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E by Jose Andres, any other secret restaurants?

Check out Pin-Up at pH next time. IMO, better.

about 1 hour ago
uhockey in Las Vegas

E by Jose Andres, any other secret restaurants?

...the most frequently reviewed spot in the place. ;)

about 8 hours ago
uhockey in Las Vegas

Vegetarian

Yep. Every one of 'em.
Scarpetta also offers Veg/Vegan/Gluten Free Menus.

about 20 hours ago
uhockey in Las Vegas

8/16/14 Dining Report - 24 Seven Cafe, Earl of Sandwich, Carson Kitchen, Viva Las Arepas, Art of Flavors, Slice of Vegas

It appears the new "Perq" at SLS is going to do similar. Interesting. Apparently a place in Brooklyn has already copped the idea, but to the best of my knowledge no one was doing it before AoF. I put some pictures of the Lombardo in my post, for those following the link.

2 days ago
uhockey in Las Vegas

8/16/14 Dining Report - 24 Seven Cafe, Earl of Sandwich, Carson Kitchen, Viva Las Arepas, Art of Flavors, Slice of Vegas

Nice. Good feedback. Funny how bad they try to push the Mac n' Cheese. To me it seemed mundane, and you ranked it last of your 4 plates. :-)

Aug 19, 2014
uhockey in Las Vegas

8/16/14 Dining Report - 24 Seven Cafe, Earl of Sandwich, Carson Kitchen, Viva Las Arepas, Art of Flavors, Slice of Vegas

Slice of Vegas - http://endoedibles.com/?p=21963

Located in the Shops at Mandalay Bay close to the entrance of Luxor it was largely a matter of their participation in restaurant.com’s discount program that led me to Slice of Vegas and having received $100 in gift certificates to the website nearly one year prior it was with $25 towards a minimum $37.50 purchase that I sat down at a rounded booth made for four, the USA vs. Brazil basketball game and Dallas Cowboys preseason matchups playing on televisions beneath the din of some forgettable pop songstress. Billed as a space for “Fun Italian Dining” with a take-out station to the left and bar-full of craft brews tucked behind it was just moments before 7:00pm that I took my seat and with the majority of diners tourists with small children the scene was decidedly rambunctious, a duo of servers including the young woman in charge of my table clearly struggling to keep pace with large orders despite efficient back-servers helping to bus tables and refill water. Unapologetically overpriced like the majority of Strip-side dining it was only after a few questions regarding the possibility of a half-and-half pizza (no for specialties, okay if you build-your-own) plus a description of the daily specials that I eventually placed an overzealous order and with an appetizer slice of foldable New York style thin-crust quickly arriving from the exterior facing window my first taste was quite favorable, the gentle crunch and pliable crumb on par with that at Pop-Up or Secret beneath a subtly sweet sauce and bubbling fresh mozzarella. Moving next to mundane garlic bread that no Italian mother would likely lay claim to it was fast on the thick loaf’s heels that my gourmet pizza would arrive and with ample toppings showing a keen eye for balance over the nearly cracker thin crust the meal was soon back on good footing, the punchy sour cream a particularly inspired pairing to mellow the marinated artichokes and herbal topnotes from the pesto and fresh basil. At this point just shy of my gift-certificate minimum I was left with a decision between the restaurant’s signature chocolate cake, a glorified brownie sundae, or balls of fried dough and opting for the later with a sidecar of caramel I’m confident to say I made the right choice – each of the seven cue-ball sized doughnuts perfectly crisp and virtually oiless beneath a hefty shake of cinnamon sugar as the duo of sauces jockeyed for position on the tongue’s already overcrowded sweetness receptors.

Aug 19, 2014
uhockey in Las Vegas

8/16/14 Dining Report - 24 Seven Cafe, Earl of Sandwich, Carson Kitchen, Viva Las Arepas, Art of Flavors, Slice of Vegas

Viva Las Arepas and Art of Flavors - http://endoedibles.com/?p=21941

Set beside Art of Flavors, where another star-studded sampling had just concluded in the best ‘ice cream sandwich’ ever to cross my lips, it was with long-held interest and a touch of gluttony that I finally entered Viva Las Arepas; my “some for now with the rest for later” order rooted not only in convenience but also in hopes of avoiding a later trip from home for dinner. Ever popular amongst locals and tourists alike with a menu focused on the Venezuelan flatbread sandwich alongside additional items both grilled and fried the time was just past two on my arrival to the deceptively large space and greeted by a short line with the dining room 2/3 full it would not be long before I found myself standing at the counter, a friendly middle-aged man expediting orders and assigning me number #36, my five boxed selections delivered to the table a mere fifteen minutes thereafter. Clearly a restaurant vested in its core with a menu infrequent to change it was in a duo of ‘sides’ that my meal began and although bland plantains dripping with excess grease quickly proved inedible the unlikely star of the show would in fact be the wood-grilled pigskins, a crispy exterior overlying supple fat with intense brine offset by tender chunks of fried yucca. Moving next to a pair of arepas it was with the wood grilled chicken that I started yet with flavors no better than the frozen stuff from Roots sold at Walmart I quickly moved to the pork-butt, the flavor almost indistinguishable from the bird as a trickle of oil ran down my hand into the napkin below. At this point tossing what was left of each sandwich to instead sample the rinds and root with accompanying sauces it was finally with the $2 Pastelito that I finished and although tasty enough to stand on its own I couldn’t help but think that for a buck per bite I’d have been better off staying next door with another scoop of gelato.

Art of Flavors -

With little changed since my original visit save for upgraded decor I’ll keep this update brief – order the Lombardo Grilled Gelato Panini and thank me later for it is by far and away the best “ice cream sandwich” I’ve found to date. Ever innovative and amongst the very best businesspeople in Las Vegas suffice it to say that Desyree, et al are a true local gem and with textures on par with reference standard operations like Capogiro, Grom, and Il Laboratorio with daily innovations far outstripping any of the above I would go so far as to say that there is no gelateria doing what Art of Flavors is doing stateside today…a grilled ice cream sandwich with savory and sweet in perfect harmony just another feather in the cap of a space that continues to wow.

Aug 19, 2014
uhockey in Las Vegas

8/16/14 Dining Report - 24 Seven Cafe, Earl of Sandwich, Carson Kitchen, Viva Las Arepas, Art of Flavors, Slice of Vegas

Carson Kitchen - http://endoedibles.com/?p=21907

Located in the slowly revitalizing Carson Building and steered by Chef Kerry Simon to nearly universal praise since opening the doors it was still with modest expectations that I met two friends at Carson Kitchen on Saturday and although largely ignoring Simon since a visit to his namesake restaurant during its residence at The Hard Rock Hotel I’m happy to say that lunch in the new space at 124 South 6th Street proved quite pleasant, a blaring Police-heavy soundtrack and service prone to trigger several ‘pet peeves’ aside. Small in size but chock-full of character with exposed beams and cinder-block styling surrounding the central kitchen it was just moments after 11:30 when our trio sat down and after an idiot-proof explanation of a menu “designed for foodies” with “everything is delicious” idioms aplenty it was on a meal of eleven items that we settled, the majority of the selections coming from those designed to share and each proving well priced given the quality and quantity of ingredients involved. Clearly leaning on Simon’s penchant for comfort food whimsy and benefitted by the skills of Executive Chef Matt Andrews it was specifically at our request that items rolled out of the kitchen with deliberate individual pacing and beginning first with creamy deviled eggs crowned in briny bubbles of roe the hits came quickly, a back-to-back pairing of chicken skins and bacon marmalade each justifying their early ‘signature’ status while a follow-up of nutty rabbit cooked tender in bright tomatoes over shredded squash showed equally well. Generally underwhelmed by the meaty lamb ‘tacos’ wrapped in lightly charred pita and finding the empanada overwhelmed by the onion-heavy sauce it was back on good footing that the kitchen found itself with a deep bowl of crispy sprouts balanced by pork plus balsamic and culminating in a flatbread teaming with mushrooms beneath an especially heady blue it was onward to dessert that we progressed, a trio of options served simultaneously with both the subtly sweet bread pudding and decadent brownie arriving boozed up and bound to impress.

Aug 19, 2014
uhockey in Las Vegas

8/16/14 Dining Report - 24 Seven Cafe, Earl of Sandwich, Carson Kitchen, Viva Las Arepas, Art of Flavors, Slice of Vegas

Earl of Sandwich - http://endoedibles.com/?p=21891

Located across from the golden arches in a far less fanciful space than its Planet Hollywood sibling I really had not planned to visit Earl of Sandwich on Saturday morning, but when my friend from 24 Seven suggested she was stopping by to pick up lunch for later I decided “why not?,” a pair of shared sandwiches and three fresh baked sweets each making me wonder why I’d waited so long to give the Earl a go. Another 24/7 operation with offerings including sandwiches, soups, salads, and wraps plus a later day menu of pastas and more it was just after 7:15am when we arrived at the small storefront and each opting for a sandwich that was subsequently split and swapped I bid my friend adieu before sitting down to eat, my first bite of the Hawaiian BBQ crunching through golden bread to discover notes of bright citrus overlying tender proteins with a smoky finish well balanced by the brine of Swiss. No less compelling than its island themed counterpart yet far more comforting in the midst of a Las Vegas summer it was only after finishing my half of the ‘cue that I turned to the Holiday Turkey and although more of a ‘fork and knife’ affair than a proper hand-held I will simply say that there may be no better sandwich in Sin City, the cornbread stuffing a perfect accoutrement to rich gravy and briny bird while the cranberry jam lends subtle sweetness at the end. Every bit worthy of its substantial praise, particularly for a ‘chain,’ it was finally in a few baked goods that my meal would finish and although neither cookie will win any awards the oft celebrated brownie would indeed prove a worthy bite, the soft and smooth center with crispy edges as good as any I’ve had in recent memory and all the better given the fact that it was free (with signup for the fan club.)

Aug 19, 2014
uhockey in Las Vegas

8/16/14 Dining Report - 24 Seven Cafe, Earl of Sandwich, Carson Kitchen, Viva Las Arepas, Art of Flavors, Slice of Vegas

24 Seven Cafe - http://endoedibles.com/?p=21871

Sort of ‘tucked away’ despite its large footprint just off the gaming floor at The Palms it was an early morning meeting that beckoned me to 24 Seven Café and although backroom favorite “Fortunes” is soon to shutter I’m happy to say that while the restaurant is unlikely to win any awards for innovation all four items that were shared at our table proved not only generously portioned, but quite delicious as well. Featuring an all-day menu save for a few items reserved only for dinner it was minutes before 6:00am that I met my dining companion in the hotel lobby and greeted by a pleasant hostess before being transferred to the change-of-shift servers we were given our choice of tables; a comfy booth with room for four ours for the following fifty minutes. Largely unpopulated given the early hour with choices running the gamut from griddled favorites to gourmet burgers it was in a duo of the former that we invested and with the kitchen exceedingly expeditious given the dearth of additional patrons it would not be long before our breakfast arrived, a pair of Texas Toasts dredged in custard and cornflakes soon bathed in warm syrup sitting beside a four-stack of fluffy flapjacks with a sidecar of boozy bubbling bananas easily justifying the $2.50 surcharge. Sharing plates as conversation flowed free it would not be long before both stacks of carbs were diminished and with check soon settled it was only as we reached the exit that I noticed the pastry case now full, a collection of cakes and cookies calling out to my substantial sweet tooth with my friend agreeable to further indulge – the end result a chewy yet subtle brownie half-coated by a dark chocolate standing in stark contrast to densely spiced carrot cake finding its foil in tangy cream cheese far less sweet than most.

Aug 19, 2014
uhockey in Las Vegas

8/16/14 Dining Report - 24 Seven Cafe, Earl of Sandwich, Carson Kitchen, Viva Las Arepas, Art of Flavors, Slice of Vegas

A mixed bag, but a few standouts to say the least.

Aug 19, 2014
uhockey in Las Vegas

What to do when the RESTAURANT cancels your reservations?

...it really depends, but this does happen. One of the most notorious spots in the world for such behavior is Schwa in Chicago, where I had it happen only to have them seat me the next day and comp the whole meal. A similar event then occurred at The Elm in Brooklyn and although I was able to flip another reservation to make it work we received nothing but a glass of cheap cider gratis at The Elm, even though they'd cancelled on my sister's birthday.

Aug 18, 2014
uhockey in Las Vegas

Off-strip Dining

Start with Raku and Sweets Raku, then look to Lotus of Siam, Kabuto, Chada Thai, Due Forni, Fat Choy, Naked City Pizza, Settebello, Yonaka. That should be a good start.

Aug 18, 2014
uhockey in Las Vegas

Excellent service at Marche Bacchus

Saw it on Twitter - either from Eater or Vegas Seven. Will try to dig it up. Stratta is now doing his own thing - at least 2 new restaurants in the area by year's end including an Italian Steakhouse at Gramercy.

Aug 18, 2014
uhockey in Las Vegas

Excellent service at Marche Bacchus

Its already been announced, but only as a consultant.

Aug 17, 2014
uhockey in Las Vegas

Craving sweets

Layers only slices one cake daily, for those who don't know. Truly an odd policy.

Bouchon's Cupcakes are $5, but worth every penny - their red velvet remains my reference standard.

Aug 15, 2014
uhockey in Las Vegas

NY Times/Pete Wells Weighs in on Off-Strip Las Vegas

Dave loves Chada. Went there with him and I loved it too. Sweets Raku is also superb.

Aug 14, 2014
uhockey in Las Vegas

NY Times/Pete Wells Weighs in on Off-Strip Las Vegas

...he also visited Giada. Clearly he wasn't comped like the local writers. :)

I like Wells, and am glad to see him giving some good local spots that are slightly less known a spotlight. Going to Check out Carson Kitchen this weekend and MADE LV from the Honey Salt (no &) team next.

Aug 13, 2014
uhockey in Las Vegas

Couple's first time in Vegas - Tastiest cheap foods please

7 days.

Aug 13, 2014
uhockey in Las Vegas

8/9/14 Dining Report - Al's Donuts and Cafe Burger, Waffles Cafe, Chang's Hong Kong Cuisine, Tiabi Coffee & Waffle, Alize

Alize - http://endoedibles.com/?p=21755

Pronouncing itself proudly as “Alize at the Top of The Palms” in a manner indicating the restaurant’s location matters as much as the cuisine it was with high hopes stemming from an April meal at Andre’s that a friend and I sat down to dinner on Saturday night and although the highly acclaimed 270+ degree view of The Valley more than lived up to the billing I only wish I could say the same for the rest of the night; a middling affair of mostly good food and subpar service marred further by a menu seemingly built to confuse. Every bit the elegant space with fine linens and a subdued color palate perched 55 floors above the casino below the Alize ‘experience’ begins the moment one exits the elevator and quickly whisked away to a prime Strip-side table after checking in with the hostess the night started out well, menus presented and questions answered with two resultant chef’s tastings to follow including a single substitution granted at a $10 surcharge in order to experience Andre Rochat’s signature Sole, a textbook rendition served with sauce Amandine that would prove the highlight of the meal. Featuring the culinary talents of Chef de cuisine Mark Purdy with a trio of options offered at each course it was after an elegant amuse and a trio of breads matched to exquisite butter that the proper menu began and with bumbled presentations including several mispronunciations dotting the evening it should really come as no surprise that it was only after the meal that we were made aware that the “first” course carried an additional $20 charge, the caviar itself underwhelming in quality and quantity while the delicate fish instead proved the star of the show. Moving next through the $135 progression of well appointed lobster salad to a standard duo of foie gras that soon gave way to the luxurious Sole and a pair of underwhelming lighter proteins before a thick cut of lamb it was largely with minimal risk that each course arrived and although culminating in a perfect soufflé after well appointed cheeses one could not help but feel a bit bored, a lively conversation with my friend as the lights of the Strip illuminated notwithstanding, of course.

Aug 12, 2014
uhockey in Las Vegas

8/9/14 Dining Report - Al's Donuts and Cafe Burger, Waffles Cafe, Chang's Hong Kong Cuisine, Tiabi Coffee & Waffle, Alize

Tiabi Coffee & Waffle - http://endoedibles.com/?p=21850

Tucked away in a small strip mall off Maryland Parkway and dotted with cute décor plus paintings from local artists it was alongside two friends that I sat down for a midday snack at Tiabi Coffee & Waffles and as much as I really wanted to like the kitschy little spot and their menu of made-to-order takes on the European classic our experience could best be described as mixed, an effect of dogmatic rules regarding the use of discounts and coupons alongside batters that proved utterly unremarkable, the toppings alone serving to save the day in the case of standard and $1-upcharged “Belgian” options, both. Apparently named as an acronym of the underlying motto “to inspire and be inspired” with free WiFi and an innovative drink list including a rich caramel and cocoa infused iced coffee for myself plus a heavily praised honey cream iced latte for my friend it was after only a few moments of indecision that our order was placed and chatting while we waited the tasting soon began with a duo of $2.50 “lollies,” the single strips of spongy dough pressed between hot metal proving paltry in portion and largely flavorless save for the sweet finishing drizzle that unfortunately warned of things to come. Entirely eschewing savories in favor of items far more sweet it was after perhaps a twenty minute wait that our proper order arrived and beginning first with a doughy Belgian topped with fresh berries beneath artificial tasting chocolate I quickly turned my attention to the alternatives, the Elvis faring a bit better by balancing sweet and savory over a slightly more study base while the “Honey I’m Home” proved the best of bunch in its sugar-crisp coating overlying a somewhat dense crumb – its “veganism” thoroughly compromised by honey and ice cream but the result all the better for it.

Aug 12, 2014
uhockey in Las Vegas

8/9/14 Dining Report - Al's Donuts and Cafe Burger, Waffles Cafe, Chang's Hong Kong Cuisine, Tiabi Coffee & Waffle, Alize

Chang's Hong Kong Cuisine - http://endoedibles.com/?p=21814

Described by someone I trust as the best Dim Sum in our little patch of the desert it was with high hopes that myself and three others sat down just after 11:30am at Chang’s Hong Kong Cuisine and although the Saturday Cart traffic pattern would frequently prove frustrating throughout the course of our 90 minute meal it was nonetheless with broad smiles that we worked out way through over a dozen baskets of dumplings and buns before culminating in a $12 prepped-to-order Roast Duck amongst the best in the city alongside kitchen fresh walnut prawns far outperforming their modest $6 tab. Undoubtedly a gluttonous meal but one priced competitively to that of KJ or Cathay House with food on par with the former and far superior to the second as items felt to be ‘too old’ by servers were twice delayed until fresh versions could be procured from the kitchen it was with a wide swath and steady pacing that we cut our path through a selection of over fifty options and with only the overly thick wrapper of the har gow and oily pan-fried mixed dumplings proving less than impressive to my tooth an 88% batting average was still quite impressive for any dim sum spot, let alone one situated well outside of Chinatown on an industrial stretch of South Decatur. Having already spoke to the quality of the crispy roast duck and snappy prawns skillfully balanced between cream and crunch beneath a milky sweet sauce it should generally go without saying that freshest items proved the strongest options throughout our meal and with the herb-tinged congee a personal favorite along with molten baked custard buns I’d be remiss to not also mention a pair of novelties that proved equally impressive, the first featuring steamed egg custard topped with tender shrimp in an umami-laden broth and the second a delectable Red Bean Bun delivered as a sticky golden spin on the cinnamon roll with a slight-savory finish bridging the classic Chinese ingredient to a Western palate in a way that many traditional Dim-Sum ‘sweets’ do not.

Aug 12, 2014
uhockey in Las Vegas

8/9/14 Dining Report - Al's Donuts and Cafe Burger, Waffles Cafe, Chang's Hong Kong Cuisine, Tiabi Coffee & Waffle, Alize

Waffles Café - http://endoedibles.com/?p=21798

Located in Centennial and another long-term member of my breakfast ‘to-do’ list it was finally on Saturday Morning after a stop at the new Al’s Donuts and Café Burger that I decided to stop by Waffles Café and although a suspicious server inquiring as to why I was taking pictures of the wall-mounted menu was a touch off-putting the food itself proved well worth the trip. Every bit a ‘locals only’ sort of spot, hidden in a small strip-mall on the East side of North Durango, it was just after 7:30am that I entered the brightly lit space and finding myself to be the restaurant’s only patron until a family of four arrived at eight o’clock both order and service were expedited, the mother and sons team chatting amongst themselves in the kitchen while I watched Obama address the Iraq situation via wall-mounted LCD in back. Obviously content in sticking to the waffle-centric theme with a menu entailing options either sandwiched or standard it was only after substantial debate that I eventually settled on two of the items listed under “Specials” and declining further customization beyond making my Banana Split base chocolate I’m happy to say both piping hot options proved divine, the mountainous split’s base harkening the flavor of hot cocoa beneath ripe bananas while the Sweet P’s supple crumb was soaked through with cinnamon spiced apples and a liberal ladle of caramel for a decidedly sweet experience just barely reined in by the slowly melting ice cream.

Aug 12, 2014
uhockey in Las Vegas

8/9/14 Dining Report - Al's Donuts and Cafe Burger, Waffles Cafe, Chang's Hong Kong Cuisine, Tiabi Coffee & Waffle, Alize

Al's Donuts and Café Burger - http://endoedibles.com/?p=21731

Every bit the “only in ‘merica” mash-up of Centennial’s Café Burger and UNLV stalwart Al’s Donuts that the name would imply it was just as the doors unlocked at 7:00am that I entered Tenaya Village’s newest tenant and although rather disappointed with my lone visit to Al’s Southeast Flagship I must say the expanded menu, larger floor-plan, and general cleanliness of the space is unquestionably a step up. Apparently concocted as a merger of two separate enterprises and generally keeping their goods divided aside from a bit of donut/bun fusion it was unsurprisingly to a full range of fried pastries that my early morning visit was met and although the friendly staff of two middle-age women informed me that the full-menu was in fact available I largely stuck to the carbs, a bahn mi or burger breakfast simply not my style when confronted with sweets. Beginning with the tried and true in the form of a mixed box of donuts both classics and fancy I was immediately impressed by quality of the crumb in old fashioned while the fritter proved far less greasy than I remember from the spot on Harmon, a plethora of apples folded into the crispy, cinnamon-laced dough. Moving on to things more novel it was not long before my breakfast sandwich arrived and offered at a mere $3.99 with a two sugared kronut holes plus hash browns the ham, egg, and cheese was relatively standard fare propped up by a now-softened kronut and although the concoction arrived a touch soggy after a trip to the microwave it still proved a pleasant foil to the intense sweetness of a quintet of 75-cent ‘kronut petite’ showing off admirable levels of lamination while house-made fillings delivered far better balance in this format than the full-sized versions I’d experienced from Al’s in the past.

Aug 12, 2014
uhockey in Las Vegas

8/9/14 Dining Report - Al's Donuts and Cafe Burger, Waffles Cafe, Chang's Hong Kong Cuisine, Tiabi Coffee & Waffle, Alize

It was a busy day. Verbiage below, pics in the blog:

Aug 12, 2014
uhockey in Las Vegas

Alize - review is coming, but first a question to the CH community

I wrote the GM, actually, and linked them to this thread.

Aug 12, 2014
uhockey in Las Vegas

Local mid-high end restaurant with chef actually there?

Raku. Yonaka. Carnevino (no, Mario isn't there, but Nicole Brisson has been killing it in that kitchen for nearly 2 years.)

Aug 11, 2014
uhockey in Las Vegas

Local mid-high end restaurant with chef actually there?

I don't think McClain is there often at all, he still lives in Grosse Ile, Michigan and spends the majority of his time there. He also Is "from" Ohio.

Aug 11, 2014
uhockey in Las Vegas

Alize - review is coming, but first a question to the CH community

Every. Freakin. Course.

Aug 11, 2014
uhockey in Las Vegas

Alize - review is coming, but first a question to the CH community

Oh wow, there is another thought. Nice. :)

Aug 11, 2014
uhockey in Las Vegas