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Heads up on a "No Name" Pizza place at the Cosmopolitan Hotel

For seating, I saw quite a number of people taking their pizza to go and eating in the lounge areas near the pool table.

Sep 08, 2011
escog in Las Vegas

Jaleo vs Julian Serrano

Just got back from a Labor Day weekend trip and tried both on consecutive nights. Personally, I prefer Julian Serrano. This is not to say that both aren't good restaurants, though.

Ambiance/Decor: Julian Serrano had a much more upscale feel to me, while Jaleo was much more casual and whimsical. Jaleo was certainly much louder - it's open to the main floor and has lots of hard surfaces and the music can be loud. On the other hand, the people watching is pretty good - I was there around 7:30 p.m. and was watching the people come in from the pool, as well as, people bringing in pizza to eat in the lounge areas outside of the restaurant. Julian Serrano is better for a conversation with a dining companion - it's darker and more upscale, but not stuffy at all.

Service: Julian Serrano had better service - more polished and professional than Jaleo. The Julian Serrano server asked how I wanted my tapas paced and in what order and was able to deliver on my suggestions. The team at Julian Serrano was also very good - refills of water, clearing of plates, etc. Jaleo's food came out randomly based on whatever was ready at the time, I guess. Jaleo was also slower with longer intervals between refills of water, serving of tapas, delivery of the bill, etc. Again, not to say that the service at Jaleo was bad - it was fine - just not as good as Julian Serrano.

Food: I enjoyed the food at Julian Serrano better, but I think that's personal taste. My only experience with tapas is the 2 weeks I spent in Spain (Madrid, Barcelona, Granada, Sevilla, etc.) eating in tapas bars. Jaleo's food seemed a bit more authentic to me - the flavors were more in keeping with what I remembered. However, I enjoyed Julian Serrano's food more because I found the flavors were bigger. Spanish food in Spain seemed a bit bland to me. The Huevos Estrellados at Julian Serrano really hit the spot with me, as did the chorizo with mashed potato. I can't really think of a standout dish from Jaleo, except for the desert. The flan with oranges and cream was fantastic. It certainly beat the almond cake I had at Julian Serrano. I had high hopes for the bacon wrapped dates at Jaleo, but I found the sweetness of the dates to overwhelm the bacon, which is hard to do. The croquetas Jamon Serrano were o.k., as was the carne asada, but nothing to write home about, really. I had pan con tomate with manchego cheese at both places, and I found the bread at Jaleo to be soggier than at Julian Serrano. One other thing - Julian Serrano has non-alcoholic sangria, which is really just fizzy punch, but it's nice to be able to enjoy something in keeping with the meal for people who don't drink.

Value: Julian Serrano was a better value for me. I was completely stuffed and well satisfied and the bill was around $60 for a single diner. Jaleo was an $80 tab, and I wasn't nearly stuffed. Portions at Jaleo were much smaller, and each dish was rather pricey.

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Jaleo
3708 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89109

Sep 07, 2011
escog in Las Vegas

Great Food Truck Race

Can anybody stop the Nom Nom truck? They're an absolute juggernaut - a paragon of consistency, or are the other trucks just idiots? I was shocked they won in Jonesboro.

Sep 12, 2010
escog in Food Media & News

Chowing Down at 2010 Eat Real Fest in Oakland

Just to note - a number of the food trucks that were at the festival are trying to get onto the Great Food Truck Race, and voting opened today on the Food Network website:

http://foodtrucks.teamdigital.com/?vt...

The trucks from San Francisco that are applying are:

Spencer on the Go
Pizza Hacker
Curry Up Now
Sabor Curbside Grill
Creme Brulee Cart
Senor Sisig
Treatbot
Chairman Bao
KaraVan
El Tonayense

I don't know why Spencer on the Go is on the list, unless they lost this season and want to try again. I don't know how KaraVan would work since they need a bakery to do their cupcakes. Chairman Bao looks like they'd be a worthy competitor.

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El Tonayense
2598 Harrison St, San Francisco, CA

Creme Brulee Cart
San Francisco, CA, San Francisco, CA

Sabor
72 N Almaden Ave, San Jose, CA 95110

Chairman Bao
San Francisco, San Francisco, CA

Aug 30, 2010
escog in San Francisco Bay Area

Great Food Truck Race

I don't think anybody is advocating that there be no rules, but I think the fewer rules the better. Clearly, the producers have a number of rules in place - everybody starts with the same amount of seed money and they can't use their regular twitter account. These are two of the rules that we know about. I imagine that they've got other rules to cover use of outside money from friends/relatives - the "rich uncle" rule. A "no tips" rule would probably take care of that. But, beyond that, I don't think they need a lot more rules.

It should be noted that we've seen the trucks have to adjust on the fly. In Santa Fe, supplies were much more expensive than they had anticipated. The Ragin' Cajun team had to drop cheesecake from their menu because of prices.

Aug 30, 2010
escog in Food Media & News

Great Food Truck Race

Ageed that location is key for this type of business. And, while margin is important, each product has different challenges. Spencer on the go has the most expensive food because of their material costs, but they can get by with much lower volume than the others in terms of revenue. Spencer also has to find the right customers. The Nom Nom truck has hit the right balance - location, marketing, product, price, customers, etc. Their business acumen is just killin' the competition.

Aug 29, 2010
escog in Food Media & News

Great Food Truck Race

The advertising is good, but Nom Nom has always gotten good locations. They find where their customers are and go there. The Spencer on the Go guys moved just a short distance and doubled their business. That museum was a goldmine for them. The grill em all guys had a terrible location and did far less business than everyone else. If it wasn't for the Truck Stop, the grill em all guys are way on the bottom.

It does seem as though results are based on total revenue, and not on profit.

Aug 29, 2010
escog in Food Media & News

BLT Burger for lunch???

I'd put BLT Burger on par with Burger Bar. They don't seem to have as many options as Burger Bar does, but they had everything I wanted. The portions aren't huge, but seem a bit right to me. The shakes are excellent.

Mar 23, 2010
escog in Las Vegas

Rare 120 @ Hard Rock Hotel

Tried Rare 120 last Saturday, and I've been to A.J.'s which it used to be. The decor is considerably different. AJ's used to have an old school, rat pack vibe which I really appreciated. The current incarnation is very modern in decor, and looks more like an ultra lounge or club. On one wall they show a movie on a loop - they were showing Top Gun the night I was there.

I ate at the bar, and the service was about the same as it was when it was AJ's - pretty good. I found most of the women working there attractive, which is a good thing. I had the the soup trio as an appetizer, the new york strip (medium), and mashed potato trio.

The soup was squash and cauliflower with a skewer of little grilled cheese sandwiches. The soups were nice, as were the grilled cheese, but nothing remarkable. The new york strip wasn't great. I found it a bit tough and chewy which it shouldn't be for $42. I ate at Craftsteak last month and the steak there was much, much better. The mashed potato trio was lobster, truffle, and rosemary-parmesan. This was pretty good - the lobster had little bits of lobster in it which was pretty good. Unfortunately, I again compared this to Craftsteak and their yukon gold puree which was just excellent.

Conclusion? I miss AJ's - the steaks aren't better and I liked the old vibe. Service is fine. I stay at the Hard Rock most often when I'm in Vegas, and will give this steakhouse a pass. For the money, there are better places.

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Rare 120°
4455 Paradise Rd., Las Vegas, NV 89169

Mar 23, 2010
escog in Las Vegas

Suggestions for "affordable" steakhouse during boyz Vegas weekend please

Stripsteak at the Mandalay Bay is a very good steakhouse, and you can get coupons at restaurant.com - $50 certificate for $20. I think there's a 70% off code floating around, so you could get a $50 gift certificate for $6. They also have deals on other high-end restaurants at the Mandalay Bay, like Mix.

Dec 04, 2009
escog in Las Vegas

Las Vegas recs near the Hard Rock?

The only restaurant that has changed in recent years is Simon's which was replaced by Ago, an Italian restaurant. Pink Taco, Nobu, and Mr. Lucky's. A.J.'s Steakhouse did close recently, though.

Nobu is a sushi place and I like the Pink Taco (Mexican).

Mar 11, 2009
escog in Southwest

Las Vegas - Buffets, Fine Dining and Healthy Quick Eats

With buffets, you're gonna hit an absolute maximum in terms of quality - a buffet can only be so good given the parameters (food out in warming trays, cooked in large quantities, etc.) Are you looking for large variety or simply large volumes of food? Buffets are well suited to variety, but if it's just volume, then there are a number of good places in Vegas with large serving sizes.

I think Wynn, Bellagio, and the Sterling Brunch are pretty much top of the heap.

For fine dining, have you considered Italian? Batali has a couple of restaurants in Vegas with good reviews here on Chowhound, and I hear Fiamma at the MGM is very good.

Dec 30, 2008
escog in Southwest

30th b-day recs for vegas?? no info on other boards...

I've only been to L'Atelier, but I would note that it's mostly counter seating. So, it would be hard to converse with more than 2 people at a time. I did enjoy my meal there, but with six people at a birthday dinner, you might want someplace more conducive to conversation.

Nov 23, 2008
escog in Southwest

Hainen Chicken Rice down in Silicon Valley?

Well, there's Langkawi Malaysian Cuisine in San Mateo. However, their Hainan Chicken Rice didn't taste like the version I got in Singapore. The rice was a different color, and had different spices I believe. Not bad - just different.

http://www.langkawi-restaurant.com/me...

Sep 26, 2008
escog in San Francisco Bay Area

Vegas Buffet - Mandalay vs. Luxor

There's also the Verandah at the Four Seasons. They have a brunch on the weekend that I hear is very good. I've had breakfast at the Verandah, which was excellent, but not the buffet brunch - great location and service.

Sep 24, 2008
escog in Southwest

Plan my weekend in Vegas

Since you're staying at the MGM, you might want to check out the summer prixe fix specials at their restaurants:

http://www.mgmgrand.com/dining/taste-...

Aug 18, 2008
escog in Southwest

Best buffets if we don't want to eat particularly fancy food!

Agree with the suggestion for Planet Hollywood's buffet - not too fancy, good variety, good food. Le Village seemed to have a larger selection of pastries than other buffets I've visited, but the rest - cereals, fresh fruit, smoked salmon, pancakes, waffles, etc... are pretty standard fare everywhere. Wynn is very nice, but the selection is smaller than other buffets. Bellagio goes for the fancier items.

Another buffet to consider is the buffet at the Verandah at the Four Seasons - very good, but a bit pricey.

Aug 18, 2008
escog in Southwest

Summer Prix Fix at MGM

Yup. I knew that. I'll have the 30th and 31st to try two restaurants. Right now, I'm thinking Nob Hill and L'Atelier. Restaurant Week starts on the 1st, though, so I have even more options.

http://threesquare.org/promotion.asp

Aug 14, 2008
escog in Southwest

Summer Prix Fix at MGM

Thanks! The menus I saw for Fiamma mentioned "family style", so I had assumed they weren't an option for a solo diner.

Aug 14, 2008
escog in Southwest

Summer Prix Fix at MGM

Are there any restrictions on the prix fixe menus at MGM? I'm headed to Vegas over labor day, and wanted to try a couple of these restaurants. I'll be traveling solo.

Are these available at any time? I just wanted to know if the prix fixe menus were only available before or after a certain time. Also, it looks like some of these are served family style, and thus not appropriate for a single diner - is that true? I wanted to try Nob Hill and L'Atelier.

Thanks.

Aug 14, 2008
escog in Southwest

Ice Cream Sodas (East Bay)

Has Ozzie's closed? It seemed like it was open a couple of weeks ago when I drove by.

http://www.hypersphere.com/ozzies/

Oct 29, 2007
escog in San Francisco Bay Area