• Cathedral Gorge

    Isolated Photo Op in Cathedral Gorge

    Isolated Photo Op in Cathedral Gorge

    The sun is starting to shine again in Las Vegas, while I know most of the United States has some snow falling to the ground. However, just because Las Vegas is on the verge of a heat wave doesn’t mean all of Nevada is warming up. Just under 2 hours north is Cathedral Gorge State Park. Now, Cathedral Gorge is usually very dry and is colored red and pink from the ground to the top of the rocky peaks. It also usually features some slot canyons that are ideal for exploring and hiding from the sun. HOWEVER…. I didn’t know that in the winter there it snows… a lot. This wouldn’t sound like such a crazy idea… (snow.. in the winter?? Who would have thought?!) except for the fact that it only snows in southern Nevada maybe… once every two years if we are lucky. So I was shocked to think that a place like Cathedral Gorge, that didn’t feel much higher in elevation had their ground completely covered in the white stuff.

    The drive out of Las Vegas to Cathedral Gorge is easy enough. You drive north. Simple. I noticed on the drive there that there weren’t many people heading the same way. That was totally cool with me since I love an open road and less people in my photographs. Also fun perk, I can take all my middle of the road photos that I love so much! See below to know what I mean. 😉

    Photo of me taking a photo of snow. Middle of the Road, outside of Cathedral Gorge.

    Photo of me taking a photo of snow. Middle of the Road, outside of Cathedral Gorge.

    The drive takes you through so many small towns and I loved it!! And when I mean small towns.. I mean if you blinked or sneezed, you would miss it. However, the snow made it look lost in time and I love moments like that. My favorite part was the park… .no soul around to show you someone was there except for tiny foot prints.

    Somewhere in Northern Nevada.

    Somewhere in Northern Nevada.

    After you soak in the small town liife, you will finally find a small sign that directs you to Cathedral Gorge State Park.

    So… I mentioned snow earlier… well at the park there was so much snow we couldn’t get much further than a mile within the entrance because we lacked snow chains and wanted to err on the side of caution since it’s been over an hour since we located another human.

    Cathedral Gorge 3

    It was of course a bummer we could not explore further in to the park… it was another bummer that the snow was so deep I couldn’t get to the slot canyons!! 🙁 🙁 🙁 I was highly disappointed that I came all that way and couldn’t even snap a good instagram pic. BUT that was all left at the wayside when I stopped to apprciate the beauty of the snow and the quiet of my surroundings. The white snow looked exceptionally white against the pink rocks and the snow was undisturbed with the exception of bunny snowprints. <3 … oh and my phone marks in the snow as I tried to set up my camera phone for a photo… and then I failed. But I think it still turned ok…

    Accidental Photo when trying to have my phone stand up in the snow!

    Accidental Photo when trying to have my phone stand up in the snow!

    After some time of trying to walk through the snow and taking tons of fun photos, it was time to move on. I didn’t want to get caught in the snow in the dark… the drive home was just as lovely and allowed the opportunity to stop next to some lakes for a snack.

    The Road Leading out of Cathedral Gorge.

    The Road Leading out of Cathedral Gorge.

    Overall, even though I did not have a chance to hike the area as much as I would like to, I think seeing it in such a way that can only be described as rare made the day completely worth it. Sometimes magical things happen when nothing goes as planned.

  • Neon Museum

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    Las Vegas gets a bad rap for being a cultural black hole. I’m aware the city is known for tearing down buildings before they collect too much history, but that doesn’t mean Las Vegas is void of all cultural interests. Take the Neon Museum for example. Also known as the Neon Boneyard or Neon Graveyard. You know all those flashy neon signs Las Vegas is known for? Well this is where they go to retire. In case you didn’t know… I LOVE NEON. So this place is now near and dear to my heart.

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    Moulin Rouge letters have been moved around to spell “In Love”

    The Neon Museum opened in 2012 and is located in Downtown Las Vegas and is dedicated to preserving the iconic art form of the neon sign. Tours are available daily and I HIGHLY recommend taking the time to visit. I will admit… I’ve lived in Las Vegas for many years and have only recently visited… but I don’t want you to make the same mistake! So when in Las Vegas.. JUST GO. It’s a quick hour tour where you learn the history of most of the 150 neon sign but also of the old buildings it used to light up.

    Neon Graveyard

    Neon Graveyard

    Sahara Hotel!

    Sahara Hotel!

    Most of the iconic Las Vegas Neon signs can be found in the Boneyard. Such as: The Golden Nugget, Moulin Rouge, Binion’s Horseshoe, Sassy Sally, Algiers, Sahara and my favorite, The Stardust! (Just to name a few, of course.) There are so many more that in a way an hour is definitely not enough. If you’re lucky enough to have the chance, I encourage you to visit more than once.

    Sassy Sally... It really means $a$$y $ally

    Sassy Sally… It really means $a$$y $ally

    I would love to give you the history breakdown of all the different signs but that would take the fun out of going yourself! I’ll give you one fun fact… The Stardust used to host “Nuclear Parties” aka…. come to the hotel and let’s watch the atomic testing in the desert. Stardust was also the hotel run by Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal!! Don’t know who that is? Robert Di Niro plays a character based on him in one of my favorite movies… CASINO! Have you heard of it? I hope so. If not…. go watch it now! See why the Stardust is one of my faves? 🙂

    The Stardust

    The Stardust

    So let me know… what do you think of Las Vegas culture? Until next time!

    ;)

    😉

  • Canyon Dreaming at the Grand Canyon

    Aerial view of the Grand Canyon

    Aerial view of the Grand Canyon

    I’ve had the opportunity to visit the Grand Canyon many times but I have decided that Maverick Airline’s Canyon Dream is the BEST way to see one of the natural wonders of the world. What is it? Why is it awesome? Three words. Airplanes and helicopters!

    Getting ready for the Canyon Dream Tour!

    Getting ready for the Canyon Dream Tour!

    Leaving from Las Vegas, you board a Beechcraft 1900D. It’s a small 18 seat plane that will get you to the Grand Canyon National Park in a mere 50 minutes. That means it just saved you 3 hours of your life. If that doesn’t sound like arriving in style to you… then I don’t want to be your travel buddy! All that extra time you save can be put to excellent use by exploring the park upon arrival. Now, the Canyon Dream isn’t ideal for hiking since you are scheduled to ride in a helicopter over the Grand Canyon!!!

    South Rim of the Grand Canyon

    South Rim of the Grand Canyon

    The airplane is nice and pretty fun but the helicopter is the peak of the tour. You fly for about 30 minutes over both the South and North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Honestly, you of course see the canyon at the edge of the viewing stations and you can experience the depth by hiking in to it through trails… but you get to see parts of the canyon that are only visible by air. Nothing beats the views of the canyon from a helicopter.

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    The Colorado River looking muddy after heavy rain fall.

    The ride gives you a true appreciation for how large the canyon is and how much character it has. You see the winding rivers, changing colors in the rock (you even see the second oldest piece of exposed earth!!!) and the difference between the South Rim and the North Rim of the canyon.

    North Rim of the Grand Canyon

    North Rim of the Grand Canyon

    The North Rim in itself is a big deal to see. It’s much more difficult to drive too and is only open during part of the year. The higher elevation of the North Rim creates more vegetation and a truly beautiful view to see from above. Not only is the scenery during the ride breathtaking but it’s just fun. If you like roller coasters and thrills or a general fan of trying something new, the helicopter ride is so for you!

    North Rim of the Grand Canyon

    North Rim of the Grand Canyon

    After all the excitement of the bird’s eye view of Grand Canyon, you hop back into the trusty Beechcraft and jet back home. Be sure to look out the window so you can see the West Rim of the Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam and Las Vegas as you fly in. That is, if you are not exhausted. Otherwise, the seats are at least comfortable enough to sneak in a good nap.

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    Views of Lake Mead from the Beechraft Plane

    Have I convinced you to jump on the next open seat for Canyon Dream yet? I hope so! Because it truly is an awesome experience. If you are NOT in the Las Vegas area but I have sparked your interest, at the Grand Canyon you can book a helicopter ride separately with Maverick Helicopters right next to the National Park. It can’t get more simple!

    So tell me, have you ever been on a helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon or any other remarkable views? How did you like it? Leave me a comment and maybe you will inspire my next flight!

  • Arawan Thai Bistro

    Arawan Thai Bistro & Dessert

    Arawan Thai Bistro & Dessert

    Arawan Thai Bistro is a new restaurant that has opened up off the Las Vegas Strip. The ambiance is modern and has a very welcoming and friendly staff. However, the location is a little seedy but is next to other popular Thai restaurants such as the legendary Lotus of Siam and Komol. Tough location to be in, but their food delivers.

    Arawan 2

    Reasonably priced entrees that are sized enough to share with the table and a $10 lunch menu make this a top choice for anyone budget conscious but looking for a great meal. The lunch menu in my opinion is the way to go. It comes with egg drop soup and crispies, the main course and the daily dessert, all for $10. You really can’t beat that.

    Lunch menu at Arawan

    Lunch menu at Arawan

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    Arawan 7

    Arawan 8

    The soup was delicious and the perfect size to start a meal with. I opted for the basil rib-eye and the medium heat choice was the right amount to make everyone at the table happy and the dessert of they day was a hazelnut tart, which was also delicious. Since we were a larger group we did order some additional items for the table. We shared the tempura calamari appetizer and the calamri had awesome texture and tasted pretty fresh and got a second dessert…. because everyone has a sweet tooth! We opted for their creme brulee instead of a traditional Thai dessert because the presentation for which was beautiful!). Don’t forget to wash it all down with their delicious Thai tea! (Also a favorite drink of mine in general).

    Arawan 5

    Arawan 6

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    I definitely see myself becoming a regular at this establishment and I highly encourage any Las Vegas local, or tourist looking to leave the Strop to become one as well.

     

  • Is Sweet

    Is Sweet in Las Vegas

    Is Sweet in Las Vegas

    There is a new dessert and coffee shop in Las Vegas and it IS SWEET. (See what I did there?!) That’s what it’s called and that’s what it is! A locally owned business, the shop is located right outside of Las Vegas Chinatown. It’s open daily from 11:00am until midnight which means it a great choice for many Las Vegas locals o=who work way past the hours of a 9am – 5pm job.

    Is Sweet menu

    Is Sweet menu

    Is Sweet has a few basic selections of espressos and coffees and classic treats like coffee cakes and tiramisus on their menu. However, the highlights of their menu are their Asian inspired desserts such as a green tea crepe cake, honey toast and assortment of milk teas in flavors like Thai tea, matcha green tea and taro!

    Is Sweet vanilla crepe cake.

    Is Sweet vanilla crepe cake.

    I had the chance to try my friend’s crepe cake (she opted for the vanilla instead of the green tea flavor) and it was light and delicious. It was served with berries that complimented the dish well. I could easily eat two of them in one sitting. If you are looking for something light, this is for you. If you are like myself and have a huge sweet tooth and a tummy to match…. then you may want to order another option… like the HONEY TOAST.

    Is Sweet honey toast.

    Is Sweet honey toast.

    Honey Toast. There are not enough words to describe how simple yet amazing this dessert is. Normally, it is just sweet white toast in the shape of a brick and is traditionally topped with honey and vanilla ice cream. Straight forward. No fuss. Very straight forward but still a comforting dessert. Now… flash forward to Is Sweet and they allow you to make your honey toast as plain as you would like or as fancy! You can choose the toppings, syrups and ice creams that go on top! Each topping ranges from 50 cents to a dollar 50 each, but the beauty is in the control. You can create the honey toast of your dreams and you can also come back multiple times and never have the same thing twice! For my first visit I opted for almonds, honey, condensed milk and green tea ice cream. It was perfect!

    Is Sweet taro milk tea.

    Is Sweet taro milk tea.

    Finally, my drink selection. To be honest, I love milk tea. I love all flavors of milk tea. I tried their iced taro milk tea. It was very rich and sweet and to some it might have been too much, but to me, it was milk tea nirvana. It paired nicely with my honey toast and I would definitely get it again. If you have never had taro…. the purple can seem very strange at first but it is similar in flavor to cookies and cream…although it’s a yam. Odd. I know. But try it!

    Is Sweet! Look for the sign.

    Is Sweet! Look for the sign.

    Overall, Is Sweet was amazing and I hope they do so well! The presentation on all their items is so adorable and the environment is so relaxed and homey. I honestly have no complaints. They have a loyal customer with me and if you are in Vegas or ever in the area, be sure to check them out! How about you? Where is your favorite coffee shop located? Do any of these treats appeal to you? I would love to know!

  • Sage at Aria

    Sage Menu

    Sage at Aria is a contemporary American restaurant with a bit of French flair. Created by Chef Shawn McClain, Sage features fresh, farm to table produce and puts a new spin on what is considered comfort food or American Cuisine. As a Concierge, I have been fortunate enough to sample Sage during a work dine around, however, this was my first time having a full blown, dining experience and my opinion has done a 180 degree turn around. 

    Let’s begin at the bar. Their drink menu is phenomenal. It was a little difficult to choose. Do I want something with jalapeno? or maybe some ice tea ice cubes? How about a drink with liquid nitrogen? In the end, I chose the sweetest option. The Pink Cashmere $18, aka, a drink made with a huge pile of cotton candy!!

    Sage Pink Cashmere

    Sage Pink Cashmere

    Adorable presentation of the cotton candy that melts once the drink of cherry vodka, lime juice and cranberry juice is poured over it.Totally girly, totally me. My boyfriend opted for the Queen Bee $15. I know it too sounds girly but the mixture of gin, lemon juice and honey & habanero syrup leaves a manly kick. They also have a wide variety of craft beers from around the world, various wines and their signature Absinthes! If you just drink and dine at the bar, you would not be disappointed.

    Decor at Sage

    Decor at Sage

    For us though, it was onward to the main dining room. Let me take a minute and tell you about what Sage looks like. It’s gold and dark purple, with interesting painting on the wall. The light fixtures and plush seating is all meant to be reminiscent of a prohibition era speakeasy. Think Great Gatsby in Purple. Sounds nice right? It is. They do an excellent job seducing you into the restaurant and making you forget you are actually inside a hotel, yet it is not so stuffy you feel like you can’t let your hair down a tad.

    Now on to what is REALLY important (at least to me) in a restaurant. The food. They have a great selection, but some items spoke to me right away. We opted for the following appetizers: Kushi Oysters $21, Roasted Veal Sweetbreads $18 and the Spanish Grilled Octopus $22. Dear Lord, let me tell you!! Each of those were great.

    Kushi Oysters at Sage

    Kushi Oysters at Sage

    The oysters were served a sauce of tequila, pepper and tobasco that gave the right amount of kick I like.

    Veal Sweetbreads at Sage

    Veal Sweetbreads at Sage

    The sweetbreads were very interesting. Creamy yet meaty all at the same time. It paired well with the mushrooms and polenta it came with, definitely the more filling of the appetizers.

    Spanish Octopus at Sage

    Spanish Octopus at Sage

    But the octopus was the real star of the appetizers. t’s so fresh and cooked so well, it will leave a lasting impression on you. I think there is only one other octopus dished I’ve had that has come close, but I would have to go to San Diego for that. (Click here if you want to see what I’m talking about).

    For my main course, I knew I needed the Maine Day Boat Scallops $44 in my life.

    Maine Day Boat Scallops at Sage

    Maine Day Boat Scallops at Sage

    The plate comes with three massive oysters and oxtail. The plate was light, yet satisfying. The scallops were perfection. I do not believe I have ever had such a great scallop dish. If you go to Sage, get the scallops! I mean… after all… it is one of their signature dishes.

    After the appetizers and my main dish, I didn’t think I would have enough room for dessert, but my waiter sold me on the Foie Gras Candy Bar $20.

    Foie Gras Candy Bar at Sage

    Foie Gras Candy Bar at Sage

    It sounds a little… odd, I know. Served with salt & pepper peanut butter ice cream with a layer of foie gras, which is then covered in a milk chocolate shell and bourbon caramel sauce and popcorn. I don’t know about you, but that translates to heaven to me. It is so decadent and out of this world. It is literally a game changer in the dessert world for me. I usually like my foie more savory and I thought I wouldn’t like it served sweet, but to be honest, you can’t even taste it in the dessert. I think if anything it just enhances the creamy texture. I can’t express enough how much I love this dessert. I would go back and order three courses of this.

    I know that Sage is known for a constantly changing menu, but the selfish part in me is really hoping that they don’t change any of the listed items any time soon. 🙂 Now that my mouth is sufficiently watering, please excuse me while I go and book another reservation at Sage. Until next time!

     

     

     

     

  • Lago

    Lago at the Bellagio

    Lago at the Bellagio

    Lago, is one of the newest restaurants in Las Vegas by James Beard Award-winning Chef Julian Serrano and is located within the Bellagio. When given the chance to dine at Lago (and ultimately review it) who wouldn’t be thrilled?! Lago is an Italian restaurant with small plate options of meat and seafood, vegetarian, desserts and cocktails! Not only that, but it has arguably, one of the best views of the Bellagio Fountains.

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    Patio views from Lago at the Bellagio

    Since Lago by Julian Serrano is all small plates, each plate is meant to be about 3 or 4 bites and the recommendation is that every person at the table order about 4 plates of food. However, if you have a large appetite, I would suggest to order 5 – 6 plates. The menu at Lago is large and diverse. I would venture to say that there is something for everyone. During an opening preview had the opportunity to try about 80% of the menu with my party, so I will fill you in on some of my favorites.

    Crostini & Pizzette (Toasted Bread & Small Pizza)

    Lago at the Bellagio

    Lago at the Bellagio

    Left to right: ‘NDUJA | spicy pork sausage | gorgonzola $10, MARGHERITA | tomato sauce | house made mozzarella | basil $14, BRUSCHETTA AL POMODORO | tomatoes | basil | garlic oil $7. If you only pick one bread item, my favorite was the Nduja. It was everything. Very flavorful. The texture and taste is very satisfying.

    Pesce (Seafood)

    In general, seafood is not one of the main items I like to order at a tapas style restaurant. But if YOU like seafood, these two are my main recommendations.

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    Seafood at Lago

    BRANZINO LIVORNESE | capers | olives | tomatoes $16, which was excellent. The fish was light and the skin was just the right amount of crispy. I may put this second to Dover Sole (which is my favorite.)

    The bottom is a seafood platter sample of the following: *CIOPPINO |white fish and clams, *TONNO | ahi tuna,*CAPASANTA | scallop, and *SALMONE | Skuna Bay salmon. The best one would be the salmon! The capers are always a good pairing.

     GNOCCHI! 

    No other word for it. No need for it’s specific classification. Just look for gnocchi on their menu. To the left, GNOCCHI ALLA ROMANA | flat semolina gnocchi | blue cheese $14. The gnocchi alone is heavenly but if you order the dish to the right, 7 & 7 | potato gnocchi | lobster knuckles | salsa di crostacei $19 you will be able to leave the restaurant happy. I would come back just for those dishes..

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    Carne (Meat)

    Make sure you save room to try some of these meats! Left: POLPETTE DI CARNE | tomato braised beef meatballs $15            Top Right: SCALOPPINA DI VITELLO | veal piccata $20 Bottom Right: *BISTECCA | 1lb bone-in rib eye $50. I know the Bistecca seems a little pricey, but it can be shared easily with at least 3 – 4 people. More reason to order it, right?

    PhotoGrid_1429073784680Desserts!!

    Just like the gnocchi, the desserts need no introduction. EVERY SINGLE ONE of them were beyond amazing. As great as other dishes were, the desserts were still the best part in my opinion. 
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    The canolis (bottom left) and the gelato mousse (bottom left) were two of my absolute favorites. The tiramisu (upper left) is a classic and is above and beyond the level of average. Lastly, the chocolate hazelnut dome (upper left) is any nuttella addict’s dream come true. Don’t judge me, but yes, I ate them all.


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    All in all, Lago is a spectacular edition to the Bellagio. An addition that they needed, if I’m being honest. When you are done enjoying the food of Julian Serrano, be sure to step out to the patio and catch some of the Bellagio Fountain show. It’s a view that is hard to come by, so enjoy it!

    I hope you enjoyed my review of Lago at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. Leave a comment and let me know if you’e been to Lago and how you felt about it. Have a fabulous day!

  • A Cosmopolitan Staycation

    Late afternoon view from the Cosmopolitan

    Late afternoon view from the Cosmopolitan

    I’m going to start this blog piece with a fairly bold statement… The Cosmopolitan is my favorite hotel (so far!) to have a staycation. There. I said it! There is no going back now.

    The Cosmopolitan is a fun and vibrant hotel. It exudes that young and trendy vibe that makes you want to come back again and again. I’ve had the chance to stay in The Cosmopolitan many times and each time is just as great, if not better, than the time before. The room, which will be the highlight of this blog post, is best described as modern and funky luxury. The Cosmopolitan building was originally envisioned to be a condominium complex on the strip and you can see that reflected in the room shapes and sizes.

    View from the main entry of the room.

    View from the main entry of the room.

    In general, the rooms at the Cosmo are much more spacious than you will find in standard rooms on Las Vegas Blvd. However, this time around I opted for a much more spacious lodging area. I chose the ‘Terrace Suite’. It’s considered one of their premium rooms and has a separate living room and bedroom as well as an oversized private terrace!! (The only hotel on the strip with a balcony I might add.)

    The terrace of the Terrace Suite

    The terrace of the Terrace Suite

    This room just makes me feel like I am living the high roller lifestyle and relaxing in the lap of luxury. Who wouldn’t want to curl up in a massive bed like this on a daily basis?

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    If you ever want to Treat yo’self! in Las Vegas, spring for a room at the Cosmopolitan. This is the kind of room you can spend hours in and you would not regret a single moment of it. Want to lay in a comfortable with the balcony door open and watching tv? You can do that!

    Cosmo3Want to soak in a bubbler tub and think about nothing other than how soothing the water is? You can do that!

    Tub big enough to fit 2!

    Tub big enough to fit 2!

    Want to cook food in your room with a stove or oven so you don’t have to pay ridiculous restaurant rates? You can do that! Want your friends to have their own bathroom and shower so you don’t have to share your own amazing bathroom? Yup. You can do that here too. Want a nice couch and coffee table to feel fancy while scrolling through your phone? Yes, that is available to you.

    The furnishings inside of the room.

    The furnishings inside of the room.

    Lastly, want to watch the Bellagio Fountains all night from your own private balcony that give you the best view in the city? Yes. You can indeed do that too.

    The only thing you can’t do at the Cosmopolitan is go wrong. Seriously, if you haven’t stayed there before, you owe to your Las Vegas vacation or staycation to give it a chance. You will probably end up a Cosmopolitan junkie like I am, but it’s worth it!

    Where else can you have a view like this??

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  • Sweets Raku

    Stella at Sweets Raku

    Stella at Sweets Raku

    In case you didn’t know this about me, I’m a big desserts person. Given the fact that Sweets Raku is an establishment geared towards desserts, I knew I had to check it out. It did take me some time but eventually I decided my birthday was a good enough excuse to give it a whirl.

    Jack in the Cup at Sweets Raku

    Jack in the Cup at Sweets Raku

    Located west of Las Vegas Blvd. near the Chinatown area, the restaurant is designed for you to try a three course dessert tasting menu. (It’s only $19!). Two courses are already pre-selected by the chef and you are able to choose an individual dessert from their menu of five options (which changes seasonally). Everything is then prepared in front of you, which is also wildly entertaining.

    To begin the epic dessert adventure of Sweets Raku, they have you eat the menu. That’s right. It’s edible. Pretty cool right? Talk about a no waste system.

    Edible menu at Sweets Raku

    Edible menu at Sweets Raku

    After the menu, the real first course is usually a light option, like a seasonal sorbet. Something that helps cleanse and prepare the palate for the awesomeness that is about to ensue.

    First course - Mango sorbet and mint jelly

    First course – Mango sorbet and mint jelly

    The second course would be the item of your choosing. My friends opted for the Jack in the Cup (similar to a mug brownie but about 30 times better) and the Stella. I chose the Mt. Fuji. A chestnut/hazelnut flavored cream dessert. It looks like a pasta ball but tastes like heaven. They even customized it for my birthday! Nice little touch, if I do say so myself.

    Mt. Fuji - Happy Birthday Style

    Mt. Fuji – Happy Birthday Style

    (*The fantastic thing about all their desserts is that none were too overwhelmingly sweet. Since it’s not too decadent, it makes it easy to go through the three courses). Finally, the last course was a fresh made cream puff filled with your choice of vanilla or chocolate cream and your choice of berry jam.

    Third course - Cream Puff

    Third course – Cream Puff

    If spectacular desserts isn’t enough reason for you to visit this adorable place, just know it also has a few savory dishes (like foie gras!!) on the menu. In addition to savory, they also have some libations to choose from. Sweets Raku has an impressive wall of teas to choose from and a fairly wide selection of wines.

    Tea wall at Sweets Raku

    Tea wall at Sweets Raku

    Be aware that the restaurant does not take reservations, so on busier evenings there may be a long wait or it may be difficult with a large party. However, bonus points to Sweets Raku for also being open until 12:00am on most nights.

    If you’re really into hole in the wall spots, and looking for a break from the price point and fuss of Las Vegas Blvd… consider venturing out to Sweets Raku.

    Wine selection at Sweets Raku

    Wine selection at Sweets Raku

  • Bardot Brasserie Brunch

    Bardot EntranceBardot Brasserie is the newest edition to the restaurant line up at ARIA Resort & Casino. A French/Parisian concept by Chef Michael Mina, Bardot Brasserie pays homage to the brasserie culture of Paris in the 1920s.The restaurant in itself is beautiful. The dark woods and brass features work very well together and stand out within the ARIA Resort & Casino. The restaurant gives off a very elegant yet inviting vibe that immediately captivates you.

    Bardot Side Entrance

    I’ve had the opportunity to dine at Bardot for dinner when they first opened and now I have been invited again to try their brunch. Brunch is served Saturday and Sunday from 10:00am – 2:30pm. Given that I usually work weekends, this was a nice treat for myself. 🙂

    As soon as you walk into the restaurant during brunch hours you are greeted with a beautiful bread display. Nothing gets you more mentally prepared for a French experience than seeing roses and a variety of breads in a beautiful foyer. Just looking at the display made me simultaneously feel very classy and make my mouth water. An impressive accomplishment for only being in a restaurant for 2 minutes.

    Bread display at Bardot Brasserie

    Bread display at Bardot Brasserie

    The menu has a fairly wide selection of items to choose, regardless if you are in the mood for savory or sweet. There is something for every palate. Fortunately, I was dining with a group of people so we were able to order many items from the menu and share. For our appetizers we had: TARTE FLAMBÉE $14: caramelized onions, cave aged gruyère, bacon lardons, PRIME STEAK TARTARE $25: sauce verte, organic egg, gaufrette potatoes, FOIE GRAS PARFAIT $15: ruby port gelée, grilled country bread, ESCARGOTS BARDOT $17: warm hazelnuts, chartreuse butter, puff pastry, and FRENCH TOAST $12 brioche french toast, vanilla mascarpone, candy almond, orgeat syrup.

    My favorite appetizers were the Steak Tartare and the escargot. Both were so delicious I could eat them as a meal in themselves. The steak tartare had excellent flavor that was complimented by the choice of chips served with the dish. The escargot, served in a pastry puff were bite sized snacks that aimed to please both those familiar with escargot as well as the new comers to the dish.

    Bardot Escargot Bardot Beef TartareOur main courses for brunch was also a decent sample of the menu. We had a chance to try the following: LE STEAKBURGER $19: prime rib patty, comté cheese, garlic aïoli, watercress, bordelaise onions & hand-cut fries, BARDOT STEAK FRITES $32: 8oz flat iron, au poivre, french fries, CROQUE MADAME $18: pain de mie, paris ham, gruyère fondue, organic egg, MAINE LOBSTER CROISSANT BENEDICT $29.

    I would have to say that my favorite of the brunch items I tried had to be the Maine Lobster Croissant Benedict. It had the right amount of lobster and the serving size was just right. I think if it was any larger, it would have been too much. The quality of the plate was excellent and it’s definitely something I would go back for. Well worth the cost!

    Bardot Eggs Benedict

    However, my favorite item from Bardot, hands down, brunch or dinner, day or night, has to be their Chocolate Macaron. Served table side with a chocolate sauce, this macaron is the size of a soft ball and is unbelievably rich and decadent. It can easily be shared with a party of 2 or more and everyone at the table will feel like they have eaten their share of calories for a week. (But it is worth it!) If you go to Bardot for nothing else but this macaron, I would never fault you.

    Bardot Macaron

    If you are going to splurge on a fancy weekend brunch in Las Vegas, might as well be a French experience. Especially a French restaurant by Michael Mina. This will not be my last meal at Bardot Brasserie.