Friday, January 27, 2012

What Happens in Vegas Gets Posted on Blogs

So what had happened was - I spent time with good friends, gained five pounds, and discovered the natural beauty of Las Vegas. And by that I do not mean that I went to a strip club that specializes in chicks with real boobs. Although now that I've said that, I kind of smell a new business venture!

I've found myself in Vegas twice in the last few months because my best friend recently moved there. We met and became fast friends while working for a golf course in Irvine, CA in 2006. Since then, she became a pastry chef and spent time living and working in Chicago, IL. Vegas isn't exactly down the street, but it's close enough that we can see each other every couple months. She's gorgeous, hilarious, sharp, and extremely talented.

My beautiful friend Stephanie Boswell during her days at Naha in Chicago
Generally my time with Stephanie is like a lazy Saturday only with another person present. We watch DVDs for hours--favorites include Ali G, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Dave Chappelle, Arrested Development, and dance movies--and sit around in lounge pants while we giggle and gossip. However, for this trip, I did my herr, put on some heels, and met up with some college friends at Steph's restaurant. 

Steph works at Sage in the Aria hotel, and I'm going to do my best to walk you through my culinary journey there. I don't have the most sophisticated palette and tend to lean toward comfort food over fine dining, so my fine dining lexicon is limited. I pretty much have no idea what I'm talking about. 
Ees so swanky! Picture me on the far right, eating a poached egg like it's my job
The lounge area is so beautiful and has plenty of seating space to accommodate small groups. I sat at the bar while I waited for my college friends to arrive and ate the menu item that had been haunting my dreams. Blessing my dreams, actually. A slow-poached organic farm egg with smoked potato and shaved winter truffles and toasted country bread.

Words and pictures cannot even come close. Go eat this right now.

I was sippin' on a "desert shrub" cocktail as well. It was fantastic and unexpected. Tequila, prosecco, pink grapefruit, and purple sage. Everyone knows citrus and tequila go well together, but mostly people go with lime.  Have you seen people drink tequila and squirt? It's good and cheap. I love tequila, fresh grapefruit juice, and a bit of sprite to achieve a more high end version of that. The desert shrub took it to another level. Beyond.

Real bits of grapefruit in there. Classy. Pic via
Next I had the seared bigeye tuna sashimi with baby artichoke, preserved lemon, and oil cured olives. The best sashimi I've ever had, hands down. So flavorful. When my friends arrived we had the roasted sweetbreads with glazed bacon (YUM), creamy white polenta (YESSSS), and trumpet mushrooms. I've been afraid of sweetbreads a little, but they are not scary. I wasn't amazed by them, though. The glazed bacon and creamy white polenta could show up on my table every day, and I wouldn't mind. The list goes on, and it is long. We had oxtail crostinis with sweet and sour onions, a delicious variety of artisan salumi, grilled spanish octopus, and crispy rainbow trout with green beans. I also added a "hemingway daquiri" to the mix, which was made of ten cane rum, maraschino liqueur, and fresh lime and grapefruit.

Now we must talk about two fine dining staples that I have never in my life even considered trying. In fact, I didn't know what one of them was until we checked with Professor Google. Beef tartare and foie gras.  The foie gras is made into a custard that is served like a brulee, garnished with blood oranges and cocoa nibs, and served with salted brioche rolls. This dish is probably the most decadent thing I have ever eaten, and even the brioche rolls by themselves are dangerous. Given everything else that we had eaten, a few bites of this was sufficient. Next time, I think I would start with this (and share it with someone) so I could savor every last bite.

Foie gras custard brulee
Another name for this post could have been "Discovering How Many Ways I Can Consume Poached Eggs in One Meal" because the most attractive part of the wagyu beef tartare was the freakin' egg. The dish is also served with a crushed caper aioli, pickled mustard seeds, and crispy chocolate. The crispy chocolate was a fun, unexpected element that I really enjoyed. The chocolate and beef kind of melted together in your mouth as one rich, savory morsel with just a touch of sweetness.

Wagyu Beef Tartare. Oh you fancy, huh?
For dessert, we had the crunchy chocolate and peanut butter tart with a cassis sphere and toasted marshmallow sauce, the passion fruit mousse with huckleberries and white chocolate, almond sponge cake, and namelaka, the warm apple-fennel strudel with hazelnut crumble and brown butter ice cream, the flexible chocolate with candied walnuts and carmelized white chocolate ganache, and a pear dish that is no longer on the menu unfortunately. All the desserts were good, but the passion fruit mousse and chocolate and peanut butter tart seemed a little out of place. Sage is embraces the "farm to table" philosophy and uses primarily local and in-season food. I don't think passion fruit is either of those things. Also, the chocolate and peanut butter tart was yummy but didn't come across as uniquely upscale like the rest of the menu items.

It took almost four hours to eat that meal, which is why it took me hours to write this post. I'm guessing it might have taken you just as long to read it. If you are reading these words, in fact, I both congratulate you and thank you.

My next installment - Red Rock Canyon!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...