Thursday, January 03, 2013

Five To Try (Again) in Las Vegas

Now that everyone in the office is coming back from the holidays, it finally means time for me to take a break. And a quick excursion to Vegas this weekend will hit the spot.

Planning out my itinerary (OK, foods and drinks -- mostly) for the trip, I decided to look back on photos from my last trip there a few months ago. Having such recalled such a great and delicious time there, thought I might as well shared some of my favorite eats and drinks then.

No. 5 - Short Rib Lasagna @ Fleur by Hubert Keller in Mandalay Bay

Short Rib Lasagna
Simply, a trans-Atlantic comfort dishes melding together two favorites: pot roast and lasagna. The braised short rib is rich and melts in the mouth, the carrots are bright, fresh and sweet and the pasta a lovely al dente. And who can really say no to crunchy breadcrumb topping and gooey melted cheese? (I also loved the microgreens garnish, making this lunch entree seem somewhat healthy... heh)

Be sure to ask for extra bread to sop up all that gravy!

No. 4 - Tea @ Mandarin Oriental Tea Lounge
Tea and Macaron
Come for the tea, but linger for relaxation and the view of the Strip. Despite being in the CityCenter, this 23rd floor lounge is a worlds-away oasis of tranquility from the hot hustle and bustle of The Strip. 

The menu here is fairly posh, but if you're on a budget I recommend getting one of their blooming teas. Yes, not cheap for $16, but it comes with endless refills of hot water (so you can taste the flavor changes as the tea further blooms). And while you're at it, might as well indulge yourself a little more with a sweet bite or two (as I did with their raspberry-yuzu macaron.)

No. 3 - Cocktails @ Vesper Bar in Cosmopolitan
One Night in Bangkok12 Year Itch
Yes, I've already sang the praises of the Vesper Room before, but this place has yet to fail me on a delicious cocktail (and is one of the few reliably good places on the Strip.) 

On my last excursion there, my favorite discoveries included the One Night in Bangkok - a riff off the Ramos Gin Fizz using Thai ingredients such as lemongrass and kaffir lime to give this already refreshing drink an exotic twist, and 12 Year Itch, an available-by-the-ounce combination of Zaya Rum, Fernet Branca and Carpano Antica aged 16 weeks in a Templeton Rye barrel. A heavenly combo of sweet-yet-herbal aromas, rich-but-velvety mouthfeel and a warmingly smooth finish.

No. 2 - Combo Pan Roast @ Oyster Bar in Palace Station
Oyster Bar Pan Roast
A great recommendation passed to me by Conbon, this nondescript-looking eatery (in an even more unremarkable casino/resort) dishes out huge bowlfuls of slow-cooked, made-to-order comfort in the form of seafood stews. 

Even though they serve the Cajun delights of gumbos, jambalayas and etoufees; for your first time here, get their signature Combo Pan Roast - where a good helping of crab, shrimp and lobster and cooked in an intoxicatingly tasty sauce of tomato, cream and brandy (plus a whopping huge scoop of rice to lap up the remaining liquids.)

And without further adieu,

No. 1 - King Crab / Truffle Fried Rice @ Blue Ribbon Grill in Cosmopolitan
King Crab Fried Rice
I came here initially curious about their signature fried chicken with wasabi-honey dip, and while that was delicious, what really haunted my tastebuds and mind was this fried rice. It is presented in beautiful layers, with the fried short-grained rice topped with assorted mushrooms, generous chunks of crabmeat, a soft scrambled egg and finally, fresh shavings of black truffle. Then it is all tossed together to make for one of the best "high-low" dishes I've ever had (and I'm generally one to frown upon gussied-up simple courses.)
King Crab Fried Rice
And yes, it was worth the approximately $50 price tag, especially when there was more than enough rice to feed two (and possibly more if you throw in a few more small plates, like the fried chicken & tempura'd oysters+okras, also delicious.)

And lastly, a non-food/drink shoutout to Marquee...
...and this is coming from someone skeptical of clubs on The Strip, which tends to have overpriced covers, overpacked crowds and featuring overplayed music. I had my doubts when I was invited to check this spot out, but wound up having an amazing time and staying till 4 a.m. I love the multiple rooms each with their own decor and music style, and the general friendliness of the staff, as far as nightclubs go. 
Of course, it didn't hurt that Dash Berlin was the featured DJ of the night. And I hope all of that dancing did burn all some of my caloric indulgences during that trip.

I'm not sure how many of these dishes & drinks I'd be able to re-visit this weekend, but I'm definitely keeping an open schedule (and stomach) with hopes to at least squeeze one or two of these in!

Fleur by Hubert Keller @ Mandalay Bay
3950 Las Vegas Boulevard South
Las Vegas, NV 89119
(702) 632-9400

Tea Lounge @ Mandarin Oriental
3752 Las Vegas Blvd South
Las Vegas, NV 89109
(702) 590-8888

Vesper Bar @ Cosmopolitan
3708 Las Vegas Boulevard South 
Las Vegas, NV 89109
(702) 698-7000
Twitter (for Cosmopolitan)

Oyster Bar @ Palace Station
2411 West Sahara Avenue
Las Vegas, NV 89102
(702) 367-2411
Facebook (for Palace Station)
Twitter (for Palace Station)

Blue Ribbon Grill @ Cosmopolitan
3708 Las Vegas Boulevard South
Las Vegas, NV 89109
Phone:(702) 736-0808

3708 Las Vegas Boulevard South 
Las Vegas, NV 89109
(702) 333-9000


Food GPS said...

The lasagna and pan roast look great. Very useful rundown of your trip.


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