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JALEO by José Andrés

Best meal ever. If you are in Vegas this is a must. Really delicious food. Minus 1 star for leaving smelling like a camp fire. They have an open spit in the dinning area of the restaurant and they were roasting a baby pig and that bad boy was smoking up a storm. I had to air out my clothes when we got back to the hotel. 

Favorite dish: white asparagus with lemon, thyme and idiazábal cheese. Not crazy about food served out of a shoe.

Website: http://www.jaleo.com/

Rating:

drumstick ratingdrumstick ratingdrumstick rating drumstick rating

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Bouchon – Las Vegas

bouchonvegas
I finally made it to Bouchon, Thomas Keller’s French bistro! The restaurant is tricky to locate in the Venetian hotel but well worth the search. We were lucky enough to get a table outside in the sun (which is next to one of the pools). It took an extraordinarily long time to decide what we wanted to order because everything sounded fantabulous. As we sipped on mimosa’s we needed to have the specials explained at least twice. bouchonbeneRachel and I ended up with the Croque Madame which is toasted ham & cheese on brioche with a fried egg and mornay sauce (Béchamel) and a side of pommes frites (fries). It was beyond good. It was sinful and I ate the entire thing without batting an eye. Dena had her first benedict. Unbelievable, right?…at our age! Well, her first was a doozy — Eggs Florentine (substitute spinach and smoked salmon for the ham). I loved everything about our long relaxing brunch and I can’t wait to return. I’ve already decided what I’m having next time.

Website: http://www.bouchonbistro.com/
Bouchon (Venetian) on Urbanspoon

Burger Bar Las Vegas

burgerbar

Hubert Keller, best known for his upscale restaurant Fleur de Lys, has a burger joint in the Mandalay Bay hotel. I’d heard good things about the restaurant so I wanted to give it a try. Keller is supposed to be a burger master (he’s even written a book about burgers). When we arrived it was not what I envisioned. I thought it would be more high end but it’s really just a sports bar. It was filled with men yelling at TV screens. As we were seated I thought to myself… I’m here for the burgers not the ambiance. Looking over the menu I was surprised to find only 4 chef created burgers to choose from and none were appealing at the time. I ended up making my own mushroom & swiss burger with Black Angus beef — not very exciting. The beef was really fresh but overcooked. The fries were hot and tasty but nothing special. They were just piled on a plate and didn’t come with any dipping sauces. Let’s just say I wasn’t impressed — I expected more from a potential Top Chef Master…

Rating:  drumstick ratingdrumstick rating
Website: http://www.mandalaybay.com/dining/burgerbar.aspx

Burger Bar (Mandalay Bay) on Urbanspoon

FIX Restaurant

FIX_Venue_L05

images © FIX Bellagio

I took an impromptu trip to Las Vegas with my BFF’s from college (Hi- Rachel & Dena!). We stayed at the Bellagio hotel and after walking around for hours earlier in the day we were in no mood to leave so we ended up at Fix for dinner. Fix is like eating in a night club. The music is pumping nonstop. I had to hold back busting a move during dinner. Many of the songs played were from the 90’s which was cool since they brought back some college memories. We decided to get a bunch of small plates to share. We went with the soft shell crabs (special of the day), crispy rock shrimp, lobster tacos, BLT wedge salad, yellowtail sashimi and spring rolls. Everything I tasted was great but I do wish the tacos were larger (see picture below).

FIX_Lobster_Taco_L

the lobster tacos (each was the size of a pinky finger)

I couldn’t leave without dessert because the choices were so enticing. We (I) chose  the banana bread pudding with coconut ice cream and the espresso milkshake with warm chocolate cake/brownie. The bread pudding was the best I’ve ever had (and I’ve had a lot). The milkshake looked just like a hot cup of espresso (foam and all). I almost called the waitress over to say we got the wrong order then I took a sip and it was a chilly shake. Excellent presentation. Overall, I enjoyed the vibe and food but felt it was overpriced even for Las Vegas standards. I will return for dessert at the very least.

P.S. The pineapple mojito was awesome.

Rating: drumstick ratingdrumstick ratingdrumstick ratinghalfdrumstick

Website: http://www.bellagio.com/restaurants/fix.aspx

Fix (Bellagio) on Urbanspoon

Enoteca San Marco

On our last night in Vegas we decided to have a light, casual meal at Mario Batali’s Enoteca San Marco at the Venetian. The restaurant is located in the Grand Canal Shoppes area of the hotel.

We started things off with a Caprese salad. It was the most interesting and tasty version of a caprese salad that I’d ever had. No sliced tomatoes and cheese. What we received was a ball of mozzarella surrounded by roasted tomatoes and covered in garlic pesto and pinenuts. I actually found a version of the recipe on epicurious. I plan on making this at home. Recipe link

or you can find the original recipe in Mario’s cookbook: Molto Italiano

Mike and I then shared an order of veal and ricotta meatballs and the cavatappi primavera which is corkscrew pasta and fresh veggies tossed with olive oil and cheese. Both were outstanding. We of course couldn’t leave without getting dessert. We had seen gelato shops all over Vegas for 2 days and we waited until now to get any. We chose 2 sundaes to share. Yes, two! The first was banana gelato with walnuts, chopped banana, carmel sauce and mini banana muffins. YUM!! The second was espresso gelato with marscapone, espresso bean chips, chocolate sauce and lady fingers. YUM YUM!! Both were deliciously sinful. Enoteca is great for lunch or dinner. In addition to the pasta they offer thin personal pizzas and many antipasti dishes. We highly recommend you visit.

This was a wonderful way to end our Vegas vacation. In regards to the weekend battle between Flay and Batali… Who’s cuisine reigned supreme? Chef Batali!

Rating: halfdrumstick

Website: http://www.venetian.com/ENOTECA.aspx

Enoteca San Marco (Venetian) on Urbanspoon

Picasso

picasso

For our “Big” night out in Las Vegas we decided to dine at Picasso which is located in the Bellagio Hotel. Mike had always wanted to go. Picasso named after artist Pablo Picasso serves elegant French cuisine with a Spanish influence and is prepared by chef Julian Serrano. The award winning restaurant has paintings and ceramic art by Picasso throughout the dining room. When we arrived for our 6pm reservation (the first seating of the night) we were offered the option to sit outside on the terrace. Since it was a gorgeous night (mid 70’s, no wind) we said yes. I love dining al fresco. We were ushered to a 4 table balcony overlooking the Bellagio Fountains. Every 30 minutes we viewed an amazing water/light show as relaxing music played throughout the night. If you ever have the opportunity to dine at any Bellagio restaurant and sit on the terrace…go for it. It really is an experience to remember. As we sat and enjoyed the view we opened the menu and SURPRISE we saw 2 prix fixe menus. One with 4 courses the other with 5. We didn’t realize you only have two menu options. After we made our selections we were promptly served an amuse – bouche which included potato leak soup and a smoked salmon spear. It would be a waste of time for me to go through all 8 dishes that followed and describe what we liked because we loved everything. ALL the food was wonderful and prepared perfectly. The service was impeccable. The only negative thing we can think of is the wine menu. It is EXTREMELY pricey. One of the cheapest half bottles was $70 and a glass was $22. When you are having a dinner like this you have to have wine. It really enhances the flavors of the food. The wine in conjunction with the 4 courses is what actually made this the most expensive meal of our lives (so far), but well worth it.

Since we sat outside we didn’t get to see much of the art so as we left we quickly checked out the paintings inside. After completing our 2 hour excursion I don’t regret making the decision to come to Picasso and if I am in Vegas, and I hit the jackpot, I will go again! As we left the hostess handed us a gift box. Inside were 2 cinnamon pastries. I am not sure why we were given this but they were great in the morning and a little reminder of our fantastic night.

Check out the slideshow of our evening below. Cue the Andrea Bocelli music…

Menu (Nicole):

Pea Soup
with Mint, Shrimp, Creme Fraiche

Kobe Beef Spheres
with Lentils

Veal Chop
with Mushrooms, Potato, Beets, Dash of Horseradish, Pinot Reduction

Chocolate Fondant Cake
with Espresso Toffee Ice Cream


Menu (Mike):

Crispy Squab Salad
with Micro Greens, Beets

Salmon
with Cauliflower Mouse

Sautéed Medallions of Fallow Deer
with Caramelized Apples, Zinfandel Sauce

Banana Walnut Torte
with Banana Ice Cream

Website: http://www.bellagio.com/restaurants/picasso.aspx

Rating:

(If the slideshow is not running above, click the PLAY> arrow in the bottom left corner)

Picasso (Bellagio) on Urbanspoon

Mesa Grill

mesa grill

As you may have guessed from the previous post Mike and I spent the weekend in Vegas. Since I am a food network fanatic I decided we would check out a couple of the iron chef restaurants while in town. We started things off with brunch at Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill at Caesars Palace. I was really excited about finally getting to try out some of the grill masters food. We arrived at 10:45am with an appetite. Mike and I both ordered egg dishes since it was still early in the morning. I picked the spicy chicken and sweet potato hash with poached eggs and green chile hollandaise. Mike opted for the scrambled egg enchiladas with chorizo, red chile sauce and goat cheese. I didn’t want anything too spicy but when I asked the server about the heat he said all 6 of the egg dishes have a kick. I thought to myself “how bad could it be?” I didn’t want a salad or burger so I didn’t have much other choice. The brunch menu which is served on weekends until 3pm is very small.

When my dish arrived it looked good. I soon learned that looks can be deceiving. I then glanced at Mike’s dish and actually laughed. His enchiladas were so tiny they looked like taquitos. There were two extremely small tortillas filled with barely any eggs on a plate with some sauce. For $16, I expected A LOT more. I then took a bite of my bfast and immediately felt fire swirling in my stomach. I could not taste any flavors of sweet potatoes, chicken or egg. The spice totally overpowered the dish. I needed a swig of water between each bite. I could only stand to eat half. Mike ended up liking his highly overpriced miniature meal. Since his chile sauce was on the side he could control the hotness.

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