Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Viva Las Vegas

A friend of mine emailed me earlier today asking if I can recommend a couple of restaurants in Vegas. She was on her way there with her husband who surprised her with a last minute getaway. How exciting for her, but also for me!

For starters I am flattered anytime someone asks me to recommend a place to eat, I crave to be asked actually. But being asked where I recomend to eat in Vegas, is just something else entirely. This for me is the equivalent of being asked which of my 2 children I love more. How can I possibly pick? There is now way, they are both the loves of my life and amazing!

Seriously now....there are more places then I can imagine or have even had the opportunity to try in Vegas. There are however some favorites that I crave on a regular basis.

Olives -Todd English's restaurant in Bellagio

This is my go to when in Vegas for a few reasons, three to be exact. First the Beef Carpaccio, second the flat breads and third the patio seating overlooking the Bellagio Fountain Spectacle.

OK so the Carpaccio is a must, must, must starter. Generally I am not a big fan of raw beef, unless it is perfectly prepared. I must say this comes pretty darn close to perfection. Served with a Gorgonzola rosti cake, balsamic reduction, parmesan, cipollini onions, scallion cream and garlic aioli, this starter is an incredible burst of flavor in your mouth. The beef is so paper thin its perfect, and the mix of balsamic with parmesan and scallion sounds like a lot all at once yet somehow totally works in an explosive sort of way. I can easily fill up on the carpaccio alone as the portion is enormous. Accompanied by a great glass of Merlot or your favorite red its enough to share with someone special.

Oh how I wish for the sake of portion control that this was the case and the carpaccio was in fact enough to fill me up. Definitely not the case at Olives, which is perfectly fine with me, we are in Vegas after all!

Moving on to the flat breads. Olives has a number of deliciously warm, freshly baked flat breads to choose from. However, for me there is no deviating from the fig and prosciutto. Listen to this: rosemary crust, sweet and sour fig jam, gorgonzola, prosciutto di parma. Need I say more?
The crust is crispy and perfect, almost like a great thin-crust pizza but not quite. The saltiness of the prosciutto combined with the tanginess of the gorgonzola and the sweetness of the fig jam is just insanely yummmy. It is crucial that you get all the toppings in one bite and experience that wonderful mix of flavors together. I'm salivating just thinking about it.

Now for the fountains. Let's just say that if you do get to sit on the patio while you devour the carpaccio and the flat bread (feel free to order more as the menu is filled with deliciousness) don't be surprised if when finished you are the proud owner of a set of overpriced cheesy photos of you and your special someone. I know, I should have known better. Yet, in hindsight watching those fountains sway side to side to the magical voice of Andrea Bocelli (or some other magnificent crooner) those photos were worth every penny!

I can go on for hours talking about the food in Vegas. So for now I shall leave you with a short list of a few more favorites that are a must for me when in Vegas. Too bad I usually go for a day or two. I think after this I will seriously consider an "Eat my way through Vegas week long vacation".

Breakfast-Jean Phillipe Patisserie in Bellagio or Aria
I say keep breakfast simple, at least I do. For I know that when lunch and dinner come its OVER. I'll be eating and loving it!
I go for the nutella or dulce de leche filled brioche and a freshly brewed cup of joe.

Lunch-Olives OF COURSE (or you may save for dinner).Unless...... you are in the mood for Chinese, Noodles at Bellagio is excellent. They have a killer dim sum cart with quite the variety to choose from. All the noodle dishes rock, its just a matter of personal preference. Just pick your noodle and you can bet they will get it right.

Dinner-I can't even go down this road in Las Vegas, because as I mentioned before how in the world do I choose? Thus, I will provide a list of favorites.

SW Steakhouse at the Wynn, Bortolotta at the Wynn, Aureole at the Mandaly Bay, Circo at Bellagio, Joel Robuchin at MGM.

I can keep going and going and going. I will however stop because I need to hurry up and book my next trip to Vegas.

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