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Vegas Lights and Back to Basics

Sorry, it’s been a while since my last post. I had my friends bachelor party in Vegas followed immediately by a (semi impromptu) visit to my family in New York. Tomorrow I’ll post a small recipe while I get caught back up from two weeks of traveling. And expect a few more meals coming up after that. In the mean time let me tell you about my trip!

Of course because I’m obsessed with food, the focus of our trip, and this story, will be all about the great things we ate. First stop, Gordon Ramsay burger! I’m obsessed with this place every since the first time I went there. I remember the burger like it was yesterday. Huge juicy burger topped with garlic aioli, truffle cheese, duck bacon, and wild forest mushrooms. The front entrance is flanked by a giant glass wall of flames, inside are rows of tables mostly with views of planet Hollywood casino. In typical Gordon Ramsay fashion, the kitchen is open to see from the dining room so you know exactly where your food came from. This time, I went with the “truffle burger” which has bacon, truffle butter, truffle aioli, tremor cheese, and a fried egg. Beautiful, earthy umami flavors in every ingredient. As you can imagine with this grocery list of ingredients the burger is a tad decadent but the frisée on top lightens it up just enough. Others in my party got the “stout burger” and the “blue cheeseburger” both of which were also incredible. Truffle fries with truffle aioli and house-made curry ketchup rounded out the lineup. Definitely check out the menu for more information.

Next up on the roster, Jose Andres’ restaurant at Cosmo: China Poblano. I have mixed feelings about this place. A ton of their menu items contain nuts, which I happen to be allergic to. They do have an allergen menu available but it does limit my choices significantly. In addition, the menu is not really "Mexican/Asian fusion" as I expected; items presented were essentially either Mexican or Asian served at the same restaurant. The food quality overall is good but not overwhelmingly incredible. Atmosphere is nice with multiple open "kitchens" scattered about the restaurant. The vibe is a bit loud however for those relaxing for dinner if that is what you're looking for. Good choices here include: swallow a cloud soup, when pigs fly (steamed buns), and the pollo a la parrilla tacos.

In the next few days we also checked out the "Bacchanal buffet" at Caesars for breakfast and the buffet at the Wynn for dinner. Fairly standard buffet fare but ya gotta do it when in Vegas. If you have to choose one go for the Wynn and don't skip out on the endless drinks for $30. The flavored mimosas and mojitos are great. In the past we've also done the "Wicked Spoon" at Cosmo for brunch which is wayyy better quality.

Our best dinner was at LAVO Italian restaurant in the Venetian. All the food there is incredible; I had a seafood alfredo (although it was really more of just a cream sauce) which was wonderful. We got a "salumi-formaggi" platter for the table which had a great portion of meats and cheeses. Word of caution on this; the platter originally had mortadella on it which has pistachios so we had to send it back for a new one since we told them about my nut allergy. They were great about it though. My companions opted for tagliatelle Bolognese, chicken marsala, and salmon oreganata which all were devoured quickly with zero complaints. The true star of the show though is an appetizer dish known simply as, "the meatball". This aptly named item contained wagyu beef, sausage, and veal with fresh whipped ricotta and their house made sauce. Did I mention that "the meatball" is a full pound of juicy, delicious meat?

After this food coma of a weekend, I flew back home to Florida with my wife, got 5 hours of sleep and then repacked and flew to New York. I spent a few days at a camp on a lake outside of Cooperstown then headed to my dad's in Binghamton. It was nice to spend some time with my little siblings and one set of parents. I spent the night after at my Grandmas house. This is the woman who taught me how to add love to food. From her I learned to make dishes such as: banana cream pie, gnocchi, cheesecake, chocolate chip cookies, and so much more. You'll definitely see more of her influence as I continue to post.

Are there foods here that sound good to you? Should I try to recreate some of the restaurant dishes (what happens in Vegas doesn't always have to stay there)? Or give you a few of Grammy's favorites? Let me know!

Which would you like to see me make?

  • Truffle fries

  • Pollo a la Parrilla tacos

  • Guava mojito

  • Tagliatelle Bolognese

You can vote for more than one answer.

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