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A Little Bit About a Lot of Things

My food adventures…and some other random stuff

IMG_3293We got stuck in Vegas for an extra night due to a snowstorm cancelling our flight. The one good thing about having to stay another night is getting to try another great restaurant. This time we picked YellowTail in the Bellagio.

IMG_3294The crowd is a the see and be seen type. Inside gets a bit noisy, so we were glad to have a seat outside on the heated patio.

We had a great front row seat to the water show all night.

IMG_3299Edamame ($9) two ways, traditional and chili.

IMG_3303We had two rolls, the shrimp tempura ($16) and spicy tuna ($15). Both classic and tasty.

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The rock shrimp ($23) was crunchy and  had a little kick to it, from the Korean chili aioli. It was just the right amount of food, we were full but not stuffed – plus we saved room for dessert.

IMG_3307Cheesecake ($14) with lemon ice cream and blackberry crumble. You would never know that this dish is made with 60% tofu (unless your waiter told you ;) ). The cheesecake was light as air and really delicious, I loved the ice cream.

IMG_3309Chocolate Cup ($14) this would have been my second choice, but I’m not a banana girl. It comes with nutella, banana foam, and vanilla bean ice cream. Just wait until you get to the bottom of this dessert, it’s amazing. The service was excellent, we had a great experience.

YellowTail in the Bellagio

3600 Las Vegas Blvd. South Las Vegas

http://yellowtaillasvegas.com/

Yellowtail on Urbanspoon

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IMG_3175The neon museum is about  15 minute ride from the strip, it will be about a $30 cab ride. We had a rental car, and there was free parking right next door. The Neon Museum visitors’ center is located inside the historic La Concha Motel lobby.  The shell-shaped building was designed by architect Paul Revere Williams.

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Tours are offered 7 days a week, both day and night time tours are available. We paid a little extra to do the night tour, $25 per adult (day tours are $18). The La Concha sign you see is a restored original.

IMG_0906Lots of the Vegas signs you will see say 1905, which is when Vegas was founded. The signs have been donated to the museum from the sign company.

IMG_0930The signs are lit up at night, but they don’t work, it costs a great deal of money to restore these signs.

IMG_3097They are moving these signs around all the time, so you could come back a year later and different ones could be showcased.

IMG_3149We had a really great tour guide. Note that you are not allowed to record the tour and you are allowed one camera per person.

IMG_1003The La Concha restored sign.

IMG_1006How cute is this guy? It used to be located on the other side of the boneyard, but the residents of the apartment complex next door kept throwing rocks at him, so they had to move him to the far side.

IMG_3205The Moulin Rouge sign. They do a lot of wedding photography sessions here, so they changed the sign around so that is says “in love”. Love it! The Neon museum isn’t in the best part of town, so it’s best not to go wandering around the neighborhood after the tour. The museum will call you a cab should you need to get back to the strip.

IMG_3278Later this week we headed over to Fremont Street to see some of the great restored signs. This is old Vegas, a little seedy, a little sketchy. Every hour the canopy lights up for a show. There are also multiple stages where performances are going on.

IMG_3282Here you can get a photo with a transformer or a show girl – it’s great people watching, that’s for sure. We stayed for about 30 minutes, that’s all we needed.

IMG_3276Some interesting facts about Fremont Street: Fremont Street has been the site of numerous “firsts” in Las Vegas: the first street to be paved (1925); the first traffic light; the first elevator (the Apache Hotel in 1932); and the first high-rise (the Fremont Hotel in 1956). When gaming was legalized in 1931, the first Nevada gaming license was issued to the Northern Club at 15 E. Fremont Street. Meanwhile, the Horseshoe was the first casino to install carpeting while the Golden Nugget was the first structure designed from the ground up to be a casino.

IMG_3280Don’t worry about getting cabs, you can pick one up at any of the hotels, we grabbed one at the Golden Nugget.

IMG_3279For more information about the Fremont Street Experience, see their website.

For more information on the Neon Museum:

770 Las Vegas Boulevard North, Las Vegas, NV

http://www.neonmuseum.org/

IMG_3802We went to BurgerFi opening weekend and waited 40 minutes for our burgers – which were gone in…40 seconds. This week, with the BU kids on spring break, burgers in under 5 minutes! Located on Comm. Ave in the space formerly occupied by Qdoba, BurgerFi focuses on all natural beef burgers that are always made fresh.

IMG_3805Oh, did I mention that they also serve beer and wine? The interior is cool – very industrial. I like the fact that the people making the burgers are up high – makes it feel a little less “fast food”.

IMG_3654Here’s what’s on their menu. Close your eyes and don’t look at how many calories are in the burgers! ;)

BurgerFi® Burger (510 Cal) Double natural Angus burger, lettuce, tomato, and BurgerFi® sauce Add Hickory Bacon
BurgerFi® Cheeseburger (650 Cal) Double natural Angus burger, double American cheese, lettuce, tomato, and BurgerFi® sauce Add Hickory Bacon
VegeFi Burger® (520 Cal) Crisp quinoa burger, white cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, and BurgerFi® sauce served on multigrain bun
Breakfast All Day Burger (730 Cal) Natural Angus burger, American cheese, hickory bacon drizzled with maple syrup, fried egg,
hash browns, grilled diced onions, and ketchup
Brisket Burger (650 Cal) Double natural 28 day dry aged ground brisket, Swiss cheese, blue cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles and BurgerFi® sauce.
Green Style: Order any burger or dog in a crisp lettuce instead of a bun

Chicago Style Dog (370 Cal) All-natural dog topped with mustard, neon relish, diced onion, tomato slices, sport peppers, celery salt, and a pickle spear served on a poppy seed bun
New York Style Dog (330 Cal) All-natural dog topped with deli mustard and kraut
Texas Style Chili Cheese Dog (430 Cal) All-natural dog topped with BurgerFi® chili, cheese sauce, and hot sauce
Chicken Apple Dog (310 Cal) All-natural chicken dog stuffed with apple morsels, served with choice of style or toppings
100% Wagyu Kobe Beef Dog (380 Cal) All-natural Wagyu Kobe beef dog served with choice of style or toppings

Fresh Cut Fries Reg. (650 Cal)    Lg. (1220 Cal)
Big Bucket (2290 Cal)
Crispy Onion Rings Reg. (610 Cal)
Lg. (980 Cal)
Cry & Fries Onion rings and fresh cut fries (1010 Cal)

Fry Toppings

    • Salt & Vinegar (0 Cal)
    • Parmesan Cheese & Herbs (90 Cal)
    • Hot Cajun Spices (0 Cal)
    • Cheese Sauce (80 Cal)
    • BurgerFi® Chili (160 Cal)
    • BurgerFi® Chili & Cheese Sauce (120 Cal)

Red Velvet Concrete (870 Cal) Vanilla custard layered with red velvet cake

Key Lime Concrete (900 Cal) Vanilla custard layered with key lime pie

O.M.C. (Oh My Chocolate!) Concrete® (1440 Cal) Chocolate custard, peanut butter, brownie, chocolate chips, and chocolate sprinkles

Tropical Freeze Concrete (960 Cal) Vanilla custard, caramel, mango, and coconut

Build Your Own Concrete
Toppings & Mix-Ins (5-190 Cal)

Hot Fudge, Caramel Sauce, Chocolate Syrup, Vanilla Syrup, Whipped Cream, Toffee, Peanut Butter, Almonds, Candied Pecans, Candied Walnuts, Bananas, Cherries, Strawberries, Mango, Coconut, Colored or Chocolate Sprinkles, Butterscotch, M&M’s®, Reese’s Pieces®, Gummies, Oreo® Cookies, Brownie, Red Velvet Cake, Key Lime Pie, Marshmallow

IMG_3806Another interior shot. Check out the cool light fixtures!

IMG_3660Favorite burger by far, the breakfast all day burger! Natural Angus burger, American cheese, hickory bacon drizzled with maple syrup, fried egg, hash browns, grilled diced onions, and ketchup. Uh, yum!?! Great combination, I love everything about this burger. There is no one thing that sets it over the top, each topping would be great just by itself, but they’re AMAZING all together. It’s a little sweet and a little salty. It looks small, but it’s filling.

IMG_3658The regular fries.

IMG_3807The Parmesean cheese and herb fries. They could have been a little crisper for me, but they were still tasty.

IMG_3804They  have a dessert station off to the side. I love the display!

IMG_3808The key lime concrete is pretty thick, and they aren’t stingy on the key lime pie. It’s bold and tart, and I love the graham cracker crust! Highly recommend you stop in today and try Burgerfi (oh, but take the T ’cause you’ll never find a parking spot on a regular day).

Check out my Favecast video at BurgerFi:  http://favecast.com/9DMRWyz6OB

Download the Favecast app and show me your favorite burger joint!

BurgerFiburger

961 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, MA

http://burgerfi.com

Burger Fi on Urbanspoon

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Tickets here are $20 per person for all day access. You can get discounts if you are a hotel guest, military, or if you do the 3 for $57 pass.

IMG_0846The dolphin habitat is home to several bottlenose dolphins. You can see them above the water interacting with trainers, or you can view them below in the underwater viewing room. The habitat is an education and research based facility – there are no scheduled shows, but they will interact with their trainers, doing jumps, flips and spins.

IMG_0854They have a number of other additional packages that you can buy while you are at the habitat. You can paint with the dolphins, be a trainer for the day and even do yoga.

IMG_3035While the trainers were in the water, everyone in the pool was very vocal and they were communicating with each other so everyone knew where everyone else was. After they fed the animals and the animals did tricks, some toys were put into the pool for some play time!

IMG_0872Tigers can range in size from 7-10 feet fro nose to tail. Their weight ranges anywhere from 200 to over 575 pounds! The average life span is about 15-20 years.

IMG_0899We went later in the afternoon and most of the animals were resting.

IMG_0890This one just went for a swim!

IMG_0887Pretty cool to see these cats up close!

IMG_0880Average lifespan for a lion is about 15-20 years.

IMG_3058Lions can range between 300 and 570 pounds! Look at the size of this cat’s paws!

Siegfried and Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat at the Mirage

3400 Las Vegas Blvd South, Las Vegas, NV

http://www.mirage.com/attractions/secret-garden.aspx

IMG_1011The Flamingo hotel offers free admission to their wildlife habitat. The habitat is home to a flock of Chilean Flamingos.

IMG_1013In addition to the flamingos, there are ducks and various other birds.

IMG_1016The habitat is also home to brown pelicans that came to them in 2012 from a rescue in California. Unfortunately, when we arrived, the exhibit was closed for renovation. Generally, the pelican feedings happen at 8:30am and 2pm.

IMG_3256The habitat is also home to a pond full of koi fish, some of the biggest ones I have ever seen.

The Wildlife Habitat at the Flamingo

3555 Las Vegas Boulevard South, Las Vegas, NV

http://www.flamingolasvegas.com/things-to-do/wildlife-habitat.html#.Uvvpx_Yx_vA

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We spent what seemed to be a lot of time at Caesar’s Palace.

IMG_3198The lobby was decorated with red lanterns for the Chinese New Year.

IMG_3181Mesa Grill is Bobby Flay’s restaurant, and is located near the sports book in the casino. We had been to Mesa in the Bahamas and it was one of the best meals we have had, quite memorable. Needless to say we were excited to be able to have another meal here. I was a bit hesitant, could this meal live up to the high pedestal that we put Mesa on? I had built it up in my head, and how could another meal come close? It did, the meal was delicious and was indeed consistent with the meal we had in the Bahamas.

IMG_3187I love the decor here. The food here really showcases Bobby Flay’s signature Southwestern cuisine.

IMG_3178I always say you can judge a meal by the breadbasket that you receive. The bread here is delicious, I especially love the blue and yellow corn muffin!

IMG_3182Sweet potato soup ($13) Smoked Chiles, Maple Crema + Marcona Almonds. Love the presentation. The soup was creamy and delicious, a  really great way to kick off the meal.

IMG_3186We ordered a bunch of appetizers as opposed to a full meal. Lobster tacos ($20) Tomatillo, Avocado + Pickled Red Onion, Habanero and Fennel Relish. Another great presentation. The colors and flavors were bright and fresh. A really well rounded dish.

IMG_3189Blue Corn Pancake ($15) Barbecued Duck + Habanero Chile – Star Anise Sauce. I’m not sure I would have called it a pancake, it was more like a crepe. The flavors were bold, and the duck was tender.

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Tiger Shrimp Roasted Garlic Corn Tamale ($18) with corn and cilantro sauce. You’re either in camp cilantro or not. I’m not, it tastes like soap to me, but I could barely tell it was in this dish. When I got to the end, I was wishing there was more, and again, the presentation of the dish was outstanding.

IMG_3195The chocolate cake ($11) was warm and surprisingly light. We gobbled this up in a shamefully short period of time and loved every bite!

The service here was excellent, our server was experienced, knowledgeable and friendly. Our food came out promptly and everything was really delicious. We would highly recommend Mesa to anyone heading out to Vegas!

Mesa Grill
Caesars Palace
3570 Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV

Mesa Grill on Urbanspoon

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Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay is $18 per adult, but if you are planning on doing other tourist attractions, save money and do the 3 for $57 package. See the website for other attractions in the package. Above is the komodo dragon. Always makes me think of the movie The Freshman (whew, that just dated me huh?)

IMG_3217At the shark reef there are 2,000 animals in 1.6 million gallons of water. They have sawfish, giant rays, endangered green sea turtles, piranha, jellyfish and the rare golden crocodile, just to name a few.

IMG_3219Above is the piranha tank, and yes, there is a staff person standing next to the exhibit – you can only image how many intoxicated tourists probably try to put their hands in the tank….

IMG_3231There is a small pool where you can touch a stingray or a horseshoe crab. The reef offers the opportunity for you to dive with the sharks for an additional fee.

The exhibit seems to be on the smaller size, I wish that the tunnel here was more like the one we had seen in Atlantis. Overall good to go if you are looking for something different to do, and if you have kids, I’m sure that they would enjoy it.

Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay

3950 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV

http://www.mandalaybay.com/shark-reef/

IMG_3285Famous for their shop in New York, celebrity followers and their famous frozen hot chocolates, we just had to see what the fuss was all about. I’ve never been to the New York location, but I have to feel like the Vegas location just can’t be as charming as the original in NY. It feels more Cheesecake Factory than charming. The restaurant is small inside – the ceilings are high, but the amount of tables is far fewer than you would expect. There is outside seating on the patio, but it is still a little cold for us. We waited about 20 minutes for a table, and ended up sitting at a two top right next to the door, which proved to be a bit chilly.

IMG_3286We’re really here for the frozen hot chocolate, so we order a light lunch. We order a bowl of chili ($9), which was tasty, but I would have liked the cheese to  have been melted.

IMG_3288Mac and cheese with bacon ($15) was drenched in cheese sauce. While the potions were enormous (I had read that if going with a group you should order a few meals and share, or if you have a fridge, order and bring back leftovers) the food was just ok. Our server seemed to be overwhelmed. While our food came out promptly, she dropped the check before we had time to order dessert. Note that there are no restrooms in here, you must go outside to find one.

IMG_3289So Serendipity 3 is another place where you get preferred pricing if you are a Total Rewards member. We ordered a frozen hot chocolate ($11), minus the whipped cream since we were taking it with us. It was good, but we weren’t blown away. Frankly, we were hard pressed to figure out a reason why this place was so popular. Perhaps we will give the NY location a try and have better luck.

Serendipity 3 in Caesar’s Palace

Caesar’s Palace Drive, Las Vegas, NV

http://www.caesarspalace.com/restaurants/serendipity-3.html#.Uvvg_fYx_vA

http://www.serendipity3.com/

Serendipity 3 on Urbanspoon

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IMG_3689I was invited to a test marketing event at Itadaki on Newbury Street. Santouka ramen is the biggest ramen franchise in Japan. They are here in Boston for 3 days only, March 3-5. They will  be offering ramen from 4pm-9pm (or until they sell out).

IMG_3683They are only serving 200 bowls of ramen a night. We showed up at around 6:00 and there was a line out the door. We managed to grab a few seats at the bar.

IMG_3687They are only serving one kind of ramen, the shio ramen (salt flavored), which is their signature dish. The ramen had a wood ear mushroom, bamboo, scallions,pork pot roast, a fish cake and a pickled plum. The dish was a generous portion for the price ($10). The meat was quite flavorful, and the fish cake wasn’t too fishy. The pickled plum was a bit of a surprise. It looks a bit like a cranberry, and for some reason I thought it would be chewy, when in fact, it was crunchy with almost a tart flavor.

IMG_3690If you are planning on attending the event, get there early – as they were sold out by around 6:30pm.

Itadaki

269 Newbury Street, Boston, MA

http://www.itadakiboston.com/

Itadaki Boston on Urbanspoon

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IMG_3074From the Pink’s website, “Pink’s is the ultimate Mom and Pop hot dog stand. It’s a Hollywood love story, starting with Paul & Betty Pink selling hot dogs from a cart on a neighborhood street corner at La Brea & Melrose in 1939. Then the city fell in love with the tasty chili dogs and friendly service, and 73 years later, Pink’s has become a Hollywood landmark and internationally famous, now operated by Paul & Betty’s family — Richard, Gloria, and Beverly.”

IMG_3072Celebrities love pinks, check out their wall of fame.

IMG_3073I had seen Pink’s on a number of Food Network shows. While we were in Vegas, we thought we would see what all the fuss was about. You order inside and there is outdoor seating on the patio (great for people watching too!).

IMG_3075I ordered the chili cheese dog ($6.79). I made it about half way through before it fell apart, there was so much chili on it! I had ordered it without the mustard, it was delicious! A perfect Superbowl snack!

IMG_3076We also had the bacon burrito dog ($7.99), big flour tortilla wrapped around 2 hot dogs, 2 slices of cheese, 3 slices of bacon, chili & onions. Pure gluttony!

They have some interesting flavor combinations, here are just a few:

Polish Pastrami Swiss Cheese Dog: polish sausage, pastrami, swiss cheese & mustard; Brooklyn Pastrami Swiss Cheese Dog: hot dog, pastrami, swiss cheese & mustard; Mini Corn Dogs: served with side of mustard or nacho cheese. Check out their menu for additional options.

Pink’s Hot Dogs

3667 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV

http://www.pinkshotdogslv.com/

Pink's Hot Dogs on Urbanspoon

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