Monday, December 15, 2008

It Has Nothing to Do With Nipples

I caught a flight Friday night.
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Thanks to a sweet friend, I sipped a decaf nonfat gingersnap latte as I waited.
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After a long week, I almost did what this girl did.
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I got off the plane and reunited with my Mr. Monkey, who has been out of town for work since Wednesday. Where? Here.
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We did our patriotic duty to stimulate the economy by dining at Aureole (i.e., the inspiration for this post's odd title) at Mandalay Bay.
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I started with a tangerine mojito ($17 -- eek!).
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We enjoyed the Reflections tasting menu ($95).

Ahi tuna and cured salmon composition with American caviar and lemon crème fraîche.
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Fresh, beautiful, lovely start.

Housemade potato gnocchi and seared scallop with orange leek fondue, sauteed wild porcini, and champagne foam.
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Near perfection. The gnocchi was great and bouncy. The scallop was done just right.

Simply grilled halibut with confit tomato, roasted asparagus, and tuscan olive oil.
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Decent but fairly unmemorable.

Asian spiced braised pork belly with creamy polenta and Chinese long bean.
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Mmmmm. So luscious and rich and meaty. Paired well with polenta.

Duo of beef tenderloin and flat iron with caramelized onion, soft potato cake, fall vegetable, and cabernet reduction.
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Fantastic and fall-apart-in-your-mouth good. Nice reduction. Very filling.

Tasting of cheese -- Morbier, moco rouge, and Westfield goat cheese served with a roasted tomato-green olive foccacia and apricot-green peppercorn chutney and balsamic gelatin and pine nuts.
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Pleasant. I love cheese, but I think the dish suffered if only because I was stuffed.

Fresh blackberry tart with white chocolate blackberry float.
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Deeelicious! The tart was warm and happy. The float was cool and smooth.

Petit fours.
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Tasty little nibbles of yum yum yum.

Our cheapo $63 room at the Renaissance balanced out our fancy meal.
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If you know your way around Vegas and have a rental car, it's a lovely, modern, quiet, clean, and totally smoke-free environment for your weary head to rest at the end of the night.

But don't stay here if you're a newbie or part of a rowdy group. Go for the Strip.
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We had a nice view of it.


  1. Sounds lovely. I'm glad to hear your Vegas wish came true. So was Vegas a ghost town? I've heard it's really taking a beating with the economy and that it's totally empty.

  2. the meal looked great. i'm full from just reading about it :-). viva las vegas.

  3. I want 4 things from this post.

    1. That adorable Hello Kitty suitcase. Although I would probably just use it for my toiletries. I'm totally an over-packer.

    2. Champagne foam. For the days that I don't want to drink it, but only want the essence.

    3. Blackbery tart. So cute and miniature! I like small food. It makes me feel like a giant.

    4. That cool elongated, compartmentalized platter for the petite fours. I prefer that all of my foods have their own spot and aren't touching.

    ("nipples"...heh heh)

  4. Wow. The food looks amazing. I'm intrigued by this champagne foam.

  5. That may be the first tasting menu that looked good to my picky sensibilities.

    What a nice room for the money!

  6. i think you go to vegas as much as we do! we're going again next week. 4th time this yr! (this time, not our choice)i only wish we would dine like u. =)

  7. Darn. I really wanted to hear about nipples. ;)

  8. That beef tenderloin looks smashing. Great pics, as usual.

  9. the logo on that plate does NOT stop the 12-year-old giggling that always erupts from me when i see the name of the restaurant.

  10. Nice! I have to say my palate is way too dull for such a nice meal! But it looked great!
    And the room was fantastic for that price! Sweet!
    Looks like you had a great time!

  11. Don't you wish you had a slanket so you could nap like that girl?

    I have always wanted that suitcase. I can't bring myself to use it if i ever got one.

  12. okay your dinner sounds amazing. i love your recap and the hotel, not too shabby for 65$, i am impressed.

  13. God - I feel kind of stuffed just looking at the pictures... lol Looks like a great meal! I don't think I've ever had actual flavor foam. Just like Top Chef. tee hee.

  14. That all looks fantastic - and I just want to sleep in that hotel bed....and gamble

  15. woo hoo!! I'll be there FRIDAY!!!!

    p.s. i love your suitcase. i'm jealous.

  16. p.p.s. we will NOT be dining like you two...our grad school budgets will not permit us to. once again jealous :)

  17. I love how you had a $17 Mojito and stayed in a $67 dollar hotel room. Which, btw looked like about a $300 hotel room.

    i need to get to vegas! our economy thanks you for your stimulus package wknd :)

  18. What an amazing meal! That tart made my mouth water.

  19. Jealous...of your tasting menu, cheap room, VEGAS! Beautiful photos as always!

  20. lol you called the gnocchi "bouncy"! That food looked too pretty to eat. Looks nothing like the dirty buffets I usually frequent when I go to Vegas. But that's what you get when you blow all your money on a strip room I guess. PS love that suitcase and I can't believe that mojito was so pricey.

  21. You have no idea how happy I was when I saw the pic of Chinese long beans. It's one of my favorite veggies -- glad to see it getting some love at a fancy joint.

    Yay for stimulating the economy!

  22. Glad you got some time to play! Everything looks amazing!!

  23. That room looks fantastic! But that girl in the airport makes me want to sleep too!

  24. so jealous of your aureole dinner.

    the renaissance may be a good bet for our non splurgey nights. the bear knows all the back roads of vegas, for some reason.

  25. I had lunch at the renaissance, we were really tired of the convention food and needed a change. it looked pretty nice from the lobby! and super quiet.

    that meal looked ah-mazing.

  26. Everything looks SO. GOOD. From drink to dessert, I would like to eat every single thing you pictured - it's all so pretty and sounds yummy too. And I love that your dinners were more expensive than your hotel!

  27. For $63 I can drive to the strip. That is a great deal!

    Hee hee. Aureole. They had to know that everyone would go there when they named the place. They had to.

    Your meal looks so posh and delish.

  28. i'm so glad you enjoyed aureole!!


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