Eating my way through Vegas

It's been a while since I went on an actual vacation.  Las Vegas has been on my list for about two years now.  I mentioned it a few friends and one group actually took me up on it.  I am thankful because they've been to Vegas before and, like me, are foodies so trying out an array of restaurants were second behind sightseeing on the agenda.  I thought I give a quick rundown of the places I was able to try while on the trip. 

We left Mobile a little late so we arrived in Las Vegas around dinner time.  The first thing on the agenda was to get something to eat.  We decided to check out Lotus of Siam.  It looked a bit shady since it was located in a rundown shopping center but the inside was very nice.  My friend, Cary, recommended we try a few things on the back pages of the menu or Chef's choices section.  We chose three things from the Chef Choice section, an appetizer that a couple we were waiting with recommended and a seafood salad.

(Clockwise) Nam Kod Tod #14, Crispy Duck with Chili Mint Leaves,
Braised short ribs with panang, Yum Tale #38 (I think), and sea bass over drunken noodles.
Lotus of Siam did not disappoint. I really recommend trying the Nam Kod Tod, which is crispy rice with sauce, peanuts and a lime dressing.  It's unexpected and nothing like I've ever eaten before.  It was really the star of the whole meal.  The panang sauce was good and didn't necessary need the braised short rib meat to enhance it.  I would just order Panang with chicken or beef and skip the higher priced short rib meat.  The sea bass over drunken noodles was also very good.  The fish was lightly battered and fried.  The noodles were dunked in this amazing sauce.  The sea bass was hands down of the entrees.  I like the freshness of the Yum Tale or seafood salad too.  It was a little spicier than the rest of the dishes because there was fresh chili peppers instead of the dried stuff.  I have to admit this was one of the more expensive places we ate at.  I think we got out of there with a check at about $100 without tip.

Lotus of Siam on UrbanspoonTo check out Lotus of Siam's website, click here.  If you would like to take a look at the full menu, click here.

Farm benedicts clockwise (salmon, Andy's sage fried chicken & pork tenderloin)
For breakfast on the following day, we went to Hash House a Go Go in the Quad casino on the Strip.  We were all checking out the menu and somehow decided to go with variations of the Farm Benedicts.  First off, these things are HUGE!  Anyone of the three dishes we ordered could have easily feed two people.  All of it started the same with a pile of griddle mashed potatoes then topped with two huge biscuits then it varies from there.  I got the smoked salmon with sun dried tomatoes, asparagus, two eggs and a chili cream sauce.  I thought the salmon portion was a little small.  The chili cream sauce is what made everything delightful though.  The actual chicken in the Andy's sage chicken didn't live up to our expectations.  We were hoping for more oomph it seemed and didn't really get it.  The surprise was the pork tenderloin because it was massive.  It was about two hand spans wide.  The pork was seasoned really well.  I thought it would be a little dry but it wasn't.   I liked it most with the BBQ cream sauce.  I believe prices started at about $13.
Hash House A Go Go on UrbanspoonIf  you would like to check out Hash House a Go Go's website, click here.  SN:  The closest one to Mobile just opened in Orlando.  Disneyworld, anyone?    

Hot n juicy special Black mussels and crawfish plus juicy cajun shrimp 
After that heavy meal, we went to check out a few of the casinos until lunch time.  Then we headed off the strip to Spring Mountain (Vegas' Chinatown) and a place called Hot N Juicy crawfish.  It's seafood cooked in your choice of 5 sauces then served up in bags.  We chose 1lb of black mussels and 2lbs crawfish in the hot n juicy special sauce along with 1lb of shrimp in the juicy cajun sauce.  There was a special where if you buy two pounds of one seafood you get a corn on the cob and some potatoes.  I wasn't all that impressed.  I didn't think the sauces were all that special although I did like the mussels because of the ton of garlic in the sauce.  However, the crawfish didn't seem to have as much.  The shrimp were big and easy to peel.  I think there are places around our parts of the woods that does seafood better.  The seafood range from $8.99 a pound for the mussels to $15.99 for the crawfish.

Hot N Juicy Crawfish on UrbanspoonTo check out Hot N Juicy crawfish's website or menu, click here.

Once we were finished, one of my friends wanted to get a massage.  It seems like Vegas has massage parlors like other places have nail salons.  There was one (sometimes even 2) in every strip mall.  One shopping center over from Hot N Spicy was such a place offering 1 hour massage for $20.  We decided to hit that place up and relaxed.  I mention the massage and the duration for a reason.  Right after we finished with our massage, we decided to eat again!  I know. I know.  We just ate but apparently the seafood was just an appetizer.

(Clockwise)  Nori ramen, miso ramen, shoyu ramen, then screaming with vengeance ramen with miso
Just down the street is this place called Ramen Sora.  It's a Japanese noodle shop.  All of it seemed to be the same basis except the broth is different.  Our waitress explained to us that miso is the more widely known creamy broth, then there is the shoyu which is soy sauce based.  The last is the shio which I think is a more salt based soup.  All four of our dishes came with some chashu or pork belly and half a soft boiled egg.  I ordered the screaming with vengeance bowl with miso base a.k.a. deluxe ramen bowl.  It's called that because of that pile of dark red spicy stuff you see on the top.  I never asked what it was but I can tell you it had a nice kick to it.  It made the broth spicy but nothing I can't handle.  The pork is literally melt in your mouth.  I like the ramen noodles itself too.  It doesn't taste like the dried stuff I used to live off of as a youngster.  The shoyu broth was also good.  You can definitely taste the soy sauce in the broth.  It was all very reasonably priced as well.  I think my bowl was $10 and the rest was $8.50.

Ramen Sora on UrbanspoonRoman Sora does not have a website but it does have a Facebook page.  Also, there's more pictures of the food and menu on Yelp.

For dinner, we went to Trattoria Nakamura-Ya.  It's Japanese Italian style food, which I thought would be interesting.  We had two appetizers and three pasta dishes including their popular uni tomato cream spaghetti.  The appetizers (octopus and squid) were just o.k. for me.  I could have totally skipped it all together.  Onto the pasta, I ordered a spaghetti with Japanese sausage and tomato cream sauce. BLAH!  It was not good.  In fact, even with four people sharing we left much of the dish untouched.  The shrimp and mushrooms in cream sauce was much better.  It tasted like your basic alfredo though.  The uni tomato cream spaghetti was by far the best dish of the meal.  The sauce had quite a bit of that uni (sea urchin) flavor which contrasted nicely with the tang of the tomatoes and richness of the cream.  There's maybe one other item on the menu I would like to try; the squid ink pasta but it's not a must-go place for me the next time I visit Vegas.

Trattoria Nakamura-Ya on UrbanspoonTrattoria Nakamura-Ya does not have a website but it does have a Facebook page as well as on Yelp and Urbanspoon.

(clockwise) Green tea creme brulee, juicy deep fried chicken,
poached egg with sea urchin and salmon roe and yellowtail sashimi
We literally walked out of Trattoria Nakamura-Ya and went about three storefronts down for another meal.  Keeping with the same theme, we went to a Japanese grill place called Raku.  It's apparently one of my friend's favorite places to go and the only place she can find the poached egg with sea urchin and salmon roe dish.  I have to admit it was delicious.  Once you break open the egg, it makes the whole dish very creamy.  You can taste the sea saltiness of the sea urchin.  The bits of okra gives it a crunch.  The yellowtail sashimi tasted so fresh and it just melts in your mouth.  I liked the deep fried chicken as well.  It looked like chicken breast that had been filleted open then rolled tightly before it's breaded and deep fried.  The end result is a very juicy and tender medallions.  I absolutely loved the green tea creme brulee.  It's definitely not as sweet as your typical version.  The green tea ice cream on top was also delicious.  FYI so you guys don't think we're that much more fatties that we actually are.  These dishes were tapas size so they small portions but definitely worth the more indulgent price tags.

Raku on UrbanspoonIf you would like to check out Raku's website, click here.

I think we kinda overdid it on our second day in Vegas because the next morning we had Lee's Sandwich for breakfast.  It's Vietnamese style po boys.  We had the cold cut trio and a meatball.  Both types were good.  I also like the fresh sugar cane juice and ice coffee from Lee's.  Then off we went to go to the outlets to see if there were any deals.  

It was just past lunchtime when we decided to head to Volcano Tea in Spring Mountain for some boba tea.  We took a wrong turn somewhere and ended up near Lotus of Siam.  Acting on impulse, we went ahead and stopped by for a quick snack.

We had a Thai beef salad and the fried rice dish from the first night.  The rice was just as delicious as we remember it.  It wasn't because we were super hungry after all.  I really enjoyed the Thai beef salad.  There was that great combination of spicy, salty, sweet and sourness. I truly enjoyed it.  

For dinner, we went to the Wynn casino.  I didn't take any pictures because well I think I was too busy eating.  It was $40 for a weeknight dinner, which I thought was steep but I guess it was ok since it did include Alaskan crab.  There was a lot to choose from and most of everything I had was delicious.  I would say it's very comparable to the Beau Rivage's weekend buffet in a lot of ways.

After dinner at the Wynn, we went to a show in front of Caesar's Palace called Absinthe.  I highly recommend it.  It's totally politically incorrect but hilarious.  The acts are nothing different than many Cirque Du Soleil type shows but you're so close it gives you a different perspective.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.  Plus, they allow you to take pictures as long as the flash is not on.  I was so engrossed I didn't take nary a one.  Damn!

After the show, we went to a Korean BBQ place called Honey Pig.  There's one in Atlanta as well.  I have to be honest.  I know we ordered Bi Bim Bap and either brisket or pork for the grill but by that time I was so tired I barely remember coming into and out of the restaurant.  I thought I share the pictures anyways though.  =)


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