Farewell, Firebird!

June 26, 2013
A week after saying good-bye to the Jimmy, we were saying farewell to the Firebird. The Firebird is a 1998 Trans Am WS6, with only 29k original miles. It was our baby. So rare, it was our most valuable possession. When Frank first mentioned selling it, I was shocked. While we've had a blast with it, we don't drive it often enough to continue to store it, pay for the insurance and registration. Signing the title was no easy task, it felt like we were giving away our first born. We've driven it to Phoenix, Sedona, Zion, San Diego, and the Pacific Coast Highway from Monterrey to the MX border. I'm sure summer nights won't feel quite the same; but I'll cherish the long drives.

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We are the Champions!

June 25, 2013
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I'll let you in on a little secret, I was never a fan of hockey until this season's playoffs. Go ahead, call me a bandwagon fan. I admit it, I am. I've been a Sox fan as long as I can remember, I grew up watching the Bears, and I joined the Bulls craze back in the MJ days, but the Blackhawks? Nope, I tried to get into hockey when the Blackhawks won the 2010 Cup, but I was bored to tears. I watched them win it all in the most anticlimactic game ever.

Fast forward to this season's play offs. We have friends here in Vegas, that also moved from Chicago, and they are diehard Blackhawk fans. Windy City Beefs N Pizza ran specials for all Blackhawks games so we started going when the Blackhawks faced the Kings. At least six of us, would go each game to root for our team. It was never dull. The two losses were disappointing, but the OT, and the wins kept us on the edge of our seats. Last night to see them come from behind and score two goals in 17 seconds was incredible. It has been an unforgettable wild ride. We celebrated with champagne, fireworks, cigars and Nothing Bunt Cake. As thrilled as we all were, I cannot imagine the excitement felt in Chicago. Way to go, Chicago Blackhawks. You guys fought hard and deserve the championship. I suspect I'm not the only fan gained this season.

Thanks for the memories, Jimmy.

June 24, 2013
Recently, we sold our '85 GMC Jimmy. It was a beast. It was amazing what that thing could do. It was an awesome rock crawler. But once we bought the RZR we had the need for speed and the Jimmy never saw the desert. It was time to part with it. It was no easy decision, since Frank's blood, sweat and tears went into it. Thankfully, we found it a good home. A young kid that was born in one, bought it, and has plans to turn it into a zombie apocalypse response vehicle or something of the sort. We're happy to see it get love, rather than it become scrap. It's one helluva vehicle.

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Fat Choy

June 18, 2013
One of the hottest restaurants around is located within Eureka Casino on East Sahara. Before Fat Choy, Chef Sheridan Su (former executive chef at Comme Ca) was serving Great Bao in the most unlikely place; a nail salon. I never tried it back then because I have an aversion to the smell. Dining with salon fumes never seemed appetizing in the least bit. I never tracked down the food truck, and it's taken me sometime to travel to the eastside, but I've finally done it. The Eureka Casino was nicer than I expected and I had heard interesting characters patronize the casino. However, on Sunday afternoon it was clean, quiet and no characters in sight. Not sure what it says about me, but I felt right at home. We strolled back to Fat Choy and took a seat.

The waitress brought over menus; they had a limited selection and no rice or noodle dishes. We selected the duck bao ($7), and the tofu mushroom bao ($6) after she suggested it over the pork belly ($7). We also ordered the short rib grilled cheese ($10) and the nutella roti ($6) for dessert. We chose a plain old diet coke and diet dr. pepper from their new soda machine with dozens of flavors. Our bao came out first. Duck and pork belly were brought out. The order was wrong, but we stuck with it. The buns are steamed to perfection. The pork belly was fantastic, the fat rendered perfectly so it was rich, tender and filled with that wonderful pork flavor. I loved the freshness from the cilantro and greens, and the texture of the crushed peanuts. This was indeed great bao. The duck was delicious too. The hoisin sauce was light and didn't overwhelm the duck at all. Now, I'm curious how the mushroom and tofu bao would be. Tasty, I'm sure.

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The short rib grilled cheese comes with provolone and cheddar, onion jam and a side of marinara sauce. I'm a purist when it comes to grilled cheese; I'd prefer it with only one type of cheese. I thought the two cheeses made it a bit greasy, the sourdough bread grilled beautifully and the short rib was tender and flavorful with the onion jam. The marinara was thick from the tomato paste. Again, not my preference, but still all the components make and enjoyable sandwich. My husband liked it just fine. My tastebuds just didn't concur. There was nothing notable about the fries.



The Nutella Roti had me intrigued, nutella, mascarpone, honey and walnuts on roti... what's not to love? The wait, as it turns out. We waited and waited and waited. We would've cancelled had our waitress been around. She conveniently disappeared. We waited and waited some more. It was ridiculous. We asked the other waitress and she said it would be right up. We waited and waited. Finally, the pancake topped with goo was brought to the table. The pancake was incredibly greasy aside from that the flavors were pretty good, but definitely not worth the wait. I could be more forgiving if it were busy, but we were one of three tables. I'd hope they weren't that far in the weeds with seven diners.

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Our patience wore thin; we refused to be held hostage for our bill so my husband went to the counter to take care of it. The eats are pretty darn tasty. I'd return for more bao and I'd love to try the duck rice and potstickers. I certainly hope service will be improved.

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Rollin Smoke Barbeque

June 14, 2013
I found what must be the best pulled pork in Vegas!

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You know you're in the right place when you smell the hickory in the air from the smokers in the parking lot. And prepare to fight for parking during the lunch rush. I went to Rollin Smoke days after returning from Lockhart, TX. I went not expecting to be impressed, but the pulled pork wowed me. It's usually something I prefer to make at home because it's not often I like it out. But this is tender, succulent and well smoked. The brisket was less impressive, I found it dry. I'd try it again when the sweet taste of central Texas wasn't so fresh. I might like it better. The combo I ordered also came with a dry burnt bun and I selected the mac & cheese for a side. It was pretty good, but I do prefer a creamier version.



My brother joined me for lunch, he had the baked potato topped with cheese and brisket. His order came out with pulled pork instead. No worries since it was a winner.



This was my first run in with Arkansas BBQ, they definitely make a great pulled pork. The jury is still out on the rest of menu. Must eat more to decide. The staff is super friendly and they're open late on the weekend.

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American Idiot and Mundo

June 12, 2013
The great thing about theater is either you love it or hate it.

Last night, we returned to the Smith Center to see the adaptation of Green Day's rock opera, American Idiot. When we saw Wicked we sat in the balcony; this time we sat on the floor or orchestra seating. Honestly, I'm not sure which I prefer. In the balcony I had an unobstructed view of the stage, but sitting next to sound & lighting booth allowed us to see the facial expressions, those were lost when seated so far up in balcony. However, the man seated in front of me obstructed my view. I had to bob and weave throughout the show to follow the story.

The gist of the story was easy enough to gather, three young men are disgruntled with their parents and lives in suburbia. So, they set out for the city; and each one follows a different path: wallowing father, soldier and drug addict. However, I never felt a connection to the characters. I don't know if the disconnect was from the one act, the music or what seemed to be the constant gyrating and/or headbanging.

I must be getting old. Sigh. I thought the music was too loud in many of the songs and I found the strobe lights distracting. The cast and live band performs well I just didn't love the show.

I do love that the Smith Center is here. It's definitely something Las Vegas was lacking. It's a wonderful addition to downtown. Before the show, we had dinner at Mundo. This experience was far better than our first. Service was attentive. Frank had Shrimp Diablo and I had Chilean Seabass. Both were delicious - a bit spicy - and well executed. We shared Mexican Risotto but I wasn't a fan, it was too cheesy and creamy. I'm not a fan of cream cheese and that is exactly was this reminded me of, Frank liked it, though. We finished with churros for dessert. They were fine, but nothing notable. I'd probably skip dessert next time, but I'd return for the seabass alone. It was so tender, moist and flavorful.

Camping: Hualapai Mountain Park, AZ

June 10, 2013
Once the mercury begins to rise, it's time to head for the hills mountains. Temperatures are far more pleasant for long days of riding. Later this summer, we'll head up to Utah, but now it's still nice in the Hualapai Mountains. It only a couple hours away outside Kingman so it's ideal for quick weekend getaways.

It might be close to home, but the woods and pine scented fresh air will leave you feeling like you left the desert far behind. Last year, we stayed in a cabin, which was a great option. This time we roughed it and dry camped. We met up with a group of RZRs, nine in all. We stayed for two nights. Rode three days. Having no shower was tough, but manageable.

We rode the Moss Wash to the old to Gold King Mansion which was a great trail! It offers a multitude of challenges and is a really good ride. We also returned to Boriana Mine, which is an easier route, but still good fun. The campsite was real nice with firepit and picnic table. I'd return for a one night stay in a heartbeat, but when staying more nights I prefer the cabins. I really missed the shower after the second day of riding.

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Windy City Beefs N Pizza: More Tasty Eats

June 6, 2013
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It's been six months that I've been eating thin crust pizza from Windy City. It was time to delve into the Deep Dish. I've eaten the sausage ($18.75), and two specialty pizzas ($21.50): WCBNP and the meat lovers. All are great, but the meat lovers is my favorite. The deep dish here isn't overly thick which I love because I like a good crust to sauce to toppings ratio. They get it right. The crust is buttery and delicious; it crisps beautifully so it can support the weight of the toppings (weak crust is another pet peeve). Toppings are fresh and so many combinations are possible. And it reheats well in the oven or toaster oven.



They have 50-cent wings on Tuesdays. I've finally tried those now, too. They are meaty, never greasy, yet super crispy. My preference is the Chicago hot, with no ranch or blue cheese. It has a nice kick and it's loaded with flavor. It's nice to actually taste hot wings.



They've had awesome specials for Blackhawks games, like buy a pizza, get one free. And coming up July 4th. They'll have .99 dogs (at both locations) with a soft drink purchase. Talk about a deal!

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