Thursday, August 06, 2009

Vegas getaway

A mini trip to Vegas! Literally, we went here just to go to a room, sleep all day, and then sleep some more. Is that weird? A vacation to sleep? Considering we live behind a car lot, and a really busy street, I don’t really get to experience pure silence very often, and better yet, air conditioning on a hot day. A hotel provides all these things, and I found a great deal to stay at Caesar’s Palace, so we booked a few days here.

We got off our flight extremely early (well, extremely early, relative to me and Owen) – our flight was annoyingly scheduled for 7 in the morning or something – by the time we rolled into Payard Patisserie, we were ready for a good meal to start us off on a better foot for the rest of our mini-break.

The seating is very interesting here – the cook is in the middle, where he makes everything to order, and the patrons are all seated around him in a circular design. It’s a very different kind of setup, but I found it was fascinating watching the cook make everything, (picking up some cooking tips, hah.) Our waiter was very good, very attentive but not too bothersome. We both ordered a glass of orange juice to start.

Payard Patisserie Restaurant

I really liked this juice! It tasted fresh squeezed, I think Owen mentioned it was the “best fresh squeezed orange juice he’s had”. It was a really tall glass, as well…I guess in Vegas, go big or go home, right?

Payard Patisserie Restaurant

Owen and I decided to get two plates, and halfway through, to switch and share. He ordered the French toast with Berry compote. This was amazing, this dish managed to be rich, yet light at the same time. The berries were my favorite kinds – raspberry, blueberry and blackberry, in their own juices, were not sweetened, so it didn’t feel like a over-sugared mess we usually get for something like this. This dish was overall NOT sweet, which I actually loved! And I USUALLY hate French toast, (weird hang-up, I know.), but I liked this a lot – the bread was almost custardy in the middle, the whipped cream was really freshly whipped cream, and not just sugary junk. If there was ever a perfect French toast plate, this would be it for me.

Payard Patisserie Restaurant

I ordered a croque madame – a ham and swiss sandwich, toasted, topped with b├ęchamel sauce and a sunny side up egg. The plate was rounded out with a stuffed tomato, and mixed baby greens with a vinaigrette. I only had half of this and secretly wished I could have eaten the whole thing, heh. Again, the richness was not too rich, balanced by the tartness of the vinaigrette on the greens, and the tomato, and the bechamel was not globbed on, like other places I've had this before - this was almost toasted into the sandwich already, so it was more a flavorful crunch on the outside of the bread. Excellent meal, and we will definitely be back.

We also picked up some croissants - Owen got a chocolate croissant, and I got a regular plain one. I didn't take a picture of these, but I SWEAR they were some of the best croissants I've ever eaten.

A bit later, while Owen was asleep (I had napped earlier, as I slept much less than him the night before), I went off on my own and walked around the Caesar's Palace gambling area on my own. I was pretty hungry (this was around dinnertime, and I didn't eat since around 10am at Payard), so I grabbed something at the food court. This is what I got...

Caesar's Palace Food Court

A Lobster roll with fries. Uh...well, I guess I can't say that my expectations were extremely high, but the bread was extremely burnt, which was a shame because it was a nice amount of buttered brioche. The lobster itself..a cold mash of seafood tasting stuff, but lobster meat was definitely lacking. I don't know if it WAS actually lobster, but...what should I expect from a food court, right? The fries were addicting, but I made an effort to only eat a few, because I knew Owen would be hungry later that night. I also got an iced tea, which was not pictured. I got a lot of mileage out of that iced tea, as you could refill your drinks from the soft serve machine yourself, so during the whole of our stay, I would go back to refill the drink with the same cup...awesome!

After a few games of Monopoly Penny Slots (ahhh, so mindless, those slot machines), a bit of shopping (the Forum shops are MASSIVE!), I went back to check on Owen, who I think, could have slept the whole night if I hadn't had walked back in the room. At that point, it was pretty late, but I knew there was a 24 hour restaurant at Caesar's, and I had gotten a 20 dollar food coupon for the cafe, because I had signed up for their rewards club (might as well, it's free, right?)

At the Augustus Cafe, I felt like it took forever to get our food...a lot of waiting, and then everything came at once. We weren't in a hurry but it really took an abnormal amount of time to get what we ordered.

Augustus Cafe

First off, onion rings. These were really tasty, actually - beer battered, thick, dusted with parmesan cheese, and two dipping sauces (red pepper aioli and ranch). Addicting, and a huge amount of them, we wanted to finish these off because we couldn't save them for later.

Augustus Cafe

Whenever there's a club sandwich available on the menu, Owen will almost always order it. This was pretty standard, oddly with the addition of roast beef, but they were heavy on the bacon (awesome!). These fries were very fresh, oddly better than the other fries with the other sandwich (which came later than this one.) We saved half of this sandwich for later, which was happily devoured by us in our hotel room the next morning.

Augustus Cafe

I had a hankering for french onion soup, which made this an onion heavy meal. This was mouthwatering when they set it down - melty gruyere cheese, on top of a french bread piece, with savory beef broth, and tons of carmelized onions. A huge amount of soup, again, Vegas does not skimp on quantity. I made an extra effort to finish this because there's no way to save this soup for later.

Augustus Cafe

Last thing we ordered (we definitely ordered too much) was a prime rib dip sandwich, which was piled high with quality beef, a little saucer of au-jus, and fries. Oddly, these fries were not the seasoned ones, pretty much the same fries from the food court that I had had earlier. We only managed a quarter of this sandwich, and saved the rest.

We had a few other meals in Vegas but it had been places we had been to before (Bouchon, although it was a dinner instead of the brunch we usually have, I remember sharing a roasted chicken, mixed green salad and creme brulee, all delicious of course). It was a pretty successful trip, I'd say, aside from the horrible early plane flights. Of course, another trip to Vegas will be in the future, so stay tuned!

Payard Patisserie, Caesar's Palace Food Court, Augustus Cafe, all at:
Caesar's Palace
E Flamingo Rd & Las Vegas Blvd South
Las Vegas, NV 89109

Bouchon is at Venetian Hotel
Spring Mountain Rd & Las Vegas Blvd South
Las Vegas, NV 89109

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