Monday, July 7, 2014

Vegas Thru My Belly

Last month, I went on a Las Vegas vacation with the ladies to celebrate my friend's final fling before the ring. We stayed at the gorgeous Aria Resort and Casino at City Center and we were not disappointed. As you all know what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, unless we post pictures on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook to share (which we all did!). But the only part of the trip that I'm going to share on the blog is all of the food we ate while out there.

Though I didn't manage to take shots of everything we ate, I did take a few and luckily the ladies helped out and shared their images with me so I can in turn share them with you.

Let's break it down by location.

When we arrived at the hotel, we were famished and just went to the Cafe Aria and grabbed a drink and meal. This became a hit for all of us and an easy go-to. They have a wonderful breakfast and lunch selection. I had the Club that was seriously the largest sandwich I have ever gotten. I couldn't even eat half of it and we then realized that we needed to order a fridge for our room for our leftovers.

I also had the French Toast and Belgium Waffle for breakfast. They were again gigantic and delicious!

One of the other ladies captured this lovely image of the Eggs Benedict with the hash browns that everyone raved about on the trip. I never had them, but they looked very crispy on the outside and mushy, buttery on the inside.

I also dined for lunch and ordered the Asian Chicken salad that could again easily feed two people!  It was chock-full of all sorts of amazing eats -Napa Cabbage, Romaine, Bibb Lettuce, Carrots, Bean Sprouts, Cucumbers, Red Peppers, Snow Peas, Crispy Wontons, and Sweet Soy Vinaigrette.

Also in our hotel was Jean Philippe Patisserie that had crepes, sandwiches, salads and these amazing pastries. These are really the spotlight and because I have diligently been playing the MyVegas game on Facebook and my phone, I was able to redeem a reward and get some pastries for the mini-party we had for the Bride-To-Be in our hotel room. Pastries start at $7 and go up from there. I purchased 2 small pastries - Snickers and Chocolate Indulgence. Though they are no larger than a coffee mug, the desserts are so rich and amazing, you only need a bite or two. We actually had some left over after all six of us had some bites.

Saturday night, we dined at Gordon Ramsay's BurGR. Though it was over an hour wait for a table, it definitely was worth it. (NOTE: they do not take reservations and the website is completely out of date) They told us they would text us when our table was ready, so we were able to wander Planet Hollywood and here is where I found one of my favorite slots. It paid out every time! I will leave that a secret and get back to the food.

BurGR has a 30 ft. wall of flame to divide it from the casino and all I could wonder it how much fuel they use to keep it burning.
The menus come as part of the table set up - very ingenuitive and as you can probably guess, it's a burger joint.

We had a server and tablehand that took great care of us. The drink menu was on an iPad, which was pretty awesome to flip though. I decided on a grapefruit cocktail and the bride grabbed a martini. The drinks were nice and strong and really flavorful.

Then we had to choose our food. I saw goat cheese and I was sold. I went with the Euro burger that had truffle aioli, argula, tomato and goat cheese on top of the burger. It was seriously the best burger I have ever had. The meat was perfectly cooked medium and the flavors went together so well. I didn't leave anything on my plate.
Another favorite burger was the American - where you choose your toppings. We splurged for 3 orders of fries - two truffle fries and one regular and we definitely could have gotten by with two. However, you must get the fries as they are delicious with specialty ketchups and sauces on the side.

On Friday night, I made us reservations at Twist, one of the bride's top choices for a fancy night out. And Fancy it was.

Right away we were greeted by a the wonderful staff and sat at a table for 6 in the middle of the dining room. Being on the 23rd floor, we could still see the strip out the window and the tables by the windows didn't really interrupt our view.

We were asked if anyone had allergies to be made aware of and they offered us some small nibbles to enjoy that the chef created for tonight. I don't remember the official names but upper left was a cracker with fig on it, upper right was some fish (that tasted really fishy), the bottom right was a lard wrapped breadstick that was delicious and bottom left was a macaroon tart that tasted sweet and savory.

They came time to order our meals. Although the place came with a floating wine room over the dining room, none of us chose any drinks besides water. We were all recovering from the day at the cabana, so we kept the "water boy" quite busy doing laps around our table.

The menu was simple but decadent. But the service is what really stood out to me. No one's glass was ever more than half empty with water, plates were cleared and tables combed before the next course came out. and the main meal presentation was something I wish I video'd. Six staff got together, took our plates and circled the table. All plates were set at the same moment and silver lids removed together. Each dish was then explained again to us and made sure everything was to our liking before they walked away.

I went with chicken instead of steak - hard decision but it just sounded so interesting, I just had to go unique.

Shimizu Chicken Breast, Morel Cream & Grapefruit Confit
Creamy Polenta, Snow Peas
Tomato Otti Ice Cream
The chicken was the most juicy and flavorful breast I have ever eaten and the morel cream was fantastic. It melted in my mouth. I was a little worried about the grapefruit confit but it added an asian infused element to the dish. The polenta was crispy on the outside and soft in the middle. I wasn't a fan of the snowpeas on top because I believe they were cooked with fennel, but I just pushed it on the side and ate the rest. And the tomato ice cream had coconut in it! I had to eat this quick before it melted but it was quite lovely like a gazpacho. I have never had coconut that was sliced instead of shaved but it wasn't too overpowering with the tomato.
Some ladies ordered a salad with their meals, I opted not too, knowing I didn't want to fill up.

Mixed Salads & fresh Herbs with Lemon flavored Olive Oil
Avocado, Dried Tomato, Kalamata Black Olives
Grilled Chicken Breast with Rosemary
Mendiant Toast, Tapenade
I was able to try the toast, that resembles a cheese crisp over the tomato tapenade that looked like Port Wine cheese spread. It was really tasty and I wish I had more crisps to eat it all. Definitely something I would like to try to make at home. 

The Bride-to-be treated herself to a fancy filet of Wagyu beef. We were told that it actually is white when pulled out because of the marbling but then when cooked, that melts into the steak to make it the most "like butter" experience. I was offered a bite and it was actually extremely heavenly. Besides the few bites she offered up, the bride enjoyed the steak very much and had it cooked to the chef's liking. The server even complimented her on knowing how to order.
 After all the plates were cleared and coffee was offered, the server came over with a special dessert from the chef for our bachelorette. We were all able to try it and if this doesn't look rich to you, you are crazy. One bite was all we needed to enjoy this with her. The chocolate was excellent and dark.

Little trays of small desserts prepared by the chef also came to our table - Jellied apricot crisps, mini macaroon looking treats and something with nuts. My stomach had reached it's rich food limit for the day, but others enjoyed it.

I cannot say enough wonderful things about Twist and you must splurge and try this when you are in Las Vegas. You will not regret it. And try all the other places I listed above, I have no regrets and my belly came home happy and inspired to try to recreate some dishes at home. But I will leave the Wagyu Beef to the pros.

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