Restaurant Week: Andre's

August 31, 2012
Wednesday, we had reservations at Andre's for 7 o'clock. When we arrived it was nice to be so warmly welcomed "Oh, right this way. We have a table ready for you." And sure enough, we were seated a table set for three. Little touches like this don't go unnoticed.

To get us started we received a amuse bouche a caviar creme palette cleanser.

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Breads followed, and we tacked on the wine pairing for $25. Reisling, Chardonnay, A French red with a name that escapes me and a dessert Reisling.



Our first course was Roasted Corn Soup with Warm Crab Salad, Garlic Chips and Chive Oil a beautiful soup with delicate flavors.



Next, was Butter Lettuce Salad with Crispy Duck Confit, Toasted Almonds and Cherry Vinaigrette. Clean and crisp, with a hint of richness just to be naughty.





Seared Scottish Salmon with Spinach Gnocchi, Heirloom Tomato and Truffle Beurre Blanc and Grilled Rib Eye Cap with Anna Potato, Broccolini and Horseradish Beef Jus. Both dishes were cooked to perfection and nicely prepared.



We finished with Cocoa-Nut Marquise with a Banana-Lime Sabayon for dessert. This was a decadent dish without being overly sweet. Tartness from the lime helped to balance the flavors and the banana flavor added a playful element.

Food and service were solid. Andre's is a class act through and through.

Andre's on Urbanspoon

Restaurant Week: Allegro

August 30, 2012
Tuesday's dinner was at Allegro inside Wynn. It took over the space that was formerly Stratta. Alessandro (of TC Masters fame) got the boot. Chef Enzo Febbraro was highly regarded in Washington DC and hails from Naples. The restaurant has only been open a short time, but it's already getting great praises.

Our table for three wasn't ready when we arrived so we ordered wine at the bar. $42 for three glasses: riesling and pinot grigio. They later seated us in the bar area, which I found a bit odd since this area is generally reserved for those without reservations. The restaurant week menu had three choices for each course. We decided we'd each order something different and share so we could sample a bit of everything. One of the entree choices was spaghetti and meatballs, but we learned while the restaurant does make its own pasta it does not make its spaghetti. Odd. We wanted to try homemade pasta so the waiter asked the kitchen if we could substitute the lasagna. They approved, yay.

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For the first course we had Bianca Pizza Mozzarella; Proscuitto, Arugula, Shaved Parmesan, Panzanella Salad; Tomato, Cucumber, Celery, Red Onion, Double-Baked Fresella, Red Wine Vinaigrette and Calamari & Shrimp; Fried Calamari, Shrimp, and Cherry Peppers, Spicy Tomato Sauce. The Bianca pizza was fantastic. Crisp crust, gooey cheese and topped with Proscuitto and Arugula it reminded me of the flavors we enjoyed while in Italy. The Calamari was very good as well. Tender and lightly breaded with a kick... just the way I like it. The Panzanella was a bit bland and the weakest dish.







Next up was Roasted Pink Snapper; Escabeche of Vegetables, Salmoriglio Sauce, Chicken Parmigiano; Tomato Sauce, Fresh Mozzarella and Baked Lasagna Napoletana; Meat Ragu, Meatballs, Smoked Mozzarella. The snapper was delicate and nicely prepared. The pickled vegetables were much too pickled for my liking, though. The Lasagna was very meaty. Too meaty. I've heard raves over this lasagna but it didn't thrill us. I'm not one who enjoys chicken parmigiano, in all honestly, chicken dishes in general don't appeal to me, but this was excellent. It was giant breast well seasoned with light crisp breading. The sauce wasn't acidic. We agreed it was likely the best any of us has had. Who knew?







And finally, dessert offered a Cannoli; Sweet Ricotta Cheese, Candied Citrus, Chocolate Shavings, Cassata Frozen Nougat, Raspberry & Meringue Sorbet and Tiramisu; Mascarpone Mousse, Coffee Soaked Lady Fingers, Chocolate Liqueur. The cannoli was not liked by any of us. It was heavily orange flavored. My bite brought back memories of spoonfuls of Trix as a kid. The Cassata was nicely done, but it was the Tiramisu that wooed us. It's right up there with the one made by angels at Circo.

Overall, we enjoyed a delicious meal. Service was great until the very end when it took forever to close out our check. Being held hostage is a definite pet peeve, but our waiter did go above and beyond to see about getting lasagna so it was forgiven.

Allegro on Urbanspoon

Restaurant Week: Nove

August 28, 2012
We kicked off fall Restaurant Week at Nove inside the Palms. Our foursome was seated at 7:15. The restaurant remained pretty quiet until late into our meal.

We started with an amuse bouche of bruschetta and caponata. Plus a bread basket with sesame bread, twists and focaccia. We opted for the $20 wine pairing: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot and I missed the dessert wine. Not a moscato, I'm sure of that, but still very sweet. Too sweet for my liking.

Butternut Squash Ravioli; Brown Butter, Sage whet our appetite. The pasta was tender, and a bit rustic. The filling was sweet. I prefer a more savory squash, but it was very good.

Next, we had Baby Fennel and Apple Salad; Endive, Toasted Hazelnuts, Gorgonzola Cheese and Petite Farmers Market Greens; Roasted Heirloom Beets, Humboldt Fog Goat Cheese, Candy Walnuts. Both salads were nicely dressed, crisp and loaded with tasty bits.

Before the third course, we had a second amuse bouche of salumis. The venison was one of the better varieties. Entrees were Salmon; Cauliflower Puree, Truffle Pan Sauce, Arugula and Almond Salad and Veal Scaloppini; Broccoli Rabe, Roasted Garlic, Scampi Sauce. I couldn't find fault in either dish, but I think the veal was a bit better than the salmon. It had bolder flavor and it was so tender, it seemed to melt like butter.

Dessert was odd. The menu read Chocolate Ganache; EVOO, Sea-Salt, Toasted Walnut and White Chocolate Bread, and I interpreted it as individual desserts with ganache over sweet toast. Instead, a single large scoop of ganache was served with a half dozen pieces of toast and two knives were provided. We spread the ganache across the toast, and dug in. It was like a saltier, and a more decadent version of nutella and toast. It was very rich so a little went a long way.

Service was attentive throughout. Nove is perched on the 51st floor of the Palms' Fantasy tower. The views are stellar. We watched the skies fade from day to night. It is always a joy to see the glimmer of lights across the desert. Eats tend to suffer when you get views like these, but Nove seems to get it right.

Nove Italiano on Urbanspoon

Photo a Day: Week 34

August 27, 2012
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August 19, 2012 ~ My purchase from Ikea.



August 20, 2012 ~ Fate loves the fearless [in bed].



August 21, 2012 ~ Love letters to cherish.



August 22, 2012 ~ More rain fell in 24 hours than in the past 13 months.



August 23, 2012 ~ A gyro, it's what's for lunch.



August 24, 2012 ~ M'mmm... El Indio fish tacos.



August 25, 2012 ~ Downtown San Diego while biking around Coronado Island.

Photo a Day: Week 33

August 23, 2012
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August 12, 2012 ~ The Firebird has only seen rain a few times. This is one.



August 13, 2012 ~ Freshly picked strawberries from Oxnard, CA.



August 14, 2012 ~ Something new and pretty for the house.



August 15, 2012 ~ Only one more month!



August 16, 2012 ~ Back at it.



August 17, 2012 ~ Cloudy day



August 18, 2012 ~ Langer's Pastrami, there's nothing quite like it.

Looking back...

August 22, 2012
While Frank was staying in Chicago at his parents' house he came across old letters I had written. Yeah, letters. Before email and texts, we wrote letters. Remember that?

Well Frank brought a few home. We'll read them periodically it'll be fun to look back. This one he read to me over the phone. It was perfect. I loved Vegas before I even seen it. I have that same excitement today. Probably more. It's our home.

This was a letter I wrote 15 years ago, before my first trip to Vegas in October, 1997.

Frank,

Hey there, Sexy! I'm so bored. I have work to do I just don't feel like doing it. I'm going crazy! Actually anticipation is making me crazy. It's like I don't have any thoughts besides Vegas and being with you floating around in my head. I can't wait it's about one month and one week away. Hun, I'm going to see mountains and desert. Feel weather with no humidity. See how Vegas is larger than life with bright lights, huge hotel casinos, escalators in the streets. Hear the sound of slot machines and all the gamblers. Taste those $3.99 buffets. Ride the indoor roller coaster and water ride. Can't forget about laser tag or the arcades. I'll see what a real arcade looks like. Go to the Stratosphere, Circus Circus, see the Pirate Show at Treasure Island. See the dolphins at Mirage.

Oh honey, I get to stay out late. I won't be a pain in the ass and need to go home. I'll go to sleep with you, wake up with you. So much to see and do. I'll even see the Vegas McDonalds. Can't forget about the Luxor or Mabel's Whorehouse "Where the customer comes first" Ha Ha! Once again I'm doing my firsts with you. You know what Frank? There's not another person I'd rather do them with! I love you so much. I'm so happy we are going to Vegas. Nothing else matters!

I really don't want to work today cause I've gotta work Friday too. But I like it when I get paid. I'll just keep thinking... work... need money... go to Vegas! Like something Homer Simpson would say. Ok, so my excitement and boredom might have shown quite a bit through this letter. I <3 you Frank.

All my love,

Kellee

HB

August 21, 2012
Summer is winding down. Boo. Frank is in Chicago. I had a free weekend. My mom and Mike have been itching to play in water so we spent the weekend in the OC. We stayed in Irvine. I got a killer deal on hotwire. Ten minutes to the beach. We went to Langer's in LA and were beachbums at Huntington Beach. We tried to take a whale tour in Newport Beach, but they sold out. It was nice to escape another weekend of storms. These monsoons need to move on. Seriously.

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Naked City Pizza Shop

August 20, 2012
A total dive, but I like dives. I had a restaurant.com certificate for nearly a year. I kept forgetting about the place. A friend seen it on DDD and went for pizza. He didn't like it, but it served as a good reminder for me to check it out.

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Our waiter recommended the buffalo chicken dip, it sounded delicious so they got started on that right away. It was freakin' fantastic. Loved it!



Frank had the chicken parmesan sub which was good, but nothing out of the ordinary.



I had the Royal which was named a best bite by LV Weekly 2010 and a 10 Best Sandwich in 2012. A sub with Italian sausage, cappicola, mozzarella. It was way TOO salty. Seriously, salty. The cappicola was the culprit. Once I peeled that away it was an OK eat. Not the best of anything... but that chicken dip; I'd return for that alone.

Naked City Pizza Shop on Urbanspoon

Me, from A-Z

August 18, 2012
A. Age: 32

B. Bed size: California King

C. Chore you dislike: Cleaning tubs and showers.

D. Dogs: Allergic.

E. Essential start to your day: Brushing my teeth.

F. Favorite colors: Blue and green. I've been digging plum colors lately.

G. Gold or silver: Silver, but I like a combo.

H. Height: 5'3".

I. Instruments you play(ed): none. ever.

J. Job title: Controller

K. Kids: No thanks.

L. Live: The Entertainment Capital of the World

M. Mom’s name: Patricia

N. Nicknames: Kelbel, belle

O. Overnight hospital stays: three as a child and one as an adult

P. Pet peeves: people that don't wash their hands. Chew with their mouth open. And all sorts that involve driving... Inability to merge or find the gas pedal. Right lane slow, left lane fast - people.

Q. Quote from a movie: "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it." - Ferris Bueller's Day Off

R. Righty or lefty: A bit of both, I do all kinds of tasks with the left, but I can only write righty.

S. Siblings: Two. Mike is seven years younger. Amy is nine years younger.

T. Time you wake up: The alarm is set for 6:30 which is actually 6:20 and I usually snooze until 6:45 which is 6:35. Unless I oversleep because I turned off the alarm instead of snoozing it then it's typically 6:55 or so. I prefer no alarm days.

U. Underwear: V thong

V. Vegetables you don’t like: Peas and celery on it's own. Celery is ok when used in recipes. Go figure.

W. What makes you run late: snoozing the alarm

X. X-rays you’ve had: I'm pretty sure my entire body has been xrayed at some point. I should probably have a tattoo that says "fragile, handle with care."

Y. Yummy food you make: Gouda and bacon stuffed pork chops are my specialty.

Z. Zoo animal you like: Monkeys and sealife

Photo a Day: Week 32

August 17, 2012
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August 5, 2012 ~ Perched above it all at Aria.



August 6, 2012 ~ Another stellar sunset.

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August 7, 2012 ~ Oops! No photo taken. But I miss the dry desert.

Zion, UT

August 8, 2012 ~ Oops! No photo taken. I'll never tire of Utah's beauty.



August 9, 2012 ~ Bears tickets have arrived!



August 10, 2012 ~ My name is Kellee and I'm a sunsetoholic.



August 11, 2012 ~ Relaxing in Big Sur.

Sweet Addiction

August 16, 2012
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Sweet Addiction is in walking distance from home... can you say trouble? Frank and I had a hankering for something sweet and stopped in. We didn't grow up with Thrifty ice cream so we asked for a recommendation, we were told the Chocolate Malted Crunch was a winner. We went with that and chocolate chip and brownie cookies to make it a sandwich. The cookies were not the same size and the scoop of ice cream was too lopsided to enjoy it as a sandwich, but that's not to say it wasn't enjoyed. I loved the cookies - Chewy and moist, just how I like 'em. I was less thrilled with the ice cream, I grew tired of the malt flavor, but that's just a personal thing there are dozens of other flavors to try. We were able to save 50 cents by checking in on facebook. My only nitpick is the styrofoam bowls... I have an aversion to sound of friction on styrofoam and the cookies fit snug and the noise is hard to avoid. Bizarre, I know.

Sweet Addiction, Cookies & Ice Cream on Urbanspoon

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