Gordon Ramsay Steak at Paris

Angela and I decided to try something different this year for Thanksgiving. Because we were in San Francisco until the day before the holiday, neither one of us really wanted to spend time preparing a home-cooked meal. As such, we ventured out to the Las Vegas strip (which was a nightmare to drive on) and stopped at Paris to try out Gordon Ramsay Steak.

In short, the food was pretty great but not better than any other restaurant we’ve been to on the strip. It was more expensive than other high end restaurants we’ve been to down there and the atmosphere wasn’t our style. The music was way too loud and it just seemed like the place was trying too hard to be hip and/or cool. We don’t think we’d go back or recommend it to others.

Like I said, though, the food was good and we were happy with the way things tasted overall. Here’s a rundown of what we enjoyed. First, we had some small breads. We were served three different kinds, but only one of them was any good.

After that, we ordered some soup and salad. Angela had British ale onion soup while I chose to have a Caesar salad. Both tasted good.

For our entree, we decided to split the porterhouse (because that’s pretty much what we do at steakhouses now). The steak was cooked correctly and was seasoned really well. The seasoning was kept simple and allowed the steak to really shine through. Here’s some before and after pictures:

After the steak, we partook in some dessert. Angela ordered the carrot cake with cream cheese ice cream and pineapple relish. I ordered a chocolate dish that had passion fruit in it along with some ice cream. We enjoyed coffee with our dessert and it came in a French press. The coffee came with three liquor infused chocolate spoons that Angela really enjoyed. They were Amaretto, Bailey’s and Chambord.

It was definitely a nice experience to have a Thanksgiving meal where we didn’t have to clean up afterwards but, again, we wouldn’t go back or recommend this restaurant to others.

Javier’s Mexican Restaurant at Aria

The other day, Angela and I were on the strip looking for somewhere to eat lunch. We had originally planed on stopping at Todd English’s Olives at the Bellagio but we accidentally walked the wrong direction and ended up not making it there by the time it closed for lunch.

As such, we made our way over towards the Aria and, as we were walking into the resort, we saw a sign for a place called Javier’s and decided to try it out.

Short version – it was delicious.

We started out (as is customary for a Mexican restaurant) with some delicious salsa and chips. They were actually quite good. You could definitely taste how fresh they were.

After taking a look at the menu, Angela settled on the lobster enchiladas. She said they were good.

I took the boring route and ordered steak fajitas. Surprisingly, they were really great. They had an interesting flavor to them and had a great little sauce.

Anyways, we would recommend Javier’s for a quick meal. It was relatively inexpensive (for the strip at least) and tasted really good. The atmosphere was definitely pleasant.

Mon Ami Gabi in Las Vegas

Last Saturday night Angela and I went to Mon Ami Gabi and enjoyed a nice dinner. I wasn’t really expecting much after learning it was a chain (and after our experience with another notable premium chain restaurant earlier this month in Ruth’s Chris) but dinner was very tasty. Special shout out to Theresa for the gift card that prompted us to visit the restaurant.

We each decided to enjoy a full three courses. Before that, however, the waitress brought out a beet slaw and some French bread. Both were quite enjoyable.

Per my usual boring self, I started off with a Caesar salad. Angela opted for the French onion soup because:

  1. She’s a sucker for French onion soup
  2. Mon Ami Gabi is a French restaurant

My Caesar had dressing that was a tad bit watery for my taste. Angela said her soup was delicious, though.

I decided to order the special, bacon wrapped filet medallions, for my entree and Angela decided on scallops. Both dishes were delicious. My steak was cooked properly to order and Angela’s scallops were done appropriately.

My steak came with a few potato wedges which were tasty, but not exceptional.

Angela’s scallops came with pureed cauliflower which must have tasted good because I didn’t get to have any.

To seal off the meal, we both ordered Americanos and shared profiteroles with ice cream. It was a nice way to cap the evening.

I can’t say I would go back (there are just too many good restaurants in town) but it was a nice place to enjoy an evening and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to someone staying at Paris who didn’t want to walk the strip for something else.

The Best Cupcakes in Vegas

Nick and I stumbled upon a Las Vegas gem – the Retro Bakery. The bakery is run by a husband/wife team and I think it’s really neat that one of them has been there every time we’ve gone in. It’s just a friendly little shop that specializes in amazing cupcakes (way better than any of those shoddy Cupcakery cupcakes you’ll find on the strip – ick).

As a mini-anniversary celebration, and to make sure we don’t eat cupcakes every day and weigh 400 lbs, we go get cupcakes on the 18th of the month. This month I tried the ‘Coffee and Donuts,’ a vanilla cake covered in donut glaze with coffee buttercream, and Nick had the ‘Mint Chocolate Chip,’ chocolate cake topped with green mint buttercream and mini chocolate chips.

So if you’re coming to Las Vegas, I highly recommend you give Retro Bakery cupcakes a try. They even offer delivery to the Strip – deliciously convenient!

STRIPSTEAK

Nick and I treated ourselves to an amazing dinner at Michael Mina’s STRIPSTEAK at Mandalay Bay (while also working on our 101 list item of eating at 18 different restaurants on the Strip).

Our meal started with duck fat fries (as a ‘contemporary’ replacement to a steakhouse’s standard bread basket) served 3 ways:

  1. Old bay dusted with whole grain mustard sauce
  2. Garlic and herb with ketchup
  3. Truffle dusted with truffle aioli

In case you couldn’t tell from Nick’s thumbs up, we liked them. Now, on to the really good stuff. We each ordered an appetizer. Nick had the Caesar salad.

I was slightly more adventurous with the Maryland Blue crab cakes with lemon bearnaise mousseline that was listed on the menu as coming with an asparagus salad and ended up coming out with a frisee, but I wasn’t complaining. The crab cakes were so incredibly light.

For our entree, we each ordered steak and shared two sides.  The bacon roasted mushrooms proved to me that there exists a food containing bacon that can end up being not delicious. Would not order again. They had an odd texture and were overly seasoned, masking the awesomeness that is edible fungi.

The potato puree trio, on the other hand, was delicious. Nick’s favorite potato form is extra smooth and creamy (i.e pureed or whipped) so it was already a win. From left to right, they are: sour cream & onion, lobster, and horseradish.

I had the 10oz filet. It was perfectly cooked and seasoned. It was incredibly tender. My knife cut through it like hot butter.

However, Nick let me try a piece of his 30oz Porterhouse (whoa big daddy!) and it was AMAZING. We both agreed it was the best steak we’d ever had.

Cows beware – Nick will end you! This is the aftermath:

We took a gander at the dessert menu and as soon as Nick saw “Bittersweet Chocolate Cake” it was over.

That’s a cherry-port compote on the side, along with a little quenelled vanilla ice cream, and the richest, fudgiest chocolate cake I’ve ever tried. It may have looked like a cake, but that thing tasted like a fudge bar. Nick liked it so much, he actually tried to savor it. It was the slowest I have ever seen him eat anything.

My Birthday

My birthday this year was pretty amazing. Nick started it off wonderfully by letting me sleep in, followed by a dual-effort of French toast (since Nick is not exactly culinary-inclined). Then it was off for a nice pedicure before hitting what ended up being a ghetto mall. Nick bought me two perfumes I’ve been eyeing for a while – Ralph Lauren Romance and Burberry Brit (Nick’s favorite) and I of course received my free Sephora birthday gift, which was quite stingy in size compared to the gift last year. What’s up with that, Sephora?

Nick had made reservations at Society Cafe at Encore for dinner and it was delicious! I had a birthday cocktail that had a hibiscus pod in it. It was pretty and delicious! We started with an appetizer of fried rock shrimp and calamari served with zucchini chips and an aioli. For entree, I chose seared scallops with an English pea puree and pea shoots. They were cooked perfectly! Nick, of course, couldn’t pass up the opportunity to eat some type of cow product and chose the 8oz filet that came with a ‘potato and bacon cake’ which was essentially a molded hash. Nick says it was “delicious” and I would have to agree. I’m pretty sure the filet was seared in bacon drippings, so how could you go wrong with that? We also shared two of the most delicious sides I’ve ever eaten –  roasted mushrooms & cipolinni onions and truffle mashed potatoes. Nick eschewed his hash cake  in favor of the truffled potatoes ;)

Then it was off to the Wynn Theater to see Le Reve.

LE RÊVE – THE DREAM, presented exclusively at Wynn Las Vegas, offers breathtaking performances in an intimate aqua theater-in-the-round. The show features aerial acrobatics, provocative choreography and artistic artistry.

The cast of 93 captures the imagination with daring feats of strength and agility. Live music and special effects immerse the audience into a world of fantasy, adventure and intrigue.

The “stage” is actually a MILLION gallon water tank and no seat is more than 40′ from the stage. Also, we has seats by one of the canals that the performers use to come in and out of the performance area so we were extra close to them at times. In fact one of the ‘dream demons’ came and sat by us giving us creepy stares for part of the show! The show doesn’t have much of a story. The central character is female; she has a bunch of dreams; some involve what I suppose is her lover/boyfriend(?). Anyways, the show isn’t so much about a central story as it is a bunch of mini stories that are supposed to transport you to other worlds. Oh, and it is jam packed with amazing acrobatics as well as ballroom dancing (in water, of course). We loved it. One of my favorite acrobatic shows on the strip (along with the Cirque du Soleil shows Zumanity and O, which also takes place in a giant pool of water).