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Viva Las Vegas!!

Travel

Viva Las Vegas!!

It was my first time that I stepped my feet on its ground. It looked warm and bright outside when we landed. I could instantly feel the heat, no doubt as it’s in the desert. But, this desert is different. It probably has the most entertainment on earth! The musical sounds of slot machines could easily be heard just about anywhere.

This post probably came a bit too late but it’s better than nothing. It was part of our trip to California about 2 months ago. Again, I haven’t had a chance to share some of the most spectacular pictures and stories in sunny California. But, I hope that will follow soon.

The trip to Las Vegas was pretty short, 2 days 1 night. Even so, we made the most of it. If you asked the highlights of the trip, it was just about everything! However, if I was gonna pick a few and talk about, I have probably 5 things.

Shopping

The exchange rate for British Pounds (£) was pretty strong 2 months ago, it was probably $1.95 = £1. So, I thought if would be a good idea to do a bit of shopping in the US. Also, I particular like a few brands like Abercrombie & Fitch, Guess, Lucky Jeans…etc

Mirage Hotel

It was our choice as it’s strategically situated in the heart of the Strip, also, it was recommended by a friend. It’s really a huge hotel. There are several restaurants, an atrium that assembles tropical forest and lots of slot machines!!

We were pretty lucky to had been given a room that has just been nicely refurbished. The design is nice, simple and chic. A great view of the Venetian can be seen through the window. Overall, I think it’s great value for money. Highly recommended!

Las Vegas Gun Range & Firearm Centre

It was probably the most bizzare experience in my whole entire life! No, I didn’t try them but Arnaud did. I was just too scare to hear, not mention to hold them. It’s an indoor shooting range, with any guns and machine guns of your choice! Arnaud tried on Heckler-Koch MP5 – 9mm and and Glock 9mm. If you ask him about his experience to this gun range, he sums it up as “Fun to try and pretty impressive. But, the idea of owning firearms is just out of question!” So, if you think you have never had this experience and would love to, give Las Vegas Gun Range & Firearm Centre a visit!

The Strip

Full of glitz and glam of top hotels and casinos. I reckon a nice stroll along the strip at night is the most enjoyable and comfortable. The sights of the Venetian, Bellagio, Treasure Island, New York New York, Paris… etc are just eye candy! We didn’t have a lot of time to go to each of the casino and hotel to check out the interiors. But, I have to admit that, for what I saw, for e.g. the Venetian and Paris – they look soooooo real!

L’atelier de Joël Robuchon – MGM Grand

Joël Robuchon has many restaurants around the world. There are already 2 in Las Vegas. L’atelier means ‘the workshop’. Literally translated as ‘The Workshop of Joël Robuchon’. Basically, all dishes are creatively created by theExecutive Chef, Steve Benjamin. Then, tasted and approved by Joël Robuchon himself so that they can go on the menu.

We opted for L’atelier de Joël Robuchon because the concept sounds and looks pretty cool, friendly and interactive. It’s a one-star Michelin restaurant. Also, it’s a restaurant where you can choose to dine at the table or at the counter where the kitchen is just right in front of you and able to watch the chefs working on their magical dishes!

Menu Decouverte (Discovery Menu), a 10-course dinner (included coffee to finish with, but that I am not a coffee drinker) blew our minds away! Of course, this is something that I am really keen to share with you guys as this post is not complete without mentioning about food!

So, what are the dishes in Menu Decouverte? Let’s have a look, shall we? A 10-course dinner, each dish came in a small portion that’s just enough to taste the flavours. We started each dish with great admiration and finished with satisfaction and amazement in our eyes! It just makes me think how the hell do the chefs know by mixing ‘these’ with ‘that’ one will produce great flavours explosion in the mouth!

LE CITRON en pulpe tremblotante à la vanille recouverte d’une crème anisée | Lemon gelee topped with fennel cream

LE THON ROUGE cru mariné à l’huile tomatée et lamelles d’avocat épicé | Big eye tuna with tomato infused olive oil

LE HOMARD en gelée maraîchère sous une vichyssoise glacée | Maine lobster in a gelee of vegetables topped with chilled leek soup

LA SAINT-JACQUES la noix cuite au beurre d’algue, bouton de chou-fleur au curry et gingembre | Scallop cooked with seaweed butter, curried cauliflower

L’ASPERGE VERTE en cappuccino aux copeaux de parmesan | Capuccino of green asparagus with parmesan

LE BAR à la plancha, accommodé d’une fricassée acidulée de supions et d’artichauts | Sea bass filet with baby calamari and artichoke

LA CAILLE au foie gras, caramélisée avec une pomme purée truffée | Free-range quail stuffed with foie gras and served with truffled-mashed potatoes

LA FRAISE en infusion au saveur de basilic, crème glacée à l’olive | Strawberries with basil infusion and olive ice cream

LA PISTACHE glacée sur un pain de Gênes, rhubarbe au Lillet | Pistachio parfait with marinated rhubarb and Muscat sorbet

Poker Queen – Gambling!

No, I don’t play the real game of chance. I have never tried the odds at table games simply because I don’t know how to play. I guess, the trip isn’t considered complete without trying my luck on the slot machines? That left me with plenty of slot machines to try winning some cold hard cash. I tried a few times, but didn’t end up winning. Just a few hours before we continued for our next destination, I hit the button for the last time for my last $20 and that won me about over $90. I quickly cashed it and stopped playing!

It was a great trip to Las Vegas, if you ask me would I go there again. The answer is Yes!

If you know Raymond Blanc, then you must know his restaurant, Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons. A while ago, we dined there. It was probably one of the best Michelin star restaurants that we have ever been that left us with really good experience!

I remember we had Menu Découverte, a 9-course menu at £150 per person, excluding wine, coffee and petit fours. (Yes, it’s not cheap for good food!) Raymond Blanc is one of the inspiring chefs who teaches proper French food. If you want to learn making ‘real’ French food (when I say ‘real’, it means authentic, comprehensive and correct methods that guarantee great outcomes!), then you will not be disappointed. For those who are serious about food, then you’ll know what I mean.

I watched one of the series of Kitchen’s Secret by Raymond Blanc and was reminded to try out the tomato essence and tomato risotto recipes. When we were at Le Manoir, we have tomato risotto and absolutely loved it. I remember asking one of the waiters how it was cooked and he did explain the tomato essence bit to me! So, I was keen to try making it at home. This recipe takes a bit of patience as you need to make the tomato a day before, preferably. But, the result is well worth it!

I forgot to take a picture when I hang the muslin parcel with tomato mixture to obtain the essence. Hence, I just took a photo shown below to demonstrate how the tomato essence was obtained.

Tomatoes are abundant at this time of the year. So, try to grab those little jewel-liked cherry tomatoes. This is truly a vegetarian dish and I was really impressed by all the flavours without using seafood or meat. I could eat this risotto everyday! Look at the dish, it’s so summery and basically it is summer in a dish, I would say! I think the tomato essence is such a great idea that brings a potentially plain risotto to another level of flavour.

I have changed a bit on the ingredients by omitting some ingredients and adding some of those that I got at home. For the tomato essence, I kept and put a few small tomato vines to marinate with the mixture and removed them before I poured it into a muslin cloth. I truly recommend this recipe, even if you are not vegetarian! You’ll be amazed of the flavour combinations that make this a great vegetarian risotto! Thank you, Raymond, for this wonderful recipe!

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