Hey Chitlins. I just returned from a whirlwind trip to Vegas for the holiday this past weekend and my-oh-my what an interesting little town that is. This was my first time there and I insisted The BF take me around to see as much as possible. Luckily for me, there is a lot to do in Vegas besides gamble. Seriously, this is really lucky for me, because I get ulcers and sweaty palms and panic attacks when it comes to gambling. I do not like to see that much money just tossed around. And if I’m going to spend $80 in ten minutes I’d like to have something to show for it, like a fancy purse or a pair of shoes, thankyouverymuch.
Anyhoo, we ate a lot of food, and I could probably have eaten more if I had given myself the opportunity, but with beach season scarily close by it’s probably best that I didn’t. So, in lieu of a recipe this week, Chitlins, I present to you a very tiny tour of a few really good restaurants in Vegas, in case you ever find yourself lost on the strip.
Joe’s Stone Crab and Steakhouse in Caesar’s Palace
This was a recommendation from my dad since I would be spending the weekend with The BF and his family, all avid seafood enthusiasts. As you all know, I find seafood to be the epitome of ick, but this place does a mean filet mignon so I was pretty content. The rest of the group ordered Stone crab, which you see above. What’s so unusual about Stone crab is that they are “hand harvested one claw at a time and thrown back into the ocean.” Yeah, crabs grow back their claws, isn’t that creepy? But it apparently makes for a delicious plate of cold crab claw meat. I’d say everyone thoroughly enjoyed their dismembered crab claws given that not a single one was left over and there were repeated moans of “Oh.mah.gawd.” every few bites or so.
Just a word to the wise, Caesar’s Palace is about as big as the entirety of Times Square, except it’s indoors. So if you enter on the side closest to the Bellagio, be prepared to hike through several long tunnels of shops that you can’t possibly afford before reaching your destination. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Jean-Philippe Chocolates and Pastries at the Bellagio
We stumbled upon this little gem of a sugar shack on our first day in Vegas. I was admiring a tin flamingo watering can when The BF popped his head around the corner, “Hey, there’s a chocolate fountain….” I couldn’t even let him finish the sentence. I tossed that watering can faster than a dead bug and sprinted around the corner. Above is what I beheld in all it’s glory. A two story chocolate waterfall/fountain. Oh.Mah.Lawd. I wanted to swim in it like Augustus Gloop, but hopefully without the whole scary ride up the tube thing.
Other than the amazing fountain, Jean-Philippe has a beautiful array of desserts as well.
I’m not usually one for the really fancy looking desserts, mostly because I fear they place too much emphasis on the appearance of their food than they do on the actual flavor, but these were actually pretty tasty. We stopped by around 10pm on a Friday night and the line was still long. We picked out three desserts to “split” between six of us.
Except I don’t share so well. So, I basically tried to inhale as much of the Napoleon as I could before it would be noticed that I was the only one eating it. Luckily everyone spent the majority of their time oohing and aahing over the cupcake we picked out.
These were certainly a sight to behold. And now, you must excuse me while I experiment with these icing domes and gelée they’ve created. Genius!
Parasol-Up Parasol-Down at the Wynn
While there are more than enough locations to get a yard of frozen booze into your belly, we chose a slightly classier route while touring the hotels on Saturday. Parasol-Up Parasol-Down is a gorgeous outdoor bar/restaurant in the Wynn. You get to sit in cushy stuffed, and classy looking, lawn chairs next to a reflecting pool and waterfall. The curving escalators (which are everywhere in Vegas and quite possibly the coolest invention I’ve seen in a while) that lead from the hotel and casino floor down to the restaurant are decorated with several large parasols in varying colors and designs.
The drinks are fantastic and reasonably priced for the area, though coming from New York I never really had any sticker shock given that our cost of food was fairly equivalent. I had that tall drink on the right, a strawberry-grapefruit Tom Collins which was heavenly and so refreshing. The BF’s dad got a smoky margarita, you can see the little tumbler of smoky tequila in the front, a very strange substance. The BF had a dark and stormy that was quite tasty and The BF’s mom I believe had a peach martini, also quite tasty.
All-in-all The Wynn was easily my favorite hotel on the strip.
Circo at the Bellagio
Our last fancy meal in Vegas was at Circo in the Bellagio. Honestly, I don’t even want to tell you about it because flights out to Vegas can be a little pricey and once you hear how amazing this food is you’ll want to book a flight immediately so you can consume their heavenly fare. Our waiter was fantastic, just the right amount of friendly and aloof to ensure we were well served but not being clobbered with questions or feeling unloved. I think there must be some kind of special, magical gene for waiters in high end restaurants where they know that magical balance.
The BF’s SiL (that’s sister-in-law for you folks) asked the waiter what the best dish was and without hesitation he replied, “The lamb.” Apparently it didn’t need elaboration. She said, “Ok, what’s the next best dish.” Again he replied, “The lamb.” I see…so, the lamb here, it’s kinda good huh? We all laughed and she continued, “Ok, and the third best dish?” He sighed heavily, “Well, if you’re not going to get the lamb I guess the third best dish is the duck pansotti.” Done sold, can I please have it now?
I desperately wanted the lamb, but it looked like it was going to be a lot of food, and all the hearty meals we’d had leading up to this one had put a bit of a strain on my belly, so I opted for the duck pansotti. I totally should have gone for the lamb. The BF’s brother ordered it and it took all my strength and will power not to leap over the table and claw it from his plate. That’s not saying the pansotti wasn’t delicious, because it was and I may or may not have licked my plate clean; but seriously, that lamb? I dream about it at night.
They don’t mess around with the desserts here either. The BF ordered some awesome zeppoles with chocolate and strawberry dipping sauce. To protect the innocent I have no posted pictures of various individuals daintily consuming said dessert. *Ahem* But The BF’s mother’s dessert was quite the show piece. I don’t even remember what she had ordered, all I know was that it was surrounded in cherry flavored candy floss. Which I’m pretty sure I hadn’t consumed since I was 8 years old. I may have tried to sneak a handful of it in my dress pocket to take to the Cirque du Soleil show.
I ordered the Grand Marnier souffle but unfortunately they were out, so the waiter took the liberty of ordering me a coconut version. Of course, I hate coconut, but lo-and-behold this souffle was divine! I’m not a coconut convert, but I’ll certainly think twice before skipping over it on the dessert menu from now on.
And there you have it Chitlins. A list of a few of the best restaurants we ate at in Vegas. Have you been to Vegas? Where do you like to eat?