Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Vegas report part deux

Friday, the plan for food was to go to either the Wynn or Bellagio buffet for dinner, with the rest of the day very casual. Daryl and several others decided to buy tickets to see Ka by Cirque du Soleil that night, but I declined to join.

For lunch, we went walked next door to New York, New York to go to a place that Jason had been the previous night, Gonzalez y Gonzalez. The diners were Daryl, Katy, Jason, Kurt, Peter, and me, and we ordered several appetizers to share. Fresh guacamole, nachos, and taquitos. The taquitos were awesome. Kurt, Jason, and Peter each got 48oz margaritas. They enjoyed the first ones, but they unanimously agreed the refills weren't a good idea...after the fact.

The chips and salsa at Gonzalez y Gonzalez were excellent, and I ended up full enough from the appetizers that I didn't go with the others to the Bellagio buffet. Instead, Peter, Jason and I went to the cafe at the Monte Carlo. Nothing special there.

On Saturday, we went to Bouchon at the Venetian for brunch. Katy, Ed, and Kurt went there last year, and their descriptions of the food made my mouth water, so I was glad to have the chance to try it this year. From a fancy French restaurant, I ordered chicken and waffles...but not your ordinary chicken and waffles. The waffle was a chive & bacon waffle, and came with Tahitian vanilla butter. Mmmm...vanilla butter...So very good. The chicken was roasted and came with what they called an au jus, but to me seemed more a gravy.

Saturday's dinner was my favorite. We went to Mesa Grill at Ceasar's Palace. I am a huge Food Network fan, and have long wanted to try Bobby Flay's food, so this was what I'd be looking forward to the most. The diners that went were Daryl, Katy, Kurt, Peter, Ed, and me.

Daryl, Katy, Ed, Peter, and I decided to split two appetizers. We ordered:

Tiger shrimp + roasted garlic corn tamale with corn-cilantro sauce.
Blue corn pancake with barbecued duck + habanero chile-star anise sauce.

They were both small, and each of us got about one bite, but that was okay, because I mostly just wanted to try them out. The tamale was excellent, and I say this as somebody that's not a big fan of tamales. The duck and blue corn pancake were also delicious.

For the entree, I ordered the Black Angus New York strip steak with house-made MESA steak sauce, cooked medium. My side was roasted corn with smoked chiles, cotija cheese + lime.

The steak arrived and was a good 1.5-2 inches thick, but to my amazement, it was cooked perfectly medium. It's hard enough to find a place that can cook a steak to order correctly, but to get one that thick and perfectly seared on the outside and a nice medium inside...awesome. And the flavor was out of this world. Bar none, the best steak I've ever had. The corn was excellent, as well...very fresh.

For dessert, Ed and I decided to share fresh made churros. They came with a chocolate and star anise dipping sauce, but since neither of us particularly cares for star anise, we asked if we could get a different one. The waiter suggested the anglaise that normally comes with the bread pudding, and said he'd also bring the chocolate. The churros were clearly made fresh, and very good. I confirmed that I didn't much care for the star anise chocolate, although Ed said he liked it more than the anglaise.

Peter and I walked back to the Monte Carlo from Caesar's Palace, and as we walked past the Bellagio, its water show going, two Jack Sparrow impersonators got out of a car and were immediately mobbed by 15 screaming girls. It was funny to see how crazy they went over the imitations, although to be fair, they were nearly dead ringers.

We left for home on Sunday, and everybody got together at the Monte Carlo cafe for breakfast. Again, it was nothing special...not bad, but not worth reporting on.

All in all, it was a great trip. The food was superb, and thanks to some good luck early, I ended up barely losing any money at blackjack and pai gow poker. Looking forward to next year.

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