What started out to be a nice weekend getaway to celebrate my first year anniversary, quickly turned into a weekend foodie adventure, where my hubby and I were on a clear mission to taste the best (or what we thought was the best) that Las Vegas had to offer. This was my husband's first time to Las Vegas and my fifth. I was in official "show off" mode and wanted him to be amazed by the many facets of the "city that never sleeps". We are not big gamblers so I focused instead on the shows, the nightlife, and most definitely the food! Las Vegas can be a bit much and is a lot to take in; especially for a first timer. My goal was to "wow" the pants off of my husband, and exposing him to the amazingly diverse dining scene in Las Vegas, was at the top of my list.
Some of my faves from our vacation:
My Impression: Very swanky, feelin' like a VIP baby, world class customer service, awesome food
Hubby's Impression: That s%!@ was cool.
I made reservations on OpenTable.com and did something a little different this time. I actually filled in the "Special Requests" box while reserving our spot. I am a "corner booth, in the "cut", away from everyone" type of person so I wanted something special and wanted to make sure that my requests were honored. CUT Las Vegas REALLY surprised me! Upon checking in, I was honored to have been given the best table in the house. As the hostess walked us to our cozy corner, that was a prime location for people watching and a clear 20 feet from anyone else, I was fighting to maintain my composure. I am not sure what I was more excited about...the food or the dang table!
CUT offers several options for aged beef including, Illinois Corn Fed (Aged 21 Days), Nebraska Corn Fed (Dry Aged 35 Days), and Washington Corn Fed (Aged 28 Days). We opted for the 8 oz. Petit Cut Filet Mignon (Aged 21 days), Kobe Beef Short Ribs "Indian Spiced" (cooked for 8 hours and served with Curried Pumpkin Puree and Garam Masala), Creamed Spinach blended with a Fried Organic Egg, and the Mac & Cheese (Cavatappi Pasta and Quebec Cheddar). The food was fabulous and the customer service was even better. Your plates will not go empty around these parts as your waiter will spoon you a nice side of creamed spinach and put it on your plate for you. If all that doesn't get your juices flowing, the available steak options of Bone Marrow, Fried Organic Egg, and White Italian Truffle definitely will! I rest my case.
My Impression: Exclusive, pricey, too quiet, did I say pricey?
Hubby's Impression: That s%!@ was high.
We chose Aqauanox for our anniversary dinner. I was specifically looking for a private room, and a private room for two is a bit hard to find. Aqauanox had a wonderful wine room that could seat up to four and this was perfect for us. It was located in a wine room, so the temperature could get a bit cool; we were warned about this ahead of time. We selected the Chef's Tasting and added our own personal flare. Being the cocktail connoisseurs that we are, we wanted to try a different cocktail with each course. You can imagine how exciting the tasting became as the evening went on! During dinner, we got the chance to sample the New Zealand John Dory fish. You don't find this fish very often so I added it to our tasting so we could see what all the hype was about. The John Dory fish is a sweet fish and can be served many ways. It was the highlight of our meal and had me singing "Best I Ever Had" by Drake a capella. Some dishes stood out and others didn't. Overall, the tasting was a good experience, but I am not 100% sold that it was worth what we paid for that experience. Sometimes, the meal can put such a huge dent in your wallet that it actually takes away from the meal itself. In addition, we had to use the Pandora application on our phone because there was no music! Come on people, seriously? Music is a must.
My Impression: "Where have you been all my life!", Chocolate Rules!, My new BFF, expansive menu
Hubby's Impression: That s%!@ was good.
Max Brenner is one of those places that I will always return to on any future visit to Las Vegas. Max Brenner is not only famous for their chocolate, but they offer one of the best brunches in the city. I fell in love with so many things that Max Brenner offered and that was not limited to the chocolate. Given that chocolate is my first love (don't tell the hubby), you didn't have to convince me to check this place out. A chocolate bar is not the first place you think of when you want scrambled eggs, right? The menus were as pretty as the plates and the food was absolutely delish! We ordered the White Chocolate Smoothie (White Chocolate Truffle, Yogurt, and Strawberries), a few Lazy Breakfast's (your typical American breakfast), and an order of the Cinnamon Apple & White Chocolate Truffle Cream French Toast (served with brown sugar spiced pecans and warm toffee sauce) to split. After fighting over who gets the last piece of french toast, my husband came to the realization of what marriage is all about. What is that you ask? "Happy Wife, Happy Home". Now fork over the goods darling! The menu was fascinating and had options from fondue, to chocolate pizza, to other chocolate aphrodisiacs. I swear everything used chocolate in some form or fashion. This was my kind of place! I even grabbed me a box of their Caramelized Pecans which are rolled in rich praline and cocoa powder. These did not make it back to Houston. :-)
Where do you go in a city filled with so much food?! Well, you start by trying to get a little bit of everything. A steakhouse is a must, seafood shouldn't straggle far behind, and you can't forget about the sweets. Being the excessive food planner that I am, I never jump on the plane without having at least three meals planned; however, I always leave room for spontaneity. It wasn't easy trying to decide, but with a little finesse and tenacity, I made the tough decisions. I am already stoked for round two of my Las Vegas Bonnie and Clyde food adventure. However, I know Swanky Girl is going to want to get in on the action so we may need to plan "The Urban Swank Girls Do Las Vegas"! Hmmm...that does sound pretty good. Watch out now!
This goes to show that you don't need to spend all your day gambling. If you find yourself having a string of bad luck, take a break, head down to the strip, and spend your money on something that always satisfies and never lets you down...a great meal and a great experience!
~ Shanna "Urban Girl" Jones, Urban Swank