Sleep schedules get a bit messed up in Vegas, and today we start the day off with lunch at SLS Las Vegas' Ku Noodle, by chef José Andrés. This restaurant is Andrés' homage to the varied, rich asian cuisine. This casual dining establishment offers homemade noodles, a variety of dumplings, and unique, inventive cocktails.
The restaurant is fairly small and simple. The place is made larger and brighter by lining the walls with mirrors covered in hand-written Asian lettering in red, yellow and black, which gives a unique decorative touch. If you look above the mirrored walls, there are red and white bags of rice lining the shelf by the ceiling. A unique, inexpensive method of decorating that added a really authentic touch. Another nice detail is the ability to sit near the entrance, which affords a view of the chefs creating and hand pulling the noodles before your very eyes. Very cool!
Slightly skeptical, and not overly hungry, we ordered a sharing plate of dumplings called Lucky 12 ($20.88), which is a combination of the three steamed dumpling (Siu Mai) flavours offered by the restaurant. The three variations are as follows:
The dumplings were lovingly prepared and delivered to us in a steamer basket. They were adorable little morsels, and the shrimp variety were even flecked with gold leaf! Oh, Vegas! You're so extravagant! The dumplings were served with a black vinegar for dipping, and my oh my are they mouth watering. They are super delicate in both texture and flavour, and pork didn't overpower the light taste of the seafood at all. The chicken dumplings, however, remain our favourite, and we could have eaten about a million of them. They were so good, in fact, that we ordered one more item from the menu before leaving. The alcohol was certainly working its magic!
Our server was very thorough and sweet, and was sure to keep us topped up on water, and kept us well informed about everything we chose. Ku Noodle was a wonderful taste experience. So wonderful, in fact, that we returned the day before our departure, but unfortunately, they were closed that day. Sad face. We have many great reasons to go back, though, and so many things we have yet to sink our teeth into! If you're a fan of Asian flavours, then you should definitely give this place a shot if you ever find yourself in Sin City.
It's ok. This secret can definitely leave Las Vegas!
Finally back to the grind! We're back from our super long vacation. We visited my family in East Coast Canada, and lost literally tens of dollars in Las Vegas, Nevada (You can read more about our Vegas adventures starting here). I'm now home and back in the kitchen, again, even if I'm a bit behind on the recipes.
Our first few days home were extremely rough. The jet lag hit us like a ton of bricks, and we've been doing lots of sleeping and lazy meals. Needless to say, it took a bit before I was feeling up to cooking again, but the other day I decided to make a little Indian-inspired curry for dinner, and I have this tasty little recipe for homemade naan bread with crushed garlic and chopped chives that I thought would be perfect on the side for soaking up all that leftover goodness on the plate. Best of all, it takes very little time to prepare and bake. I've used this recipe before for buffets, and had to make extra since my coworkers kept eating it all up.
The dough is simple and straightforward without a lot of fuss, and it's even easier if you have a mixer (which I don't, yet because they cost an absolute fortune here). The results are a fluffy naan bread with a light herb and garlic flavour that's miles beyond the dried out stuff you find in stores. It freezes quite well, and you can even grill it!
Lots of walking on vacation means the need for hydration, though, and we stopped in for a little break in Luxor's Aurora bar. This bar is located in the lobby near the front desk, and has a unique lighting feature that is based on the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights. I can highly suggest the Green Wave, a blend of Malibu rum, Captain Morgan spiced rum, Blue Curacao, pineapple juice, orange juice and Sweet & Sour). It's a bit pricey at $11, but it's a very tasty beverage indeed!
After eating lunch at Gordon Ramsay's BurGR, we waddled on our way to the Luxor, an Egyptian-themed black glass pyramid complete with giant sphinx in the heart of the Las Vegas Strip. This hotel is known for the light that shines at the tip of the pyramid at night, called the "sky beam". While the rumour that you can see the Sky Beam from space is a myth, it's still an impressive, and expensive, piece of technology, with each of the 39 7,000 watt bulbs in the fixture costing $1,200!
After our relaxing break in the lobby bar, we moved on to the Bodies exhibit, which offers visitors a unique view on the intimate workings of the human body by using meticulously preserved and dissected corpses that were donated to science. As morbid as this may seem, the bodies are treated with the utmost respect and displayed tastefully so that others can learn from the process. There is no photography allowed during the exhibit, so I used a few pictures from the Bodies website, which you can find here.
After a fabulous and magical show, we took one more hop over to Cafe Gelato for a night cap, indulging in another tasty sphere and coffee, this time choosing the raspberry cheesecake. It was amazingly creamy and wonderfully balanced between rich and tart. To sum up indulgence in Las Vegas in a nutshell, this is a place where gold is not only purchased and worn, but eaten as a garnish on elaborate sweets, as you can see in the photo.
After so many sights, sounds and sweets, we headed back to our hotel for a very long, much-needed sleep.
Our final activity for the night was to see the wonderful aquatic O by Cirque du Soleil, which has permanent residence at the Bellagio. Unfortunately, there is no photography allowed in this show, either, for the safety of the performers. People learned this lesson the hard way, however, by receiving fines for trying. O takes place in and around a 1.5 million gallon (5,700 cubic meter) pool of water with moving platforms, and every member of the cast is scuba certified. The story isn't so much a storyline as it is a theme that pays tribute to the beauty of the theater, and it focuses on a young man, Philemon, who is transported to a magical land. Acts you can expect to see are aerial hoops and trapeze, contortion, clowns, high diving, synchronized swimming, Russian swing, fire acts, and much more. You can see the official trailer for the show below.
Who has the better burger? Michelin golden boy Gordon Ramsay, or fusion favourite Umami Burger? I'm about to find out and let you know all the gritty details. Get ready for battle of BurGR vs. Burger!
In the Red Corner
Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay sets up shop in Planet Hollywood just off the Miracle Mile to offer tasty bites after a long day of shopping. The restaurant's most impressive feature, other than the hostesses in tiny dresses, is their giant flaming BurGR sign at the front entrance which is both visible from the outside and inside of the restaurant (and very hot to stand beside in line to get in). The scottish chef owns 25 restaurants globally, and boasts an impressive 7 Michelin stars between them! The restaurant focuses on traditional burgers, fries and shakes with a twist. His burgers use prime cuts of beef and are grilled over an open flame fueled by hard woods. He also offers a large selection of cocktails and craft beers.
In the Blue Corner
After coming down from the glorious tower, we then looked around Paris, Las Vegas a short bit, and made our way to Planet Hollywood to eat at celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay's burger restaurant, BurGR. We had to wait a half hour to even get in the door, and the decor is lots of fiery colours with Gordon's face on everything, complete with a flaming sign. As a starter, we ordered Roasted Jalapeno Poppers, which are deep-fried treats of jalapeno peppers stuffed with cheddar bacon and breaded. They came with cheddar ranch dip. The first popper was mild and flavourful and the perfect-tasting treat, but the following poppers were so hot I could barely eat them, and jalapenos just aren't that hot. I had nothing to drink but chlorinated water and a cocktail, so there was no helping the burn, which ruined the taste a bit for me. The dip was very nice and had a slight cooling effect, though, and the breading was super thick and crunchy, and stayed crunchy while eating.
”Damn, it’s hot” is what my husband heard plenty of in Las Vegas, and with good reason. I’ve never experienced anything much over 30 degrees, and it’s minimum 35 degrees on a cool day. Day one in Las Vegas, and we decided to walk from Stratosphere down the strip to the other hotels. Yeah, we’re apparently insane, but that sort of thing fits in around here.
After a bit of hotel hopping from Treasure Island to the Palazzo, we ended up in the Venetian, an Italian-themed hotel. These Las Vegas hotels are incredibly huge that it’s hard to believe that you’re in a hotel at all. The Venetian contains a shopping mall, indoor canals where you can hitch a ride on a gondola and be serenaded by a man in a striped shirt, and a magnificent vaulted ceiling painted to look like the sky to give guests the feeling of being outdoors. We were suckered into a tea shop called Teavana by free samples that tasted amazing. So amazing that we bought $25 worth of tea and a to-go drink. In case you’re wondering, raspberry lemonade tea sweetened with German rock sugar. It was so good that we had to fight over the cup, and it was gone in about 5 minutes. Yes, it was that good.
After wandering around for a while, we ended in Caesar’s Palace, which has the same painted ceiling design. We decided to have dinner under the beautiful false sky beside the Fountain of the Gods under Pegasus at restaurant Trevi by chef Peter Scaturro. We went directly for a main course of Linguine al Frutti di Mare, a pasta dish with lobster, scallops, and shrimp with linguine in a cream sauce. We also received a basket of bread and olive oil for dipping. We paired our pasta with a delicious little glass of German Riesling white wine. Unfortunately, the wine was the only delicious thing about our meal. The pasta we chose was not only the most expensive pasta on the menu at $30, but it was their signature dish. It lacked any taste whatsoever with no seasoning and the scallops were undercooked. The shrimp and lobster were cooked well enough with more seasoning than the rest of the dish. I expected an experienced chef to at least know how to use salt, but alas, no. The cream sauce was bland. If I were served a glass of warm cream, it would still contain more flavour than the sauce this restaurant produced. The side bread was dry like it had sat for a half day before serving it to customers, but at least it had a fine flavour of sage, so there’s that. Don’t waste your money, folks. There are plenty of better Italian restaurants out there and they’re better value for your money. The experience wasn’t even romantic. It was just loud, but at least it was pretty.
Now as much as I hate to leave a post on a low note, let me remind you that this is still day one of our Las Vegas adventure! There are plenty of great things to come, so keep an eye our for new posts, pictures, and reviews of things we've eaten along the way.
I'm hoping to keep you updated on our trip to Las Vegas, and share the treats we've gotten along the journey. Blistering hot weather calls for MANY cool drinks and refueling to keep us energized.
We're not exactly what you'd call "morning people" here, so our first official day started around 11 am when the sun was a roasting 35 degrees Celsius. Thick layers of sunscreen for everyone!! The plan was simple: make our way down the strip and see as many hotels as we could manage, starting from our end of the strip: Stratosphere Hotel and Casino. It's a fair walk to the next hotels, so we ducked and dived in and out of shops along the way to get cooled off, and at some point I had to buy sandals with thicker soles because mine were actually burning! This was serious, and it meant we just had to make more stops and enjoy some tasty Las Vegas beverages to cool down our poor sun-scorched bodies (not counting the bottles of water on us at all times)..
Our first casino stop on our journey was Circus Circus Hotel and Casino, which is a fair distance to walk when wind is blowing in from the 7th circle of hell. Let me tell you. Vegas is an assault to the senses. I was like a child running around looking at everything, pointing at things, and saying "Look at that!". It's an awesome feeling! Vegas hotels are HUGE, so, of course, we took a pit stop for a little sippy. Our first stop was a little coffee and pastry shop in Circus Circus called Barista Bagels & More. I got an iced coffee and my husband a regular black. I don't know if it was because we arrived right before closing, but it just wasn't that great. The coffee was really weak and comparable to industrial-brewed coffee, where 20L at a time is brewed, and the vats are never cleaned (yes that's a thing). Disappointing for a place that calls themselves Barrista. The staff were pleasant, though, and apparently we share a last name with the cashier's daughter, so there's that. Watery, bland, and I didn't get the hazelnut syrup I asked for. Not a great start, but we can't get down over one coffee. Onward!
Circus Circus has an absolutely HUGE arcade and midway. We stopped in and played some Mario Kart where Michael came 1st and I came 3rd, which isn't bad for someone who can't drive, right? We wandered around the midway, which goes in a ring on the floor above the casino. If you look way up, you can catch some high-flying acrobatics where they fly around on trapezes! Pretty cool. They had every type of carnival game imaginable to win all sorts of prizes, but we had our eyes on mini minion plushies. Minions were everywhere, and we found a horse racing game to win our prize. Unfortunately, we sucked, so no mini minion, but it could be were all our Vegas cash is invested in the future. With the shame of defeat, we moved on from the big top to the next hotel and casino.
I absolutely love to try new things, especially when it's an unexpected, new, exciting flavour. Denmark isn't nearly so adventurous when it comes to inventing new chip flavours, and when a contest to invent a new chip flavour arrived, the winner was "Ribs".. So boring!!
When we came to visit my parents in Atlantic Canada and we saw all the new, exciting flavours, we bought as many as we could find! Naturally!
So welcome to the official Quite Chefy weird chip taste test. We'll be testing ten different flavours of chips, rate them from 1 - 5 from terrible to delicious, and give a verdict on whether or not we would purchase them again.
The taste testers: Lea, my husband Michael, my aunt Bonny, and my mother and father, Carol and Harold. Family fun!
Chip One: Presidents Choice Maple Bacon
The chips will be judged based by smell, whether or not the taste delivers on promised flavour, and will be rated on a scale of 1 - 5, 5 being "I could eat a whole bag, then complain later about how fat I am", and 1 being "I'm offended that I had to put this in my mouth". In the end, we'll sum up the scores, and pick a favourite!
"Crunchy rippled potato chips with a maple bacon flavoured seasoning."
At first glance, we thought, what could go wrong? Bacon is the world's greatest condiment, and maple syrup is a delicious Canadian treasure. The description was pretty straightforward.
When we first opened the bag and inhaled the aroma of the chips, they certainly smelled of maple, but they also smelled of cheap bacon flavouring, which was disappointing right from the start. Crunch was great, and they were nice and thick so they didn't crumble to dust when we ate them, but taste-wise, they were lacking. They tasted like cheap bacon-flavoured chips with a sweet aftertaste, and the more we ate, the worse the sweetness became.
Average Rating 3.4 out of 5
Would eat, but would not purchase again.
Chip Two: Presidents Choice Canadian Burger
"Crunchy rippled potato chips made with a Canadian-inspired bacon cheeseburger seasoning and a hint of ketchup flavour."
There's not much better than a great burger, so the idea of Canadian Burger chips were really exciting and an excellent way of packing even more carbs into the diet.
I opened the bag and stuck my nose in, and immediately had regrets. It reminded me of bad produce, and transitioned into a bag of slightly old McDonalds mixed with dirty sock. Not exactly tempting to my poor tongue. Against my better judgement not to eat anything that smelled so foul, we ate the chips. The taste was shocking. The chips actually tasted like burgers, but not in the best way. It reminded us of a cold, day-old Burger King Whopper. You get a cheesy flavour first, which transitions into a ketchupy relish taste, and leaves you with the taste of charbroil at the end. These chips were shocking, weird, and confusing. They tasted better than they smelled for sure, and they left us with an aftertaste of ketchup and onion from a fast food burger. My brain and tongue are confused by these chips, and I think I'd rather just eat an All Dressed as opposed to these burger chips, if I should be honest.
Average Rating: 2.75 out of 5
While surprising, not overly pleasant. Would not purchase again.
Chip Three: Presidents Choice Sriracha
"Crunchy rippled potato chips with a spicy Asian-inspired seasoning blend."
We have a giant bottle of sriracha in our fridge, and we love the stuff. It's spicy, sour, a little sweet, slightly garlicky, and then even more spicy as it punches you in the face with hotness. For those of you who don't know, sriracha is a chili sauce/past made from chili, vinegar, sugar and salt. It's great with just about anything, so sriracha chips just had to be great, right?
As soon as the bag of chips were opened, we could smell the acidity in the chips paired with a nose-tingling chili scent. My mouth watered in anticipation! I'm not sure if they taste exactly like sriracha, but they have quite a spicy taste with a garlic kick.
Average Rating: 2,5 out of 5
Split decision. Half loved and half hated because they were deemed too spicy. Not me, I loved them, and would purchase again.
Chip Four: Presidents Choice Barbecue Baby Back Ribs
"Crunchy rippled chips made with a sweet barbecue rib seasoning blend.
What's not to like about a good, tender, juicy rib smothered in bbq sauce? That's the thought behind these chips.
Upon smelling them, we agreed that they smelled like Texas barbecue seasoning or premade barbecue spice. Not bad at all, but not really what we expected based on the explanation. They taste exactly like the spice, but with an added tang of cheap sour barbecue sauce and onion flakes. The aftertaste clings to the side of the tongue in a very unpleasant, sour way that slightly burned. They tasted nothing like rib, or any meat that I'd ever tasted in my life, and certainly never want to taste again.
Average Rating: 2 out of 5
Unanimous dislike. Would not purchase again.
DO NOT MIX BURGER AND RIB CHIPS TOGETHER FOR THE LOVE OF YOUR TASTE BUDS!!
Chip Five: Covered Bridge's Sweet Potato with Sea Salt
I'm not the biggest fan of sweet potato, but I can appreciate a good sweet potato fry with lots of salt and a hint of chili, so I thought these would be a fun taste test., and I know my mom loves them.
They had a good clean scent of sweet potato. The flavour was genuine and real. These chips weren't trying to be any other chip, and they were balanced well between sweet and salty. The aftertaste was also very clean and tasted of sweet potato. Great chip if you like the orange spuds! Can recommend!
Average Rating: 3.75 out of 5
Split decision based on personal opinion of sweet potatoes. Would possibly purchase again depending on the day's mood.
Chip Six: Covered Bridge's Lobster
You read that correctly. Lobster. Would these then be the lobster of chips? The smell was a bit off putting. They certainly didn't smell like lobster, but akin to dried seaweed. The chips themselves were unevenly cooked with lots of burn marks on them. Not promising at all.
They tasted more or less like they smelled. Not much of anything with a hint of seaweed, which lingered on the tongue. Did Covered Bridge even taste lobster before creating this chip flavour? I really doubt it, because lobster does NOT taste like seaweed!! Stop it!
Average Rating: 1.8 out of 5
Unanimous dislike. Would never ever purchase again.
Chip Seven: Presidents Choice Jalapeno Cheddar Popcorn
Yeah, yeah. Not a chip, but in the same salty snack category. Great popcorn is hard to beat, and my husband and I love a bit of spice. Unfortunately we taste tested them with my parents, who friend-zoned spicy things.
Upon opening the bag, it smelled like ordinary premade popcorn. In fact, it didn't have much scent at all, and the scent that was there was indescribable. Upon tasting the popcorn, we realized that there wasn't much flavour other than the overwhelming peppery taste of what was supposed to be jalapeno pepper. If you took a mouthful of popcorn, you could get a slight hint of cheddar flavour, but mostly it was just burn with no discernible popcorn or cheddar flavour.
Average Rating: 2.25 out of 5
Split decision based on tolerance of spicy food. Would possibly purchase again, but there are better popcorn flavours out there.
Chip Eight: Presidents Choice Aged Cheddar and Onion
Cheese and onion pair well together, so the hope was high for these chips to kick some tastebud butt (and I should really refrain from using the words tastebud and butt together). The smell from the bag was inexplicable. It smelled faintly of old cheesy sock, but the smell wasn't as alarmingly bad as the burger chips.
The taste of these chips was a bit like cheese powder with an aftertaste of aged, salty cheese. There was a familiarity to the flavour, and that flavour was Kraft Dinner cheese powder packets. It reminded me of eating way too much of the stuff as a kid, because I liked it, and as a college student because I was poor, and KD is cheap. The onion flavour is a bit lacking, or rather an afterthought. It tasted lightly of sour cream and onion chips. Not bad, but could be a bit better.
Average Rating: 3.25 out of 5
Average flavour. Would possibly purchase again.
Chip Nine: Presidents Choice Poutine
"Crunchy rippled potato chips made with a Quebecois-inspired gravy and cheese seasoning."
Ah Poutine. That artery-clogging salt bomb of french fries, gravy and cheese curds. So good yet so bad at the same time. It's a dangerous love affair and a rare treat for me. Poutine-flavoured chips? Oh baby that sounds awfully tempting, doesn't it? These just have to be good!
Opening the bag, no magical fry shop scent came from the bag. They smelled like potato chips with a slight roasted chicken chip (if you know what that is) scent about them. Oh no, please be good!
One chip, two chips, half the bag later...These chips deliver on flavour. You start with a slightly cheesiness, move into the chicken gravy flavour, and you get the obvious fried potato flavour from the chips. These are great, and were enjoyed by all in second and third helpings. Yummy!
Average Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Excellent. Would absolutely purchase again and regret eating the whole bag.
Chip Ten: Ruffles Loaded Potato Skin
Last but hopefully not least. Just like the poutine chips, loaded potato skin chips by Ruffles had the potential to be something great and amazingly tasty. What's not to like? Potato, sour cream, cheese and chive - a super tasty combination, right?
The initial sniff test revealed that these chips smelled like chips. There was no distinct flavour that jumped out as anything spectacular.
When first tasted, you could definitely taste sour cream and onion in there, but with a little extra something, but the other tastes didn't really stand out, except for a hint of cheese. The overall seasoning was actually quite faint and weak. The taste of greasy chip, however, was quite prevalent, and a bit sickening, which is often a trait of Ruffles chips.
Average Rating 3 out of 5 - straight average across the panel.
Mediocre. Would eat a couple, but would not purchase again.
Presidents Choice Poutine chips won the test with an outstanding 4.5 out of 5! Coming up second is Sweet Potato, and in last place, Maple Bacon.
I highly recommend trying the Sriracha chips by Presidents Choice if you like a little spice and sourness in your chip.
Thanks for joining me for the weird chip taste test, and I hope do do this again sometime with new and interesting products.
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Until next time, stay chefy!!
The awesome vacation continues! After a relaxing visit with family and friends in Canada, it's sadly time to say goodbye and move on. We continue our extended vacation to Sin City. Las Vegas, Baby! I'm SO excited for this. I've never been to Vegas before, and I'm looking forward to seeing the lights, the hotels, the entertainment....everything!! We've even booked a helicopter trip to The Grand Canyon, that includes limousine service and a champagne lunch on the canyon floor. How cool is that??
I'm hoping to get lots of wonderful pictures and even do a few restaurant reviews while we're there, so stay tuned!
Hey there! My name is Lea, and I'm a Canadian Culinary student trying to survive chef life in Denmark. I want to share my journey, and some great food and experiences with others. I believe that anyone can be quite chefy!