Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

In honor of the spooky day here are a few quotes from Randy (Jamie Kennedy's character):

"There are certain rules that one must abide by in order to successfully survive a horror movie.
For instance, number one: you can never have sex.
Big No No! Big No No! Sex equals death, okay?
Number two: you can never drink of do drugs.
The sin factor! It's a sin. It's an extension of number one.
And number three: never, ever, ever under any circumstances say, "I'll be right back". Because you won't be back."
-Randy, Scream

"There are certain rules that one must abide by in order to create a successful sequel.
Number one: the body count is always bigger.
Number two: the death scenes are always much more elaborate-more blood, more gore-*carnage candy*.
And number three: never, ever, under any circumstances, assume the killer is dead."
-Randy, Scream 2

Wishing you a happy and haunted Halloween!

5 Friends

You are supposed to send this to five friends but I thought it was too important for just five so I am giving it to everyone I know.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fX40RsSLwF4

Monday, October 27, 2008

Happy Halloween Week!

Well folks it is here again, my second favorite holiday of the year. (St. Patrick's Day still takes the cake) Well this year I bought a new costume. I am going to be a Kandy Korn Witch which you can purchase at buycostumes.com.


Basically I am going to freeze my tush off but look super cute. The price you pay for Halloween fun. But now I want to know what you all are going to be. Razzle, dazzle me people!

And for the record, Halloween candy doesn't have any fat in it right?????

Thursday, October 23, 2008

New Kitchen Toy

So what's a girl to do when her blender sucks and her awesome red food processor decides it does not like to make pureed soups?
Why buy a new kitchen toy of course!


Cuisinart Smart Stick Hand Blender with Whisk & Chopper Attachment

It is the coolest thing ever. I got mine at Bed, Bath and Beyond because I had a gift card there. However I have seen it cheaper elsewhere.

I made 3 different soups with it and the clean up is quick and easy. I haven't tried the whisk or chopper portion but if the blender is any indication they should work great. The only bad thing was they did not have it in red, only brushed stainless steel. But it still looks nice on my counter.

I just love a new toy!

Sweet Treats

As most of you may know I love anything sweet. And with the Weight Watchers diet I have been trying to limit my intake of sweet treats. But with Skinny Cow products I have been able to have my sandwich, cone, or ice cream delight and eat it too!


The cones are 3pts. on Weight Watchers (my favorite is the caramel).


The sandwiches are 2pts. on Weight Watchers.

If any of you are on Weight Watchers or are looking for a low-fat treat give Skinny Cow a chance. They are tasty and satisfying. And since they have them in Montana, I am sure you will find them in a grocery store near you.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The end of Vegas

It was an amazing trip and I hope that Marvin enjoyed his birthday surprise. (Love you baby)
We unfortunately had to leave on Sunday morning at like 4:30am, which in Vegas sucks.
But it is one of those places that gets in your blood. So much excitement and glitter.
So if your looking for a celebration place, a place to pretend your life doesn't exist, or just a place to to live large...Vegas is the place.
Even though I wish I was on the next plane with reservations at the next best restaurants, reality has set in and it seems that $12 million does not raise itself.
So keep your fingers crossed and hope that the trips to Seattle and Portland can keep me occupied.

Peace.

The finale

On Saturday we got up, gambled a little, ate brunch at a deli and basically just toured the wonderland of Vegas. (see below)


Me playing the best game ever...Wheel of Fortune!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We also stopped off at a place in our hotel called Isla something or another. (I know great help huh?) I had some awesome queso and a yummy mojito. Oh and on the video poker at the bar I won $120. The only thing I won all weekend. Yeah!
Needless to say we cashed out and got ready for the mack daddy of dinners. So here we go...


Saturday, October 11th Dinner

Guy Savoy at Caesar's Palace

Before I begin this review I need to say that I am in love with this place. If I could afford to eat there every weekend I would. It was pricey, but I would pay it again and again to have that fine of a dining experience. The only (and I mean only) thing that was wrong, was that I was way too full to eat every bite of everything! Frustrating but not such a horrible problem to have.
So service...untouchable.
I fully expected to have a little snobbery going on amongst the servers but I was mistaken.
From the hostess, to the sommelier, to our French waiter, to the bread cart server, to the petit fore server, to the lady that opened the bathroom door-absolutely down to earth and fantastic.
I love food, but some of the fancy French terminology is lost on me. All of the servers explained the dishes and wines in technical and proper terms then in a regular Joe sort of way. I could go on and on, but lets just sum it up by saying it was the best service I have ever received.
Atmosphere: clean cut, dark wood, beautiful view and a purse stool! I know this might not seem very important to the fellas out there, but a purse stool at your table is awesome for the ladies. It was a comfortable environment that made you feel incredibly special.
Food: I called and made the reservation letting the reservationist know that I did not eat red or pork. The server straight away asked about dietary restrictions and allergies. There was no problem substituting dishes in any of the tasting menus.
We both ordered the Prestige Tasting Menu with the wine pairings.
I must now apologize for my lack of detail and proper labeling.
I have no idea what the wines were named and frankly all I wanted to do was concentrate on tasting and experiencing. But here is what I do have:

Champagne: the sommelier has a cart of champagne of which he was pouring six champagnes that you rarely, if ever, see by the glass. I had a 1999 'smokin' champagne and Marvin had a Krug that was too die for.
*Note-these glasses of champagne are not included in your tasting and wine pairing menu and can be pretty pricey. Mine was $59 and his was $75. Worth every penny though.

Olive crostini-Amuse
Eggplant soup with lemon confit, croutons and basil powder served in a wonderful dish, which hid a tuna tartare underneath it. The soup was creamy and combination of the basil powder (which you added yourself as it was part of the presentation) and the lemon confit was killer.
Oysters in Ice Gelee-I do not like shellfish. But I thought if I was going to try them this was the place. Unfortunately, I did not care for them. The taste was really fishy, which of course is what is supposed to make oysters tasty. I only ate one of the three and the server asked if I wanted something else instead. I refused, stating that I had had a feeling I wouldn't care for them but wanted to give them a try. See me here:


I then had the most delicious chestnut soup with porcini mushrooms. I have not had too much experience with chestnuts, but I am now a chestnut lover. It was amazing.
Marvin did have the colors of caviar for this course. He had strong reservations going in, but after the presentation and tasting, had only glowing things to say.


Next was Crispy Sea Bass with Delicate Spices. Two small pieces of flaky and mild fish. The crispy portion was actually sea bass skin. It freaked me out a bit but I did try it and it was tasty.
Neither of us were interested in the foie-gras. So the substitution was a Dover sole dish. Again, the fish could not be matched. By this time I was getting rather full, but the dish was awesome.
We moved on to the Artichoke and Black Truffle Soup with Toasted Mushroom Brioche and Black Truffle Butter. Decadent, velvety, rich and scrumptious. The brioche was flaky and the shaved black truffle and Parmesan cheese was just topping on the cake.
Did I mention that with every course we were not only given very generous tastings of wine, that changed with the substitutions, but also a piece of bread to pair with each new course? Well, we were and it rocked!
Back to the meal.
Next was Poussin Roasted a la Broche (on the bone), Chantrelles, Arugula and Potato Galette. I asked to have the bone removed before presenting and there was no problem. I was bursting at the seams, but the chicken was moist and delicious.
And with my stomach stretched to the max, cam e the glorious cheese cart. After explaining in detail every cheese on the cart at my request (not only to learn about them to make a decision, but to try to buy some time to get hungry again), we each chose 5 cheeses. I stuck with mostly goat cheeses, which were fresh and creamy. Unfortunately, I had to leave some of each on the plate because my eye caught the dessert cart.
First came the Summer Melon dish. [see video] Small shaped melons on top of what looked like a trivet over a bowl. Then came the spectacular presentation. Hot chamomile tea was poured into the bowl through the holes surrounding the melon hitting what we later found out was dry ice. The steam came up and the aroma of the tea was tantalizing as we ate the melon. It was an excellent palate cleanser and light enough to move to the chocolate course.

video


Next was Chocolate Fondat, Crunchy Praline, Chicory Cream. Yummy. I could have lifted the gorgeous plate and drank the chicory cream.
And just when you think it might be over...nope, here comes the petit fore cart.
I ordered a hot tea that came in a great yellow ceramic teakettle and Marvin got a cappuccino. The cart was full of small, dangerously sweet bites of mouth-watering goodness. We each took six at the cajoling of our server and were not disappointed.

The reviews I read prior to choosing this restaurant said one thing I want to echo as loud as possible. Expensive? YES. Value for the food, service, atmosphere and experience? ABSOLUTELY!
Go to Guy Savoy if you are looking for a beautiful and fantastic evening and want to be treated like a king and queen.

Believe it or not we kept eating on Friday...

We went to see La Reve at the Wynn on Friday night. It was a water show and it amazed me how they could accomplish so much with just stage movement and water. I did the VIP thing for Marvin's birthday so we had a TV screen with before show footage and under water footage during the show. It was very cool. But what also came with the package was an entire bottle of champagne. Don't do this if you are planning on going to dinner after the show to do a tasting menu. Either go to dinner before and use the champagne as dessert or starve yourself the rest of the day so your stomach can handle how much you will need to ingest.

Friday, October 10th Dinner

Tableau at The Wynn

Service: spot on. The timing between the dishes was perfect and are server was very attentive.
Atmosphere: French but not pretentious. We sat in the main dining area near a window which overlooked the pool.
I chose this restaurant over others at Wynn because it had a vegetarian tasting menu and no substitutions were needed. It was great.

Vegetarian Tasting Menu with Wine Pairings
Course 1: Heirloom Tomato and Roast Beet Salad
With hearts of palm, extra virgin olive oil, sea salt and micro herbs.
I am not a huge fan of either tomatoes or beets. But the sea salt was wonderful and I cleaned my plate. Perhaps I am a new beet lover.
Course 2: Grilled Asparagus Salad
With seasonal greens, avocado and Sonoma goat cheese, dressed with a white balsamic dressing.
The goat cheese was by far my favorite part. It was fresh and tangy.
Course 3: Chickpea fries
This glorious dish was pureed chickpeas, dusted with chickpea flour and deep-fried.
I almost asked them to stop the tasting and just bring me a full plate of these.
Course 4: A fettuccini dish with chantrelle mushrooms, yellow beets and light oil.
I wanted to finish it, I even tried deep breaths to help make room, but I just couldn't.
It was a light pasta dish and well made.
Course 5: Cheese
We were served what I believe was a triple cream Brie with a side of currant jam.
I like strong cheese, but I could only take about three bites of this one.
It was too much for me.
Course 6: Dessert Tasting
Banana Bread Pudding
Strawberry Milkshake-creamy and delectable
Poppy seed berry shortcake-I almost ordered a full size one to go for a midnight snack.

And because it was Marvin's birthday we got extra chocolate mousse cup.
They gave these amazing chocolate caramels as a take home treat.

It was a good experience overall. There are other restaurants at the Wynn I would like to try so I probably won't go back anytime soon. But I would recommend for anyone looking for a vegetarian option.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Review of Mesa Grill

I had made reservations to eat at Bobby Flay's restaurant because we love spice and I love the Food Network.

Friday, October 10th Lunch

Mesa Grill at Caesar's Palace

Service: Quick and efficient but nothing too extraordinary.
Atmosphere: kind of loud with the casino in the background but good enough for lunch.

I started with a bowl of Roasted Corn Soup with Smoked Tomato Salsa. I could have licked the bowl. Actually, I kind of did with the jalapeno bread they gave me. It was creamy and delicious.
Next I tried the Cornmeal Crusted Chile Relleno filled with roasted eggplant, manchego cheese with a sweet red pepper sauce and balsamic vinegar. I felt that the cornmeal crust could have had a lot more seasoning. I was fully intending to need a water refill but was sorely disappointed in the spice level. The chile was as fresh as they get and the manchego was gooey goodness.
I washed that all down with a Widow Mojito, which seemed to be dark rum and cola instead of white rum and seltzer. It hit the spot.
For dessert we got the sampler which included:
Warm Cornbread Pudding with pear-apple compote, pear butter sauce and ginger- molasses ice cream (my favorite part since Marvin ate all of the pudding).
Profiteroles with cornflake crunch vanilla ice cream and a warm Mexican chocolate sauce.
Warm Chocolate Cake with Dulce de Leche and toasted pecan ice cream. The cake was extremely rich but excellent.
Marvin did have a margarita and an apple martini (which was rimmed with cinnamon sugar) and was happy with his cocktails.

I would go back if only for the soup. When compared to the other restaurants we ate at it was not so impressive, but for a lunch place it suited the bill.

Review of Bouchon Bistro

We woke up early to our dismay so decided to head to the Venetian based on some reviews I had read.

Friday, October 10th Breakfast

Bouchon Bistro at the Venetian

Service: impeccable
Atmosphere: classic and sunny. We sat inside because there was a chill in the air, but it had wonderful light.

We started with the Chocolate Almond Croissant after reading a review counting the many delicious ways it satisfied. And the only word that comes close is WOW! Flaky, chocolate goodness.
Marvin ordered Les Oeufs (2 eggs scrambled, some potato croquettes, bacon and brioche toast with what he called the best jam ever). He also tried the regular coffee but it was way too strong so exchanged it for an Illy latte that was very smooth.
I dined on the special, Florentine Quiche. Fluffy and there is no comparison, the best quiche I have ever eaten. There was a salad on the side but I didn't touch it. Unfortunately I am not a huge breakfast person so I got full quickly and couldn't finish.

I would not only recommend this place for breakfast, I would insist on it!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Review of Michael Mina

Below is the review for our dinner at Michael Mina.

Thursday, October 9th Dinner-Michael Mina at the Bellagio

Service: friendly but not overbearing
Atmosphere: modern but comfortable
Only issue: tables were too close together and there were quite a few people there. The servers often had a hard difficulty reaching us after others were seated next to us.

Cookbook Tasting with Premium Wine Tasting:
**Note: I really enjoyed all of my food in Las Vegas. That being said, the reviews I am submitting lack the exact names of some of the dishes and most of the wines. I would apologize but I am still too full and happy.

Amuse: Butternut squash soup
Creamy deliciousness with a gorgeous color.
I could have eaten an entire pot of this soup.

Bread: Black pepper and red plum roll
Peppery in the front and sweet in the back.
Served with the most airy and delicious whipped butter.


Course 1: Tartare of Ahi Tuna
-with sesame oil, toasted pine nuts, garlic and chiffonade of mint, with a quail egg perched on top and toast wedges on the side
Combined by the server at the table after presentation.
I don't usually do raw fish but I had about half of it. The mint really helped. Marvin, who had the same thing said the tuna was fabulous.
Wine served: a German Riesling

Course 2: The tasting menu called for Lobster Pot Pie and I substituted a Salad with Ricotta Salata dressed with a red wine vinaigrette
Marvin did have the pot pie and said the best part was the pearl onions. His only compliant was for the dish was he wished there was more.
The salad was the least favorite of my dishes. The lettuce was mostly of the weed variety. However, the ricotta was salty and yummy.
Wine served: a white Burgundy from new oak

Course 3: Miso-Glazed Black Cod
-in a Shitake consomme with shrimp and scallop raviolini.
The fish melted in my mouth like butter. The broth was seasoned perfectly and while not a fan of shellfish, I could have eaten an entire plate of the raviolini. They were homemade and laced with ginger. A very satisfying dish.
Wine served: served with a very mild sake and I believe the sommelier used the term "droplets" when describing it.

Course 4: The menu called for a beef dish but I substituted their take on fish and chips. Or as they call it "Chips on fish".
It was a John Dory fish with thinly sliced potato circles, salted and browned to ridiculous perfection.
It was placed upon an onion sauce with a side of tartar sauce. I did not use the tartar sauce at all, nor do I think it was necessary.
This was by far my favorite dish. It is on the regular menu and if I go back I would seriously consider just ordering it on it's own.
Wine served: a red from Washington, perhaps called Sorello

Course 5: Tasting of Michael Mina Desserts:
Mini Root Beer Float, Butternut Squash Cake, Chocolate Pot De Creme
They were all very good. The root beer float was made with a root beer sorbet and the maple cream that accompanied the squash cake was excellent.
Wine served: port

A final treat of ice cream bon bons-one orange and one mint.

Overall I would recommend Michael Mina to anyone wishing to find a decent tasting menu at the lower end of the cost scale. I did not call ahead for any of my substitutions and they were very accommodating since Marvin wanted to have the regular tasting menu. The only thing they didn't do that the other restaurants did was to give me different wines when I substituted dishes. It wasn't a huge deal, but would have been a nice touch.

More reviews to come...

Las Vegas


So the super secret birthday trip was to Las Vegas. I was able to keep the secret all the way until we entered the airport in Bozeman. We hopped the inaugural flight from Allegient Air to Las Vegas complete with Elvis, a Las Vegas Showgirl and free champagne. It was the most fun I have had on a flight in a long time.


Elvis on the plane.

We checked into Treasure Island (now called TI) and I was thoroughly impressed with the remodel. The rooms were well done and comfortable and most importantly the walls were thick enough. Remember Las Vegas never sleeps but I at least try. We were starving and headed to Kahunaville (a bar/restaurant at the hotel) and had the only so-so meal we had all weekend. We gambled a bit then went back to the room to get ready for delicious meal numero uno.

We headed to Michael Mina in the Bellagio. We stopped first at this bakery next store to drool over the chocolate fountain in a glass case. I will be posting the review of the restaurant in a separate post because it warrants it.

All and all I think Marvin was very surprised and happy to get out of town for a while. And as usual, Vegas never disappoints. And the economy? What crisis? Vegas was packed and the money was flowing. I of course was thrilled and have already been checking flights to go back before we ship out of here in December.

Viva Las Vegas Baby!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Super Top Secret Birthday Trip

Tomorrow Marvin and I leave on his Super Top Secret Birthday Trip. Actually not so top secret since everyone but him knows. Needless to say I hope that it will provide me with tons of things to post on my blog here.
Sorry Marvin no clues!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Happy Birthday Suey and Laura!

As usual slacking on the cards. So a shout out to my favorite twins Suey and Laura! Happy Birthday girls. Since you are both busy moms I hope you find a little "me time" to relax and celebrate the awesomeness that is you!