500th Post!!

January 29, 2010

Let the balloons and confetti fly. Pass around shots of Patron, and let's party!!

When I started Vegasjuhl I had no plan. I only wanted a place to keep my thoughts straight. I've since developed an audience and it's a lot of fun to share my tales from the desert. It's great to see visitors from all across the country and even outside the US. Thank you all for reading!

I keep exploring new outlets for my writing, who knows where it will lead. I do know I really enjoy working with living-las-vegas.com and I'm having a blast writing my column. I also wrote an essay for a magazine, unfortunately the economy has prevented it from launching this month. But it was still a great opportunity and a fun challenge. I would have loved to be published in print, but that day will come soon enough. This just wasn't my time. I believe my essay will be available online, when it is I'll be sure to share it.

I don't know where I'm headed on this journey, but I hope you'll join me for the ride.

Cheers!

Two Gems

This week and last week's LLV articles were about two great finds.

First, Glazier's is an independent grocery store that is a blend of your traditional grocier and Whole Foods. I'm like a kid in the candy store in that place. There is currently one location on the SW part of town, but a second is coming to Henderson. Check out my article for more details, Vegas Values: Glazier's Food Marketplace.

Second, is Raku. I briefly mentioned it before. We sought it out right before Bob visited. He lived in Japan for a while teaching so we always check out a Japanese restaurant while he's here. He exposes us to stuff we might not try otherwise and he gets to sample familiar treats. Raku has gotten a lot of attention in the foodie world. It keeps late hours to accomodate strip chefs, Paul Bartolotta and Kerry Simon are known as regulars. For the full scoop, see Vegas Values: Raku Aims to Please.

Something to check out

January 28, 2010
Last week, I ran into Linda Lou at the Las Vegas Writers Group meeting. I introduced myself since I felt like I knew her from reading her memoir Bastard Husband: A Love Story. We briefly chatted and she offered an invite to a preview of her new one woman show called, D Words: Dating, Divorce and Other Delights.

Frank and I attended her first preview, last night. We had a great time. She connects well with her audience as she shares jokes and reads excepts from her book. She had the room in stitches from her tales.

Even if you haven't read the book, although I highly recommend it, it's a fun show and it's easy to follow along. You'll just leave wanting to read her story cover to cover.

Beginning Wednesday, February 17 you'll be able to catch her show at Alexis Park Resort, across from the Hard Rock. Be sure to check it out!

17 years changes things


Saturday, I went to the library. It's been about seventeen years since I've done that. They've changed quite a bit, imagine that? Technology has done wonderful things for the experience.

No more card catalogues to search through to find the title or author you're seeking. All I had to do was walk up to the computer do a search and voila it shared it's location or let me know it wasn't available.

Too bad what I was in search of wasn't there. I'll have to make a request. Normally, I purchase books on Amazon. The prices are great, but I figure if I can save some cash or at least put it towards other things, like food, I should.

The library wasn't a lost cause. After walking through the aisles I found two books that piqued my interest. I completed the library card application online so when I was ready to go, I stopped at the information desk. After showing my ID, my very own library card was printed. The kind gentlemen informed me 50 items could be check out at any given time.

50 items? Wow. Suddenly I felt inadequate with my measly two selections. Still, I walked over to the self checkout. There's no longer a need for date stamped cards, now you place your selections on the space indicated and then a receipt with your due date is printed. Easy enough.

They have a wide variety of books, magazines, cds, dvds, and audio books. I'll have to give the others a look next time. It's unlikely that'll be another seventeen years.

Joyful House

January 27, 2010
It sounds like a massage parlor, doesn't it? It is in Chinatown, but there's no happy endings here, just good 'ole Chinese food. They've been named Best of Las Vegas and they've been featured on a dozen Travel Channel specials. A recent one recommended the duck, after that, I knew I had to try it.

We went for dinner on Saturday night. Prime dinner time we were able to get seated without issue. We looked over the menu for quite a while. There is so much to it. I don't think I've ever come across a Chinese menu with a wider variety.

We ordered egg rolls to start, then Frank chose Kung Pao Prawns and I had the roasted duck.







The egg rolls weren't bad for spring rolls. I liked the Kung Pao, the prawns were cooked well. I expected them to be overdone. The duck was ok. It was really hard to eat. I've never worked so hard before. Once I finally got meat it was decent. Our waiter asked how it was and said hard to eat. He returned with handi-wipes, which was appreciated, but a knife would've been helpful.

While we were finishing up we saw them bring out two live lobsters for the table next to us 4lb and 6lb those puppies were huge! The sign touting specials mentioned lobsters were 50% off. No clue what market price was, but I imagine it was a deal.

Like other Chinese restaurants in Chinatown, we weren't overly thrilled. Prices were fair, our tab was $34 before tip. I imagine a number of dishes are tasty, I just would not recommend the rosy roasted duck.

The place could use some sprucing up, too. The walls and window valances looked pretty shabby.

Service was good until they brought the lobsters out. Apparently, they needed everyone in house to wrestle those bad boys.

Cafe Rio

January 26, 2010
We tried two new places for dinner over the weekend. First was Friday, we went to Cafe Rio for dinner. I had never heard of it before, his co-worker recommended it, it's like Chipotle and ironically enough there is a Chipotle and Cafe Rio on the same street corner (Sahara/Ft Apache).

This place was packed when we walked inside, mostly families, but also a few couples. I was surprised how busy it was considering I've never heard of the place before. Seems I'm the last to know. Anyway, they have your typical assembly line ordering system, you tell them what you want. What sets Cafe Rio apart is that you can watch meats being grilled and tortillas being made while you wait.

Frank ordered a grilled steak burrito with rice, black beans and hot sauce. Then, he got it coated in enchilada sauce and cheese. Condiments like sour cream and salsa were added to the side.


I ordered two tacos with corn tortillas: pork barbacoa and chicken.


His steak burrito was worlds better than my tacos. It was pretty good. Large and filling. The barbacoa pork was WAY too sweet for my liking and the chicken was bland. The tortillas fell apart, it was pretty disastrous. Thankfully, Frank was a dear and shared his burrito. We also ordered chips and salsa. Eh, not so great. The salsa was WAY too lime-y.

Dinner was around 22 bucks. I'm not much of a fan of the fast-casual eateries. I'd much rather stick to a full service restaurant.

More snowy photos

January 25, 2010
I have a few tidbits from the weekend to share, but not a whole lot of time. It's been a busy day. So, I'll share some snowy mountain photos and I'll make you wait for the rest.

This first set is from Highway 159 between Blue Diamond and Charleston. There were dozens of others with the same idea, I've never seen that road so busy. We were all stopping we were could, then, we'd hop out and snap photos. It was really neat to see so many people out there admiring the beauty.















This last set is from Highway 160 (from Pahrump heading to LV) I met my mom and I snapped these on the way back.






There were groups pulled off to the side that stopped to play in the snow. I couldn't believe those that were sledding toward the hwy. Fortunately, the speed limit is reduced to 50mph in this area, but still that's super dangerous. I tinkered with a new toy to create this. Click the photo for a full size image.











Sunshine & blue skies

January 22, 2010
After five gloomy days the clouds finally broke to reveal the sun and blue skies. It's damn chilly, but I'll gladly take this cloudy day. On my lunch break, I had to run to the doctor to replenish my allergy shots. I snapped a few photos along the way.

Check out all the snow, heavy rains in the valley brought lots of snow to the mountains.











Scattered

January 21, 2010
The dreary wet weather continues. Supposedly, the latest system will be the wettest. I've heard that one before... on Sunday. They said Monday would bring us the most rainfall. Guess what? It was a light drizzle. We got the bulk beginning Tuesday afternoon. Traffic was terrible going home, accidents, slow drivers, bad drivers, etc. Wednesday it held steady. The ground is saturated and a number of sewers are clogged so I saw quite a few flooded intersections. I suspect the flooding will continue and become more severe depending on the actual rainfall.

It cracks me up when you see .25" of rainfall. That's a full days rain. They claimed the same storm dropped 20" in California. It's hilarious to see such a little amount of precipitation wreak havoc. That's the desert for you.

I'll be happy when the clear skies and sunshine return, but these rains are creating lots of business. I'm sacrificing for the greater good, that's what I keep telling myself, anyway.

Switching gears...

We've been keeping ourselves busy lately with episodes of Tosh.0 and bowling. I also have a new found admiration for Jeopardy. Go figure.

Have you seen Tosh.0 on Comedy Central? New episodes air on Wednesdays. The show is hosted by Daniel Tosh. Never heard of him before this, but I guess he's a hit with college kids. I'm probably at the top tier of his target audience, but my god, he cracks me up. The show is like Talk Soup, if you've even seen that. Except, this is far more perverted and racist. It's a topical series with Tosh's commentary, they feature viral clips, and they'll hunt down stars of such videos for an interview or redemption. It's really funny shit.

Frank and I want to see Tosh's stand-up. He's coming to Mirage in March, but we'll be in Phoenix. Bummer. We'll have to wait until next time.

Sophmoric humor to intellectual trivia... Jeopardy. I've recently discovered I can now play with confidence. I used to only do well during high school or college weeks. A couple months back, Frank had it on and I thought it must have been a "special edition" because I knew a bunch of answers. However, it was the real deal. I've watched it several times since then and I'm still able to play along. I don't know if they've dumbed down the show or if I've grown wiser. I'll go with the latter. With age comes wisdom, I suppose.

Bowling, I've never been good at it. I play for fun. Frank comes from a family of bowlers, he's been in a number of leagues. When we lived in Chicago it was a regular activity. One year for my birthday, Frank bought me my own ball. But even that didn't help my game. I was okay with that. Living in Vegas, we have dozens of ways to occupy ourselves so bowling took the backseat. We've been a handful of times over the years. Frank was in need of new gear, he was using the same stuff he had as a young teen. So after Christmas, he picked out a new ball and shoes. We've been bowling the past three weeks. I still suck, no surprise there, I try to improve and heed advice, but in doing so it becomes frustrating and the fun fades. Realizing this, I decided to give up on trying and go back to just winging it and have a good time. Guess what? I had two decent games as a result. I've also bowled enough, lately, to know that I need to have work done on my grips, there is too much friction in my thumb hole. So, we'll take it in and get that fitted better. It's unlikely that it'll improve my game, but it might and either way, it'll feel far more comfortable.

Meal rut

January 20, 2010
I'm bored with my usual meals, it's time to pull out the recipes and get new ideas for dinner. Here's a few I tried this week.

This first one was a success. Frank and I both enjoyed it. Even the leftovers were tasty today for lunch.


Pasta with Shaved Brussels Sprouts and Bacon

1 pound brussels sprouts
2 slices of bacon, diced
2 shallots, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup chicken broth
1 pound spaghetti
1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
salt and pepper

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Season generously with salt.

Trim the ends off of the brussels sprouts and remove the toughest outer leaves. Shred them in a food processor or slice them as thin as possible with a knife.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the pancetta and cook for about 3 to 4 minutes, until fairly crispy and cooked through. Clear some space in the middle of the pan and add the shallots and garlic. Cook for a few minutes, until the shallots are soft.

While the shallots are cooking, add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until al dente.

Add the brussels sprouts and the chicken broth to the large skillet, season with salt and pepper, and toss all of the ingredients together. Cook, tossing occasionally, until the brussels sprouts are tender but not too soft, about 5 minutes.

When the pasta is finished cooking, drain and add it to the skillet. You can add a splash of the pasta water (or more broth) if the mixture seems dry. Add the pine nuts, toss everything together, season to taste, and serve.



This next combo was a complete failure. Bland, bland, bland. I tossed my plate and made PB&J. Frank scraped his stuffing out of the chicken and add BBQ sauce, and made BBQ chicken for dinner. The broccoli would've been better with no bread crumbs, it would've been best had I stopped after steaming.


Oven Roasted Stuffed Chicken Breasts

1 cup part skim milk ricotta cheese
3/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
1 teaspoon dried oregano
6 boneless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a large baking dish. In a bowl, mix the ricotta cheese, walnuts, parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, and oregano.
Slice a pocket into the chicken breasts, and stuff with the ricotta cheese mixture. Arrange the chicken breasts in a single layer in the prepared baking dish, and brush with oil. Bake 45 minutes or until the chicken is no longer pink and juices run clear.

Smoky Gouda-Sauced Broccoli

1-1/4 pounds broccoli, cut into spears
1/2 cup chopped onion (1 medium)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1-1/2 cups fat-free milk
3 ounces smoked Gouda cheese, shredded (3/4 cup)
3/4 cup bread crumbs
2 teaspoons butter, melted

Place a steamer basket in a large saucepan. Add water to just below the bottom of the steamer basket. Bring water to boiling. Add broccoli to steamer basket. Cover and reduce heat. Steam for 6 to 8 minutes or until just tender.

Meanwhile, for sauce, in a medium saucepan cook and stir the onion and garlic in the 1 tablespoon hot butter until tender. Stir in flour, salt, and pepper. Stir in the milk. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Gradually add cheese, stirring until melted.

Transfer broccoli to a 1 1/2-quart au gratin dish or 2-quart square baking dish. Pour sauce over broccoli. Combine bread crumbs and the 2 teaspoons melted butter; sprinkle over sauce. Bake, uncovered, in a 425 degree F oven for 15 minutes or until crumbs are lightly browned. Makes 6 servings.

Fog and dew, oh my!

It was a strange sight seeing dew this morning. Then, as I neared the strip the scene got even more bizarre. We had fog!

You can make out the Orleans a little bit, here, but where is the strip?


Driving past the Orleans, where did Mandalay Bay and THEhotel go?




Finally, near Arville, the fog began to clear and the strip became visable.

When I got to work, I noticed that I could see my breath when walking from the car into the office. I don't remember the last time I saw fog, dew or my breath. Odd start to the day.

The rain has taken a break, but more is on the way. Thank goodness! For a roofing company it's like pennies from heaven. I've been with my company 6.5 years, we've never needed rain more than we do right now. Timing is ideal for El Nino storms. As much as I love my sunshine, bring on the rain! Steady heavy rains are preferred.

Ewww!

January 19, 2010
There are some things you come across that you end up wishing you could unsee. This happened to me this morning. I swear it made me puke a little. Prepare yourself.


You think I'd be numb to digusting images from following peopleofwalmart.com but nope it's naked Anthony Bourdain that takes the cake. Seriously, that is just awful. Way to gross me out, Food Network Humor. Thanks, thanks a lot.

Gloomy

January 18, 2010
It's damp and dreary outside. It looks like it'll remain that way all week. The sun isn't due to make an appearance until Saturday. I can't imagine what my mood will be like mid-week. I need my sunshine. Majority of the rainfall was anticipated for this afternoon and into tomorrow, but it's only drizzled so far. If it's going to rain I want a down pour, I want lightning, give me a real storm. Work is so slow, I hope the sky really opens up, we could really use leaky roof service calls.

Weekend was quiet just as I had expected. Mainly cleaned house, organized closets and grocery shopped. What can I say? I'm a rock star. Fantasy Playoffs sucked this weekend so that was a big letdown. Highlight of yesterday was finding Redhook Slim Chance in bottles at Lee's Discount Liquors. It's my go-to beer at Yard House, I love it on tap. I'd love to get the same taste at home. Since the weather is crummy beer and hot tub time seems unlikely. I may just have to crack one open just because...

BRAND

January 15, 2010
This week's LLV article focuses on The Light Group and our recent meal at BRAND. Which was delicious, by the way. Check out the link for the full scoop, Vegas Values: A Cut Above the Rest.

How about some bonus photos?

Tasty calamari


Asparagus


Hash browns


Last, but not least, yummy buttery buns.



Huzzah!

It is Friday again! This week flew by, thank goodness, because I’m beat. I am hoping to sleep in this weekend. I want nothing more than to kick this fatigue for good. I’m finally feel better, although that pesky cough rears its ugly head from time-to-time, it caused me to sleep shitty three nights of the last seven. Also had nightmares in the mix, those are never fun. I’ll never understand why my mind goes there.

No major plans for the weekend. We will be watching the football games. Frank and I are both in Fantasy Playoffs, he sitting much prettier than me, but I hope to have a nice showing this weekend. There are 130 people in the pool and the top 5 get paid, it would be great for one of us, if not both, to earn some cash.

Since I have little to share about this weekend, I'll tell you about our double-date last Friday with our friends, Jake and Alysha. We grabbed dinner at Fiamma inside MGM Grand. We took advantage of the locals buy one, get one promotion. The guys had the daily special which was bone-in ribeye with mascarpone polenta and Brussels sprout. Us girls chose the same pasta dish, linguine with scallops and prawns. We started with an order of calamari and snacked on bread. They serve it with olive oil, but we always request balsamic vinegar to add to it. It’s so good. We all thoroughly enjoyed the meal - Tasty as always.

Next, we dashed over to Paris, we had tickets to see Anthony Cools. We’ve seen the show before but it was their first time. Over dinner, Alysha suggested that she’d volunteer for the show. She held true to her word. She went up on stage to be hypnotized. She participated in the orchestra by playing the violin. She sold us on her performance. Anthony sat beside her and motioned to be jacking off while she played. She kept a straight face, there is no way I could’ve done that. The next skits she didn't appear to be in tune with, but it was fun to watch the others. Anthony let her go, along with some of the others and then he worked up to the more perverted stuff and porn auditions. Those segments are always a riot. We laughed and laughed. The show was better last time we saw it, the performances were more over the top. But that’s not to say we didn’t have a good time. After the show we asked Alysha if she was hypnotized and she said no. Real or not real, it’s a lot of fun.

They had to get back to the kids and relieve the sitter so they headed home. Meanwhile, Frank and I stopped at PT’s for a couple frosty beers. I played four card keno and hit a few four-spots. My wins helped soften the blow of Frank’s losses. He couldn’t catch a break in keno or video poker. It was pretty bizarre that we had the place to ourselves on a Friday night, but I enjoyed the quiet and lack of smoke. Rather than giving back my winnings we decided to return home. All in all, it was a great night. It’s fun to get out and share some laughs with friends while enjoying this great city.

Let's talk travel

January 14, 2010
Frank and I didn’t have the funds to go to Mexico in December like we had hoped. We figured we’d shoot for a trip in February. Weather is still cool here, then, and it’s the next time Frank would be able to take time off. December I earned a bonus that would cover the cost of the trip, we just had to wait until Super Bowl was done and then we were free to go. So we thought… turns out Frank will be picking up added responsibilities at work and the transition will take place in February. Mexico has been pushed off again, but we are going in December. Period. The funds have been placed in a separate savings account so we’ll be set when the time comes.

Since that trip was off, I decided I’d visit family in Chicago. My favorite boy kills me with his constant requests for me to come over and play. My mom just spent three weeks there and I was jealous of their tales of playing games and things. Here’s a photo my mom took of Nicky being a sneaky creeper by eating ice cream under the table.


I miss that boy so much!

I get President’s day off, I planned on going over a long weekend. A ding! fare sealed the deal, before I booked I called my sister and asked if I could come play with her son? She was game. But my mom jumped in saying I didn’t want to go there, “it’s too damn cold”. She offered to pay one of their ways to come visit us, if I did. That sounded fair to me, and that way Frank would get to see them, too. I gave Amy the choice, and she chose to come visit us. Rather than booking my own flight, I booked theirs. They are set to come on February 27. I cannot wait!

In March we’re going to Phoenix for Spring Training, we already have tickets for two games the weekend after my birthday. We’ll be staying with our friend, Shane, I imagine some drinking and shooting will take place, as well. Not at the same time, however.

July, we are planning to visit Vancouver. We’re toying with taking a longer vacation and visiting Victoria and/or Seattle. Once we get that settled, I’ll nail down the dates and book the flights. End of July I might make it back to Chicago if the flights are priced right. My cousin is getting married, plus I’m sure I’ll be missing my favorite boy by then, too.

September, my dad is getting laid off from his job of 30+ years. He’s planning a road trip out west. My sister plans to join him, she turns 21 in August, she’s anxious to experience the other side of Las Vegas. If my brother is not living here by then, I’m sure he’ll join them for the ride. It will be great to see everyone; this would be my dad’s second visit since I’ve moved. He came out once before for our wedding. I’d like to show him our home and give him a guided tour on how we fill our free time. I really think he’ll enjoy the desert.

At the end of September, the White Sox will be in Anaheim. We always try to catch a series, and this one will be no different. However, football will likely interfere with those plans. We might only see our boys in Spring Training this year.

We have dozens of other shorter weekend trips planned throughout the year. Frank says this will be the year of micro-vacations, he has every intent to make us weekend warriors.

We want to camp at Death Valley near the Racetrack.

Visit Moab, Bryce and Zion National Parks in Utah.

See the Grand Canyon, can you believe we haven’t seen it yet?

We’ve also talked about seeing more of Nevada, areas such as Caliente, Ely and Elko.

Then, of course, we’ll have periodic staycations. The first is booked in March. We’ve reserved a Lakeview-room at Bellagio. I’ve always wanted to experience the fountains from that vantage point; I can’t wait to actually do it.

I have no doubt we’ll also get the hankering for bread so I’m certain a weekend in San Diego will also happen at some point.

Fleur De Lys

January 13, 2010
Back in December, you might recall my brother-in-law visited us. He had an incredible amount of luck gambling while he was here. He hit a 5-team football parlay, plus had a number of other successful blackjack sessions and a couple smaller slot wins.

His profits remained in tact and he could’ve gone home with a handsome sum. Instead, fortunately for us, he shared some of his wealth and suggested we go out for a fine meal. Twist my arm, why don’t you? We searched and searched, overwhelmed with options we put our top choices in a hat and Bob drew names. Fleur De Lys was the winner. We made reservations for later that night, it was a Saturday. So we weren’t able to get reservations until 9pm but it worked out well since we had a big lunch and timing coordinated with Bob’s red-eye flight home.

When we arrived we were invited to wait in the lounge while they prepared our table. After a short-wait, we were seated at a table toward the center of the room. We could view the chef’s table above and gaze at the collection of roses on the wall from our seats.

We looked over the menu options and all three of us couldn’t resist the Elegance Menu ($89pp), Frank and Bob also went with the wine pairing for an additional charge ($60 each if I recall accurately). We agreed that Frank and I would cover anything over three Benjamins. Why not do it right? That’s what we work for… to enjoy…

Service was slow to start. It took sometime to be waited on, bread service was sluggish and we waited a long time for an amuse bouche. So, we mentioned something to our waiter, we told him we had time restraints. He was quick to apologize and the rest of the meal flowed nicely and timely.

I’m normally good with details, but I cannot recall what made up the amuse bouche. At least, I have a photo and I do remember it being tasty (whatever it was).


The first wine was from New Mexico it was fantastic. I believe it was Gruet Rose. It was unanimous, we loved it.

We all chose the Truffled Onion Soup with duck ragout to get us started. And Chardonnay was the selected pairing. Both were delicious.


Our second course consisted of a few dishes we each selected something different. Bob had gently heated salmon with apple rosemary puree, it was beautifully prepared. His dish was paired with Pinot Grigio.


Frank had veal and potato ravioli it wasn’t the most striking dish, but it made up for what it lacked in looks with flavor. It was paired with a lovely Pinot Noir.


My dish was Alaskan halibut and mussels. It was fresh and nicely done.


Moving onto the main course, Bob and I had filet and Frank chose lamb, each had vegetable puree. All were quite good. Wine pairings were Chianti and Cabernet Sauvignon, if I recall correctly. In any case, they were the least favorite of all the wines.




Desserts followed, Bob chose the chocolate soufflĂ© ($6 upcharge), Frank had carrot cake with pineapple sorbet, and I had a dessert trio. The cake and sorbet were unmemorable but the peanut butter with baileys milkshake was delicious. I could’ve drank those all day and night. Bob was brought a Port to enjoy with his soufflĂ© and Frank had another dessert wine, I cannot remember it’s name; it was similar to, but far less cloying than Moscato.







Our meal wrapped up just in time. We were brought the check, petite fours and I was given a pink rose, taken from the piece on the wall. Of all the sweet treats it was the gummy lychee treat that left a lasting impression, and it was the macaroon that Bob could not forget soon enough. The final tab was around $430 before tip. Which makes it the most expensive meal we’ve had to date.

It was quite enjoyable, but it’s not one we’ll be repeating. While everything was done well, nothing raised the culinary bar so to speak. In fact, I can’t believe how much I’ve already forgotten. It wasn’t even a month ago, I suppose to be fair, it was during the time of my medicated stupor. That might be to blame for my failure to recollect.

While you wait

I realized I never got around to sharing details from our meal at Fleur de Lys. I overlooked it when playing catch up. So, I'll work on getting that together.

While you wait, I have two articles for your reading pleasure. I wouldn't want you to resort to doing actual work.

Frank and I tried Indian food for the first time, recently. Don't know why it took us so long to give it a try, we loved it. Mantra Masala delivers. Read full details of our meal at Vegas Values: Spicing it up.

I also blogged over at LLV about a couple things I believe Vegas needs. Check it out, Vegas could use...

Any types of food you long overlooked only to discover new dishes to love?

Pot roast and firearms

January 12, 2010
Yeah, that was our Monday night.

I made my first pot roast. It was tasty! I wasn't sure that I'd like it, I was never a fan as a kid. It wasn't even something I considered making as an adult. Then, last week Smith's had chuck roast on sale and I found one that looked good. Why not give it a try? I went to allrecipes.com and searched for recipes using chuck roast and I selected the one with the best reviews, I made a few changes and came up with this:

2.5 pounds chuck roast
pepper to taste
1 packet dry onion soup mix
1 cup water
3 carrots, chopped
9 baby gold potatoes
1 stalk celery, chopped

Brown roast on all sides in a large skillet over high heat. Place in the slow cooker and add the soup mix, water, carrots, potatoes and celery. Cover and cook on low setting for 10 hours.

I browned the roast the night before and put all the ingredients except the water into the crockpot and then put it in the fridge overnight. Before I left for work, I added water and turned the crockpot on. Dinner was done when I got home, it couldn't have been easier. I baked crescent rolls to round out our enjoyable no-fuss meal. I'll definitely make it again.

At work, I chatted with a co-worker about shooting and off-roading. He told me of a new gun store that opened in North Las Vegas, New Frontier Armory. I mentioned it to Frank and we headed out there after dinner. He's been wanting a security shotgun, and we're still in the market for a .45.

Their cheap security shotgun wasn't a good fit, but the pricey one was light and had a pistol grip. Perfect for me. Still, it was more than we wanted to spend. Frank has his eye on one at Big 5 that he likes, so we'll likely be getting that one. Then, I asked if they had any Taurus or Ruger .45's. No dice, but they did have a nice Springfield XD with a comfortable grip. We talked them down on the price and it was sold. That is until they mentioned that they can't do background checks after 5:45. Why be open until 7:00? To make matters worse they're closed on Tuesday, and open at noon on Wednesday. Frank wouldn't be able to get out there again until Monday at the soonest. I'm sure it'll be gone by then, oh well. The good news is that I have a third choice with a good grip.

We're in no rush so we can wait until the right one is found. Although, it would be nice to put the .45 ammo we bought to good use. At least, we're ready when the time is right.

Mad about Eggplant

January 11, 2010
Move over asparagus and brussels sprouts, I now have a new favorite vegetable, although, it's more of a fruit, isn't it? Either way, I love eggplant. I don't think I had ever tried it prior to a couple years ago when a friend shared his recipe for eggplant parmesan. That was my first and last time buying a whole eggplant from the store. It's not that it was bad, because it was quite tasty, it was simply time consuming.

We found that ordering sandwiches at Siena Deli or sampling eggplant dishes from dozens of other restaurants was far easier. I have no problem letting someone else to the work especially when it produces a tastier product that what I'm able to create.

A few months ago, Frank discovered Rocco's NY Italian Deli (buffalo/charleston). We've tried their Sicilian pizza and eggplant sandwich and didn't care much for either. However, Frank buys the makings for eggplant parm and it is fantastic when we put it together at home.



He buys enough for two meals, with the leftovers I make eggplant lasagna. I do not miss the meat one bit.




Last week, I had eggplant eight different times. Crazy? Yeah, I told you I was mad about eggplant.

Even at the Yard House, I ordered a dish with eggplant. It was delicious! It is Angel Hair Pasta on their menu. The ingredients are straight-forward: roma tomatoes, roasted eggplant, garlic, basil, pine nuts, feta, parmesan cheese and olive oil. I want to try to duplicate it at home. A friend also shared a Rachel Ray recipe with me for ratatouille. So, I'll be buying eggplant from the store and giving it another go at home.

Got a favorite eggplant recipe? Let's have it.

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