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"A gourmet who thinks of calories is like a tart who looks at her watch." - James Beard


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Viva Las Vegas!

We've travelled to Las Vegas together almost every year of our marriage.  This year we spent our 7th anniversary in Vegas and had a fantastic time as usual.  

I love Las Vegas.  It is just so much of everything.  Food, drinks, lights, gambling, crowds, shows.  Everything is bigger and brighter there.  

On this trip we stayed in three different hotels! Our first room was a suite at TheHotel at Mandalay Bay. It is the last hotel on the South end of the Strip. This was our first time staying at this hotel, but we love the restaurants here and they have a great pool with a lazy river, wave pool and sand beach.  We loved it!  

Our room was wonderful.  It had a full living room and separate bedroom with a king-size bed. Plus it had two bathrooms! A full bath with shower and soaking tub, plus a powder room.  It was very luxurious.  

One of the nicest things about TheHotel is Mix Lounge on the top floor. We went up for a happy hour drink on our anniversary.  They have a nice beer and cocktail menu and an amazing view of the Las Vegas Strip. They even gave us free "champagne" for a sunset toast.  

For our anniversary dinner we decided to take advantage of one of the best deals I've seen in Vegas.  

Charlie Palmer Steak is in the Four Seasons Hotel in the Mandalay Bay complex. They offer a prix fixe menu called the "Cut of the Week" that offers three courses - starter, main with sides and dessert for $48 per person. That would be a fantastic deal on its own, but this menu also comes with unlimited wine pairings for the first and second courses!  

We ordered a cocktail to start and they brought out a terrific bread basket with delicious corn bread. I'm not usually the biggest fan of cornbread but this one was special.  Then the first course was brought out - wild arugula salad with house-made mozzarella in a white balsamic vinaigrette paired with a glass of South African Chenin Blanc. I didn't truly expect unlimited wine, but our glasses were constantly topped up.

The second course was flatiron steak in mushroom ragout and shared sides of mashed potatoes and green beans.  This course was paired with an Italian Sangiovese which they kept refilling through dessert.  The dessert on the menu was tiramisu cheesecake. I’d let them know Matt has a nut allergy so they brought him TWO alternate desserts: a pineapple crème brule and 6 little scoops of assorted sorbet. We ordered cappuccino and espresso to go with our dessert (and wine). 

The food was all delicious and portions were huge. We could not finish our entrées and barely touched our desserts. We were extremely impressed with this restaurant.  The service was impeccable and the value can't be beat.  This is a special menu but it's available every day and changes weekly.  I highly recommend this place if you're in Vegas!

On the other end of the spectrum, we popped out for a fast-food lunch we can't get around here In N Out Burger.  Many people consider these some of the best burgers anywhere.  They even have a "secret menu" so you can make your burger extra special.  We ordered "double-double animal style" - two patties, two slices of cheese, grilled onions and special sauce.  

We also visited Matt's favourite restaurant in Vegas, Hubert Keller's Burger Bar, which is also in Mandalay Bay.  They have great burgers and a fantastic selection of craft beer.  

Deep inside Mandalay Bay near the pool complex is the Shark Reef aquarium.  It's a small aquarium, but it's very nice and has a cool tube you can walk through and see sharks swimming overhead.  I liked the jellyfish best.  

And this was only the first two days!  Stay tuned for our other hotel and restaurant experiences in the happiest place on earth.  

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