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Back from Vegas!

by on May 11, 2008 · 16 comments

Sorry for the delay in approving comments. We just returned from our much anticipated trip and I am a little behind.

Las Vegas was great. I arrived on Friday and spent the day attending culinary demonstrations and shopping.  On Saturday, Todd flew in and we walked up the strip losing and winning back money at various casinos. We had a 5:30 reservation at Craftsteak, where Todd discovered he really loves shaved fennel salad.   The steak was pretty good too, but I think we liked the fries even better. After dinner, we walked over to Mandalay Bay and saw Rush. They put on an amazing show which included songs off their newest album plus plenty of oldies including Passage to Bangkok which is one I really like and was happy to hear live.

After the concert we headed back to our hotel, The Venetian.  The rooms were quite large and very comfortable. Plus, next to the elevator was a small outpost of the Bouchon Bakery where I saw the famous Bouchon peanut butter sandwich cookies and bought a Valrhona chocolate chunk cookie which was excellent, but different than I’d expected. 

It was a fun trip, but we’re glad to be back home with Fuzz, who is enjoying the MGM Lion snow globe we brought back.  By the way.  Never pack a snow globe in your carry-on bag even if it’s wrapped in a styrofoam box.  Snow globes must be checked.  We learned this going through security, but had enough time to backtrack and check the snow globe rather than surrender it to security. 

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Published on May 11, 2008

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Clumbsy Cookie May 11, 2008 at 3:48 pm

Welcome back Anna! We’ve missed your daily posts, but you sure deserve a break! What kind of culinary demonstrations did you go If I can ask?

Anna May 11, 2008 at 4:10 pm

Bon Appetit magazine was holding various lectures, demonstrations and luncheons as part of an event called “Vegas Uncorked”. I bought tickets to two of the events. One was held in a meeting room at Bellagio and its title was Culinary Trends. I didn’t know what to expect and it turned out to be a lecture/demo hosted by Dorie Greenspan and Chef Anthony Amoroso. They made a lamb dish and a lobster pasta dish using a cooking method called “Sous Vide”. Good story about it here on Chowhound. Basically, it’s cooking things in a thermal bath.

The second thing I bought tickets to was a competition, pro vs. amateur, where a celebrity chef (Todd English) competed with a local chef named John Church. They had to make something on the spot with a suprise ingredient which turned out to be cactus. Todd English and his sous chef, Dr. Melfi (Lorraine Bracco) won. They made cactus french fries of some sort. It was a very small venue set up in front of Caesar’s Palace. It was very hot outside, but it was still fun. The judges were funny. They kept asking the chefs to just make cactus margaritas.

There were some other events which you can read about here.

I’m guessing they do this every year. If you go, my advice is to take a friend. I think I was the only one solo and most of the people were with friends or spouses.

Megan May 11, 2008 at 4:27 pm

Hey Anna – you were in my hometown! I saw all the ads for that event and didn’t have anyone to go with – it sounded like alot of fun.
It’s always funny to hear people talk about Vegas, because when you live here, you almost never go to the strip – it’s too crowded!!
Glad you had a good time!

Jill - GlossyVeneer May 11, 2008 at 5:41 pm

Megan’s right, going to The Strip is something I only do when entertaining visitors. Which is kind of a shame since there is so much to do there, but it is kind of a hassle for every day life too. The Vegas Uncorked stuff sounded interesting and I wished I could have attended. I’m glad you had a good time!

Heidi May 11, 2008 at 5:51 pm

They are all about sous vide on Top Chef. Both last season with the winner and this season.

Adam over at AmateurGourmet was the one paired with John Church! He’s got some entries up detailing HIS trip to Vegas. ;)

Anna May 11, 2008 at 6:04 pm

Heidi, thanks for mentioning Adam. They made him section oranges the whole time and he did a very good job! Guess he’s not so amateur anymore.

Oh, and Cat Cora was there. She is quite a talent. I knew she could cook, but she was a good announcer and quite pretty in person. She’s pretty on camera too, but prettier in real life.

VeggieGirl May 11, 2008 at 6:15 pm

Wow, sounds like a fun trip, indeed!! I love Vegas :0)

Clumbsy Cookie May 12, 2008 at 7:01 am

Thanks Anna, I was just curious. Not thinking about going I live too far (Portugal), but we never know…
Oh the Sous Vide, I know what is it, my previous head chef had one and I think he was madly in love with that thing… Not the kind of thing I would think people would have at home, but again, we never know…
Dorie Greenspan seams to be a nice lady, that must have been fun!
Glad you had a good time! Rita

Anna May 12, 2008 at 7:19 am

Rita, I think you can buy them on various auction sites. If I remember correctly, Anthony Amoroso bought his on eBay or something like that. It’s easier for the home cook to buy one then some restaurant chefs because home cooks don’t have to deal with particular vendors or rules. I’m thinking about getting one, but need to do more research.

He said something in the lecture that was pretty interesting. Whenever you smell something cooking, you are smelling flavor being lost. Sous vide locks in the flavor.

Emiline May 12, 2008 at 1:26 pm

Welcome back! Did you see Chevy Chase or Beverly D’Angelo running around?
Just kidding.

Karen May 12, 2008 at 3:08 pm

Anna – you better be careful what you say about Nicholas Cage! He recently sued Kathleen Turner for libel based on things she said about him in her memoirs:

I’d hate to see you get sued! Although I’d volunteer to raise money for your defense.

Sounds like you had fun in Vegas – I want to hear more about the Bouchon cookie.

Anna May 12, 2008 at 4:03 pm


I think he would know I was referencing Leaving Las Vegas, but what if he didn’t and sued me????

The last thing I need today is to be sued by Nicholas Cage.

Now about that cookie. It was really thick and very crunchy….no contrast in texture, just crunchy through and through. But it had Valrhona chocolate in it so it was automatically good. If my stay had been longer, I would have tried one of the peanut butter cookies.

RecipeGirl May 12, 2008 at 8:34 pm

Hey, glad you had a great time in Vegas. We were there a week or so ago for a friend’s bday, but we didn’t get to experience the wonderful food there. Next time…

Yvonne May 13, 2008 at 8:55 am

Hi Anna!
Wow–I’m so excited that you like Rush and love cookies, too!! My husband and I are seeing Rush in Manchester NH but had talked about going to Vegas to see them. Glad you had a good time! Question: Passage to Bangkok? And WHAT are in those brownies of yours??? (-: Just kiddin! Keep up the good baking!

Anna May 13, 2008 at 11:03 am

Yvonne, you are so lucky to have the concert ahead of you. I’m sure it will be great.

There was some sad news today about one of the founding members, John Rutsey. He passed away over the weekend. A lot of fans are really sad. I don’t know anything about him but I am sad for the band because they lost a friend.

About the drug references. The sound was such that I could hear the music, but couldn’t make out the lyrics very well. So what I like about this song is the music. Normally, I do listen closely to the lyrics, but in this case I liked the music.

D'Ann May 19, 2008 at 12:14 pm

I check your site several times a week, and I make as many of the recipes as I can. I love the Can’t Stop cookie!

Very cool that you are a Rush fan. I am, too. (notice my email address – analogkid) They are so great live.

Glad you had a good time in Vegas. But it is always good to come home!

From a Texas native from the hill country now living in Colorado Springs

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