Las Vegas

This was the first time eating at one of Emril Lagasse’s restaurants. The celebrity chef that started it all is taking on the great American steakhouse in Las Vegas called Demonico Steakhouse. It is inside the Venetian, and the space is quite unassuming and not flashy at all. It is as classic as can be. The food was classically delicious and I had an amazing time. As far as Vegas goes, the space was kind of boring, but the food spoke for itself.

The bread and butter was quite nice. The rolls were normal butter rolls, but the bread was so soft and buttery. Adding on some more salted butter, the bread was a decadent butter fest.

The best cut of them all, the reason why we are all here, is for this cut of beef. The bone in ribeye was cooked perfectly. Steakhouses all may seem the same, but there are good steakhouses and then there are amazing ones. Delmonico’s was indeed amazing. The beef was fatty and cooked perfectly medium rare. The bone flavored the meat ever so perfectly. The herb butter on top melted all over the steak and just flavored it even more. This was a perfect steak.

The sauteed mushrooms was key and much appreciated with this steak. It gave it a nice earthy aroma and paired well with the meat. The buttery mushrooms were seasoned nicely — this was as close to “veggies” as we got for the night.

The grits were amazing and took place of my usual mac and cheese order. The bacon on top put these grits on a new level of savory. The butter mixed in with the grits was so pure and magical. It had a nice bite to it, and the saltiness from the bacon went well with the somewhat mildly seasoned steak.

I am a creamed corn lover. Though it wasn’t as good as those prime rib restaurants, the creamed corn was welcomed with the ribeye. The sweetness from the corn and the saltiness from the cheese all mixed up with cream was just so comforting.

Thinking about what we just ate, I realized it was just over the top with butter, beef, cream, and fat. This is what Vegas is all about. Over the top? Check! Indulgence? Check! Without a single green in sight, this meal was just a beef and cream and butter fest. Do I regret it? Not at all. I believe after this meal, we went for some desserts and then hit the Craps table. It was indeed a good night.

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Payard Pâtisserie & Bistro is located inside Caesars Palace, right across from Bacchanal Buffet. French pastry master and chef François Payard is behind all of the treats and confections. The small shop offers everything from pastries, drinks, ice creams, and sandwiches. Known for their chocolates and candies as well, the patisserie satisfies everyone’s needs, especially with the bistro next door. This would be a great place to have breakfast or brunch if you don’t want to wait in that line for Bacchanal.

We just got the almond croissant. It was sweet, flakey, and had a sweet filling inside. The almonds on the outside were toasted perfectly and the crunch from this thing was unbelievable. Im sure I had powdered sugar all over and bits of almonds stuck to my face. This was perfect to hold me over until late lunch.

Payard Pâtisserie & Bistro is a nice spot to just relax and have whatever you feel like. You can have a pastry and coffee. You can have eggs and toast or a sandwich, or you may just want some ice cream. Whatever it is, the beautifully furnished bistro has it all. I hope next time to try their dishes and breakfast/brunch menus. Until then, I guess.

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The Egg and I – Fuel for the Morning

by Franklin on July 5, 2014

My last trip to Vegas was filled with cheap eats and golf. I think I’ve found the cheapest and tastiest breakfast spot in Las Vegas. Granted, it is way off the strip, but the price can’t be beat, and the breakfast here was exactly what I was looking for. The Egg and I had a diner feel, something that oozes good breakfast food. Most of the items fell under 10 bucks, and it came with a lot of food. This was exactly what we needed to fuel our full round of golf.

I had the Catherine’s Scramble. It had four eggs scrambled with sliced chicken, mushrooms, spinach, feta cheese,
and artichoke hearts. The eggs were ok — something I can make at home. In hind sight, I should have ordered something else. Nonetheless, the scramble was delicious and cheesy. A little dash of their hot sauce and we were in business. With a side of their heavenly buttered rye bread, I was just munchin’ away.

I had a bite of their Eggs Benedict, something a buddy of mine always seems to order. The eggs were nicely cooked and the hollandaise was tasty. What sets this breakfast spot apart from the rest was their ranch potatoes. Cubed up and crispy from frying, the potatoes were like little cubes of French fries. The seasons on these I thing were addicting — a little salty, but good with the somewhat bland eggs. Maybe these are made with ranch seasoning mix? Whatever it was, it was delicious.

The banana nut bread French toast was a huge disappointment. A lover of all things French Toast, this one was much too dense and heavy. A good French toast should haves nice light crust on. The outside and a nice custards mixture on the inside. The banana nut bread is a poor choice for French toast. It was basically just 4 slices of banana nut bread that was cooked over the flat top. Not the restaurant’s fault at all — should have just went with the classic pancake or regular French toast.

Learn from my mistake. Do order something more complex than a scramble, and stay away from the cake/muffin style French toasts. Do get their ranch potatoes. It will make your morning. The Egg and I is a good spot for casual breakfast on the cheap. Our next mission is to get them closer to the strip.

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Gordon Ramsey, the restaurant mogul is on a roll. Planting seeds in Caesars Entertainment properties, Chef Ramsey has his name on most of the Las Vegas properties. From a steakhouse in Paris, and an Irish Pub at Caesars, the TV star’s sure has a repertoire of making money involving food. Now, Gordon Ramsey takes on the all mighty burger. As mentioned before, Las Vegas has one too many steak restaurants, but the burger isn’t getting much love. Every other restaurant serves burgers, but finding a gosh darn good burger is Vegas is hard to come by. The restaurant lies right near the entrance of Planet Hollywood. The look and feel of the restaurant was that of a high end sports bar. It is Gordon Ramsey we are talking about after all.

The Roasted Jalapeño Poppers was a must. The menu stated that there was “one fiery surprise.” The surprise? Of the many jalapeno poppers, one of them is left whole without the insides (seeds and all) cleaned out. Think Russian Roullete with spicy stuff. Honestly, the “special” one wasn’t that much spicier. The cheddar bacon inside the jalapenos was delicious. Bathing in their individual shot glasses filled with cheddar ranch, every bite had a lot of flavor and a lot of sauce. A bit salty at times, but the spicy salty mixture was welcome.

To cool off our tongues, we ordered the Shake #4 — layers of crème brûlée pudding and an oreo shake topped off with an Oreo cookie was perfect. The custard filling was smooth and sweet. Mixed with America’s favorite cookie with some cream, this dessert shake was quite satisfying.

Put an egg on a burger, and I am sold. The Farm Burger was a recipe for a perfect burger. Included was duck breast bacon, English sharp cheddar and a fried egg. The beef was impressive in the quality and the way it was cooked. Perfectly medium rare, the inside was pink with no signs of raw meat and no gray meat. The duck bacon was a nice touch, but my favorite was the runny egg. It served as a nice sauce for the burger and rounded out the saltiness really well.

Every burger needs a side of fries. We ordered the parmasean truffle fries, and did not really care for them. Maybe because I really like thin shoestring fries, and hate thick cut fries. The parmesan was good on it, but the best part was the truffle aioli. With real chunks of truffles (because we all know Chef Ramsey hates truffle oil), the sauce made all the difference. Dunking these thick cut fries in the sauce was almost like cheating. The fries could have been from the freezer, but still delicious.

I had a few bites of he fresh roasted Chili Dawg. When I saw the list of ingredients, I knew I had to order this. It had roasted fresno pepper, jalapeños, cheddar cheese, avocado, red onion, and was topped with chipotle ketchup. It was a chili cheese dog, like the ones from Pink’s or 7-11 — this was a chili pepper dog. The chilies were not spicy though, which was a good thing. It gave a nice sweetness with a little kick. The bun was amazingly soft, and I appreciated it. The actual hot dog was a little salty — actually, a lot salty. It was really overbearing, and had to sauce it up just to cover up the saltiness. It was a nice snappy frank though, and the flavors really worked well together.

Dessert came a second time, and the gourmet burger and hot dog ended with Sticky Toffee Pudding. I had the sticky toffee pudding at Gordon Ramsey Steak at Paris, and it was freakishly delicious. The Push Up Pops version wasn’t as refined, but just as delicious. The salted peanut ice cream mixed in with the sticky toffee was a great mixture. This salty and sweet mixture served up in a push pop was fun to eat. I remember eating Flintstones ice cream from these things as a kid. I would prefer to eat it with a fork on a plate, but the delivery was kind of cool and nostalgic.

It looks like Gordon Ramsey has a hit. It does suffer in the identity department. The decor inside seems cheap yet classy, but still exudes sports bar, but not. At the end of the day, the food is all that really matters. It surely doesn’t have that Gordon Ramsey refinement, but the food is still superb. Definitely, this could be a contender in being one of Las Vegas’ best burgers.

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Come to think of it, it’s been a while since I’ve been to Vegas. Saving up for a wedding and paying off student loans isn’t something one should take lightly. As for me, my trips to Vegas have been somewhat not as frequent. Fortunately, I have my blog to remind me of the wonderful places I ate at. One my latest trip out, I visited the Encore and fell in love with the property. Before, I assumed it was exactly these me as the Wynn, but it was quieter and definitely more my style. For a nice brunch, I found Society Cafe. The menu and price was that of a cafe (affordable), but the inside decor was impressive and elegant.

We started off with Pretzel bread sticks with mustard butter. These were perfect as starters. The pretzel had a tough skin and a soft inside. The mustard butter was and is an amazing invention. Fatty butter mixed with the acidic mustard was a perfect condiment for the pretzels. The salty, soft, and mustardy treat was a nice start.

We came here for the ultimate steak and eggs sliders. Though we came at the cusp of breakfast ending and lunch starting, the chef graciously prepared this for us. The bacon cheddar muffin hosted filet mignon, scrambled eggs, and creamed spinach. This really was a treat. I was thinking the steak would be too tough for the delicate ingredients inside, causing everything to spill out. The eggs and spinach was such a nice combination, but the filet minion was soft as can be. It was a very elegant, yet comforting kind of breakfast sandwich.

The Mac N Cheese Bites were quite an indulgence. The Mac and cheese bite by themselves were quite perfect themselves — cheesy and crispy. The truffle dipping sauce just created an explosion of flavors and even more creaminess. This was addicting and probably the mot memorable thing at Society Cafe.

We ended things with the frosted flake french toast. Topped with caramelized bananas and whipped cream, this cinnamon heavy, buttery French toast was such a perfect ending. The little nuggets of frosted flakes created such a crunch. It soaked up all that butter and syrup — a perfect combination of sweet, crunchy, custardy goodness.

I liked Encore’s Society Cafe. The ambiance was nice a chic — it’s definitely an upscale breakfast/brunch dining experience. From the appetizer pretzel bread sticks to the comfort food made classy cuisine, this place has my vote. It doesn’t hurt that it’s at one of my favorite properties on the trip as well. Brunch didn’t get any better on the strip.

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On a recent trip to Vegas, one of the locals had a craving for Hot N Juicy. Already a Boiling Crab fan, I had little hopes for this place. The friend swears that “Hot N Juicy is better than Boiling Crab.” That is all I needed to hear, and I was on board. Before you read on, before you drop everything and head to your nearest Hot N Juicy, I will tell you right now. Go to Boiling Crab.

I won’t lie, I was a bit excited. To imagine something better than Boiling Crab was beyond me. Two things were telling of things otherwise. One, the wait was only 15 minutes, not 2 hours. Two, the smell inside was fragrant, but not in your face. These two minor details should have been telling enough. Still, I was hopeful, and hungry.



We ordered a bunch of stuff. The shrimp, clams, Dungeness crab, and sausage were all fresh and tasty. But honestly, we go to Boiling Crab for the whole shebang right? Theirs, named Hot N Juicy, was really tasty. It had a nice heat to it and the flavor was there. In the bag, it was more of a soupy sauce instead of a thick pasty sauce at Boiling Crab. This made little or less flavor to cling onto the shrimp and food. Even the corn just tasted like corn. None of the goodies really stuck to the corn. After, eating, my hands didn’t have any garlic stink, nor did my clothes. What was going on?

After the fact, I learned that Las Vegas has Boiling Crab, and that LA/OC has Hot N Juicy. There goes my eating in Vegas rule of never eating anything I can eat back home. I don’t know how deep the rivalry goes, but honestly, nothing can beat Boiling Crab. After coming back home, I had Boiling Crab after a week or so, and it was delicious. Yes, I waited over an hour, and yes I smelled like garlic and spices, but man was it delicious.

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As someone who fancies authentic Chinese cuisine form the SGV, I don’t know how I ended up here. Maybe it was the intrigue, or the feeling of homesickness. Ultimately, I just wanted something completely different. I really don’t remember the last time I ate Chinese food or even a bowl of noodles in Vegas, if ever even. It’s always burger this or pizza that, and don’t even get me stated on the number of steakhouses. I took a chance on Noodles at the Bellagio, and I was pleasantly surprised. The prices were definitely not SGV cheap — the “Vegas Tax” essay evident. In the end, I was happy for my changing up the system.

After the Raku agedashi experience, I find myself ordering more and more. As an appetizer, and to be somewhat earthy, we decided to order the agedashi tofu. Theirs were fired in little nugget forms. The texture was quite nice. The warm pockets of hot tofu were silky smooth. Dipping it in the light soy sauce blend was all I needed. Nothing beats the agedashi at Raku, but this little appetizer did just fine.

Comfort food for me is either something really fatty and cheesy, like mac and cheese or a nice loaded quesadilla. Otherwise, comfort food comes in soup form. It has to have meat inside of course. The wanton soup at Noodles was surprisingly delicious. The broth was the star. I wasn’t sure if it had MSG in it or not, but the deliciousness of the broth indicates that it indeed did. The broth was warm, umamic (yes, there’s that word again), and quite savory. It wasn’t necessarily salty, but it had a nice quality to it. The wontons were nothing short of spectacular. Fatty and meaty, the shui mai like dumplings gave this soup bowl some substance. Even the noodles had a nice bite to them. This bowl of wantons and noodles was surprisingly the real deal.

We were on a protein frenzy, so we ordered the BBQ pork and duck. This to me was a mistake. The pork was overly sweet and jerky like. Too much crust and not enough actual tender meat made it difficult to enjoy. The duck, though nicely tender was a bit of a miss. It didn’t have that fatty/salty characteristic I’m familiar with duck. It was mild and a bit boring.


We ordered a bowl of congee to go with our meat. The congee itself was good on it own. The bland taste and blank canvas made it go well with everything. This was indeed a comforting bowl. For dessert, we ordered Thai tea. Milky, and somewhat strong, it was enjoyable — nothing worth mentioning further though.

All this Asian food and I started to wonder why we ate here. I mean, I could have this back home in the SGV, and it would be legit — it would be the good stuff. Why did I just spend almost double the amount for something that wouldn’t even hold a candle to the good stuff? Maybe I was feeling a little home sick. Or maybe I just needed to give it a try to see if I can really find SGV in the heart of Vegas. For a second though, I did forget I was even seconds away from the casino floor. That’s gotta count for something. Basically, I went to Vegas to step away from the SGV, and went to Bellagio’s Noodle to step away from Vegas.

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Serendipity 3 is a famous stop for tourists in Las Vegas. Situated central to the Las Vegas strip, it sits just outside Caesar’s Palace. The colorful pink and whimsical design makes Serendipity 3 a fun place to eat. Known for their Golden Opulence Sundae, the $1000 dollar, word record holding as the most expensive dessert, the restaurant isn’t quite high end. The atmosphere is fun and casual. I remember going here when it first opened, and though the decor received an upgrade, the food and service seems to be stagnant. Nothing was out striking or extraordinary. It’s still a fun place to grab a bite and dessert in the form of a frozen hot chocolate. Popularized by the movie Serendipity, the NY base was where it all started.


The ABC burger seemed like the only legit burger here. ABC, meaning Avocado, Brie cheese, and caramelized onions made this burger what it is. The picture really makes it look small, but it was a bit larger than that. The amazing part was the blanket of melted brie over the top. It gave the burger a nice silky texture, as did the avocados as well. The caramelized onions gave a nice savory note, and everything worked perfectly together. They accidentally gave us regular fries instead of the sweet potatoes like we ordered. I liked their version of the sweet potato fries because of its sweetness. Each fry had a nice sugary crust.


We all come here for one thing only — that is their Frrrozen Hot Chocolate. It is a hot chocolate mix, mixed in with crushed ice and topped with whipped cream and chocolate shavings. It’s not really an ice cream, and isn’t overly sweet. The chocolate flavor shines in this bowl, and the pure cocoa is the star. If you are looking for a sugary indulgence of a dessert, this is not for you. If you like chocolate flavor, and like it cold, then this is perfect!

Serendipity 3 is an awesome place to be. The colorful wallpaper and interesting nick-nacks make it a fun destination. Close to the Bellagio Fountains, Caesars Palace, and anything central to Vegas, it’s easy to “stop by”. Honestly though, not everything was all fine and dandy. Some of the waiters were kind of sketchy. One waiter tried to serve us water from a table who didn’t want them. The burger bun was a bit on the dry side. And honestly, the restaurant keeps getting the interior/exterior changed — that could be a good thing or a bad thing. Fine tuning these things and maximizing this prime real estate could really help solidify this restaurant.

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Lotus of Siam is a bit off the strip, and sits in a sketchy area. There is nothing special about this place, inside and out. After reading so much about it, and hearing Andrew Zimmern rave about this place, it was on top of my list for my last Vegas trip. It goes to show, all of the top restaurants aren’t inside the popular casinos and resorts. Most of them are all commercialized and owned by restaurant groups. Lotus of Siam is one of one. It makes it unique and special, and is a part of Vegas as much as any of the popular resorts.

We started things off with something exciting and new. The Koong char num plar, raw prawns marinated in seasoned fish sauce was a favorite of ours. With the spicy fish sauce, fresh garlic and roasted chili paste, the dish definitely had flavor. Ironically, I used a bunch of that fish sauce to get rid of the rawness and “fishy” flavor. Spiciness met sweetness from the shrimp. The texture of this was spectacular. A bit on the sticky side, the texture took some getting used to. Still a great way to start.

My personal favorite was the Nam Kao Tod. It was a crispy rice mixed with minced sour sausage, green onion, fresh chili, ginger, peanuts, and lime juice. Texturally different from the raw shrimp, this had a nice crunch, and the crunch played a great role in this dish. The ginger flavor popped and the citrus was key. It was delicious and refreshing.

The dish of all dishes–the one to get here always Is the Drunken Noodle Prawn. Thick rice noodles are on fried with deep fried prawns. The shell I kept on and the frying process makes the skins edible. The special blend of garlic sauce and Thai basil was perfect. The prawns were cooked perfectly and the crunch of the skin was amazing. This dish is pretty hard to pass up — a definite must order here.

To end everything, we ordered the coconut ice cream with sticky rice. It was a great neutralizer form all that garlic, shrimp, and spices. The coconut flavor was mild and not too overpowering. My favorite was the sticky rice. Everything just had such a delicate flavor and nothing was overbearing.

Back home in Los Angeles, there are a bunch of Ktown style Chinese restaurants that have pretty good food. From spicy seafood noodles to fried pork and beef dishes, they are all delicious, but you won’t find any of these in China. The menu hasn’t changed ever since the first time I went, and that is the quality of the places. You know what you will get, and its the same no matter when you go. Lotus of Siam is kind of like that. The menu hasn’t changed in forever, and the food, though may not be genuine Thai renditions is delicious.

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It is so good to see tapas come to the strip. Small plates are trending now in a lot of restaurants. Small plates means people can eat and share more different foods. The variety of it all is what attracts me. I’m not coming here to just eat my meat and potatoes. I can have a little bit of this, a little of that, and in the end of it all, I had a bite of more that what I would normally have in a single day. Julian Serrano made his mark with Masa’s Restaurant in San Fransisco. Opening Picasso in Las Vegas in the Bellagio, his Vegas restaurant was the recipient of 2 Michelin stars and a AAA Five Diamond Award. With all these accolades, it was time for Julian Serrano to venture out into other things. Looking at the trends of restaurants and being of Spanish decent, tapas was an obvious choice. I like tapas because you can order a lot of food at one time, and this we did.

The brava potatoes was a popular item so we started off with these. They were small nuggets of fried potatoes – the outside was golden and crispy, and the inside was fluffy. The spicy tomato puree on top was a nice acidic sauce. The aioli sauce on top was fatty and smooth — It all was a nice combination. Stabbing these fried nuggets with a skewer, the sauce had a perfect taste and balance for the potatoes. I would order these again. They were simple and delicious.

The grilled angus flat iron steak was a nice accompaniment to the potatoes. Cooked to a perfect medium rare, the steak was meaty and had a nice chewy consistency — kind of like flank steak. The japanese eggplant was a unique condiment, and the mushroom demi-glace gave it a nice earthy note. It was a perfect cut of meat and the flavors worked nicely.

It seems like every tapas restaurant has stuffed dates. The one at Julian Serrano was mediocre in my opinion. Though the dates were huge, almost too big, all the other ingredients were missing. The almond was barely noticed, and the wrapping of the applewood bacon was lost. With the panko crusted fried exterior, the flavors were kind of single noted, even when dipped in the spicy piquillo pepper sauce. Maybe the dates large size gave it too much of a sweet taste, but the saltiness of the bacon could have been more pronounced.

Yeah, the brava potatoes were delicious, but more fried potatoes couldn’t hurt. The huevos estrellados had a bed of fried topped with imported spanish pork chorizo and eggs. The egg was cooked perfectly. With a crispy outline and egg yolk running everywhere, this dish was very rich. Each fork full had fries drenched in a mix of chorizo grease and egg yolk. The pork chorizo had a nice mellow flavor with a little kick of spice — terrific. with all this grease and pork, I began to think this is a perfect hang over cure in Las Vegas.

Looking for a carb load other than potatoes, we ordered the creamy risotto. This was a nice risotto, though the rice was a little too undercooked. Maybe 30 seconds longer on the fire would have made it perfect. Better to be a tad undercooked that overcooked, I guess. Other than the texture, this was delicious. The wild mushrooms gave it a nice grounded flavor. The shaving of aged manchego cheese worked perfectly with the mushrooms. Manchego, my new favorite cheese, has a resemblance and taste profile of truffles. The rich earthy flavor worked perfectly with the rice. I just wished there was more of it.

Finally, we ordered the beef and cheese. Looking for more meat in our tapas, we figured this would be a perfect candidate. The prime tenderloin cooked to a perfect medium rare was soft as butter. Manchego cheese was on top and the dish was amazing. Topped with the honey and pecans, the sweetness kind of killed my savory steak experience. My mind was confused — was this a steak or was it dessert? Though it didn’t taste all that bad, the off putting sweetness of the honey was surprising. All in all, the meat was soft and buttery, and I preferred this over the flat iron.

Julian Serrano was an amazing experience. Tapas is gaining popularity — it lets you try so many things! Be careful though, you can easily get carried away and run up the bill. Celebrity chef Julian Serrano knows what he is doing. When you are talking about chefs in California, he is the best around, and possibly in the nation. It was great to try his food in such a casual atmosphere. When you are in Vegas, you want to eat nice and splurge. At Julian Serrano, you can feel like you are splurging on a nice meal, but not pay over the top prices. The atmosphere is warm and elegant as is the food. Tapas is on the strip, and it’s at Julian Serrano.

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Is it? Is it the best burger in Las Vegas? On the strip, you are definitely not going to find the best burger in Las Vegas. Trust me. I tried looking — this means I spent a lot of cash paying for subpar burgers. Luckily, just before you hit Vegas on the 15, exiting East Windmill Lane, you have Bachi Burger. The Asian inspired burger joint was showcased on Diners, Drive-In, and Dives, and I immediately made plans for a Vegas trip — I made it my first stop.

We started things off with the oxtail chili cheese fries. Most times, chili cheese fries or poutine has fries that are left soggy from the sauce. I liked how the fries were still intact and crisp. The ox tail was tender and was almost chili like — cooking for hours helped make it into a mush of things. The garlic aioli and fried egg made everything so creamy and smooth. I liked the edition of the cilantro. It gave the dish such a freshness and helped with the richness of the oxtail. With the help of the jalapenos which were quite spicy, the dish was complete.

Though the oxtail fries were good, we all came here for the burger. Morse specifically, I came here for the Ronin burger. This burger had angus beef, caramelized onions, jalapenos, coleslaw, miso goma dressing, fried egg, katsu bbq, and yuzu citrus aioli. I know that seems like a lot of ingredients, but all of the flavors worked. I am a firm believer that a good burger has to have gooey melted cheese or a strong cheese presence — cheese is always a must. I was surprised that this Asian inspired burger, with no cheese was so delicious. The beef patty was cooked perfectly medium rare with a nice crust and pink in the middle. The spicy jalapenos and the sweet bbq and citric aioli all bounced around and filled my mouth with flavor. If you were to get one burger at Bachi, this is the one to get.

Not feeling like another burger, we decided on the pork belly steamed buns. Filled with an irresistable duroc pork belly, the meat was cut thick. The skin and fat on the pork melted in your mouth and created such an unctuous flavor. The boiled egg added more richness to the steam bun. The cilantro, scallions, and radish helped balance the rich fatty pork belly. Interestingly, the chinese black vinegarrete and hoisin bbq sauce gave the salty and sweet flavor of the mini sandwich.

As a dessert, and to send us off in a proper manner, we ordered the malasadas. To me, the Portuguese fried donut balls were out of place. To go along with the Asian style burgers, they should have an Asian style dessert. To me, the fried donut balls were a bit stale and not “melt in your mouth” enough. With the help of the delicious coffee gelato though, the dessert was passable. I wouldn’t have minded if it were just the coffee gelato by itself.

Bachi Burger is a Las Vegas pit stop for sure. Next time, I will have to give the decadent Shogun Burger a try. That one has foie gras and is $25. Though not on the strip, it is a perfect spot to eat for lunch on the way in or on the way out of Las Vegas. Even if you want to kind of step away from the busy strip, it’s not far of a drive to go to Bachi Burger. The inside has all tables and no booths. You just find a seat, grab a beer, maybe a nice sake to compliment your burger, and have an awesome meal.

For those who are in Los Angeles, well, Bachi Burger is coming! It will be in West LA, on Sawtelle. Not quite sure when it will open, but I will keep an eye out for you.

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You got to love Las Vegas. As much as you can find the high end of things, you can equally find the lower end. When I say lower end, I don’t mean cheap as in quality — I am talking about bargains. Lost a lot of money on one of those rigged slot machines? Highly unlikely. Nobody in their 70′s reads my blog. You probably lost money on the Black Jack tables — maybe in a rough game of Hold’em? Either way, just because you lost al of your money, doesn’t mean you can eat like you won big. Ellis Island Casino and Brewery is a small casino just barely off the strip on Koval Lane. The casino isn’t much, but the restaurant and brewery inside is another story. Filled with cheap, yet quality food and beer, it is a Vegas-er’s must for those on a tight budget.

I had the king cut prime rib. With a side of green beans and baked potato, the dish was a great balance of protein, carb, and greens. The prime rib was bloody red and fatty. This made for a juicy cut of beef and made me happy. With the fat running down the middle and the side of ajus, this was definately a juicy everything. Topping it all off with their horseradish made everything perfect. The name “King Cut” suggests that this was a uber thick cut — it wasn’t. I mean, it’s no Diamond Jim Brady Cut from Lawry’s. Don’t get me wrong, it was still pretty thick. At then end of it all, it was a large piece of meat that had a lot of flavor. For the ridiculous price of something like $12. Considering the price, I’d say the prime rib was pretty dang thick. Just get two and you have your thicker than thick prime rib right there, for 24 bucks! Did I mention the prime rib comes with a beer? I opted for something light — the Hefe Weiss ale was perfect. What more can I ask for than a huge prime rib and beer?

Ellis Island Casino and Brewery also has steak and eggs on the cheap too. For 6 bucks, you get an 8oz new york strip steak, eggs, toast, and your side of potato. The home fries were great with the eggs and toast, but the steak was the star. Of course, a lot less juicy than the prime rib, this was a true steak nonetheless. Cooked to a perfect medium rare, the lean cut of beef was at its purest. Did I dare ask for some A-1 sauce? I don’t care what you say, that stuff is liquid gold. Not like we are at a fancy shmancy place. But really, for 6 bucks you get all this? Only in Vegas.

I guess you can lose all your money in Vegas and still come out on top. Imagine if this same establishment, minus the casino came to Los Angeles, That would be nut! The same thing at a Denny’s or Sizzler would be double the price. You just can’t have this anywhere else but in Las Vegas. Ellis Island Casino as a casino is pretty run down. If you don’t want to play bingo here, you can always play online. I don’t really play bingo. I’m not my mother-in-law, you know, but when I’m in the mood and to find the best bingo sites, I use ballsupbingo.com. All in all though, the food and the beer was excellent. Just lose everything on black, but keep $20. Restaurants on the strip is most likely not worth it anyways.

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Mastro’s to me is just another steak house. Just like Fleming’s or Morton’s and Ruth’s Chris, Morton’s offers a very classic steak restaurant. Visiting Vegas, I made a decision I shouldn’t have made. Not to say that going to Matro’s Ocean Club inside the Shops At Crystals was a mistake or a bad experience. I just have a dining out rule when I’m in Vegas. “If there’s one in LA or OC, don’t go there.” Well, I broke my rule, but it was all for a birthday celebration. I figured, I probably won’t be going to Mastro’s anytime soon, so might as well. And the bird’s nest really attracted me. I was really happy with my decision for the most part.

We started things of with bread service. They offered pretzel, crouton, baguette, dinner roll, and wheat bread. The breadbasket had variety all were quite good. My favorite was the pretzel — it was soft and airy.

I had some of the Caesar salad to start. I needed some kind of greens to soak up all that meat juice. Their Caesar salad was near perfect. The dressing was nice and creamy. The addition of parmesan cheese and cracked pepper made everything better.

I was ready for the main event, the 22oz bone in rib eye. The rib eye is one of my favorite cuts because of the even fat marbling and soft texture. Mine was cooked perfectly medium rare, though a bit more on the rare side. This actually caused the meat to be a bit tough. This cut did have some nice fat running through the steak. This helped with the tenderness and mouth feel of the meat. Even though this wasn’t the best steak I have had, the help of the amazing sides made it all better.

The real reason I came here wasn’t the steak. Well it is, and it isn’t. The real reason I came here was for the lobster mashed potatoes. I mean. It is Mastro’s Ocean Club — Ocean, meaning seafood is in order. This side dish was rich as can be — full of butter. I believe the potato to butter ratio is near 1 to 1. With a whole lobster tail carefully chopped up and placed in a pool of butter, the potatoes were creamy and flavorful. The pure essence of the sea was encased in butter, and mixed with potatoes. Eating this with steak was pure bliss. The kid in me wanted to order the mac and cheese. made with gorgonzola, the flavor was very rich. Another cream heavy and dairy heavy dish, the mac and cheese was delicious. My favorite was the layer of melted cheese on top.

My favorite was dessert. We were celebrating a birthday, so they gave us a chocolate birthday cake. The cake was rich in chocolate and eating just a few bites was enough for me. The best thing about this dessert was their home made whipped cream. Served on the side in a bowl, the homemade whipped cream was so dense and fluffy. The cold cream and the chocolate cake was a perfect mixture. Honestly though, the whipped cream was the best thing ever. I wanted to take it all home.

Eating at Mastro’s Ocean Club was a great experience. The location is a bit awkward. As you are enjoying your expensive meal inside an amazingly architectured “bird’s nest,” you look out and you see people shopping. That is cool and all, but you can’t help but think you are inside of a mall — Well, you are inside of a mall, and this Mastro’s makes sure you know that. I couldn’t help but think I was at a very glorified food court at a mall. When I eat at a nice establishment, I want to feel secluded from the world. I just didn’t get the at from here. The food is great, though as far as steakhouses go in Las Vegas, you can do a lot better. I guess I can only break my rule once. Never eat at Las Vegas where you can at home.

Mastro's Ocean Club on Urbanspoon

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Las Vegas is changing all the time. It’s always out with the old, in with the new. It is always best to be the newest and the hottest in Vegas. You always need to reinvent yourself. Caesar’s Palace is one place where thought it is an old property compared to the rest, it keeps it fresh and interesting on the inside. This change also happens to the buffets as well. You can’t have endless roast beef and a mound of crab legs and say you are the best. These days, we want gourmet stuff, and a lot of it. That is why small plates of different dishes are popular at Vegas buffets. Bacchanal Buffet in Caesar’s Palace is just the place. Taking Cosmopolitan’s Wicked Spoon off its short lived rein as top dog, Bacchanal is the newest Buffet in town.

Coming here on a Sunday as a last hurray meal, the line was packed. Payard across the way was looking mighty tempting. No line, no wait. It is safe to say, I waited in line for everyone who reads my blog — This is for you! The wait was nearly an hour, but it was the newest buffet in Vegas. I had to.


I was glad to see a lot of variety at this buffet. They had small dishes of different things. Instead of ladling on the food from a pile of food, you just pick up the plates that look My favorites included the authentic tacos, cured meats, and crab legs. Bacchanal buffet featured many items that aren’t available at a normal buffet. For this reason, the buffet was a good experience.


Going to a buffet is all about having everything you want, even dessert. You can have your cake, and eat it too. Their dessert selection was quite impressive. From cookies in a jar to macarons, and ice cream, you can have anything you want. My favorite were the crepes. I just saw the jar of Nutella and I was set. The crepes were wonderfully prepared and were a great finish to my buffet.


Bacchanal at Caesar’s Palace is awesome. Their new approach to the buffet in Vegas is refreshing. Pretty soon, all of the top tier Vegas buffets will have to do this. One thing I did not like about the buffet is the inconsistency of the design. I prefer open spaces when eating at buffets, but theirs was a bit broken up. It was tough to navigate through the different sections. Also, the seating areas are not all the same. The outside area was wide open and bright, but there were seating areas in the corners and different rooms. Not all of the furniture (tables are chairs) was the same. This made for an uneven feeling and everything felt clustered. Other than that though, the food was great. Still though, my all time favorite buffet is still Wicked Spoon.

Bacchanal on Urbanspoon

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Carnegie Deli (Mirage) – Let’s do the Woody Allen

June 14, 2013

Founded in 1937, Carnegie Deli is a New York landmark. Fortunately, I don’t have to travel to the east coast to enjoy one other their sandwiches. Lucky for me, there is one located right in Las Vegas at the Mirage Resort. Melding with the casino floor, and not being very big, there was a small [...]

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Peppermill – A Ten Egg Omelet and Water that Makes Fire

May 19, 2013

Peppermill Restaurant is amazing and it’s such a unique place. One section of the restaurant is a lounge, called the Fireside lounge. Inside is a bar and seating area for drinks and food. In the middle sits a fire pool where guests can gather and sit around. Neon lights are everywhere. On the main dining [...]

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La Cave (Wynn) – Wine and Food Hideaway

May 3, 2013

The Wynn and Encore are some of my favorite properties in Las Vegas. Their elegant styling with classic and luxurious design cues all make for a perfect resort. Walking into SW Steakhouse with no reservation, I realized I was being too optimistic. Reservations is a must at SW — lesson learned. Scratching that idea, our [...]

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Gordon Ramsey Steak (Paris) – Through the English Channel

April 9, 2013

We all know Gordon Ramsey. The ill tempered celebrity chef from England made a name for himself. When I think of him, he isn’t smiling or laughing. I think of angry eyes, wrinkles on the forehead, and fire coming out of his mouth. That imagery to me, is more laughable than scary. But truly, Gordon [...]

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Raku – Japanese Cuisine to a Higher Level

March 11, 2013

I came across Raku from Andrew Zimmern. I was watching a random Youtube video about Las Vegas eats, and Mr. Zimmern swears Raku as an anti-Vegas destination with some of the best Japanese food around. I immediately dropped everything and headed off the strip. Raku, located in a dismal looking strip mall in Las Vegas’ [...]

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Holstein’s (Cosmopolitan) – Only on the Outside, Not Inside

February 22, 2013

First of all, I want to start off by saying that the Cosmopolitan is starting to irritate me. Everything that is the Cosmopolitan is now obnoxious and boring. The types of people the property attracts is just garbage — the bottom of the barrel. Don’t get me wrong. The building and architecture and design of [...]

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