December 15, 2010

A New Taste of Vegas

It is not uncommon for me to escape to Vegas for the weekend.  And it is not uncommon to have reservations weeks ahead of time at the latest "it"restaurant, owned by the celebrity chef of the moment.  My trips typically revolve around eating, and the 3 hour lingering dinners are the focal point.  But this time was different.  This time I boarded my plane without making a single reservation, without having read any restaurant reviews and without already choosing the menu items that I'd be ordering.  I was spending the weekend with my boyfriend, and my food obsession was staying at home.

Saturday afternoon found us at Olives in the Bellagio. I've eaten there many times before and I've never been disappointed.  I credit one of my girlfriends for discovering it 5 years ago, and passing along the tradition of eating at the bar instead of sitting down for a full meal.  

The specialty drink menu is impressive, and is home to my absolute favorite martini, the Tiffany. Raspberry vodka, creme de cassis, hand muddled raspberries and lemon juice- a true raspberry lover's dream.  

The food menu is equally impressive, with the beef carpaccio as their signature dish.  My girlfriend still talks about it.  I decided to have the tuna carpaccio instead, which is served over olive oil mashed potatoes, drizzled with lemon aioli, and topped with parsley and capers.  

My boyfriend ordered the burger, served with balsamic glazed onions, cheddar cheese and parmesan fries.  

And then we tasted the most wonderful, unique, seasonal, festive, dessert martini called Mistletoe.  It is made with candy cane infused vodka, Godiva white chocolate liqueur, green mint liqueur and cream,  and served in a candy cane sugar rimmed glass.  As soon as I got home, I dropped some candy canes into a bottle of Vodka, and I'm hoping to re-create the flavors.  I'll let you know if it worked.  

Holiday decor, Vegas style.

I wish I could show you the rest of our food adventures, but there isn't much more to show.  Sure, we ate the mandatory greasy breakfast at the casino's 24 hour cafe and yes, we stopped for Pina Coladas and Mexican food while soaking up the rays and the strip views.   But the focal point wasn't the food.  It was enjoying each other and enjoying the moment.  If you asked me ahead of time,  I would have told you that it was a gamble to go to Vegas without any food plans.  Turns out, I beat the house odds and came out a winner.  

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