Fukuburger at F.A.M.E.

January 23, 2015
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After riding the High Roller we strolled down the Linq corridor in search of a light meal. We settled on Fukuburger inside F.A.M.E. We were warmly welcomed and any questions we had about the menu were answered eagerly. Sandwiches are all $7.99 with 6 main selections and a few specials. We chose the Chicken Katsu sandwich with habanero kabayaki, instead of crack sauce. The spicy sauce is usually served on the Karai burger. The chicken is pounded thin and coated with panko and fried crisp. It sits atop a soft bun and it's topped with shredded cabbage and katsu sauce. We also ordered garlic fries which come with crack sauce. They give you a silly nick name for when your order's ready. Our order was up when "Frank the Tank" was called. Frank's mom was "Lady Luck" she ordered the Fuku Burger which is your traditional cheeseburger with wasabi mayo and fuku sauce.

Our order was quickly prepared, it was fresh and tasty. We really enjoyed the Chicken Katsu with the extra kick. I've previously given flack to Fukuburger (truck) for not unleashing the heat on their spicy burger. I'm happy to see they've amped up the spice over time. The sandwich had great flavor. I was less impressed with the bite of the Fukuburger, because it was loaded with mayo. I'm not fond of mayo, hence the substitution of the habanero kabayaki. So it was just a matter of personal taste, Frank and his mom enjoyed it. They also liked the crack sauce. I didn't find it as addicting (again, the mayo) but I did like the garlic fries, even if they were light in garlic flavor.

Overall, Fukuburger serves up a moderately priced quick bite that is served fresh. Which can be a tough find center strip. They've come a long way since late nights in Chinatown parking lots.

F.A.M.E. Food Art Music Entertainment on Urbanspoon

High Roller

January 21, 2015
I'm late to the party, but I finally rode the High Roller. Frank's mom was visiting and it seemed like a good opportunity to check it out. There was no wait, we were able to walk right up to the loading station. The pods are always moving so jumping aboard is likely to be the most adrenaline pumping part of the ride. There is a net to catch you if you were to fall. The observation wheel is slow moving so no one should be fearful. Those afraid of heights might get nervous, but it maxes out near 500 feet so most will find it okay. It's relaxing to enjoy the lights and action beneath you in a calm environment. It's not so noticeable to the naked eye, but in photos the curvature of the pods distort the view a bit, notice the Harrah's tower; and despite my best efforts glare is unavoidable in snapshots. Still, it's an enjoyable way to take in the beautiful neon in the desert. His mom loved it! I'm curious how the view differs during the day.

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Umami Burger

January 16, 2015
Frank and I have been to the outdoor bar at SLS twice before, we were met with high beer prices and unfavorable service. I'll never understand why a beer garden has a wall of vodka, but anyhow... We finally gave Umami Burger a try. The Code sent Frank 50% off for his birthday. It seemed like a good excuse to give it a whirl.

Service was attentive. Our waitress got started on our Union Jack ($9) and Mama's Little Yella Pils ($8) while we looked over the menu. We settled on the Manly burger ($12) for him and the Umami aka Original burger ($12) for me. Both prepared medium rare. We ordered two secret menu items: Cheesy Tots ($5) and Manly Fries ($6.50).

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Prior to our food coming out, we were given house condiments: jalapeno ranch, mega spicy and garlic aioli. We were warned of the spiciness but didn't believe it would be as hot as it was. We enjoy spicy too. We didn't like the aioli at all, but the jalapeno ranch was the standout. It livened up the original burger and it was good on the tots and fries. Also, better than the housemade ketchup.



The Umami burger is topped with caramelized onions, roasted tomato and one shiitake mushroom, and parmesan frico. The burger to bun ratio is good, the bun was decent. I like the branding of buns - it's a good emphasis of their brand. The patty was of good size. All of which are good things, but why was it so bad? I wondered. It came down to the meat being overdone. It was dry and bland. There was no juiciness at all. The caramelized onions and parmesan frico were the only redeeming qualities. What's with one shiitake mushroom? You better enjoy that single bite.



The Manly burger is topped with beer cheddar, bacon lardons, onion strings and slathered with ketchup and mustard. It was not cooked medium rare, it bordered on medium to medium well. This was, however, the better burger of the two. Still, both were pretty disappointing.





The sides, though, were quite good. The tater tots were salty, potatoey, crisp on the outside and gooey in the center. I really enjoyed them. The manly fries were quickly consumed. Crisp shoestring fried topped with beer cheese, bacon and onion strings, kinda hard to go wrong there. I guess the secret menu is where it's at!?!

In the future, I'd order a beer and tots for snack, but I'd definitely skip the burgers.

Umami Burger, Beer Garden & Sports Book on Urbanspoon

Date Night: Nobu & Absinthe

January 7, 2015
Before 2014 was in the books, Frank and I were treated to a fantastic date night. Our evening began with dinner at Nobu inside Caesars Palace, and after, we saw Absinthe. What a duo!?! I highly recommend both.

I've been wanting to see Absinthe for ages, but they never offered a local's special to entice me. I'm glad it has had great success, though; I'd hate to think I could have missed it. It's really well done! I love the intimate theater. I don't love the uncomfortable seating, but the off color jokes and superb entertainment more than make up for it. We saw Absinthe shortly after Penny Pibbets left to perform her own show at the Arts Square Theater. Joy Jenkins now fills the role of the Gazillionaire's assistant, she was awkward and hysterical. I hear the show isn't as quick paced, but I didn't notice. Her and Gaz played off each other well. The audience participation is a load of laughs. The acts felt more spectacular than, dare I say it? Cirque du Soleil. Don't get me wrong the talent that goes into Cirque shows is mesmerizing, and visually, those shows are stunning. Absinthe, however, is raw, sexy, funny and in your face. You can look the performers in the eye, see their muscles flex and veins bulge when demonstrating their amazing strength. The roller skating bit had me so tense and nervous for the female performer - I was in awe. The connection is incredible. If you haven't see it yet. Don't hesitate, go check it out.

Before the show, we had a feast at Nobu. We never even peeked at the menu, since this was our first time Omakase ($125) was the best way to experience the varied menu. We told our server that we are adventurous diners, we love spicy and we preferred not to have uni since Frank isn't a fan - we left the rest to him. I had a fantastic sauvignon blanc with dinner and Frank really enjoyed the Sake selection. He sampled two excellent chilled varieties: black label and aged.

Our tasting included many of Nobu's signature dishes. We started with Yellowtail with Jalapeno. This is a favorite of ours, it's a must whenever we go for sushi. This certainly did not disappoint.

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The next dish was Tasmanian Ocean Trout, it was rich and creamy. Very different from the delicate and refreshing yellowtail.

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The next course was Live Scallop with rocoto paste. It was beautifully presented and it tasted even better than it looked. The scallops melted like butter and the heat from the rocoto pepper awakened our taste buds. We enjoyed the chili so much, we were ready to book a trip to Peru.



Next, we sampled some hot dishes, beginning with the Black Cod Miso. This was delicious. The fish was buttery and the miso gave it the ideal amount of sweetness. I understand why it is one of their most popular dishes.

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Rock Shrimp with jalapeno followed. Now these were tasty morsels. Shrimp is so often overcooked, but not these. Perfection. And highly addictive.



For the next course, the focus was on land rather than sea with the Tenderloin of Beef Toban Yaki. The scent of this dish was intoxicating. The beef was prepared very well and it was tasty. However, it was our least favorite.

We wrapped up dinner with a sample of Tuna and Salmon Sushi. Both rolls were simplistic, but incredibly yummy. The rice was beautifully seasoned, key for great sushi.



Finally, we finished with a vanilla dessert and a variety of mochi. A lovely end to an exceptional meal.

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If you can swing it, the Omakase is an awesome experience. Keeping it simple by choosing a few small plates will be totally worthwhile, too.

Nobu on Urbanspoon

Welcome, 2015!

January 5, 2015
We spent new year's eve at the Rio, it was an unforgettable way to welcome the new year. We have spent new year's on the strip, in the mountains and up in the northwest valley and the most impressive view was at the Rio. The command center for launching the fireworks is there and I understand why, you have a full panorama of the strip. I had never been up to Voodoo Lounge before so the view was really breathtaking. It was a chilly night, but we really enjoyed the fireworks.

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Five days into the new year and I can honestly say I do not know what this year holds for us. Beyond our trip to Mexico next month, there are no plans. We'll have to wait to see what unfolds. Thank you for joining me on this journey. Happy new year!

So long, 2014!

December 29, 2014
We have definitely had our share of ups and downs this year. However I will focus on the positive, Ecuador was amazing, we visited new cities such as Albuquerque, Louisville and Portland. We spent a lot of time with family, including celebrating a wedding in San Francisco and welcoming my niece into the world. Before ushering in the new year, let's look back at 2014.

As usual, we traveled as much as possible and enjoyed yummy eats and drinks along the way. We've had great new experiences and revisited old favorites.

LOCAL EATS

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Best new eats - David Clawson

They do a few things, and they do them extremely well.

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Late to the party - EAT

Those sandwiches are a thing of beauty.

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Reliable - Pizza Rock

Meatballs are a must and the Calzone? Yum.

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Favorite - Sage

Yet again, Sage is stellar.

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Greatest find - Mariscos Playa Escondida

We cannot stay away. Everything. Everything has been fantastic.

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Most welcomed - Buddha Belly Deli

Asian Fusion without any fuss.

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Biggest surprise - Giada

I didn't think it was possible for this restaurant to live up to the hype, but then I tasted the food. Color me impressed.

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Greatest Splurge - Joel Robouchon

We had two fabulous dining experiences here this year. Never dreamed that to be the case, I guess dreams do come true.

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RIP - Osteria del Circo

One of my first loves. Circo will be missed.



TRAVELS

Hornado is typical Ecuadorian fare served Mote (hominy) and llapingacho (potato cake with cheese). The pork was perfectly rendered and dripped with deliciousness. This here was our favorite meal in Ecuador.

Life changing - Hornado

Roadside roasted pig! The tastiest treat in Ecuador.

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Best eats - Tasty n Alder; Portland, OR

I'm still thinking about their fish tacos.

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Most disappointing - SLS Las Vegas

I wanted to love it, but I didn't.

Hosteria Mandala, Puerto López.

Most relaxing - Hosteria Mandala; Puerto Lopez, Ecuador

This oasis was a great place to waste away days laying in the hammock and sipping on cervezas.

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Biggest regret - Not going with Frank to Denver.

It seems like a fantastic city that I would enjoy.

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Hope to do more - Off-roading

I only went off-roading a few times this year. I haven't been in the RZR since May :(



ENTERTAINMENT

Best Album - Sonic Highways, Foo Fighters. Beautifully assembled, loved the history lesson provided by the concurrent TV Series documentary.

Best Song - Thinking Out Loud, Ed Sheeran.

Best TV Show - Fargo

Best Concert - SOJA

Best Movie - St. Vincent


With that, I wish you the best of everything and may the new year bring you the greatest joys.

Merry Christmas!

December 24, 2014
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How cute are these kiddos? I can't be with them this Christmas, but we'll be together in spirit.

I hope Santa brings you everything you've hoped for and more. Wherever you go and whatever you do, create lasting memories with those you love.

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas!

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