City by the Bay

January 31, 2013
Back in November, we took a trip to San Francisco. Frank and I love visiting our other home away from home. We try to get their each year shortly after crab season begins. This time, we brought my mom along. It was her first visit to the bay area. It was neat to experience the city through her eyes. She tried many foods she had never had before. Though, I couldn't get her to try dungeness crab no matter how hard I tried. She caught her first glimpse of sea lions and attended a her first NFL football game: Bears vs. 49ers.

We flew in and out of Oakland this trip, I've gotta say it was even more convenient than SFO. Cheaper too! We took the Bart to the Embarcadero, walked over to the Ferry Building bought all sorts of goodies and our Muni passes and then hopped on a street car to get us to our hotel. We stayed at the Sheraton in the Wharf. I snagged a great deal on Hotwire. For our first meal, we stuffed ourselves silly on treats from Boccalone, Acme breads and Cowgirl Creamery. It's become tradition.

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Before the game, we stopped in to see Young (our Korean Grandmother) at Petite Deli for our second meal. She welcomed us with open arms. My mom got to taste her delicious sandwiches (made with love) that she's heard so much about. Then, we were off to Candlestick Park. Getting there early removes all the hassle.

When we still had hope...

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We couldn't believe the difference compared to our last game there - so smooth! I won't speak much about the game. It was an embarrassment for Bears' fans. We got clobbered! It really stung at the time, but seeing that the 49ers made it to the superbowl; it softens the blow. We ended up leaving early so we could get a crab fix at the Crabhouse on Pier 39. This also helped us avoid sheer madness when it came to taking the bus back to the wharf. Frank and I filled up on crabby goodness while mom enjoyed shrimp.

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The next day, we got an early start and rented a car from Budget nearby. My mom has some issues getting around so it seemed like a good time to see some surrounding sights via car. The rental was a breeze, I'd recommend Budget and will use them again in the future. We began our adventure with Lombard Street and then we drove to the Tenderloin for Banh Mi at Saigon Sandwich.

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I took the sandwiches to go and we picnicked on the otherside of the Golden Gate bridge. It was chilly and the winds were super gusty we ended up back in the car pretty quickly.

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We took time to explore the Marin Headlands before riding out to Muir Woods (it was so foggy on the way). My mom's back was acting up so she didn't join us while we hiked Muir Woods, but Frank and I loved it.

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Lastly, we went around Sausalito and by the Sutro Baths and Alamo square before returning to Petite Deli for another bite, then we returned the rental - that's the only complaint: we had to have the car back by 4:30 for the same day rental.

The rest of the night and following day are a bit of blur now. We tried to get in as much as we could before Frank flew home. We went to the Castro and up Twin Peaks. We ate duck at R & G Lounge, made another stop to see Young, another visit to the Crabhouse and to Penang Garden for more crab. We quenched our thirst with beers at Kennedy's Irish Pub, Beer 39, and Irish Coffee at Buena Vista.

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Frank returned home, my mom and I stayed two more nights so I could show her the rest of the sights. Only trouble was that I came down with the sickness. I was miserable. I was burning up with a fever by the time we headed home. I was a trooper, though, I didn't let it slow us down. On Thanksgiving, we mainly hung in the Wharf. We had breakfast at Hollywood Cafe. Then, soaked in the beauty from the Bay. Took a bay cruise ($15pp) and then watched the sea lions play until sundown. Instead of the traditional turkey dinner we ate at the Crabhouse again. Mom had the filet and I enjoyed one last crab feast.

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Then, on our last day we had brunch at Boudin's Bakery, a late lunch at R & G Lounge, rode the cable cars end to end and saw the last few sights before heading home.

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My mom had a great time. We gave her a pretty good tour and squeezed it all into 5 days. It took Frank and I about 5 trips to discover all that she experienced. I am happy I could show her around a city that I adore and the opportunity to create those memories.

Settebello

January 30, 2013
Sunday, I was out and about running errands. I was starved and only one thing sounded good... Pizza! Not just any pizza, I wanted a Margherita pizza like those I enjoyed in Italy. Settebello has long been on my list of places to try. It was finally time to give it a whirl. When visiting the District, I go west on autopilot. Well, I had to turn around because Settebello is on the east side of Green Valley Parkway. I parked and popped in for lunch.

Settebello's Margherita DOC

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Manfredi’s Margherita DOC ~ Naples, Italy



I was quickly seated and I knew just what I wanted, The Margherita DOC ($13) with Crushed Tomatoes, Fresh Buffalo Mozzarella, Basil, Parmigiano Reggiano, and Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Settebello serves up Pizza Napoletana and it is authentic. This style of pizza is cooked quickly and typically eaten with a fork and knife, but they will cut it into slices upon request. Settebello's Margherita DOC is pretty darn similar to what I had in Naples. They import ingredients and the quality is noted. However, it's worth mentioning Naples wasn't my favorite pizza in Italy, it's a bit wet for my liking, but still enjoyable when in the mood. My craving was satisfied and the best part? I only had to travel to Green Valley to get it.

The Original Settebello Pizzeria Napoletana on Urbanspoon

Pan Asian

January 28, 2013
It's time I tell you about my latest addiction... Drunken noodles. I've only eaten them at one place. You might say we're in a committed relationship. It is Pan Asian that has the goods. David Wong and his wife Lisa, relocated to Las Vegas from Florida. Lucky for us, they brought their delicious recipes with them. They serve up Thai, Malaysian, Chinese and Vietnamese eats in their small restaurant on Durango (near Desert Inn).

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On our first visit we started with Vietnamese Ravioli ($7.95). These tasty wontons are stuffed with chicken, mushrooms and other delicious flavors. We gobbled them up in a hurry.



Next up, Frank had the Sweet and Sour chicken ($8.95). This was a good version, we liked that the chicken was stir-fried rather than breaded and fried. But the real star was my Drunken Noodles and so the love affair began. Tender flat noodles are taken out and they down a few too many drinks... ok, maybe not, but they are dressed with a perfect blend of sweet basil, garlic, chili, tomatoes and green beans. I like spicy, so the first time I asked for an eight. Mr. Wong himself said, "No! Too hot!" I settled on a six. It was scorching - in a good way, but I've since learned to enjoy a three, or four if I'm feeling really crazy.



Dine in or carry out you'll be love drunk over those noodles. If not, that just means more for me.

Pan Asian on Urbanspoon

DW Bistro

January 24, 2013
Finally! I ate at DW Bistro. It's only taken every second of FAR-TOO-LONG. And what a gem it is! I dined with a friend after a day of hiking. We received a warm welcome and were seated right away. I was impressed by the space. It is cozy and cheerful.

We snacked on dinner rolls to begin, they offer a few choices from a bread basket. That beer bread is awesome! Next, I had the oven roasted jerk pork shoulder ($16). It was hearty and flavorful. Really comforting on this chilly day. My friend enjoyed her turkey burger ($14), the chutney makes it extra special. We also indulged in a side of truffle mac n cheese ($8) and cornbread ($5). Oh, so yummy! Portions are good sized we had plenty of leftovers. My pork shoulder bowl was enough eats for four meals. Yes, four. It reheated beautifully too.

I can't wait to return with Frank. Next visit, I'll be sure to take some snapshots of the delicious eats.

DW Bistro on Urbanspoon

Honey Salt

January 22, 2013
Back in October, Honey Salt was added to my must try list. It is farm to table inspired courtesy of Elizabeth Blau and her husband Kim Canteenwalla. Elizabeth is well regarded for her ability to lure culinary talent to the desert. She began enticing talented chefs to Bellagio, then to MGM properties and Wynn/Encore. Kim was most recently the chef at Society (Encore), where he had a long and successful run. Honey Salt is an extension of the couple's home. Delivering tried and true recipes to hungry diners. The restaurant is shabby chic, it fits nicely into the trendiness of Summerlin.

I tried to book a table on Saturday, but reservations filled within 45 minutes. Instead, we made reservations for 6:30 last night. It was so busy you'd never guess it was a Monday night, it bustled like a Saturday. And it never slowed.

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We were started with bread and in place of butter was white bean puree with pink peppercorn. Awesome! I had to ask what it was because I just couldn't place it. I'm not often fond of the texture of beans, but this was luxurious. The pink peppercorn added a bit of fruitiness and subtle heat. I couldn't get enough. Our server must have noticed my enthusiasm, he offered to bring more. Yes! Please!



We shared a Caesar salad ($9). It was crisp, lightly dressed and delicious. Frank had the filet ($32) with potato bacon hash and I had scallops ($28) served on a bed of cauliflower puree and drizzled with truffle sauce, and we shared sides of kale and anaheim pepper mac & cheese ($7) and brussel sprouts ($7).







Outstanding! Everything is so fresh and rather simple... the ingredients just shine. We pressed our luck and tried the apple pie ($9) for dessert. That, too, was scrumptious.



Extreme deliciousness all around. Our bellies were full, our tastebuds were pleased and dinner came in under $100 so it didn't break the bank either. Honey Salt was so refreshing. Watch out Summerlin; this sets the bar.

Honey Salt on Urbanspoon

Streets of New York

January 21, 2013
I'm always excited to try new places, especially those close to home. Frank and I were headed elsewhere, but popped into Streets of New York (Ft Apache) when we noticed they were open. The space is nicely decorated, it offers a warm and welcoming atmosphere, with a large dining room and bar with a few taps. The sign suggested seating yourself so we grabbed a table in the center of the dining room.

We sat a little too long before someone came over. Our drink order was taken but we weren't certain what we wanted, a menu would be nice. He realized and brought two over. We had questions about slices that he couldn't answer. He walked off and I thought he was going to ask, but ended up on another task. Our waitress came over. Fortunately, she was able to help. Slices are pre-baked as cheese pizza and they add whatever toppings you like.

She further explained they've been open two weeks in this location and the original location is up north. We mentioned this was our first visit and we'd like to know what's best to order. She suggested the slices, chicken parm, eggplant rollatini and a couple subs. I went with two slices: sausage and pepperoni. Frank chose the eggplant with penne.

Breadsticks were brought over with marinara sauce. The sauce was more of a paste which I don't care for, but Frank didn't mind it. The breadsticks were ok. Rosati's does these too and theirs are warmer, crisper and more chewy. They were too similar not to compare them.

While we waited we noticed the restaurant had a lot of bodies, but few customers (us and another table) and waits were longer than expected. I've never seen so many people moving about but achieving very little. Our waitress and the other checked on us periodically so service wasn't bad it just was up to par.

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Finally our food was served. The pizza didn't look particularly appetizing, but I dug in. The sausage was terrible. I took two bites to confirm. It tasted like frozen pizza. Frank wouldn't even eat it and he eats most everything. He thought it tasted like microwavable pizza. The pepperoni was a bit better when loaded with chili flake. It was cooked more evenly too.



The pasta and eggplant rollatini were a bit better, but the eggplant wasn't heated all the way through. It was still cold in the center. We waited way too long and paid too much for what seemed to be microwaved eats. The bill was $23, usually I'd consider that pretty affordable, but in this case? It was too much.

They have a lot of work to do. There are several solid pizza joints nearby, they will have to seriously step up their game to even begin to compete.

South Point Staycation

January 17, 2013
Beginning Christmas Eve, we stayed at the South Point for two nights. My mom and Blaine, and my brother each had rooms too for one night. This is our second stay, and I really like the property. It's one of my favorite local's casinos. I only wish it were closer to home.

We checked in and had dinner at Steak N Shake. It's been over a decade since I've had one of their burgers. Back in Chicago, it was a routine stop for lunch. I chose a jalapeno melt, but was left wishing I went with Frank's choice, the portobello and swiss burger. My melt was odd, not terribly cheesy, the jalapenos came diced on the side. The bread overpowered the rest of melt. His burger was juicy and cheesy, just as it should be. I enjoyed their thin and crispy fries and Frank thought their shake was very good too. The tab was less than twenty bucks, not bad, for a sit down meal.

Frank played poker and I played Keno. Then, we moved onto slots. He hit a nice penny jackpot and I was losing so we went to the bar to enjoy $2 drinks. The family met us there. We chatted while sipping cheap drinks for a couple hours. Hunger struck about one o'clock. Frank and I went to the Coronado Cafe for graveyard specials and the family hit the casino to try their luck.

The restaurant was slammed but the staff handled it well. Our server was a champ too. We were quite impressed. I had steak and eggs ($3.95), Frank had hamsteak and eggs ($2.95). No fuss, just cheap and quick. I missed graveyard specials. We used to take advantage of them every week our first couple year's of living here.

The accomodations are quite comfortable. The only exception was the bed pillows. They only provided two and both were hard hard. I wish it had been a more peaceful night of sleep.

Christmas day we lounged around until our two o'clock reservation at Don Vito's. We dined there before, and they had Christmas menu that sounded most appealing. Their garlic dipping oil and warm bread is so delicious. I had forgotten just how good it was. We were all careful not to stuff ourselves silly. We had salad or soup to start the standout was Frank's caprese ($10). Beautiful and tasty!

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The crab stuffed halibut ($30) was offered on the Christmas menu. It was good, but not terribly special. I've had far better fish elsewhere.



The rest of the entrees varied, filet mignon ($30), veal parm ($28), sea bass ($30) and gnocchi ($17) were all enjoyed. The gnocchi was the crowd pleaser.

Thanks to the coupon booklet given at check-in we were able to all indulge in complimentary dessert. A canoli, tiramisu and cheesecake were had. All were scrumptious.

We also had a bottle of wine and the total damage for five was $210. It was a pleasant surprise, Merry Christmas to us.

The family checked out, and later that evening Frank and I returned to the South Point. We saw Les Misérables at the theater. Snacked on free popcorn. The coupons come in handy. Then, grabbed a bite at Steak N Shake. This time we went to the takeout window. It is definitely the way to go if you don't have time to wait. This time we went with the original burgers, no shake, only fries. I think dinner was about $12.

We turned in for our final night. Morning came, and it was back to the grind. At least, the commute to work was nice and painless.

Steak n Shake on Urbanspoon Don Vito's (South Point) on Urbanspoon

Photo a Day: Week 52

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December 23, 2012 ~ This what the Bears look like when they are winning.



December 24, 2012 ~ A Christmas rainbow.



December 25, 2012 ~ Caprese for Christmas. Photo actually taken by Frank.



December 26, 2012 ~ I don't get cars dressed as Rudolph.

Fremont Street, Las Vegas

December 27, 2012 ~ Oops! No photo, but who doesn't love downtown?



December 28, 2012 ~ Oops! No photo. Let's look into the future... how we spent New Years's Eve.



December 29, 2012 ~ Offroading in Logandale.



December 30, 2012 ~ Cigs and snacks together. I think that's a first.



December 31, 2012 ~ Well, technically it is 2013. 2012's after glow.

THE END.

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