Thursday, September 2, 2010

Chihuly and Cake

Wow, it's been awhile since my last post. Well, if you don't already know, I'm still sick and I haven't been anywhere exciting because I'm sick. Get it, I'M SICK. I mean, seriously sick where I could have died if I didn't go see a doctor. No worries, I'm getting better and you should start seeing more posts once my doctor releases me from my no raw food diet and whenever I can book a flight somewhere. Airplanes = germs = no flying.

Anyways, a few weeks ago Hubs and I celebrated our second wedding anniversary. Again, we didn't do much because I have issues and frankly there's no point of spending a lot of money on a dinner when I can't eat. I did, however, continue our tradition of having an anniversary cake made to celebrate this important occasion. The theme this year focused on location and decor: Bellagio and Dale Chihuly

The Salk Institute in La Jolla, CA had a few of Dale Chihuly's masterpieces on display so before we picked up our cake, we did a tour of the institute and checked out Chihuly's work.

Here's what our anniversary cake looked like.
Since we got married at the Bellagio, I wanted to incorporate the beautiful decor of the hotel as well as the glasswork by Dale Chihuly. The cake was inspired by this wedding photo.

A closer look at the frosting details.

The Chihuly flowers were formed from sugar.

The cake itself was a marble cake with cheesecake and passion fruit mousse fillings (two different filling layers). The entire cake was frosted with an Italian buttercream and covered with ivory fondant.

The cake was light and moist which was a plus. The cheesecake and passion fruit mousse fillings really complimented each other and was not too sweet at all. I feel the passion fruit gave the cheesecake a slight tart taste without being overwhelming. My favorite filling flavor is lilikoi so this passion fruit mousse meet my expectations.

The ladies of Sweet Cheeks Baking Company in San Diego did a really good job on our anniversary cake and I plan on ordering more cakes from them in the near future.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Las Vegas: Lotus of Siam, Part II

This is our third trip to Lotus of Siam since its renovation last November. Our previous visit can be found here. I promised Hubs we would come back as soon as the renovation was done. When we arrived, we saw Chef and owner Siapin Chutima walking around the restaurant greeting guests. This year, Chef Chutima received her second nomination by the James Beard Foundation for the Best Chef in the Southwest region. A nod from the James Beard Foundation is a clear indication that this little restaurant in a strip mall off the strip is here to stay.

The restaurant was expanded to the space next door. As you can see, a wine bar was added to showcase the restaurant's wine service and wine list.

A wine cellar was also added.

While the wine list was tempting, I ordered my usual Thai Iced Tea.

Everything that we ordered was highly recommended. Pretty much you can't go wrong with these choices. If you haven't seen the menu, you'll have a hard time choosing what to order which is why this is our third trip here. I always recommend coming here with a group of people so that you can sample twice as many entrees.

Tom Kha Kai Bangkok Style (#23).
A distinctive soup of sliced chicken with coconut milk, straw mushroom galanga, lemongrass and a touch of lime juice.

Koong Sarong - Prawns in a Blanket (#8)
Marinated prawn wrapped with bacon and wonton wraps, deep fried, served with homemade sweet and sour sauce.

Garlic Prawns (Chef's Choice)
Deep fried prawn with shell and sautéed with our special garlic sauce, topped with ground black pepper.

Drunken Noodles (#116)
Pan fried flat rice noodle topped with, sauteed beef with fresh & dry chili, Thai basil served on bed of green.

One piece of advice: Book a reservation before coming here. When we stopped by after our failed meal at Woo, there was still a packed house at 8:30pm plus patrons were waiting 30 minutes for a table. I can't get enough of Lotus of Siam. It's one of the reasons why we drive to Vegas than fly (cab fares are expensive).

Lotus of Siam
953 E. Sahara Avenue
Las Vegas, NV 89104

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

San Diego: Fair Food

Since I was a kid, the summer time always meant a trip to the county fair. There was one time as a teenager that I got to go to the California State Fair. Oh gosh, I saw KISS in concert as well as New Kids on the Block and Color Me Bad. Wow, I'm old. haha. Good times!

The San Diego County Fair officially opened on June 11th and ends on July 5th. The theme for this year's fair is "Taste the Fun" to celebrate food and it being a part of our every day lives. This past weekend Hubs and I took a trip to the Del Mar Fairgrounds and got our grub on. There was tons of fair food so we chose wisely. We tried not to have the same stuff that we had last year. Here's the line up:

Twice as long...
Giant Western Sausage - Juicy's

Loads of cheese...
Battered Potatoes - Austrian Battered Potatoes

A little sweet...
Dreamsicle Float - Crutchies Ice Cream

Something fried...
Funnel Cake with Powdered Sugar - Funnel Cake

Take home...
Fresh Chocolate Chip Cookies - Mom's Cookies

If you plan on going to the San Diego County Fair, here's a food listing and map to guide you.

The notable fried food items this year were:
  • Deep Fried Klondike Bar
  • Deep Fried Pop Tart
  • Deep Fried Butter
  • Sweet Potato Fry or Hash Brown Fry Dog
I was so close to getting the Klondike Bar but Hubs stopped me. I already have one problem to deal with, I don't need to induce a heart attack on top of it. A patron saw me taking pictures of our food and said: "Are you taking pictures of the food to remember what killed you?" We all laughed. Good times!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Las Vegas: Restaurant Guy Savoy

My final dinner outing during my birthday weekend extravaganza was at Restaurant Guy Savoy at Caesar Palace. Given this is Chef Guy Savoy's only U.S. outlet, it was a perfect spot to end my two-week foodie marathon. Once we arrived, we were greeted by Chef Guy Savoy's son, Franck Savoy. He's such a charismatic man and knowledged my birthday as well as the Gucci shopping bag that I was carrying with me (I couldn't help myself but shop before dinner).

As we were seated, I noticed a stark contrast in decor and atmosphere from Joel Robuchon. The room was sleek and modern yet warm and welcoming. I liked how the tables were well spaced from other tables where I can have a conversation with Hubs without worrying about other diners hearing our conversation. At Joel Robuchon, it was so quiet you can hear a pin drop.

The menu: OMG. I got over sticker shock ever since my first tasting at Alinea. The a la carte menu at Guy Savoy makes you want to check your credit line. Seriously, it was so freakin' expensive. I was so not ready for the restaurant's crown jewel, the 10-course Menu Prestige ($290 per person), but the Menu Elegance ($190) didn't fit my fancy. So we did the unthinkable. We ordered from the a la carte menu where the cheapest appetizer was $40 and entree was $75+. Holy crap! I figured: It's my birthday, we're in Vegas, we only live once.

Canapé: "French Club"
Brioche and foie gras.

Glassware: Candle, salted and unsalted butter, fleur de lys, and pepper.

Black pepper-rosemary forcaccia bread

Another elaborate bread cart at Guy Savoy but the bread loaves are even more impressive. Since there was so much to choose from, the bread server suggested a bread pairing to go with our meal.

Amuse Bouche: Butternut Squash Soup
Under the cup was hamachi with basil and basil flower, garnished with salmon egg.

Artichoke and Black Truffle Soup - $68
Artichoke soup with black truffles, slices of black truffle and Parmesan shavings.

Bread pairing: Toasted Mushroom Brioche and Black Truffle Butter
Layered brioche with mushrooms, spread with truffle butter.

Oysters in Ice Gelée - $40

American Prime Beef Tenderloin and Paleron “à la Française” - $75

Crispy Sea Bass with Delicate Spices - $95
Thick filet of sea bass grilled whole with skin.

Bread pairing: Lemon bread

Dessert from the dessert cart - $25
Assortments of ice cream, sorbets, conserves and traditional biscuits.

Afterthoughts: Restaurant Guy Savoy does not disappoint. The menu was simple with flavorful dishes like the Artichoke and Black Truffle Soup. I loved dipping the toasted mushroom brioche into the soup. I felt like I was at home enjoying my favorite comfort food. The service was flawless and unpretentious. Franck Savoy's warmth and humor flows effortlessly throughout the dining room making each diner feel welcomed. Even the bread server was humorous with his French accent, "Want more bread?". Yes, this meal was expensive but it was well worth it. By the time we left, sticker shock was an afterthought and I was content with my meal.

Restaurant Guy Savoy
Caesars Palace Las Vegas
3570 Las Vegas Blvd
Las Vegas, NV 89109-8924

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Las Vegas: Julian Serrano

Following my birthday dinner at Joel Robuchon at the Mansion, the dining festivities didn't stop there. The next morning/early afternoon, we stopped by Julian Serrano at Aria for a light fare of tapas and paella. We had to eat light because we had a dinner reservation at Restaurant Guy Savoy later that night.

We were the first to arrive and the place seemed larger than expected.

The table setting was simple and modern with deep red and gold hues.

Time to eat!

(left) Traditional Spanish Chicken Croquetas - $8
Chicken, Bechamel

(right) Mediterranean stew in deconstruction - $12
Prawns, bronzinni, sofrito

Mix Paella - $50
Lobster, Chicken, Chorizo, Vegetables, Saffron Rice

The verdict:


Hubs and I appreciated this interpretation of spanish tapas compared to our tasting experience at Saam at the Bazaar. The presence of paella made Hubs give this place a thumbs up. If we didn't plan on dining at Restaurant Guy Savoy, we could have easily ordered 2-3 more tapas as well as dessert. That's the beauty of Vegas, there's always a reason to come back. Plus, where else in the world could you win your way to a fabulous meal.

Julian Serrano
Aria Resort & Casino
3730 Las Vegas Boulevard South
Las Vegas, NV 89109