Return for Awful Awful Burger

Wolf Den
1305 N Virginia St
Reno, NV 89503
(775) 324-9653

I returned to Reno recently to visit my good friend and college roommate Carla, and of course, we had to return to some our old food haunts. We used to indulge in the famous Awful Awful Burger with a full basket of fries, which I claim to have devoured all by myself, every single fry. This time we went to the newly renovated bar called the Wolf Den situated near the University of Nevada, Reno’s dorms. It proved to have the same Awful Awful burger that I remember from The Nugget, minus the greasy diner vibe and now trade it for the college hangout vibe. An advantage now is that school is currently out, so we got to dine in peace and did not have to battle parking. (Wow, I’m starting to sound old! Ha ha)

Bliss with my hamburger. Behold! … but I did not finish all my fries.

Awful Awful Inside

District One Kitchen & Bar

District One Kitchen & Bar
3400 S Jones Blvd., Ste 8
Las Vegas, NV 89146
https://www.facebook.com/DistrictOneLV

sign

District One in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (a.k.a. Saigon for ya old schoolers) is the hip district to be in Vietnam. It’s the most industrial and even has it’s own Rodeo Drive-esque area to shop in.

Bring this back to District One Kitchen & Bar in Las Vegas. It’s hip. It’s new. It’s a twist on Vietnamese food. While our parents generation may complain that portion sizes are small (really?) and it’s too expensive (*tsk tsk to us spendy American born children), but I find it a refreshing spin on food that wasn’t necessarily viewed as trendy before. Looking around the restaurant, it brings in people from all walks of life to enjoy fresh, tasty foods with inspired by vibrant colors and tastes of Vietnamese food. Go try it yourself. Just don’t bring your immigrant parents. 😉

menu special fried rice zoom in razer clams clams mini bowl of bbh

For The Tonkatsu Lover

Tonkatsu Kiyoshi
7780 S Jones Blvd
Ste 103
Las Vegas, NV 89139
(702) 837-7300
tonkatsukiyoshi.com

Happy Chinese New Year, everyone! Hope the new year brings you wellness, fortune and of course, good food!

Vegas never ceases to amaze me with off the beaten path finds. Just when you think, “what kind of GOOD food could exist out in the ‘burbs,” something pops up and begins roots of becoming food famous. Then you think, “No, no, no. Don’t become too famous because that means we will have to wait for a table!” At the end of last year, DW Bistro was that gem, and obviously, hoards of people line up for Saturday morning brunch.

sesame mortar and pestle

Tonkatsu Kiyoshi is my first gem of 2014. As the name describes, this is a katsu-ya, a restaurant specifically for the delicacy of katsu, which is usually deep fried breaded chicken or pork, or in the case of this restaurant’s namesake, TONkatsu for breaded and deep fried PORK cutlet.

chicken karage chicken katsu curry tonkatsu

If you have had my share of tonkatsu and chicken katsu, it can be a spectrum of quality. Either it’s too greasy and chewy, breading falling off or at Tonkatsu Kiyoshi, it is wonderfully crispy, golden, light and juicy. As an added bonus, you can mix your own sauce and grind your own sesame powder with provided mortar and pestles. Dip away with your own concoction. If you’re just in the mood to chow down and not worry about the sauce, I would also recommend trying out their curry. This is honestly the best Japanese curry that I’ve had in VEGAS. Other places have popped up previous to them opening like Curry Zen and Kaba Curry, but they don’t compare at all to the katsu curry here.

Conclusion: Amazing texture, amazing flavor, great value. Now, DO NOT go there, and make it super busy for my selfish reasons. 😉

Cronut

Coco Donuts
10040 W Cheyenne Ste 145
Las Vegas, NV 89129
(702) 562-2626
cocodonutsvegas.com

Outside Box

Being in Vegas, I haven’t had the pleasure of enjoying the famous creation of Dominique Ansel or copy cats until now. Coco Donuts offer the decadent version in a few different varieties, and I ventured to try their cinnamon sugar with bavarian cream. First bite in, I enjoyed the sugary crispy crust with fluffy powdered sugar. Full bite in, I sunk my teeth through the full thickness of all the flaky layers. I was a tad disappointed by it being more doughy than light and airy, but the overall package is definitely a crowd pleasure. It wasn’t too sweet, and I thought the amount of cream piped in was just right, not too overwhelming and letting the buttery layers of the cronut speak for themselves.

Top view Bite view

Conclusion: Bravo Coco Donuts. Thanks for the cheery service and mom pop donuts. I got a whole dozen to take care of!

Jaleo

Jaleo
Cosmopolitan
3708 Las Vegas Blvd S
Las Vegas, NV 89109
(877) 551-7776
www.jaleo.com/

Sangria
Ostra ‘Gin & Tonic – Five oysters with lemon, gin and tonic
Rabbit and chicken paella
Ensaladilla rusa con cangrejo real y huevas de trucha- The ultimate Spanish tapa, a salad of potatoes, king crab and mayonnaise, topped with trout roe
Setas al ajillo con La Serena – Sautéed wild mushrooms with La Serena potato purée
Endivias con queso de cabra y naranja – Endives, goat cheese, oranges and almond
Canelones tradicionales de cerdo y hígado – Pork and foie gras canelones with bechamel sauce
Costillas de cordero con romesco – Grilled lamb ribs with romesco sauce
Croquetas de pollo – Traditional chicken fritters
Rape a la Donostiarra – Monkfish with garlic, Sherry and parsley oil
Chistorra envuelta en patata frita – Slightly spicy chorizo wrapped in crispy potato

Sangria Rabbit and chicken paella Ensaladilla rusa con cangrejo real y huevas de trucha Setas al ajillo con La Serena Endivias con queso de cabra y naranja Canelones tradicionales de cerdo y hígado Costillas de cordero con romesco Croquetas de pollo Rape a la Donostiarra

It’s hip. It’s happenin’. Delicious it is, but it bit pricey. It’s the trade off when you want to be trendy 😉

$ to Value Ratio: 3.5/5 Beeps
Yummy Factor: 4/5 Beeps
Texture Satisfaction: 4 Beeps
Average beeps: 3.83 Beeps

Mr. Sandwich

Mr. Sandwich
4215 Spring Mountain Rd
Ste B108
Las Vegas, NV 89102
(702) 838-2888

Milk Tea, Cafe Sua Da and Soy Milk Banh Beo

Mr. Sandwich a offshoot restaurant of Hue Thai and looks like it’s designed to be a quick meal stop. They’ve got a straight forward menu of quick vietnamese eats like sandwiches, curries and rice plates. When we come here we come for banh mi. Though the bread a little too buttery for my tastes, I like the efficiency and convenience of the place. Run in – get lunch and quench some thirst with fun drinks like a taro smoothie, soy milk and high in caffeine cafe sua da.

$ to Value Ratio: 4/5 Beeps
Yummy Factor: 3.5/5 Beeps
Texture Satisfaction: 3.25 Beeps
Average beeps: 3.58 Beeps

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 =)