Sunday, October 07, 2007

Las Vegas
(finally getting to it..and no, I'm not proud about how long it's been since I've last posted)

Ahhh, Vegas. There are so many great things about it, all based around greed and a slimy underbelly (yeah, I've seen Casino.) But sometimes you gotta indulge and get outta the city.

A stop at a restaurant while driving to Vegas was necessary to stretch our legs and to try out the Mad Greek...

...a funny restaurant in the middle of the desert, open 24 hours, filled with wacky Greek statues and memorabilia. But I feel the place is more than a gimmick, because their food was delicious.
Owen got one of his favorites - watermelon juice. And this was no ordinary watermelon juice from a carton. They took a mini watermelon, cut off the rinds and threw the whole thing in a blender, all for Owen's drink. Doesn't get any fresher than that.
An order of their onion rings and zucchini once again proved their strive for freshness. These onion rings and zucchini strips were freshly cut and fried - no frozen stuff here. I have to admit though, as fresh as these were, they weren't as tasty as I wanted them to be. The zucchini was a little bit bitter, but a dip in their tahini and all was well.
Bryan's bacon cheeseburger...I guess if you want a regular cheeseburger you have to ask them to hold the bacon! That's the kind of place this is!!! His order of fries looked good.
Owen and I got the beef and lamb gyro combo - a luscious flatbread filled with char-grilled meats, fresh tomatoes and onions, and came with tahini and rice. Completely satisfying.
Here's another sexy shot for all the food pornography appreciators out there.

The next day was all about hitting the town. For lunch, we went to Caesar's Palace, and stopped at a restaurant whilst inside their Forum Shops - Trevi. The atmosphere was nice, as it was "outdoors"..or as outdoors as the Forum shops can get. Under an artificial pleasantly cloudy blue sky, we chewed on our bread while we waited for our food.
The best part about the bread was the DELICIOUSLY FRAGRANT olive oil. It was some of the best olive oil I've ever had. Really. It made everything so tasty.
For an appetizer, we ordered some blue crab dip that came with some buttered bread slices. This was excellent - it didn't look like much but once we dug into the creamy, rich crab meat, we were blown away. This plate was scraped CLEAN when we were done with it.
Here's Patty's caprice salad - buffalo mozzerella, thick slices of tomato, a few leaves of basil, drizzled with balsamic vinegar. I didn't taste this but doesn't it look pretty?
Polenta fries were a miss, apparently. Brad said they sucked, and that they were too thick and too filling. I'll take his word on it.
Here's Owen's Trio of Roast Beef sliders, that came with fries. They are just too cute, lined up in a row, ready to be EATEN. Their round little buns covered shaved cheese, succulent roast beef, and a tomato slice. Very delicious.

Justin got a pizza - sausage, onion, potato and bell pepper (I think). He managed to finish off most of it. I tried a slice...pretty good but VERY filling because of the potato. The crust was very good.
And it's unfortunate, but this is the only (blurry) picture I took of one of the most amazing chicken alfredo pizzas I've ever had. Slices of white meat chicken, bacon, garlic, over mozzarella and a white sauce instead of red. FULL of flavors, and so savory good.
We had to get dessert of course. Patty and Brad chose to share 2 scoops of chocolate gelato with bananas. It looked rich and creamy.
Our side of the table, which contained a certain chocoholic named Owen, insisted on getting a massive chocolate dessert. So he ordered a chocolate mousse slice, with raspberry and chocolate sauce. This...was pure decadence. I liked the raspberries the best, and really could only take 2 small bites...I was really full.

Now on to the big dogs. Patty was kind enough to make reservations for us to go to - DANIEL BOULUD BRASSERIE within the Wynn, because we were going to watch Spamalot ( the way...check it out if you have the means!) We were seated outdoors - it was finally cooled down enough for it to be pleasant outside instead of unbearable - in front of the huge waterfall. Very nice. The staff was super attentive, and gave suggestions as to what we should get.
The bread basket was stocked with many delicious crusty-on-the-crust-soft-on-the-inside slices of bread...
...served with fancy little pats of butter with Daniel Boulud's signature symbol on it (swanky, no?)
Brad and Patty were so kind as to order a few things for the table - the smoked salmon platter being one of them. Mmmm, I love smoked salmon. These pieces were beautifully pink, with capers dashed longside them. Chopped red onions and bread slices finished out the plate. The salmon was...great. Not too salty, not too mild, just...tasty.
They also ordered a tuna tartare. Fresh fresh ahi tuna chopped up and formed into a cylinder...with tasty rabbit food on top makes me happy.
Owen and Patty decided to go with the waiter's suggestion and got the Braised Short Ribs. They were covered in a tasty glaze sauce, atop a bed of mash and perched on top of the meat, a bit of root veggies and string beans. The highlight, of course, was the meat...
Oh, yes, look at that beautiful meat being tore up! The meat was so tender and juicy that it FELL apart when touching it with a fork, but it was not dry at very delicious this was (well, the taste I had was delicious...Owen completely annihilated this plate + scraped it CLEAN.)
The rest of us decided on getting the "Original NY DB Burger", which we could not resist as the ingredients in this burger were most special - the burger is a 9 oz sirloin, stuffed with SHORT RIBS, FOIE GRAS and BLACK TRUFFLE. What?!! That's like 4 other rich meals rolled up in ONE burger. All of this is nestled on a Parmesan bun, with golden tender french fries. Now I have to say, these fries were some of the best I've had. And I've had a lot of fries in my life.
Now to the burger. I mean, what can't I say that the picture does not say? The meat juices get soaked up by the sturdy but fresh bun. The foie gras is foie gras - decadent organ meats were in full force as the middle of this burger was protected from overcooking by the ground sirloin outsides. I honestly didn't really notice any of the truffles but then again, I don't think I've had them otherwise, so I probably couldn't tell with all the meat surrounding it. The short ribs were mashed along with everything, giving it a different texture. The whole thing was seriously an effort to eat, as it was so rich. I think I did my best with the meat but left the bun.

After watching the hilarious Spamalot show, we got a bit of dessert at Chocolat - the chocolate store inside of the Wynn.
I got a raspberry macaron. Ohhh boy. This was perfect. So good, not too sweet, crisp outside, chewy satisfying fruity inside. I should have these more often, but glad there's not a place that's closer. I think I'd probably gorge myself on these until I hurt.
Patty got herself a croissant from the cafe. HOW BEAUTIFUL! Puffy, buttery brown, crusty on the outside soft as air on the inside. Lucky her!
This is Owen's chocolate croissant - he can't resist when it comes to the combination of dark chocolate and flaky buttery-ness. A top quality croissant all the way!

The next day, my dad, my brother, Owen and I went to Paris for some lunch. The line to every restaurant was trailing out the door, so we went to their cafe for a few sandwiches. They were fairly quick and efficient. My brother got an italian sandwich combo (which came with the grossest potato salad I've ever had - sloppy wet disgustingness. ) A number of deli meats were inside this sandwich - salami, ham..topped off with artichoke hearts and rabbit foods. The bread was super thick, and way too filling.
This was my smoked salmon sandwich, with red onions and capers. They were VERY generous with the smoked salmon, which I was very much pleased about. I traded halves with my brother so I got to try the Italian sandwich.
Dad got the roast beef with caramelized gracing the top. The roast beef portion was overly generous. The quality of the meat was alright. Nothing to write home about.
Owen got a tuna salad sandwich. Same as the other sandwiches - overly generous with the meat, way too big to finish.
That night, we went to Planet Hollywood (formerly the Aladdin Casino and Hotel, now changed to Planet Hollywood, with the dumbest logo of all time...a "ph" on the outside. WHY?) for their Spice Market Buffet. They were having a special dinner because of the holiday weekend. I don't know what's usually there, but I throughly enjoyed huge split king crab legs, tons of shrimp (different kinds, too - boiled, tempura, sushi), oysters, a Mediterranean BBQ, prime rib, and countless other things I sampled. I remember having the top crust off of a creme brulee and some frozen yogurt from a soft serve machine.
So yeah, a pretty good buffet for buffet standards. Everyone seemed to be having a great time.

What a weekend that was! Vegas never fails to disappoint!

The Mad Greek
Baker, CA

Trevi at Caesar's Palace, in the Forum Shops
3570 Las Vegas Blvd South
Las Vegas, NV 89109

Daniel Boulud Brasserie, Chocolat and Terrace Point Café, at the Wynn Hotel
3131 Las Vegas Blvd South
Las Vegas, Nevada 89109

The Cafe at Paris Hotel
3655 Las Vegas Boulevard South
Las Vegas, Nevada 89109

The Spice Market Buffet at the Planet Hollywood Hotel
3667 Las Vegas Blvd South
Las Vegas, NV 89109