Thursday, March 28, 2013

Punk Rock Mice

They're not Vegas.  They're not food.
Marc by Marc Jacobs Ballerina Mouse Flats
They're my new shoes via my iPhone.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Best Thai in America: Lotus of Siam

I'm not done with Las Vegas posts yet.  It's time to dig out some gems that were sitting around while I was on hiatus.

Has my title intrigued you?  I can't say that Lotus of Siam is the best Thai restaurant in North America (because I haven't had Thai food all over North America), but a Pulitzer Prize-winning food critic has made this bold claim.

Don't let the crappy strip mall and humble interior fool you.
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We had the best Thai food that we've had in recent memory here.

Lime drink ($2.75), Thai iced tea ($2.50), Thai iced coffee ($2.50).
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The lime drink was tart and fresh. The Thai iced tea and coffee were sweet and strong.

Nam kao tod -- crispy rice mixed with minced sour sausage, green onion, fresh chili, ginger, peanuts, and lime juice ($7.95).
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We'd never had anything like this before.  It was crispy and salty and meaty and tangy and refreshing and wonderful!  Are you sold?  You should be!

Soft shell crab salad -- deep-fried soft shell crab, fresh chili, lime juice, peanuts, and vegetables on a bed of sliced cabbage ($18.95).
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If we see soft shell crab salad on a menu, we get it!  What a great version this was!

Hor mok sea bass -- steamed sea bass cooked in its own juice, egg, sliced cabbage, coconut milk and curry sauce ($28.95).
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Super fish!  Who knew that sea bass wrapped in foil could be so special?  Tender, creamy, and perfectly spiced.

Crispy duck drunken noodles -- crispy duck topped with fresh chili and Thai basil served on top of pan-fried flat rice noodles ($21.95).
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Yay for duck!  Yay for rice noodles!  Yay for kick!  Yay!  Yay!  Yay!  Best!

Lotus of Siam is well worth leaving the The Strip.  Cabbies know it well.  Go.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Solid Pub Fare: Public House

Sometimes all you want is bar food, and, when that bar food is has some British flair, you fare!  Public House at The Venetian fulfills all your hangover needs deliciously and with style.
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Want to drink some more?  More beer and wine than you can shake a stick at!

Poutine -- French fries, braised oxtail, cheese curd, gravy, fried egg ($12.50).
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Best thing we had during the meal.  Golden, fried, meaty, cheesy, eggy heaven.

Pork belly, baguette, apple-fennel slaw, cider aioli, fries ($14).
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This reminded me a little of po' boys at Parkway Bakery (even though it was a different meat), and you know that we loved those po' boys.  Loved.  Really awesome sandwich.

Buttermilk fried quail, waffle, bacon-braised Swiss chard, "moose drool" maple glaze ($26).
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The quail was delectable.  The Swiss chard was fantastic.  The waffles sucked.  Unfortunate.

Quality meal for a decent price.  Solid and good for groups!  Woohoo!

Bonus pic.
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The flowers between The Venetian and The Palazzo are always gorgeous.

And that was our March Madness weekend (of eating).

Monday, March 25, 2013

Holla for Tapas: Jaleo

Long ago, when I was in law school, Jaleo was my absolute favorite restaurant in D.C.  Even on my worst days, those tapas could turn my frown upside-down.

This was way before I adopted gluttony as a hobby (and when my dress size was still a single digit).  It was 2001, and I had no idea who José Andrés was.

All I knew was that there was something magical in those patatas bravas, and I felt so lucky that I could walk to Jaleo from school.

There's no better place to feel lucky than Las Vegas.  We got lucky on Saturday at Jaleo at The Cosmopolitan.
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Even Mr. Monkey got a bit nostalgic about our meals of yesteryear.  He was a fan of Jaleo back in the day, too.

Datiles con tocino "como hace todo el mundo" -- fried dates wrapped in bacon ($10).
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Still incredible after all these years.  Still our favorite little golden sweet and salty bites.

Sopa de ajo -- garlic soup with black garlic and egg 63 degrees ($10).
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People!  This soup is made of garlic!  Slurp it up, y'all!

Empanadillas de brandada de bacalao -- "empanada" of cod brandade with honey ($10).
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Like a fancy crab rangoon but with cod in liquid form.  Unexpected and fun!

Espinacas a la catalana -- sauteed spinach, pine nuts, raisins, and apples ($12).
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Another Jaleo classic.  Just had to get my fave veggies of old.

Codorniz a la Catalana -- grilled whole quail with apple puree and pine nuts ($15).
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Is that quail sexy or what?  Its crossed legs say, "Come hither."

Rossejat -- traditional paella of fried pasta with fresh squid and shrimp ($18).
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Comfort in a giant pan.  Maybe even more garlicky than the sopa de ajo.  And that's good.

Canelones tradicionales de cerdo y higado de pato con salsa bechamel -- pork and foie gras canelones with Béchamel sauce ($14).
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Creamy heaven, but my only complaint is that it was hard to taste the foie with all the cheese and pork.  Feature the foie!

I heart Jaleo.  Forever and always.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

A Lovely Las Vegas Lunch: Estiatorio Milos

Estiatorio Milos at The Cosmopolitan has one of the best lunch deals on The Strip -- three courses for $22.13.  Mr. Monkey and one of his besties took a break from March Madness to indulge me.
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The space is luxurious but comfortable, and the complimentary grilled wheat sourdough with olive oil set the delicious tone for the rest of the meal.

Course 1A: Canadian Classic -- Willy Krauch Nova Scotia smoked salmon, cream cheese, red onion, and St-Viateur bagel from Montreal.
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Our friend ordered this and impressed us with his meticulous lox and bagel construction skills.  He seemed happy with his appetizer.

Course 1B: grilled octopus -- sashimi-quality Mediterranean octopus, charcoal-broiled ($10 supplement).
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Charred just enough and infused with a wondrous smokiness.  We all agreed this was the best appetizer.

Course 1C: fresh Maryland lump crab cake with marinated gigantes beans and mustard emulsion ($10 supplement).
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Enjoyable but a far cry from the octopus. I wish there had been more than just four bites.

Course 2A: Nova Scotia deep sea lobster pasta with light tomato sauce ($15 supplement).
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Our friend and I both ordered this dish, and the presentation really wowed us.  It was huge!  There was no skimping on the lobster; there was a full tail, full claws, and additional bits.  Nicely done.

Course 2B: Colorado USDA Prime lamb chops, French fries, broccoli ($10 supplement).
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While the lobster pasta delighted me, I liked this lamb even more.  Man.  I love Greek lamb.  Mr. Monkey actually picked up the bone and gnawed.  You think I'm kidding.

Dessert -- yogurt martini.
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We all got this dessert because the other two options weren't as appealing.  The Greek yogurt was a soothing not-so-sweet end.

With all the supplements, the great lunch deal ended up being less of a deal, but lunch at Estiatorio Milos is still more affordable than dinner, so I was quite pleased.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Gastronomic Gutbuster: Beer Belly

If you're starting a diet soon, I highly recommend you go to Beer Belly.  Not for your diet.  For your last hurrah before your diet.
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I imagine the beer here is really good.  I imagine because I can't actually tell you because I don't drink beer, but I did have a great spicy Blenheim ginger ale ($3).

Death by Duck -- duck fat fries, duck skin cracklins, duck confit, raspberry mustard ($8).
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A damn good way to die.  Freakishly delicious.  Even non-duck-loving Amber was a fan!

Buttermilk fried chicken -- breast strips, roasted corn aioli ($9).
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While the rest of us were quacking, Eleana cried, "Give chicken a chance!"  And, boy, were we glad we did.

The Duck French Dip -- sage-roasted duck breast, Provolone, duck-skin horseradish aioli, duck au jus, pickled onions ($14).
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Sometimes it's the condiments that really make a sandwich.  Gold stars for the duck-skin horseradish aioli and the duck au jus!

The Beer Belly Grilled Cheese -- cheddar, Asiago, Gruyere, goat cheese, applewood bacon, maple syrup ($11).
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Maple syrup!  Yes, once again, the condiment made the sandwich.  What an epic inclusion!  At our table, Mercy recognized this first.

Chipotle and beer-braised short rib -- cheddar puff pastry, roasted short rib jus, dill and onion housemade chips ($15).
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Hard to believe that this dish came from a street-art-adorned Koreatown structure and not a fancy-schmancy Beverly Hills establishment.

Deep-fried mint Oreos, Nutella, strawberry puree, whipped cream, strawberry sugar, chocolate chip ice cream ($5).
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This tasted like the county fair.  I like the county fair.

Next time I want to try the deep-fried cheddar with beer and bacon batter and jalapeño aioli.  And pork belly chips.  And steak and garlic truffle fries.  And pizza mac 'n' cheese.  And a fried Twinkie.
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