viva Las Vegas

I’m finding it somewhat difficult to write about my recent trip to Las Vegas, since the words that immediately want to burst out are Michael Jackson Michael Jackson Michael Jackson.

Michael Jackson.

Since I have a love for all things circus and the manfriend knew what was good for him (the path of least resistance), we went to the newest Cirque du Soleil show on the strip: Michael Jackson One at Mandalay Bay. I don’t think it was as good as the traveling Michael Jackson Immortal, which I saw in Vancouver twice, but it was definitely one of my favorites. I’ve had Michael Jackson playing on my iPhone on repeat since. If you go to Vegas, please go see this show.

Pre-Michael Jackson, we had dinner at Aureole, and because I don’t half-ass things I opted for the three-course Michael Jackson One menu. My appetizer (poorly pictured – iPhone photo, sorry) was one of the best dishes I’ve ever had, but I won’t tell you exactly what was in it because I plan to recreate it and serve it whenever I have anyone over for dinner, and they will be hopelessly impressed with my stolen (adopted?) culinary pairings. (Start sucking up for a dinner invitation now.) My main course was hangar steak, which is a big trend in the carnivore world at the moment (at least I think it is- it seems to be popping up in a lot of food magazines lately, but it’s possible I’ve just been ignoring the meat scene for too long and hangar steak has always been in). Anyway, it had great flavor but was too chewy for my tastes. It also came with some veggies and shrimp scampi that were excellent. I had chocolate cake for dessert, which did not exceed expectations, but perhaps my expectations were too high after the first two courses. Ultimately I would highly highly highly recommend a visit to Aureole. They also have the most ridiculous wine list (2,400+, to be navigated via iPad) I’ve ever seen, complete with a ninja attached to belaying ropes who went up and down the three-storey tower of wine tracking down whatever was ordered.

Now that my Michael Jackson experience has been dutifully covered, I do want to mention how strange I find it that there are so many world class, award-winning chefs opening restaurants in Vegas, particularly since the local / organic / fresh / wild food movement is so prevalent these days. I don’t picture Nevada as a farming state. However, we had another brilliant meal at Mon Ami Gabi (Paris), where we go for dinner every time we visit Vegas (which is seemingly quite often). I also sampled almond croissants and macarons from Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bakery (the Venetian), which I was very excited to find since I have already been experimenting with the cookbook. The macarons were to-die-for (the salted caramel… There are no words) so I’m pretty sure I’ll be testing that recipe in the near future.

Overall my Vegas trip was pretty tame; we ate a lot and drank a lot and hung out by the pool and went to a show. Had it not been tame, however, I wouldn’t tell you – what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, after all.

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