Wednesday, September 26, 2007

What Happens in Vegas, Goes to Straight to My @$$

Before I moved to New Orleans, I promised to say good-bye to the Western United States the proper way. Thus, I stayed for a week in the Wynn Hotel and Casino. Unfortunately, I paid for it dearly. Both out-of-pocket and straight-onto-my-behind.

My entire experience can be summed up into thirteen eloquent words: "I friggin' ate Kobe beef and foie gras in one day! Whoa mama!" Despite these articulate words, PETA would have had a field-day on my face if they knew what I consumed at Vegas.

When a friend and I first arrived at the Wynn, my friend and I began our day with a few simple breakfast items. A spot of tea. Some fresh fruit. And a breakfast bagel. Quite good, but nothing blogworthy.

We followed up on our uneventful breakfast with a late lunch at Okada, a nice (but not entirely "upscale") restaurant in the Wynn. There, we temporarily appeased our voracious appetites with a warm bowl heaping with salted edamame beans. We pulled the edamame pods between the rows of our clenched teeth and munched heartily on the firm and verdant legumes, in eager anticipation of our next course.

For me, I stuck to the not-so-basic, and daringly ordered seared foie gras with barbequed eel, braised daikon, and leek-miso mustard.

Now I am not an avid fan of foie gras, but I actually was hypnotized by the contrasting textures of the duck liver. The foie gras was creamy and supple in the interior, yet caramelized and hardened at the edges. It was not grainy, tough, or overcooked, but possessed a subtle, milky, and custard-like texture. Unfortunately, the foie gras was a tad overpowered by a sodium-enriched liquid, which seemed as if it mainly consisted of soy sauce, soy sauce, and concentrated soy sauce. The alleged "mustard" was undetectable to my naked taste buds. However, the softened cubes of braised daikon and the intricate rectangles of crisp noodle skins were delicious accompaniments.

My friend and I shared the Chilean sea bass in a yuzu-soy sauce with braised taro and wild mushrooms. The sea bass came wrapped in parchment paper that had been twisted at the ends into a savory package reminiscent of a hard peppermint candy. As I opened the paper package, I was greeted with soft and gentle billows of steam. The fish meat was delicate and tender and it trembled slightly with the smallest disturbance. As excellent fish does, it melted in my mouth like a snowflake melts on one's tongue.

However, our day of sinful indulgence and decadence was not over yet. For dinner, my friend and I ambled on over to The Country Club: A New American Steakhouse, in the Wynn. There, I started with an appetizer of sea scallops and roasted artichokes bathing gently in a sweet pea ver jus. The scallops looked like amusingly stumpy marshmallows, and were tender and fresh with the essence of the sea. Similarly, the texture of the artichoke hearts was akin to that of a warm and fluffy baked potato.

But the most memorable item of the entire Vegas trip was my main dish that evening: I ordered a five-ounce serving of kobe beef (off the menu).

That evening, my Kobe beef cherry was popped.

I remember letting the first bite-sized portion of Kobe beef sit in my mouth without chewing. As greasy, yet immaculately tender portion of meat sat motionless in my mouth. Like a child with a tablespoon of goopy Robitussin in her mouth, I didn't know whether to swallow or let it sit there. I didn't want to do either.

Thankfully, I can't adequately describe what eating Kobe beef is like. But it actually wasn't a pleasant experience for me. Imagine scooping up a spoonful of butter that has been sitting on the counter that day and smearing it all over the walls of your mouth. Or squeezing a piece of spongy, oil-saturated bread into a fist-sized ball and swallowing it one whole gulp. Weird? Definitely. But I promise you my friends, that is what Kobe beef tastes like. And for even for a Passionate Eater, 5 ounces was too much.


  1. Wow, the food looks AMAZING! Have you tried Red 8 at the Wynn? Thats my favorite restaurant for lunch there...

  2. Incredible food!!!!
    Wish I am there!!

  3. foie gras with soy sauce?! that is so strange to me! how dare it overpower the foie gras! boo. how sad about the kobe beef eating experience!

  4. That kobe beef looks like a really bad meatloaf.
    But, you tried it. My god, girl, what an appetite!

  5. Now there is a woman with taste and style - love the writing, love the photos :-)

  6. I love the title of this entry LOL

    I'm not too excited to try kobe beef though...


  7. Not only would PETA be on your a**, but the American Heart Association as well! haha. My goodness, foie gras AND Kobe beef in one day?

    Sorry that your fatty steak tasted like, well...fat. lol. I DO want to try it some day though, but at least I know not to get my hopes up. =)

  8. Too bad your Kobe beef hopes were dashed. So sad.
    The Kobe beef picture was on screen when my husband walked through. He asked me if it was meatloaf! Cookiecrumb and my husband are on the same wave link!
    So...did you win anything in Vegas?

  9. wow! quite a trip. i think my butt just got a little bigger looking at those pics ;)

    i could really go for that egg and cheese bagel.

  10. I just had kobe beef for the first time...and thank God it was in little itty bitty pieces. It was delicious, but like candy, I think it's meant to be enjoyed in small portions. I can't imagine a 16 ounce block of candy, and now I don't have to imagine eating a big piece of kobe beef! Thanks for taking one for the team!

  11. What fun! And that is the point of trying new things, sometimes they will not be your "thing" (but at the price of kobe beef you would hope to really enjoy it!)

  12. I sooooo want to go to Vegas for the food!

  13. Food looks great! I need to go to Vegas soon to eat :)

  14. Was the friend the beau? =)

    I'm not, by nature, a gambling man. However, the gloves come off when I hit Vegas. It's not a question of how much money I'll lose, it's how many pounds I'll gain. Still more worthwhile than playing the slots.

  15. I'm not much of foie gras fan myself, but the rest of the meals look fantastic here.

  16. The photos are so great, I have a heard time reading any of your writing! I come back just to see the yummy photos.

  17. Sig, I have tried Red 8, and I do like it there! Thanks for the suggestion!

    And I agree everyone, it was a "little" unfortunate for the foie gras and Kobe beef. But I am so fortunate to have been able to try them!

  18. After reading this I am even more bummmed I didn't get to meet you for your leaving brunch. I am pretty certain we would have got along famously. There is nothing I love more than being a little bit excessive in vegas.

  19. Oops, Chubby Panda and Melinda, I didn't answer your questions! I didn't win anything, and I actually went with my DAD and not the beau!

  20. the sea bass en papillote looks nice. one thing i would've done differently preparing it, i would've taken off the ride of the lemon because it leaves a bitter taste on the part of the fish it sits on.

    did it taste bitter at all to you?

  21. That's too bad you didn't enjoy your Kobe steak. I paid ~$85.00 for mine in Kobe, Japan and couldn't be happier with the meal. They didn't serve it like that to me though... it was cut into cubes and seared on a teppan style grill in front of me. So it was crispy but the meat was tender and melted away in my mouth.

    I would pay upwards of $100.00 for a proper Kobe steak in North America so that's too bad you didn't like it.


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