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Just one buffet?

I am going to differ from most and recommend the Fountains Brunch at Jasmine in Bellagio. Probably the cheapest buffet you can get with a Bellagio fountain view. All the food there was of great quality and I had to reject oysters because I didn't have enough stomach room.

Not exactly cheap but I love the overall ambience, selection of food (not many but good quality) and service.

Apr 09, 2015
snow78 in Las Vegas

First attempt at Trip Report (Jan 16-19)

Not sure too. It took me forever to convince my husband to agree to going and then another couple more trips before we could get the reservations at the right time for Raku.

Yes, Kabuto is way more expensive. But I would have preferred spending my time at Kabuto or even trying out the Japanese Italian joint in the same strip mall than to go to Raku again.

Jan 23, 2015
snow78 in Las Vegas

First attempt at Trip Report (Jan 16-19)

First attempt at Trip Review. Pardon:
- The quality of photos, these were all cell phone pics;
- As we were M-life members and staying at Aria, our first dining choices have always been MGM properties due to convenience and wanting to garner more points; and
- Limited budget.

1. Sage, Aria, Las Vegas
First stop was Sage at Aria. It was an unexpected visit as we got in late, had issues with the room and was just plain tired. We walked in without reservations and was able to sit at the bar at about 8pm. If we wanted a table, we would have to wait 45 minutes. Service at the bar was pretty good but the chairs were not comfortable.

The kushi oysters were amazing and I love how consistent the quality of oysters are at Sage. The scallops were fresh but the main star of the dish was the braised oxtail which was really flavorful and melt in your mouth. As for the steak, I am glad I paid the extra for the steak. The steak was tender and well marinated. I savored every bite and wish I could have more. However, the tasting menu was just the right size and I was pleasantly full at this point. The dessert was disappointing as the deconstructed lemon cheesecake just did not work for me and was just plain weird.

2. Raku, off strip, Chinatown, Las Vegas
After much anticipation, I finally had my Raku dinner. Due to over expectations, Raku just didn't do it for me. Maybe it is because I didn't order the right food or my expectations were too high. The consolation was that dinner was surprisingly cheaper than we budgeted for at $70 for the two of us.

The tofu was ok only as I can find similar quality fresh tofu over here in Sunnyvale, CA. I would say the best part of the tofu was the green tea salt for the fresh plain one and the sauce for the agedashi tofu. Similarly, the toro was also just ok to me, as I preferred Kabuto's preparation and not Raku's preparation, but Raku's soy sauce was really good and I wish I can buy a bottle and take it home. The chawan mushi was a huge disappointment, as the texture was rough and it was really salty. I could not detect any foie gras taste to it and if the piece of meat on top of it was supposed to be foie gras, it tasted like pork instead. The yakitori were ok, but pretty tasteless except for the bacon wrapped enoki. But how can one go wrong with bacon? The oyako don was the biggest disappointment. The rice was soggy, chicken chewy and the egg overcooked.

3. Sweets Raku, off strip, Chinatown, Las Vegas
With a heavy heart, I trundled over to Sweets Raku and my night turned ok then. We had to wait a short while, but it was like a 15 min wait at 8pm. At Sweets Raku, I had a difficult time making my decision as such treats (getting to go to a non MGM property AND off strip!) are rare. But I was alarmed to see unfinished desserts when I was seated at the bar, thinking, "Uh oh, has their quality gone downhill?"

The answer, was no. The desserts were still good but maybe not to everyone's taste. I prefer desserts that are not too sweet or heavy. Don't get me wrong, after a 3-course dessert at Sweets Raku, one is bound to be stuffed to the gills but it just doesn't feel as heavy as regular American desserts do.

Anyway, we settled on Stella (strawberry tiramisu) and Jack in a cup (chocolate soufflé with banana pudding and vanilla custard). The first course was the mango sorbet and mint jelly. I hate mint jelly and the mango sorbet was way too tart for me. I long for the mango ice cream at JP Patisserie or the lychee sorbet I had the first time I was at Sweets Raku. Ah wells, Sweets Raku made it up in the main course with Stella and Jack in a cup. After a bite, my husband jealously guarded his Stella and refused to share anymore. The bite that I had was good, the bottom layer was surprisingly crunchy and the custard and strawberries a good contrast to the sweet layer. Ah wells, I had my soufflé and it was well prepared. The chocolate soufflé at the top was more like a punch to your face in terms of sweetness and how chocolatey it was but this was most probably due to my disinterest in chocolate. However, the custard melded the soufflé nicely with the banana pudding. One huge minus to the soufflé was that it had rum soaked raisins in it. I have been staying away from alcohol and the rum was really heavy! The cream puffs were as usual heavenly. I can eat 10 of these but that would not be good for me :(

I bought some macaroons from Sweets Raku and took it back to my hotel to have it later. I don't have much experience with macaroons but these are the best macaroons I have tasted. Great bite that crumbles softly in your mouth with the right amount filling. I wish I could choose my flavors but they come in a multi flavor pack that leaves me with an uneaten pistachio macaroon. Otherwise, all were good.

4. Don't waste your time at:
- Aria Café's burger: Dry, tasteless and just difficult to finish. Fries were horrid frozen ones as well. Ugh.
- Bellagio's Noodles for Malaysian food: I was craving for Malaysian food and made the mistake of going to Noodles to try their Malaysian food. I was deciding between char kuey teow (fried flat rice noodles) or curry laksa and the waitress recommended the laksa as it was authentic. No, it was not. I never had a worse bowl of laksa before and even instant noodles in laksa flavor taste better! Their roti canai/ prata taste worse than the ones I make at home from frozen packages!! At least the curry they serve with their roti was decent. It was just decent and not good. UGH!

Jan 23, 2015
snow78 in Las Vegas

Best buffet currently for seafood?

Aria's buffet is pretty bad. I would stay away from it.

Jan 23, 2015
snow78 in Las Vegas

Blossom Aria

Agree on the pricey aspect of the dinner there but we are on the strip. Service is on point and the non American dishes are excellent. The Peking duck skin has always been crispy for me and the duck meat juicy and roasted perfectly. I love the double boiled soup of the day but only take the broth and avoid the "contents" of the soup. The normal fried rice is a bit bland, I much prefer the savor taste of the XO fried rice.

A splurge when I am not getting a prix fixed dinner somewhere else.

Dec 28, 2014
snow78 in Las Vegas

Where should we eat dinner? [Cupertino / Saratoga area]

I like Jang Su Jang but I think others might flame me for my choice :)

Nov 14, 2014
snow78 in San Francisco Bay Area


Lemongrass is at most convenient. Food ain't that great, passable for Thai on the strip...

Nov 14, 2014
snow78 in Las Vegas

Dim sum close to 5th and Mission [San Francisco]

I think Canton is on the same level as Yank Sing for the traditional dim sum items but way cheaper. Only drawback is the ambience.

Oct 13, 2014
snow78 in San Francisco Bay Area

Ramen Yokocho in Bay Area! (San Jose)

I was only there for an hour and half so I wasn't able to see the crowds after that.

However, when I left, there wasn't a crowd to get it. You could just walk in straight away.

Oct 05, 2014
snow78 in San Francisco Bay Area

Ramen Yokocho in Bay Area! (San Jose)

I just got back from the Ramen Festival. I bought the Express ticket/ VIP ticket and practically had no wait getting my ramen at all. I guess getting there first thing when they opened help too. Bring cash because most of the things there were cash only. Plus we are having a heatwave in SJ, so dress appropriately.

- My first ramen bowl was from Tatsunoya. My favorite and spoiled my appetite for the other ramen. I dare say that this was better than Orenchi except there wasn't any runny yolk egg in the ramen (there wasn't any egg in the ramen I got).
- Kohmen had the right noodles but the broth was way too fatty. We left the bowl of soup for a while, and it quickly developed a film of fat.
- I made a mistake with Tsujita ramen. They gave a huge dollop of spicy miso paste and I mixed it all in. That turned the soup bitter and overpowered everything else. We couldn't finish this.
- Takoyaki was decent but the mentaiko sauce was heavenly.

Hope the above helps. And good luck if you decide to go.

Dennis Leary Delivers Via Meter-Maid Interceptors, Because He Is a Genius - Eater SF

I am actually terrified of him for some reason. I was a regular at HoS and see him quite often. He is somehow always brooding about something or another.

Oct 01, 2014
snow78 in San Francisco Bay Area

Some questions about Vegas dining

If pricing isn't an issue and you would want to stay on the strip, I really like the execution of Cantonese cuisine in Blossom, Aria. However, I have always ordered dishes off the menu and have not tried their tasting menu before.

Sep 12, 2014
snow78 in Las Vegas

5 lunches, 4 dinners

Thanks for your review!

Aria's buffet has been pretty much a miss for me. I had decent experience at Bellagio's buffet but maybe there is something about buffets that doesn't do it for me.

Sep 08, 2014
snow78 in Las Vegas

Cantonese banquet dinner - coming from Los Gatos

Is it any good?

Sep 03, 2014
snow78 in San Francisco Bay Area

Soba, naengmyeon or other cold Asian noodle dishes

Third, I-naba. Just a pain to get to it though if you don't have a car.

Aug 31, 2014
snow78 in Las Vegas

Fresh Mangosteens?

Do you have them this weekend?

Aug 29, 2014
snow78 in San Francisco Bay Area

Halal Chicken in Sunnyvale area


I am looking for halal/ kosher for Muslims chicken (raw/ to be cooked) in South bay, particularly in the Sunnyvale area. Would you be able to help.

Sorry if this has been asked before but I couldn't find any recent posts on this. Thanks in advance for your help.

ETA: Thanks guys! I went to Baraka (since it was close to home) and purchased two chickens at $2.99 per lb today. The shop is pretty small and didn't have much offerings, but they seem pretty ready to cut up my chicken to desired sizes. I am going to cook the chicken up in Malaysian curry style on Saturday and will post after that on the quality of the chicken. Thanks again!

ETA2: Curry chicken was a success. But frankly I couldn't taste the difference between halal and regular grocery store chickens. Perhaps the curry taste masked the difference. The cuts were irregular in size and next time, I will likely get a whole chicken and cut it up myself :)

Aug 25, 2014
snow78 in San Francisco Bay Area

Anyone been to Fogo de Chao recently?

Been there and the one in San Jose, CA recently. Salad bars are almost the same but the meats depends on the gaucho chefs' skills. Some are better than others but the picanha is always the best.

Aug 15, 2014
snow78 in Las Vegas

Looking for good cantonese or dim sum non buffet food.

Love the location too. As it is away from major traffic areas and easy to get to from LV strip.

Aug 10, 2014
snow78 in Las Vegas

Looking for good cantonese or dim sum non buffet food.

Yup, Chang's is my go-to for dimsum everytime I am in Vegas.

Aug 03, 2014
snow78 in Las Vegas

Raku vs Yusho

Raku, hands down.

Jul 08, 2014
snow78 in Las Vegas

Anything decent in the Paris Hotel?

Second Mon Ami Gabi. Right price points for the type of food they serve. Great salads.

Jun 26, 2014
snow78 in Las Vegas

Change at Kabuto. Gen-san is gone.

I am not a connoisseur of good sushi (having had limited good sushi experience), but my dinner at Kabuto over Memorial Day weekend was pleasant.

My husband went for the nigiri course and I went for the Yoroi course. The tuna appetizer was amazing, and coated with the right amount and high quality soy sauce. The memorable items in the sashimi was the surfer clam and oyster. I could have passed on the grill, as it wasn't particularly memorable.

As for the sushi, I think they finally heard the reviewers and ensured that the rice was of proper temperature (just slightly warm and good texture to complement the fish). I didn't quite like what they did to the otoro and kamashita mince over rice (as I felt that it was a waste of good fish) but when I ordered a piece of kamashita nigiri, it was literally melt in the mouth. The least favorite part of the sushi course was the ikura as I felt that it was heavily salted. Otherwise, if given half a chance, I would go back again.

The dessert at Kabuto (green tea tiramisu) was excellent as well and gave the desserts in Sweets Raku a run for their money.

Overall, appropriate price for something good. I would love to visit Gen-san's new place when it opens but I won't turn Kabuto down too.

P/S: The menu in Kabuto still talks about Gen-san.

May 31, 2014
snow78 in Las Vegas

Fine Dining Rec for SF Hound

Bacchanal is the most popular buffet right now, though I haven't been.

I feel that Le Cirque is over priced for what it is and prefer the more contemporary offerings at Sage.

May 16, 2014
snow78 in Las Vegas

Good Tom Yum in South Bay

I have been to a few Thai restaurants in the South Bay but have failed to find a flavorful and spicy Tom Yum soup filled with ingredients such as onions, tomatoes, mushrooms and various seafood. Would typically find kaffir lime leaves and lemongrass in the soup too.

Places I have tried so far:
- Pad Thai
- Thai Basil
- Rama V
- Old Siam
- Thai Spoons
- Thai Chili.

Thanks in advance for help!

May 12, 2014
snow78 in San Francisco Bay Area

Maestros vs Strip Steak

Didn't you ask this question two days ago on another thread?

May 07, 2014
snow78 in Las Vegas

Baba's curry powder in San Francisco or San Jose

Sorry! I read your question wrongly.

May 06, 2014
snow78 in San Francisco Bay Area

Baba's curry powder in San Francisco or San Jose

It's pricey though. But this is the only place I found online (or in Bay Area) that carries yee mee (the real deal).

May 05, 2014
snow78 in San Francisco Bay Area

Change at Kabuto. Gen-san is gone.

Thanks, BRB. I called Raku to make reservations only to find out that they are not open on the days I can go. So I am sticking with Kabuto for now and pray that it is not too bad.

Definitely will try Raku again in a trip where I can make it there. Thanks for the advice.

May 03, 2014
snow78 in Las Vegas

Change at Kabuto. Gen-san is gone.

Was undecided between Kabuto and Raku and decided to go with Kabuto without realizing this... Now torn between canceling my reservations (to go to Raku) or staying on course? Help, anyone?

May 02, 2014
snow78 in Las Vegas