Monday, February 4, 2013

TRAVEL: My Las Vegas Getaway - Celine Dion, Gordon Ramsay, Mario Batali, Thomas Keller


Panoramic Views of the Strip from the Cosmo Balcony

As some of you may have noticed from my tweets and Instagram posts, my loving boyfriend (aka the mister) swept me away to Las Vegas a couple weeks ago for a little getaway. We stayed at the Cosmopolitan, which we were both fond of and can safely recommend. It is a rather oddly decorated hotel, a hodgepodge of themes, but our Wraparound Suite was classically furnished and the bedding was heavenly. There are crystal chandeliers all over the hotel, with pink LED lights to add some feminine flair, so it is no wonder the Cosmo is popular with the ladies.


But enough with lodging, let's talk FOOD!

Chanel Pirate & Deborah Lippmann Do Ya Think I'm Sexy

Now, I am hesitant to put my personal life on display at all because I rarely discuss my personal affairs even in "real life" since I am a private person and furthermore, because so many folks online cannot, do not, and will not respect boundaries. My boyfriend, however, is comfortable with these posts which is why I have decided to share these intimate details with you. Also, I wanted to share my foodie musings with my fellow food lovers! So let us begin.. we flew into Vegas, checked in, and walked across the street to grab Earl of Sandwich. I love a good sandwich, and Earl's is fast and priced well. Tammy's favorite is the Tuna Melt and I usually order the Full Montagu. I agree it is not as tasty as it once was, but the bread is still soft and chewy. Plus we can all appreciate a cheap eat!

I adore Gordon Ramsay so naturally, we dined at STEAK our first evening in Vegas. Allow me to make a comment regarding the noise level of this restaurant, please. The music was painfully loud. The mister had cleverly requested a booth upstairs, where it was several notches quieter, but this restaurant has a noisy pub feel which caused a disconnect in atmosphere considering it is fine dining. Also, the waitresses and hostesses were wearing the most ill-fitting black bustier one-pieces I have ever seen. I had figured GR would have better taste in uniforms considering his hip yet utilitarian sense of personal style.

The food, however, was divine. The service left nothing to be desired as well. I started the meal with an English Side Car. Strong but tasty with a sugar rim, unusual for a SC. I enjoy subtle unexpected touches like that!

We each had a Roasted Beef Wellington, the signature Ramsay dish. This dish is served medium rare only, incredibly tender. I could have done without the sea salt studded into the face of the filet, but do keep in mind I am sensitive to salt. The red wine demi-glace was a lovely compliment to the potato puree, and the combination was just salty enough to compliment the meat! The puff pastry was buttery, but we found the pastry base of the Wellington was far too soggy to eat. No matter though, it was a memorable entree and it was a welcome departure (regardless of how brief it was) from the standard steak.

The glazed root vegetables still had a good bit of crunch, which was much appreciated. I love carrots, wish they offered more!


Now, the GR Potato Puree (creamy Yukon gold potatoes with creme fraiche) was one of the best sides I have ever devoured with steak. Nearly criminal how buttery smooth and seasoned to a T it was.. I try to avoid filling up on empty carbs like this even on cheat days, but I could not stop scooping it up. I may be drooling just writing this post!


There was no way I was skipping dessert, so we decided upon the Sticky Toffee Pudding. The mister said the sweet pudding cake reminded him of a Korean dessert, which neither of us can name but we both knew which one we were referring to. The cake was porous and light, but the brown sugar toffee (which the cake was drenched with) provided a rich and luxurious mouth feel. And with a slice of the brown butter ice cream, it was sugar high heaven in our mouths. Fantastic! I would like to try the Melon Panna Cotta the next time I visit. The mister approves, and he would like to try the Fish & Chips next!



Then it was time for the show.. I have only ever attended a handful of concerts (far more musicals and operas), but I have always loved Celine Dion and it was my childhood dream to see her live. CD holds a special place in my heart because as a child, I sang along to her music with my grandparents, who were also big fans. I am oftentimes not 'in the loop' where pop culture is concerned, so my friends affectionately tease me for being an old soul. But whether you like Celine Dion or not, she is undeniably one of the best performers you will ever see live! I was taken aback when I saw so many men in the audience, but let me tell you, even the mister was impressed by Celine's stage presence. CD is one glamorous, fit, and talented mother! I say this concert is a must-see.




The next morning, we ordered room service. I had organic yogurt with granola and berries. Plus an egg and a waffle. I wanted more empty carbs, since I usually have plain oatmeal for breakfast on my clean eating regimen. The mister had a traditional breakfast, eggs and sausage with toast. The Cosmo's room service is impeccable! 

For dinner on our second night, we visited Mario Batali's crowning jewel.

I much preferred the atmosphere of Carnevino. It was just quiet enough, and our waiter (whose name was Guido) was sweet and knowledgeable. We started with the Blood Orange Cosmos, light and refreshing!


Complimentary spread of freshly baked ciabatta bread and cheese balls. The above photo is a pork fat butter of some sorts. It was interesting, but I do not believe I would have it again. Carnevino is a family style restaurant, so the mister and I split our entire meal. We began with this delectable Spago, a lamb ragu. As much as I loved GR Steak, if I were allowed only one Vegas dish for all eternity.. it would be this. I adore lamb, adore freshly made pasta even more. Al dente perfection! Some may find Carnevino's food under seasoned if salty food is the preference, but I really do not. Hence, this is the ideal 'cheat' restaurant for me.
Now for the main attraction, the famed Carnevino dry aged rib eye that was sliced right at our table. It featured a lightly salted crust with the most beautiful marbling I have ever experienced.. the fat melted softly against the tongue with each bite, the entire mouth ecstatic with juicy carnivore goodness. This above is cooked to medium rare, but Carnevino calls this medium. 

We paired the spectacular steak with the mashed potatoes, which were blended with a trio of Italian cheeses and a duck or quail egg. My memory fails me, I apologize. This was not as memorable as I had hoped, especially since it is a more unique take on potatoes, but I still found that I was lusting after GR's potato puree.

We ended the meal with Tiramisu, which was presented in a flute. The creme was tart, but it contained chocolate covered crunch! I, however, would like to explore more of his desserts and try something less traditional next time.


And to demonstrate how oblivious I can be every now and then.. I walked straight by these gorgeous roses. Twice! LOL He tried to find lilies for me, since they are my favorite, but he settled for a dozen red roses. I took them home and dried them, but Tucker keeps eating the leaves. He must think it is catnip! We also snacked on these chocolate covered strawberries from the Comso while watching Pitch Perfect, which I wanted to see because all the girls on Twitter were raving about it. We could not figure out what the purple decorations were, but I assume they are a purple tinted soft rock sugar of some sorts.

Before our flight out of Vegas, we had breakfast at Thomas Keller's Bouchon. 


The Croque Madame was every bit as delicious as expected. I had feared the white sauce would be too heavy for breakfast, but it added moisture to the bread and made the whole dish easier to eat. The mister really liked this one. Just look at the egg yolk oozing down my slice, mmm. The portion size of the sandwich was just right, but they offered a heaping pile of French fries! They were golden and crispy, but I only allowed myself a handful since I was saving room for the beignets and I had already attacked the croissant.


My friend and fellow foodie @thesusyness recommend I try the Boudin Blanc, a hand-stuffed white sausage made with pork (no blood). At first bite, I was a touch disappointed. But the casing snapped just enough and the center was so soft it was nearly a mousse. I was oohing and ahhing with every bite thereafter. This Boudin Blance is the most subtle sausage I have ever tasted, not at all greasy, and I would order it again. The scrambled eggs were soft and fluffy, though it may not appear that way in the photo above.




Last but not least, the beignets were dusted with powdered sugar. They were a touch "bready," but perhaps that is how Keller intended it? The pineapple marmalade added just enough sweetness, paired exceptionally well with the heavier dough. The Nutella spread added variety, but I found it was too heavy for a breakfast treat.

Obviously, it was a gluttonous trip but it was the best time I have ever had in Vegas. I got to spend time away from reality with the person who understands and loves me most. And just for laughs.. also because I did not have to go clubbing! I love spending time with my girlfriends, but they all know I have never been fond of clubbing. It is just not my scene. And I know the mister really appreciates that because I know he, too, would never volunteer to go clubbing, even though he would go if I asked. We would both rather go on a run. Or eat more. Probably eat more. LOL

Before we close, I just wanted to share a few more photos of the Strip as well as a peek of the preparations for Chinese New Year celebrations!





Hope you enjoyed all the photos! Feel free to share your favorite Vegas eats in the comments xoxo

10 comments:

  1. Oh my goodness all that yummy goodness.. I been telling myself lately, I need to get on a trip to Vegas just to eat at the best restaurants. Looks like you had amazing time with the mister. Great post and photos! :)

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  2. Fabulous pics!!!! Those food pics are making me so hungry.. but it's too late to eat now. lol

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  3. I seriously got hungry while seeing your photos! Looks like you had fun in vegas! I love how clear your photos are on this post :) I hope you post more photos when you post your videos here for your youtube updates. :)

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  4. Thank you for sharing this, as a person who is also private I understand how you feel writing this post. Really love that I get to see Las Vegas even though not in real life, really wonderful pictures there.

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  5. Looks like a fab time! I haven't been to Vegas in a couple years, but this made me itch to go back. Plus, those foodie shots look amazing! :) x

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  6. Great photos of the food, and the chocolate covered strawberries looks so delicious!

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  7. Bouchon is seriously a place I want to go before I die. Or any Thomas Keller restaurant really!

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  8. Loved this post! I go to Vegas about twice a year, just to do the exact kinds of things you did. I will be going with my hubby in March, and this time we will be staying at the Palazzo. That is near Bouchon, and I have always wanted to eat there...and now that I read your post, I will! We will be seeing Blue Man Group, and eating at MIX, which is on top of Mandalay Bay. Can't wait! Thanks for sharing this wonderful trip report of my favorite place! :)

    Christina in San Francisco

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  9. Your food pictures look amazing! Looks like you had a wonderful time in Vegas!

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  10. Just got to read this article now XD my cousin-in-law went to her concert as well =D she wants to tag me along but due to my budget concern and work I decline her offer XD was then realize in the end wish I go with her XD regretting not to see Celine Dion hahaha...

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