June 13, 2011

Las Vegas

My cousins and I had a girls' trip to Las Vegas last week and I thought I would share some highlights.

We stayed at the gorgeous Palazzo Hotel.

Exterior of Palazzo
Double sinks
Tub and shower
One of two queen beds
The Palazzo is all suites and we had two queens beds and a sitting area with an L-shaped couch, a work desk and chair and a round table with four chairs. There were also three televisions: one in the sitting area, one in front of the beds and one in the bathroom!

After checking in, we had lunch at Emeril's Table 10 restaurant in the Palazzo. My cousin Taylor and I had fried shrimp po'boys with delicious fat french fries that were crisp on the outside and delightfully creamy on the inside and my cousin Kara had the prosciutto panini.

We had tickets to O, a Cirque du Soleil show at the Ballagio on our first night, so we decided to try out Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill for dinner in neighboring Caesar's Palace. Before dinner, we walked around the Ballagio, the lobby of which has a gorgeous Dale Chihuly sculpture on the ceiling.

Detail of Chihuly sculpture
Paper umbrellas suspended from the ceiling in one of the Bellagio hallways

At Mesa Grill, we started with the goat cheese "queso fundido"  with blue corn tortilla strips. I had the tiger shrimp and roasted garlic corn tamale for my main course (I tried to order something small seeing as this was my fourth, yes fourth, meal of the day). Taylor had the New Mexican spice rubbed pork tenderloin with bourbon-ancho chile sauce, sweet potato tamale and crushed pecan butter, while Kara had the coffee rubbed filet mignon with a side of the smoothest, creamiest mashed potatoes you have ever tasted.

O was amazing - I absolutely recommend checking it out if you are ever in Las Vegas.

Unfortunately we overslept breakfast the next day, so had to settle for lunch at Bouchon. (Long time BlB readers will remember MM and I went to Bouchon in Napa last summer.) They were running their "express" menu which I can't find online anywhere and consists of salads and sandwiches. We all had different sandwiches and if I am remembering correctly, I had an Italian-themed sandwich with salami, capicola, prosciutto, provolone and possibly more items. I think Taylor had a French ham and cheese with mustard sandwich and I can't remember what Kara had. (Sorry!) The french fries were spectacular: thin, crispy and intrinsically salty.
Bouchon's bar

Bouchon is in the Venetian Hotel (which is connected to the Palazzo), and after lunch we checked out the sights and walked around the Grand Canal Shoppes.

You walk by approximately 15 pools to get from the Palazzo to the Venetian.
The lobby of the Venetian
Detail of the ornate ceiling

The Grand Canal Shoppes is the neatest set up. There is an actual canal with water and gondolas and singing gondoliers!
The gondolier is singing; use your imagination.
Me, Taylor and Kara
For our second and final night, we wanted to check out the new Aria hotel and we decided on Sirio for dinner. (We had to have Italian food at least once!) Oh. My. Goodness. The food at Sirio was absolutely delicious. Taylor and Kara started with the romana in bagna cauda salad (which the waiter translated as Caesar's salad) and I started with the rucola e carciofi salad (arugula and artichoke), which was big enough for all of us to share as a starter. We all had pasta for our main course: Taylor had the agnolotti di vitello (veal stuffed pasta), Kara had the ravioli all'astice (lobster ravioli), and I had the risotto pescatora (seafood risotto), which had clams, mussels, swordfish, scallops and more. Again, the portion was so large that this risotto could have easily have fed the three of us, but I wasn't about to complain because it was delicious.

After dinner we headed back to the Venetian to see the Blue Man Group. It was certainly comical, and worth seeing, but O was more impressive.

For our last meal in Vegas, we went for breakfast at Morels in the Palazzo lobby before heading to the airport. I had the decadent banana and mascarpone stuffed french toast. It totally made up for missing breakfast the day before. Kara had the American breakfast (eggs, hash browns, toast and bacon) because (I quote) "[she's] an American." Taylor had the lox and bagels, although according to our waiter, the bagels weren't looking so good, so he substituted toast, which Taylor said worked out just fine. We topped off breakfast with a strong pot of French press coffee. (Our waiter tried desperately to get us to order cocktails, but he lost that battle.)

And just like that our 48 hour trip to Vegas was over and we were back at the airport, although not away from the dinging, musical slot machines.

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