Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Friday Foodie on a Wenesday

Wednesday's meal was at Bouchon. No photos. TIRED. HUNGRY. We ate like people who had been set adrift at sea a month prior. Once again, we stayed at the booth to greet the TV crew who was coming back to fix the situation after the first full show day. After dinner we went back to check on them and were pleasantly relieved to see they were halfway done and were going to make it all better. Bouchon is located on the tenth floor of the Venetian, across a skybridge which suddenly lands you on the first floor of the Venezia (sister hotel to the Venetian). It's complicated. Many people don't know where it is. But once you figure it out, its a delight. This is the restaurant Lyle ate in 7 out of 10 nights the year before.

It was eerie yet pleasant to be welcomed back by the familiar host staff who did remember us from over a year ago.

Thursday nights meal was at B&B Ristorante. It is the love child of Chef Mario Batali and his partner/ winemaker Joseph Bastianich (son of Lydia Bastianich). I had made all these reservations the month prior to going to Las Vegas. While we were there we were talking to a guy who lives and works there (and on our booth) and I told him our itinerary. He agreed with every single choice except this one. He claimed the ingredients sometimes got a little too odd for his tastes. We discussed changing and ultimately decided to play with fire and see for ourselves.

We arrived on time for our reservation (no small feat as we both wanted to just nap) and were told we were 15 minutes early. After 25 minutes of waiting in the bar we were seated. In a back corner table where the main view was the waitstaff's ass as they served a large table in front of us. Whatever. We were tired. We chalked up our petty grievances to being so tired.

We looked over the menu and thought the 7 course pasta tasting menu looked interesting. WE wanted a little more info to make sure there would be no surprises of something we wouldn't like. We asked our waiter to explain the menu a little more... he proceeded to read, word for word what the menu said adding great insight with added information like, "Ravioli is made of two pieces of pasta then filled with these ingredients," "Ricotta is a type of cheese," "Crema pomodoro means cream and tomato..." Yeah, okay, I did actually read all that (and possibly understood more than he did). But, we were tired and decided to just order that menu because we wouldn't have to think any more. Food would just come. We would just eat.

We sat and waited for our food. We stopped the neighboring table's waiter to get a piece of bread. We sat and waited some more. I started to shiver. "Is it really cold in here?" We discovered that we were sitting next to the back of the wine refrigerator. It was blowing cold air straight down to the floor under our table and then it bounced back up under our arms and was giving me the chills. We hadn't even received our first of 7 courses.

So Lyle called the hostess over and asked if it would be possible to move. They were most accommodating and were moved to a table closer to the front windows (with a great view of the sea of humanity passing by in... Restaurant Row) and now instead of the cold air coming from below and icing my armpit and left nipple, it came from above and blasted my entire head. Al least this breeze was consistent.

With a move in tables we got a new waiter, Amee. WE fell in love with Amee. We left a good tip for Amee. We left a comment card for Amee. We actually told Amee she saved our meal. Yeah, she was that good.

The pasta tasting menu was very nice. But for the price, did I mention it was $99 a person, I wasn't exactly full. Amazing, great tasting, fine artistry and craft (thought none popped out as "photo worthy") I would eat past from here again. But only if Amee was my server.

Best part of the meal (besides Amee) the dessert. Some sort of cinnamon doughnut ball that you dipped in a chocolate ganache. It was all I could do to not run my finger around the the inside of the bowl and lick it out. I ate the end of Lyle's chocolate as well.

Friday's dinner was to be at the Riviera Hotel in a restaurant called Kristopher's. Not exactly the celebrity chef tour, so I had to sneak in a celebrity lunch.

Mesa Grill by Bobby Flay.

I got Lyle up from a nap (after I had been to three malls already) and told him to get ready for lunch. As we walked from the Venetian to Cesar's Palace, I thought it prudent to phone ahead to see if a reservation would be needed. They told me that they stopped seating for lunch at 2:15. It was 2:05. Bloodied, battled and bruised, we began jogging on our weary feet.

This is how Lyle looked when I left him napping. Note how he sleeps with his cell phone in hand in case something happens at the booth.

We crossed the street and entered the far end of the Forum shops of Cesar's Palace. We kept a brick pace dodging tourist staring up at the statuary and hit the casino floor a full lope. Breathless, we burst through the entrance at 2:16, "Did we make it!?" I panted. "YES!"

Having dined here the following two years, we know how easy it is to over eat. We kept our order simple, two appetizers, and split an entree.
This is our table during lunch. Cell phone, sunglasses, sunglasses, cell phone. After photo, add camera to table.

We started with the Goat Cheese Queso Fundido and the Blue Corn Pancake with barbecued Duck.
Then we split the Presses Cuban Burger which comes with smoked ham, Swiss cheese, pickle, and fries. We could not get dessert after all that. I'd also like to point out that as the last two people seated for lunch, we were definitely not the last people out of the restaurant. Whew!

Dinner that night was at Kristopher's at the Riviera.

Last year we went with a woman from Lyle's work. She goes every year, and now we are her disciples. There is one great reason to go. To order the "Jumbo Alaskan King Crab Legs - A generous portion of split steamed King Crab legs served with lemon and drawn butter, $45.99"
If you go, please learn my lesson. DO NOT EAT THE SOUP, SALAD, OR BREAD THEY BRING BEFORE. Ask them to hold them until you are finished with your crab. Because you will never be finished with your crab. There is so much! The best part for me is that it is split already.. I hate to clean shellfish. Here its half done!

And for dessert, they have the Smokey Bon-Bons! Basically ice cream bon-bons served in a dish that below it has dry ice with water poured over the ice, hence the smokey effect. But you'll need to go in soon, as they are planning on retiring the smoke due to a $50,000 a year dry ice budget. That's a lot of smokey Bon-Bons!

In this photo we called it Smokey Boob Bons.

Sunday night was dinner at Olives by Todd English. All I've got is this photo of my entree which was Northwest Salmon with asparagus wrapped in Prosciutto. Too tired to remember much else about the meal. I know it was good. And the Hermes Store was next door.


Rachel said...

So - How many miles did you walk after all that?

Lewis said...

Iced armpit and left nip? Oh my. Can I look? I'll bet you're scoring huge, giant, big points for that pic of Lyle asleep. In closing, I need to go find some Pepto. Your post has me quite full.

Christopher said... pics are like food porn!!!