This Year You Can Eat and Drink the Oscars

LAS VEGAS ( MainStreet) -- What event has 1,500 guests, 1,000 bottles of Moet & Chandon ( MC) Champagne and 1,400 strands of Swarovski crystals? Don't know? Maybe this will help: It also has four kilos of American farm-raised caviar, 10 pounds of black winter truffles and 6,500 wood-fired Oscar-shaped flatbreads.

Yes. The Oscars are here.

And to celebrate, TravelsinTaste is bringing you some inside peeks at premiere parties for Oscar-nominated movies, food and drink specials inspired by films and what Wolfgang Puck has done to keep up.

A veritable institution, New York's 21 Club has hosted several Oscar winners as well as 2012 nominees. Most recently, George Clooney, Olivia Wilde, Alan Cumming, Julianna Margulies, Ellen Barkin, Oliver Stone, Jeremy Renner, Sam Rockwell, Beau Bridges, Judy Greer, Frances McDormand and Wendi Murdoch attended a private preview of The Descendents here Oct. 15.
Signed photos adorning the walls of Rao's restaurant tell the story of nights filled with celebrity-studded fun.

Playing backdrop to another Clooney movie -- Ocean's Eleven -- was the Vegas restaurant Picasso. Sitting at table 34 here, Clooney's Danny Ocean shocks ex-wife Tess at this beautiful restaurant in the Bellagio, home to the famous dancing fountains. There's plenty to keep your attention inside, considering it has several of Pablo Picasso's original masterpieces. (Fitting, since Tess was an art curator.)

On Tuesday, Chef David Burke will celebrate with a pre-Oscar party at Fishtail, near another of his New York upper east side restaurants, davidburke townhouse. The dinner will feature a special menu inspired by Best Picture contenders such as The Artist (a Deconstructed Croque Madame with oeuf a la coque, baguette, smoked salmon); War Horse (Hay Smoked Hamachi with spicy apple sauce and oatmeal cake); The Descendants (Rainbow Roll with mango, tuna, scallop, salmon and ponzu pearls); The Help (Ole Miss Shrimp with spicy sausage cornbread, quail egg and mustard vinaigrette); Money Ball (Swordfish & Foie Gras with pretzel toast, peanut brittle gastrique and house-made Cracker Jack shots); and Hugo (Midnight Hour "Mac" n' Cheese with macaroons and mascarpone). At the end of the evening, guests are to submit ballots with their predictions. Those with the most correct votes come Oscar Night will get a prize.

Mixologists are also creating cocktails inspired by the nominees for Best Picture. Nothing is more French-inspired than a Champagne cocktail, and The Artist inspired The Fairmont Monte Carlo to create a concoction of Piper-Heidsieck Champagne, Remy Martin VSOP Cognac, Angostura bitters and a lemon slice. Not to be outdone, The Fairmont Copley has a playful Moneyball-inspired cocktail made up of fresh lemon juice, Disaronno Amaretto, Southern Comfort, Stella Artois beer all, of course, served in a highball glass. The Fairmont Monte Carlo's pitch: "Don't settle for a double when you can indulge in a Triple Play cocktail."

Inspired by The Help, The White Barn Inn in Kennebunkport created Succour, a demure concoction of Luxardo Sambuca Passione Nera, espresso, creme de mure and muddled blueberries. Midnight in Paris was the inspiration behind its City of Light, a delicious combination of Luxardo Gin, lemon juice, Luxardo Maraschino and creme de violette. Brooklyn Winery has an irresistible drink in The Marilyn that's exactly how Ms. Monroe would have wanted her cocktail: sexy, glamorous and refined. This drink simply oozes warm-weather flavors with its blend of gin, St. Germain and sparkling wine served in a flute.

Looking for a great appetizer to savor with the cocktails? At The Fairmont Kea Lani you'll find the Maui Cattle Beef Poke, inspired by The Descendents and made with a steak and rub of Maui Cattle beef steaks, Hawaiian alaea salt and turbinado sugar and tossed with relish.

If you can't make celebrity Chef Wolfgang Puck's (of Spago and Cut fame, to name a few) Oscar dinner, which includes Shanghai Lobster and Chinois Lamb in addition to chocolate, seafood and sushi buffets, then try a home to the stars for a night filled with fun, meatballs and lemon chicken at Rao's. James Caan, Jay-Z, Beyonce, former President Bill Clinton, Ryan Gosling, Scarlett Johansson, Billy Crystal and even Eli Manning, among many other stars, have dined in the famed restaurant where signed photos adorning the wall tell the story of many a celebrity fun-filled night.

Here's to settling in with some Best Picture-inspired cocktails and cuisine!

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