The scenario: Hubs has to travel for a boring conference. I’m dragged along while frantically blasting to my friends on social media, “What is there to do in Las Vegas?”
I joke of course.
Las Vegas. A paradise of slot machines, sexy women… and food. Oh my drool, the food! Our foodie friends were insistent we try their recommendations. We ate at so many restaurants I had to divide my list into places on the Strip and off.
But first a warning: my group is young adults who don’t care if a celebrity chef is involved or not. I’ve had delicious food from places cheaper than a fancy establishment. We stayed at the Wynn resort on the Strip and frequently ate around it. The Strip is home to many familiar, nationwide eateries but we tried to stick to local ones.
These are just bite-sized reviews of restaurants on the Strip we visited in no particular order.
We saw plenty of eggs, but not plenty of sluts (I’m sure one of our friends tried). Most items are sandwiches featuring a good ol’ egg in between. Their Bacon, Egg, and Cheese delivered a gooey, tasty brunch with Chipotle Ketchup oozing out the bun. Seating was a bit limited but also communal.
A friend paid me to bring her a ‘Crack Pie’ from this dessert store. Naturally, the curiosities of naming a dessert after a drug forced me to try one too; firm, butterscotch flavors on a nice crust. Their ‘Compost Cookie’ lists potato chips, graham crackers, and coffee among its zany ingredients, but I didn’t taste any of that (however, the little bursts of saltiness from pretzel pieces were great among the chocolate chips). Too bad I was too full to try Milk’s outrageous milkshakes including alcoholic versions.
This iconic fast food doesn’t exist in Florida so gimmeabreak!! Of course, our group had to indulge in those flavorful meat patties topped with ‘secret menu’ additions like diced onions, pepperocinis, and their trademark sauce.
Since we stayed at its resort, we visited this 24-hour café purely out of convenience… and paid for it. We were vaguely satisfied with their breakfast burritos and brioche buns lightly stuffed with Lox and cucumbers (and the odd addition of Boba tea among their drinks). Like I said- convenience.
Buffets in Vegas are somewhere in the checklist of ‘must do’s’ right next to Cirque shows and gambling. No wonder, each one is a sprawling, steroid version of buffets back home. Of course, there were the typical Chinese stir fries and soft serve ice cream, but I was more impressed Bellagio’s buffet included Cheesecake bites, Prime Rib, Tuna Poke, and Crab legs. But was this supreme variety worth the hefty price tag and sub-par quality? Perhaps the line of 100+ people deep to enter the buffet will disagree with me (BTW it’s free to reserve and will considerably cut down the waiting time to enter) but I’d rather seek better food with better value elsewhere.
Espresso break! When we saw the mountains of creamy gelato, we decided to grab an Affogato to have that delicious mix of gelato and espresso instead. But our whipped cream sat atop the Affogato and was so thick it was difficult to tell where it ended and the gelato began. The espresso lay buried.
Two words: Rainbow Latte. How could any food photographer resist the colorful calls of rainbow art over coffee? Just make sure to add “Rainbow” when you order because it’s a secret item. And espresso lovers fear not- Sambalatte had some of the best brews on the whole Strip.
It was an unusually chilly evening on the Strip so I craved something hot and soupy. Ramen Ya Katana is a little ramen shop amidst a maze stuffed with other small establishments. While the food fulfilled my cravings, I was far from satisfied. The broth and noodles were flavorless while the chunky carrots and cabbage were worthless additions. At least the Pork slices were soft.
My whole group opted for the tasting menu- a four-course experience allowing us to select from a group of items for each course. While we never saw owner Emeril Lagasse, his New Orleans roots were visible through the Crawfish Chowder (best with the puff of sour cream on top) as well as the BBQ Shrimp. I enjoyed the creative harmony of the Winter Citrus Salad featuring the tang and crunchiness of pomegranate seeds to the delicate yet flavorful Filet Mignon. On the other hand, a plate of Candied North Country Bacon was really just a plate of… thick bacon. Not crunchy. A bit much. Then the Banana Pudding arrived with a huge plop of whipped cream which didn’t help the dessert visually, texturally, or in flavor.
Las Vegas cuisine is probably best known for the outlandish buffets but we saw all kinds of restaurants while walking about. Or… at least most. How is there only one Vietnamese restaurant on the Strip? (There’s so many of those in Central Florida).
And of course, prices on the Strip were crazy. If anything was less than $10, the portions left you feeling hungry; and I’m not a big-stomached person to begin with. Honestly, I don’t think the high prices were justified by the flavor. On the whole, we ate tastier food (for much less money) off the strip
… and you’ll read that in my next post.