Boys, Rabbit Jambalaya and a Mile High Pie to finish it all off – Chef Scott Commings really outdid himself.

Take a look:

In March, we were back on the road again in the only place that makes sense for celebrating St. Patty’s Day – Boston!

That’s right, Boston, Massachusetts is the perfect place to feature a beautiful blend of seafood and Irish-themed delights.

With a menu consisting of Lobster Rolls, Fried Clams, Corned Beef and Guinness meat pies – it’s safe to say that no one left hungry or dissatisfied. Each course has its own accompanied drink as well, so no one left sober either. But that’s how we do our road trips (however, we never drink and drive).

In April, when it starts getting hot(ter) in Vegas, we decided it was time to get our sea legs. We took you on a boat trip to where else but Hawaii? We brought you up to the Citrus Grand Pool Deck and showed you a good time with Luau dancers, Hawaiian shirts, beautiful downtown Las Vegas views and the pièce de résistance – a whole roasted pig.

Honorable menu mentions include: Fried Rice Wok Station, Spam Musubi, Chicken Katsu, Char Siu (spare ribs) and Pineapple Upside-Down Cake with “Dole Whip” Floats for dessert.

Who knew we could create an island paradise in the middle of the desert?

Back on the road in June – headed to the capital of music, Nashville, TN! Yee-haw! Chef Scott created a menu inspired by Southern favorites. Menu items include Fried Bologna Sliders, Uncle Bud’s Catfish and Pickles (not sure who Uncle Bud is but he sure knows his fish), Tennessee Dry Rub Beef Ribs and what Nashville food menu would be complete without the Hot Chicken?! Yep – our guests enjoyed that too.

Drinks included a Lynchburg Lemonade, Ole Smokey Blackberry Tea and a Jack Mule featuring Jack Daniels paired with ginger beer – everything you could want, inspired by God’s Country!

We headed back out west in August. And we mean WAY west. We took you to the gorgeous city of Portland, Oregon AKA Stumptown, USA.

The Portland menu was as eclectic as the people of Portland themselves. The menu featured Lamb Gyros, Buttermilk Pork Tenderloin and Shakshuka, all finished up with a dessert of a Crème Brulee Pancake with Salt and Straw house-made ice cream. Drinks included a “Portland 75” cocktail with gin, rosé wine, simple syrup, lemon juice and lemon bitters. We also featured Portland’s own Widmer Brewery with their Hefeweizen, a Pinot Noir from Portland and sealed the deal with a delicious and cozy Spanish Coffee.

In October, we decided to stay local and keep it classy with an elegant Culinary Road Trip hosted at Triple George Grill for a special 5th Anniversary celebration. With a new venue we brought in some new entertainment and turned up the charm just a notch.

Trivia this month focused a lot on Chef Scott himself (did you know that Chef Scott is also a self-taught oven mason?!). The menu featured Lager Poached Prawns, a succulent Pot Roast, a Double Rib Chop, Triple George signature Porcini Crusted Tri-Tip Steak served “Oscar Style.” For dessert we enjoyed a Cast Iron Cookie and Bananas Foster. We get full all over again just thinking about it!

And lastly, we ended Culinary Road Trip back at the Downtown Grand with a “Home for the Holidays” theme.

Chef Scott featured seasonal cocktails and local beers with a stunning spread of Baby Baked Brie en Croute, duo of Chicken and Pork Pâté, Braised Beef and Root Vegetable Stew with Yorkshire Pudding, the Original Turducken and a scrumptious Figgy Pudding to bring it all home (get it? HOME for the holidays).

It’s safe to say that we took you a few places in 2018 and behalf of the entire Culinary Road Trip team and Chef Scott as well, we want to thank you for making these events so fun and going on this crazy journey with us.

We look forward to new and fun spots in 2019 – kicking it all off with Savannah, Georgia in February. Stay tuned on the ticket announcement for that. You will not want to miss it.

In the words of The Grateful Dead, “What a long, strange trip it’s been.” But man, it was tasty!


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