36hrs (or so) of eating / Food Travel America / LAS

36 Hours in Vegas

It’s been 3 years since I was last in Vegas. It’s not a place I dream about, but with enough time between visits, it’s a place I’m excited to return to.

My Vegas isn’t like most people’s. I don’t gamble, don’t come for the shows, and in my past few trips I haven’t even gone crazy in the eating scene. Vegas in the summer to me is about lying poolside and baking in the heat. It’s so ridiculously hot in the summer, when I’ve visited the past few times, but it’s part of what I like. I can close my eyes and my mind can’t wander to anywhere other than how hot it is outside. It gets me to a place where my whole being slows down, which is something harder and harder to achieve these days.

With 3 nights in Vegas, I had an armload of eating and drinking possibilities in my mind. With my traveling gang, I knew that we wouldn’t be pursuing high end dining options. But I didn’t mind because high end dining in Vegas ends, more often than not, in unmet expectations. But the amazing thing about Vegas is that there’s always an abundance of great Happy Hours, fun places to have a drink and off strip food options to keep me happy. Couple that with a few “novelty” food items, and I can more than pique my taste buds for a few days away.

The wonderful thing about a 3 day adventure in Las Vegas is that only a few hours after I leave YVR, I have touched down and find myself staring up at the palm trees by the pool.

But not before we made a quick detour to  hit up our first Happy Hour to ease our hunger at the most convenient Happy Hour to us, at Emerils Fish House in the MGM hotel.

The Chilled Seafood platter for $21 isn’t “special” by any means, but offered enough variety to satisy our hungry stomachs.

My traveling gang had it in their heads to drive to the Grand Canyon on this trip, but with only 2 full days in Vegas, I was less than enthusiastic at first. But we negotiated this adventure into an opportunity to see the sun rise and of course I was in.

Our first intention was to go on our first night, but when flash flood warning texts started bombarding my phone, I knew we’d be better off pushing to our second night in Vegas. With no specific plans in mind, we just hit the Strip and started knocking destinations off our list.

I had originally found Lobster Me because of their lobster rolls, but when I saw this Lobsicle on their menu, I knew I had to have it.

The rains started coming down as we wandered the Strip, but lucky for us our next stop was close. While I have no great photos of Beer Park’s fun rooftop bar in the Paris Hotel with views overlooking the fountain show of the Bellagio, it was my favourite of this trip, worthy of a return on our last night.

Being our 3rd vacation in Vegas together, there were some places on our list “some” felt we needed to return to, but I’m happy to know that we, (after this trip) never have to return to Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville again.

After wandering walking the Strip for a couple of hours, we got very hungry around 10pm, which was perfect timing for the late night happy hour at Bardot Brasserie at the Aria, I wanted to try.

We were a few minutes before Happy Hour started, which justified me ordering an off HH menu rose sparkling.Like I need an excuse to order a sparkling…

Poutine Lyonnaise with Gruyere cheese and caramelized onions could have been the  most delicous poutine I’ve ever had but for the unmelted cheese. A big but, yet the fries and caramelized onion gravy were perfect.

Such wonderful bites of well-seasoned tartare over a crispy chip. I could have eaten more of these but my attention quickly became diverted by something so special.

I love eating burgers “cooked as I desire” in the USA . This burger was one of the best I’ve ever had and coupled with a (not too sweet) French 75, I was blissful. Definitely worthy of a repeat on my next visit!

While I am a bit sceptical of off-shoots of originals that hit Vegas, I was completely excited about the fact that EggSlut had opened in the Cosmopolitan. I went to EggSlut last summer and knowing Downtown LA is rarely on my itinerary, I knew that going in Vegas was my opportunity to eat a dish I’ve been craving since I first saw it.

I have dreamt of the Slut since I didn’t order it the first time I went to EggSlut last year. I ordered a sandwich but immediately had FOMO as my friend was savoring this beauty of a dish beside me. Pureed potato with a soft coddled egg topped with chives and a healthy dose of grey salt. If I could, I’d eat this every day, and because I can’t, I settled for having it every morning I was in Vegas.

 

While it seems ridiculous to some, I love the summer heat of Vegas. I love being able to knock back a whole book in 3 days, and I love just gazing at nothing as I lie poolside. I know most think of Vegas as a scene, but Vegas for me can be pure quiet and relaxation.


If anyone asks me about my Vegas eats favorite, without hesitation I mention the Nam Kao Tod at Lotus of Siam. It’s been over 8 years since I’ve tasted the Nam Kao Tod and I have searched high and low in between trying to find restaurants that can recreate the magic of this dish. I have come to realize that I have to go to the source if I want to satisfy my craving. So  I was so happy that we rented a car this trip, because I knew I’d get to delight in deliciousness.

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Who’s kidding whom? This is the only dish that matters to me.

We received complimentary buffets as part of our stay at the MGM. While I rarely go to buffets as “all you can eat” is rarely good value for all I can eat. Well that and I find the excess of buffets to be alarming and somewhat depressing. But we were hitting the road towards the Grand Canyon at midnight to catch the sunrise so I figured a good plug would induce a food coma that would help me sleep a few hours before we started driving. My afterthoughts about the MGM buffet though, is that sometimes free doesn’t equal good food value.

Any bad thoughts about my buffet dinner from the night before diminished the next morning as I watched the glorious moment of sunrise over the Grand Canyon.

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After the long drive back to Vegas, I was hungry for a snack. I had chicken and waffles on my mind so I tried Bruxies in The Park  outside the new T-Mobile arena. It satisfied my craving at the time, but isn’t anything I’d return for.

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I have found from my past few visits to Vegas that my best meals are eaten off-Strip, so decided for dinner on our last night to get in the car to try to find a locals joint. We saw Other Mama pop up over and over again in my Vegas feeds and thought “Asian-influenced fresh/raw seafood” sounded perfect.

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Oysters of the day

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Ceviche of octopus, shrimp, white fish and habanero

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Shishito with cauliflower and pistachio

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Spicy tuna tartare with waffle fries

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French toast with caviar

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Asparagus tempura

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Oysters with uni and Kurt – 3 of my favourite things all in one bite.

Of course it’s not a Vegas trip without having a fun last night of drinking (and selfies) on the Strip. We started back at the Beer Park and then rolled on from there.

Good times at Beer Park

 

Bourbon Sour at the Chandelier Bar in the Cosmopolitan

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Viewsfrom the 23rd floor bar at the Mandarin Hotel

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Is it just me, or did the selfies get blurrier as the night progressed?

3 nights in Vegas is perfect for me to do what I want, but have me leaving with so many things I need to try on my next Vegas trip. There were swings high and low in dining for me on this trip, but that’s much better than having them at the tables. Until next time when I know Vegas will welcome me again with welcome arms. How do I know? The sign says so!

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