IAN'S FAVORITE PLACES TO EAT IN VEGAS
1. Nobu
2. Mix
3. Alex
4. Buffet Bellagio
5. The Fireside Lounge at the Peppermill

Las Vegas has a special significance for the star of the CW’s The Vampire Diaries: He was here when he found out he was to audition—in LA the next morning—for the role of the show’s bad-boy bloodsucker, Damon Salvatore.

“My sister, brother-in-law and I have a bad-ass gourmet pizza place [McClain’s Pizzeria] near Sun Valley, Idaho,” Ian Somerhalder says. “So we were in Vegas for this cool pizza convention.”

Somerhalder made a splash in 2004 as Boone Carlyle in Lost, but his character was killed off during the first season, and an unsuccessful audition for HBO’s True Blood had tempora rily soured him on undead roles.

But he had a feeling (in his veins?) about the CW’s gothic soap opera, so he jumped in his car, drove all night to the audition (with script pages strewn over his girlfriend sleeping in the passenger seat) and nailed the part.

His instinct was right: The show debuted in September 2009, an instant hit. Somerhalder has yet to adopt a liquid diet, though. Born and raised in the palate-pleasing paradise of southeastern Louisiana, the actor says that Vegas has a thing or two to offer cuisine-wise, and singles out the Hard Rock’s Nobu and Mandalay Bay’s Mix for overall dining experience.

“A buddy of mine opened Mix, and I first started going there at his invitation,” Somerhalder says. “There’s nothing like enjoying fine food and wine with that view of Vegas from the 64th floor. It’s amazing.”

Ian's Favorite Home Cooked Dishes 
1. Seafood gumbo (roux not too dark)
2. Fresh quail baked in organic asiago/
jalapeño/white-truffl e cornbread
3. Winter chili with a bit of chocolate and
superground espresso
4. Fried okra with homemade ranch dressing
5. Garlic-stuffed wild venison tenderloin
(marinated in milk and olive oil) rubbed with
truffle oil

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