35 Steaks + Martinis [3,] Las Vegas NV


35 Steaks + Martinis

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Buttered Herb Focaccia


35 Steaks + Martinis Limited Edition California Sparkling Wine

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Lobster Escargot – Garlic Herb Butter, Parsley Foam, Hazelnut, Parker House Rolls


2013 Vincent Delaporte Sancerre

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Charred Octopus and Black Angus Filet Carpaccio – Spanish Chorizo and Pine Nut Tapenade, Quail Egg, Aged Sherry Syrup, Toasted Baguette

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Plateau of King Crab with House Cocktail Sauce and Remoulade


2009 Nickel & Nickel Dolce Late Harvest

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Foie Gras a L’Orange – Seared Duck Liver, Candied Orange, Cara Cara Marmalade, Almond Crusted Bread Pudding Toast

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2013 Bouchaine Chardonnay

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Smoked Bone Marrow – Beef Cheek Jam, Pickled Radish, Chimichurri Sauce, Grilled Bread


2013 Maranzas Creek Winery Chardonnay

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Roasted Baby Beet Salad – Tri-colored Beets, Petite Greens, Kataifi Wrapped Goat Cheese, Beet Paint, Banyuls

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Mango Sorbet

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2013 Faust Cabernet Sauvignon

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16oz Black Angus Chateau Filet Wellington and Tajima Australian Wagyu Ribeye – Truffle Yukon Gold Potato, Creamed Spinach, Foie Gras Mushroom Casserole, Bordelaise, Béarnaise

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The De Ville Burger – 8oz Ground Wagyu, Bacon, American Cheese, Fried Egg, Foie Gras, Onion Jam, Pickle, Crisp Fries


W&J Graham’s 30 Year Tawny Port


Crème Brulee – Classic Vanilla with Biscotti


Sticky Pig – Sticky Toffee Pudding, Maple Bacon, Boddingington’s Ale Ice Cream, Caramel Sauce


Hazelnut chocolate cappuccino – White chocolate espresso cream, hazelnut Dacquoise, biscotti


Chocolate Torte – Chocolate Mousse, Chocolate Ganache, Chocolate Cake, Candied Cherries


Double Espresso on Ice


Slated for big changes sooner than expected, a Friday Dinner at 35 Steaks + Martinis was prompted by a young man’s request for “a good burger,” the subsequent three-hour experience once again proving that the kitchen led by Michael van Staden and Marty Red DeLeon Lopez has long been overlooked even as the restaurant approaches the end of its current run with a menu that continues to outthink all the other Las Vegas Steakhouses.


Undoubtedly the Hard Rock Resort & Casino’s premier dining venue, a poolside location both a gift and a curse based on view and bass, respectively, it was as a party of three that a table with good lighting beneath a photo of Amy Winehouse was shared as General Manager Mario Gonzalez orchestrated a flurry of drinks, flawless service and even some parlor tricks, the duo on the line going well-beyond what was necessary to leave a lasting impression.


Intending only to enjoy the Burger and a platter of freshly cracked King Crab Legs, but soon seeing this modest meal morph into a four-course feast featuring a Baker’s Dozen menu choices – all enjoyed during prior stops – it goes to show just how indulgent each experience has been that the Bone Marrow had gone forgotten in such a short period, the labor-intensive brining and cold-smoke creating a rich spread that was good straight from the spoon, but even better when slathered on grilled Bread.


Still striking a chord with the Foie Gras, Escargot and Carpaccio while both the Burger, Wellington and its accoutrements set a high standard for Sin City, Mario’s wine choices were highlighted by well-priced Chardonnays plus the sticky-sweet Dolce, a Tawny Port older than either tablemate a perfect finish alongside four desserts from which the Sticky Pig and Chocolate Cake remain as elegantly composed as they are decadent.


FIVE STARS: Although change is now underfoot with the restaurant soon to shutter and then to rebrand, there is little doubt that whatever each of the Chefs and their GM do next will be infused with the sort of passion that made this unheralded spot far better than many might have ever expected, the never-ending “Chef Shuffle” on one hand unfortunate but on the other a reason for excitement.


RECOMMENDED: Visiting. Soon.

AVOID: Missing out.


TIP: Live Music in the Lounge begins at 7:00pm.

WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.


35 Steaks + Martinis - Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in 35 Steaks + Martinis, 35 Steaks and Martinis, Bread Basket, Coffee, Crab, Dessert, Foie, Foie Gras, Food, Ice Cream, Las Vegas, Lobster, Nevada, Octopus, Pork, Tasting Menu, Tiramisu, Truffle

Carnevino [8,] Las Vegas NV



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2013 Schramsberg Brut Rose

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Rosemary Focaccia with Lardo and European Butter

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Prosciutto di Parma ‘Riserva’ Gnocco Fritto

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Little Gem Salad with Guanciale, Gorgonzola, Pickled Onions, Apples, Walnuts


Grilled Octopus with Pickled Vegetables and Limoncello


Squash Blossoms with Blue Crab


Burrata Crostini with Balsamic, Tomatoes, Pesto and Basil


Carne Cruda alla Piemontese Crostini – Steak Tartare with Raw Musrooms

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Sweet Corn Agnolotti with Brown Butter


Bucatini all’ Amatriciana


Beef Cheek Ravioli with Butter and Aged Balsamic

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Gnocchi with Gorgonzola, Figs, Arugula and Walnuts

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Heritage Foods Cider Brined 20oz Pork Chop Milanese with Pepper Jelly


Strauss Farms Veal Chop with Porcini Rub

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BBL Dry Aged Bone-In Ribeye


Tagliata di Manzo – BBL Beef, Arugula Parmigiano


Grilled Corn with Pickled Peppers and Lime Salt

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Mascarpone & Guanciale Mashed Potatoes


Spinach with Garlic & Hot Peppers


Cauliflower with Lemon and Bagna Cauda

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PB&J Cheesecake with sliced Grapes, Salted Peanut Butter

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Bacon, Fig, and Pumpkin Tart

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Peach Budino with Lemon Butterscotch and Fresh Peaches


Banana Bombolini with Sweet Mascarpone


Espresso, Vanilla, Chocolate Stout Gelato


Melon, Peach, Apricot Sorbetti


La Colombe Double Espresso on Ice


Amaretti Cookie


Having seen a changing of the guard in 2016, Chef Nicole Brisson rising in the B&B Empire to oversee all the Orange-Crocs-clad Chef’s restaurants in The Venetian and The Palazzo, it was without any hesitation that another large-group meal was arranged to celebrate this year’s Olympia Weekend, the restaurant surprisingly quiet on a September Saturday at 8:30pm, even though the Steakhouse remains unrivaled.

Now toqued by Jon Littleton, though the Food & Wine event plus Vacation time saw one of the Sous on the line, it was at a lengthy ten-top in the back room that a group predominantly hailing from New York was seated, a Carte Blanche Prix-Fixe developed by Chef Brisson seeing four-courses and too much drinking, many of the items offered new for the Fall.


A truly epic spread of two-dozen items, the first round offered slightly different from the menu as Crostini or individual bites easily passed around, Steak Tartare and Octopus remain reference-standard examples of why Carnevino continues to accumulate accolades as one of the Nation’s best restaurants, the Little Gem Salad far more than the average Wedge while Squash Blossoms ate like Crab Rangoon on a whole different level as fresh picked Meat was married to just enough Cheese to make each bite stretchy and rich.

Always happy to see the team’s handmade Pastas, a recent trip to Italy raising the bar high, Carnevino’s Bucatini continues to shine as each hollow strand is delivered al dente with richly flavored Meat Sauce, the Off-menu Beef Cheek Ravioli requested in plethora by the man at the head of the table while both the late-Summer Agnolotti and new-season’s Gnocchi were smooth and supple, the portions trending sort of small but the flavors expectedly pronounced.


Going heavy on the meats, a total of three Bone-In Ribeyes carved tableside proving plenty to go around, sides continue to show creativity though the spice of Spinach and brine of Bagna Cauda were not to everyone at the table’s liking, both the Veal and Pork Chop received far more zealously with the zippy Jalapeno Jam delicious not only with the Meats but as a palate refresher as diners sampled around.

Having joked with the Chef and Staff that desserts were sold out by meal’s end in 2015 it was with a glut served that the meal would end, Chef Ashley Costa’s Peach Pudding Cake and Banana Bombolini as elegant in flavor as they are rustic in construction, Gelato a bit over-frozen on this particular evening, but the newly launched Pumpkin Tart and creamy Peanut Butter Cheesecake also very good.


FOUR AND A HALF STARS: Seeing more than a handful service errors during the evening, the Captain trying to keep it together despite backstaff leaving drinks at the bar, mispresenting plates and serving several items in sizes that were simply not sufficient to go around, the cuisine at Carnevino shows no signs of dropping off under the new Kitchen Staff as the menu continues evolve seasonally with some of the best Meat and Produce in town.

RECOMMENDED: Grilled Octopus, Squash Blossoms with Blue Crab, Corn Agnolotti, Beef Cheek Ravioli, Pork Chop Milanese, Bone-In Ribeye, Banana Bomboloni, Peach Budino.


AVOID: The Spinach did not particularly impress due to the hefty degree of heat while Gelato were rock hard with small ice crystals in the Espresso and Vanilla versions making one wonder if it had thawed and been re-frozen.

TIP: As noted, the menu was large format and some items offered are not yet featured. Contact the restaurant directly for similar group requests.

WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.


Carnevino Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Bread Basket, Carnevino, Coffee, Crab, Dessert, Food, Gnocchi, Ice Cream, Italian, La Colombe, Las Vegas, Nevada, Octopus, Pork, Tasting Menu

Hexx Kitchen + Bar [4,] Las Vegas NV


HeXX Kitchen + Bar


Iced Coffee


The Hexx – Absolut Vodka, Licor 43, Dark Crème de Cacao, Nocello, Housemade Chocolate Syrup, Cream


Desert Smash – Plymouth Gin, Blackberries, Rosemary, Agave, Lime Juice

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Cinnamon Apple Pancakes – Apple Butter, Oat Crumble, Brown Sugar Butter

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Corned Beef Hash – Corned Beef, Sweet Potatoes, Onions, Poached Eggs, Hollandaise

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Gravalax Benedict – Housemade Gravalax, English Muffin, Poached Eggs, Hollandaise, Red Onion, Dill, Crispy Potatoes

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Johnny Cakes – Corn, Candied Bacon, Maple Butter, Jalapeno Maple Syrup

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Hexxtraordinary Triple Chocolate Sundae – Ecuador, Venezuela and Madagascar Chocolate Ice Cream, Whipped Cream, Frozen Grapes, Bananas, Candied Peanuts and Hot Fudge

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Cream Cheese Danish

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Blueberry Muffin

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Chocolate Scone

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Blueberry Croissant

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Perhaps not as fanciful during scorching-hot summers when even misters and frigid airflow from the inside struggle to cool the fountain-view patio, HeXX Kitchen + Bar seems primed to continue as one of Las Vegas’ most outstanding 24/7 dining options for the foreseeable future, several new items from Chef Matt Piekarski infusing the menu in recent weeks while the desserts crafted by Carol Garcia are being expanded by a new trade program sending HeXX single-origin Chocolates up the street in exchange for goods from Bouchon Bakery.

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Always best for brunch, the scene bustling and vibrant with sports showing at the bar and music not-overly-loud above, it was as a trio including one youngster that a shaded four-top was shared overlooking the crowds on Las Vegas Boulevard, the team led by Ari Stotland continuing to operate at high volume with remarkable efficiency.


Remembered by the hostess and led swiftly to a table on arrival, it was not long before water was poured and menus were on hand, the list of Adult Beverages ever extensive with several large-format options that seem particularly outlandish at noontime, the decision to imbibe nonetheless deemed an appropriate one with both The HeXX and Desert Smash sweet but still Spirit-forward, though the latter’s rich fruit component may have been better enjoyed by a Boba straw or slightly finer puree.


Sipping Iced Coffee from Peet’s throughout the meal, a three-course offering of previously untasted items including three that are all-new, fans of Pancakes remain fortunate that although the top-tier Carrot Cake iteration is temporarily retired it has been replaced by an Apple Cinnamon version that finds textural contrast in Oat Crumble set against two styles of housemade Butter, the flavor not overly sweet unless one opts to add Syrup – a similar statement applicable to a stack of Sweet Corn Johnny Cakes topped in HeXX’s Candied Bacon with a piquant sidecar of Syrup infused with Peppers.

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Acknowledging that some veer savory where other go sweet, HeXX has now upped their Egg-based dishes by making cured Salmon and Corned Beef on-site, the Gravalax Benny slicked by perfectly poached Yolks joined by crispy Potatoes while the circular stack of Hash was equally well-crafted as finely shredded Sweet Potatoes proved an inspired choice to help offset some of the Salt.


Continuing to grow the dessert menu, but most intrigued by the Sundaes featuring HeXX’s exclusive single-origin flavors crafted by Atlanta-based High Road, it seemed somehow appropriate to choose the Hexxtraordinary Triple Chocolate Sundae “made for sharing with the table,” a 14-scoop Behemoth offering all of the restaurant’s frozen cocoa options, a selection of pastries taken to go delayed for several hours due to a fair bit of overindulgence in the Ice Cream upgraded by way of Frozen Grapes, Bananas, Peanuts and more.


FIVE STARS: Never content to rest on its laurels, the Chocolate program now rolling out Milk options in each origin with more to come as Matt and Matt travel to remote areas for newer farms, HeXX gets less attention than it should for being a place for good food and a great view rooted in the work of passionate people, something one would be challenged to claim for any other 24-hour venue located in a Las Vegas resort.

RECOMMENDED: Johnny Cakes, Corned Beef Hash, Hexxtraordinary Triple Chocolate Sundae, Blueberry Croissant, Desert Smash.

AVOID: Assuming anything less than a party of four Adults should aspire to eat the entire Hexxtraordinary Triple Chocolate Sundae.

TIP: Patio seating is offered on a first-come basis, the average wait for two a two-top approximately 30-minutes to an hour during peak times on weekends.

WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.


HEXX kitchen + bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Bouchon, Bouchon Bakery, Bouchon Bakery on the Strip, Breakfast, Coffee, Cornbread, Croissant, Dessert, Food, Hexx, Hexx Kitchen + Bar, Ice Cream, Las Vegas, Nevada, Pancakes, Pork, Tasting Menu

JinJu Chocolates, Las Vegas NV


JinJu Chocolates


Illy Double Espresso on Ice

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Toasted Almond Croissant

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Toasted Chocolate Croissant with Chocolate Ganache

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Fig & Red Wine Bundt Cake

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Milk Chocolate, PB&J Layer Cake with a Peanut Butter and Jelly Truffle

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Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookie

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Dark Chocolate Pecan Turtle

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White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cluster

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Pink Lemonade BonBon, Caramel Sea Salt Truffle, Honey Truffle

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Almond Butter Toffee


Fond of Jin Caldwell’s work at JinJu in the Container Park, but rare to visit due to the location, it was with great excitement that a trip was made to JinJu Chocolate, Espresso, Dessert on South Rainbow Boulevard, the expanded space now allowing one of the city’s best Chocolatiers an opportunity to truly show what she and her team can do.


Translated as “treasure,” but also obviously a play on its proprietor’s name, the new JinJu is found just South of Warm Springs Road in a quickly filling shopping complex, the corner-pocket location featuring the work of local artists and a Coffee shop soundtrack with each handcrafted confection presented elegantly in glass cabinets, a fully stocked Espresso station offering a variety of shots and styles in addition to Teas and blended beverages.


Open at 9am daily, fresh baked goods joining Cakes, Cookies and Confections shortly thereafter, it was approximately ten o’clock on Saturday that the shop was entered, Jin and her assistant exceedingly pleasant and happy to describe the concept as well as each item at length to each patron, only one Middle-aged woman arriving during a thirty-five minute stay throughout which a dozen items plus an Iced Double Americano were tasted.


First and foremost a Chocolate maker, the process described in layman’s terms on one wall with everything from Truffles to Bars to BonBons and larger creations available, it was nonetheless that baked goods commanded attention as a good way to start the morning, both styles of Croissant toasted to order with the Almond version far more subtle than many amidst layers of lamination while the Cocoa-topped iteration proved a far more decadent investment as the warm pocket was subsequently piped full of molten Dark Chocolate.


Opting to next taste some of Chef Caldwell’s cakes, a total of four available daily at $5.25 per slice, one would be labored to find a better price for a Bundt Cake as elegant and well-crafted as the one crafted from Figs, Wine and Chocolate, one of two wedges probably enough for one sitting even when served with a beverage while the other seems well suited for a glass of Wine later that evening, the Milk Chocolate PB&J slice perhaps a bit sweeter than it need be, the best parts those mellowed by salty chopped Peanuts.


Taking parts of each Cake to go and adding to them by way of a Brookie, Cookie and several Chocolates, those familiar with Chef Caldwell’s work from before will be happy to see all of her signatures returned along with several new options, the Honey Truffle a bit muddled in my opinion while the Salted Caramel and Pink Lemonade were both explosive and smooth in their delivery, the latter ordered largely because it seemed preposterous but actually helping to accent the bitter notes of the cocoa against the citrus cream filling.


Not particularly wowing with the cookie, larger chunks of chocolate likely a better choice considering the quality of her JinJu’s tablets and bars, suffice it to say that the shop’s take on Baked’s famous hybrid is every bit as tasty as the original and probably even better in-house warmed up, the Toffee a bit more flaky than some of the more buttery British versions encountered while the Pecan Turtle as well as the new Macadamia Nut Cluster were both a nice balance of flavors and textures benefitted by the quality of Jinju’s Cocoa Beans.

FOUR STARS: Expanding South Rainbow even further, the Boulevard already featuring the likes of Rosallie, Peridot, Gelatology, Sugar Bee’s and Drago Sisters, Jin Caldwell has created a beautiful space from which to offer longtime signatures while also exploring the boundaries of her creativity, future visits undoubtedly necessary to further explore.

RECOMMENDED: Chocolate Croissant, Fig and Wine Bundt Cake, Brookie, Dark Chocolate Pecan Turtle.

AVOID: Honey Truffle tasted mostly like Chocolate while the Cookie was just a cookie.

TIP: 10% off the next order coupons available via indoor flyer, Grand Opening coming soon.

WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.


Jinju Chocolates Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Breakfast, Coffee, Croissant, Dessert, JinJu Chocolates, Las Vegas, Nevada

Rosticceria Gislon, Venice IT


Rosticceria Gislon

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Fried Mozzarella and Sardine Sandwich

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Beef Arancini

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Cheese and Tomato Cannelloni

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Fried Custard


Located near Rialto Bridge and known by both the names Rosticceria Gislon as well as Rosticceria San Bartolomeo, the long and narrow space at Calle de la Bissa 5424 has undoubtedly become the rare restaurant as popular with tourists as it is with inhabitants of Venice, the combination of Deli, Salads, Pasta and Streetfood one of the rare “deals” in the area with fast food that is actually worth waiting in line for.


Owned and operated by the same family since its inception in the 1930’s, though a mid-90’s overhaul has rendered the space inside more modern than some, a cursory look from the outside may lead many to believe Rosticceria Gislon is little more than a slightly-more-busy version of several similar restaurants in Venice’s central tourist district, though those willing to step inside will be quick to realize that the combination of high volume and quick turnover leads to items far more fresh than the alternatives, the “fast food” cafeteria concept convenient for those able to snag a stool or those choosing to grab and go.


Divided into two distinct sections, made-to-order hot plates, Salumi, Appetizers and Salads at the left with warming baskets of Street-food, Sandwiches, Pizza and baked Pastas at the right, it was with a focus on the latter that this particular visit was made to the Rosticceria, a total of four choices confirming rumors that the food far outperforms the modest pricepoint, a total of just €7 exchanged for easily a pound of food, first bites of the fried Cannelloni showing a crisp shell give way to creamy filling with the acidic zing of Tomato Sauce.


Anticipating a few more stops on the day and thus cutting the order short of Baccala, Lasagna and Blood Sausage that all tempted with scratch construction of everything in-house, further tastes of Gislon’s goods consisted of a meaty Arancini that was good, though I’d have preferred the Fish version they were sold out of, a Mozzarella in Carrozza with Sardines unfortunately a bit greasy though rich in flavor and textural variations while Fried Custard gained all its sweetness from Granulated Sugar, the base itself sort of like the Catalana versions found in Spain with a gentle spring to the tooth but not a lot of intrinsic flavor by itself.



Posted in Dessert, Food, Gislon, Italian, Italy, Rosticceria Gislon, Vacation, Venice

Gelateria Ca’ D’Oro, Venice IT


Gelateria Ca’ D’Oro


Organic Hazelnut / Stracciatella / Ricotta + Honey + Sesame


Located at Str. Nova 4273b, just steps from the Ca D’Oro and its convenient Vaparetto stop, Gelateria Ca D’Oro is one of a handful of shops in Venice known for its Slow-Food ethics with each flavor made by hand daily from nothing but natural, organic ingredients – the prices only slightly higher than some of the most touristy locations near St. Mark’s Plaza with flavors that stray a bit further from the standard options plus several styles of Semifreddo and frozen Parfaits as well as Popsicles available each day.


Like most Italian Gelato shops in that the space is tight without any seating, a broader look at the building indicating that the standalone space is probably more than 2/3 kitchen behind the scenes, patrons of Gelateria Ca D’Oro are brought face-to-face with 18 flavors of Gelato and Sorbetti housed in a pair of freezer cases, the cost of approximately €1,50/sccop offering no lack of temptation, small tastes of Coffee, Peach and Amarena Cherry all very good without overwhelming sweetness amidst a dense and smooth base.


Entering the shop when it was empty only to see it quickly fill as two families arrived in the early afternoon sun, it was based on personal preference along with a plan to standardize a basis for comparison to other places that a cup of three scoops was selected, the Stracciatella and Pistachio both well-balanced with the former dialed up by crunchy Dark Chocolate ribbons while the later trended nearly savory with the flavor of toasted nuts almost indistinguishable from those fresh from their shells prior to salting.


Open from 10h30 to 23h30, perhaps the most extensive hours of any “natural” Gelateria on the island, taste three of the selected trio was an outlier not seen at any place elsewhere during the subsequent seven days from Venice to Parma and Milan, the housemade Ricotta di Bufala lent a gentle degree of sweetness from swirls of Honey as finely ground sesame seeds offered the tiniest bit of grit along with their distinctive savory taste.

Posted in Dessert, Food, Gelateria Ca’ D’Oro, Ice Cream, Italian, Italy, Vacation, Venice

Acqua & Mais, Venice IT


Acqua & Mais

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Fried Shrimp and Squid

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Brandade and Fried Polenta

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Seafood Arancini


A small food stall located near Pasticceria Rizzardini it was just past 11h00 when I doubled back to sample the Venetian Streetfoods of Acqua & Mais, the work of a former fine-dining Chef turned casual as close as Italy gets to America’s “Food Truck” movement with prices that seem almost like stealing in comparison to the quality of the cuisine.


Translated to “Water & Corn” and serving cold Salads, Polenta, grilled or fried Meat and Vegetables in paper cones, bags or napkins intended to be eaten on the go, Acqua & Mais is best located heading east on Campiello dei Meloni from the mainland to Ponte di Rialto, the small signage almost enough to render the storefront hidden in plain view were it not for a display of items along the front window that seem to be more than enough to bring the masses, locals as well as tourists almost invariably found in a several minute queue.


Staffed by just two men, both working prep with hot items grilled or fried fresh up front as others are readied in a rear-kitchen visible through the small standing area adjacent a counter where items can be purchased by weight, it was accounting for a relatively aggressive dining agenda that just three selections made at a total of €13,50, the results setting a high standard that similar dishes sold elsewhere for more money would soon prove unable to outperform.


Best known for the Fritto Misto, a combination of Shrimp and Squid lightly kissed by Lemon and fried crisp without a hint of grease, suffice it to say that each crunchy bite offers robust flavors at the very peak of just-caught freshness, the trimmings used alongside toothsome Rice, melted Parmigiano, Fish and Peas to create the best Arancini I’ve ever laid eyes on, the texture of a slow-cooked Risotto not any different aside from its lack of ability to be eaten from a napkin on the way through Venice’s never-ending maze.


Saving the best till last, though personal biases toward creamed Salt Cod must be noted as the Potato, Cream and Fish combination is undoubtedly an acquired taste, those craving the classic dish are not only recommended but strongly encouraged to taste the version offered in a deep cone with bits of fried Cornmeal for dunking, a light bit of herbs lingering just long enough to offset all the brininess with a texture that is as smooth as silk.


Posted in Acqua & Mais, Acqua and Mais, Food, Italian, Italy, Octopus, Vacation, Venice

Grancaffe Quadri, Venice IT


Gran Caffe Quadri


Double Espresso on Ice

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Ricotta di Bufala Cake

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Pistachio Cream Croissant

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Apple Tartina

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Gianduia Muffin


Located on St. Mark’s Square and featuring the work of Chef Massimiliano Alajmo whose cooking at Rubano’s Le Calandre earned him 3 Michelin Stars at the age of 28, Quadri as well as it’s offshoots Gran Caffe and ABC Quadri offer a more casual look at the Chef’s innovative interpretations of modern day Italian culinaria, a standing breakfast of four pastries plus a double Espresso at the Caffe proving comparably priced to the rest of the area with results expectedly good, but not particularly great.


Itself a small space with just two indoor two-tops, though the Michelin Starred restaurant upstairs and “ABC” program running from 11h30 to 15h00 on the square is far larger and refined, it was with multi-lingual service from a young woman that an order at Gran Caffe was assembled, the total cost of €14 seeing two of the items still warm at 09h15, first bites of the Pistachio Cream Croissant showing the texture to be light and flaky around the naturally-flavored filling, a follow-up Apple Tart as more hefty in spices than it was in sweetness with pockets of raisins an unexpected twist later to be found common in Italian interpretations of the dish.


Adapting like so many others to the increasing Gluten-Free demands of patrons, the location alone providing Quadri an impetus to please palates of all kinds, a taste of the Gianduia Muffin showed a rich texture created by the combination of Almond Flour plus the Housemade Chocolate-Hazelnut Spread available by jar for takeaway, the best bites of the meal still-to-come by way of the creamy, smooth and lightly sugared Ricotta di Bufala Cake.



Posted in Alajmo, Breakfast, Coffee, Croissant, Dessert, Food, Grancaffe, Grancaffe Quadri, Italian, Italy, Vacation, Venice

Pasticceria Rizzardini, Venice IT


Pasticceria Rizzardini

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Marzipan Cake

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Almond Cake

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Golosesso Chocolate Walnut Cookie

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Bufala Milk Ricotta Raisin Cake

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Custard Cornetto

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Apple Strudel

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Located on the very edge of the city’s commercial district, a route along the walking path from mainland to St. Mark’s Square undoubtedly a part of its appeal, Pasticceria Rizzardini was born in 1742 and stated to be Venice’s very first pastry shop the tiny space still continues to thrill locals as well as tourists to this day with an every-changing selection as the day progresses.

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Open at 7h00 each day, peak times of 8h00 on weekdays and slightly later on weekends almost always sporting a queue, a first look at the Rizzardini gives patrons only a small glimpse of the treasures inside the doorframe, early arrivals likely to see Strudels and laminated Pastries still warm, though apparently Bombolini do not come out until later along with items such as Tiramisu and a limited number of savory options such as Quiche and Panini.


A cash-only business with good English skills, though tight quarters and a predilection for serving regulars first can prove challenging to those browsing while attempting to formulate a plan, goods from Pasticceria Rizzardini are best selected for grab-and-go consumption considering the limited room for standing, a total of six items tallying 18.50€ bagged carefully with cardboard and paper wrapping only to be deconstructed one minute later, first bites of the warm Ricotta Cake quickly seeing it disappear with raisins the only necessary source of sweetness amidst a base both dense and creamy.


With half the items still holding residual heat from the oven it was onward to a Croissant topped and piped with Custard that the tasting would soon progress, both this choice and the Apple Strudel well-made if not particularly memorable considering the quality of other items, a Dark Chocolate Biscuit titled Golosesso something very unlikely to be seen stateside as the flavor profile trended quite bitter, occasional pockets of Semi-sweet Chocolate Chunks few and far between.


Moving on to two small pies, these amidst the more traditional items that decorate the store’s display, one would be hard pressed to say whether the Marzipan Cake or one filled with nothing but Sugar and ground Almonds was better, the former exceptionally sweet despite being light as a feather while the later reminisced the flavors of Nut Horns made at Christmas made by my Hungarian Grandmother with a hefty filling than is probably best for sharing.

Posted in Breakfast, Croissant, Dessert, Food, Italian, Italy, Pasticceria Rizzardini, Rizzardini, Vacation, Venice

Pizzeria Grigoris, Mestre IT


Pizzeria Grigoris

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Grissini, Crostini, Bread Sticks

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20 Month Monte Feltro Raw Ham

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Squizzato’s Farm Smoked Pork Cheek

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Warm Melitzanosalata with Sourdough Focaccia

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Bucatini with Sardines, Sundried Tomatoes

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Pumpkin Gnocchi with Zibello Bacon and Smoked Ricotta Cheese

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Margherita Extra DOP – Peeled San Marzano Tomatoes from Agro-Samese-Nocerino PDO, Handcrafted Mozzarella di Bufala Campnan PDO, Basil, Wild Oregano, Extra Virgin Olive Oil

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Carbonara – Agerola’s Fior Di Latte, Iberian Acorn Fed Pork Cheek Joselito, Egg, Black Pepper

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Baccala’ – Agerola’s Fior Di Latte, Baccala’ au Naturel, Semi-dried Tomatoes, Toasted Noto Almonds, Caiatine Hills Olives

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‘Nduja/Papaccella – Peeled San Marzano Tomatoes from Agro-Samese-Nocerino PDO, Agerola’s Fior Di Latte, ‘Nduja “Nero di Calabria,” Neapolitan Papaccellas


Panettone estivo con Gelato alla Vaniglia

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Gelato Bianco alla Vaniglia con Panna Montata e Frutti di Bosco

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Pan Brioche con il Nostro Gelato alla Cassata


Established in the town of Mestre in 2008 as a look at the past, present and future of Neapolitan Pizza by taking a seasonal Slow-Food approach but not adhering to antiquated rules of “authenticity,” Pizzeria Grigoris represents one of the new breed of Italian Pizza Makers and judging from a packed house of nearly 150 for two consecutive turns on Saturday night it seems locals have embraced the idea quite readily.

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Located just a few miles from the train-stop to Venice, where the residential landscape is only occasionally punctuated by a business and far from the tourist scene, Pizzeria Grigoris stands out immediately on approach by way of the well-lit patio and a small gathering of patrons in the doorway, though none of it compares to the first glance of activity on the inside with pizzas being fired every 90 seconds from a wood burning oven manned by two-pizzaiolos plus two men continuously hand forming dough from aging boxes in tight quarters while waiters and waitresses dodge to-and-fro with hot plates.


Arriving at 20h08 for a reservation window that theoretically extends from 19h30 opening until 21h30 for turn two, it was only after creative parking in a small lot that entry was made into the surprisingly ample building, the hand-written registry sending us immediately to a small table at the corner of the patio where we were literally brought face to face with shrubbery, the smell of burning incense notable from nearby but doing a limited amount to keep several small gnats at bay.


In all ways the definition of lively, both the colors and the atmosphere vibrant as several large parties celebrated with wine and local beers, service was not only English-fluent but decidedly affable in an quasi-“Hipster” manner, the basket of dried breads proving a tempting place to start munching as the menus were perused, everything either made in-house or from the very best local ingredients including an ancient Sourdough starter and 100% Wheat Stone Milled Flour.


Tucked away to the side, but generally looked after quite well despite the bustle of the room, it was perhaps twenty minutes after seating that a round of antipasti was presented and with encouragement from the waiter that we would not be rushed through our meal it was with great glee that four hands reached for Ham, Bread and hot Eggplant spread, the 20 Month Monte Feltro a particularly refined taste shaved so thin that it was translucent while the Melitzanosalata may indeed have leaned a bit Greek in such a setting, though at the same time delivering smoky sweetness that was no worse for it.


Undoubtedly a place where one could go all-in without even ordering a Pizza, the soft Breads all delivered hot from the oven and seducing even with just a splash of oil, two Pastas were eventually selected from a list of five options, the handmade Bucatin left wth just the right amount of chew beneath sliced Sardines and Sundried Tomatoes slicked in Olive Oil while the plump Pumpkin Dumplings immediately set a high standard by being at the same time awash with flavor and almost as light as air.


Onward to the raison d’etre, four pies arriving true-to-word ten-minutes after the order was placed, it almost seems unfair to “rank” what Pizzeria Grigoris is doing in the context of only having eaten Pizza in North America to this moment, each pie a virtuoso performance in terms of composition as the spicy Calabrian Peppers found balance in Organic Papaccellas much as the brine of Salt Cod was offset by Sundried Tomatoes and Slivered Almonds.


Holding true that a Pizza is only as good as it’s crust, each base crackling to the teeth with fermentation and flame yielding a good stretch imbued with smoke and slight sours, it was with only a cooled slice of Carbonara left that was returned to the kitchen when the table was all quite sated, a trio of Gelato-based desserts forgivingly light and all quite delicious, the Brioche Sandwich most impressive featuring a smooth center made that day from locally grown Pistachios.


Posted in Bread Basket, Dessert, Food, Gnocchi, Grigoris, Ice Cream, Italian, Italy, Mestre, Pizza, Pizzeria Grigoris, Pork, Vacation, Venice

Sprungli Café ZRH, Zurich CH


Sprungli Café Zurich Airport

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Luxemburgerli – Strawberry Cheesecake, Champagne, Champagne Deluxe, Lemon, Bourbon Vanilla, Himbeer, Chocolate, Maracuja Chocolate, Caramel Fleur de Sel, Mocha, Hazelnut

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Almond Croissant

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Chocolate Truffle Cake

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Bourbon Vanilla Mille Feuille

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Amaretti Cookie – Almond Meringue, Kirsch Mousse, Grand Cru Chocolate Maracaibo 65%

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Fig Cookie

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Truffles – White Chocolate 24%, Dark Chocolate 72%, Caramel Fleur de Sel, Gianduia, Pistacchio, Hazelnut, Almond Butter


Founded in 1836 and since becoming Switzerland’s preeminent Patisserie, it was a 5+ hour layover at Zurich airport that prompted a visit to Confiserie Sprungli, now offering a full-service restaurant on the 1st Level of A/B Terminal with several more storefronts and kiosks laid out around the ground floor where they offer mostly just Chocolates and their signature Luxemburgerli.


Opened in the early 2010s as a supplement to in-terminal dining that otherwise seems to focus on quick-bites or market-style fare, Sprungli Café is laid out as a lengthily strip en route from arrivals to connecting services and presented in a casual setting overlooking the tarmac with a short walk to gates the service nonetheless is one of pure professionalism, the fact that they were sold out of signature Museli by 13h00 stated matter-of-factually, thus leading to a pastry focused experience plus a cringe-worthy 5.50 Swiss Francs for a small cup of Coffee.


Certainly a pricy place, though really no different from Laduree or many of the most storied houses in Europe, it was within ten minutes of ordering that three pastries joined an already-in-progress tasting of the bite-size Cookies sold by weight in the store that the Sprungli experience got underway; each Macaron impressive by way of its flavor profile though the texture is somewhat different from the classic French version as the shell itself seems more “buoyant” or airy with a mouthfeel that starts of slightly chewy before dissolving quite quickly.


Most impressed by the true-to-its-word Champagne flavored Luxemburgerli, though the Salty Caramel and Vanilla also fared well, Sprungli’s Almond Croissant next represented the last of that morning’s pastries with an atypical crunchy horn modestly laminated and stuffed with pure nut filling, the two slices of cake likely a better representation of what the Confiserie does best as both were elegantly presented with rich, natural flavors in several layers of contrasting consistency.


Saving a few more treats for later, the Fig Cookie certainly not to be confused with a “newton” as golden dough and sticky-sweet filling made adept dance partners in a square sizable enough to be shared, a bag of three Amaretti Cookies surprisingly proved to be the highlight of the morning as the Almond Meringue shell gave way to wispy Kirsch Mousse atop a base dipped in good Chocolate, the 65% Cocoa base used to form the bulk of Sprungli’s Truffles and Praline, of which the Pistachio and Almond were both exquisite.



Posted in Breakfast, Coffee, Croissant, Dessert, Food, Macaron, Macaroon, Sprungli, Sprungli Café, Sprungli Café ZRH, Switzerland, Vacation, Zurich

Very Berry Cafe, Las Vegas NV


Very Berry Café

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PBit Snow Box – Pbit Base, PBit Powder, Granola, Chocolate Chips, Condensed Milk

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Make Your Own Snow Box – Taro Base, Chocolate Crisps, Vanilla Pocky, Organic Honey

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Owned by the same investors who recently purchased Inyo Asian Variety Restaurant from Peter Chen, Very Berry Café launched in early August, the promise of “Snow” thinner than traditional Shaved Ice raising curiosity given the hit-and-miss nature of the more traditional iteration – shining at Jose Andres’ shuttered Ku Noodle while far less fanciful at a handful of Chinatown locations.


Technically Korean in its origin, the combination of Whole and Condensed Milk poured directly into a machine that oscillates rapidly to produce a chilly powder that falls atop one of several bases including Taro, Red Beans or Fruit, a first looks at Very Berry’s is striking in the clean lines, art and organic elements blended into an upscale yet relaxed environment, textured layers of white behind the counter where orders are placed as an oversized Teddy Bear occupies a seat just inside the door.

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Offering Waffles, Gelato and Drinks in addition to the signature “Snow Boxes,” several preconfigured versions offered for $6.99 with a similar cost to build one’s own, it was just past 8:00pm on Saturday that an approach to the counter was met by one of two Clerks, English clearly neither of their primary languages which unfortunately led to an order that seemed straightforward being botched more than once.


Undoubtedly benefited by location, nearby Yonaka already proving that the near-Strip shopping center can sustain an eatery doing good things, it was alongside several Korean patrons that a seat was located as a duo of selections was shaved, topped and decorated, the house-favorite “PBit” at first coming across a little weak before digging deeper to find an oddly-artificial ‘nut’ flavor without salt or sweetness, the later augmented for the better by the addition of Granola and Chocolate covered Crispys, though the Condensed Milk drizzle was spread a little thin.


Admittedly impressed by the texture as crystals slowly melt on the palate with almost no weight on the stomach, Box two was requested as a “Make Your Own with Taro Base, Cap’n Crunch, Vanilla Stick and Organic Honey Drizzle,” the first attempt sent back as it was presented identical to the Store-concocted Choco Roll and Condensed milk option while the second was accepted mostly due to time constraints, the mashed purple Tuber faring better than the PBit in terms of naturalness, though the unrequested Chocolate Cereal masked much of its distinctive flavor traits.


TWO STARS: Bringing something new to Sin City, but doing so at an excessive price-point compared to other choices for frozen sweets, Very Berry Café is most likely to appeal to those who enjoy the shaved-ice spots on Spring Mountain Road, though an inability to correctly fill an order may even leave that up for debate.

RECOMMENDED: The Taro base was tasty when cocoa could be avoided.

AVOID: PBit, Building Your Own.

TIP: Open Noon to Midnight Daily, larger format Snow Boxes offered for groups.

WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.


Very Berry Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Dessert, Food, Ice Cream, Las Vegas, Nevada, Very Berry Cafe

Standard & Pour, Henderson NV


Standard & Pour

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Pool Boy – Don Q Rum, Don Q Cocoa Rum, Blue Curacao, Pineapple

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Man Candy – Belvedere Peach Vodka, Sweet Heat Syrup, Moscato


Song Bird – Hennessy Cognac, Bouchant, Vanilla Bean Syrup

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Gin City – Hendricks Gin, Fennel Honey Syrup, Orange Blossom Water

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Garden Tomato – Stracciatella, Watermelon Radish, Thai Basil

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Salt & Pepper Fries – Basil Mayo, Horseradish Mustard, Smoked Ketchup

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Carrot Risotto – Black Truffle, Artichoke Heart, Aged Pecorino

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Scallop Crudo – Ruby Red Grapefruit, Avocado, Bagna Cauda

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Crispy Oysters – Sriracha Egg Salad, Smoked Trout Roe

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Calamari – Mixed Peppers, Cilantro, Pesto Aioli

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Tongue & Cheek Agnolotti – Red Wine Demi, Peppercorn Cream

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Venison Tartare – Cherry Moustarda, White Chocolate, Quail Egg

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Meatballs – House Ricotta, Sunday Gravy

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Snail Wellington – Prosciutto, Duxelle, Parmesan, Garlic Cream

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Date & Bleu Cheese Jam – Buttered Almond, Bacon Bread

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Mac & Cheese – Cheddar, Fontina, Havarti, Port Wine

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Coffee – Lavazza

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Saffron Rice Pudding – Pomegranate, Rose Water, Date, Pistachio

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Wine & Cheese Sundae – Cheesecake Blondie, Merlot Ice Cream, Brandied Cherry

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Lost Bread – Cinnamon Roll, Maple Icing, Toasted Pecan


Fortunate enough to have already seen the space by way of Friends & Family, it was with five of the former that Simon Hospitality Group’s Standard & Pour was officially welcomed to the neighborhood on Saturday night at 5:30, Chefs Harwell and Courtney both working the line for a room that was full to capacity by just past 6:15.


Promised from its conception to be a gorgeous room, the old Firefly re-imagined as a flowing space with florals and varied lighting used to impart a sexy yet approachable feel, visitors to S&P will immediately be struck by the lounge and balcony area offering a great vantage of The Strip and mountains situated Westward while the bar and dining room equally beckon to the right of the entryway, doors held open by smiling hostesses with another young woman confirming reservations at a small podium.


Greeting pals at the bar before an official welcome by General Manager Ed Tracy and AGM Chelsea Anderson, it was after brief chatter that the group was led to hemisected Oak table suited for large groups with good lighting, full views of the bar as well as the pass an added benefit, though a soundtrack best described as “EDM-Elevator Music” unfortunately bumps along too loud undermining not only the room’s attractiveness but also drowning out descriptions of many of plates presented.


Focused on variety, a total of fifteen dishes plus four cocktails providing a plentiful meal for the group without anyone getting *too* full, the night began with a $70 Large Format drink served neon-blue in a glass decanter, a purported serving for “six or more” far better suited for at least ten considering the size and alcohol volume, though the combination of Blue Curacao and Pineapple make the drink sweet and smooth for lightweights – the sort of thing that might get one into trouble if not weary of repeated pours.


Further impressed by the herbaceous Gin City and easy-drinking Song Bird while the humorously titled Man Candy gently stoked a fire behind sweet Stone Fruit, tasting got underway with a refreshing Tomato Salad that matched stretchy Stracciatella to bitter Radishes through bright Pesto followed by Salt & Pepper Fries that are fine, though a touch too “Mina-esque” considering the trio of accoutrements, a far greater bit of inspiration offered by way of the radiant Carrot Risotto that sees tender grains of Rice upgraded by way of Artichoke Hearts and Aged Pecorino amidst the aromatics of preserved Black Truffles.


A lighter menu than that of Carson Kitchen, the next three plates offering inspired looks at gifts from the sea, one would be hard pressed to select a favorite amidst the Scallop Crudo, fried Oysters or Rice Flour tossed Calamari, the former offering a clean balance of acid and natural sweetness while the others paired crisp seafood with a touch of heat, though not enough to overwhelm the subtleties.


Getting heavier as the meal progressed, no dish richer than the meaty Tongue & Cheek Agnolotti that sees elongated pasta packets presented beneath Peppercorn Cream and reduced Red Wine, house Meatballs are upgraded from simple bar-bites by way of spicy Sunday Gravy while the finely chopped raw Venison is a spotlight stealing plate that speaks of a kitchen willing to take some chances, the flavor deep and complex whether eaten by the forkful with Cherry Moustarda and White Chocolate or spread on Toast as intended.


Offered a few more plates before moving onto sugary things, another trio seemingly the only way to go, Snail Wellington unfortunately proved to be the meal’s low point as Harwell’s admirable attempt to make exotic foods more accessible saw the Mollusk get lost amidst Prosciutto and Mushrooms, the Port-Wine Cheeseball inspiration for S&P’s Mac & Cheese a smile-inducing riff on the polarizing holiday classic while the Date & Bleu Cheese Jam pays homage to Firefly’s Devils on Horseback by way of Carson Kitchen’s signature spread with particularly dazzling effects.


Turning attention to desserts, three of the four options available on this night, suffice it to say that I may have had something to do with Chef Harwell’s decision to put Rice Pudding on the Menu based on a dining recommendation while in Paris, the Mediterranean result an interesting riff that could just as easily serve as a savory mid-course while the Pain Perdu and Sundae each also offer more than just sweetness, the former awash with Cinnamon but unfortunately a bit dry in some parts while the beautifully composed later seems destined to be one of the dishes that Standard & Pour will be known for.


FOUR STARS: Rare to visit a restaurant in its first week, but in this case making an exception due to travel constraints and being too eager to wait, Standard & Pour shows Harwell and company already executing at a very high level, a few small tweaks and an improvement in the music all that the place needs in order to be truly great.

RECOMMENDED: Venison Tartare, Date & Bleu Cheese, Carrot Risotto, Scallop Crudo, Calamari, Wine & Cheese Sundae are all not just “recommended,” but truly excellent on a city-wide Scale.

AVOID: Salt & Pepper Fries and Meatballs are fine, but available anywhere, while the Snails are unfortunately overwhelmed by the pork. Bread Pudding would benefit from either a longer soak in the Custard or an additional sidecar of Icing.

TIP: Open at 4pm daily, complimentary valet and reservations by Opentable.

WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.

Home Page

Standard & Pour Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Bread Pudding, Coffee, Dessert, Food, Henderson, Ice Cream, Las Vegas, Nevada, Pork, Standard & Pour, Standard and Pour, Tasting Menu, Truffle

Cutting Board Filipino Gastropub, Las Vegas NV


Cutting Board Filipino Gastropub

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Dulong x2 – Silver fish sautéed in Saffron Garlic and Squid Ink, served with Garlic Baguette

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Escargot in Spicy Coconut – Julienned Vegetables, Jalapeno, Garlic Baguette

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Garlic Rice – Scallions and Fried Onions

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Fried Plantains – Powdered Sugar

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Crispy Pata – Crispy Pork Hock with Slaw, Soy, Lechon Sauce

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Crispy Pork with Egg Sisig – Belly with Onions & Jalapeno in House Sauce

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Oxtail Kare Kare with Tripe – Grilled Vegetables, Peanut Sauce, Fish Sauce

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Pacit Bami – Chicken, Shrimp, Sausage, Vegetables with Garlic Noodles

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Lengua – Mushroom Cream Sauce with Olives and Peas

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Bibingka Souffle – Milk Cream, Salted Egg Yolk, Fresh Cheese

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Turon a la Mode – Vanilla Ice Cream, Chocolate Sauce, Hot Plantains

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Suman – Sticky Rice with Ube, Mango, Crispy Coconut


Born in the rural Midwest and spending the better part of thirty-two years there while in school, suffice it to say that it very well be that I’d never really engaged in conversation with a person from the Philippines until moving to Las Vegas just two-and-a-half years ago, the island’s cuisine no less underrepresented in my dining history but also in the United States as a whole considering the number of their hard working people that make up the population in 2016 – the chance to dine with two local Chefs, one of them actually Filipino, plus a friend providing more than enough impetus to check out Cutting Board on Saturday afternoon.


Officially titled “Cutting Board Filipino Gastropub,” the extended descriptor part invitation to those unfamiliar and perhaps a bit cautionary to natives that the food is not exactly “authentic” to the style served back home, the restaurant took over an Asian buffet on Rock Springs Drive just off Lake Meade Boulevard near I-95 just a few months prior and having gained mixed reviews from trusted persons it was with a wide focus that a menu already undergoing several changes that an order was compiled, the dozen plates largely successful with portions that are not only generous, but often quite excessive.


Decorated in a manner not particularly ethnic, but more befitting a “gastropub” with limited décor aside from televisions showing sports, the layout of Cuttingboard features several hightops with backless industrial stools plus those uncomfortable steel shop-chairs at many standard four-tops, the better bet being to request one of the larger options suited for groups or communal dining that provide padded seats beneath the din of Pop-staples like “No Scrubs” from the 90’s and early 2000’s.


Listening to several specials while also seeing plates come out from the kitchen to others, the clientele largely Filipino families early before transitioning to a mix of Caucasians, African Americans and Latinos closer to two o’clock, it was merely minutes before the order started arriving, the $170 all-in cost without drinks quickly flooding the table with first bites of both the Silver fish and Escargot in Spicy Coconut proving to be robustly flavored even before being spread on slices of baguette liberally soaked in garlic.


Unable to resist fried plantains, the ripe fruit lent a gentle savory note here that was replaced by a crisp Shell plus sweet Chocolate Sauce in the Turon a la Mode served for dessert, attention was immediately diverted to a duo of plates that would prove amongst the best of the meal both in terms of size as well as portion, the sizzling Pork Belly Sisig served on cast iron quickly filling the air with a delectable aroma of Onions and Peppers while the Crispy Ham Hock was easily enough to be split by a family of four as the shattering skin gave way to the melted fat and collagen plus rich meat beneath it.

More than a little impressed by the complex Sauces native to the Philippines, everything from the Spicy Coconut to Lechon/Liver Sauce and Aged-Soy going well with both the items they arrived with as well as fluffy Garlic Rice, another surprise was found in the funky Fish Sauce that added another dimension of flavor to the rich Oxtail Kare Kare with tender bits of Tripe mixed in, the meaty Pacit Bami another intense dish chockablock full of Garlic while a daily special of thick-cut Beef Tongue was almost French in its inspiration, bathing with Peas and Olives in a Mushroom Cream Sauce.

Heavily pushed to by servers to taste the Bibingka Souffle, a dish that others have declared as everything from “delicious” to “disappointing,” opinions at the table tended to feel the latter more accurate as mild sweetness did little to mask the nearly raw, eggy center – a far better concept presented by a dish described as Suman with Mango Sauce and Toasted Coconut served over a roll of Sweetened Sticky Rice with mashed Ube at the center.

FOUR STARS: Taking on the difficult task of reinterpreting the cuisine of a nation with deeply ingrained traditions, Cutting Board Filipino Gastropub performs admirably with portions well suited for sharing amongst guests of any race while offering a whole lot to investigate for those who are willing to be adventurous.

RECOMMENDED: Crispy Pata, Lengua, Pork Sisig, Oxtail Kare Kare, Suman.

AVOID: Bibingka Souffle, dining with less than a party of four, and sitting on those awful stools or too close to the front windows where speakers blare.

TIP: Recently opened for lunch, 11:30am-9:30pm Su-Th and till 10:30pm on Friday-Saturday.

WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.


Posted in Cutting Board, Cutting Board Filipino, Cutting Board Filipino Gastropub, Dessert, Food, Ice Cream, Las Vegas, Nevada, Pork, Souffle

Downtown Summerlin Farmer’s Market, Las Vegas NV


Downtown Summerlin Farmer’s Market

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Indoor Farmer’s Market

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Sweet Potato Awesome

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Rooster Boy Granola


Living just three-minutes from Downtown Summerlin, but generally underwhelmed by the restaurants with no particular needs for their shopping selections, it is rare that there is an impetus to visit the nearly two-year old center that continues to thrive despite naysayers predictions, but taking the opportunity to visit the Saturday Intuitive Forager’s Farmer’s Market during a day dedicated to the Culinary Interns at MGM there is no doubt the Market has improved since its inception as Kerry Clasby and her team continue to bring together some of the best in our local food community.


Now spread across perhaps three-dozen vendors, the Arts and Crafts that seemed to dominate in the past replaced by innovative artisans making everything from Vinegars and Jams to Breads and Jamaican Grilled Meats, it was after a brief history on Kerry’s background that Fiamma Chef Pawan Pinisetti and Ms. Clasby herself led the team of young faces from vendor to vendor discussing everything from their growing techniques to packaging concepts, a few highlights along the way being Romano beans currently being used by Christopher Palmeri at Naked City Tavern and the Rooster Boy Granola featured by Geno Bernardo on the Herringbone Brunch Menu.


Particularly impressed by the passion of each vendor, a baker inside the Farms section selling a truly impressive Raisin Walnut Sourdough and a Canele that is rivaled only by only a fresh one at Bardot for the city’s best, other unique options include the aforementioned Granola formulated by Chef Sonia El-Nawal to meet any number of dietary needs and discretions, the freeze-dried chips from Joshua Kingdon at Sweet Potato Awesome truly defining a “Super Food that tastes like junk food” with each crackling bite the sort of thing perfect for a low-glycemic snack.


Offered from 9a-2p on Saturday’s, the produce on the pricey side but certainly a “get what you pay for” sort of thing with Tomatillos, Dragon Fruit, Herbs, and Fairy Tale Eggplant all no more expensive than those at Whole Foods, those in the know are encouraged to arrive early for the best quality and variety of options, not to mention a chance to chat with Chefs like Hemant Kishore of the soon to open Toddy Shop or to purchase one of Jonathan Pluvinet’s fantastic Almond Croissants while still warm.



Posted in Dessert, Downtown Summerlin Farmer's Market, Food, Las Vegas, Nevada

The Hummus Factory, Las Vegas NV


The Hummus Factory

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Housemade Pita with Herb Butter

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Factory Hummus – Garbanzo Beans, Lemon Juice, Garlic, Sesame and Olive Oil (plus a small sample of Ghost Pepper Puree)


Baba Ganoosh – Smoked Egglplant, Garlic, Tahini, Lemon Juice

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Falafil – Cucumbers, Olives, Tomatoes, Tahini, Housemade Pickles

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Gyro with Zucchini Fries and Pink Sauce

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Combination Plate – Beef Kabob, Kafta, Sujuk, Kibbi with Eggplant Fries and Pink Sauce and Yogurt

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Baklava – Filo Pastry, Walnuts, Sugar, Sweet Butter

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Shabiet – Filo Pastry, Milk Custard, Honey, Crushed Pistachios

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Rice Pudding – Rosewater and Pistachio

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Located on West Sahara Avenue, an area that seems to be growing by leaps and bounds with Eatt and Paradise India recently showing signs of life, The Hummus Factory from Tony Tabet represents the first Brick and Mortar location for a former Food Truck that gathered fans by way of delivering healthy Mediterranean fusion in a scene typically dominated by fried fare, tacos and burgers with odd toppings.


Bearing no association to Hummus Factory’s elsewhere, the restaurant owned by Tabet and his wife’s only “relation” being that the Chef’s Aunt brought Khoury’s Mediterranean to Las Vegas several years ago, The Hummus Factory occupies a lengthy space just West of Buffalo Drive and with seating for a tepproximately eighty stretching backward from a foyer flanked by a bar that displays the open kitchen the restaurant takes on a sort of non-descript feel that does little to convey its ethnicity by way of several pieces of art designed by the owners themselves, the music a bit more appropriate to the style of the menu, though at times the chants or singing do become a touch too loud.


Serving large portions across the menu, Mrs. Tabet acting as Maitre D’ and waitress explaining that the goal was to feed people as it is done back home, prices trend higher than most of the Valley’s Mediterranean options in part due to the fact that almost everything offered is meant for sharing, the ability to order samplers and substitutions a welcome addition for those who do not wish to fill up on rice with the average cost for a meal-for-two probably somewhere in the range of fifty dollars.


Dining as a duo with a goal to sample widely from sections ranging from dips and salads to sandwiches and entrees, it was with a few questions asked that the order was settled, a substantial three-course tasting comprised of approximately nine items with an all-in cost of just under $90.


Beginning with house-made Pita, certainly one of the best in the city with four fluffy puffs per basket, round one consisted of the restaurant’s eponymous dish that offers a creamy base with light herbs gently slicked in Olive Oil with an underlying bit of Citrus, the oddly spelled “Falafil” appetizer getting away from the neon green hues of some with a dense nuttiness that plays well off Tahini and housemade Pickles, the Baba Ganoosh another great flavor that does wonders for anything it is spread on by adding its satin texture as well as a touch of smoke.


Chuckling at the ridiculousness of Ghost Peppers, perhaps 1/8tsp causing a spontaneous cough and hiccupping fit from one at the table, it was with palates ready that more meaty options arrived for round two of the evening, the Gyro relatively standard fare flanked by gently fried slices of Zucchini (a $2.95 addition) that paired well with the sweet n’ savory “Pink Sauce,” while the Combination Plate was a far more fulfilling option highlighted by Spicy Sujuk and reference standard Kibbi alongside Eggplant fries that will leave all but the most strong-willed picking at them until the pile is reduced to nothing.


Offering three desserts, each charged $6.95 with everything, again, made in-house, The Hummus Factory’s Baklava is quite different from the standard in that each of the five fingers is only lightly touched in sweetness and thus extremely crunchy with a focus on the Walnuts and strips of Phyllo, a more traditional Rice Pudding dialing up savory notes with Rosewater and Cinnamon playing off Pistachios while the warm Shabiet happily steals the spotlight by way of creamy Custard tucked inside layers of crisp Pastry beneath a veil of Nuts and Honey.


THREE AND A HALF STARS: Priced a bit steeply for what it is, though taking the time to do everything from scratch no doubt warrants a premium for labor as well as skill, The Hummus Factory proves that the transition from Truck to Restaurant remains as possible as ever in the current restaurant climate, though the space itself could still use a bit of work before it feels like it has a true identity while dishes better suited for solo diners would be welcomed as well.

RECOMMENDED: Pita, Baba Ganoosh, Sujuk, Eggplant Fries, Shabiet.

AVOID: Gyro is average, Rice Pudding is overpriced, Ghost Peppers are dangerous.

TIP: Closed on Sundays, Yelp! Check-In scores a free Factory Hummus.

WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.


The Hummus Factory Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Bread Basket, Dessert, Food, Hummus Factory, Las Vegas, Nevada, The Hummus Factory

Chantilly’s Bakery, Las Vegas NV


Chantilly’s Bakery

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Bear Claw

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Cinnamon Roll

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Chocolate Chip Cookies and Snickerdoodles

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Raspberry Crumb Cake

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Butterfinger Cheesecake

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Filled to Order Cannoli

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Cream and Custard Éclair

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Butterscotch Pecan Streusel Muffin


Tucked into a shopping plaza on South Jones with its view from the street obstructed by a small Pho parlor, Chantilly’s Bakery is the sort of place that can easily be missed by even those searching for it, a desire to visit the place additionally compromised by a complete lack of seating and weekday-only hours.


Locally owned and operated, everything scratch-made on-site with a focus on custom orders including elaborate Cakes, it was just past noon on a Friday that Chantilly’s was entered and with the lone baker hidden somewhere in the back a buzzer alerted him to a patron, the young man emerging with a smile and describing each of the items on display with the sort of passion of a team that is justifiably proud of its work.


Far lower in price than other bakeries in the Valley, large wedges of Cheesecake only $3.50 with $2 laminated Pastries and Macarons just a buck, the decision was made after lengthy perusal to sample a wide variety totaling nine different items plus two duplicates, the total cost just $20.50 with some quite delicious, though the tiny 50-cent cookies were unfortunately dry and practically inedible.


Slowly enjoyed across the course of the afternoon, the filled-to-order Cannoli going first since Chantilly’s actually puts forth the additional effort that so few bakeries do, it was nice to feel the crisp shell shatter around smooth Mascarpone dipped in Chips of Dark Chocolate, the Éclair tasted next a surprisingly excellent rendition with crunchy Pate a Choux sliced and stacked like a Cream Puff, both the Custard and the Cream filling going light on the sweetness making for a complex and refined composition.


Giving the Cinnamon Roll and Muffin a short time in the microwave, a personal preference that undoubtedly benefitted the later, it warrants mention that better lamination can be found at several places in Sin City than what was seen in the $1.50 Roll of $2 Bear Claw, though both were still decent, the buttery Muffin a far better investment of calories and finance with a top of crunchy Streusel and interior studded with Butterscotch Chips.


Keeping Cheesecake cool for last, the slice easily 10oz or more, first tastes of the cardboard lined Crumb Cake made me wonder exactly where the advertised Raspberry was hidden, a deeper spoonful quick to reveal a seedless puree that was unfortunately underwhelming despite the overall quality of the base that it was mixed in, the Cheesecake taking the exact opposite route by going all-in with Butterfinger and a dense Graham Cracker crust that still somehow managed to allow mild sour notes to stand out.


THREE STARS: Challenged by location, décor and hours, though the staff is friendly and prices are a true bargain, Chantilly’s is worth the visit for those in the area looking for something sweet to curb a craving, the Muffin and Cheesecake perhaps even worth making a workday diversion.

RECOMMENDED: Cheesecake, Butterscotch Muffin, Éclair, Cannoli.

AVOID: Cookies, Bear Claw.


TIP: Monday to Friday, 8a-6p. Look for “BAKERY” on Signage on the East Side of South Jones near Pho 87.

WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.


Chantilly's Bakery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Breakfast, Chantilly's, Chantilly's Bakery, Dessert, Food, Las Vegas, Nevada

Standard & Pour, Henderson NV


Standard & Pour Friends and Family

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Scallop Crudo – Ruby Red Grapefruit, Avocado, Bagna Cauda

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Garden Tomato – Stracciatella, Watermelon Radish, Thai Basil

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Crispy Oyster – Sriracha Egg Salad, Smoked Trout Roe

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A beautiful space and a lively scene with music plus passed hors d’oeuvres, Simon Hospitality Group’s Standard & Pour officially opened its doors on August 24th 2016, but for a select group of friends and family the events of one night prior spoke to a space ready to light Henderson on fire with the sort of creative cuisine featured at Carson Kitchen in a larger space with more sophisticated décor.

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Headed by Cory Harwell and reinventing the old Firefly on South Eastern into something chic and fresh, first bites at S&P consisted of small bites from a clever menu using Simon’s idea of refinement neets accessibility, the silky Scallop kissed with briny capers sure to be a hit amongst those looking for light bites or appetizers to go along with cocktails, a Tomato Salad with soft white Cheese rich in herbs alongside crisp rounds of Radish.

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As much a ‘fun’ menu as it is a serious foray into new multicultural ideas, other menu highlights look to be the Wellington-style Escargot and Korean Pancake Tacos, both of them joining a clever riff on Firefly’s signature Bacon-wrapped Dates plus a briny Oyster cooked crisp atop spicy Egg puree and smoke infused Trout Roe.

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Now serving 4pm till 11pm, but with likely plans for midday meals as the word of Standard & Pour grows, post-sunset crowds will be happy for the cool weather pending as the restaurant additionally offers an outdoor patio for wining and dining, the privilege of a second floor setting allowing for an excellent Strip view.



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Standard & Pour Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Food, Henderson, Las Vegas, Nevada, Standard & Pour, Standard and Pour

Mr. Lucky’s 24/7 [2,] Las Vegas NV


Mr. Lucky’s 24/7

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie Shake

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Breakfast Bloody Mary – Served Spicy with Shrimp, Deviled Egg, Bacon + Sausage + Cheese Waffle Slider, Beef Jerky, Celery, Pickle

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Donut Hole Donuts – Cinnamon, Sugar, Nutella

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Butterscotch Pecan Pancake Shortstack – Vanilla Butter, Maple Syrup

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Home Skillet – Two Sunny Side Eggs, Ham, Sausage, Bacon, Bell Pepper, Onion, Mushroom, Tomato, Fried Potatoes, Melted Cheddar, Sour Cream with Whole Wheat Toast

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Cornflake Crusted French Toast – Vanilla Butter, Strawberries, Mascarpone, Maple Syrup

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Breakfast Quesadilla – Scrambled Eggs, Aged Cheddar, Pork Sausage, Flour Tortilla, Pico de Gallo, Guacamole, Sour Cream

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Barnyard Burger – Double Stacked 8oz. Beef and Turkey Patties, Brown Sugar Bacon, Hollandaise, American Cheese and Arugula on a Pretzel Bun with Fries

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Red Velvet Cake – Caramelized Pineapple, Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

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Sticky Toffee Pudding – Praline Tuille, Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

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Skillet Peach Cobbler – Streusel, Vanilla Bean Ice Cream


Originally visited in December of 2013, an early morning watching late-night revelers return to their rooms offered by a location overlooking the gaming floor at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Mr. Lucky’s has consistently remained one of the best 24/7 bets for a good meal amongst the Resort based options, a recent look showing plenty of clever innovation in a comfortable setting decorated in the way only the Hard Rock can.


Featuring a collection of Comfort Foods concocted by Hard Rock Executive Chef Marcus O’Brien, and manned by a dedicated team from front of house to the kitchen crew, Mr. Lucky’s 24/7 sits Casino-center in a sprawling space that features punk-rockers like The Ramones and Circle Jerks set beneath a soundtrack ranging from Funk to Classic Rock, the menu taking a similarly aggressive yet all-encompassing approach.


Focused largely on the All-Day Breakfast section, a few half-portions requested in order to sample widely without wasting food, the meal got started with a glass of ice water alongside two items certainly not undersized in their proper format, the daily “Pie Shake” seeing a fresh slice of Peanut Butter and Chocolate pureed into a Vanilla Ice Cream base with crust as the garnish – an even more eye-popping embellishment offered by way of The Hard Rock Bloody Mary with a hefty bit of spice tucked beneath a top-heavy skewer complete with Shrimp, Deviled Eggs and a Waffle Slider plus several types of Meat.


Told that the recently reformulated Sweet Cream Pancakes would now be featured with traditional toppings as well as a “Pancake of the Week,” suffice it to say that at $11.99 for a Full-stack the fluffy Flapjacks offer a significant deal for those looking to share, even the two-cake Shortstack large enough that most will not put a dent in it despite the current offering of Butterscotch Chips and toasted Pecans being especially delicious even without butter or additional accoutrements.


Continuing the sweet theme with a fryer-basket of airy Cinnamon-Sugar Donut Holes and a sidecar of Nutella, savories from Mr. Lucky’s Breakfast are highlighted by the kitchen sink-style Home Skillet with an assortment of Meats and Vegetables layered amidst skillet Potatoes beneath two Eggs and Melted Cheddar, the Breakfast Quesadilla offering a similar concept well-suited for those wishing to eat something lighter.


Still offering the same delicious French Toast as 32 months prior, a true case of “if it ain’t broke, why fix it?” with Mascarpone and Strawberries atop Brioche made crunchy by way of Cornflakes, a taste of one of Mr. Lucky’s Specialty Burgers showed a good sear on both Beef and Turkey Patties beneath Bacon, Cheese and Hollandaise, the Pretzel bun standing up admirably to the heft of ingredients, though those looking to not make a mess may still wish to indulge with a fork and knife anyways.


Extending the comfort food concept to desserts, American favorites like Cheesecake and Banana Splits joined by several more plus the aforementioned Shakes and Pies, suffice it to say that Mr. Lucky’s does not scale back when it comes to the sweeter part of the morning, afternoon or evening – the wedge of Red Velvet separating dense layers by ribbons of Cream Cheese Frosting while both the steamy Sticky Toffee Pudding and reference standard Cobbler are even stronger offerings with the former not dissimilar to a Bacon-spiked version at 35 Steaks + Martinis and the later perhaps trumping Yardbird for tops in Sin City.

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FOUR STARS: Not fine dining by any stretch, but going the extra mile to be better than it has to be, Mr. Lucky’s 24/7 again proves the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino to be an underappreciated property in terms of its dining options, and almost universally a bargain compared to similar Strip-based entities.

RECOMMENDED: Sweet Cream Pancakes, Barnyard Burger, Cornflake Crusted French Toast, Skillet Peach Cobbler.

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AVOID: Acknowledging food costs, the Syrup is unfortunately not 100% Maple. Additionally, in the face of the Home Skillet the Breakfast Quesadillas fall a little flat.

TIP: A menu update is upcoming with several new savories as well as boozed-up shakes. Several daily deals are also offered via the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino website, $2 Pie Shakes on Thursday just one of the bargains to be had.

WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.


Mr. Lucky's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Breakfast, Dessert, Food, French Toast, Ice Cream, Las Vegas, Mr. Lucky's, Mr. Lucky's 24/7, Nevada, Pancakes, Pork, Tasting Menu

Wendy’s Noodle Café, Las Vegas NV


Wendy’s Noodle Café

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Preserved Egg Congee with Pork

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Curry Fish Ball Skewer


Honey Glazed Eggplant with White Sesame

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Sweet Potato Fries with Black Sesame

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Kung Pao Mushrooms


Pan Fried Noodles

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Shanghai Soup Dumplings

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Spicy Steak Cubes and Rice Cakes with Ramen

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Rice Omelet with Seafood Alfredo

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Honey Walnut Prawns

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Chef’s Special Fried Chicken Wings

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Grilled Ox Tongue

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Mango Crepe

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Fresh Fruit Napoleon

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Snow Flower Sundae with Egg Custard, Vanilla Shave Ice, Red Bean, Herbal Jelly


Long on the Chinatown ‘to-do’ list and recommended by several folks as one of the better places to share plates in the area, it was with four friends and one youngster that lunch took place at Wendy’s Noodle Café on South Jones Boulevard, the menu embracing everything from “fusion” to traditional favorites with results that were somewhat variable.

One of the few free-standing restaurants in a high-density area where places seem to come and go with the wind, Wendy’s Noodle Café has been enticing diners since 2009 when its owner left her position at Chang’s Hong Kong Cuisine and Dim Sum, the restaurant slowly morphing over time to entice Western palates in addition to more traditional clientele while simultaneously growing its menu to more than one hundred options.


Divided into sections ranging from “small plates/tapas” to fusion, chef’s specials, rice plates, noodles and more a first glimpse at Wendy’s menu can seem overwhelming to those not doing prior research, the staff’s limited English – though certainly better than any foreign language skills at our table – seeing the order largely predetermined by the suggestions of others with fifteen plates divided over three courses.

Not particularly focused on noodles, but rather a variety of plates divided across the breadth of the menu to see how well the kitchen performs, it was with a large bowl of creamy Congee that the meal got started and with plenty of Pork as well as Century Egg included the rice was imbued with a deep sapor, the same to be said of the Kung Pao Mushrooms that were far less heated than some may favor, though that fact allowed the dish’s umami to instead come to the fore.


Ordering a plate of simple wok-fried noodles for the pickiest diner at the table, texture on-point though flavor was expectedly lacking, better bites were found in the densely packed Fish Balls paired with thick Curry paste, the Honey sweetened Eggplant a truly addictive dish while the Sweet Potato fries would have been greatly benefitted by the salty egg-yolk featured at other similar places.

Moving on to more plates, the total bill $145.34 before tip, XLB fell far short of expectations due to a thick and sticky wrapping with soup that lacked much depth, the ‘tapas’ of Chef’s Special Fried Chicken Wings and Grilled Ox Tongue each fairing better with the former crisp and spicy while the later was smooth and tender with a salty-sweet finish.


Offering a sizable portion of Walnut Prawns for just $14.99, the quality on par to those at Jasmine where prices run double for fewer, more good bites were found in the spicy Steak and springy Rice Cakes with Ramen as well as the unique Omelet folded around fluffy rice topped in a thick white sauce teaming with Shrimp, Squid and Scallops.

A bit weary of desserts at such a place, though pleased by the variety offered, three sweet items were selected to round out the afternoon and although the make-to-order Napoleon was far less layered than many of its French counterparts the Berries were indeed fresh amidst light Cream while the Mango Crepe ate something like a Fruit Roll-Up wrapped around more cream and with a ripe and juicy center, the Snow Flower Sundae putting an unset Custard base beneath Vanilla Shave Ice, Red Bean, cubes of Herbal Jelly.


THREE STARS: Expectedly lax in service, even with the restaurant less than 1/8 full, Wendy’s Noodle Café falls somewhere in the middle of the pack for Las Vegas Chinatown, the best bet undoubtedly going with a group in order to sample many things with a focus on less finesse-oriented plates.

RECOMMDENDED: Honey Glazed Eggplant with White Sesame, Kung Pao Mushrooms, Walnut Prawns, Spicy Steak Cubes and Rice Cakes with Ramen.

AVOID: Sweet Potato Fries and Shanghai Soup Dumplings. Prices for ‘tapas’ seem to trend higher than portions would dictate.

TIP: Open 11a-11p daily, full menu available online.

WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.


Wendy's Noodle Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Dessert, Food, Ice Cream, Las Vegas, Nevada, Pork, Wendy's, Wendy's Noodle, Wendy's Noodle Cafe