The first time I went to Vegas it was under the usual circumstances, bachelorette party. The unusual thing about this was, I was pregnant. That sure sucked all of the fun out of the room. Well, you’d be surprised. I had a great time! I was probably 15 weeks, so I wasn’t showing. I partied as long as I could, sippin on my mocktails and this momma may have even got some glances at the pool parties, ha! Okay, that’s neither here nor there. I say this because most people who go to Vegas are focused on the party scene or are feeling lucky, so go gamble. What I didn’t expect was for Vegas to be such a booming foodie town.
The second time I went to Vegas was for a little parent get away, to celebrate my husband’s 32nd birthday. If you know my husband Matt, you know he can put away some food. Friends lovingly call him “the finisher” because once you are done with your meal, your leftovers go to him and he’ll finish it. While Matt loves to eat, he hates the club scene, so Vegas was never on his road-map. Well one thing lead to another and we booked our trip to Vegas. We decided to seek out the yummiest of foods, but while also staying as cost-effective as possible.
Below you will read a little about the restaurants that were either recommended to us, we read about or we stumbled upon. We ABSOLUTELY LOVED these!
Yard Bird (The Venetian):
Fried chicken is out of this world. Of course when going to Vegas, people are going to tell you about all of the touristy things you’ve gotta do. Inside of the Venetian, we were told that there was a gondola, that we had to ride. We didn’t ride it, but we did see it and happened to stumble upon Yardbird while walking around the hotel. Yardbird is a Southern Restaurant that started in Miami by Chef John Kunkel. In 2004, he opened another location as a tribute to his southern roots. Kimberly Ann Ryan, winner of Season 16 of Hell’s Kitchen, not only won $250,000, but also received the head chef position at the Southern restaurant. Just look at this chicken! Not only was it juicy with the perfect crisp, but the decor was very warm, inviting and intimate.
Black Tap (The Venetian):
I always tell my husband, while I love dessert, we do not have to choose a restaurant based on their desserts. I’m adventurous and am happy to eat dinner at one place and dessert at another. Also, inside the Venetian, is a burger place called Black Tap. The staff is attractive with their Black Tap t-shirts and we had the most impressive shake I’ve ever had. They say Texas does things big, but the Black Tap does some big shakes. We shared the Sweet and Salty shake and pretty much passed out after. If you love peanut butter, you’ll die over this one!
Eggslut (The Cosmopolitan):
While I do not necessarily agree with the term slut, I think it is demeaning and judgy. I do love this place! Go early and it’s best to go during the week. If you do go on the weekend, during prime breakfast time, there will be a line. Do us all a favor and wait. It is worth it. You can tell that they love eggs and do them very well. My favorite thing there is The Slut, cage-free coddled egg on top of a smooth potato purée, poached in a glass jar, topped with gray salt and chives, served with slices of baguette. It’s perfect.
Lotus of Siam (Off the Strip):
If you are a fan of the late Anthony Bourdain, you will love this place. It’s actually one of his all-time favorite Thai restaurants outside of Thailand. He says you must go here and when you get the menu, go straight to the Northern Section of the menu. Within this section, you can’t go wrong with any choice. My husband and I saw a little something called Khoa Soi, which had curry and coconut so why not try it? Until this day, I still think about this dish. Coming back to Chicago, we are in search for the perfect Khoa Soi, but nothing compares to the Lotus of Siam.
Other Mama (Off the Strip):
We actually got off the strip a lot during our time in Vegas. This restaurant was quite a hike from the strip, but I’d walk the deserts of Nevada to get there, on the hottest day. Chef Daniel Krohmer is a genius! This small, cool space seats less than 50 people. We had a reservation, they sat us at the bar, which was a great seat because you could see the kitchen, and the bartenders were so friendly and accommodating. If you live in Chicago, this place reminded me of an edgier Purple Pig. The lighting was dark, servers had tattoos and the industrial feel was strangely warm. Featured dishes were on the chalkboard, but the servers were crazy knowledgeable. They let us know what we should get. We might have ordered 10 dishes. Each were gorgeous, thoughtful and mind-blowingly delicious. If you do not listen to any of the other recommendation, listen to this one! Just check out a few of our favorites.
All and all, I love Chicago. I love the diverse food options and the hidden treasures. I will probably live there the rest of my life. It’s good to know there are other places I can visit that stand up against the city with broad shoulders. Vegas is that place and I can’t wait to return!