The City of Lights, er well, the other City of Lights : Las Vegas. It’s Sin City for some, a city of endless food possibilities for others – others like myself.  Being there for work recently ( for six days -ermergherd) was exhausting and exhilarating at once. Long days followed by semi-long nights of exploring the strip and all the wonderful food it had to offer. From day to night I’ve got your guide to the TOP foodie spots next time you find yourself in the desert.

In & Out Burger 

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For those of you with access to one of these – I’m jealous. There’s nothing I love more than some fries and a grilled cheese animal style. Staying at the LINQ Hotel & Casino, In & Out is situated right on the Promenade and while it gets busy and stays busy – the customer service never lacks and they stay true to their message. If you’ve never had In & Out, I highly suggest it for a quick and affordable bite if you’re in the California or Vegas area. For vegetarians the grilled cheese is mindblowingly good. As for ‘Animal Style’? That’s special secret sauce, caramelized onions and pickles ( I opt to leave those out) and you can’t forget about their chocolate shakes. I’m proud to say I had lunch here more than once that week.

JaBurrito

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Sushi Burritos have been all the rage in California for awhile now but they have yet to hit the Midwest food scene, much to my chagrin. I became slightly obsessed. As you readers know, I crave sushi on some kind of level everyday. I feel the same about Mexican food so these two worlds colliding into the best culture smash the culinary world has ever seen – well, it just made my life. Pictured is the Sushi Bowl which I inhaled. During the week I alternated between the classic white rice and seaweed burrito and the bowl. The Long Island and Redondo were my favorites. Crispy Shrimp Tempura, Ahi Tuna, Salmon, Cucumber, Spicy Mayo  and crispy tortilla strips – could life get any better? I could go on and on and on but words do not do this justice. Anyone who asked for the slightest recommendation at lunch got pointed toward JaBurrito. The only negative is now that I have had it I want it always. Please come to KC. I alone will keep you in business.

Bardot Brasserie 

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Tete de Moine Cheese, Chanterelle Mushrooms, Asparagus, French Summer Truffles, Roasted Garlic Veloute simply a dream. Creamy, light and the perfect pasta dish. From top to bottom the service, the cuisine and the ambiance at Chef Michael Mina’s Las Vegas restaurant, Bardot Brasserie at the Aria Hotel is the place to go if you are looking for a fine dining experience.  I brought a long a new friend, Tim, who is Vegan and Gluten-free which can make it tricky to find places. Not here. A call ahead confirmed what we already suspected; that chef would be happy to put something together for us- no problem at all. Chef prepared a beautiful bouquet of roasted vegetables and chickpea fries that had me lusting after it even with the Parisian Gnocchi in front of me. Now, I could not leave without having my favorite – foie gras. I know, trust me I know. I first had this here last year and have dreamt of it ever since. Twelve months I have longed to taste this again so I had to do so. If you have it once in your life and only once – have it here. I implore you, it will change your tastebuds.

bardotbrasseriefoisThe Foie Gras Parfait is Chilled Mousse of La Belle Farms Foie Gras, Ruby Port Gelee, Cornichons, Grilled Country Bread. This photo does not do it justice. The grilled country bread is perfection – ever so lightly grilled and crisp yet soft and tender, the ruby port gelee gives the foie some acidity in the most subtle way. Creamy and decadent I was forced to eat the entire contents alone – terrible for me, I know yet I was fine taking one for the team. Simply wonderful across the board and you can make a bet that I will be back in Vegas next year to dine here again.

Jaleo
Chef Jose Andres is beyond talented and each time I am fortunate enough to dine in his restaurant, is a beautiful gift. I miss the flavors of Spain and he brings them to me time and time again with each divine bite. New to tapas or need recommendations? Let me be your guide.

Pan de cristal con tomato: toasted slices of uniquely crispy and ethereal bread brushed with fresh tomato. The description comes straight from the menu itself. Bread brushed with tomato and olive oil is a staple in Catalan households and homes all across Spain. The freshness of the tomato is indescribable and I haven’t tasted tomatoes like it since I moved but Chef Andres does it and it’s pure magic.
Patatas Bravas: Potatoes with tomato sauce and a garlic aioliAnother classic Spanish dish and one I may miss the most. The presentation is wonderful and while made for sharing, I could easily eat the entire dish alone.

Escalivada Catalana: Open fire-roasted red peppers, eggplant and sweet onions with sherry dressing. Did I say the braves were my favorite because it’s really this. The smokiness of the peppers took me back to springtime in Spain when the only acceptable way to eat vegetables is to grill them over an open flame. It may not be the prettiest dish, but it is by far the best. 

I could go on and on – the whole menu is a delight. The paella, the oysters and especially the Gin & Tonic. They don’t make them like they do in Spain – or at Jaleo. Check out the WanderfulLifestyle Instagram for photos – the lighting is sexy and dark so making for great photos it does not.
 
Another dark and sexy atmosphere and another fantastic restaurant. Located on the lower level of the Eiffel Tour, Mon Ami whisked me to Paris and I couldn’t have been happier about it. On my last night the bright lights and loud music were getting to me and walking into this French escape was just what I needed. Sitting by candlelight, I almost tricked myself to believing I was across the sea. The Trout Almandine was the best I have ever had, even though their escargot was not. I prefer mine kept in the shell with garlic and butter. When they are taken out and cooked in the cast iron pan with olive oil and parsley, they can get a bit rubbery – unfortunately they weren’t as wonderful as my favorite place here in Kansas City but all the same – I was pleased to try. Their cold carrot salad more than made up for it as I was forcing myself to not lick the plate. And their wine selection? Heavens, take all my money Mon Ami! As a white wine lover, I suggest the following:
From the Languedoc & Loire Valley 
Vouvray – Domaine Vigneau-Chevreau Vouvray Sec
Sancerre – Domaine Roger Moreux  and the Domaine Moreux “Les Monts Damnes”
Pulley-Fume – Pascal Joviet
From the Alsace Region
Pinot Blanc – Trimbach
From the Rhone & Southern France 
Viognier – Vidal Fleury
And for my Gluten-Free friends, they have a menu just for you – breathe a sigh of relief.
 Vegas is not for everyone and I’m not exactly sure it’s for me (at least not for a week!) but it sure does have some wonderful chefs and I’ve only just scratched the surface of amazing cuisine. If you check out any of these places, tag your photos @wanderfullifestyle and let me know how you enjoyed them!
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 All in all, Vegas holds a small place in my heart just for the fact they know how to dine and dine well. See below for some other outstanding restaurants that deserve an honorable mention.
Go forth and dine well.
Ciao!

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