Vegas Getaway – Part II

Time seems to be flying by – probably because I have over scheduled myself as usual. This is one of the longest vacations I’ve had in my 10 years of working for the same place. I thought for sure I’d be sleeping in, working out and enjoying the freedom of doing nothing. None of that has happened. I’ve been up between 5:00 a.m. and 6:30 a.m. both days this week. Why do I do this to myself?

O.k., enough of that – let’s get back to Vegas. I have more photos to share with you.

Paris is the only other hotel I’ve stayed at in Vegas. Our friend Matt recommended the Le Burger Brasserie – Sports Grille, so we ventured in to give it a try.

We sat at the bar and I tried out different settings on my camera while waiting for our drinks. Dan got his usual – A Long Island Iced Tea, and I got one of the drink specials.

A blended strawberry mojito. “Everything is Sexier in Paris” – loved that. The waitresses wore red corsets and black boy shorts – Dan asked why I wasn’t taking a photo of that, ha! We had dinner plans, otherwise I would have ordered up a burger. The bun selection alone was awesome. Sesame Seed, Caramelized Onion, Parmesan Cheese, Oven Dried Tomato or Whole Wheat and Oat Buns. My menu choice for next time will be: Le Paris Burger – Brie, caramelized onion and smoked bacon or the L’Italian Burger – Fresh mozzarella, arugula and pancetta. Hmm, maybe I’ll just have to recreate them at home.

We did some more sightseeing and then made our way back to Zeffirino in the Grand Canal Shops at the Venetian. We passed it on our way to lunch, looked at the menu, and wanted to give it a try.  Had I seen the below sign from the outside, I might have given it another thought, ha!

The restaurant decor was very cool. There were huge limestone columns and open air windows overlooking the canal and gondolas. Zeffirino Belloni first opened his family restaurant in Genoa, the capital city of the Italian Riviera, in 1939. Zefferino’s son Gian Paolo, continued in his father’s footsteps. The family has restaurants in Italy, Spain, China and the United States.

Me and my sneaky iPhone to the rescue. Low lighting and a tuxedo’d waiter standing table side –  it was a challenge people… LOL.

The service was spectacular. They have a regular menu and a 4 course fixed menu of daily specials – we both chose from the fixed menu. I started with a Caesar salad – apparently they have won awards for their Caesar salad – it was delicious. Dan got the soup – vegetable soup with pasta and pesto, he was equally satisfied. Our second course was the same. Cheese ravioli in a pesto cream sauce. Yum! Dan ordered Lasagna for his main course and I ordered Beef Tenderloin and Green Beans.

I didn’t want pasta and more pasta, so this was the perfect choice. The sauce was incredible, I was happy with my selection.

Dessert was a pastry sampler – chocolate and nut torte, some sort of cheesecake/custard filled cup with a strawberry on top and a ball of chocolate goodness. Could not find anything on the menu that listed what I actually ate.

O.k. back to real photos. Bye bye iPhone.

We walked to the outer balcony of the shops and caught the end of the Mirage show. Then we walked into the Palazzo and hit the slot machines. I love playing “Wheel of Fortune” – so we found two machines. I put in $20 and won $186 or something like that. It was awesome, I cashed out immediately. I put the money in my wallet and dinner was paid for. I’m not much of a gambler, so it was easy to stop. Plus, there were more holiday decorations to be seen.

We were getting tired, so we decided to make the long walk back to our hotel to call it a night.  Our plan for our last day was to take a cab to Mandalay Bay at the opposite end of the strip.

We explored lots of lunch options, but decided on the Border Grill – apparently I didn’t get enough tacos the day before. The restaurant overlooked Mandalay Bay’s lazy river. Chefs Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger of Food Network’s “Too Hot Tamales” definitely delivered. The food was incredible. I remember watching Susan Feniger on Top Chef Masters – Season Two and I thought she was quirky and fun.

I took a photo in the closed off dining room behind where we were sitting. I loved the colors in the artwork.

I WANT the metal chip basket and salsa containers – mental note: must check online to find something similar.

More tacos please… Carne Asada Tacos with grilled steak, caramelized onion, guacamole and cilantro – served with handmade corn tortillas, red rice, green rice and black beans. Dan had the Poblano Chicken Torta with grilled marinated chicken breast, jalapeño bacon, poblano aioli, saint andré cheese, roasted poblanos and caramelized onions with smoked paprika fries. We were both really happy with our lunch selections.

I loved reading on the menu that they serve only sustainable seafood and that they are members of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch Program, but didn’t love that they charge 50 cents a person for water. Whatever, it was still great.

We walked through Mandalay Bay for a bit after lunch. I wanted to check out the menu at Aureole – it was recommended by several friends. Bummer, it was closed for remodeling. We took advantage of the free tram and hopped on over to Excalibur. We never made it into Excalibur, we just crossed the bridge over to New York, New York.

It was a gorgeous day and walking after lunch felt great.

I waited and waited to get a shot of the roller coaster.

We continued on to M&M’s World. 4 stories of M&M merchandise – including a station where you could custom print for $19.99 /lb. (We passed)

One of the last stops of the day was the ARIA Hotel. It was amazing – the architecture, the lighting – wish I had taken photos. Not sure what happened there.

We passed by Jean Philippe Pâtisserie and drooled. Funny how I remembered having a camera when it came to food.

Giant flowers made out of chocolate – another WOW!

A big group approached us to take their photo in front of ARIA’s tree. In exchange, they took the only photo of both of us on the trip.

We had an amazing time in Vegas and look forward to planning our next getaway weekend. I hope you enjoyed the recap and photos – it’s so cool that I will have this post to look back on from here on out.

Good times indeed.

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    • jessica on December 21, 2010 at 10:58 am

    CUTE PIC! I got your higgy card the other day – adorable! I remember being completely stunned by how beautiful Aria was…

    Sounds like a great trip!

    • Paige on December 21, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    I am loving the new camera’s pics and your photography skills:)

    • Kristen on December 21, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    OMG! I LOVE the pic of you & Dan in front of the mega ornaments. If you had Higgy with you it would have been a PERFECT Christmas card photo… You know I’m always hinting for a FAMILY photo and not just the child, even though I LOVE the child… 😉

    I mentioned before that I am not a Vegas person, but Vegas at Christmas looks very appealing! I will return, but in December!!!

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