Monday, March 19, 2012

Food !

Good but Expensive
It would have cost $15.00 a day to have a refrigerator in our room for the two weeks. We could have ordered one from Sears for what we would have spent. We spoke to someone staying in another hotel that included a fridge. It was full of those little drinks and snacks, but he wanted to put his own food in it, so he took things out to make room – didn't use them, just took them out to make room. He was charged for every item he removed. So, if you come to Las Vegas, you are probably going to be sampling some of the many eateries in the city.

A delicious Hot Dog
There are an amazing number of restaurants in Las Vegas. In general, there are two bits of useful information I can give you about them. The food is excellent. The prices are high.

We really have been pleasantly surprised at the quality of the food. We really have not had a meal that we could complain about. From hot dogs at a fast food place (Nathan's), to authentic Brazilian beef barbecue, at Pampas, the food has always been among the best we have had. We were taken to a Barbecue restaurant while in Santos Brazil, where the beef is seasoned with nothing but course salt and brought to your table on a spit and chunks carved right at your table so we knew what to expect, and the beef at Pampas, was almost as good as the original.

I have been trying, during all my travels to sample calamari from every place I go, looking for a sample that can match the calamari I can get at our local tavern The Mic Mac. I tried two samples here in Las Vegas, and although the Mic Mac still has the best calamari, the Las Vegas varieties were almost as good; cooked properly, and spiced just right.

Even the Buffets were good
Even the little places are good. We went out for lunch one day to a little bar and grill in the Luxor resort called the T & T . This was just a small bar in the main lobby area of the Luxor Casino, but the chicken wing appetizer I ordered was, I believe among the best wings I have ever had; big, meaty, and spicy enough to make them interesting without hurting.

Even the chain restaurants seem to put a bit of extra effort to stay ahead of the competition. I have always wanted to try one of B. B. King's Barbecue restaurants, and we found one in the Mirage Hotel & Casino. We went to listen to a Blues group that was going to be playing, but the NCAA basketball tournament seemed to be more important to most patrons, so we had to wait for the game to finish, but the wait was worth it, and the ribs I had were almost as good as my own, and the music was very entertaining. Regis reports that her chicken burger was also excellent.
There are so many restaurants it is hard to choose. We often based our choices on discounts and coupons we had, but sometimes we found places just by wandering around. One day while looking for tickets to a show, we found that the restaurant we were aiming for was VERY busy, but next door was a very interesting Italian place where we found that I actually had a choice of two pizzas I could eat (Not an easy thing when you are lactose intolerant). This restaurant, Lombardi"s Romagna Mia had friendly staff, and the pizza was excellent.

Great Place downtown at Freemont St. 
Although there are plenty of places to eat right on the strip, there are also some excellent places requiring a bit of a walk away from the neon world of the casinos and resorts. One example is the Alexis Gardens Restaurant in the Alexis Park Hotel. This is a small resort hotel a couple of blocks off the strip that we had an Entertainment Book coupon for. It was definitely worth the walk, the food was excellent, and the atmosphere was wonderful. It was nice to be away from the crowds and lights of the big casinos and enjoy a nice quiet meal. I had a Blackened Texas Redfish that was amazing.

Now you do have to check the reviews of the restaurants, and my famous “Trip Planner” is great for this. She really wanted to try one of Emeril Lagasee's restaurants. We dropped into his Stadium Sports Bar for lunch one day and enjoyed it, so we made reservations at his Seafood Restaurant next door in the MGM Grand. When we read the reviews however we had second thoughts, There was not one good review. Everyone agreed that the service was good, but the food just was not up to standards. Then when we met a gentleman who actually worked at MGM and agreed that we should go elsewhere, we decide to cancel that meal.

$9.00 Beer at a Bar?
So the good news is that you will probably enjoy any meal you have in Las Vegas. We found that everything was delicious, and the service was always friendly and helpful. The bad news is that if you eat on the strip it is going to be expensive. Main courses can be as high as $60 to $70 at most “good” restaurants in the casinos on the strip. Oh, BTW, you may have to pay extra for sides. Even when you find a place with decent prices on the food, don't be surprised by the price of the things you don't think about. Often the juice or coffee to go with your bargain breakfast will cost a couple of dollars more than you are used to. Don't expect to get a beer for under $7.00 at most casino bars or eateries unless you have a “Big Spender” card. I paid as much as $9.00 for a beer at one place. Don't expect to always see the prices either. If the beer prices are not on the menu, ask, or you may be surprised when the bill comes. Many restaurants and bars have “Happy Hours”, where prices on food and drinks are much better, but a beer will still usually cost you $5.00.

So when in Las Vegas, expect to eat very well. You can get anything you want, and it will probably be very good, but if you eat on the strip, expect to take a hit on the credit card.

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