Sunday, January 4, 2009

When my parents come to town...

...we eat well. My father, the director of a culinary school, and mother, a nurse who eats very well and is well traveled, were in town for much of this past weekend. Whenever we are together, the conversations start and finish with the time and location of our next meal, and the stuff in between is usually about what we just ate. Their plane from New York arrived a couple hours late on New Years Eve, so we were unable to go to Settebello for our NYE dinner as we had hoped. They showed up at my house at 11:50 PM, we sat down for the countdown and some Segura Viudas Cava from Valley Cheese and Wine, then headed to Black Mountain Grill for some late night grub. Please keep in mind, BMG is not a place I go during normal hours, but their 22oz Cowboy Steak is big, meaty, and cooked correctly, and at about $13 on their late night menu, is one of the best deals around. After a satisfying meal, we returned to my house, exchanged gifts, and decided against breakfast the next morning.

So it was Bouchon for brunch. Good choice. My "Chicken and Waffles" was wonderful, with a beautiful chasseur sauce for the chicken and some very good syrup for the more savory waffle preparation. The pastry basket was deliciously decadent. My dads mussels were perfectly cooked, and I can't even remember what anyone else had because I was so engrossed in my own dish.

We then wandered up through the Palazzo and Wynn to the brand new Encore, gandering at the restaurants along the way. After trying for a couple hours to get through to Raku by phone (which I will expand upon later), we decided to do Settebello for dinner. Settebello is Neapolitan pizza. It is very good pizza, and one of my favorite places to go, bar none. My parents enjoyed it and the sour red ale my dad and I shared was a pricey but worthy complement.

While dining that evening, we decided on Lotus of Siam for lunch, once again opting out of breakfast. If you haven't been to Lotus, you are truly missing out. The service is spotty at best, but who really cares when the food is delightful at worst. The Pad Thai makes my girlfriend swoon, and I can't think of a dish I couldn't recommend to any human with a working jaw (I may even recommend some of the soups to those without).

Next, we went over to Town Square and had some frozen yogurt at Yogurtland. I don't usually review such things. Why start now. After about 3:30 I started trying to call Raku once again. They were still not answering. I understood the day before being closed New Years Day, but they had no voice mailbox message saying they would be closed for any extended period of time. For that matter, they had no message stating their normal hours or when they do answer the phones to take reservations. I know they normally open at 6:00 so we headed over about then. We got there to find a sign on the door stating they were closed through January 4th. Thanks. Glad you waited until I got there to tell me. So, since my girlfriends brother and sister-in-law were in town also and staying at Red Rock, we headed over to Hachi for what turned out to be an excellent meal. Some things about the place were a bit weird to me, like the 10 course menu including the amuse and edamame as courses. To me, edamame in this case is like the bread throughout a coursed meal, it should be a given (this does not include the ridiculous bread courses at some places which edamame could never hope to match in variety). And I have never seen a place count their amuse as a course. Nonetheless, the food was very well executed and presented and I wholeheartedly recommend Hachi.

My parents took us back home, and we once again decided against breakfast. We just aren't morning people. It was fun while it lasted but my parents left Vegas around noon the next day, a little too early for us to catch another lunch. Hopefully they'll come back soon so I can justify another such adventure.

Brian William Waddell is a foodie, beer geek, and author. His numerous blog posts range from food to politics. He also has a book of poetry, Fractured Prose, available here, and is ready to publish his second poetic endeavor.

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