Portofino Ristorante [6,] Las Vegas NV

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Portofino Ristorante

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Olive Oil Soaked Focaccia

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Caprese Salad – Heirloom Tomatoes, Bufala Mozzarella, Basil

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Meatballs – Fried Squash Blossom, Goat Cheese, San Marzano Tomatoes

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Grilled Octopus – Calabrian Peperonata, Fingerling Crisps, Salsa Verde

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Crab Cake Arancini – Lemon Saffton Risotto, Pesto Aioli, Fresno Pickles

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Beet Salad – Goat Cheese Panna Cotta, Candied Pistachios, Orchard Apples

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Burrata Agnolotti – Lobster, Chanterelle Mushroom, Roasted Corn Butter

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Pot Roast Raviolini – Baby Root Vegetables, Celery, Potato Confit, Pickled Pearl Onions

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Chicken Foie-Fredo – Hand-cut Fettucine, Herb Roasted Chicken, Chicken Cracklins’, Foie Gras Alfredo

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Ripatelli – Wild Boar Bolognese, Roadted Tomato Sauce, Goat Cheese Pesto

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Pumpkin Spice Gnocchi – Braised Venison, Candy Cane Beets, Gingerbread Crumble

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Day Boat Scallops – Cauliflower Textures, Smoked Prosciutto, Mascarpone Polenta, Pimenton Popcorn

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Rack of Lamb – Creamed Kohlrabi, Savory Bread Pudding, Honey Rosemary Figs

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The $65 Veal Parmesan for $55 – Melted Mozzarella, Housemade Marinara

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Veal Osso Bucco – Saffron Risotto, Bone Marrow, Gremolata

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Nutella Crème Brulee – Shortbread, Crystalized Sugar

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Traditional Tiramisu – Cognac Crème, Lady Fingers

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Chocolate Cake – Fudge, Vanilla Ice Cream

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Sorbetti – Market Berries, Lemon, Raspberry

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Gelato – Strawberry Cheesecake, Double Chocolate, Vanilla Milkshake

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A new menu, slightly ‘updated’ name and the same outstanding results recently defined another visit to Portofino Ristorante at The Mirage Hotel and Casino, Chef Michael LaPlaca and GM Chris Zadie continuing their reign as Las Vegas premier Italian Fine Dining Restaurant even though the executives overseeing the space have undergone a substantial change.

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Once again failing to update the interior from Onda, even though consistent accolades and in-the-know diner’s recommendations acknowledge Portofino to have completely reinvented the space under the toque of its Ohio-born Chef, it was just past six that five friends were led to a rounded table on the restaurant’s lower level, the “Ristorante” not making the concept any more “Italian,” though the music overhead did seem somewhat louder from this vantage point.

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Requesting the same Carte Blanche service as always, a four-course family style tasting comprised of nineteen plates soon to follow with three paired Wines, it was with slick pillows of soft Focaccia that the meal got started, the only change amongst appetizers a pleasant Beet Salad with balled Melon and Goat Cheese Panna Cotta shimmering amidst a bright Vinaigrette.

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Impressed as always by the rest of the starters, the Crab Cakes seemingly sweeter than the past – perhaps as a result of the season – it was with the Chef standing tableside that a five-piece pasta course was presented, smoothness exemplified by Burrata Agnolotti offering perfect little pockets mixed with big chunks of Lobster while last year’s Chicken Foie-Fredo saw a big textural upgrade by way of crispy Chicken Chicharones tossed with Hand-cut Fettucine and strips of tender white Meat glistening in unctuous Alfredo.

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Transitioning the wide-ribboned Ripatelli to winter by way of Wild Boar Bolognese while making a hearty pass at the Midwestern slow-cooker classic inside of tiny Ravioli, a tongue-in-cheek swipe at the “Official flavor of Fall” came across in LaPlaca’s ever-light Dumplings, a Ragu of braised Reindeer offering a slight bit of grassy funk that found its foil in thin slices of Beets along with charred Brussels Sprout Leaves and housemade Gingerbread Crumble.

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Always happy to see Portofino’s Veal Osso Bucco, perhaps not Sin City’s most famous but arguably the best, new secondi offered Day Boat Scallops amidst Cauliflower Florets and smoked Pork with spicy Popcorn on a bed of smooth Polenta, the Rack of Lamb perfectly roasted medium with a round of smooth Stuffing plus Figs added for sweetness, the Strauss Brands Veal served slightly different from last visit’s “Veal Pacino” with a lower price, similar size and better flavor than the one jokingly referenced in the unofficial off-menu-only title.

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Disappointed to see that desserts have regressed, the pastry department once again undergoing change as a result of the shared nature with other restaurants within the Casino, both the Tiramisu and Crème Brûlée remain competent closers, though the loss of Cassata Cake and the Cookie-based Souffle trio are issues that management should look into remedying as soon as possible.

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FOUR AND A HALF STARS: As innovative as ever, the Pastas and Entrees continuing to shine on a nation-wide level despite the constraints of playing to The Mirage clientele, it seems shortsighted that management would invest time in changing the name when a fresh coat of paint and good pastry Chef could offer exponential improvement at nominal cost, though as long as Chef LaPlaca and Chris Zadie are involved there is no doubt the restaurant will continue to impress.

RECOMMENDED: Meatballs, Crab Cake Arancini, Pumpkin Spice Gnocchi, Chicken Foie-Fredo, Rack of Lamb, Veal Osso Bucco, Nutella Crème Brulee.

AVOID: Those shy about Celery may want to reconsider the Pot Roast Raviolini.

TIP: Both the Veal Parm and Lobster Milanese are available as off-menu requests only.

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

https://www.mirage.com/en/restaurants/portofino.html

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

Posted in Bread Basket, Coffee, Crab, Dessert, Foie, Foie Gras, Food, Gnocchi, Ice Cream, Italian, Las Vegas, Nevada, Octopus, Pork, Portofino, Portofino Ristorante, Tasting Menu, Tiramisu

Rosallie [6,] Las Vegas NV

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Rosallie Le French Café

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Double Espresso on Ice

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Hazelnut Praline Latte

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White Chocolate Coconut Latte

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Tartine L’Americaine – Hardwood Smoked Honey Cured Bacon, Cheese, Egg Yolk

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Tartine L’Espagnole – Chipotle Chicken, Mozzarella, Cheese, Red Onions

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Quiche Chevre – Sauteed Spinach, Tomato, Goat Cheese

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Cheese Plate with Whole Wheat Roll – Frenche Chevre, Comte, Brie and Italian Gorgonzola with Homemade Fig Jam and Candied Pecans

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Butter Croissant / Pain au Chocolat

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Almond Croissant

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Madeline / Nutella Shortbread Cookie

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Canele

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Panier Pomme Tatin

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Pumpkin Pie

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Tart au Chocolat Cerise Noire

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Tart du Fruits

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Chocolate Mousse Tree on Shortbread

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Raspberry Linzer Torte

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Opera Cake

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An unabashed fan of Rosallie since day one, Jonathan Pluvinet’s French Café on Rainbow continuing to improve even though nothing in the Valley offers any real completion in terms of French pastry, December 2016 and the upcoming year will see the young Chef expand his menu while additionally developing an all-new dinner program to be served alongside Wines offered thanks to a recently awarded Liquor License.

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Festively decorated with Holiday tunes chiming overhead, the ongoing construction on the Boulevard outside a minor inconvenience that will hopefully wrap soon, it was with a friend that the Rosallie was most recently visited, the Chef going well beyond the call of duty to show off several new creations alongside old favorites that continue to impress.

Now offering Smoothies alongside the Organic Teas, Espresso Shots and Lattes that trump Starbucks for Roast, quality and price, it was with slow sips of a fragrant Hazelnut Praline Latte followed by a melted White Chocolate concoction topped in toasted Coconut shavings that the meal got started, Jonathan’s newly launched Tartines benefitted by the same laminated magic as his Croissants with a touch less butter and sweetness, L’Americaine combining smoke and salt with just a touch of Honey gilded in Egg Yolk while L’Espagnole used the Chef’s housemade Chipotle Chicken to bring some real heat.

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Still the cleanest edge one may ever see on a Quiche, the Eggy Pie mellowing Goat Cheese with Sauteed Spinach and the same bright Teardrop Tomatoes served in simple Balsamic and Oil alongside each Tartine, Rosallie’s Cheese Plate features a few fine choices alongside Fig Puree made from the Fruit of Trees right down the Road, the French Bread toothsome and Nutty, though the more gluttonous may wish to apply the preserves to a flaky Butter Croissant.

Still producing a Ducasse-level Madeline, thought he Canele remain marred by the fact that only a waxed copper mold will ever do for those who’ve enjoyed the best, Chef Pluvinet’s Pain au Chocolate and Almond Croissant have now seen the addition of a latticed Apple pastry not unlike an Apple Hand Pie, the crystallized sugar atop giving little indication of just how well balanced the Fruit and Butter flavor really is.

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No doubt learning his audience, the Nutella Shortbread Sandwich selling well and rich enough to share, more big flavors can be found in the glassy Chocolate Ganache overlying Cherry Jelly, an Opera Cake offering a multitude of tastes and textures around the soft biscuit while the Christmas Tree is the same as Rosallie’s airy Chocolate Mousse Cup, but just about as cute as something edible gets.

Rounding out the morning with an individual Pumpkin Pie that eschews traditional Thanksgiving sweetness in favor of more focus on the Gourd, Jonathan’s Tart du Fruits places glazed Berries atop a base of housemade Almond filling, the Raspberry Linzer Torte soft and buttery around the same seedless preserves that made the similarly named Cookies great.

FIVE STARS: Continuing to grow and flourish despite a complete lack of local competition, Jonathan Pluvinet sets a high standard for what it takes to be noteworthy outside the Las Vegas Casino setting, the first year showing Rosallie Le French Cafe to be nothing short of treasure to local diners with no signs of slowing down yet.

RECOMMENDED: White Chocolate Coconut Latte, Tartine L’Americaine, Quiche, Almond Croissant, Panier Pomme Tatin, Raspberry Linzer Torte, Tart au Chocolat Cerise Noire.

AVOID: The Canele is not ‘bad,’ it simply is not like those in Bordeaux.

TIP: Buche de Noel coming soon. Place your orders now.

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

https://rosallie.com/

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

Posted in Bread Basket, Breakfast, Canele, Coffee, Croissant, Dessert, Food, Las Vegas, Madeline, Nevada, Pizza, Pork, Rosallie, Rosallie 'Le French Cafe'

Yardbird Southern Table & Bar [13,] Las Vegas NV

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Yardbird Southern Table & Bar

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Mama’s Buttermilk Biscuits with Honey Butter and Apple Butter

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Chess Pie

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…because if I was on death row these would both be part of my last supper and none in this nation, nor anywhere probably, are better.

www.runchickenrun.com

Posted in Dessert, Food, Las Vegas, Nevada, Yardbird, Yardbird Southern Table & Bar, Yardbird Southern Table and Bar

SUGARCANE Raw Bar Grill, Las Vegas NV

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SUGARCANE Raw Bar Grill

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Barrel Aged Hemingway – Mount Gay Eclipse Rum, Lime Juice, Sugarcane Juice, Egg Whites

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Tobacco Rum Old Fashioned – Mount Gay Black Barrel Rum, Maple, Angostura Bitters, Homemade Cigar Bitters

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Strawberry Balsamic – Tito’s Vodka, Lime Juice, Maple Syrup, Balsamic, Fresh Strawberries

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Frozeé – Frozen Rose Champagne

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Spice of Love – Grey Goose Vodka, Passion Fruit Puree, Mango Puree, Fresh Jalapeno

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Goat Cheese Croquettes – Membrillo Marmalade

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Brussels Sprouts – Orange, Sweet Soy

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Bacon Wrapped Dates – Linguica, Manchego

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Smoked Fish Dip – Potato Chips

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Hokkaido Scallop Crudo (Half-Order) – Compressed Apple, Black Truffle, Lime & Jalapeno

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Kombu Marinated Fluke Crudo – Red Grapes, Charred Onions & Sesame Seeds

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Pig Ear Pad Thai – Papaya Salad

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Lamb Tartare Merguez – Eggplant Caviar, Shaved Farm Vegetables, Pickled Mustard Seeds

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Duck & Waffle – Crispy Leg Confit, Duck Egg, Mustard Maple

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Foie Gras Bastilla – Pistachio Duck Leg Confit, Golden Raisin Puree

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Mesquite Grilled N’duja Quail – Pommes Puree, Bone Jus

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Mesquite Grilled Okinawa Purple Potato – Herbed Crème Fraiche

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Mesquite Grilled Enoki Mushrooms – Soy Glaze

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La Colombe Double Espresso

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Torrejas – Caramelized Apples, Maple Butter, Cinnamon Ice Cream

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Sesame Bombe – Sesame Sponge Cake, Vanilla Meringue, Black Sesame Sauce

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Nutella Sundae – Nutella Ice Cream, Nutella Hazelnut Brownie, Cracker Jacks

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Having sworn off Strip-based restaurants with an opening date in 2016 for various reasons, particularly those throwing back-patting grand opening parties with Media invites intended to spark interest, it was with a bit of snark that I responded to an E-mail from SUGARCANE Raw Bar Grill the same way I do all such inquiries, my offer to pass on the ‘event’ and instead offer unbiased feedback on their Miami-based concept surprisingly greeted with open arms by 1on1 Public Relations President Larry Fink.

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Approaching the day with a lot of interest, not one of the year’s other new openings agreeing to such an idea, it was with warm greetings from a young hostess that our party was led to a comfy booth looking down the line towards the bar area, General Manager Jeremy Yoza proving an educated and gracious host throughout the evening with servers that ranged from experienced professionals to those still a bit rough around the edges.

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A relative of SushiSamba, the relaxed style and global influence filling a needed gap in The Venetian’s Restaurant Row, SUGARCANE Raw Bar Grill brings Chef Timon Balloo’s cuisine to Las Vegas by way of executive Chef Ryan Nuqui, the pair presenting everything from Crudo to Grilled Meats and Small plates at an accessible price-point alongside a not unexpected list of clever $16 Cocktails.

Told to fill in a Chef-selected menu with anything eye-catching, several signatures from Miami imported just like Yardbird across the way, it was with the smoky-yet-palate-friendly Tobacco Rum Old Fashioned alongside a Barrel Aged Hemingway with a shaken Egg White that the meal got started, the Croquettes well complimented by Quince Jam while charred Sprouts with Citrus, sweet n’ spicy Dates and Smoked Sturgeon Spread all paired well to the beverages, though the Potato Chips served with the latter were far too thin for scooping, thus compromising an otherwise delicious straight-out-of-Florida concept.

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Self-selecting some raw stuff with a bit of influence from servers, the Hokkaido Scallop Crudo an unexpected surprise laid atop Apples with preserved Black Truffle and just a touch of heat, snappy Fluke impressed with its focus on subtlety while the smooth Lamb Tartare immediately showed signs of a kitchen willing to take chances, a beautiful presentation yielding the earthy aromatics of African spices that spread nicely on the housemade flatbread with brightness added by Pickled Mustard Seeds.

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Investing in some sweeter drinks as plates grew heavier, the Vodka-based Strawberry Balsamic and Slurpee-style Champagne Cooler both the sort of drinks that could get lightweights into trouble while the “Spice of Love” was described as ‘really hot’ by those who tasted it, Pig Ear Pad Thai with Papaya was fun for both taste as well as texture while the same could be said for the Duck & Waffle that was as tasty as one might expect given the stack of ingredients atop a picture perfect Belgian Waffle.

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All-in on the Foie Gras Bastilla, a shattering Wonton wrapped around shredded Leg Meat, crumbled Pistachios plus a thick slice of Duck Liver resting in a pool of Golden Raisin Puree, those looking for a simple yet bold taste are encouraged to check out some of the Chef’s Mesquite-grilled creations, both the Mushrooms and Sweet Potatoes perfect for Vegetarians or those counting calories while the Quail features one of Sin City’s most underused ingredients, the smooth Calabrian Sausage something that simply needs to be tasted in order to be fully appreciated.

Excited to see the restaurant serving Coffee Beans from La Colombe, the Philadelphia based roaster easily one of the Nation’s most passionate and well respected, desserts once again speak of a kitchen reaching out to guests of all varieties, the Nutella Sundae sweet and sharable by groups while a beautiful Sesame Bombe is a far more subtle sort of dish that eats lighter than suggested by its description, the Spanish French Toast an immediate contender for the city’s best dessert as the Caramelized Bread breaks to Custard amidst sautéed Apples and notes of Cinnamon plus Maple Butter still bubbling in the skillet.

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FOUR STARS: Still a bit wet behind the ears in terms of service, both the Pad Thai and Lamb Merguez tipping over thanks to careless presentations, SUGARCANE Raw Bar Grill is a great addition to Vegas’ ever evolving culinary landscape and, at least thus far, one of the few recent additions showing signs of taking some real chances.

RECOMMENDED: N’duja Quail, Lamb Merguez, Foie Gras Bastilla, Torrejas, Sesame Bombe, Strawberry Balsamic.

AVOID: The chips with the Fish Dip need to be rethought and the Pad Thai would benefit from some nuts to help balance the salinity.

TIP: Open 11a-1a Su-Thu and 11a-2a on Friday as well as Saturday. Full menu offered all day with additional items added for lunch on weekdays and brunch on weekends.

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

Las Vegas

SUGARCANE Raw Bar Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Bread Pudding, Coffee, Dessert, Foie, Foie Gras, Food, French Toast, Ice Cream, La Colombe, Las Vegas, Nevada, Pork, SUGARCANE, SUGARCANE Raw Bar Grill, Tasting Menu, Truffle, Waffle

Carson Kitchen [7,] Las Vegas NV

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Carson Kitchen

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Purple Haze – George Dickel Rye, St. Elder Liquor, Fresh Lemon, Mint, Blueberry Preserves

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Turkey Day – Orzo, Acorn Squash, Stuffing Croutons

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Crispy Chicken Skins – Smoked Honey

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BBQ Burnt Ends – House Pickles, Highbrow Ranch

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Pig in a Duvet – Chorizo, Tajin Mustard

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Project Idaho – St. George Citrus Vodka, Licor 43, Fresh Lime, Angostura & Fennel Bitters, Fernet Vittone Menta, Ginger Ale

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Winter Squash Flatbread – Eggplant Ragu, House Ricotta, Sage

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Green, Eggs & Ham Flatbread – No-Nut Pesto, Smoked Mozz, Tasso

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The Magarian – Aviation Gin, Thyme & Honey Syrup,Fresh Lemon, Mr. Q Cucumber Soda

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Short Rib Grilled Cheese – Sourdough, Gouda /  Tomato Bisque – Roma Tomato, Micro Basil, Harissa

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Squid Ink Spaghetti – Calamari, Calabrian Butter, Tapenade

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Pork Chop – Red Wine Poached Pear, Pomegranate

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Baked Mac & Cheese – Shhh, it’s a secret

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Olive Oil Potatoes – Capers, Kalamata, Scallion

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Butter Burger – Boursin, Cheddar, Lettuce, Tomato, Spicy Tater Tots

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Pair of Pear – Whistling Andy Pink Peppercorn & Pear Gin, St. George Spice Pear Liquor, Charred Rosemary, Fresh Lemon, Vanilla

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Bourbon Fudge Brownie – Brown Butter Bacon Ice Cream

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Glazed Donut Bread Pudding – Three Rum Caramel, Vanilla Crème Anglaise

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Bartlett Pear Tart – St. George Spiced Pear Meringue

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The best restaurants are those that keep us coming back for more, and so it was on Saturday night when a party of five sat down besides the bar at Carson Kitchen, Chef John Courtney showing off a few modern classics alongside what the late-Fall/Winter 2016 menu has to offer.

Bustling during the afternoon and still as vibrant a nighttime scene as ever, Matthew Harwell overseeing a cocktail program that excels by way of bright flavors with the sort of complexity that costs $4-8 more on The Strip, it was with warm greetings from severs as well as the Chef himself that a carte blanche tasting got started, Radiohead making the first of several overhead appearances as all partook in the elegant Purple Haze that somehow manages to turn a hefty pour of Whisky into something accessible and fruit forward.

Making a few requests for favorite plates, more than half the table marking this as their first visit to 124 South 6th Street, there is no denying that Cory Harwell and the late Kerry Simon’s Fried Chicken Skins are a best of their kind rendition after recently experiencing inferior takes in both Belgium and New Orleans, the BBQ Burnt Ends a carryover from Summer that continues to stand out no matter what season while “Turkey Day” Pasta Salad eats far lighter than one might expect considering the Stuffing and Holiday inspiration.

Impressed by the clever “Pig in a Duvet,” the spicy Pork Sausage with a snappy casing complimented by puff pastry atop housemade Mustard infused by Chiles and Citrus, it was with share plates replaced that herbaceous Project Idaho landed to pair with two of Carson Kitchen’s oft-lamented Flatbreads, both options this time showing far better than the majority prior as forest green Pesto exuded freshness beneath a blend of Mozzarella, Taso and three Egg Yolks while the Eggplant Ragu and Housemade Ricotta better allowed diners to notice a Crust that comes through with enhanced smoke and flexibility, the result of a less overworked dough that allows for improved leavening.

Happy to see one of Carson Kitchen’s classic Cocktails for the first time in several visits, the gin-based Magarian an ideal sipping beverage for refreshing the palate between heavier bites, Chefs Courtney and Harwell next introduced the restaurants first soup, a Tomato Bisque that likens the sort of Sauce described as “Fra Diavolo” in its flavor with a creamy base that seems almost *too* obvious as the gooey Short Rib Grilled Cheese’s dipping counterpart.

Telling the table of a Calabrian Chile harvest that will likely see both Carson Kitchen and another upcoming Simon Hospitality Group project steeped in spice for months to come, housemade Black Spaghetti with Calamari and Olive Tapenade was a briny burst of flavor not recommendable for the timid – those sorts still not cheated for flavor in any way with other menu choices including Mediterranean Mashed Potatoes, an extra Cheesy Burger or a bone-in Pear and Pomegranate piece if Pork that rivals the city’s best despite its modest cost.

Unable to finish the hearty Mac n’ Cheese if room was to be saved for dessert, it was with about 1/3 reluctantly returned to the kitchen that the “Pair of Pear” transitioned palates to something sweeter, the cocktail’s combination of Fruit, fragrance and spice conspiring with the Meringue-topped Pear Tart in every manner imaginable, Coffee the more natural go-to for those choosing the classic Bourbon Fudge Brownie or the Glazed Donut Bread Pudding that seems to get better with each visit.

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FIVE STARS: Not content to let the DTLV landmark rest on its laurels, even with the menu at Standard & Pour taking on similar concepts in a far more challenging part of town, Carson Kitchen continues to succeed where many others struggle by never doing anything the ‘easy’ way or taking their customers for granted, a strong testament to the passion its ownership as well as the talent filling both the kitchen and front of house.

RECOMMENDED: The Classics are there for a reason, so for now focus on Turkey Day, Green Eggs & Ham Flatbread, Pork Chop, Squid Ink Spaghetti and the Bartlett Pear Tart.

AVOID: Some in the group felt the Butter Burger to have “too much” cheese while others called Purple Haze “too sweet.” I do not understand either phrase, but considered it worth mentioning for lack of any other complaints amongst five people from a wide range of ages and birthplaces.

TIP: Look for more news in early 2017 from Simon Hospitality Group and once you’ve made your way though Carson Kitchen’s current season grab a designated driver and head down to Henderson to see what Standard & Pour has to offer.

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

http://carsonkitchen.com/

Carson Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Bread Pudding, Carson Kitchen, Coffee, Dessert, Food, Ice Cream, Las Vegas, Nevada, Pizza, Pork, Tasting Menu

Public House [3,] Las Vegas, NV

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Public House

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Butcher Block – Potted Duck Rillettes, Country Pate, Foie Gras Torchon

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Poutine – French Fries, Duck Confit, Cheese Curd, Stout Gravy & Fried Egg

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Buffalo Style Pork Ribs – Hot Sauce, Celery and Carrot Slaw & Blue Cheese

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Pub Burger – All Natural Grass Fed Beef, Bacon Marmalade, Gruyere Cheese, Toasted Tomato, Frisee & Guiness Aioli with Herbed Fries

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Chocolate Stout Layer Cake – Malted Milk Ice Cream, Caramelized Bacon Rice Crispies

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Irish Coffee Cheesecake – Jameson Caramel Chantilly, Hazelnut Crumble

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Apple Hand Pies – Rye Whiskey Sabayon

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Brown Ale Crème Brulee – Beer Glazed Raspberries, Toasted Orange-Cardamom Poundcake

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Banana Banoffee Parfait – Vanilla Pudding, Banana Compote, Pretzel Crumble, Chantilly

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Baker’s Block – Raspberry Lambic Cocoa Nib Caramel Corn, Cherry Beer Marshmallow, Brown Ale Crème Brulee, Chocolate Stout Trifle, Apple Hand Pie, Nutella Cookie, Banoffee Tartlet

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One of those rare restaurants in Las Vegas that has remained successful for years without constant critical praise or the name of some absentee Celebrity Chef above the door, it was with desserts in mind that a party of three sat down inside Public House at The Venetian to watch the Buckeyes beat Sparty on Saturday, a few of Chef Anthony Meidenbauer’s classics plus one that soon might be joining a full complement of desserts from Rebecca Bills, the Corporate Executive Pastry Chef for all of Block16 Hospitality.

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Visited twice in as many days during a 2012 Christmas Vacation, the extensive beer list luring in a friend while Seared Foie Gras, a potted Egg dish and Bread Pudding all proved to be delicious during a long weekend of football, little has changed in the décor as suited Monkeys smile next to clever sayings, medium-volume rock music plays overhead with plenty of Television featuring games from every conference.

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Every bit the Gastropub it set out to be, the menu morphing slightly from four years prior though several long-held favorites still stand out, it was with Coffee and Water plus excellent service that the meal took place over the course of nearly one hundred minutes, an Assistant General Manager named Bernard looking over things while Chef Bills took time to explain a bit of her training as well as many of the restaurant group’s seasonal dishes.

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Choosing to start savory, the housemade Charcuterie a well-culled collection including rich and chunky Pork Pate next to creamy Duck Rillettes plus a block of silky Liver atop toasted Brioche, more Duck was offered by way of one of Sin City’s very best plates of Poutine, the handcut Fries crisp enough to stand up to Stout Gravy added tableside plus Confit, a fried Egg and Cheese Curds so fresh that they are still squeaky.

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Intrigued by “Buffalo Style” Ribs, the tender meat slipping effortlessly from the bone with a fiery hit of acid that found it’s foil in Blue Cheese Sauce, Chef Meidenbauer’s Pub Burger succeeds on a level not unexpected for the man responsible for Holstein’s at The Cosmopolitain, the grind of the Grass Fed Beef smooth despite being well packed beneath a layer of Gruyere, cooked Tomatoes and assertive Bacon Marmalade.

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Truly rolling out the red carpet for pastries, all five of Chef Bills’ current collection arriving with more Coffee plus the sharable $17 “Baker’s Board” that presents pint-size variations of each plus fragrant Caramel Popcorn, a Chocolate covered Marshmallow plus Nutella Sandwich Cookie, the toughest question would be which to omit if one is unwilling or unable to taste all of them, the Chocolate Stout Layer Cake probably the safest answer as it is every bit as rich as it sounds and best shared by all but the most ardent Chocoholic.

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Happy to see the Irish Coffee Cheesecake eat lighter than average while three piping hot Hand Pies are picture-perfect with caramelized grains of Sugar overlying a flaky crust alongside airy Cream all boozed up for dipping, fans of Beer will be impressed by the way in which Rebecca’s Crème Brûlée manages to be both hoppy and sweet simultaneously with herbal notes added by toasted Poundcake, the Banoffee Parfait picking up where Carson Kitchen left off last Winter and perhaps even upping the ante by way of the Pretzel Crumble, Banana-Brown Sugar Jam and stick-a-spoon-up-straight Vanilla Pudding.

FOUR AND A HALF STARS: Impressed four years ago by such an adventurous Gastropub on the Strip, some notable additions to the local dining scene having caught up and perhaps surpassed Public House in terms of creativity as well as value, it is relevant to point out that Block16 Hospitality has continued to push the envelope in an era where so many others seem content to rest on old accolades, the dessert menu here in many ways as good as those at Yardbird or Delmonico while the Beer list, Burger and Poutine are remain a consistent focal point for good reason.

RECOMMENDED: Pub Burger, Poutine, Duck Rillette, Baker’s Block…plus an extra Banana Banoffee Parfait because sharing is silly.

AVOID: If space is a consideration, the Chocolate Cake is not really any better or different than many others, though it is still quite good. The Baker’s Board solves this problem as the Trifle version is far lighter with the same general flavor.

TIP: Open 11a-11p daily, those looking for a casual Thanksgiving may wish to take a look at the online Thanksgiving menu offered in addition, as opposed to ‘in place of,’ the other delicious a la carte options.

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

http://www.publichouselv.com/

Public House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Coffee, Dessert, Foie, Foie Gras, Food, Ice Cream, Las Vegas, Nevada, Pork, Public House, Tasting Menu

Freedom Beat, Las Vegas NV

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Freedom Beat

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Bathtub Gin Daisy – Old Grove Gin, Orange Liquor & Lemon

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Oreo Milkshake

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Chicken Fried Bacon – Pork Belly & Chili Honey Vinaigrette

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Flame Grilled Oysters – Garlic, Butter, Parmesan & Garlic Bread

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House Made Tots – Cheddar, Scallion & House Ranch

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Loaded Hand-cut Fries – Smoked Meats, BBQ & Cheese Sauce

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Smoked Wings – Ale Syrup Spiced Glaze & Blue Cheese

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Grilled Corn ‘Elote’ Style – Roasted Chiles, Lime & Cotija

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Toad in the Well – Thick Brioche, Black Forrest Ham, Vermont Maple Syrup & Poached Egg

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IPA Burger – Caramelized Onions, Fried Pickles, Cheese Sauce & Hand Cut Fries

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The ‘Full Smoke’ Platter – Brisket, Pork Shoulder, Beans, Slaw, House Pickles, Hot Links, Hand Cut Sweet Potato Fries & Biscuits

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Thigh High Fried Chicken Our Way – Chili Garlic, Honey Mustard, BBQ, Slaw & Hand Cut Fries

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Ale Battered Walleye – Grilled Summer Corn, Slaw, Beans & Tartar Sauce

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Skillet Apple Pie – Cheddar Cheese & Vanilla Ice Cream

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S’Mores Donuts – Melted Chocolate & Toasted Marshmallow

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Funnel Cake – Chocolate Drizzle & Powdered Sugar

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Fried Twinkie – Berry Compote

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Replacing Stewart & Ogden, S&O or whatever the restaurant was last called with its revolving door of Chefs, Downtown Grand opted to completely reinvent their 24/7 eatery into a concept built on American Classics and Live Music, the 34th Floor Hospitality restaurant featuring Wisconsin native Scott Commings recently opened under the name Freedom Beat.

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Intended as both a restaurant and entertainment venue, acoustic music playing nightly with local and national names like Friday’s Jack Ingram show generating a lively crowd, Freedom Beat sits just off the gaming floor while still offering enough cover to give it the ‘feel’ of a locals spot with food and beverage better than it needs to be, the menu offering a wide range of styles stretching from Coast-to-Coast with some true Great Lakes influence in between.

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Dining as a group of six, the Hell’s Kitchen Champion Chef friends of one in the party, it was with several plates ordered and a few sent out from the kitchen that the meal took place, a total of fifteen menu items tasted along with several beverages including the pink-yet-potent Bathtub Gin Daisy and a too-thick-for-a-straw Oreo Milkshake.

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Not particularly a place for those counting calories, though a few Salads and small plates are available to cater to various dietary needs, round one of the Freedom Beat smorgasbord consisted of a half-dozen appetizers ranging from loaded Fries that some felt were too sweet on top of being quite hefty, the Cheese and Scallion Tots and Chicken Fried Bacon each far better despite being deep-fried – the former packing a whole lot of flavor into each crispy nugget while the latter took great care to make sure that the Pork Belly itself was well-cooked but still silky smooth beneath the herb-infused breading.

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Deciding to smoke Chicken Wings and Drumsticks rather than fry them, the resulting bites amongst the best in the city with a piquant glaze that is not unnecessarily hot, flamed Oysters were a favorite amongst many at the table as the briny Bivalves found balance in Garlic Butter cooked thick with Cheese, the Mexican Street Corn another rave that allowed late season sweetness to dance hand-in-hand with gentle heat.

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Told that the Barbeque represented neither Carolina nor Texas, but intrigued by the idea nonetheless, Chef Commings’ ‘Full Smoke’ Platter featuring Brisket, Pork Shoulder and Hot Links goes to show that given the right expectations roasted Meat is rarely a bad thing, no particular ‘style’ embodied except that of Freedom Beat and all the better for it, the Fried Chicken “Our Way” also representing a slightly different look at its concept with the well-brined bird itself quite flavorful, as was the batter, though one felt it was too thinly applied.

Not really exploring much of the Breakfast Menu, drop-Biscuits fluffy and rife with Butter while the Toad in the Well was an Instagram eye-catcher with a poached Egg nestled in a hollow carved out of French Toast wrapped around Black Forrest Ham with pure Maple Syrup on the side, all agreed that the ground base of an “IPA Burger” would benefit from more fat and flavor, though the toppings were quite tasty, a battered plank of Walleye taking both the Chef and more than one guest back to their childhoods with flaky fish and golden breading plus all the requisite sides.

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Not looking to reinvent the wheel anywhere, particularly with desserts, Freedom Beat offers four options to those looking for something sweet to send them on their way, the fried Twinkies and Funnel Cake both Fair-Food favorites well done without being too oily while the S’Mores Donut saw glazed rings hemisected and toasted around Marshmallows and Chocolate with Graham Cracker Crumble, the Skillet Pie a la Mode definitely the most labor intensive and well-crafted option, particularly topped with a melted slice of Cheddar Cheese.

THREE AND A HALF STARS: Charging slightly lower prices than similar stops on The Strip, $12 Cocktails and a good Beer List a bonus for those choosing to imbibe, Freedom Beat puts its own spin on Americana with good food in an environment that could certainly be successful under the right circumstances, though challenges will undoubtedly be presented by a hotel that has yet to define it’s particular ‘type’ of client.

RECOMMENDED: Chicken Fried Bacon, Smoked Wings, Grilled Corn ‘Elote’ Style, Ale Battered Walleye, Toad in the Well, Skillet Apple Pie with Cheddar.

AVOID: IPA Burger, Loaded Hand-cut Fries.

TIP: Open 24/7 with the entertainment schedule posted online, Valet Parking free with a $10 receipt or validation at the Hostess Stand.

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

Freedom Beat

Freedom Beat Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Breakfast, Dessert, Food, Freedom Beat, Ice Cream, Las Vegas, Nevada, Pork, Tasting Menu

Market Grille Café, Las Vegas NV

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Market Grille Café

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Traditional Hummus served with Pita Bread

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Babaganoush served with Pita Bread

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Falafel on a bed of Lettuce with Hummus

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Gyro Meat Side

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Greek Trio – Spanakopita, Mousaka, and Pastitsio with Basmati Rice

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Rice Pudding with Cinnamon

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Baklava

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One of two locations for a restaurant frequently named Best Greek Food by a notable local publication, Market Grille Café on West Lake Meade Boulevard was a spontaneous selection for Friday dinner after alternative plans fell through for unrelated reasons, the space whose name has fooled more than one into assuming it some sort of grocery store serving up a great dinner for three at a price far lower than much of its competition.

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Located in the same shopping center as Panera, The Cupcakery and several other stores, entry to Market Grille Café sees patrons greeted by an open kitchen and homey confines as the menu spins Mediterranean by way of Greece and Italy, a smaller lunch variety and happy hour specials offered for those dining earlier in the day while more substantial options are reserved for full table service later in the evening.

Certainly more Athenian than Roman, though the similarities between dishes like Mousaka and Lasagna should seem fairly obvious to most, it was with an in-training server that the evening got under way as Iced Tea and Water were served to those at the table, the place fairly busy for 7:00 on a Saturday evening with all sorts of ages, genders and races represented in the crowd.

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Encouraged to order in courses, most everything but the warmed Pita reportedly made in-house, it was with $5.50 small orders of Hummus next to creamy Eggplant puree with Garlic that the meal got started, the former a bit thinner than most of those previously tasted but at the same time full of flavor while the Babaganoush was far more chunky with a slight bit of smokiness left to linger in the mouth.

Not particularly wanting to over-order, the low prices actually quite deceiving for large plates when compared to the likes of Hummus Factory or Mykonos in Sun City, entrees were limited to just a trio of Greek favorites plus a few ‘sides’ including tender Gyro Meat and a quartet of “Greek Meatballs” (as described on the menu,) the Golfball sized Falafel our meal’s only dud as ground Chickpea Fritters lacked any particular flavor on their own, save for that of the Oil.

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Impressed by both the layered eggplant Mousaka with rich Beef Ragu, Spanakopita also quite nice with sheets of Phyllo interspersed by Spinach and springy Cheese, Pastitsio unfortunately seemed to be a bit overwhelmed with Cinnamon that completely overwhelmed both the Noodles and the other ingredients, far better bites found in two desserts including a generous slice of Baklava with plenty of Nuts and Honey plus a bowl of chilled Rice Pudding that embraced the grains texture rather than acting to completely hide it.

THREE AND A HALF STARS: One of the more traditional Mediterranean menus in town, the limited Italian options seemingly just there because they are easy to make from ingredients commonly used in Greek cuisine, Market Grille Café offers good food at a fair price with plenty of vegetarian or more healthful options in an atmosphere that family friendly, but still nice enough to qualify for date night.

RECOMMENDED: Babaganoush, Mousaka, Spanakopita, Baklava, Rice Pudding.

AVOID: Falafel and Pastitsio.

TIP: Closed on Sunday. 20% off with Yelp! check-in for those looking to save some cash.

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

http://www.marketgrillecafe.com/

Market Grille Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Bread Basket, Dessert, Food, Las Vegas, Market Grille Café, Nevada

The Sugar Cookie, Las Vegas NV

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The Sugar Cookie

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Full Size Peanutbutter Cookie

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Full Size Snickerdoodle

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Bite Size Chocolate Peanut Butter, Chocolate Coconut, Chocolate Cherry, Red Velvet, Chocolate Cream Cheese, Double Chocolate, Chocolate Vanilla, Original, Orange, Cherry, Coconut, Lemon

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Based out of St. George Utah, but recently expanding to store number two in the large shopping plaza at 4624 West Sahara Avenue, The Sugar Cookie brings their signature style of a buttery, soft base topped with several style of icing to a city where the only other cookie-specific shops tend to focus on sandwiching them around Ice Cream, tastes of fifteen of the eatery’s twenty current options almost universally excellent at not-too-high a price.

Focusing mostly on the eponymous style of cookie, a few jammy Shortbreads also offered alongside Snickerdoodles, chewy Peanut Butter or Molasses rounds and a thick seasonal Pumpkin Chocolate Chip variety, all twelve frosted flavors can be had for under $10 by way of mini-combo pack, the larger selections still substantially less than Panera or Kneaders despite a fresh baked texture that is better than both.

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Friendly in service, the walls still minimally decorated given the shop’s recent launch, it was a zippy sample of smooth lemon cream and a spicy Molasses morsel that conversation was held with the shop’s owner about the tried and true concept of doing one thing better than all the competition, a tab of just $14 sending me on my way to indulge at home with Coffee, though the store does offer a few small tables for those wishing to enjoy Cookies there.

Already having a good idea of what was to follow, the miniature cookies at best two-bites, but at the same time less than a mouthful in whole, bites of both the sugar-coated Snickerdoodle and Peanut Butter puddle showed a crisp edge with a nearly pudding soft center full of flavor amidst substantial sweetness, the one complaint about The Sugar Cookie potentially being this unfortunate inattention to nuance.

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Doing best to taste various flavors in logical sequence, a total of two bases with the Red Velvet virtually identical to Chocolate as a fudgey sort Milk Chocolate tone is added to the buttery white Flour original, it is in the Icing that The Sugar Cookie differentiates itself from the competition as everything from Fruit to Cream Cheese is thickly piped atop the Cookies in dollops, the texture far lighter than one might assume on inspection with the Cherry, Coconut and Lemon all particularly memorable.

FOUR STARS: Cheaper than the chains while still turning out better, the choice of minis available for those looking to taste a variety or perhaps counting calories, The Sugar Cookie will attempt to fill a unique niche in a somewhat hidden location that will require their ownership getting the word out without having to compromise their pricepoint or quality as part of a PR or advertising deal.

RECOMMENDED: Snickerdoodle, Molasses, Chocolate Coconut, Cherry Original, Orange Original.

AVOID: Chocolate and Cherry simply aren’t my thing while the Peanut Butter Cookie was far too sweet.

TIP: 10a to 8p Monday through Saturday and cheaper by the dozen, half dozen or other daily deals.

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

http://nocrunchycookies.com

Posted in Dessert, Food, Las Vegas, Nevada, The Sugar Cookie

Mimosas Gourmet, Las Vegas NV

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Mimosas Gourmet

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Guava Mimosa

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Churro Waffle – Cinnamon, Powdered Sugar, Cajeta Caramel, Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

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Nutella S’mores French Toast – Graham Cracker Crusted French Toast, Marshmallows, Nutella, Whipped Cream and Powdered Sugar

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Bacon Chicken Waffle – Bacon Bits in the Batter, House Fried Chicken, Honey Drizzle

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Buttermilk Biscuit

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An expansion from its 2016 debut in San Jose California, Mimosas Gourmet recently opened at 3455 South Durango Drive, the location directly next to well-regarded La Maison de Maggie Crepe Shop breathing life into a dilapidated strip mall near the Desert Breeze Soccer Complex on the corner of Spring Mountain.

Replacing a former restaurant and open now for just over a few weeks, Mimosas Gourmet offers diners a collection of their eponymous beverage in a wide range of shapes and sizes, the bill of fare itself quite sizable while the 2,500 square foot space features relatively typical seating options, the stero overhead playing IHeartRadio at a fairly loud volume, though not loud enough that conversation is impaired.

Sharing one $8.50 Guava Mimosa, a $3.99 Biscuit and a trio of the restaurant’s more interesting plates, it was in piecemeal fashion as dishes were prepared that items were sent forth from the kitchen, the bubbly beverage far more bitter than those many in Sin City with sliced Strawberries and Oranges on top for a touch of visual flare.

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Receiving the Churro Waffle and one mistaken plate first, the order re-confirmed and very obviously resubmitted to the kitchen given the delivery times to follow, the team could go a long way by promoting this item as a ‘signature’ with both the interior and top of the dough featuring a generous amount of Cinnamon and Sugar, the faux-Maple Syrup not a personal favorite but really not so bad when paired with a globe of Vanilla Ice Cream that slowly melts and melds the flavors.

Maroon 5 followed by Bruno Mars, the crowd a wide range of ages and ethnicities, it was after some delay that the Bacon-studded Waffle topped with crisp Chicken Fingers arrived with Honey already added, both items well prepared if not particularly memorable while the overpriced biscuit was fluffy and delicious despite being more like a jumbo dinner roll than something with proper buttery layers.

Serving large portions, the biggest and richest yet to come, it was another ten minutes before the three-piece tower of French Toast landed to the right of un-cleared plates and empty Water glasses, this diabolical concoction seeing melted Marshmallow Fluff and at least a tablespoon of Nutella at top, middle and bottom, the Cinnamon and Ginger not entirely lost either thought the center piece of toast was so overly saturated with toppings that it almost ate like Custard.

THREE AND A HALF STARS: Not exactly “locally owned,” but nonetheless doing some interesting spins on Breakfast and Lunch classics in a space that is comfortable and easily accessible to those in Spring Valley or Summerlin, Mimosas Gourmet joins an ever-growing list of places to consider for breakfast when tired of the same ol’ same ol’ and for those unwilling to go looking for better in the Southeast or on the Strip.

RECOMMENDED: Churro Waffle, Nutella S’mores French Toast.

AVOID: Biscuit (actually listed as a $4.99 Biscuit and Gravy Side on the menu.)

TIP: 6a-3p M-F and open till four o’clock on weekends.

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

http://mimosasgourmet.com/

Mimosas Gourmet Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Breakfast, Dessert, Food, French Toast, Ice Cream, Las Vegas, Mimosas Gourmet, Nevada, Pork, Waffle, Waffles

Emeril’s, New Orleans LA

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Emeril’s New Orleans

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Iced Tea

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Seafood Sausage with Watercress and Saba

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Cornbread, Honey Wheat, Rosemary Garlic Focaccia

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Homemade Andouille and Boudin Sausages – Southern Cooked Greens, Beer Braised Onions, Whole Grain Mustard, Emeril’s Worcestershire Sauce

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Blue Crab Vichyssoise – Crisp Potatoes, Radish, Calabrian Chili Oil, Bottarga, Fennel

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Two Run Farms Lamb Neck Nachos – Queso, Pineapple – Mint Salsa Fresca, Poblano Sauce, Fresno Chilis

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Panéed Home Place Pastures Pork Sandwich – House Kaiser Roll, Escarole, Jardinière, Sharp Provolone, Smoked Tomato

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Chicken & Waffles – Fried Organic Chicken, Sweet Corn-Belgian Waffle, Watermelon Slaw, Crystal Hot Sauce Syrup

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Pancetta Roasted Texas Quail – Bucatini Nero, Sweet Corn, Mushroom Parmesan Salad, Minestrone Verde

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Chocolate Mousse Trifle – Caramel Banana Jam, Pecan Crunch

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie – Oreo Crust, Caramel, Peanut Brittle

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Carrot Cake – Coffee-Chai Crème, Apple Chips, Candied Walnuts

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Malted Chocolate Doberge Cake – Malt Chantilly Crème, Candied Orange

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Soft Pretzel Bread Pudding – Peanut Butter Honey Ice Cream, Caramel Popcorn, Amber Beer Caramel

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Recalling a time before Nationwide expansion, PR-Firms and Celebrity Chef branded everything, Emeril’s New Orleans features the Chef’s modern Louisiana cuisine in an upscale space near to the Convention Center and Harrah’s Casino, a Halloween lunch showing that the Chef continues to succeed by filling his restaurant with good people who have mastered the art of catering to every guest’s needs.

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Elegant but not at all snobbish despite over twenty-six years of success, Chef de Cuisine David Slater now overseeing the kitchen of Lagasse’s flagship on Tchoupitoulas Street, it is with warm greetings that guests are invited in from complimentary Valet Parking in an area where an hour will cost no less than $10 at most spaces, a noon reservation confirmed with a four-top bathed in sunlight serving as home for the next 140 minutes of big, bold flavors and exceptionally friendly service.

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Always offering a sizable bill of fare no matter which restaurant, one of the first ‘fine-dining’ memories for two at the table occurring at Emeril’s eponymous Orlando location, it was with several daily specials explained in addition to the lunch menu that decisions were debated and fraught over, the ‘signatures’ passed up as they can be had back home in Las Vegas with the eventual line-up consisting of an amuse plus six savories, bread and five desserts.

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Sipping Iced Tea with the meal, all three styles of bread soft and warm without any real need for butter, a round of snappy Seafood Sausage arrived moments after orders were placed with Saba adding a little sweetness to crunchy Watercress, the Homemade Boudin and Andouille showing a skilled hand for encased meats while the Lamb Neck Nachos were presented in an enormous pile dripping with fresh Cheese, sliced Peppers and tender, shredded meat.

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Finding the chilled Crab Soup special to be a nice refresher with moderate spice and light Salt that allowed the Crustacean’s natural sweetness a lot of range in the mouth, course two saw Chef Slater go out of his way to redesign a Texas Quail Dish for which the kitchen had run out of Gnochetti, the swap for Squid Ink Bucatini perhaps even more eye catching beneath Parmesan, Mushrooms and Sweet Corn.

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Fancying Fried Chicken and Waffles over a perfectly fine Pork Sandwich, the crisp and spicy batter not dissimilar to that at Delmonico lightly adherent to a brined Bird perched atop Cornmeal Waffles, sweets once again proved to be a highlight of Emeri’s Restaurants no matter what region, the Chocolate Mousse Trifle and Peanut Butter Pie a touch similar but still delicious while Carrot Cake and Malted Chocolate Doberge were each masterpieces with airy Cream dividing dense layers of Cake, the Bread Pudding made from Soft Pretzels offering a great balance of Sweet and Salty beneath a ball of slowly melting Honey-Peanut Butter Ice Cream and a pool of slightly bitter Caramel.

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http://emerilsrestaurants.com/emerils-new-orleans

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Emeril's New Orleans Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Bread Basket, Bread Pudding, Cornbread, Crab, Dessert, Emeril, Emeril's, Emeril's New Orleans, Food, Gnocchi, Ice Cream, Louisiana, New Orleans, Pork, Vacation, Waffle Tagged

Surrey’s Café and Juice Bar, New Orleans LA

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Surrey’s Café and Juice Bar

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Housemade Boudin Biscuit with Eggs and Grits

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Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Pancake

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Bananas Foster Stuffed French Toast

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A longtime Garden District favorite – certainly not the sort of place one will find teaming with European Tourists in the French Quarter – Surrey’s Café and Juice Bar is one of those kitschy places with fun decorations and a unique menu where service comes with a smile, the waits sometimes quite long given the limitations of the space, but the experience making it worthwhile.

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Located at 1418 Magazine Street and blending in so effortlessly with surrounding homes that it is barely noticed from the sidewalk to passers-by, Surrey’s Café approaches New Orleans classics with a Latin Spin alongside a lengthy menu of seasonal fresh squeezed Juices, the seating somewhat tight yet somehow seeming appropriate as the walls are given splashes of color by vibrant depictions of nearby architecture made by a local artist.

Described a few daily specials by the server, a man circulating to fill both Coffee and Water also providing some advice of his own, it was with tough choices made that three plates were selected while taking a pass on the juices, though the ones that were ordered at neighboring tables did look refreshing with no lack of choices including everything from Orange to Apple, Carrot and Watermelon.

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Waiting perhaps ten minutes for food, the quoted time for a two-top approximately twenty minutes at 8:20am on a Monday, suffice it to say that housemade Boudin on a Buttermilk Biscuit with Scrambled Eggs presented a significant upgrade on the typical “breakfast Sandwich” ordered at the Drive-Thru, a moist Pumpkin Pancake thick and rich with Cinnamon also proving to be good despite the lack of pure Maple Syrup while the Creole Cream Cheese stuffed triangles of French Bread were pudding-soft beneath the pan seared exterior and plenty sweetened by the Rum flamed and fruity Sauce.

www.surreysnola.com

Surrey's Café & Juice Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Breakfast, Food, French Toast, Louisiana, New Orleans, Pancakes, Pork, Surrey's, Surrey’s Café, Surrey’s Café and Juice Bar, Vacation

District Donuts + Sliders + Brew, New Orleans LA

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District Donuts + Sliders + Brew

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Cold Brew

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Buttermilk Biscuit

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Buttermilk Drop

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Pistachio Cherry

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Pumpkin Cheesecake

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Toasted Coconut

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Red Rum

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Brûléed Cinnamon Roll

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Taking “scratch-made” to a different level, dough mixed by hand from eggs, flour and butter in plain view with fillings and even sprinkles fabricated on-site, District Donuts +Sliders + Brew has been thrilling patrons at their original location in the Garden District since 2013 and although prices are indeed high, much to the chagrin of some locals, so too is the quality which excels on a national level.

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Large in space and as hip as anything found in Brooklyn or Portland today, entrance to District Donuts +Sliders + Brew is made through doors to the left of Eighties video game characters interacting with pastry circles, a brief menu and some swag located next to the counter for ordering, Halloween 2016 seeing several team members dressed in costumes including a Penguin complete with booties and Purple Rain Prince.

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Impressed by the collection, approximately a dozen styles of Donuts varying frequently with artisan additions including Glazes, Candied Fruit, Pudding and Mousse all made daily in-house, it was with a cup of bold Cold Brew over Ice that seven selections were boxed or plated, the Cinnamon-swirled square quickly given some blow-torch love which led to buttery hot insides beneath a shattering sugar top.

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Intrigued to see Buttermilk Batter made in two styles, the Biscuit not flaky or laminated, but instead made in a drop-style that simply could not compare to the fried Drop which ate almost like Poundcake under a glob of sugary Glaze, it was here that the Toasted Coconut gave notice that none of District’s choices are made for light eating, the base Cake-like yet stretchy with a whole lot of natural flavor imbued by the toasted Halloween colored flakes.

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Finding the green zig-zagged round to be far more Pistachio than Cherry, certainly not a bad thing as the taste is thus a good mix of savory and sweet, Pumpkin Cheesecake tasted very similar to the Dream Whip pies served throughout the Midwest at Thanksgiving, yet potentially even lighter while the “Red Rum” was essentially a deep fried spin on the French Baba stuffed with boozy Rum filling and further punched up with some spirits in the Glaze.

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www.donutsandsliders.com

District Donuts Sliders Brew Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Breakfast, Coffee, Dessert, District Donuts, District Donuts +Sliders + Brew, Food, Louisiana, New Orleans, Vacation

Galatoire’s, New Orleans LA

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Galatoire’s

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Warm Bread and Butter

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French 75, Pimms’ Cup, Classic Daiquiri

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Souffle Potatoes – Crispy Puffs, Béarnaise Sauce

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Fried Eggplant – Eggplant Sticks, Italian Breadcrumbs, Béarnaise Sauce, Powdered Sugar

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Oysters en Brochette – Fried Oysters, Bacon, Meuniere Butter

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Duck and Andouille Gumbo – Andouille Sausage, Shredded Duck, Trinity, Rich Duck Stock, Dark Brown Roux

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Duck Crepe – Roasted Duck, Homemade Boursin Cheese, Port-Cherry Reduction, Pistachios

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Foie Gras – Hudson Valley Foie Gras, Pain Perdu, Cane Sugar Gastrique, Apricot Chutney

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Stuffed Eggplant – Louisiana Jumbo Lump Crabmeat, Boiled Shrimp, Bechamel Sauce, Green Onions, Grilled Eggplant

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Crabmeat au Gratin – Louisiana Jumbo Lump Crabmeat, Becahamel Sauce, Cheddar Cheese, Green Onions, Breadcrumbs

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Cauliflower au Gratin

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Bread Pudding – Banana Praline Sauce

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Sweet Potato Cheesecake – Caramel Sauce, Candied Spicy Pecans, White Chocolate Shavings

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Black Bottom Pecan Pie – Whiskey Caramel Sauce, Whipped Cream

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Missed on a prior trip to New Orleans, the restaurant smartly opting to shutter for the week of Mardi Gras, it was with family in town that we made our way down Bourbon Street on the day before Halloween to Galatoire’s, the ladies well dressed and myself in a suit jacket in order to enjoy dinner at the more formal dining space upstairs.

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One of the city’s Grande Dames of dining, the menu reading like a hit list of Creole Classics that has not budged in years, it was shortly after seating that a young female server introduced herself as our captain – the drink list offered, but no menus, her short disappearance followed by a return with “any questions” as if alcohol was mandatory…though perhaps it really was as her eventual return from the bar still saw us sitting without water, the fifteen minutes enough to actually see me stand up and walk across the room to steal three glasses from one of the bussers.

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Dismissing the issue with “we only have one busser, and water is typically served with bread,” it was with glazed eyes that we next sat listening to a description of ‘musts’ and favorites, the decision eventually seeing a total of twelve plates presented in three courses, the service no doubt improving though certainly not to the level of a ‘jacket and tie’ sort of place.

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Using slowly warming blocks of Butter to dress fresh, hot Rolls from the Kitchen, it was not long after ordering that two Galatoire’s signatures arrived alongside an open-face Oyster Roll and spicy Duck Gumbo, the feather light Souffle Potatoes delicious in Béarnaise Sauce while fried strips of Eggplant took the same to another place with a bowl of Powdered Sugar into which diners are encouraged to dunk.

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Definitely a space with some history, the luminous downstairs jammed-packed and boisterous while those seated in the more formal space are completely isolated from that noise, it was approximately an hour after the 7:00pm reservation that the second course arrived as two entrees, two more appetizers and a side dish, the Seafood-stuffed Eggplant, Crab Meat and Cauliflower all browned beneath creamy Bechamel while the Duck Crepe and Foie Gras were both a rich balance of savory and sweet, the Port-Cherry sauce beautiful with the confit while unctuous seared Liver found its foil in Apricot Chutney and Sugar Cane Gastrique.

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Obviously not planning to pass up a sweet finale in the city that puts Pain Perdu and Pralines on almost every dessert menu, the evening at Galatoire’s ended with three plates from which ‘best’ and ‘most decadent’ was a toss-up, the steaming Bread Pudding offered up next to Whipped Cream in a pool of Banana Praline Sauce while Sweet Potato Cheesecake found nuance in lightly spiced Pecans and smooth White Chocolate shavings, the Oreo-crusted Pecan Pie dripping with Hot Fudge and boozy Caramel atop a center that was almost Butterscotch pudding like, and all the better for it.

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www.galatoires.com

Galatoire's Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Bread Basket, Bread Pudding, Crab, Dessert, Foie, Foie Gras, Food, French Toast, Galatoire's, Louisiana, New Orleans, Pork, Vacation

Domenica, New Orleans LA

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Domenica

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Wheat Bread, Chili Pepper Olive Oil

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Soppresatta di Toscana, Biroldo, Duck Prosciutto with Mustard and Torta Fritta

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Tagliatelle – Slow Cooked Rabbit, Porcini Mushrooms

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Margherita – Tomato, Basil, Fresh Mozzarella

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Banana Zuppa Inglese – Banana Cake, Crema Cotta Mousse, Peanut Brittle

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Gianduja Budino – Chocolate Hazelnut Pudding, Candied Hazelnuts, Olive Oil, Sea Salt

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Chewy Chocolate Cookies

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Impressed by Alon Shaya’s eponymous restaurant, enough to move the John Besh protégée’s Beard Award winning Italian concept from “maybe” to “must” during a trip to New Orleans, it was obvious from the moment I walked in the doors that something was awry at Domenica in the Roosevelt Hotel – the hostess seeming completely lost when a table was requested instead of a bar seat…odd considering the fact that the space was less than 10% filled.

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Greeted soon by a twenty-something server who seemed pleasant enough, water filled and recommendations made including some Happy Hour specials, the decision was made to begin with a platter of housemade Charcuterie, warm Bread soon to arrive with a bottle of unnecessarily spicy Olive Oil.

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With perhaps a dozen total patrons present at ten past four, one table clearly having a good time though not so much as to distract others overall enjoyment, it was with minutes creeping by that I sat wondering just how long it could take to slice three Meats, the answer just short of half an hour which was clearly deemed inappropriate, apologies and “a bottle of water” suggested as an apology, neither of them necessary and truly an odd offer.

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Eventually getting to taste the goods, all three Meats defiantly funky with the chunky Blood Sausage truly memorable alongside airy poofs of fried dough, it was out of the restaurant and down a long hallway that I was directed to the lavatory, returning only to find the table completely cleared despite leaving behind my camera and a souvenir from the Saints game on the empty seat opposing – the server claiming he had “gone looking for me,” though seeming to imply that dining and dashing is what he had feared.

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Stating disappointment that the three remaining Torta Frita had beem removed, that generous bottle of The Mountain Valley Spring Water now arriving along with the Manager who suggested that she would ‘take care of’ the Charcuterie, dining progressed with a half-priced Happy Hour Margherita that was decent, albeit undersauced while ribbons of Tagliatelle were far more memorable amidst tender Rabbit and Mushroom Ragu.

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Never offered more fried Bread, at this point a non-issue as a dessert menu offered several intriguing choices, the decision between Banana Zuppa Inglese and Gianduja Budino proved far too difficult, the Banana Cake-in-a-jar served like Trifle amidst Cream Cheese Mousse topped in Peanut Brittle while the thick Pudding was similarly presented beneath a layer of whip, Hazelnuts and Toffee.

www.domenicarestaurant.com

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

Posted in Bread Basket, Dessert, Domenica, Food, Italian, Louisiana, New Orleans, Pizza, Pork, Vacation

Josephine Estelle, New Orleans LA

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Josephine Estelle

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Stumptown Coffee

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Pecan Croissant

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Chicken Biscuit – Calabrian Honey, Buttermilk Biscuit, Fried Breast

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Scarpinocc – Roasted Pumpkin, Walnuts, Brown Butter, Sage, Orange

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Rigatoni – Pork Shoulder, Collards, Pancetta, Garlic

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Peanut Butter Pie Budino – Caramel Ganache, Graham, Pretzel, Peanut, Cream Cheese Whip

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Owned and operated by Michael Hudman and Andy Ticer, the Memphis Chefs behind Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen, Hog & Hominy and more, Josephine Estelle at the ACE HOTEL New Orleans represents the chefs’ first foray outside Tennessee, their signature style of Italian by way of the South offering Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch and Dinner in a lavish high-ceilinged room channeling the classic French Brasserie.

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Selected for brunch in part due to outstanding meals at all three of the Chefs’ other restaurants, but also because of the Hotel’s proximity to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, it was just past 9:00am that doors were entered only to be told Brunch did not begin until ten o’clock, the eventual decision one of enjoying a pair of breakfast items along with a “bottomless” cup of Stumptown Coffee that nonetheless seemed to require begging in order to get topped off.

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Listening to forgettable music play at an unobtrusive level, the ACE’s WiFi code available to those who ask, it was after a brief wait that the glass-encased kitchen sent forth a single plate featuring a fluffy Buttermilk biscuit with wrapped around a fried Chicken Breast rife with spice and a drizzle of heated Honey, the Pecan Croissant not much like the French would make it considering the Praline shell and filling – the texture something akin to Baklava and therefore not a ‘bad thing,’ just unexpected and different.

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Waiting out 10am patiently, service finally getting the idea that Coffee cups need to be checked upon periodically, it was with water that two appetizer sized portions of Pasta that the meal continued, the seasonal thumbprint Pumpkin pockets each meltingly tender with a light hint of Citrus amidst Walnuts and Sage while tubes of Rigatoni were served in a Ragu of Pork Shoulder, Greens and Garlic.

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Passing on a Cinnamon Roll and Scone, the entire dessert menu going live at ten, as well, eyes immediately gravitated to the word “Budino” flanked by Peanut Butter Pie and Caramel, the thick Pudding served Parfait style with salty Pretzels and Cream Cheese whip rich as can be, and most certainly necessitating another cup of Stumptown’s best.

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http://josephineestelle.com/

Josephine Estelle Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen, Breakfast, Coffee, Croissant, Dessert, Food, Italian, Josephine Estelle, Louisiana, New Orleans, Pork, Stumptown, Stumptown Roasters, Vacation

Café Beignet (Rue Royal,) New Orleans LA

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Café Beignet on Rue Royal

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Pecan Pie

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Black and Gold Palmier

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Praline

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Beignets

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Considered by some to be the city’s only real competition to Café du Monde, locations on Bourbon Street and Rue Royal both making New Orleans signature fried dough fresh to order, Café Beignet Rue Royal was stop three on an early morning trip West to East from the airport, a nearly twenty-five minute wait particularly off-putting as the restaurant was not particularly busy, but at least acceptable as a chance to recover from all the previous sweets.

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Playing clever with slogans like “Beignet there, done that” and proudly displaying a sign from Food Network that proclaims their pillowy Doughnuts as the “Best Thing I Ever Ate” from Alton Brown, it was with a steep $18 exchanged for Beignets, a tiny Tart as well as a Cookie and Praline that I waited…and waited, a few Seahawks fans flirting with girls at the register as a lone sleepy-eyed server brought Breakfast plates from the kitchen in back.

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Obviously targeting tourists, and perhaps moreso those who are drunken or hung over, it was with a duet playing Jazz for spare change in the street that first items were tasted, the Pecan Pie sticky with only a few nuts amidst overly-sweet filling on a thick base at the excessive price of six dollars, a Praline fortunately offering up a few more Pecans despite being more chalky than others in the city while a half-dipped Palmier was pretty to look at, though falling far short in terms of crackling texture when placed between teeth.

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Hoping wait times would yield a superior product, the queue at Cafe du Monde undoubtedly more expedient in the early morning while New Orleans Coffee & Beignet Co. turns out two different flavors and sizes in 1/5 the time, it would be difficult to echo Alton’s accolades considering the perfection of Beignets more than twice the price offered at Michael Mina’s StripSteak, the three Sugar-coated puffs nonetheless excellent with a soft crunch over airy caverns without a hint of grease.

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www.cafebeignet.com

Cafe Beignet Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Breakfast, Café Beignet, Café Beignet Rue Royal, Dessert, Food, Louisiana, New Orleans, Vacation

The Buttermilk Drop Bakery & Cafe, New Orleans LA

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The Buttermilk Drop Bakery & Cafe

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Vanilla Custard Filled Powder

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Apple Fritter

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Raisin Square

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Buttermilk Drop

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Red Velvet Drop

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Located at 1781 North Dorgenois Street and the sort of place where a homeless man as well as the Sheriff may approach a diner during the course of a fifteen minute visit for a handout or interrogation, respectively, The Buttermilk Drop Bakery & Café may not seem like the sort of place a Caucasian Midwesterner visiting town would be at 6:30 in the morning, but between the products and its friendly staff it is actually an unlikely New Orleans ‘must see.’

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Open at 5am daily Weekdays and 6am on Weekends, far more convincing for a Donut Shop than Wink’s trendy environs opening after eight in the French Quarter, The Buttermilk Drop features several varieties of fresh fried Dough in addition to a buffet-style arrangement of Southern Breakfast specialties, most patrons coming and going quickly with only a few taking the opportunity to dine in at booths just inside the entrance the building.

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Busy in the kitchen, a glass partition and window separating the dining area from clouds of Flour and whirring mixers, it was with Donuts in mind that an order was placed, paid for and subsequently bagged, a little over $5 exchanged for five selections with the heavily powdered Custard filled pillow thankfully separated from the rest, yet still making a snowy mess of hands, table and floor.

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Skeptic of the Fritter at first, some areas so thick with glaze that the top was rendered white, the lumpy round was pleasantly crunchy despite sweetness with a capital “S,” the Sugar-coated Square sort of like Raisin Brioche with a soft and pillowy texture to the base that likely would have made for a great Bread Pudding, as well.

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Saving the eponymous item for last, the Cop who’d originally suggested I was “casing the place out” for taking a picture outside recommending “you gotta try both,” one would be challenged to decide whether the original Buttermilk or Cocoa-tinged Red Velvet was better, the decision mostly that of personal preference from which one of each is definitely the best option…with “World Famous” Wink’s falling short of both.

http://buttermilkdropbakery.squarespace.com/

The Buttermilk Drop Bakery & Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Breakfast, Dessert, Food, Louisiana, New Orleans, The Buttermilk Drop, The Buttermilk Drop Bakery, The Buttermilk Drop Bakery & Cafe, The Buttermilk Drop Bakery and Cafe

Blue Dot Donuts, New Orleans LA

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Blue Dot Donuts

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Holes – Plain, Powdered, Cinnamon-Sugar, Apple Fritter

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Chocolate Dough

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Peanut Butter and Jelly

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