Notes from the Road – Las Vegas, August 2008
Greetings from Las Vegas! As I am getting ready to hit the road for travel for at least 24 out of the next 30 days, I needed to recharge here at home. It’s been a fun few weeks, with some good dining and evening entertainment experiences. Also, being that the Olympics are in China, I have been motivated lately to eat quite a bit of different Asian cuisines. Really, you ask – yes, really! Also, I have been enjoying a little bit of our local ‘culture’ here in Las Vegas and bouncing around the city – so hang on…
The week started with a business lunch over at the Tommy Bahama Café (www.tommybahama.com) at Town Square (www.townsquarelasvegas.com). Most of you know my thoughts on ‘chain-style’ restaurants, especially those that have licensed a name for cache only, but let me tell you this place was actually pretty good. It is a very airy, window filled space (perfect for lunch) with a diverse, tropical themed menu. The restaurant is actually attached to their store as well so there is quite a bit of branding/cross-marketing. I had a simple rare Ahi Tuna salad with a mango vinaigrette, but my business associate had the best dish of the day, pan seared sea scallops and shrimp on a bed of arugula and spinach, very tasty!
Dinner that evening started my Asian adventures, with a visit to Pho Hoang (www.phohoangvietnamesecuisine.com), a little neighborhood family Vietnamese restaurant. This place is not fancy at all, however the food is fresh, all has flavor and it is consistent as the day is long. I usually get a version of Bun (Vermicelli noodles with meat), but opted for a Pho this time with beef and vegetables. The broth was soothing to my senses and with the addition of Hoisin and Sriracha it was perfect.
The next evening we met up with a dear friend here in Vegas for some Korean BBQ fun at Tofu Hut. This restaurant is located on Spring Mountain Road, in the Chinatown district of Vegas, and I must preface, you go there for the food, not the atmosphere. We walked in and had a great server (I think co-owner as well) who was able to walk us through the entire experience. She suggested beef short ribs, pork tofu soup (um, it is their name) and seafood pancake. Wow, wow and wow. The BBQ was buffered by the traditional Korean condiments including an outstanding radish Kimchi. Overall we had a blast grilling out short ribs and sampling the dishes – looking forward to heading back there soon.
The next night I took a break from the Asian flavors (I know, I know) and we hit up the neighborhood bar and grill, Home Plate. As a few of you know, this is a favorite of mine for a quick breakfast (24-hours mind you), salad, burger or just a drink while seeing our buddy Matt behind the bar. Being that the ‘plate’ is 5 minutes from my home, it makes for a convenient stop, which is nice and easy.
Friday included a rare chance to golf during the week, hitting the links at Bali Hai Golf Club (www.balihaigolfclub.com), located on the south end of the Strip. For Summer in Las Vegas the course was in great shape and extremely well laid out – my only complaint is that it is in the flight take-off path from McCarran International Airport. To you golfers you completely understand the need for quiet when trying to focus on a shot, but instead you get the roar of airplanes!
That evening I diverted back to Asian, this time sampling some Japanese sushi at Oyshi, an all you can eat concept. Now, most of you will probably groan here, but let me tell you this place is pretty good. The seafood is very good quality, the sushi chefs work fast and the price is extremely reasonable. They have many of the trendy-style rolls, but also offer good sashimi, traditional sushi and a nice selection of cooked dishes. After dinner I continued down towards the Strip, making a visit to the ever-busy PURE Nightclub (www.purethenightclub.com) at Caesars Palace. As the current #1 Nightclub in America, PURE lived up to its reputation with a killer set by DJ Hollywood, gorgeous and personable cocktail servers and an amazing nightlife environment.
Saturday evening brought another tour de Vegas, including more of my Asian experience with Vietnamese again! This time we ventured to Pho Vietnamese Cuisine at the T.I. (Treasure Island Hotel & Casino), (www.treasureisland.com). I had heard good things about this little spot, but never had a chance to enjoy it myself. This time we had the Summer Rolls (tasty and very fresh) and then I ordered my favorite Bun with Roasted Pork. Thank goodness the food was good, because the service was absolutely terrible! Unfortunately, some people in our industry should not be serving guests – this evening included one of them! We then continued over to Isla Mexican Kitchen for some Sangria and fun times. I personally think that Isla is very underrated as a Mexican restaurant in this city and would recommend you experiencing it yourself.
The rest of the evening was a blur, but included a stop for drinks at Christian Audigier The Nightclub (www.audigierlv.com), which is quickly becoming a new favorite spot of mine in town then over to Noir Bar & LAX (www.laxthenightclub.com) to check out the scene. One of my standard phrases has really become, ‘just another night in Vegas’ and this was in full effect that night. Fun was definitely had by all, but at the same time I have already experienced an evening like that many times before – tourists, you’re more than welcome to enjoy it 1 weekend a year, but we live here – scary!
And on Sunday; I rested. Phew, another Vegas weekend in the books! It’s going to be a quick week of meetings, phone calls and adventures before a trip over to Los Angeles. Get ready for plenty of stories and updates from LA, I promise you it will be an amazing trip! Take care, be well and Keep Eating & Drinking!