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

Bando-clando Vegas Celebrations

My family needs “a reason” to travel together, which may come as a bit of a surprise considering I fill my thoughts with travel plans and can turn anything into a reason to go away. But outside of our reunions every other year to Japan, the Bando’s don’t travel a lot as a family.

Last summer, we had a great time in Osoyoos celebrating my parent’s 50th wedding anniversary and this year we knew with my brother’s big milestone birthday, we should plan something fun as well. Las Vegas seemed like the logical place to go, seeing it’s easily accessible and there’s “something for everyone” there. The best thing about a Vegas escape is that only a few hours after leaving home, you can find yourself sunning it up poolside!

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The “Bando” girls (minus J) feeling fab-u-lous by the pool.

Our first dinner was a family repeat at Lawry’s Prime Rib but before dinner, the “kids” met downstairs at the lounge of our hotel for a drink.

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Teaching my sister how to “pose” for the camera,

Lawry’s is a big feed, perhaps bigger than anyone needs. But I eat prime rib so rarely that I was excited to indulge. But isn’t indulgence what Vegas is all about?

Lawrys Prime Rib Vegas

Lawrys prime rib jim diamond

Vince went all out with his Diamond Jim Brady cut, but heck it WAS his birthday dinner.

After our big feed, a walk on the Strip was warranted. Unfortunately it was too windy for the Bellagio fountain show to be running, but there’s always enough action on the Strip to keep us entertained nonetheless.

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The next morning we got up early with the intention of going to EggSlut in the Cosmopolitan for breakfast. Unfortunately, we weren’t the only early birds out there and ended up having to figure out a Plan B.

Milk Bar Vegas-2

We couldn’t leave the Cosmopolitan without picking up a few cookies from Milk Bar.

Bouchon Vegas pastries

Plan B turned out to be a trip to Bouchon bakery in the Venetian. Returning to the hotel with this box of pastries was a big hit with the rest of the gang.

Bouchon Vegas macaron

And of course you can’t go to Bouchon without picking up some macarons!

After breakfast, most of us headed to the pool to soak up some more rays. We didn’t last long though because the heat of the sun was too much for us to bear. I decided it was time to take a seat next to my dad and brother to watch the ponies run.

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Being such a bad gambler, I got bored quickly and my attention was (easily) diverted towards the thought of food. While there are so many options on the Strip, I didn’t really feel like sitting down for an overpriced meal. And while I know that the off-shoots of famous restaurants that land in Vegas are often not as good as the real thing, I couldn’t help but stop at 2 such places to satisfy my fast food cravings.

Pinks Vegas-2

The wiener is unconventionally large, but it still has the same snap as the original from LA. All that really matters is the chili tastes the same, (which it did) and as an added bonus, I paired it with a beer. Something you can’t do at the original location unless you’re brown bagging it!

Shake Shack Vegas-2

I’ve only eaten at Shake Shack twice before Vegas, so I can’t remember how this compares. While I usually relish in a pink in the middle burger when I visit the US, I was throughly enamoured by the Shake Shack smashed version.

Back at the hotel, thoughts looked forward to dinner. We weren’t  feeling like hitting the buffet as planned in advance, so we scoured other options. My brother usually hangs in China/Asiatown when he’s in Vegas, so we started checking out our options there. When I found a Italian/Japanese restaurant that looked interesting, my brother said, “hey I think the Chef there is a friend of a friend”. When I mentioned a few dishes from the menu to my dad, you could tell his interest was piqued as well. A few calls were made and before you knew it, we were at Trattoria Nakamura-ya for dinner.

Namakura Vegas mentaiko pasta

Spaghetti mentaiko carbonara was a bit light on the mentaiko, but still deliciously slurp-able.

Namakura Vegas uni pasta

I dream about uni pasta, so this uni tomato cream pasta was a must order. While it wasn’t quite up to Le Bernadin standards, it was still a delightful dish.

I introduced my family to Uber/Lyft on this trip and we relished in the convenience (and low cost) of using it. It’s always a surprise as to what you’re getting picked up in, but when a Tesla Model 3 came to pick us up from Nakamura-ya to bring us back to the hotel, I think everyone got a boost from that.

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Feeling so “baller” getting out of our slick ride.

We’re not a “party” family but seeing as we were in Vegas, it seemed like we had to take the time to go drinking together on our 2nd and last night together in Vegas. We only made it as far as the Whiskey Bar at the MGM but we didn’t need more to be entertained by the lounge singer for the evening.

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Feeling (liquor) happy about hanging with my siblings. And apparently none of us smile with our teeth showing…

My sister and brother left Vegas on Sunday morning which left me with my parents for the day. Seeing as it was Mother’s Day, I wanted to make it special for my mom. When I asked her what she wanted to do, she said “shopping”! So we headed to the outlet mall, and while I knew it was for my mom, we all had thoughts for my dad as well.

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My dad showing off his new sunglasses, which I’ve never seen my dad wear, and a pair of new Nike kicks to go with a new outfit from Banana Republic (not shown).

Of course shopping made us hungry, and I had just the lunch in mind for us.

Lobster Me Vegas Susy Bando mom

Lobscicles fried and grilled. I must remember if I go back, I’m only getting the fried from now on.

For dinner, I wanted to treat my mom (and dad) to a fun Vegas experience. When we noticed Morimoto had opened in the MGM, my mom mentioned she was “interested”, seeing as we’d gone in NYC  and she was interested in comparing.

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Kanpai!

Morimoto Vegas carpaccio

Whitefish carpaccio with hot oil and mitsuba

Morimoto beef

Wagyu beef carpaccio with yuzu soy, ginger and sweet garlic

Morimoto Vegas shrimp

Rock shrimp tempura with kochujan sauce and wasabi aioli

Morimoto Vegas shishito

Blistered shishito peppers with yuzu soy

Morimoto Vegas oyster foie

Oyster uni foie gras with teriyaki sauce. 3 of my favorite things in one slurp. While I believe the parts are greater than the sum of this bite, I still enjoyed the experience of it.

Morimoto Vegas Susy Bando mom

Anytime I can be indulgent with my mom is a happy day indeed!

Morimoto Vegas chirashi

We looked at different sushi/sashimi options but decided to gamble on the barachirashi in hopes it would be enough to satisfy our cravings.

 

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Was it enough? The look on my dad’s face tells all.

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So happy to celebrate Mother’s Day in Vegas with my mom!

 

 

 

 

 

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