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Labour Day Week Trip Report, Mandarin/Twist/Bazaar Meat/Sage

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by alexanbo, May 8, 2015.

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  1. alexanbo

    alexanbo High-Roller

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2008
    Messages:
    952
    Location:
    Vancouver BC, Canada
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    9

    My Trip Report

    This is sort of the opposite of a live trip report, seeing as it's from my trip back in September 2014.

    With another trip eminent, it gave me the motivation to finally finish this.

    I stayed at Mandarin for the week and ended up with a sweet/suite upgrade.

    Food this trip included Twist, Bazaar Meat, Sage, Scarpetta, Yusho, Lemongrass, China Pablano, MOzen, Comme Ca, Bellagio Buffet
     
  2. alexanbo

    alexanbo High-Roller

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2008
    Messages:
    952
    Location:
    Vancouver BC, Canada
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    9
    The Leisurely Labour Day Week Trip Report

    After the crazyness of our May trip (trip report still pending), this trip was more focused on relaxing.

    Due to a big project at work, I didn't end up confirming this trip until about 2 weeks before it happened. That meant there was a lot less pre-planning than my last August trip.

    I did schedule a couple dinners at Bazaar Meat and Twist. Other then that I had absolutely nothing planned for the week.

    For this trip I once again returned to my favourite hotel, Mandarin Oriental.

    I got into town August 30th and left September 5th.

    Getting There
    Trip time from my front door to getting breakfast at the Tim Horton's inside security was 40 minutes.

    The automated customs declaration machine flagged me for extra screening. It turns out that was due to the fact my passport expired within 6 months. It took a quick discussion with the agent and I was sent through. However I never actually did fill out a customs form, which puzzled the agent that was collecting them on the way in, but I talked my way through.

    I once again flew Westjet and the flight was fine. I ended up getting an exit row aisle seat with an empty middle seat which was a nice score.

    My luggage was about the 10th bag off the carousel and I was off to the taxi line. Surprisingly there was no line and the taxis were actually waiting at the bays.

    One thing I do when getting in a taxi is mute the advertisements that play on the stupid monitors in the back seat. It's also a subtle sign to the driver that it's not your first time in Vegas plus they must get so sick of those ads.

    Check In
    As usual, the bell desk had my room keys ready so I could skip the check in process. I do miss out on the tea service and such but I think it is worth the trade off.

    On getting my keys I noticed the room number was x00. The x00 rooms are at the end of the hall on the strip side and are all suites! It seemed like I got upgraded from the normal room I had booked. Yay!

    I zoomed up the elevator to the lobby and then back down the room elevator to my floor and walked down the hallway. At the end of the hall was my room and opening the door I did confirm I wasn't dreaming and had gotten upgraded to a suite.

    The Suite

    Living Room
    The suite opened into a bit of a hallway and had a desk set against the window looking across the strip to the Hawaiian Marketplace.

    Past the desk was the Living Room. There was a huge structural column in the middle of the Living Room which kind of made the space a little awkward as the TV was past the column in the space between the column and the bedroom wall.

    The couch in the living room was L-Shaped and super comfy. I may or may not have passed out there once or twice.

    There was a large bar to the entry side of the couch, fully stocked with full size bottles. The bar fridge was also located in the millwork. The fridges are nice as they aren't the sensor type so you can re-arrange the contents so that you can put your own stuff in them.

    Living Room
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    View from Desk
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    Bedroom
    The bedroom was entered through a set of double doors. The room was located at the apex of one of the sides of building. This meant the bedroom had views both to the North and South. It had the feel of being at the prow of a ship heading across the Strip.

    There was a chest of drawers to the right as you walked in and the TV/Entertainment centre was located next to the structural column in the room.

    The one thing the room lacked was a bench or something at the end of the bed. The regular rooms have this and the bench is where they put the Room Service tray with breakfast options at turn down service. Since there was no bench to put it on in the suite, the tray ended up on the bed and often got in the way when I returned from my nocturnal adventures. In fact it may have gotten knocked off onto the floor once or twice.

    There was a loungey/daybed thing near the bed near the wall.

    Bedroom
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    The Hallway
    The Hallway was kind of weird as it wasn't that wide and ran back down along the curtain wall of the building.

    The bathroom was the first right down the hallway and tucked in behind the bedroom.

    The hallway then continued and turned into the closet, with a set of drawers and the safe. This meant there weren't any closet doors as there wasn't really room so clothes just kind of were there hanging out.

    The Hallway
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    Bathroom
    The bathroom had a double vanity with TV built into the mirror.

    The bathtub was bigger then the ones in the normal room and had a handheld sprayer thingy. Somehow I never ended up making the time to enjoy the bath, doh. The shower was at the end of the tub and then the throne room was at the end of the room. The suite wasn't that high up, and if I had all the curtains/shades up you could definitely see in from the top of the Monte Carlo parking garage.

    The Water Closet and Shower were just frosted glass so if you were sharing the facilities whoever you were sharing with would definitely be familiar with you if you tried to use them at the same time.

    Also there wasn't a Guest Bath in the suite so if you were entertaining Guests, they would have to walk through the bedroom to use this bathroom. There wasn't a door to the bathroom area off the hall so it could be a little awkward.

    Bathroom
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    View from the Throne
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    Note lack of door from hallway.

    I did notice that there was a bit of a cigarette smell in the suite which was a bit disappointing as the building is supposed to be entirely non-smoking. After the first day or so I didn't notice the smell of smoke anymore.

    China Poblano

    After unpacking and getting settled into the suite I headed over to Cosmo for lunch. I tried to go to Comme Ca but they were closed at that point. Instead I ended up at China Poblano.

    I was seated at the Chinese Bar and started off the trip with a Salt Air Margarita.

    Instead of rimming the glass with salt, this drink is topped with a Salt Air foam. The foam is a big improvement over regular salt.

    Salt Air Margarita
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    I've been to China Poblano a lot, so for this meal the goal was to try stuff I hadn't had before as opposed to relying on old favourites.

    Tinga Poblana Taco
    chicken/chorizo/potato/chipotle chile/onions

    A decent blend of chicken and spiciness but nothing too memorable

    Tinga Poblana Taco
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    18 Monk Noodle
    hand-cut wheat noodles/shiitake/crispy sweet potato/soy sauce

    A lovely noodle dish, the crispy sweet potato on top adding crispness to the noodles. Definitely adding it to my list of favourites.

    18 Monk Noodle
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    I noticed that China Poblano happens to be in a great spot for people watching. It's between the self park and the lineup for Marquee Day club so there's a lot of traffic walking by. In fact when I was walking into the restaurant, a group of girls was walking by and chose that moment to strip off their coverups to reveal their bikinis.

    View of the Lineup from China Poblano
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    Book and Stage
    After finishing lunch I went down to my favourite VP bar, Book and Stage. It was also pretty crazy there with the traffic from Marquee.

    I managed to start the trip with a couple nice hits, and between the bartenders and the winning I didn't make it back to the Hotel Pool.

    The first win did take a while. I was down to the last hand on my buy in when I pulled the first win to get me up. Yay!

    Book and Stage VP Wins
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    From there I managed to stay alive until this.

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    And these two hands within a couple minutes ended the session.

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    Drink Every Day at Mandarin Bar: Day 1
    On my August trips I make it a mission to have a least one drink each day at the Mandarin Bar.

    The Mandarin Bar is up on the 23rd floor next to the check in desk. The mission was made even easier this trip as the bar now opened at 4 PM every day.

    The bartenders here are great and I usually just tell them what kind of mood I'm in and they whip something up for me.

    This was the drink for the first night:

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    After catching up with the bartenders and with a definite buzz I headed next door for Dinner

    Yusho
    At the time Yusho had recently opened. The reviews were interesting so I put it on my list to check out. The restaurant is in Monte Carlo, right next door to Mandarin making it an easy stumble.

    I had a MyVegas reward for the restaurant so had to pick that up before sitting down. Pick up involved going to the mlife desk and along the way I managed to pocket dial my boss.

    The reward was one of their draft cocktails. They have an interesting beverage program and make their own draft cocktails which are aged appropriately and served from draft taps.

    For dinner I ended up sitting at the bar at the restaurant.

    For my cocktail, I went with the Paloma, a blend of tequila and grapefruit juice.

    Crispy Chicken Skin

    I started with an order of Crispy Chicken Skin. This was a touch crispier then I imagined but was good, drizzled with honey.

    Crispy Chicken Skin
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    Braised Pork Bun
    For the next course I chose one of the steamed buns. The Pork Shoulder, the Pork melt in your mouth delicious, as you can see I had it half eaten before I remmebered to take a picture.

    Braised Pork Bun
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    Braised Oxtail
    One of the fun things about sitting at the bar is that, naturally you end up talking to others that are sitting near you. There was one other guy at the bar and he seemed to know the staff and manager well and he had gone with this dish earlier and heartily recommended it.

    So I couldn't resist and got an order of my own. The other patron had offered to share his dish.

    Wow, so moist and tender, again it fell off the bone and was so rich and awesome.

    Braised Oxtail
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    Shrimp Beignet
    For my last savory course I went with the Shrimp Beignets. Shrimp surrounded with corn mealish batter, very good, though very filling.

    Shrimp Beignet
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    Tofu Doughnuts
    These weren't quite like anything I've had before. The tofu was mixed with Sweet Potato and the sweetness was very subdued. Kind of similar in texture to the beignets, yet a lot sweeter.

    Tofu Doughnuts
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    After Dinner Drinks
    It turned out the diner next to me was the Manager of the 800 degree Pizza place at the then just opened SLS.

    The bar had a surprisingly deep selection of Whiskeys, so under his recommendation we tasted a couple of them.

    We started off with a Knappogue Castle Whiskey which was good, I think, it's all kind of a little fuzzy.

    The restaurant then comped us a round of Yamazaki as a nightcap.

    Some of the whiskey can be seen in the back of the doughnut picture.

    After bidding our farewells I walked over to Aria to get in some PGP play.

    On checking back on the menu now, it seems like they've lost a lot of the more adventurous items. I guess they probably needed to Vegasify their offerings to survive, so I'm glad I got to go before that happened.

    PGP
    It looks like from my pictures I sat at at PGP table. I must of had a good streak or something as I believe I tripled my buy in.

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    I'm guessing I was lucky enough to get to a round number before leaving.

    The welcome amenity had been delivered by the time I got back to the room

    Welcome Amenity
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    Comme Ca
    I slept in the second day and roused myself for brunch at Comme Ca.

    Restaurant Pics

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    Mimosa
    A traditional start to the drinking day

    Mimosa
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    Bread Service
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    Duck Confit Cinnamon Roll
    Wow super duper rich. The frosting was made with duck confit topped with a raspberry coulis. Then on top of that, the strip of bacon shown at the top of the serving board. Rich Rich Rich, it was good, but too much for 1 person and I ate too much of it, I should of skipped the main and just ordered this.

    Duck Confit Cinnamon Roll
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    Croque Madame
    A Grilled Ham and Cheese Sandwich with Bechamel and a Poached Egg on top.

    Not a good choice to follow up the Cinnamon roll, my stomach started to rebel at this even though it was tasty.

    Croque Madame
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    Book and Stage
    After lunch I went back to Book and stage and cycled some more money through the bartops. This is probably my favourite VP bar with the bartenders, scenery and energy. Plus I hit 1 of my only two Royals to date here.

    I hit just enough to keep playing.

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    Lunch wasn't really sitting well with my so I ended up heading back to the suite to relax for a bit and ended up passing out on the couch. It was nice and comfy.

    Mandarin Bar Day 2
    Waking up from my nap I freshened up and headed up to the bar

    Day 2 Drink
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    No idea what it was but it looks tasty.

    The bar had a live band as they do most Sundays. It was a Jazz ensemble playing mostly favourites. I've heard a lot of good music at the Mandarin Bar on my trips.

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    Like Rain on Your Wedding Day
    During the band's set an attractive young lady walked in unescorted. Surveying the bar, she took a seat next to me. I was therefore forced to start up a conversation with her, if only for research purposes. Despite the obvious appearance it turned out she was in Vegas to open one of the retail outlets at SLS. Having been out in Vegas for a couple months she was pretty sick of Vegas and ended up at Mandarin because it was the least Vegasy place around.

    We talked for a bit about Vegas and SLS and it was interesting to hear all the behind the scenes scoop.

    As she was leaving realized her last name was actually,

    Hooker

    Ari
    After my Hooker encounter I headed over to Aria and played some VP at the Sports Book bar.

    I didn't hit much and the area was kind of dead. Without the nightclub going it was very dead in that corner of the casino.

    Only Win Apparently
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    Lemongrass
    After a bad experience at Blossom when Aria first opened, I've gravitated towards Lemongrass when I wanted Dim Sum/Chinese/Thai food at Aria. Food here is isn't especially fancy but good execution of the classics.

    Stomach still wasn't feeling great so went with a simple Beef Chow Mein. It hit the spot at the midnight hour.

    Beef Chow Mein
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    Can't remember if I did anything after dinner before calling it a night but don't think it was anything too interesting.

    Mozen Bistro
    Another late morning on Day 3, I went down to the third floor and Mozen Bistro for lunch.

    Mozen has very good sushi, among the best I've had on the strip.

    Miso Soup

    On the server's suggestion I started with the Miso Soup. It was an above average bowl of Miso but this was really the first time at Mandarin that I felt a bit gouged. I was ok with $8 cokes and $10 glasses of Orange juice but aparently my gouge limit is $10 Miso soup lol.

    Miso Soup
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    Sushi
    The sushi more then made up for the Miso though.

    I went with my usual Ikura and Uni, and they were outstanding as usual. I also added a Spicy Yellowtail Roll to the order. It was better then my normal lunch place but nothing spectacular.

    Ikura, Uni, Spicy Yellowtail Roll
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    Pool Time
    The pool at Mandarin is more laid back then the pools at bigger hotels but I enjoy that when I'm looking to relax. The service is spectacular and I like that they'll set up shade for you as I'm not a huge fan of lieing in the direct sun. With how much I enjoy the pool it's a bit ironic that it took me until day 3 of the trip until I got to my first pool time.

    The pool was actually quite busy when I goth there but the attendants still found a spot for me. From then on it was an afternoon of blissful leisure, only interupted by the drink service and various goodies such as frozen grapes.

    Pool Side Reading
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    For drinks I went with the Pool Bar's version of lemonade, which was San Pellegrino Lemonade mixed with an infused vodka.

    Pool Drink
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    The Moon, seen from the Pool Deck
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    Mandarin Bar Day 3
    After the pool I got ready to head out for the night and stopped off at the bar on the way out.

    To continue with the lemonade theme they made me a John Daly, a very alcoholic version of an Arnold Palmer. Bascially they splashed a bit of lemonade and tea into the glass and a lot of alcohol.

    Day 3 Drink
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    Sage
    Dinner tonight was at Sage. I've enjoyed my meals at Sage but it had been a while since I had visited.

    Starting Cocktail
    Can't remember the name of this but I do remember it had flavoured ice cubes that added their flavour to the drink as they melted.

    Cocktail
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    Amuse Bouche
    A starting bite was presented along with the bread service

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    Instead of ordering an appetizer and main I ordered 4 appetizers instead so I could sample a wider variety of food.

    Chilled Sweet Corn Soup
    Dungeness Crab/Marinated Cucumber/Sweet Corn Purée

    The first item to come out was the Corn Soup. Soups are one of my favourite dishes and this was an outstanding specimen. Simple sweet corn broth with a crab meat treasure.

    Chilled Sweet Corn Soup
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    Slow Poached Organic Egg
    Smoked Potato/Shaved Black Truffles/Toasted Country Bread

    An outstanding dish. For some reason when I ordered this I blacked out the fact there was truffles on it. It was well worth the surprise as I scooped up a spoonful of egg with a truffle, the earthiness of the truffle combining with the different parts of the egg for sublime bites.

    Slow Poached Organic Egg
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    Roasted Veal Sweetbreads
    Glazed Bacon/Creamy White Polenta/Trumpet Mushrooms

    A very rich dish, with the Sweetbreads being tempered with the polenta and mushrooms.

    Roasted Veal Sweetbreads
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    Foie Gras Custard Brulee
    Kumquat/Toasted Cocoa Nibs/Salted Brioche

    An even richer dish. A very unique presentation of Foie, where it's prepared in a brulee form. The dish is almost a desert as opposed to a starter as sweetness is used to contrast the richness of the foie. I always seem to run out of brioche when I get this dish as it's key to a complete bite. They're not quite as zealous about replacing the brioche here as Per Se.

    Foie Gras Custard Brulee
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    Beer Pairing
    One of the unique things at Sage is that they will do a beer pairing for your meal. This beer was chosen to match the richness of the Sweetbreads/Foie.

    Mmmmm Beer
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    I was again sitting at the bar for dinner. The couple next to me had come in just to try out the extensive Absinthe selection on a MyVegas award. They had lots of fun with the Absinthe presentation and ordered a couple more rounds in addition to their free one.

    I really enjoyed the decision to go with all appetizers and skip the main as the appetizers were an interesting mixture of tastes and textures.

    Aria VP
    After dinner I sat at the Sports Bar and played a little VP

    Again it was deader then dead, I was the only one there for most of the time.

    Wins
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    Not feeling the vibe at Aria I headed back to Mandarin and grabbed another drink at the bar.

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    This was the Monday night of the Labour Day weekend. The previous couple days the bar had been packed, tonight not so much. I was the first check with my drink before dinner and their 4th check for the late night drink.

    A couple drinks at the bar and then I headed back into the night to continue gambling.

    Cromwell
    From Mandarin I walked down to Cromwell. Borat and I had a good craps session there on the May trip so I was hoping to replicate that.

    Previously we had played during the day so we didn't noticed that the craps tables were right next to the lineup for Drai's After Hours.

    Definetly noticed that this time.

    A couple of girls waiting in line came over and we gave them a lesson in how to play. Won a little bit on their rolls but not the spectacular virgin roll we were looking for.

    I played for quite a while, and realized it was time to go back to the hotel when I got a work email from someone calling in sick for the now upcoming day.

    Day 4
    As I didn't get back to the hotel to early in the morning, another late morning to start Day 4.

    I hung out at the pool for a in the afternoon before going back to the room and getting ready for dinner.

    Mandarin Bar Day 4
    Still recovering from the previous nights activities I went with Ginger Ale for the drink of the day

    Day 4 Drink
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    Bazaar Meat by Jose Andres
    SLS had just opened before my trip and I had gotten a reservation at Bazaar Meat. I've enjoyed Jose's other restaurants in Vegas (e, China Pablano, Jaleo) and was excited to try his newest offering.

    Bazaar Meat is a sister to his restaurant in LA Bazaar. As implied by the name it's more focused on Meat and is Jose's version of a steakhouse.

    I took a cab down to SLS from Mandarin and got to the casino a little early.

    I grabbed my players card and there was a bit of freeplay given.

    Managed to hit this before dinner

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    This was the Tuesday after Labour day and the casino was noticeably dead.

    Entrance to Restaurant
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    The restaurant was a little busy and one of the gaggle of comely hostesses showed me to my table.

    The table was kind of tucked in a little alcove with a couple other tables, and it was next to a VIP table area.

    View from Table
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    Bagels and Lox Cone
    A unique take on the classic as the Lox was actually salmon roe. A couple light bites of freshness ot start the meal. Reminiscent of Keller's famous Salmon Cornets.

    Bagels and Lox Cone
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    Suckling Pig Sandwich
    Suckling Pig Crispy skin, carmelized onions, honey mustard, pan de cristal

    I really wanted to try the "signature" dish of the restaurant which is a Suckling Pig roasted in an wood fire oven.

    Unfortunately the smallest order of that is a quarter pig, which is a little much even for me.

    Ordering the sandwich was a way to get to taste a bit of the Suckling Pig.

    Tasty, but too much food for me to finish it all

    Suckling Pig Sandwich
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    Foie Gras "Floating Island"
    Foie gras soup, fresh corn espuma

    A truly decadent soup. My grandmother used to make the traditional Floating Island deserts so I had to order this.

    The corn espuma was the foam in the middle of the dish and a warm emulsification of Foie was poured over it.

    Foie Gras "Floating Island"
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    Skirt Steak
    Mishima Reserve, WA, 8 oz. Rosemary mustard sauce

    For my Steak I went with the Skirt Steak. I had wanted to try a Rib Eye but their smallest Rib Eye was something like a pound and a half.

    A really good steak but not among my best ever.

    Skirt Steak
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    Grilled Baby Corn
    Mayonnaise, chile piquin, popcorn powder

    My table was in a little alcove with a a couple other tables. At the table next to me was a local couple celebrating their anniversary. They were ahead of me in the sequence of food and they had ordered this dish and heartily recommended it. They had the Rib Eye and even between the two of them they were unable to finish it.

    This was probably my favourite dish of the meal. The chile adding a bit of spiciness to the crispiness of the corn. And that popcorn powder was amazing, making it taste just like popcorn.

    Grilled Baby Corn
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    Service
    The service was pretty terrible.

    The waitress was constantly trying to upsell me, pushing the most expensive items on the menu especially the tirple digit "Kobe" steak.

    Once my order was taken the waitress was scarce and it took forever to get my bill.

    I started off with a glass of Cava and it was quite flat, I would of ordered something else but I never saw the waitress long enough in order to do that.

    The corn took forever to come out, I think I was already halfway done my steak by the time it arrived.

    The restaurant was new, so hopefully that aspect has improved by now.

    Interestingly enough, Rob Oseland was with a group at the VIP table next me, I didn't notice if the service there was any better than mine.

    Petit Fours
    The restaurant did give a parting gift with the bill

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    Meat Counter
    Bazaar Meat had all of the meat at a glass counter where you could see it before it was cooked

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    Menu
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    Conclusion
    The terrible service left a bad taste in my mouth.

    It's one of the rare restaurants that doesn't really work if your dining solo.

    Plus the location sucks.

    I don't think I'd go back, much rather go to Cut or Botero.


    Ending the Day
    I can't remember what I did next, likely took a cab back to Mandarin and had a drink at the Mandarin Bar before a run at Blackjack at Aria.

    Day 5 Pool Time
    With a somewhat early night, the night before I got out to the pool early and spent the afternoon lounging.

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    Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho
    with Basil Sorbet and Bruschetta topped with Gorgonzola and Honey

    I was feeling a bit peckish so I ordered some food poolside.

    The soup was good, but combining it with the basil sorbet really brought it to new levels.

    Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho
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    Throughout the day staff will bring little treats around to the guests at the pool

    Frozen Grapes
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    Fruit Slushy
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    Bellagio Buffet
    I used another MyVegas reward for the lunch buffet at Bellagio

    Relatively painless process of getting the buffet added to my card and through the buffet lineup.

    I grabbed a seat at the bar, skipping the line and grabbed a couple plates of food.

    I think the Sliders were a highlite.

    Bellagio Buffet
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    Still not a huge fan of buffets, I almost enjoy the unlimited Orange Juice more then the food lol.

    View from the moving walkway along the Bellagio driveway
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    Draft Day
    My fantasy football league scheduled the draft for a day I was in Vegas. Despite my best efforts to get everyone else to come down to Vegas I was left solo to do the draft.

    I setup my laptop in a corner of the Mandarin Bar and settled in to make my picks.

    The view from my drafting position was definetly the best in the league. Plus I got "help" from the bartenders and a couple of the other patrons.

    One of the other patrons was from Seattle and had some good insight into the Seahawks.

    A fun experience and something I had never done in Vegas before.

    Draft Setup/Day 5 Drink

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    Scarpetta
    After the draft I went to Scarpetta for dinner.

    Scarpetta had shown no availability on Open Table but I had the concierge call over and magically there was space.

    Once again I ate at the bar.

    Cocktail
    This was suggested by the bartender, can't remember what it was

    Cocktail
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    White Corn Soup
    blue crab, grilled corn & basil

    For those paying attention at home, the third night in a row I had some version of corn soup.

    This was the most traditional of the three. Maybe a touch on the sweet side.

    Spoiler alert, I don't have corn soup on last day, rather it's Foie Gras and Chanterelle Soup.

    White Corn Soup
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    Bread Service
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    Spaghetti
    tomato & basil

    A signature dish for Scarpetta.

    Simple flavours, ridiculously good. Complexity wise completely opposite of dinner the following night.

    Spaghetti
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    I mentioned the bad experience at Bazaar Meat to the bartender. It turned out he had been there with a group of 8 on opening night. They too had sub par service and it happened that Jose was at the table next to them. When they complained about dishes not coming to the table and taking a very long time Jose just brushed them off.

    Downtown
    After dinner I walked over to the Bellagio cab stand and took a cab downtown.

    I started off at the Golden Gate and quickly blew through a couple buy ins of blackjack.

    Trying to change my luck, and use my freeplay I sat at the bar for some DDB.

    The machines at Golden Gate were a lot older then the ones on the strip, one consequence of this is that the cards show up slower on the deal, in fact they pretty much appear one at a time.

    You can imagine the flutter my heart went through as this filled in.

    [​IMG]

    I did manage to hit this to break even at VP at least.

    [​IMG]

    After leaving the Golden Gate I just wandered around downtown but couldn't really find anything to play that caught my fancy.

    I ended up at the Macdonald's at the D.

    Pretty interesting crowd late at night and I managed to scarf down a Big Mac meal. Didn't take any pictures of this meal lol.

    Rejuvenated I headed into the D and decided to try my luck at a nickle slot machine.

    The first couple spins yielded this
    [​IMG]

    Not exactly sure what I hit but it took forever for the counter to count up.

    Then a couple more spins yielded this and it took even longer to count up
    [​IMG]

    Still no idea why that's a winner but I left, tripling my buy in, in 5 spins.

    Deciding that it was time to go back to the hotel I got a cab back to Mandarin.

    Noticed that the cabbie that had driven me downtown was still in the Cab line for rides back to the strip and the cab line was only 3 deep. It wasn't busy at all.

    Day 6
    I started the last full day of my trip down at the pool

    The drink of choice that early in the morning was a coffee and amaretto

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    China Pablano
    After the pool I headed over to Cosmo for a late lunch at China Pablano

    Having had a couple spiked coffees already for lunch I had a Mexican Coke

    [​IMG]

    Cochinta Taco
    Yucatan-style pit barbecue pork/marinated onions

    Much tastier then the taco I had the first day.

    Conchinta Taco
    [​IMG]

    Don't Be Jealous
    hot and sour soup/pork/tofu/bamboo shoots/dried mushrooms

    Not my favourite version of Hot and Sour soup, a little to salty for my taste.

    Don't Be Jealous
    [​IMG]

    Golden Pigs
    fried delicate steamed buns/Chinese barbecue pork/condensed milk

    A favourite of mine, Steamed pork buns, where the bun almost has the consistency of a doughnut.

    Golden Pigs
    [​IMG]

    After lunch I went back down to Book and Stage for some more Video poker. I don't have any pictures from that session so it seems like I didn't hit anything.

    View of the disassembling Harmon
    [​IMG]

    VMB Meetup
    Techie223 had noticed that I was in town at the same time as her and we arranged to meet up at the Mandarin Bar.

    Her and her entourage had already setup in the corner with a bottle of bubbly by the time I arrived.

    Some great conversation and good champagne.

    I gave them a quick tour of my suite and the pool before bidding adieu and getting ready for dinner.


    Twist
    For dinner the last night I chose Twist.

    Twist is probably my favourite restaurant in Vegas and I've been 6 or 7 times now.

    Hyper Modern French is probably how I'd describe it. A little more grounded then e or wd-50 though.

    Unique, complex, flavour and texture combinations are a hallmark of Twist.

    I chose the full Grand Tasting Menu with the wine pairings.

    After choosing the Grand Tasting Menu the waiter wondered if I would like to add a Lobster Risotto with Truffles to the Menu.

    Well duh, at first I was going to remove one of the standard dishes but then decided to screw it and just add the risotto to the lineup.

    I'm not a huge wine guy so can't really remember much about the wines that were served so I'll just show the pictures of them.

    Canapés
    A trio of small bites to start with

    Canapés
    [​IMG]

    Bread Service
    I've found it's important not to fill up on the bread during the meal or I won't have room

    Bread Service
    [​IMG]

    I had asked for a table next to the window and this was my view for the evening.

    (Note the Aria LED Sign trumpeting the triple Forbes five stars of Mandarin)

    [​IMG]

    Seared Mexican Diamond Blue Shrimp
    Shellfish Jus, Olive Oil, Meyer Lemon Paste emulsion
    Italian Mustard Fruits, Jumbo Green Asparagus, Pomengranate

    A large succulent Shrimp with a bunch of other flavours

    Seared Mexican Diamond Blue Shrimp
    [​IMG]

    Frog's Leap, Sauvignon Blanc, Rutherford, CA 2012
    This was actually incorrectly identified on the souvenir menu I took home

    [​IMG]

    Japanese Sea Bream Meuniere
    Semi-salted Fillet served with sauteed Squid, Chives
    Broccoli Veloute & Florets

    A perfect piece of fish.

    Slight crunchyness of the squid.

    The smooth brocolli veloute.

    Everything combined to be one of my favourite dishes ever. Probably the best fish dish I've ever had.

    Japanese Sea Bream Meuniere
    [​IMG]

    Kumeu River, "Estate", Chardonnay, Aucland, New Zealand 2006
    [​IMG]

    Risotto de Mer
    Carnaroli Rice with Summer Truffles
    Maine Lobster, Knuckles, Tail and Bisque

    An amazing dish, but really it would be hard to screw up any dish with that ingredient list.

    The earthiness of the truffles was an interesting companion to the richness of the lobster.

    Risotto de Mer
    [​IMG]

    Chateau d'Esclans,"Estate", Grenache/Vermentino, Provence, France 2013
    [​IMG]

    Intermezzo
    A palate cleanser of some sort

    [​IMG]

    Foie Gras & Chanterelle Soup
    Roasted Foie Gras, Chanterelles & Seasonal Green Vegetables
    Foie Gras Ice Cream, Baby Artichoke, Cured Ham & Dundee-Pinky

    Well my obligatory soup with dinner.

    Another outstanding dish, richness in liquid form

    Foie Gras & Chanterelle Soup
    [​IMG]

    Foie Gras Ice Cream, Baby Artichoke, Cured Ham & Dundee-Pinky
    This was the unique part of the Foie course.

    Cold richness of Foie ice cream with the saltiness of the cured ham. Interesting and I think it worked.

    Foie Gras Ice Cream, Baby Artichoke, Cured Ham & Dundee-Pinky
    [​IMG]

    Bodegas Hermanos Paecina, "Crianza" Rioja, Spain 2007
    [​IMG]

    Tajima Wagyu Beef from Lindsay Farm, Oregon
    Roasted Filet Mignon finished with fresh Herbs Butter
    Arugula Puree & Tomme de Savoie Cheese
    Stuffed Turnip, Italian Summer Trufle

    The last savoury course.

    It was an excellent piece of meat, the quality shone through. I do prefer my steaks unadorned though.

    The stuffed turnip might of been even better then the meat.

    I do find that the meat courses for tasting menus tend to be the least interesting part of the menu. That being said my favourite steak was during hte Menu we had at Alex. This was good, but not quite that good.

    Tajima Wagyu Beef from Lindsay Farm, Oregon
    [​IMG]

    Domaine Gerovassiliou,"Evangelo", Syrah, Epanomi, Greece 2007
    [​IMG]


    Grand Dessert Pierre Gagnaire
    Declination of Raspberries
    Biscuit Moelleux & Greent Tea Ice Cream, Sweet Wine Gelee
    Black Chocolate Ganache, Milk Caramel Ball, Baileys & Coffee Granite
    Cherry Soup, Prune Cream & Cassis Sorbet, Meringue
    Peach & Apricot Compote, Rosemary, Pistachio Sugar Leaf & Almond Cream

    The desserts for the Grand Menu have 5 separate small dishes.

    Grand Dessert Pierre Gagnaire
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Clarendelle, "Amberwine", Monbazillac, France 2003
    [​IMG]

    Petit Fours
    Petit Fours with my traditional meal ending Americano

    [​IMG]

    Service
    The service at Twist as always was outstanding. It's a bit hard to describe, but the vibe was warm professionalism.

    The server that I had on the preivous time dining at Twist remembered me and came over for a brief chart.

    The sommelier also had a lengthy chat with me abotu food and wine which was cool. He was also interested in my review of Bazaar Meat.

    Conclusion
    One of the best meals I've ever had. Just an amazing night of food.

    It was a lot better then my previous meal at Twist and it was obvious chef and the staff had found their groove after a wholesale changeover a bit before my last visit.

    It looks like the chef that was in charge for this meal has since left the restaurant.

    Souvenir Menu and Take Home Treat
    [​IMG]

    Mandarin Bar: Day 6
    The last night of the trip found me completing my mission of having a drink every night at the bar.

    At the bar I ran into A, who's a regular there and I've met before.

    Another regular to the bar J came in and A made the introductions.

    We ended up talking about SLS and my terrible experience at Bazaar Meat and just generally hacking on SLS with the bartender.

    There was another guy sitting next to our group at the bar who had been sipping Scotch. As we were talking about why SLS sucked etc, he gulped down his Scotch, got his bill and paid, while handing his card to the bartender.

    The bartender thought it was kind of odd. After the guy left he reads the guy's card and starts laughing.

    The card identified him as the Director of Operations for SLS.

    Day 6 Drink
    [​IMG]

    J + A decide that they're hungry so we wander over to Cosmo to Blue Ribbon after we had raved about the Fried Chicken there.

    I managed to find room somehow to help them with the Fried Chicken and some Duck Gyoza.

    After closing Blue Ribbon we headed back to Mandarin and I called it a night

    Last Stand
    I decided to make my last gambling stand at the Row 802 BeeJay Memorial STP machines.

    I got a bunch of play, but sadly no dealt royal.

    STP wins
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    Calling it a night after blowing through my buy in, I ended one of my most fun days in Vegas ever.

    Going Home
    The bell desk got the House Car to take me to the airport

    [​IMG]


    I had my traditonal departation meal at Burger Kint at the terminal and had an uneventful trip home.

    Conclusion
    A fun relaxing trip that was just what the doctor ordered.

    A lot less structure then previous trips and I liked just doing whatever.

    The meal at Twist was amazing and such a fun night.
     
  3. tringlomane

    tringlomane STP Addicted Beer Snob

    Joined:
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    Nice report! And great job remembering all that detail!

    But one reason those wins were taking forever to count up at D... you were betting 180 nickels per spin!

    And feel you on the pity flush at the golden gate from holding one card (I'll add that game to the vp list btw thanks!). This was two weeks ago for me. Bah.

    [​IMG]
     
  4. sigsev

    sigsev Low-Roller

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    Thanks for the TR. Always wanted to eat at Twist, it's on my list. You've just bumped it up to the top I think.
     
  5. Chrisbeans

    Chrisbeans Low-Roller

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    Loved your trip report! All the meals and drinks looked delicious! Thanks for taking the time to write this up and share.
     
  6. Kimsa70

    Kimsa70 High-Roller

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    Alex, loved your TR! Your food porn is out of this world!
    Stellar job in documenting all your epicurean adventures in Vegas! :nworthy:
     
  7. Okie21

    Okie21 Low-Roller

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    This was an awesome report!

    The food reviews were excellent, making me want to try some of those dishes on my next visit.

    And the Director of Ops at the Mandarin Bar?!? That was freaking hilarious. Wonder what was going through his mind....
     
  8. thecarve

    thecarve Misanthrope

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    Good stuff, as usual, alexanbo. I love the food porn and always get good ideas from your TRs to put in the memory bank for my next trip.

    Thanks for the report!
     
  9. Kkirk777

    Kkirk777 Tourist

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    Really enjoyed your trip report.! I loved the food reviews. Glad to learn about how good Twist was and how bad Bazaar Meat was. I'm glad you told us as a friend was considering dinner there on a future trip which now I can suggest alternatives for.

    Thanks for all the photos!!!! I thought the Director at SLS being at the bar while you talked about the Bazaar was really funny. What are the odds of that happening?! Looking forward to your next trip report. Thank you. J
     
  10. RM777

    RM777 Low-Roller

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    Great trip report. Love the food porn!
     
  11. KyleB

    KyleB Low-Roller

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    Great report Alex, one of the best food reviewers on this board in my opinion.
     
  12. alexanbo

    alexanbo High-Roller

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    Thanks everyone for taking the time to wade through that and respond and the kind words.
     
  13. evoni

    evoni High-Roller

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    Andre, best food porn ever. :) Love the upgraded suite at Mandarin and as always enjoyed your trip report, thanks!

    I can't believe I haven't had dinner yet at Twist, going to add it to a future trip.
     
  14. alexanbo

    alexanbo High-Roller

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    I love Twist, planning on hitting it again on my Labour Day trip.

    The chef that was there for this meal has since left so hopefully they've kept the same standards.
     
  15. luckylinda

    luckylinda Low-Roller

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    Thanks as always an excellent report on fine dining! I am glad you enjoyed your trip making do without your pals. Your suite, pool and the view from the bar very nice.
     
  16. fenway68

    fenway68 High-Roller

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    Thanks for the great TR..Food and VP porn..! can't beat it!

    looks like we may have to consider China Poblano this trip...
     
  17. parti_73

    parti_73 Low-Roller

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    Great food porn! Nice TR! I do find the room setup a bit odd though.
     
  18. NvrSumR

    NvrSumR Low-Roller

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    Great TR! Thanks.

    I was thinking the same thing.
     
  19. Hobofrank

    Hobofrank Prime Minister of Idiocracy

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    Love the TR and food Pr0n!
    was was the bill at Twist?, got our 1th anniversary coming up in Vegas
     
  20. pphold

    pphold pp Park Place Degenerate

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    Thanks for posting all the pics and nice TR.
     
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