Las Vegas – Toasting New Year in Style!

fountain at Bellagio

The beautiful dancing fountains of Bellagio

I have been MIA lately and for a good reason. I was on vacation! It was a rip across the coast – the icy East coast to beautiful warm and sunny West coast. It was a whirlwind trip, with barely enough moments to catch shut eye.

No trip to the West is complete without a stop at one of my favorite cities on this planet – Las Vegas! The vibrant energy of the city takes you in and wraps a magical aura around you. The pulsing lights, the grandiose casinos, the pulsing expectations of people milled around the slot and poker tables – it’s an experience in itself. However, when we think of vegas, we think of gambling.

To me, Vegas is so, so, so much more than that. We stayed there for three nights, and didn’t play poker, not even once!!!

So what did we do? Lots of stuff. We visited Hoover Dam.

Hoover Dam

 

Completed in 1935, Hoover Dam paved way for the what is known as world’s favorite destination – Las Vegas. Located about 35 miles east of Las Vegas, this is an engineering marvel that never ceases to amaze. Make sure to go there early, especially during holidays, as the lines to get in can be miles upon miles long. With security checks now part of the place, it’s even more tedious to get through the lines for the tours. The power plant tours are very impressive, and though this time we skipped it as the lines were never ending, we did do them on our earlier visits and we absolutely love them. Those massive turbines and the history behind it all…it’s inspiring to say the least. Though if you are claustrophobic, the tours might not be for you.

Hoover Dam 2

You can also simply walk around and click gorgeous snaps.

Fun fact: Did you know that Hoover Dam is free standing and not attached to the canyon sides or the bottom? It’s the weight of the dam that keeps it standing.

We shopped and went crazy with Bon Jovi on Freemont St.

Freemont St

 

Where there is something for everyone….

 

Freemont experience

 

Ceasar’s…………..

 

 

Ceasar's

Ceasar’s free show on the hour, Atlantis, is very popular with the kids.

Atlantis

Venetian….try the gondola rides. Some of the gondoliers sing beautiful songs and others explain the Venetian architecture. It possibly is not even close to the real thing in Venice, still it’s a pleasant experience.

 

Venetian

And we ate. Lots of food.

Of course, if you are interested in poker, then nothing stops you from downing those glasses of pina coladas and trying your luck at the tables. Las Vegas has a lot of money sloshing around in it, what with all of the big winners at poker and roulette. Accordingly, some of the world’s best restaurants are based in the desert city.

Let me run down some of the top gourmet places to eat in Las Vegas.

Restaurant Guy Savoy

For those of you who like the finer things in life to be of French origin, such as champagne

and haute cuisine, Guy Savoy’s restaurant is perfect for you. With one of the best wine cellars

this side of Bordeaux, including some vintage French wines and some relatively reasonably

priced new world wine, perfectly matched with the three-starred Michelin chef’s food. Guy’s

Parisian Restaurant has three stars whereas his Vegas has two, but you can be guaranteed

excellent cuisine. Dishes such aspoulet en cocotte, white veal to you and I, or oysters en gelee

will leave you breathless. The restaurant is situated in one of Vegas’ most famous hotels,

Caesar’s Palace.

Bar Masa

If you prefer your food to be of the Asian persuasion, then get down to Bar Masa for the best

sushi and sashimi. The raw ingredients are flown in from Japan, and the prices reflect that.

However, you will get to try some wonderful dishes, ranging from the bargain price of $15,

up to $40 for a single dish.

Picasso

This restaurant is not just about great food, but boasts a few original Picassos dotted around

the dining room as well. With two Michelin stars, the Mediterranean meets Californian food

cooked by Julian Serranosits perfectly alongside the art on the walls. Watch out for people

hovering around the table focused on the walls. The price of this restaurant, situated in the

Bellagio, is reasonable considering the surroundings, at only $113 for four courses. It’s still

cheaper to stay at home, order a pizza and play games on your  blackberry casino though.

Carnevino

When in Rome, they say, and if you are in the USA, you probably really want to try some

steak. Carnevino has the reputation of serving some of the best steak not just in Vegas, but in

the whole country. The chef, Mario Batali, prides himself of his aging process for his meat,

with steaks aged from between 60 days and six months. This restaurant is situated in the

Palazzo hotel.

Joël Robuchon

For the out of this world lavish restaurant experience if you win big in Vegas, the place to

go is Joël Robuchon. With an opulent interior in the MGM Grand, and seasonal menus to

die for boasting everything from spiny lobster to sea urchin and everything in between, this

restaurant and gourmet dining experience is not to be missed, although your wallet may thank

you if you do.

However, if you are anything like me, then you would hunt for places that gives great options at great prices. And the wallet thanks every time :D

For a family of four consisting of two growing boys that depends more on quantity than quality, fine dining can be a difficult option. This time around we stayed in Embassy Suites, that includes a made to order breakfast in its list of amenities. A chef makes you hot eggs of your choice with vegetable fillings that you can pair with an impressive list of sides that include fresh fruits to bacon strips. The only condition is that you have to get up early and stand in a long line for that hot breakfast. Hence I misses taking pictures – too busy trying to balance the trays and finding a place to sit and even place the items on the table without sending something crashing to the floor.

The best eats at reasonable prices are often the buffets. Las Vegas boasts of some world class buffets. And they can be pretty expensive. However, the hotels often give out buffet coupons that can greatly reduce the cost. A great way to find these coupons is to book into hotels that give them complimentary, or in coupon books that can be found on eateries outside of Vegas.

The best buffet deal that we have come to love in Vegas is in The Orleans. It’s off the strip, a bit gaudy, but offers a great spread at very reasonable prices – $9.99 per person and if you have a B-connected players club card, it’s $1 off the price per person.

The Orleans

 

The Orleans buffet has 5 different cuisines and a very impressive list of quality dessert.

 

The USA section at Orleans

The Chinese section at Orleans

Seafood at Orleans

Mexican at Orleans

Italian

BBQ

My favorite section is Mongolian grill. The chef lets you pick the vegetables and meat of your choice and stir fries them for you.Mongolian grill

Chef at the Mongolian grill

 

Does it not look fresh and totally yumm??

Mongolian stir fry

 

Here is wishing all of you a spectacular New Year!!

Happy 2014!!

8 comments for “Las Vegas – Toasting New Year in Style!

  1. December 31, 2013 at 6:58 PM

    Looks like you guys had a wonderful time!! I loved Vegas. We went a few years ago when my hubby won some work honour and so it was all paid, all catered, an absolute perfect way to see Vegas!

    Good to have you back, I was wondering where you’d got to.
    Have a wonderful New Year, Minnie! Wishing you all the best for 2014.

    Nazneen
    Coffee and Crumpets recently posted..My 13 Favourite Posts for 2013My Profile

    • January 3, 2014 at 9:30 PM

      Thank you so much Nazneen! I have missed reading out on the blogs a lot. Sometimes I did catch up on them, but replying from phones is just too much work, especially when I have to manually type everything over and over again, not mention those awful autocorrects, lol!

      Happy New Year to you too!! Hugs!
      Minnie recently posted..Potato Salad #InaFridaysMy Profile

  2. January 1, 2014 at 2:06 AM

    Vegas isn’t my favorite holiday destination but we used to go every year for a conference. The food is amazing and SO much of it! I haven’t been for several years and I think it’s time for a revisit.

    Happy New Year, Minnie!
    Maureen | Orgasmic Chef recently posted..What’s the Difference Between Cinnamon and Cassia?My Profile

  3. January 1, 2014 at 5:00 AM

    I’ve always wanted to try Joel Rubichon’s restaurant, but I think I’ll settle on The Orleans – a bargain at $9.99 per head and I bet you don’t have to leave a tip (looks like self-service!) Happy New Year!

  4. January 1, 2014 at 2:53 PM

    Sounds like you had a terrific trip! Great pictures. Happy New Year!
    John@Kitchen Riffs recently posted..The Death in the Afternoon CocktailMy Profile

  5. January 2, 2014 at 12:25 AM

    Welcome back Minnie! Looks like you and your family had lots of fun in Las Vegas. I still have never been there!

  6. January 2, 2014 at 5:22 PM

    I thought you must have been away. What a great family holiday. I’ve never been to Vegas but everyone I know who’s been there has come away saying it was an amazing experience. I wouldn’t mind a ride on a gondola! xx
    Hotly Spiced recently posted..The 2013 Top FiveMy Profile

  7. January 2, 2014 at 10:41 PM

    Looks like you all had lots of fun.

    Happy New Year to all of you.
    Bhaskar recently posted..Hain yehi anth, par yeh anth nahi…My Profile

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