Welcome to the first FOODIE FRIDAY blog of 2012! Below is a fun account of some of the “good eats” we had on our annual Xmas in Vegas vacation.
I’ve been going to Vegas for Christmas almost every year since 1999. It’s just a fun tradition. You could say I’m a total expert now on all things Vegas. Especially when it comes to foodie gourmet “good eats” at affordable “Occupy Wall Street” prices. 🙂
Keep reading after the jump to see what yummy food we discovered over our vacation!
Before we get to the food, here are some pics of what I usually do on vacation…
WRITE. Believe it or not, I get some of my best writing done here! I just lug around my notebook and write while sitting at a beautiful restaurant or hipster bar. For some reason, it’s a nice break from sitting in front of my computer all day at home (or at whatever TV job I’m staffed on at the time).
NICKEL POKER SLOTS. I’m a fiend for the nickel poker slots! I’m pretty good and can usually plug in a $20 bill and get at least a 150-nickel profit! 🙂 I owe it ALL to this amazing book…
I prefer the classic single-game JACKS OR BETTER nickel poker slots, but they seem to be phasing this particular machine out of The Strip. Which is a shame because it has the best odds. If you bet the max and take your time, you can pretty much break even or make a slight profit on these machines. So I got stuck playing these newer games including wild cards, which I hate. It’s very annoying when you get a hand like this…
Oh noes! What do you do? Well, according to the 8 billion video combo statistics I have memorized, when you have four to a flush versus a three to a Royal flush, odds are higher if you go for the royal. And bingo! I won 20 nickels (ended up with 3 of a kind). 🙂 12 years of poker slots experience, baby! 🙂
This is the ONLY gambling I do in Vegas. Nickel poker slots. Period. I avoid all other slots, including this hilarious one:
I also love the sights of Vegas. We always visit Bellagio for its musical fountain and for the amazing Christmas decorations…
THE SIGHTS AND SOUNDS AND “GOOD EATS.” And now here is our view of the Strip from the second level of our double decker bus. We’re ready to begin our foodie culinary tour of Vegas!
First stop – our annual Christmas dinner at Emeril’s Fish House at the MGM Grand casino. We love this place! (Website: http://www.emerils.com/restaurant/4/Emerils-New-Orleans-Fish-House/) We enjoyed celebrating Christmas with our good friends Michael “ML” & Skip who are incredibly knowledgeable foodies. ML also worked in the music industry and managed bands like Thin White Rope and has a blog here: http://mlcompton.blogspot.com/
I am also a huge tea lover. We buy loose tea and drink all kinds of tea and I adore the traditional tea hour. The best – and not too expensive – tea experience is at Mandarin Oriental’s tea lounge on the top floor at this new hotel in City Center. You can either reserve a spot for a traditional tea with all the fixings (sandwiches, scones etc.) or you can simply order a pot of tea for two and enjoy the magnificent view. (Website here: http://www.mandarinoriental.com/lasvegas/dining/tea_lounge/)
Happy Hours: I highly recommend exploring the happy hours at Vegas. Just ask any restaurant or bar if they offer a happy hour – right now, happy hours are super trendy in Vegas. It’s a chance to sample some gourmet foodie foods and fun cocktails at reasonable prices. That way, you get more bang for your buck because you can sample a ton of places on a budget instead of spending $$$ on one big fancy meal.
Some of the happy hours we explored this year included Top Chef Master Rick Moonen’s RM Seafood at Mandalay Bay. I love how he has all these fabulous ingredients right at the bar to make the perfect cocktail… AND you get some sushi half-off, too!
We also ate the famous burger at BRADLEY OGDEN’s restaurant in Caesar’s Palace. This is known as Vegas’ BEST burger. It is magnificent. Many thanks to our Vegas foodie pals ML and Skip who recommended the place and met us there so we could nosh on the famous burgers! 🙂 For more info, go here: http://www.caesarspalace.com/casinos/caesars-palace/restaurants-dining/bradley-ogden-detail.html
We also split the famous blue cheese souffle at Bradley Ogden…
One of my favorite happy hours is the 3-6 PM happy hour at Emeril’s “10” in the Palazzo casino. (Yes, as you can tell, I’m a huge Emeril fan!) This happy hour has great prices for drinks and food, including a yummy muffuletta sandwich and duck fat fries!
We also love Asian food in Vegas. There’s a huge Asian and Asian American population that visits Vegas every Christmas, so all the casinos have fantastic Asian themed restaurants, CHINA GRILL at Mandalay Bay has some fantastic happy hour deals on drinks and food, and we also love having lunch at one of our favorite places, DRAGON NOODLE, at the Monte Carlo casino. They have a $9.95 lunch special (main entree, appetizer and soup) but we go straight for the noodles and freshly made dim sum. Mmmmmmmm! (Websites here: http://www.mandalaybay.com/dining/signature-restaurants/china-grill.aspx and http://www.montecarlo.com/restaurants/dragon-noodle.aspx)
Another favorite happy hour is at RED SQUARE at Mandalay Bay. I love caviar but of course I can’t afford it. (Unless I win the lottery! LOL!) So Red Square has a “cavihour.” It’s a bit pricey but worth it – you have to order two premium cocktails but you get a half-ounce jar of caviar along with all the fancy fixings like blinis, toast points, and the egg and red onion and creme fraiche. And for just five bucks, you can order the Kobe beef sliders (two HUGE sliders that made up enough food for me!) and the yummy salmon blinis. I feel so fancy and rich when I order this “cavihour.” 🙂 (Website here: http://www.mandalaybay.com/dining/signature-restaurants/red-square.aspx)
Well, I hope you enjoyed my little Vegas foodie adventure! I hope everyone had a fun and peaceful holiday season. Now let’s get to work… 2012 has begun! 🙂
Stay tuned for next week’s WRITER WEDNESDAY blog on Wed. Jan. 11th featuring a Q&A and signed book contest with Tor debut author LEV AC ROSEN. Until then… HAPPY WRITING! WRITE LIKE YOU MEAN IT! 🙂