Kristy Totten is the writer at Union-Tribune Ideas and co-host of Spicy Eyes Podcast.


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Recent episodes featuring Kristy Totten
Hopperpocalypse: Eating Las Vegas' Grasshopper Swarm
At the end of July, drawn in by an unusually green spring and our city's bright lights, millions of grasshoppers swarmed Las Vegas. Inspiration struck, and your intrepid hosts decided to catch and cook some grasshoppers for ourselves (and you, dear listeners). With the help of artists Mikayla Whitmore and Brent Holmes, we managed to trap a few dozen. Food writer Kim Foster helped us cook them up the next day. Along the way, we explore bug-eating traditions around the world, why hoppers aren't seen as food in much of the U.S., and why we might all need to take bugs-as-food a little more seriously. Oh, and we'll tell what grasshoppers taste like, too. This episode was written by Sonja Swanson, and produced by Kristy Totten and Sonja Swanson. Music by Jeremy Klewicki.
The Curious Charms of the Casino Buffet
Love it or hate it, the casino buffet is a mainstay of the Las Vegas experience, for tourists and locals alike. First up, writer Cindi Reed (who writes under the name C. Moon Reed) gives us the historical lowdown, starting from the very first casino buffet in the 1940s. After that, we head to AYCE at The Palms, where we meet up with Yelp Elite member and buffet fanatic LJ Riofta (seriously, he eats at a buffet at least once a week—this guy's a pro). We learn important buffet tips, like limiting yourself to one drink so you can fit in more food. And last but not least, we talk to Sarah Stallard, the farm manager at Las Vegas Livestock, a pig farm about 30 minutes north of the city that takes in 20 tons of food waste daily, much of it from buffets. Here we learn just how our leftovers gets put to good use, and why not all buffets are quite so bad at food waste as you might think. This episode was produced by Sonja Swanson, and the music was composed by Jeremy Klewicki.
Bonus: June 2019 updates
Hello Spicy Eyes listeners! We've got some updates for you in between episodes. Thanks, as always, for your patience and for tuning in — we put a lot of work into research, field recording and producing this show, which takes time! But in the meantime, here's what's in store in this bonus episode: We got a chance to hang out with a few very cool Vegas podcasts: Alison and Jacob of Wild & Free took us to Battista's Hole in the Wall, an old school red sauce Italian classic, and we recorded some sounds at dinner (an accordion player makes an appearance) Kristy hung out with Cheftimony host Graham MacLennan and they sat down with Chef Jamie Tran at Black Sheep (find the episode preview and a mini interview with Kristy here!) We went to a Latinos Who Lunch live show at UNLV's Barrick Museum, and got a very sweet shout out (thank you to Babelito & FavyFav!). Keep your eyes peeled for that episode, featuring guest Professor Erika Abad, coming soon. We also answer a few questions from friends of Spicy Eyes: How did we meet? What's our favorite nostalgic food? What's the spiciest thing we've ever tried? (Yep, you'll have to tune in to find out!) Last but not least, we're sharing not just one, but TWO daily nuggets with you in this bonus episode! The first daily nugget features farmer Amanda Yeckel, who gave us a tour of her beautiful property at Cluck-It Farm after a farm dinner in May. FYI, they're opening up registration for the fall CSA program. Daily nugget #2 comes to us from our friend Sungjoon Koo, a photographer and bartender running the bar program at the brand-new Sushi Kame on Spring Mountain Rd. He shows us how he puts a cocktail together — lots of great shaker sounds! The outro music was composed by Jeremy Klewicki. That's all for today! Thanks everyone.
Cupcakes And Sex Work In Las Vegas
Every month, the Cupcake Girls deliver dozens of hot pink mini cupcakes to strip clubs and legal brothels in hopes of connecting sex workers with resources. In this episode, we discuss the sex work landscape in Las Vegas, what a cupcake symbolizes and why it's the perfect metaphor for our city's restrained, contained hedonism. This episode was produced by Kristy Totten. Sonja Swanson produced the Daily Nugget.
Hawaiian Food On The Ninth Island (AKA Vegas)
We've got Hawaiian food all over town—and that's because Las Vegas is also known as the Ninth Island. Seriously, it's home to the largest Hawaiian population outside of Hawaii. Turns out, there are a lot of reasons for that, involving a clever casino operator (and perhaps a bowl of oxtail soup), plus some pretty serious land issues back in the 808. But Hawaiians here stay connected to home through music, dance, festivals and (you guessed it) food. This episode was produced by Sonja Swanson.
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San Diego, California, United States of America
Episode Count
Podcast Count
Total Airtime
2 hours, 4 minutes