By Lehni Lester
Sup, Saturday morning? This week was a really busy / really lazy one. As you know, last weekend I was in Las Vegas (the rest of the week I was working and recovering) and because of that I didn’t make any new and exciting food so I thought I would just give you a run down of all the super delicious food my mom and I ate while we were there! (Warning: this is basically me just bragging about all the good food I ate. If you don’t have the energy to actually read about said delicious food just look for the restaurants I listed in bold.)
When we first began planning this trip I started my food planning really early. This is for two main reasons. First, food is freaking awesome and I wanted to eat really good shit while I was on my mini vacation. Second, I have a gluten allergy. It is pretty lame but what can you do? (Nothing, you can do nothing. FYI.) So, due to the fact that I wanted not only awesome, but also gluten free food, I spent most of my planning time on food alone (because who cares were you sleep, it’s Vegas).
For my research I started out with Find Me Gluten Free. It is a pretty great website / app for those of us who have this ridiculously stupid food limitation. As with any review site, sometimes you have to take the info with a grain of salt. I really hadn’t used the app before but I have to admit that some of the users had some super helpful information in their reviews.
After getting a solid list of restaurants from FMGF I also Yelped that shit. I wanted to make sure that normal people thought that the food was good too. Not just people who can’t enjoy that wonders of wheat, barley, and rye. Overall, my research worked out really well and my mom and I didn’t eat a single meal that we didn’t love.
Here is your guide to eating in Vegas, I’ve got breakfast, lunch and dinner covered! (Trust me, I’m an “expert”.)
We had breakfast two days in Vegas and this was a meal that certainly did not disappoint! Our first breakfast was at Mon Ami Gabi, a French bistro / steakhouse in Paris Las Vegas. I had some super bitchin’ blueberry waffles with date glazed bacon and my mom had a pancake special that had fresh peaches and plums on top. Get ready for a very delicious but very, very sweet meal. These guys are not afraid of the sugary stuff but it was oh so satisfying and definitely filling. (For you gluten free folks out there, the waffles and French toast were GF at request, but pancakes are a no go.)
For our second breakfast we did the Buffet at the Bellagio. It is one of the more spendy (ed note: "spendy" is a very Montana term for expensive) breakfast options out there (we actually did weekend brunch which is more expensive than week day breakfast but I also believe there are more options) but I think I successfully got my money’s worth. There are SO MANY OPTIONS so for the love of God, please DO NOT go to the freaking Bellagio buffet and get scrambled eggs and bacon. If you do, not only are you wasting your money but you are also just a general disappointment. The lady at the table next to us spent 40+ dollars for a bowl of yogurt and a plate of fruit. You heard me right. I, on the other hand, know how to do a buffet right. If I am going to spend that kind of money you can bet your boozy, Vegas ass that I am going to eat the shit out of some prime rib, shrimp cocktail, smoked salmon, and multiple pieces of cake. Overall, they had some really solid food and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. (Again, for you gluten free folks, I was pleasantly surprised by the service here. I asked the hostess that seated us if the dishes were marked with allergens. They were not but she brought the chef out from the kitchen and he walked through the entire buffet with me and showed me everything I could and couldn’t eat!)
Lunch was generally not a top priority for us. I had done a lot of research on breakfast and dinner spots and we basically planned on eating lunch on the fly if we got hungry (as you can imagine I wasn’t terribly hungry after 3 plates at Bellagio). However, the one time we did stop for lunch I was really wishing I had been hungry enough to eat more of a meal because it was fantastic! My mom and I stopped in at El Segundo Sol after we watched a cute little fashion show at the mall. We split a chicken quesadilla and each got our own Elote and a margarita (duh). Obviously I had to have a quesadilla on a corn tortilla, and it was the best smelling and tasting tortilla I have had in a good long time. These guys make tortillas in house and you could definitely tell. The Elote corn on the cob was a great snack too. If you aren’t familiar with this style of corn you should definitely try it out. It is easy to make at home and is a fun and delicious way to spice up your standard corn on the cob! (Gluten free menu available.)
We were fortunate enough to get to experience three different dinner joints in Vegas and I would definitely recommend all of them. Our first night in town we power walked down to New York New York and ate at Nine Fine Irishmen. When it comes to a place like this, you can’t go wrong by sticking with the “traditions” section of the menu. My mom got the Irish Bangers and loved it! I went with lamb stew, which was also delicious and was served in a super-awesome bucket! These guys have indoor and outdoor seating but if the band is there definitely sit inside. They were a ton of fun to listen to and it really enhanced the whole pub experience. (Gluten free menu available.)
Our second dinner was a late night meal after we went to “O”, the Cirque de Soleil show. We were a long distance from some other places we had in mind and it was getting late enough that a lot of places were closed so we headed back to Mon Ami Gabi for a second time to hit up their dinner menu and it was just as good, if not better, than breakfast here. As a general rule I NEVER order steaks at restaurants. I love steak but am disappointed almost every time I order it. It is tough not to have very high steak / meat expectations when you grow up with a dad who really knows his way around the grill. But in Vegas I decided to throw caution to the wind and order up the Steak Classique. Holy hell you guys. I didn’t know it was possible for restaurant steak to be that delicious and tender. The maitre d’hotel butter that came with it was absolutely outstanding and I was in foodie heaven for the rest of the night. They even brought me some gluten free toast to start with so that was a bonus for them too. My mom still wasn’t terribly hungry at this point so she stuck with the warm goat cheese salad and really enjoyed it. We topped the night off with some crème brulee. Shit yes. This place also has indoor and outdoor seating. For breakfast we did inside so we could be seated faster but for dinner we bit the bullet and waited for an outdoor table and it was definitely worth it. Eating a delicious meal and watching people walk by on the strip at 11 on a Saturday night is quite the experience. (Gluten free dinner menu available.)
Our last meal in Vegas was the one I was anticipating the most of all. We made the trek off the strip about a mile and went to Fogo de Chao Brazilian Steakhouse. It would take a writer far more talented than me to be able to accurately describe how awesome the food was at this place. Basically you just need to go. That is it. I will tell you three things to get you started though. 1. Get the smoked salmon with basil sauce. It was mind blowing. 2. Get two plates when you go to the buffet line, one for the market bar and one for all of the meat that they will bring you. 3. Don’t eat a bunch of salad and fill yourself up before you say you are ready for them to bring the meat around on those huge ass skewers. Get your salads, etc. then ask for the meat immediately so that you can eat them together and balance our your meal and flavors a little more. Be warned that this is probably the most expensive meal I have ever paid for but freakin’ #yolo. Fork out the cheddar for this one. I promise it is worth it. (Allergen menu available, make sure you pay close attention or hold on to a copy so you can refer to it when they are bringing all the meats around.)
Well, if you stayed with me for this long, congrats! Things got a little out of hand with this one but at least you are now armed with some excellent Vegas dining recommendations next time you are there. Next week I promise to write about something homemade that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, and give some more of my ever-questionable “expert” advice. Cheers.