We spent the last week in Las Vegas (Aug 29 - Sept 3, 2021)! It is such a fun place to walk around! Even in the late summer heat, it was not bad at all despite 109-F temps our first couple of days (it really is a dry heat! It was worse back home in Alabama all summer, believe me). It was a great trip, a good mix of relaxing downtime, fun outings, and LOTS of good food. I've only been to Vegas once in 2010 (some of my first blog posts were about that trip). It had already become a foodie mecca then, and even more so now. This trip we only had one reservation booked a few weeks out, otherwise we kept ourselves flexible the rest of the time. With the slowness of Vegas during this pandemic, we really didn't need reservations, but during normal times you would definitely want to have them. I literally took photos of every bite of food I had (well I may have missed a Starbucks muffin at some point), will hit the high points here. I took over 400 pictures total over 5 days! Such a fun place to visit.
Lotus of Siam
One of our best meals of the trip was at Lotus of Siam. It is Northern Thai cuisine, and a favorite of famous chefs like Anthony Bourdain. This was dinner our first night after flying in earlier in the day. A GREAT way to start the trip!! We got four dishes to share, more than enough food for 2, and a good sampling of their best dishes. The menu is huge, and recommend you order at least a couple dishes off the "Northern Thai" section. This is off the strip, but quick to get to via Uber/Lyft. Oh, and it’s an excellent value! Can’t believe the low prices for these dishes.
|Sai Oua - northern style sausage
|Crispy Duck, Khao Soi style (this is off the Chef's Special portion of menu)
|Northern Larb (pork)
|Garlic Fried Prawns (Chef's Special menu)
|Another shot of the Garlic Fried Prawns
The sauce with the Duck was out of this world. It is coconut-y but not too much sweetness. They should bottle that and sell it. The Garlic Fried Prawns were unique in that the shells are also edible, battered and fried to crispy perfection. I ate one of the shells, very crunchy! The batter was just right, not too thick or greasy. Overall a VERY good meal! If I had to recommend one place to go while in Vegas, it would be Lotus of Siam!
Holsteins Shakes and Buns inside Cosmopolitan (Block 16 Urban Food Hall)
The Cosmopolitan Casino and Hotel is new since my last trip. It is quite high end and posh. I enjoyed visiting it several times this trip. It's between the Bellagio and Aria. It's a fun place to walk around day and night (we went back several times, it's also a good place to "cut through" when walking down the strip). The Block 16 Urban Food Hall is on the 2nd level, and has lots of cool places. We opted to share a milkshake at Holsteins. This is a Smore's shake. The graham cracker crumble on the outside of the glass was a nice touch!
Mon Ami-Gabi - Classic French Bistro - Paris Casino
Another celebrated Vegas restaurant is Mon Ami-Gabi, located on the front of Paris Casino, right on the Strip. We had lunch here, and think we ordered pretty well! They have both indoor and outdoor seating. One thing I love about Vegas is the architecture and interior design of seemingly every place you walk into. It's so ornate with such great attention to detail!
|View of Paris from across the street
|Spicy Salmon Tartare with avocado, olives, housemade chips plus
Wild Escargots de Bourgogne with garlic herb butter.
|The Salmon Tartare
|French Onion Soup - classic baked with gruyere
|Warm Chicken and Brie sandwich with caramelized onions, green apple
Fun meal, with great view of the strip! I am going to have to try and replicate the Chicken and Brie sandwich at home for sure!
Another meal favorite was at Raku, where we ate dinner one night. We ordered the most deluxe Omakase, which means "I leave it up to you", meaning we get chef's choice of courses. It was 11 courses! An event of a meal, and one that we will not forget! Raku was also featured by Anthony Bourdain and is normally quite a hard ticket to get. It's fairly small, so would definitely recommend reservations. It is off-strip located in Chinatown, a quick Uber/Lyft ride away.
I did not caption all our dishes so that I will not foul it up along the way. It was a great progression from light dishes, to raw, to hearty, to meat-centric, palate cleansing, and ending with dessert and hot tea. Fun event of a meal! All the dishes were delicious, there wasn't anything I wouldn't want to order again.
Streetbird Fried - Resorts World Food Hall
Resorts World by Hilton Casino and Hotel just opened this past June 2021. It is on the north end of the strip. Quite the impressive looking place! I'm not posting them here, but over half my 423 photos and videos are of cool decor, lighting, architecture, etc inside and outside the casinos. I'll post just one from Resorts World, and it is me in front of a giant video ball. It was fun to watch it change from one thing to the next!
The Casino has a Food Hall, and we opted to eat at Marcus Samuelsson's StreetBird Fried. We enjoyed watching Marcus on Top Chef many years ago. We shared an entree and two side dishes, along with two desserts from a dessert shop in the center of the Food Hall.
|Me in front of the video orb inside the Resorts World Casino. It had just changed from a Fish Tank to this smiley.
|Food Hall area of Resorts World. It went on and on.
|Dessert Stand in the Food Hall
|Lunch from Streetbird Fried. Sides are Mac N Cheese and Sweet Potato Fries.
|Mac N Cheese
|Chicken and Waffles
|Tres Leches cake and a Yuzu White Chocolate Cheesecake
I'll pause from all the food talk and share my first winnings of the trip! I played some slots while waiting for dinner table at the Paris casino, and over doubled my money so cashed out quick! I bet $5. =)
Eiffel Tower Restaurant
For this meal I was solo, my better half had work obligations one evening. I wanted to find a good dinner with a view, and no place better than the Eiffel Tower Restaurant at the Paris Casino. It is part of the way up the Eiffel Tower. What a view!! So worth it. The food was also great! I'd recommend the restaurant just for the food, but add in such great views and overall enjoyable experience, and it's a must stop while in Vegas. The service was also top notch, but honestly that was the case every where we went in Vegas!
|View from the Eiffel Tower restaurant
I wasn't bashful in my excitement to be there, hopping up to get different vantage points of the sunset, Bellagio fountain show, then more pics after it got dark to get more Bellagio fountain show pics. Perhaps because of this, the chef sent out two extra dishes for me to enjoy! They almost had to roll me out of there afterwards i was so full. Great meal!
|Watermelon Gazpacho - Amuse Bouche course, everyone got this with their meal
|Not on the menu - Chef's special appetizer sent out for me
|Seared Sea Scallops Appetizer
|Roasted Vegetables Entree
|Off menu - Chef's selection of desserts - sent out for me!
|Hard to beat this view. It was so awesome!
|View from Strip of the Eiffel Tower Restaurant
MilkBar - Cosmopolitan Block 16 Urban Food Hall
I didn't get any pictures of the MilkBar pie (used to be called Crack Pie), but stopped on my walk back to our hotel to get some for my better half after his all afternoon and evening work meeting. MilkBar is located inside the Cosmopolitan, in the Block 16 Urban Food Hall. We are big fans of David Chang's restaurants, particularly Momofuku in NYC, and Zac has been to MilkBar in DC. We've ordered some items online before too. If you see one, definitely stop and get the Pie, or some cookies, or anything really. So good!
China Poblano - By Jose Andres at the Cosmopolitan
I had a spa day one day, and had an early lunch. Stopped by the Urban Food Hall, again, at the Cosmopolitan, and ate at China Poblano right when it opened at 11am. The restaurant blends, guess what, Chinese and Mexican flavors. Had just the right amount of food with a starter of the watermelon salad, or La Patria, followed by traditional Sui Mai Dim Sum. Great way to start the day!
|Watermelon, jicama, pomegranate, and pea shoots are tossed in a honey lemon dressing, with house-made chamoy and candied pepitas
|Shrimp, pork, jicama, mushrooms, peanuts
|2nd time eating gold flake this trip! Dim Sum was excellent.
|Entrance. This is in the Food Hall but has it's own separate seating inside the restaurant.
The Aria Patisserie
I have quite the sweet tooth, decided to stop at the Patisserie after my spa day at Aria. Aria is an amazing casino. Also not built the last time I was in Vegas. It felt the most high end of all of the casinos, plus it is just huge. The spa and salon were both great, I went to the Vdara spa and Aria Salon. One of the best massages of my life, and such a relaxing and pampering place! Back to the Patisserie. The architecture of the place was so inviting, plus all the great looking sweets, I just had to stop. I love banana bread, and thought it a change of pace from the chocolate centric things I usually opt for!
This is maybe 15% of what they had on display. Beautiful food!
|Banana bread and coffee. Hit the spot!
Off-strip Italian restaurant. We had a great meal here. If you are wanting high quality Italian, this would be a good bet! They are known for their Osso Buco, so we had to get that. I got the Dover Sole, de-boned table side (which was perfectly done!). We had a bucatini pasta course to share. The octopus appetizer was probably the highlight.
|Marinated Octopus appetizer
|We each had this size portion of the Bucatini Amatriciana
|De-boned and plated Dover Sole
|A Ferrari in front of Ferraro's!
Still full of energy, we hit the Strip after dinner. Caught the Bellagio fountains (again), I can't see those enough! They change up the music and show too. Watched from both the dead center facing the Bellagio the night before, and off to the side on the street the 2nd night, and really can't go wrong with either.
We ended up at the Cosmopolitan (again), and were in the mood for some late night eats. Went to Jose Andres' restaurant, Jaleo. Jaleo is a tapas restaurant, and I've been to the one in Disney Springs. Had a full dinner at the Disney location, and it was excellent! In Vegas we were looking for some late night eats and treats. Attractive food and also very very tasty.
|Cono Salmon Crudo - Salmon tartar in a cone with smoke trout roe
|Pan Con Chocolate - Chocolate custard with caramelized bread, olive oil and brioche ice cream.
|This was QUITE good. I almost wanted to order seconds of it.
The Crack Shack
Couldn't leave Vegas without eating at Richard Blais what I now understand as the aptly named chicken joint on the strip. It is addictive! This was some excellent chicken. Super moist, and the chicken sandwich had the perfect crunch. I may be spoiled now on what chicken nuggets and a spicy chicken sandwich can be (and I live in Chick-fil-a country). The oyster of a chicken does make the best nugget!
|Chicken Oysters and the Firebird sandwich
|Fried chicken oyster. With all the various dipping sauces one could ask for!
|Side of the Schmaltz Fries and a Cookie for dessert
No need to skimp on our final day! We had brunch at Bagelmania. Zac had been to their former location several years ago and really enjoyed it. It's a classic Jewish delicatessen, with some over the top Vegas dishes thrown in. Their new location hasn't been open long, it is near Resorts World and the Convention Center (a new expanded part of the Convention Center). What a fun place!! I wish i could have taken the half of my dish i could not eat. It was so so good. I love pancakes, can't get enough of them, and they are the ultimate comfort food. Top them with a donut and bacon, and mmm mmm mmmm, I'm in heaven! Great way to close out our Vegas Vacation.
|Started with a bavarian cream filled eclair. Oh so good. Zac got a chocolate egg cream drink, I stuck with good ole coffee.
|Belly Lox Platter (zac) and for me, the Maple Bacon Doughcro Pancakes! A Pinkbox Doughcro donut on top of three banana pancakes, topped with crispy bacon, powdered sugar, and warm maple syrup
|Heaven on a plate
|Pinkbox donut stand inside the deli, i can speak for the Doughcro, it was delicious!
And that's a wrap!!