Twilight Zone

Interior

Beijing Noodle No.9
3570 South Las Vegas Boulevard
Las Vegas, NV 89109
(702) 731-7604
http://www.caesarspalace.com/casinos/caesars-palace/restaurants-dining/beijing-noodle-no-9-detail.html

No. 9 Sign Menu Sign in Chinese Interior Labeled Drawers Spices

We ended up at Beijing Noodle No. 9 by accident because Bacchanal Buffet had a two hour wait on a Sunday night! So, we moseyed over next door because my hungry stomach could not handle driving elsewhere. Walking into Beijing Noodle No. 9, I felt that something was not quite right. The hostesses were super nice, servers had the efficiency of a Chinese restaurant BUT with a kind smile. Staff were all milling around at what seemed like a very well oiled machine. What? You’ll bring my dessert promptly after we’re finished with the main meal? What? You offered my husband another beer? (He was so shocked that he did not accept his usual second beer.) The interior was not only clean, but it was also bright and incredibly well designed. Drawers were professionally labeled. No, we were not in a Chinese restaurant, but we were in the surely in the twilight zone.

I have a theory there is an inverse relationship (not sure if linear or exponential) between Americanization of the restaurant (so that includes service, decor, cleanliness) and the tastiness of the food. The cleaner, the prettier the decor and the more ept or polite the staff is, the less tasty the food probably is. The opposite would be the dirtier, the uglier the decor, the more the staff barks at you, the increasingly tasty the food is.

Where does Beijing Noodle No. 9 fall?

Stretching Noodles 1 Stretching noodles 2 Stretching noodles 3 Stretching noodles 4

Watching the chef hard at work hand stretching the noodles, I was hopeful for perfectly chewy al dente noodles. It was amazing watching the entire process. Boing… Stretch Twirl… Boing… Stretch Twirl.

Food:

Seasoned Peanuts Choy Sum Dan Dan Mian Beef Noodles Dan dan mian - Tossed in sauce

* The hand stretched noodles lacked the chew like the well developed gluten that would be in perfect noodles.
1. Sichuan Dan Dan Mian – Let’s talk about the sauce. It was nice and spicy and a touch on the salty side.
2. Braised Beef Brisket and Tendon Noodle Soup with hand stretched noodles – Perhaps my cantonese self is used to really robust flavors, but this soup somehow lacked some depth. Braised usually means tender meat, but the chunks of brisket were decidedly chewy. Overall, it was good but not the best.
3. Choy Sum – Great wok hei and seasoning, but the portion size was pitiful.
4. Xiao Long Bao (XLB/Soup Dumplings) – Very juicy and soupy – the soup filled the entire soup spoon! Where they did not quite reach XLB nirvana was in the dumpling skin. It was not as thin and membranous as the famous Din Tai Fung’s.
Xiao Long Bao Sauce for dipping xiao long bao Nibble of xiao long bao Amount of Juice from Xiao Long Bao

5. Sweet Red Bean Buns (mei gui dou sha bao) – Two out of the three were delicious. The bun was fluffy and not dry, and the inside was filled with smooth and sweet red bean paste. The third bun opened up to dry and crusty red bean. Pleh!
Steamed Red Bean Buns Inside of Red Bean Buns

Prices: Outrageous! I would say each dish was two to three times the price that we were used to. I’ll chalk it up to the fact that the place is located in casino, and being that it was so “swanky” in decor and with well-trained staff, they needed to mark dishes up for the cost of running the place. On a side thought – perhaps, we’ve all been spoiled by rock bottom prices at other Chinese restaurants and like how Korean and Japanese food is pricier, Chinese food should be priced similarly?

Conclusion: So the inverse relationship is true in this case. It was swanky; the food was average. For average food that I can get cheaper and tastier elsewhere (i.e. Yi Mei Deli), I probably don’t recommend coming back. Shows me for eating Chinese food in a casino!

$ to Value Ratio: 2.5/5 Beeps
Yummy Factor: 3.75/5 Beeps
Texture Satisfaction: 3.75 Beeps
Average beeps: 3.33 Beeps

Culinary Dropout

culinary dropout

Culinary Dropout
Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
4455 Paradise Rd
Las Vegas, NV 89169

Gastropub – CFG’s definition is bar food – nice fatty fat fat bar food that usually can’t disappoint, but we were not only NOT disappointed, but very impressed. According to their website, Culinary Dropout is a gastropub created by Fox Restaurant Concepts. The first time I encountered a Fox restaurant was in Tucson, AZ with Wildflower and it was amazing. Food was fresh. Flavors were well-rounded and the decor and staff were very attractive. =) Our experience with Culinary Dropout Las Vegas proved to be product of the brains behind Fox. Though a different type of restaurant all together, all the details similar to my experience at Wildflower came together. The service was impeccable (waters filled constantly, all staff checking on you, very smartly dressed in hobo chic for girls and vests for guys). The food was fatty, delicious and well thought out. The decor was romantic, whimsical and relaxing, so much so that I felt like I was in an episode of The Hills reality show. Definitely a date night place or nice cozy hang out with your friends.

Foood.
1. Soft Pretzels with Provolone Fondue – Usually not a fan of pretzels, but theses lil’ guys were fluffy and perfectly salted and hard to resist once dipped in the warm pot of cheese.
2. Grilled Cheese Sliders with bacon and tomato – Baby sliders! Just as tasty as they were cute.
3. Jambalaya – Well rounded, robust and perfectly sauced. Best jambalaya yet? oooo
4. Fried Chicken with honey biscuits, potatoes and gravy – Nothing can beat fried chicken at Ad Hoc in Napa, but this chicken platter had it’s own character. The breading was delicate, light and uniquely seasoned (cumin, my friend Tina says?). The honey biscuits were slightly sweet and fluffy; I totally commandeered the rest of said friend’s biscuits.
5. The Pub Burger with havarti, bacon and house bbq sauce – Big burger = Big flavor. Nice moist burger patty with sweet smokey bbq sauce.
6. Monkey Bread – Ooey gooey, warm and comforting

Conclusion: I’m coming back to hang out when I want feel trendy and eat well.

$ to Value Ratio: 3.75/5 Beeps
Yummy Factor: 4.5/5 Beeps
Texture Satisfaction: 4 Beeps
Average beeps: 4.08 Beeps

culinary dropout Menu cute lantern outside seating soft preztel + provolone fondue soft pretzels fondue pot jambalaya fried chicken The Pub Burger Grilled Cheese Inside of Pub Burger Monkey Bread

p.s. For you HGTV addicts, we saw Antonio Ballatore and got a picture with him =)

Nunya sauce

Marination Station

Marination Station
1412 Harvard Ave
(between Union St & Pike St)
Seattle, WA 98122
Neighborhoods: Capitol Hill, First Hill
http://marinationmobile.com/station

Perhaps every city has their own variant of the Korean taco, and Seattles is Marination Station. What started out as a food truck now has their own brick & mortar store that opened just this year (2012). The unique concoction of sauces always brings everything together nicely. In this case – NUNYA sauce!

The Tacos.
The multiple texture aspects of eating a fusion taco are always very enjoyable. Marination Station’s crunchy/tangy slaw combined with the punch of korean based flavors from either the Kalbi or Spicy Pork taco (might I add THINLY slice for optimal flavor to surface ratio) and the NUNYA sauce which we concluded was delicious and at least included some sort of mayo base with siracha and wrap it with the chewy corn tortilla.

The Sliders.
Spam / Pulled Pork – I could probably inhale 4 in one sitting. Small bites of the similar sort of genius the tacos had. Warm and soft buns with the signature slaw with the salty spam or lovingly made kahlua pork.

Kimchi Fried Rice – spicy kimchi, rice and runny egg. ooooo yea.

$ to Value Ratio: 4/5 Beeps
Yummy Factor: 4.5/5 Beeps
Texture Satisfaction: 5 Beeps
Average beeps: 4.5 Beeps

Marination Station - Interior Marination Station - Interior 2 Marination Station Pork Taco, Kalbi Taco, Spam Slider, Pulled Pork Slider Kimchi Fried Rice Closed up - Spam Slider Close Up - Pulled Pork Slider

Dreamy creamy

Mora's Iced Creamery

Mora Iced Creamery
http://moraicecream.com/

Mora Iced Creamery was hyped up a lot because supposedly, it is the BEST icecream and it is worth the trek to Bainbridge Island from a ferry originating from downtown Seattle. A few spoonful samples of the ice cream solidified (har har *pun intended) my stance on it. It IS the BEST ice cream I’ve ever had. Perhaps the small batches churned with love and the lower level of butter fat is what makes it good. The flavors are clean and pure and the texture was incredibly creamy and airy at the same time.

Voila – I “settled” on two scoops, one each of pistachio and cheesecake and brownie.
Mora's Iced Creamery Interior Two Scoops - Pistachio and Cheesecake/Brownie

Conclusion: The BEST ice cream. 5/5 Beeps

Advice

Bouchon Menu

Bouchon Bistro
The Venetian Resort-Hotel-Casino
Venezia Tower-10th Floor
3355 Las Vegas Boulevard South
Las Vegas, NV 89109
702.414.6200

The stars seemed to align beautifully this night of gluttony. It was great service and ambiance from the get go. We had a server who was very passionate about what he was serving and seemed to genuinely love what we were about to eat. He had helps tips and advice on how to eat the dishes that we appreciated greatly and never short of fantastic recommendations. Skilled in the craft of selling his food! Also, I was in a party of ladies who could EAT (no food pushers around here)!

The following list will touch upon the advice Mr. Server endowed and the deliciousness that ensued.
Epi Bread Inside the epi bread with butter Bone Marrow Toasted Baguette Foie Gras Fresh Smoked salmon Bone marrow slathered onto toasted baguette
1. Epi Bread – “Pace yourself,” he said, but how do we when it was delicately crusty on the outside and warm and fluffy on the inside?
2. Bone marrow (Moëlle Rôtie) – “Take this [grilled, country] bread and spread the bone marrow on it. Then take the [Epi] bread and mop up the sauce,” he said. I think the imagery took care of that one.
3. Foie Gras (Terrine de Foie Gras, a.k.a. Jar of succulent fat) – “Take this toasted baguette [strips] and spread it. Sprinkle a little bit of the sea salt to open it up.” The richness of the foie gras spread on good bread made me forget all about pacing myself as Mr. Server stressed from the start.
4. Fresh Smoked Salmon Rillettes (Rillettes aux Deux Saumons) – “Spread this on the toasted baguette rounds,” he said. There goes my stomach space for the entree.

Frisee Salad Poached Egg French Fries Layered ... next to delicate beignet IMG_12Madagascar Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee Close up of Creme Brulee
5. Frisee Salad (Salade Frisée) – Two words: Poached eggs and bacons bits. My weaknesses
6. Mussels (Moules) – Fresh, sweet and full of essence of the sea
7. French Fries (Pommes Frites) – Golden, hot and crispy with a sprinkle of salt. The key to good fries is how it stays crispy even when cooled. That art alone impresses the texture whore (moi)
8. Steak (Steak Frites) – This was not any fancy wagyu beef, just a piece of prime flat iron, AND my friend bless her preference for well-done meat even ordered it medium well!! You would think that it’d be completely ruined, but it was utterly tender and flavorful. Did a well done piece of meat just melt in my mouth?
9. Gnocchi à la Parisienne – Dear Gnocchi, I really wanted to try you, but my stomach said no! Why did you say no… it looked so delicious.
10. Creme Brulee with Madagascar Vanilla Bean – But of course, I had room for dessert! Since the closing of Rosemary’s in town, I had not found an establishment to replace their perfect creme brulee. Bouchon almost did it. The delicate sugar shell cracked with a slight tap and the creme was smooth. It was just a touch too sweet compared to Rosemary’s.

Conclusion: My cholesterol says wth?!, but my tongue and stomach says, let’s do it again!

$ to Value Ratio: 4.75/5 Beeps – You’re paying for big portion size’s of expensive food
Yummy Factor: 5/5 Beeps
Texture Satisfaction: 5/5 Beeps
Average beeps: 4.91 Beeps

Seriously some good pie!

316 Virginia St
Seattle, WA 98121
Neighborhood: Downtown
(206) 838-7388
http://www.tomdouglas.com/

Urban Hiking. That’s what my friend Lisa calls it when we do a lot of uphill walking in the city, and we sure did a lot of it before making it to our lunch time destination Serious Pie. We trekked from our hotel to Pike’s Place Market to the Space Needle to Serious Pie. I’ve fantasized about Serious Pie many a times due to late night gluttonous shows on The Food Network and Travel Channel. Now, I can finally say that I’ve enjoyed the delicious pizza at Serious Pie.

What the pie!?
1. Yukon Gold potato slices, rosemary and pecorino – my most favorite part of the pie were the thinly sliced potatoes. As a result of the thin slice, the carbs did not weigh down the pizza and the rosemary and generously shaved pecorino cheese made this pie my favorite of the three.
2. Roasted lobster mushroom and truffle Cheese – this pie was my next favorite. As a lover of mushrooms, truffle anything and of course, cheese, can we call it CFG’s trifecta? The mushrooms had the nice bounce and not overcooked. The truffle oil was not overwhelming (is it ever?) and the cheese was ooey gooey melty.
3. Buffalo mozzarella, tomato sauce, fresh basil – The classic pizza toppings can’t go wrong. Savory tomato sauce, with fresh mozzarella and crusty pizza dough charred in a brick oven pizza.

Conclusion: Go eat the Yukon Gold Pizza. Travel Channel/Food Network/Cooking Channel are actually right this time.

$ to Value Ratio: 4/5 Beeps
Yummy Factor: 5/5 Beeps
Texture Satisfaction: 4/5 Beeps
Average beeps: 4.33 Beeps

Serious Pie The Kitchen Menu Izze Sparkling Clementine Soda Margerita pizza Roasted Lobster Mushroom Pizza Yukon Gold Potato Pizza Line of glorious pizza Close up of ooey gooey! Close up of the golden slices of potato