March 31, 2014

Atomic Liquors

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Old, but new. Divey, but clean. Go there. That is all.

March 27, 2014

Taco y Taco Expands

Frank and I began stalking the newest location of Taco y Taco when I got word that they were taking over the Republic Kitchen & Bar (215/Eastern). We love the original location, we fight traffic almost once a week for their delicious al pastor, guacamole, chips and salsa. The newest location is only minutes from our home... which might be dangerous, but we're thrilled to welcome Taco y Taco to the neighborhood.

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Opening day happened to be my birthday, happy birthday to me, I knew where we'd be celebrating! We got our usual order (tacos for me, burrito for Frank) and a couple modelos. They'll soon have a large draft selection available too. I was a little concerned it wouldn't be as tasty as the original location, but I had no need to worry. Everything was delicious!!

The new space is modern, large and clean. They can accommodate large groups and big crowds. I do wonder if ordering will get congested during peak times, like how the original location bottle necks, but this one is more open so it might be ok. Whatever the case, it's worth the wait.

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March 26, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Shooting 30-06

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Click above photo for video of Mike destroying 2-liter

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March 20, 2014

Spring is here!

Every year I look forward to spring! It means I survived another winter. Even after ten years in the desert, I still hate winter. Spring, though, is fantastic. Weather in Vegas is perfect. Trees bud, flowers bloom, it's such a pretty time of year. It's like a fresh start. I can use one. Life has it's share of ups and downs, but the last few months have been challenging.

I've been trying to post regularly, sometimes I fall short. Ever since my car accident in December, I've suffered neck and shoulder pain. Sitting in front of the computer can be very uncomfortable so I've been limiting my time online. I've been avoiding everything that seems to leave me more achy than usual. I find myself lying in bed most of the time. I've tried physical therapy, but it was little help. My insurance sucks now limits my visits to 25 per year. So, I've stopped going. I continue to do exercises at home. I recently had an MRI since I've had little improvement since my accident (relief seems to only come from muscle relaxers) and it showed some damage to C5/C6, thankfully there is no compression from herniated or bulging discs. Which is what I expected, if I had a bulging or herniated disc I would experience high levels of pain and it would be constant. Instead, I start most days ok and worsen as the day goes on. The MRI revealed soft tissue damage and severe inflammation. The x-ray taken the day after the accident showed the same inflammation. Normal necks have a C curve, I've lost this, mine is nearly as straight as an arrow. My doctor suggested continuing physical therapy, medicate with muscle relaxers and ibuprofen, limit activities that aggrevate it and have patience. It can take a year for soft tissue to heal.

Seven months to go... yippee! I'm beyond frustrated. I started exercising in February, but the pain was more than I wanted to bear so I stopped. After the MRI, I started again, I started with just completing a mile on the treadmill. Each day, I add a little more rather than going all gun-ho. It seems to be going ok, definitely a lot better than last month. But I still have bad days. It's not even clear what makes it a good day or bad day. I haven't found real rhyme or reason. I'm determined to press on and make it over this hurdle.

I don't think I ever mentioned that I bought a new car before the new year, it's a 2013 Hyundai Elantra. It is a great little car for the price. It has cloth seats that are heated. I don't like leather in the desert, but I do love me some heated seats so that sold me. I've had it almost three months and I have no complaints. I miss having no payment, but I don't miss my Impala. Even Frank is comfortable in the Elantra, we took it to San Diego and we both enjoyed the ride.

In addition to the warm perfect weather, I'm looking forward to the fun and adventures that lie ahead. Ecuador is around the corner, it's crazy how quickly that trip has sprung up. I've also booked trips in May to San Francisco for my brother-in-law's wedding and to Chicago for my sister's baby shower. Amy just found out that the baby is a girl. Her and Jeff are ectastic. Nicky really wanted a brother, but I'm certain he'll love having a little sister. I know he'll be such a great brother. I'm thrilled that I'll have a niece and nephew.

March 19, 2014

Restaurant Week: Andre's

I've had several meals at Andre's over the years, most recently was last week for Restaurant Week, and I've noticed a pattern... As of late, whenever we order from the menu, dishes are fantastic. However, when it's part of some sort of special the meal falls flat. Our dinner Friday night was no exception. Our friends joined us, so we had a table for four in the center of the room. Though, I prefer the cozy booths for two. Anyhow, the Restaurant Week menu offered a choice of nicoise salad or chilled tomato soup, chicken in crepes or short ribs and dessert was lemon cake with lemon sorbet.

The gougères that accompanied the soup were enjoyable, but the soup itself was a bit salty and I expected more of a concentrated tomato flavor. The short ribs were tender and lean, but were also overseasoned with salt. The chicken stuffed crepes were deemed the better dish. Dessert was heavy on the lemon, but otherwise unmemorable.

Frank, on the otherhand, opted out of the Restaurant Week menu and ordered carpaccio and lamb chops from the regular menu. Both were executed beautifully and were very tasty. He made the right choice.

I was saddened that our sole spring restaurant week meal was pretty pedestrian. It's disappointing because I know the caliber of food that Andre's is capable of putting out. We found the same, last year, when we took advantage of a travelzoo special $99 dinner for two. It's a shame because the special offers should serve as an opoortunity to lure you back; it's unfortunate that they are missing the mark.

March 13, 2014

Shooting, Riding, and Baseball - It Must Be Spring!

Last weekend, we went to Phoenix for our annual Spring Training trip. The weather was beautiful, we shot guns, and rode to Crown King, AZ. If only the White Sox won it would've been the perfect weekend. Even so, it was a great time!

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March 11, 2014

Park on Fremont

Right outside the Fremont Street canopy is Park on Fremont, a gastropub that opened last spring. It is hard to miss with its white picket fence. Once inside it feels like you've tumbled down the rabbit hole. Every inch of the place is dotted with quirky items, it's fun to let your eyes wander and see what they discover. I giggled at the stuffed birds, drooled over the taps on the mantle behind the bar and admired the chevron patterned floors while we waited to be seated. We chose to sit outside in the back outdoor garden.

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It was a weeknight so it was pretty quiet. Our waitress was attentive, though, it seemed she might have been new. She was unfamiliar with several of the draft beers. My Kellerwies made its way to me so no harm done. Drinks are served in mason jars. The selection is wide and varied. We got started with Mac & Cheese Balls ($7).

The description hinted at bacon in the Mac & Cheese, however, there was no evidence of smokey, salty bacon. The balls were rolled in panko and fried crisp. They lacked any pizzazz. The garbage fries were recommended by our server we probably should have tried those.

Sandwiches run $10-$12, we had the Cajun Chicken, BBQ Burger and Philly Mac & Cheese. All were edible, but none really shined. The sweet potato tater tots are good, but the sweetness becomes cloying after a few. It's best to check out Park on Fremont for drinks and maybe a snack. If you're looking for meal, there are better choices to be had.

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March 5, 2014

The Blind Pig

One of the latest restaurants to open is The Blind Pig inside Panorama Towers. You can spot the restaurant from the I-15 it is accessed on Dean Martin Drive ample parking is available out front. Inside, you're met with a deli to your right and lounge to the left. My brother and I came in to dine for lunch. You order at the counter, you're given a number and your food is brought to you over in the lounge. The Deli seemed promising, it reminded me of a petite version of those I love in San Diego and San Francisco. You feel like you're transported into a speakeasy when you step over to the lounge. There is a large bar, oversized booths and table seating.

The menu offers a variety of appetizers, salads, sandwiches, pizzas and entrees that include pasta, poultry or seafood. They also serve breakfast, though, I'm not sure when its available. My brother chose the Pastrami Rueben ($9.50) with coleslaw and I had the BP Porchetta sandwich with potato salad ($13.50). After a short wait, our lunch was served.

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The Rueben was decent. The pastrami is sliced thin and possibly tossed on the griddle since there were crisp edges. The bread was dry, but the Russian dressing was quite good. Better than most Thousand Island dressings. The coleslaw went uneaten, it was too sweet for both of our tastes.

The Porchetta sandwich sounded great in theory, but the execution was poor. The greens were limp and slimey. The nuggets of pork belly and pork loin tumbled out from the bread with every bite. The pork loin was tender and had great flavor. I wish it were thinly sliced instead and piled high; it would make for a tasty sandwich. I enjoy pork belly when the fat is properly rendered. It was unfortunate that more than half of the nuggets were tough and filled with flubber. I found those pieces inedible. As a general rule, I do not like potato salad. Majority contain mayo and mustard; my least favorite condiments, this was no exception. I'd prefer alternate options to potato salad and cole slaw since both contain mayonnaise. My sandwich and iced tea was $18. I left hungry. Needless to say, I won't be rushing back to The Blind Pig, but I may return to try other menu items because the location makes it a very convenient lunch option.

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March 3, 2014

A Neighborhood Gem

I've written before about DW Bistro, and it remains one of the better neighborhood gems around. I've been a few times now. I've taken Frank and most recently my brother. One of these days I'll have to try their brunch. In the meantime, let me share some photos since I didn't include any with my initial review.

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Oven roasted Jerk Pork Shoulder Bowl ($16)

Duck breast entree special ($24)

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Truffle Mac & Cheese (8)

Chile Cheeseburger ($14)

Jerk Lamb Chops ($26)

Jerk Calamari ($10)

As you can see, DW Bistro delivers some beautiful dishes. They're tasty too. The Lamb, Pork Shoulder and Mac & Cheese are outstanding. It's a particularly great choice for a date night or an evening out with the girls. Or any excuse will do.