Sensi at the Bellagio Hotel and Casino
Ph: (702) 693-8865 or book online
It was not just the fresh contemporary style food but service beyond our expectations that made our dining at Sensi an experience to remember. Laurence, our server, was bubbling over with enthusiasm about the menu as he handed us an IPad loaded with pictures and descriptions of drink and dessert options. We each ordered a glass of the Woollaston Sauvignon Blanc 2012. From the Nelson wine district in New Zealand, just west of Marlborough, the wine had the unmistakable grassy, herbaceous aroma with an excellent balance of acidity with tropical fruit flavors.
Lotus of Siam Thai Restaurant
953 E. Sahara Ave., #A-5
Las Vegas, NV
Ph: (702) 735-3033
Only the bright neon sign above the entrance hints that behind the non-descript strip mall doorway is a restaurant that, according to locals, serves up some of the best Thai food in Las Vegas.
Lucky for us, at the FoodFightWrite 2014 conference, we met up with a Las Vegas friend who writes on SouthEastAsia Cuisine locally and abroad. For our last dinner before departing Las Vegas early next morning, she took us to Lotus of Siam, one of her favorite local restaurants.
124 S 6th St., Ste. 100,
Las Vegas, NV
Ph: (702) 473-9523
A Las Vegas visitor looking for a casual dining spot in the downtown area would likely pass by the logo-free store front of Carson Kitchen with no idea that inside fresh, wholesome food was being served up.
We were lucky to meet up with a fellow conference attendee who lives in Las Vegas while watching World Food Championship competitors cooking in an early event. She suggested we walk a few blocks to have lunch together at Carson Kitchen, and we almost walked right by before we found the entrance. But lucky for us we did not miss it because we had an excellent lunch there and bonded happily over the food.
Oscar's Steakhouse at the Plaza Hotel and Casino
1 S Main Street, Las Vegas
Ph: (702) 386 7227 or reserve online
The aroma of warm sour dough bread with embedded slivers of caramelized onion, rising from the white napkin-covered basket compelled me to erase all thoughts of a bread-free dinner. Lightly buttered, the fresh airy slice tasted as good as its aroma promised, and kept me content while I decided on my dinner choices.
On a recent too-short visit to Honolulu for a dance competition I decided that the best use of my few free dining opportunities would be to visit some of Honolulu's most highly recommended restaurants in and near the neighbourhood of Waikiki. My picks for dinner were La Mer at the Halekulani Hotel and the Beachhouse at the Moana Surfrider, both a short walk from the Sheraton Waikiki which was the host hotel for the competition; and Hoku's at the Kahala Hotel and Resort, a short taxi-ride away. I also managed to enjoy a lunch at the Surf Lanai at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel. The links in this post will take you to my brief review for each restaurant.
Hoku's at the Kahala Hotel and Resort
5000 Kahala Ave.
Ph: (808) 739-8760 or reserve online
The Kahala Hotel is a luxury resort in the Kahala district of Honolulu, about a twenty minute taxi ride from the hotel where we were staying in Waikiki. Hoku's is one of about five dining options at the hotel, and offers innovative fusion food melding Hawaiian, Asian and European influences.
We booked for an early dinner hoping for a spectacular sunset. We were warmly welcomed and shown to a pleasant window table. Our view was more north-west than west so I didn't really see the spectacular sunset. I sipped a glass of Riesling from the Weingut Gunderloch winery in the Rheinhessen region of Germany while perusing the menu. As I read, I realized I really need a primer of terms used in the local menus.
at the Moana Surfrider Hotel
2365 Kalkaua Ave.,
cross street Kaiulani
Ph: (808) 921 4600 or reserve online
Arriving at the Beachhouse restaurant we waited a few minutes to be shown to our patio table. While waiting I enjoyed the view over the garden pub to the sea beyond. We were seated on the Beachhouse verandah overlooking the bandstand in the garden area below. This evening we enjoyed a perfect view to the west so that we could actually watch the sun dip below the horizon. I watched for the perfect green flash but did not see it. Perhaps I was too focused on taking a picture.
Ça Va Brasserie by Todd English
310 West 44th Street (Cross Street 8th Avenue)
Ph: (212) 803 4545 or reserve online
During my brief stopover in New York I had only two opportunities for evening dining before I was to once again board Cunard's majestic Queen Mary 2 ocean liner. The QM2 features a Todd English restaurant as their fine dining alternative. On previous trips I had dined several times at this restaurant and tried many of the menu items. I was curious to compare the Todd English Brasserie in New York (which serves French cuisine) with the current menu items of the on-board restaurant.
So before heading off to see Beautiful: The Carole King Musical we had dinner at Ça Va Brasserie. It was only a short distance away from the theatre so we could relax over an early dinner.
Benares - Mid-town West
240 West 56th Street (between Broadway and 8th Avenue)
Ph: (212) 397 0707 or reserve online
On this brief pre-cruise stopover in New York I had only two opportunities for restaurant dinners. Having picked French cuisine (Ca Va Brasserie) for the first dinner, my second choice was Indian cuisine, a favorite cuisine of my fellow diner.
The Mid-town West location of Benares was my first choice.
Stella 34 Trattoria
at Macy's Herald Square 6th Floor
151 West 34th Street, New York
What a surprise it was to me to find an excellent restaurant located in a major department store and this discovery came about in quite an unexpected way. My westbound trans-Atlantic cruise on the Queen Mary 2 ended in Brooklyn early on a Wednesday morning, and my direct flight from JFK to Vancouver YVR was scheduled to leave at 7 that evening. So unusually for me, I decided to sign up for a ship's transfer to the airport, with a half day tour of Manhattan included. So after disembarking, our bags were placed on the bus, and a tour guide came on board to give a commentary on the various neighborhoods we passed through. At lunch time the bus dropped us off near Macy's for an hour of free time, during which we could get lunch for ourselves.