The Dish: A Delicious Blog
Chef Jamie Gwen and Lana discuss their delicious food adventures.
Who doesn’t love pizza? And, who doesn’t love a secret hallway with a Guido cooking pizza pies that are as good (really) as NYC? What follows is a food lover’s Vegas itinerary and just the tip of the iceberg in my boozy ice cream cocktail, so read on; you just might learn something.
Imagine a patio, overlooking dancing fountains, with views of the Eiffel Tower and lights for as far as the eye can see. No, you’re not munching a croissant in Paris, you’re at The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas. Bringing a whole new meaning to a Vegas vacation, my first real stay here was a wined and dined, pampering, relaxing jaunt to a city that never sleeps (but oh I did; I loved the bed!).
Giant video screens that contain elaborate video art delight the eye when you first enter the hotel. With a Casino on the first floor, a shopping mecca of eclectic finds on the second level and a bevy of Celebrity Chef-driven restaurants to feast at on the third floor, this is a hotel that offers far more than the typical casino bells and whistles ringing in your ears. But back to the food-fest in a moment.
Hip and trendy, without being over-the-top modern, The Cosmopolitan was originally built as condominiums and transformed to a hotel. Each room boasts some sort of domestic appliance and while we never used our dishwasher, the bar sink came in handy and the amenities of a condo lieu verses a hotel bathroom were a pleasurable upgrade to the typical hotel room (I know what you’re thinking…I was thinking the crazy great shower, magnifying mirror and heated towel rack, but whatever.)
If you arrive in the light, start your culinary journey at The Cosmopolitan’s Neopolitan Bar. Marina Mercer, Master Mixologist for The Cosmpolitan is making spiked foams using liquid egg whites, your spirit of choice and a C02 canister, just west of the pool. Hand-crafted cocktails and ice cream come together for an experience that takes the push-pop to the next level. The Neapolitan Spiked Milkshake, featuring Tequila Rose, strawberry and chocolate ice cream and biscotti liqueur infused whipped cream was killer. And the ice cream crafted right before your eyes using a mixer and liquid nitrogen is a sight to be seen. Try the Grass is Always Greener; Grasshopper Ice Cream, Dutch Caramel Vodka Salted Caramel Sauce and crushed Thin Mint Cookies…Yum!
Plan your evening feast at Milos, the West Coast Counterpart to the NYC and Miami Greek cathedral to Mediterranean cuisine. The restaurant has a warm feel, a gorgeous outdoor patio and a Salmon Sashimi served with fried capers and lemon olive oil that’s to-live-for. We toasted the evening with a Greek Sparkling Wine that was buttery and not too dry and we paired it with the Skordalia, a rich emulsion made from almonds, garlic and olive oil that was incredibly addictive. And we delighted our palates in the Fried Zucchini and Eggplant Tower, served with a rich tzatziki and kefalograviera cheese. Amazing. We were led to the kitchen where the fresh catch is beautifully displayed on ice, and after your choose your sea treasure, they simply grill it and serve it with the best quality olive oil and Afralah Greek Salt. Don’t forget to have the Tomato Salad, which brought me back to the fresh, fabulous flavors of Greece and the Fried Potatoes.
Party late into the night at the Chandelier Bar, then wake up, and head to the Cosmopolitan’s Sahra Spa. An oasis of tranquil beauty, the long, dramatic hallways leading you to luxurious saunas and relaxation rooms, services from tanning to teasing and a hydro-facial that made my skin bright with dew. By mid-morning, we were hungry again.
Lunch at China Poblano, the innovative Mexico meets Asian casual concept from my culinary crush, Chef Jose Andres, whose creating tacos and sui mai, all on the same menu. Don’t miss Chef Shirley’s Golden Pigs (great name, I know), fried dumplings filled with sweet pork with a sweetened condensed milk sauce to dip in. The Scallop Sui Mai was our favorite, light and airy with a delicious scallop flavor. And oh, the Chicken lettuce wrap was textural heaven, topped with fried sweet potatoes. The Carnitas Tacos were incredible; the pork cracklings on top a true gift and the green sauce a labor of love. All of the meat served in the restaurant is braised or slow-cooked for hours on end, compounding the flavors and creating the most tender, toothsome bite. The Mango Rice Dessert was a complete surprise and you shouldn’t miss the bowl of airy, yummy sweetness. What a fabulous ethnic mix of fare.
We took a break from eating (just for a bit) and soaked in the Vegas Scene. By nightfall, we were off to our evening’s binge at DOCG Enoteca, a repast I was greatly anticipating. From Scarpetta’s famous Chef/Owner Scott Conant comes a rustic wine bar with exposed brick and reclaimed wood. We loved the feeling of sitting in a trattoria, surrounded by the smells of Italy (this is dining in Vegas, baby) and when Chef Dana started delivering the dishes, it was heaven. Scott’s signature Fonduta, melting cheese in a hot crock with grilled bread and a soft-poached duck egg over top (stay with me here) was the equivalent of culinary porn. I would eat it every day, if I could. The tender Fried Calamari had a spicy, bright, fresh red sauce, and the Grilled Octopus with chickpeas, tomatoes and basil was brilliantly seasoned and a gorgeous counterpart to the Barolo. The impressive wine list boasts a mix of Napa and Tuscany, and the service is friendly and gastronomically knowledgeable. The DOCG Special Pizza, with mushroom purée, fontina and fresh black truffles was over-the-top incredible and you might just need to fly to Vegas for the experience of it. The Caramel Budino was named Vegas’s Best Dessert, and now we know why. Anything luscious, creamy, caramel-laden vanilla custard topped with chocolate pretzel toffee and Fleur de Sel and I’m in.
The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas is a rich mix of luxury resort, dining mecca and a breath of fresh hair, literally, from the patio, and it’s bringing a whole new experience to the Vegas-lover. You should check it out. And, as if you were still hungry after reading this; don’t you want to know where the Secret Pizza hallway is?