Viva Las Vegas: Part 1


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According to Trip Advisor there are over 4000 restaurants to choose from in Las Vegas. I was recently in Vegas for a short 3-day trip to escape this year’s extra harsh Ottawa winter. When I booked my trip, the first question I asked myself was “Where are we going to eat?” We planned to stay at Encore at the Wynn so I started there. The Encore Wynn has 18 places to choose from alone. Next, I looked up all of the celebrity restaurants on the strip and turned up another few dozen names including Wolfgang Puck, Gordon Ramsay, Michael Mina, and Giada de laurentiis to name a few. Not surprising, many of these restaurants are booked up many months in advance. However, we were lucky enough to get a reservation at Giada at the Cromwell during my stay. Our package came with daily breakfast at the famed Wynn Buffet. This buffet is probably one of the most beautiful buffets around. Upon entering, you are surrounded by tons of fresh blooming flowers, plants, and trees. The space is also bright with lots of natural light, thanks to the glass ceiling. The space is broken up into many smaller dining rooms and the buffet itself is HUGE! There are 15 live-action cooking stations with food from around the world. During breakfast you could have any type of eggs (including an omelette station), bacon, sausage, waffles, fruit cups, Chinese congee and the list goes on and on! And, if that wasn’t enough, they have a dessert “room”. The dessert area is in the middle of the entire space and even at 8am was set up with dozens of tempting desserts to choose from such as: mini cheesecakes, danishes, muffins, cupcakes, chocolate cake, chocolate covered Rice Krispy pops, and even gelato. The great thing about this buffet was there it was never a crowd. Each station is well separated and we never really waited in line for anything.

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Chinese Congee with 1000 year old egg, green onions, and coriander

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Top left: Mango Tapioca and mint chocolate cupcake. Bottom left: Green tea cake and coconut cake

For lunch, we decided to try one of the hotel’s other restaurants, the Society Café. They call this place a café but don’t let the name fool you. The décor was fun with hues of pink on the banquette seating, lime green accents on fixtures and napkins, and black and white accents including large floor to ceiling drapes. We were seated at a large table overlooking the casino floor (great for people watching) and the waiter quickly took our drink order and also dropped off “my” pretzel sticks. These things are amazing! They are warm pretzel sticks with a side of grainy mustard. A nice touch and a welcome change from the usual bread and butter. We decided on the following: Society Chopped Salad (grilled chicken, avocado, jicama, carrots, Havarti cheese, radish, fennel, edamame, pumpkin seeds, dried corn, and champagne vinaigrette) - Not pictured

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Meat and Cheese Board - fra'mani salami, creminelli truffle salami, parma prosciutto, SeaHive cheddar, Crow's Dairy black pepper feta, Truffle Tremor goat cheese, grilled ciabatta, olives & pickles

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Calamari

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Steakhouse Sliders (filet medallions, peppercorn steak sauce, caramelized onions & mushrooms, blue cheese, white roll, Society fries)

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The presentation of each dish was really special; you could tell they prided themselves on not only the food but also on the art of presentation. The meat and cheese board was wonderful. It came with a great mix of things to nibble on. My favourite was the truffle tremor goat cheese and a mix of olives and pickles. The steakhouse sliders were perfectly cooked to medium-rare and were great for sharing. The society fries were perfectly crispy thick-cut potatoes.  The salad was light and fresh, tossed with a tangy champagne vinaigrette, but also very filling. We finished it all off with doughnut bites, served with chocolate and caramel dipping sauces and the Oreo cheesecake. The doughnut bites are made fresh to order and come piping hot in a white paper bag. The cheesecake was very good, but we’d reached our max intake and we weren’t able to finish it.

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In Part 2, I’ll share our experience at the two celebrity chef restaurants: China Poblano and Giada.