Dining Outside the Home: Trevi in Las Vegas, Nevada! There’s something about having dinner on an outdoor patio at the edge of “The Fountain of the Gods” in Caesars Palace. The romantic atmosphere makes everything taste better, which isn’t really a far stretch of the imagination. Classic and Italian dishes are superbly prepared with artistic expression. This is called “attention to detail”. The Roasted Chilean Sea Bass was so buttery and rich it practically melts in your mouth. Take time to enjoy the food, the way Italians do. Soak up the ambience. Order Illy blend espresso at the end of the meal, along with an incredible dessert worthy of sharing. Remember, this is Date Night, and it’s worth it.
Eating My Way Through the Holidays! Yuletide Favs: Nutmeg Cinnamon Popovers! Don’t hate me. These bakery-style popovers come with a warning label: Highly Addictive! Perhaps I might include a disclaimer. If you never suffer with sweet tooth cravings or for some unknown reason dislike cinnamon, no worries. For the rest of us, all I can say is “Try to resist licking your fingers!”.
NUTMEG CINNAMON POPOVERS
6 large eggs
2 cups light cream
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 teaspoons almond extract
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon sea salt
3 tablespoons sugar
2 cups flour
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Preheat oven to 400°. Move the oven rack one setting below the middle row. Grease a 12-count bouchon pan. In a food processor, combine eggs, light cream, butter, almond extract, vanilla extract, sea salt, sugar, and flour. Blend until no lumps remain and batter is light yellow and frothy, approximately one minute. Fill each bouchon cup 2/3 full. Do not overfill. (Refrigerate leftover batter until ready to make the next batch. At that time, use a whisk to vigorously stir the batter.) Place bouchon pan in the oven; bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Do not open the oven door during baking or the popovers will deflate. When golden brown, remove from the oven. After 2 minutes in the pan, transfer popovers to a wire rack. Do not allow them to cool in the pan or they may turn soggy. Meanwhile place melted butter in a small bowl. In another bowl, combine sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Mix well. Take a popover and brush it with melted butter to coat. Place the popover in the sugar mixture and roll to coat. Repeat with entire batch of popovers.
Dining Outside the Home: Burger Brasserie in Las Vegas, Nevada! What happens when the French take an American classic and turn it into their own version of a sandwich? Give up? You get a number of gourmet burgers made of chicken, lamb, or beef with incredible toppings. Caramelized onions are a given. Gruyère, Bleu, and Brie cheeses are also an option, among others. And the buns…well, never mind ordinary white bread, it’s not even on the menu. After all, this is the Paris casino. Expect the best. If you’re feeling lucky, go for the $777 Burger. It’s made with Kobe beef and topped with lump Maine lobster. No worries, included is a bottle of Don Perignon Champagne. After all, this is Vegas.
Eating My Way Through the Holidays! Yuletide Favs: Bourbon Balls! Remember the scene from “The Grinch Stole Christmas” where the adults in Whoville are throwing a key party? Well, I’m convinced they may have been nibbling on holiday Bourbon Balls based on the way they were flirting and having a crazy-fun time. Be forewarned. This recipe does contain chocolate and alcohol. You may want to mention it.
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate morsels
3 tablespoons corn syrup
1/2 cup bourbon
2 1/2 cups vanilla wafer crumbs
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 cup pecans, finely chopped
Pulse vanilla wafers in a food processor to make crumbs. Set aside. Over hot (not boiling) water, melt chocolate morsels; remove from heat. Blend in corn syrup and bourbon. In a large bowl, combine vanilla wafer crumbs, powdered sugar, and nuts. Add chocolate mixture. Blend well. Chill 30 minutes. Using a melon ball utensil, scoop dough into 1″ balls. Roll in granulated sugar. Store in covered container for several days to season flavor.
Dining Outside the Home: Nine Fine Fishermen in Las Vegas, Nevada! Experience an original Irish pub that was built in Ireland and shipped to its new home in the New York New York casino in Las Vegas. Not only is the rich woodwork impressive, but the food and spirits are unsurpassed. Don’t believe me? Check out the mile-high corned beef sandwich on toasted marble rye. The Irish chips (French fries) are amazingly scrumptious! But this is merely the tip of the iceberg. Authentic traditions include hearty choices such as Shepherd’s Pie, Irish Banger, Drunken Onion Rings, Fish & Chips, and more. One mustn’t ignore the Happy Hour stouts, ales, lagers, and spirits. It wouldn’t be neighborly to do so. Hang around awhile for friendly conversation and live music. No one is a stranger here.
Eating My Way Through the Holidays! Yuletide Favs: Garlic Clove Little Smokies! I know people often wait for the holidays to serve this spicy little appetizer, but I recently discovered its popularity as a lunch box companion. By making it ahead of time and storing it in a jar, it travels well. Add dill pickle chunks, bite-size cheese cubes, vegetable skewers, fresh fruit, chips, salsa, and double chocolate brownies. You’ll have the perfect portable party food for any occasion. Doesn’t everyone love finger foods?
GARLIC CLOVE LITTLE SMOKIES
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup catsup
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon roasted sesame seeds
14 ounces little smokies cocktail wieners
Fresh chives for garnish
Preheat oven to 250°. In a medium bowl, combine brown sugar, honey, catsup, soy sauce, garlic, red pepper flakes, and roasted sesame seeds. Mix well. Add cocktail wieners. Coat evenly. Transfer to a covered casserole dish. Bake for 4 hours, stirring occasionally. Garnish with roasted sesame seeds and fresh chives before serving.
Dining Outside the Home: China Poblano in Las Vegas, Nevada! For a mid afternoon break, rest your feet at the Cosmopolitan and people-watch awhile. China Poblano is a place where the menu features a magnificent blend of Mexican and Asian cuisine. Honestly, it works. One starring attraction is chef José Andrés’ created cocktail known as the “Salt Air Margarita”. Basically, the salty rim is eliminated and replaced with a thick layer of sea salt foam over fresh lime, agave, and tequila. It’s almost like taking a plunge into the ocean on a tropical island. Remarkable, refreshing, and invigorating. Well done.
“Prayer is when you talk to God.
Meditation is when you’re listening.
Playing the piano allows you to
do both at the same time.”
~ Kelsey Grammer
Dining Outside the Home: Café Gelato in Las Vegas, Nevada! In the city that never sleeps, tucked down a Bellagio corridor where the noise is left behind, you’ll discover a quaint European café a stone’s throw from the Mediterranean-style pool. Don’t be surprised by the occasional beachwear you see. Everyone is comfortable here. The casual fare includes enticing gelato in a plethora of flavors and bakery-fresh pastries, which make a nice accompaniment to abundant paninis or healthy garden salads. Feel free to share. Café Gelato makes it the perfect spot for a little R & R. Go ahead, indulge.
“It is easier to get an actor
to be a cowboy than to get
a cowboy to be an actor.”
~ John Ford