To celebrate NINE years of marriage (what? are we that old? how did this happen?) Ian and I took a little trip to the desert to see family and friends and to enjoy the eating treasures that Las Vegas offers. Bobby Flay, Mario Batali, Huber Keller are just a few of the celebrity chefs that have restaurants there... And I intended to try as many as possible in our short trip... because the Food Network is my other bible.
Carnevino was stop number one on the Johnston Eating Anniversary Vegas Tour 2010. One word: burger. More words: pancetta (bacon), creamy white cheddar, crisp red onion and a house-made cherry and red wine mustard with black truffle mayo and... um, drool. Best. Burger. Ever.Served with a pitch perfect arugula salad with sunny fresh lemon and herb dressing-- tingly, fragrant, crispy-clean perfection. Topped off with a side of spicy red pepper sauteed spinach. Mario Batali, I love you; you, and your long, unruly hair and crazy ways and goofy Crocs... Your Carnevino burger changed my life. Crazy, crazy, crazy good.
Next stop, Hash House A Go-Go for the NY Times-touted sage fried chicken and bacon waffles with maple reduction. Um... yeah. For reals. This picture doesn't do it justice. It was more golden. And delicious! Chicken and waffles! Love it! Though I would have preferred a crispier waffle, the strips of extra crispy bacon nestled in the spongy folds of waffle goodness were divine. (If you were an extra crispy bacon strip wouldn't you want to be enveloped in light, buttery, pillowy waffle? It would be quite nice.)
Dinner was at Bobby Flay's Vegas hot spot, Mesa Grill. I neglected to take pictures of the adventures in eating, but suffice it to say everything was very, very yummy. My fillet mignon was tender and crusty and juicy and huge. The cornmeal encrusted chile relleno with white cheddar and black beans was delicioso! So was the goat cheese fundido (cheese dip,) and Ian's 16-spice-rubbed chicken was out of this world. All in all, a wonderful meal but slightly less overwhelmingly wonderful as the first.
After dinner we were on our way to see the Lion King, so, regrettably, we did not have time to get dessert. The dessert menu was tantalizing, and if I ever find myself out that way again a special dessert stop will be made. However, with almost no calorie left behind, our Vegas eating tour was a success. (And maybe in another nine years we will have worked off all those calories and can go back.)