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Sunday Funday

Las Vegas, Nevada: Our friends have returned to their homes – everyone with a happy smile on their face from the Oregon Ducks winning the Pac-12 title. After the selection this afternoon, we learned Oregon received a 12th-seed in the SOUTH division and will face second-seed Wisconsin in the first round, Friday, 22 March, in San Jose, California.

We did not return to Indio, electing to remain one more night in Sin City. No one wants to drive on I-15 between Las Vegas and Los Angeles on a Sunday. Traffic is horrid. We have sat for hours on previous attempts. Why in the world isn’t there a high-speed train between the two cities? With no where to go and nothing to do, we enjoyed a fun day of – what else? – walking and eating.

Our first meal of the day was lunch at Spago in the Bellagio Hotel. Dave and I split Wolfgang Puck’s über-famous Chinois Chicken Salad, and a small lamb, fennel and sausage pizza, topped with charred rapini, spring onion, ricotta, roasted tomato and oregano. Our table gave us great views to the dancing water fountain “show” in the lake in front of the Bellagion Hotel. Perfect fuel for our afternoon stroll up and down and down and up and all around Las Vegas Boulevard.

Today is St. Patrick’s Day and apparently every single Vegas tourist was Irish. There were more green tee shirts on Las Vegas Boulevard today than at the Duck game yesterday! Also, so many groups, walking together, wearing matching shirts with all sorts of Lucky Leprechaun and beer drinking themes. (Side Note: Mary saw a woman this week in Las Vegas wearing a tee shirt reading: SHUT UP, LIVER. YOU’LL BE FINE.)

Paris Paris Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas

The Bellagio Hotel and Casino – home of the famous dancing fountains.

DT wonders how many times I have posted photos of this water fountain?
Who cares. So pretty.

Returning to our hotel, we made a shopping stop to the grocery department inside the fabulous new EATALY in the MGM Park Hotel. (I planned ahead and put a cooler in the car just in case..)

The EATALY complex is quite extensive, along with imported Italian dry goods, they also sell, prepared foods, cured meats, cheeses and fresh meat. Unlike other branches, this store does not offer fresh fruits and vegetables. The grocery selection is about 10% of the other stores too. This branch is all about eating. They have two sit-down restaurants and about 10 walk-up kiosks where customers can order pizza, breads, sandwiches, wine, beer, cheese plates, gelato, pasta… well, anything Italian you could wish to eat. There are little tables everywhere to sit and enjoy your snack.

Fresh pasta for sale at EATALY in Las Vegas

We went to EATALY in Rome in 2013

I wanted to purchase a few jars of sauces, pastas, sweets and kitchen implements. Groceries were sold on either side of this adorable little car, and everything I was looking for was located… after going up and down every aisle. Plenty of joy was sparked. Such fun!

After a rest, we walked to the Aria Hotel for dinner at Michael Mina’s Bardot Brasserie (named after Brigitte Bardot). Dave and I really enjoyed our other visits, and though ridiculously expensive, the dinner would be a perfect adieu to our victorious five nights in Las Vegas. The interior is jaw-dropping gorgeous, with an immense urn filled with hundreds of roses (pink and white today).

I make a roasted beet and goat cheese salad at least once a month. It never looks like this.

Dave ordered a Crab Caesar. How unique – endive leaves filled with crab. Unfortunately, it was enough food for a family of four.

We also had entrees – steak and salmon – but shared the best dish on the menu: a little side of macaroni and cheese.

Mina cooks bucatini pasta (straw-shaped noodles), coats them in a decadent cheese sauce, then places each noodle length-wise individually into a long loaf pan. The pasta is chilled overnight, turned-out, sliced into one-inch pieces, placed under a broiler and served. Who thinks of this? Not only is it delicious – it is so unique, pretty and fun to eat. (NOTE: I made this for Leo and Lucy once with tube-shaped pasta, standing each cheesy noodle vertical individually in a small round pan. Took forever, but they loved my effort. The finished dish really resembles honeycomb.)

A great trip to Las Vegas, with wonderful friends, wonderful food, and a wonderful basketball victory!

Until my next update, I remain, your “I see a vegan week in our future” correspondent.