One of my favorite parts of going to Vegas is the FOOD. I love to try new restaurants. Eating your way through Vegas can be tough, because good food costs money, so here are some tips:
1. Look at the menus online before you go. Sometimes there will be an unadvertised special (like a prix fixe menu) that the restaurant will not offer when you go there. You will need to ask for it.
2. Restaurant.com has A TON of gift certificates available, most of them for places in Mandalay Bay and Mandalay Place. They are not super expensive places to eat anyway, so with the gift certificate, it's even better.
3. When you book your hotel, see if you can find a special that gives you a resort credit. That way, you can eat somewhere on your hotel's property, charge it to your room, and then have it wiped away at the end of your stay. (If you go over the amount, they tend to just wipe away all of the charges, especially if you gamble a little there.)
4. If you play mvVegas on Facebook, you can earn all sorts of comps. They're really easy to redeem - just save the confirmation code, visit the MLife booth at the casino, and voila, free stuff!
5. Use Open Table. They have an app for both android and iPhone, and that way you can secure a place to eat at your restaurant of choice - and no waits!
And now, time for my eating adventures in Vegas!
Due to flight delays and other logistical nightmares, we didn't have any time to eat, or really do anything, once we got to Vegas. But MGM Grand did upgrade us for free to a spa suite, and it was one of the nicest rooms I have ever stayed in. Since they have undergone the rehab, MGM rooms are so nice, and I cannot recommend that resort enough. I don't really want to stay anywhere else from now on.
|@OrtonPants liked the view|
We planned on spending the day at the pool, so we had a quick bite to eat at Hussong's Cantina in Mandalay Place. This is a place we normally hit every time we come to Vegas, because they have terrific steak tacos al pastor. Normally, I get a margarita, but I was feeling like an ice cold beer would hit the spot after the walk from MGM Grand.
After a long day at the pool, we stopped at Pub 1842, Michael Mina's new pub in MGM Grand. Terrific beer list, most of the drafts of the craft variety. I was drinking Deschutes' Mirror Pond Pale Ale, one of my go-to beers. We also had some of the best nachos I have EVER had.
|Nachos with pork chili... SO GOOD|
|Best sign ever|
Neither one of us was too hungry after our big snack, so we stopped later at the Secret Pizza Place at the Cosmopolitan for big slices of pizza and cold Blue Moon in red solo cups. Conclusion? I was not drunk enough for that pizza to taste good.
After our run around the UNLV campus, we were both craving red meat. So we headed to La Burger Brasserie in Paris. This little gem is something that we discovered back in December. Delicious gourmet burgers, fries, and AWESOME shakes.
Tip: Total Rewards (aka players club) members get cheaper pricing, so if you aren't already a member, join before you go.
We took a trip to Ellis Island Casino and Brewery, which is a couple of blocks off the strip. Think dive bar in casino form. Yeah. It rocks. They have an unadvertised steak special for players club members, so OBVIOUSLY we took advantage of that. You got a salad, bread, baseball-cut sirloin steak, mashed potatoes, green beans, and a 20 oz beer. For $8.99.
I know what you're thinking, an $8.99 steak dinner probably tastes like garbage. Nope. I went to some legit steakhouses while on vacation, and this was by far the best steak I had. Cooked perfectly, seared on the outside, and JUICY. Omg. I want another one right now.
We ate at Wolfgang Puck Bar and Grill in MGM Grand. I've always wanted to go here, and was glad I did. The bf and I both enjoyed great sandwiches and cold craft beer on draft. The best part of the meal? Dessert. We had molten chocolate beignets with caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream. To die for.
We had left MGM Grand for the Mirage, but then headed back to the other end of the strip to Five 50 in Aria for Happy Hour. The bf had read on the internet about their happy hour - 50 cent 312 drafts from 5pm-5:50pm. Well, okay.
|Yay 50 cent drafts!|
After happy hour, we went to Julian Serrano for dinner. Our first visit to a tapas place, we had read online about a three-course menu for $39. We had to ask the waiter to even see it, and once we ordered it, he could not have been more rude to us. Our meal was good, but not properly spaced out, and our entree was cold. I would have loved to tell the waiter this, but he disappeared after that. Needless to say, he did not get a generous tip.
A highlight? The blood orange sorbet that came with the molten chocolate cake was absolutely to die-for.
Another early dinner reservation meant a small (hah) lunch at Carnegie Deli in the Mirage. We split a sandwich, and it was really good. Note - they do charge you an extra $3 to share plates. Which is so dumb, in my opinion, because the portions are humongous and the sandwiches are not cheap. But whatever. I was on vacation. And then I charged it to my room.
|I present to you... the Woody Allen!|
Thanks to myVegas, the bf had earned a $50 dining credit to be used at Monte Carlo. We found another set menu at Brand Steakhouse, so we hit that after another happy hour at Five 50. The bf had the steak, and I had the crispy chicken, so that we could share. The chicken was seriously awesome. I normally never order chicken at a steakhouse, but this really hit the spot. As crispy as advertised, and JUICY. It didn't even need sauce.
The best part of this meal was dessert. We got one of each, so the bf got creme brulee (which was SO GOOD), and I had the mini donut holes. With peanut butter sauce. I won dessert.
|Life is better with peanut butter sauce|
Another myVegas reward, this time at The Pub in Monte Carlo. This isn't food-related, but it's still pretty cool. We got 3 hours of unlimited drinking, while watching the dueling pianos. Yes, UNLIMITED BEER. Granted, it was domestic, light, crap beer, but free beer is free beer. It was a lot of fun. Dueling pianos is always a good time (although, the ones at The Bar at Times Square are much better).
When I finally recovered from my hangover and managed to run a couple of miles, we walked to Aria yet again, this time for the buffet. Another myVegas reward gave us 2 free lunch buffets. This is, in my opinion, the best buffet in Las Vegas. They have a naan oven! And easily the best desserts - homemade gelato, anyone?
|This is where they sat us.|
Another myVegas comp (are you getting sick of these yet, haha), which I worked so hard to get. It's something I have ALWAYS wanted to do in Las Vegas - go to the Minus 5 Ice Bar in Mandalay Bay. With my comp, I got 2 entries, and 2 cocktails per person (that's a $79 value, in case you were wondering). You aren't allowed to bring your phones in, which is why I have no pictures. But it was SO FUN. You get a parka, boots, and gloves to wear inside. And you drink your drinks out of cups made of ice! It was one of the highlights of my Vegas trip... especially when a group of drunk older ladies told the bf he had nice legs, haha.
This was our big fancy dinner, the one we had been waiting for all week. We went to Charlie Palmer Steak in the Four Seasons. The Four Seasons is connected to Mandalay Bay, so once we found out where to go (aka, we followed the signs), all was good. We had read online about a $48 "Cut of the Week" menu... with bottomless wine. (Note: the menu in the link is not the one I had.)
It. Was. Awesome.
We had a salad with feta and raspberries to start, then a bone-in NY strip steak, parmesan gratin potatoes, and jalapeno creamed corn. Dessert, which was hands-down the best one I had all trip, was a chocolate peanut butter bar. Think gourmet Reese's. It was amazing.
Our waiter couldn't have been nicer, and kept filling up our wine glasses. Each course was paired, but you could refill either one. I preferred the white wine that came with the salad (it was nice and tart... and cold), so I drank my fair share of that one. Definitely worth the price of admission. Everything was terrific.
For our last meal in Las Vegas, we chose to go to the Gordon Ramsay Pub and Grill in Caesar's Palace. We sat at the bar, and split a few appetizers and had some beers as our lunch.
The food was standard pub grub. Nothing spectacular. I much preferred Michael Mina's Pub 1842, where we had a snack on Monday. I wish we would have gone back there!
Our eating tour of Vegas was complete, and we headed back to Chicago. I'm going to miss Vegas so much, but don't worry, I'll be back in November for my birthday race at Rock n Roll Las Vegas! (And of course, more eating adventures!)
|@OrtonPants spent the majority of his vacation dining at Hooters... to each his own, I guess.|