Sunday, June 7, 2009

Where I've Eaten Lately

An amateur food critic is at the mercy of his own pocketbook. Mine has not been very full lately, and, therefore, I haven't been doing too much eating out worthy of comment. I have been a couple places without reviewing them, so I will give them a little shout here.

I've heard for a few years that Pin Kaow, a Las Vegas Thai chain (3 in the valley), is at least serviceable and sometimes better than that. At lunch last week I found their Henderson location to be good at the basics we tried. The Pad Thai is definitely a good rendition, and since they are much closer to me than Lotus of Siam, I will probably be back sooner than later. The other items we tried were all fresh and tasty. The restaurant is nicely appointed and the service is solid (a notable departure from the other Thai place above).

Ping Pang Pong has been the place for dim sum in Las Vegas for as long as I've lived here, but I had never been there until a Mothers Day weekend visit with my parents and girlfriend. Lately there has been a buzz about China Mama and Beijing Noodle No. 9 for some of their dim sum items, but if they truly are better than triple P, I will be surprised (This next month is going to be busy for me on the Asian restaurant front). The dim sum selections are wonderfully executed, other selections are equally tasty, and the service is brisk and adequate.

All of the Green Valley area of Henderson seems to be abuzz about The Cracked Egg's fourth valley location in the Smith's shopping center at Green Valley and the 215. I went and found that, despite my doubts, there was a good reason for all the buzz. No matter what you order be sure to get some of their coffee cake. Fresh, warm and seemingly always with a different thing thrown into the mix (chocolate chips, apples, or cherries for instance), it is worth the trip by itself. Eggs are cooked to order correctly, everything tastes fresh, and service is on par with, if not a little better than, other good breakfast joints.

I have, no pun intended, heard mixed reviews of Mix at The Hotel at Mandalay Bay since before I moved to town. I now know the reason why. The restaurant itself is beautiful. From the view to the sedate yet surprisingly beautiful dining room, you can't go wrong with the ambiance here. The service matches the restaurant itself in its elegance and near perfection. The problem is, I don't go to restaurants for the ambiance. It helps, no doubt, when wooing a member of the opposite sex or a prospective client, but when I go to eat, I go to eat. I found the food to be haphazardly executed. The menu is well stocked with great combinations but the things I tried were not executed at close to the level that befits the price tag.

I guess I haven't been eating that poorly really. Throw in a couple requisite late night trips to Raku and the past month has provided some adequate, and sometimes superb, victuals. The next month and a half should hold Wazuzu, China Mama, Beijing Noodle No. 9, wherever I eat in Los Angeles, and of course a little Raku. Looks tasty.

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.

Pin Kaow thai on Urbanspoon
Ping Pang Pong (Gold Coast) on Urbanspoon
Cracked Egg on Urbanspoon
Mix (THEhotel) on Urbanspoon

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