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Las Vegas (Mostly) Off the Strip (Long + Pics)

Las Vegas (Mostly) Off the Strip (Long + Pics)
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  • Las Vegas (Mostly) Off the Strip (Long + Pics)

    Post #1 - April 24th, 2005, 10:36 am
    Post #1 - April 24th, 2005, 10:36 am Post #1 - April 24th, 2005, 10:36 am
    I just spent 5 days in Las Vegas attending a trade show. Although I had to attend a bunch of industry events which required me to eat hotel food, I made every effort to escape the touristy hoards and get off the strip every chance I got. I had a few interesting meals including:

    Breakfast at the Peppermill Inn
    This is a must do when in Vegas. Although technically on the Strip, this is an old school place with old school food (and lots of it) served by old school waitresses in tie dyed mini skirts 24/7. The place is done up in purple velour & leatherette. Does that sound Vegasy enough? When was the last time you were in a Greek diner with cocktail waitresses serving drinks for breakfast?

    Dim Sum at Chow’s (Now called Orchid's Garden)
    I have written about this place in the past. It’s a large (think upstairs at the Phoenix) Chinese restaurant serving Dim Sum on carts at lunchtime. The clientele is 98% Chinese and little English is spoken. It’s very interesting going there. Americans are treated with suspicion, as if they stumbled into this place by mistake, but once they discover that you indeed are looking for a good dim sum experience, they treat you well (at least they treat you as a novelty). One of the few English speakers on staff came to my table often in case I needed to ask for something special, which they will gladly bring from the kitchen if it is not already on one of the many carts cruising the room. Sorry, I didn’t have my camera with me. There is a full menu available for dinner as well as a “secret” Chinese language menu…OK, it’s not really secret, since almost everyone eating there is Chinese and can read the thing.

    Memphis Championship BBQ
    I had heard about Memphis Championship BBQ as a worthy destination. MCB is an offshoot of the justly famous 17th Street Bar & Grill in Murphysboro IL. The owner, Mike Mills, is a 3 time winner of the Memphis in May BBQ Competition in the ribs category (he won for his baby back ribs). Like everything in Las Vegas, MCB is located in a suburban-like setting and has the look of a typical chain “White Man’s BBQ”.

    Memphis Championship Barbecue
    Image

    I started wondering what I was doing here, but the smell of smoke was in the air, so I decided to go in and give it a try. The interior was dark and reminded me very much of the décor at L. Woods, but with a decidedly farm influence rather than the North Woods feel of L.Woods.

    I wanted to check out a good cross section of the BBQ offerings so I ordered the Grand Champion Plate, which consisted of St. Louis cut ribs, beef ribs, smoked chicken, sausage, brisket, pork shoulder and two sides. I substituted baby back ribs for the St. Louis ribs for a $1 upcharge since, as the menu pointed out, they were the item that won Memphis in May 3 times.

    Grand Champion Plate
    Image

    The BBQ turned out to be the real deal. Pit smoked and delicious. I ordered it dry, with sauce on the side. The sauce was pretty good, too. It was a tomato based sauce with a hint of vinegar that was not too thick, sweet or overpowering. There were two versions, original and spicy, and I (predictably enough) enjoyed the spicy a little bit more than the regular, although I ate most of my meal without any sauce at all. It didn’t need it. One thing that was a little odd was that the meal was served with dinner rolls, rather than the traditional cheap white bread, but that didn’t stop me from making mini pulled pork sandwiches and enjoying every bite. The two sides I ordered were beans and creamed corn. Both were made in house, with the corn being more cream than corn. The beans were very good though, and were made using at least three different kinds of beans. The sauce was redolent of onions and bell peppers.

    The Noodle Shop
    Why is this post called Vegas (Mostly) off the Strip? Because I did eat one meal in a hotel that was worth talking about. I stopped in to The Noodle Shop in the Mandalay Bay Hotel for a quick snack. TNS is a small noodle shop tucked in next to the coffee shop. They serve Chinese breakfast, congee, rice dishes, soup noodles and some roasted meats. I ordered roast duck, bbq pork and rice noodles served in a delicious, rich broth. I commented on how good the broth was to my server who brought me an extra bowl of broth to enjoy with the noodles I had left in my bowl after consuming all of the liquid (that’s how good it was).

    Roast Duck, BBQ Pork and Rice Noodles

    Image

    Lotus of Siam
    On the last night of my trip, I finally made it back to Lotus of Siam. There was another guy waiting for a table when I got there and we struck up a conversation. It turns out that he is a poster on the LA Chowhound board and he was there waiting for two other friends. I ended up joining them for dinner, which was a very good thing, since dining alone would have severely limited my ability to order enough dishes to cure my LOS Jones. In the last year or so, thanks to the work of Erik and places like TAC Quick, we are blessed with being able to get Thai food right here in Chicago that is on par with what is offered at LOS. Nevertheless, LOS is a must visit destination for any trip to Las Vegas, simply because of the breadth and variety of the dishes offered on both its regular and Northern menu. With apologies to Erik for not knowing the Thai names of any of the dishes, here is a sample of what we had.

    Issan Sausage
    Image
    This is a similar version to what is offered at Spoon and was quite good.

    Northern Sausage
    Image
    This sausage, ordered from the special Northern menu, was sourer than typical Issan Sausage. It also had more spices in it, with somewhat of a limey note.

    Duck Curry
    Image
    It’s got duck in it. How can I not like it? This was a very smooth curry with fruity notes due to the pineapple and grapes that were used in its preparation. I would have liked this dish considerably spicier, but my dining companions were somewhat spice intolerant. It was good nonetheless.

    Northern Stew
    Image
    Again, from the Northern menu. I’m not sure exactly what this dish was, as the person who ordered it was in search of a dish with lots of vegetables and consulted with the waiter about what to order in hushed tones. I didn’t get a chance to hear what the final decision was.

    Garlic Koong 1
    Image
    Last time I was at LOS, they made a shrimp dish for me that wasn’t on the menu. I asked for it again and they brought this out. It wasn’t the dish I was talking about, but was good and very fresh tasting. Again, the heat level was much too low for me.

    Garlic Koong 2
    Image
    When I explained to the waiter that the dish I was talking about was more like salt & pepper shrimp, He brought this out. This was the dish I remembered. The shrimp were removed from the shells, but the shells are kept attached to the meat and served that way. Sort of like a lobster tail that is removed from its shell, but served atop the shell. The heat level was much better on this one. The shrimp and the shells were tremendous, flavored with garlic and chiles. I could eat two orders of this dish by myself.

    Coconut “Ice Cream”
    Image
    This is the signature desert of LOS, sometimes served with fresh mangoes (I did not ask for the mangoes). It’s not actually ice cream, but made from coconut milk and served over warm sticky rice. This stuff is imported form Thailand and is not available here in the States. This is desert nirvana. One of my dining companions described it as coconut rice pudding. That’s a pretty good description of the taste, which I find hard to put into words.

    At the end of the meal the owner, Bill Chutima, came out and talked to us at length. Bill is a great guy who, along with his wife Saipin (who is the chef) run the restaurant with loving care.

    Image
    Bill told me that they recently lost a couple of line cooks and a server to the soon to be opened Wynn hotel. They are scrambling to keep the place running smoothly until replacements can be found. That news may also bode well for Thai Food possibilities at the soon to open Wynn.

    Image


    Peppermill Inn
    2985 Las Vegas Blvd
    Las Vegas, NV
    702-735-4177

    Chow’s Cuisine (Orchid's Garden)
    5485 W. Sahara Ave.
    Las Vegas, NV
    702-257-8807

    Memphis Championship BBQ
    2250 E. Warm Springs Road (& 3 other locations)
    Las Vegas, NV
    702-260-6909

    The Noodle House
    Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino
    3950 Las Vegas Blvd.
    Las Vegas, NV

    Lotus of Siam
    953 E. Sahara Ave #A-5
    Las Vegas, NV
    702-753-3033

    Edited to make note of the fact that Chow's is now called Orchid's Garden
    Last edited by stevez on May 28th, 2006, 3:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #2 - April 24th, 2005, 3:48 pm
    Post #2 - April 24th, 2005, 3:48 pm Post #2 - April 24th, 2005, 3:48 pm
    stevez wrote:I had a few interesting meals including:

    Mr. Z, master of understatement. :)

    As one who has not been to Las Vegas in 25-30 years your post, and Siegfried and Roy's amazing Tiger act, has me checking flight schedules.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow
  • Post #3 - April 24th, 2005, 4:30 pm
    Post #3 - April 24th, 2005, 4:30 pm Post #3 - April 24th, 2005, 4:30 pm
    Steve,

    Nothing gets my appetite moving more than the simple mention of Chinese roast duck, noodles, and a delicious broth. Next time I'm in Vegas, I'm all over the Mandalay Bay. Thanks!

    Also, I love the story of how 'hounds from across the country meet and share a meal. Fantastic.

    Best,
    Michael / EC
  • Post #4 - April 24th, 2005, 6:22 pm
    Post #4 - April 24th, 2005, 6:22 pm Post #4 - April 24th, 2005, 6:22 pm
    G Wiv wrote:
    stevez wrote:I had a few interesting meals including:

    Mr. Z, master of understatement. :)

    As one who has not been to Las Vegas in 25-30 years your post, and Siegfried and Roy's amazing Tiger act, has me checking flight schedules.

    Enjoy,
    Gary


    You may be dissapointed to learn the Siegfried and Roy's tiger act has dissappeared :lol: . I got a chance to see a brand new Cirque du Soliel show playing at the MGM which is called Ka. It is the most amazing piece of staging I have ever seen (and that's saying something, believe me). That show, and the places I had on my list to visit that I never made it to, have me thinking about planning a trip for me and the Chow Poodle.

    P.S. One other sad show related note. The night I was at LOS was Wayne Newton's last night of performing nightly at the Stardust. The show has closed and is being replaced by a Sigfried & Roy produced Cuban Review :? (Whatever that is)
    Last edited by stevez on April 24th, 2005, 6:32 pm, edited 2 times in total.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #5 - April 24th, 2005, 6:29 pm
    Post #5 - April 24th, 2005, 6:29 pm Post #5 - April 24th, 2005, 6:29 pm
    eatchicago wrote:
    Also, I love the story of how 'hounds from across the country meet and share a meal. Fantastic.


    What amazes me was that we were instantly able to recognize each other as 'hounds in much the same way that gay men can recognize each other. It wasn't gaydar, maybe it was chowdar...not that there's anything wrong with that. :roll:

    BTW, I gave both Scott and Larry (two of my dining companions) LTH Forum cards and I'm sure they will be checking out this post and the site. If you're out there, welcome guys.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #6 - April 24th, 2005, 6:47 pm
    Post #6 - April 24th, 2005, 6:47 pm Post #6 - April 24th, 2005, 6:47 pm
    Hi,

    I've had a long standing invitation to Las Vegas to stay with friend's in their guest house. I always shrug and tell them someday I'll be there. My reticence is overcome by posts like this which make a Las Vegas trip seem quite worthwhile chow-wise.

    Thanks for the interesting narrative and pictures.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #7 - April 24th, 2005, 7:03 pm
    Post #7 - April 24th, 2005, 7:03 pm Post #7 - April 24th, 2005, 7:03 pm
    Las Vegas is actually a lot of fun if you don't let yourself be pulled inside the bubble, never to escape. By the bubble I mean not only the Strip but the whole mindset of the Las Vegas tourist moving from one fabulously faux environment to the next in a state of dazzled, time-sense-deprived delirium.

    If you go there, take the Strip in appropriate doses, use Industrial Road (the access road parallel to the Strip and about 10 times faster) to zip to where you need to go, see some things that aren't large hotel-casino complexes (Lotus of Siam, Hoover Dam, the Liberace Museum-- no joke, Zion National Park which is about 3 hours away, etc.), and generally pace yourself, it's a fun place to go. On the other hand, any time I've gone there and been stuck solely on the Strip, I lasted about 36 hours before I felt my brain starting to seep out my ears and had to get the hellouttathere.
    Watch Sky Full of Bacon, the Chicago food HD podcast!
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  • Post #8 - April 24th, 2005, 7:35 pm
    Post #8 - April 24th, 2005, 7:35 pm Post #8 - April 24th, 2005, 7:35 pm
    I heartily agree here with his assessment of MCB. I consider Mike Mill’s places there as some of the best ribs I have ever had anywhere. In fact, Trixie-pea and I were both so amazed by his ribs in Vegas that we decided to try out his places in both Marion and Murphysboro in downstate Illinois. I wish I could say that those ribs were as good but…..
    I also thought the ribs didn’t need sauce but I have to say, he does have my all-time favorite if you have to have it!
  • Post #9 - April 24th, 2005, 10:48 pm
    Post #9 - April 24th, 2005, 10:48 pm Post #9 - April 24th, 2005, 10:48 pm
    Steve, I'm glad you finally made it to Memphis Champ., and even gladder it was as good as I (and PIGMON & Trixie-Pea) promised.

    Your photo bears a thousand words' witness to what I always say is Mill's greatest achievement (well, other than all of those world championships)-- the ability to do a good job with everything.

    It is rare indeed to get pulled pork that looks like it came from Allen & Sons on the same plate as ribs that look like they came from, well, 17th Street in Murphysboro. And the beans are justly famous. I believe good corn bread is the "comes with" starch in So. Ill.

    Re LOS, the northern pork stew, famous as it is, does not *look* quite as good as the Sticky Rice product here. But the whole meal looks fantastic. So, how does the best Thai food written up in Vogue compare with what we rubes have to make do with?
  • Post #10 - April 25th, 2005, 2:53 am
    Post #10 - April 25th, 2005, 2:53 am Post #10 - April 25th, 2005, 2:53 am
    JeffB wrote: So, how does the best Thai food written up in Vogue compare with what we rubes have to make do with?


    As I said earlier, I think we have Thai food every bit as good as LOS here in Chicago, but they do have a rather large menu and some dishes that are unique and not available here. I also think that we (Chicago) are in the minority in terms of the quality of Thai food on offer, making LOS a destination. Also consider that they have been turning that food out for many years (since they were in Norwalk at Renu Nakorn) whereas places like Sticky Rice and TAC have only recently opened.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #11 - April 25th, 2005, 6:23 pm
    Post #11 - April 25th, 2005, 6:23 pm Post #11 - April 25th, 2005, 6:23 pm
    stevez wrote:Northern Stew
    Image
    Again, from the Northern menu. I’m not sure exactly what this dish was, as the person who ordered it was in search of a dish with lots of vegetables and consulted with the waiter about what to order in hushed tones. I didn’t get a chance to hear what the final decision was.


    I am not exactly sure what that dish was, either, as it looks nothing like the LOS dish which I have twice sampled, and which was twice identified as "Northern Pork Stew."*

    The LOS dish which I know as "Northern Pork Stew" looks alot like the kaeng hangleh from Sticky Rice, pictured below. At Sticky Rice, Kritsana uses pork shoulder for the dish, along with a bit of ginger, chile, chopped scallion, and pickled garlic.

    Image

    The curry base for kaeng hangleh at Sticky Rice includes the proprietary spice powder blend pictured below. Kritsana has single-application-sized packets of the powder delivered from Thailand, where it is manufactured in a small Northern Thai village close to the Myanmar border.


    Image

    Looking over the Northern Thai offerings on the LOS menu, I am wondering if the dish you had was "Kang Care (Northern Red Curry)."

    At any rate, thanks for the lovely Vegas report, Steve.

    Regards,
    Erik M.


    * I have had something identified as "Northern Pork Stew" carted back for me from Las Vegas on two separate occasions. On this version of the LOS Menu, there is an item listed as "Kang Hung Lay (Pork Stew Northern Curry)," and I have every reason to believe that it is the same. As I have already indicated, kaeng hangleh ("Kang Hung Lay" at LOS) is a rich, oily, milk-free dish of Burmese origin, and one which generally contains tender chunks of pork shoulder or belly meat, loads of garlic (fresh and/or pickled), and very little else besides.

    I have never actually been to Lotus of Siam, but I have had "delivery" from there numerous times. I have also had occasion to visit Renu Nakorn in Norwalk CA, while it was owned and managed by the Chutima's, and while I had relations living in the area. In the event that anyone has wondered, the shirt was a gift from my mother and my brother, who visited LOS a couple of years ago at my suggestion. ;)
  • Post #12 - April 26th, 2005, 8:30 am
    Post #12 - April 26th, 2005, 8:30 am Post #12 - April 26th, 2005, 8:30 am
    G Wiv wrote:As one who has not been to Las Vegas in 25-30 years your post, and Siegfried and Roy's amazing Tiger act, has me checking flight schedules.

    Enjoy,
    Gary


    I'll be there May 17-20. If you plan to be there during that time, be sure to let me know.

    Kurt
  • Post #13 - April 26th, 2005, 9:04 am
    Post #13 - April 26th, 2005, 9:04 am Post #13 - April 26th, 2005, 9:04 am
    I *think* I agree with Erik. The northern pork stew I had at LOS was not like the one Steve shows (great report btw, Steve!!). I remmeber the dish as very thick and rich and much closer to something Indian vs. Thai.

    In my limited experiences with LOS, I would say, as Steve does, that it is not necessarily better than places like Spoon, but that it is a little different. There are things like the whole grilled catfish with the garlic/jalepeno dressing that I have never seen here. LOS excels with grilling, in a way I have not seen in Chicago.

    Rob
    Think Yiddish, Dress British - Advice of Evil Ronnie to me.
  • Post #14 - April 26th, 2005, 9:43 am
    Post #14 - April 26th, 2005, 9:43 am Post #14 - April 26th, 2005, 9:43 am
    Vital Information wrote:I *think* I agree with Erik. The northern pork stew I had at LOS was not like the one Steve shows (great report btw, Steve!!). I remmeber the dish as very thick and rich and much closer to something Indian vs. Thai.

    In my limited experiences with LOS, I would say, as Steve does, that it is not necessarily better than places like Spoon, but that it is a little different. There are things like the whole grilled catfish with the garlic/jalepeno dressing that I have never seen here. LOS excels with grilling, in a way I have not seen in Chicago.

    Rob


    There is no doubt that the dsish in question is not the norther pork stew, which I have also had on a previous occasion. This was something completely different.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #15 - May 9th, 2005, 12:18 am
    Post #15 - May 9th, 2005, 12:18 am Post #15 - May 9th, 2005, 12:18 am
    Erik M. wrote:
    stevez wrote:Northern Stew
    Image
    Again, from the Northern menu. I’m not sure exactly what this dish was, as the person who ordered it was in search of a dish with lots of vegetables and consulted with the waiter about what to order in hushed tones. I didn’t get a chance to hear what the final decision was.


    I am not exactly sure what that dish was, either, as it looks nothing like the LOS dish which I have twice sampled, and which was twice identified as "Northern Pork Stew."*

    The LOS dish which I know as "Northern Pork Stew" looks alot like the kaeng hangleh from Sticky Rice, pictured below. At Sticky Rice, Kritsana uses pork shoulder for the dish, along with a bit of ginger, chile, chopped scallion, and pickled garlic.

    Image

    The curry base for kaeng hangleh at Sticky Rice includes the proprietary spice powder blend pictured below. Kritsana has single-application-sized packets of the powder delivered from Thailand, where it is manufactured in a small Northern Thai village close to the Myanmar border.


    Image

    Looking over the Northern Thai offerings on the LOS menu, I am wondering if the dish you had was "Kang Care (Northern Red Curry)."

    At any rate, thanks for the lovely Vegas report, Steve.

    Regards,
    Erik M.


    * I have had something identified as "Northern Pork Stew" carted back for me from Las Vegas on two separate occasions. On this version of the LOS Menu, there is an item listed as "Kang Hung Lay (Pork Stew Northern Curry)," and I have every reason to believe that it is the same. As I have already indicated, kaeng hangleh ("Kang Hung Lay" at LOS) is a rich, oily, milk-free dish of Burmese origin, and one which generally contains tender chunks of pork shoulder or belly meat, loads of garlic (fresh and/or pickled), and very little else besides.

    I have never actually been to Lotus of Siam, but I have had "delivery" from there numerous times. I have also had occasion to visit Renu Nakorn in Norwalk CA, while it was owned and managed by the Chutima's, and while I had relations living in the area. In the event that anyone has wondered, the shirt was a gift from my mother and my brother, who visited LOS a couple of years ago at my suggestion. ;)


    I think you have it exactly correct, Erik. The Northern Pork stew might be the only sauce-based dish at LOS that has no visible greenery. It also contains some dry spices that aren't easy to detect. But as you indicate, the dominant flavor note, other than the pork itself. It features garlic in many stages of cooking (from near raw to liquefied with several stops in between) and some pickled garlic. It is one of the dishes at LOS that freezes well. So if you know you are going to want to take out food, you can call the restaurant and ask if they can freeze some pork stew for you. They'll wrap it beautifully, put it in Gladware and it will withstand a long plane ride or car ride well.

    And my guess is that the dish shown is the Northern Red Curry. The northern curries are demonstrably thinner than the coconut-milk based sauces.

    Thanks, Steve, for the great report. Next time, be sure and have sticky rice along with the coconut milk. Also, the mango that Bill is serving right now is outstanding, among the best I've ever eaten.
  • Post #16 - May 9th, 2005, 9:41 am
    Post #16 - May 9th, 2005, 9:41 am Post #16 - May 9th, 2005, 9:41 am
    Dave Feldman wrote:And my guess is that the dish shown is the Northern Red Curry. The northern curries are demonstrably thinner than the coconut-milk based sauces.

    Thanks, Steve, for the great report. Next time, be sure and have sticky rice along with the coconut milk. Also, the mango that Bill is serving right now is outstanding, among the best I've ever eaten.


    Welcome to our little corner of the cyberverse, Dave. I hope that you can find some time to participate. :wink:

    Regards,
    Erik M.
  • Post #17 - May 9th, 2005, 10:24 am
    Post #17 - May 9th, 2005, 10:24 am Post #17 - May 9th, 2005, 10:24 am
    Dave Feldman wrote:Thanks, Steve, for the great report. Next time, be sure and have sticky rice along with the coconut milk. Also, the mango that Bill is serving right now is outstanding, among the best I've ever eaten.


    Dave,

    The sticky rice is there. It's under the "ice cream" and a little hard to see in this shot, but I agree that it's the combination of the cold "ice cream" and the warm sticky rice that make this dish what is is.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #18 - May 9th, 2005, 4:41 pm
    Post #18 - May 9th, 2005, 4:41 pm Post #18 - May 9th, 2005, 4:41 pm
    stevez wrote:
    Dave Feldman wrote:Thanks, Steve, for the great report. Next time, be sure and have sticky rice along with the coconut milk. Also, the mango that Bill is serving right now is outstanding, among the best I've ever eaten.


    Dave,

    The sticky rice is there. It's under the "ice cream" and a little hard to see in this shot, but I agree that it's the combination of the cold "ice cream" and the warm sticky rice that make this dish what is is.


    Right you are -- now that I look at the photo more carefully, the rice is clearly visible. I've never seen the dessert served like this -- like a personal sundae.
  • Post #19 - April 26th, 2006, 6:48 am
    Post #19 - April 26th, 2006, 6:48 am Post #19 - April 26th, 2006, 6:48 am
    Here's a little update. I'm back in Las Vegas this week and so far, I have been to Memphis Championship BBQ with a group of 6 people (pictures up thread) and the BBQ was as good as ever. The group I was with came from places as far afield as Florida, Northern Wisconsin, Los Angeles and Australia. All agreed that this was some fine BBQ. That's pretty good praise coming from a group with such varied geographical bias toward BBQ.

    The next day, I was so full from eating BBQ the night before that I decided to have a simple Cobb salad at my hotel (MGM Grand) for lunch. $21 later (including a glass of iced tea), I left unimpressed.

    Yesterday afternoon, I paid a visit to Lotus of Siam for lunch. This time, I tried a new (to me) appetizer of spicy chicken wings. These wings were done in somewhat the style of Great Seas, except that they were very fresh, meaty wings (fling and drumstick portions) that are first fried Thai style, then topped with a very flavorful and spicy-as-you-want-it sauce. I followed that with my "usual" salt & pepper garlic koong, which I now know is called koong plia (Forgive the spelling) and coconut "ice cream" over sticky rice. (pictures up thread). I'm going again tonight with a few people, so I'll be able to sample more of the menu.

    This afternoon, I hope to get to Orchards Garden for dim-sum. I'm trying to get someone to go with me so that I can sample a broad range of their offerings, but I may end up going myself, which will limit my menu prospects. I'll report back.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #20 - April 27th, 2006, 8:47 pm
    Post #20 - April 27th, 2006, 8:47 pm Post #20 - April 27th, 2006, 8:47 pm
    Hash House a Go Go

    I had breakfast at Hash House a Go Go, located on one of the finest chow strips in Vegas, Sahara Avenue. Hash House a Go Go, besides having a name that conjures up memories of the swingin’ sixties, alludes to having roots in Indiana, but is actually an outpost of a San Diego restaurant known for serving “Twisted Farm Food”. Such a chain-like slogan would normally keep me away from this restaurant, but based on a recommendation from someone I trust, I decided to check it out. HHaGG serves country style food (I would call it Southern style, but for the Indiana references) ranging from Sage Fried Chicken and Meatloaf to Hand Pounded Pork Tenderloin with a smattering of salads, steaks, fish and 1 lb. stuffed burgers. For breakfast, there is a full selection of all the standards as well as some unique dishes as I will explain below. The restaurant is decorated in an industrial-meets-country style, with tables made of brushed aluminum, chromed steel “truck bed” walls and a corrugated steel “silo”.

    Hash House a Go Go Industrial-Meets-Country Interior
    Image

    I opted for fresh squeezed tangerine juice, which was a great change from OJ (also offered) and a dish called Pork Tenderloin Benedict, which is served on a biscuit set atop griddled mashed potatoes then topped with fresh spinach, yellow tomatoes and, of course a pounded pork tenderloin and eggs (scrambled, in this case). Rather than traditional hollandaise sauce, it comes with a BBQ cream sauce. I was somewhat skeptical of this sauce, so I opted for it on the side. It actually turned out to be pretty good. The sauce complimented the pork tenderloin nicely. It was lighter tasting than I thought it would be, with a subtle BBQ sauce tang and not a hint of Liquid Smoke, as I feared.

    There is a whole section of the menu filled with these “benedicts” ranging from the pork version that I had to a fried chicken version and even a house-smoked salmon version along with several others. There are also 7 different styles of “hashes”, a section of the menu for different varieties of scrambles, flapjacks and pancakes as well as just plain eggs. The lunch and diner menus are equally eclectic.

    So, how were the portions? Big…I mean really big, gigantic, colossal…huge! The portions at HHaGG are so large they make the obscene amounts of food you get at The Peppermill look like something from the children’s menu. Portions so large that they would make TonyC plotz. Portions so large that they can easily feed 2 LTHers or 3 normal people ($2.50 charge for splitting an order). Portions so large that I can’t even call the pork cutlet hubcap sized, it was manhole cover sized.

    Crispy Hand-Hammered Pork Tenderloin Benedict
    Image

    To give you some perspective, that’s a quarter sitting on the corner of the pork cutlet, and the eggs on top were a full serving of at least 3 scrambled eggs. That’s the BBQ cream sauce on the left. When the waitress put this down in front of me, I had to laugh. She said that the only people who actually finish the whole thing without splitting it seem to be kids. “It’s mostly 7 – 10 year old boys. They’ll eat anything”, she said. Oh, and don’t forget that all that potato, biscuit, spinach and tomato stuff is sitting underneath.

    Interior Detail
    Image

    If you’re in the mood for some food of astronomical proportions made to order with fresh, high quality ingredients, head to Hash House a Go Go. Like nearly everything else in Las Vegas, it’s larger than life.

    Hash House a Go Go
    6800 W. Sahara Ave.
    Las Vegas, NV
    702-804-4646

    To answer the burning question, No, I did not even come close to finishing this behemoth. The waitress brought over a Styrofoam container (a full sized one) and my leftover pork cutlet overlapped the sides of the container…and I was hungry when I started.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #21 - April 27th, 2006, 11:03 pm
    Post #21 - April 27th, 2006, 11:03 pm Post #21 - April 27th, 2006, 11:03 pm
    Steve, thanks for the posts. I'm off to Vegas in about a month, and you've given me some ideas :D

    Have you or anyone else tried Burger Bar or Craft Steakhouse. Those are two places on my short list, as well, duh, the places above.
    Think Yiddish, Dress British - Advice of Evil Ronnie to me.
  • Post #22 - April 27th, 2006, 11:04 pm
    Post #22 - April 27th, 2006, 11:04 pm Post #22 - April 27th, 2006, 11:04 pm
    stevez wrote:Portions so large that they would make TonyC plotz.

    Mike,

    If this isn't an LTHForum tagline, I don't know what is. :)

    Z, that's one big pork tenderloin!

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow
  • Post #23 - April 30th, 2006, 12:24 pm
    Post #23 - April 30th, 2006, 12:24 pm Post #23 - April 30th, 2006, 12:24 pm
    stevez wrote:Hash House a Go Go

    I had breakfast at Hash House a Go Go, located on one of the finest chow strips in Vegas, Sahara Avenue. [/size]


    Wow, the Hash House a go-go seems like a must do on my next trip the first week of June. Since I'll be busy running around I may not be able to make both the Peppermill and the Hash House a go go. If you could only have breakfast (that's the meal I'm going to try) at one, which would you choose? I haven't eaten at either yet. TIA

    Kurt
    Salem, OR
  • Post #24 - April 30th, 2006, 12:34 pm
    Post #24 - April 30th, 2006, 12:34 pm Post #24 - April 30th, 2006, 12:34 pm
    Kurtopia wrote:Wow, the Hash House a go-go seems like a must do on my next trip the first week of June. Since I'll be busy running around I may not be able to make both the Peppermill and the Hash House a go go. If you could only have breakfast (that's the meal I'm going to try) at one, which would you choose? I haven't eaten at either yet. TIA

    Kurt
    Salem, OR

    Kurt,

    The Peppermill is more of a straight ahead diner, albiet one with old school Vegas atmosphere, large portions and cocktail waitresses. Hash House a Go Go is more of a novelty act that could be set almost anywhere. Both are quite good, though. I've been to The Peppermill countless times (including once during this visit), so I was ready for something different. If you've never been to either, I'd start out at The Peppermill, simply because it's right on The Strip and may be an endangered species. The Stardust is right across the street and is about to be torn down. I'm sure the developers' eyes will be focusing on the parcel right across the street sooner rather than later.

    P.S. I'll be posting on the new Red Rock Casino and The Salt Lick BBQ soon. That is something you should not miss on your trip in June.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #25 - April 30th, 2006, 1:46 pm
    Post #25 - April 30th, 2006, 1:46 pm Post #25 - April 30th, 2006, 1:46 pm
    Kurtopia, I would take stevez's advice and start out at the Peppermill. Yeah, it's a Las Vegas institution, but the food is actually really very good. The Munch's Breakfast might be my favorite breakfast, or at least breakfast memory, ever. Sauteed peppers, onions, linguica or chorizo, mushrooms & tomatoes, stirred into hashbrowns, topped with 3 eggs (poached for me) and finished with cheddar and jack cheese in a huge bowl.

    I had breakfast almost twice a day, everyday, last time I was in LV (just that kind of town), and the Peppermill is def'y my fav.
  • Post #26 - May 2nd, 2006, 2:27 pm
    Post #26 - May 2nd, 2006, 2:27 pm Post #26 - May 2nd, 2006, 2:27 pm
    Vital Information wrote:Steve, thanks for the posts. I'm off to Vegas in about a month, and you've given me some ideas :D

    Have you or anyone else tried Burger Bar or Craft Steakhouse. Those are two places on my short list, as well, duh, the places above.


    Burger Bar, yes, one of my definite stops if I find myself stuck at Mandalay Bay. Kind of a build-your-own-burger bar (duh) but with gourmet options: Ridgeland beef, Angus, American Kobe as well as lamb and turkey or an excellent veggie burger for the non-carnivorous.

    Or you can opt for the chef's special burgers, the pinnacle being the $60 Rossini (sp?) burger topped with foie gras and other expensive goodness. Haven't sampled that one for myself yet, as meh, I really have no desire to consume a $60 burger.

    Get some skinny, fat or sweet potato fries or my fave, the colossal onion rings, wash it down with some Fat Tire... ahhhh, heaven. It's a good way to spend too much on a burger. A great burger, but still a burger at that. I'm a fan.

    Burger Bar Las Vegas
    Mandalay Place
    menu http://www.usmenuguide.com/burgerbarmenu.htm
  • Post #27 - May 2nd, 2006, 2:48 pm
    Post #27 - May 2nd, 2006, 2:48 pm Post #27 - May 2nd, 2006, 2:48 pm
    gmonkey wrote:Burger Bar, yes, one of my definite stops if I find myself stuck at Mandalay Bay. Kind of a build-your-own-burger bar (duh) but with gourmet options: Ridgeland beef, Angus, American Kobe as well as lamb and turkey or an excellent veggie burger for the non-carnivorous.

    Or you can opt for the chef's special burgers, the pinnacle being the $60 Rossini (sp?) burger topped with foie gras and other expensive goodness. Haven't sampled that one for myself yet, as meh, I really have no desire to consume a $60 burger.

    Get some skinny, fat or sweet potato fries or my fave, the colossal onion rings, wash it down with some Fat Tire... ahhhh, heaven. It's a good way to spend too much on a burger. A great burger, but still a burger at that. I'm a fan.


    Or, you can go around the corner to In-N-Out Burger on the corner of Dean Martin and Tropicana.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #28 - May 28th, 2006, 11:56 am
    Post #28 - May 28th, 2006, 11:56 am Post #28 - May 28th, 2006, 11:56 am
    a quick update:

    I just returned from Vegas and had problems finding Chow's, because

    a) It's no longer called Chow's. It's been renamed to Orchid Garden. The hostess said that it changed owners about a year ago.

    b) The address is 5485, not 5458 W. Sahara. Be aware that this is way off the strip. About 2 miles. It was about a $20 cab ride from the Venetian (more because we had to stop to ask directions). The traffic on Saraha is awful, making the drive take at least 20-25 minutes. Our cabbie hated us.

    That said, the dim sum was very good. Packed w/ Chinese folk. Those I can remember were:

    a sweet glazed egg bread filled w/ bbq pork
    shrimp balls wrapped in some sort of rice paper/dough
    shumai
    sweet dough filled w/ sesame (?) paste. outside coated w/ sesame seeds

    I also ordered a kung pao chicken and found it to be your average unauthentic mall chinese food. Skip the entrees and stay w/ the dim sum.
  • Post #29 - May 28th, 2006, 3:16 pm
    Post #29 - May 28th, 2006, 3:16 pm Post #29 - May 28th, 2006, 3:16 pm
    tem wrote:
    a) It's no longer called Chow's. It's been renamed to Orchid Garden. The hostess said that it changed owners about a year ago.

    b) The address is 5485, not 5458 W. Sahara.


    Thanks. I've know about the name change for a while and I have updated the original post to reflect the new name and the address.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #30 - June 9th, 2006, 5:45 pm
    Post #30 - June 9th, 2006, 5:45 pm Post #30 - June 9th, 2006, 5:45 pm
    To finish up posting about my recent Vegas trip, I’d like to mention the brand spanking new Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa. One day, I got fed up with the whole Vegas scene (it doesn't’t take much for that to happen to me) and hopped in the car for a relaxing trip to Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, around 30 minutes northwest of the neon hum of the Casino Action.

    Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area
    Image

    I took a lovely drive along the scenic trail, with stops along the way to enjoy the silence and snap a few pictures. Eventually, it was time to head back to civilization…or at least what passes for civilization in Las Vegas. My plan was to return to Lotus of Siam for a full dinner after having been there for lunch the day before; but it was not to be. While driving along, minding my own business, it appeared in front of me like a mirage. Where there used to be nothing, there was now the very Prairie Style-looking Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa. Was this gambling for the Frank Lloyd Wright set? And, what was that sign I saw over one of the doors? Did it actually say Salt Lick BBQ? The Salt Lick BBQ? I had to make a U-Turn and look into this further.

    Entrance to Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa
    Image

    View From the Entrance
    Image

    This was actually a tastefully (for Vegas at least) done casino that was set in the middle of Mother Nature’s front yard. OK, it’s in Summerland, which is more or less a planned suburban community, but it’s on the edge of Summerland, so at least if you look in the right direction, it appears to be in Mother Nature’s front yard.

    The hotel had only been open less than 1 week, so everything was still squeaky clean and the staff was very excited to be working there. It was still mid-afternoon and I wasn’t yet ready for a full blown BBQ dinner so I decided to explore the property a bit before looking for The Salt Lick. This is an impressive property. Not only did it have the usual casino and all its “charms”, but it also had a multiplex theater and a couple of pretty good looking pools…not to mention around 10 restaurants. By this time, I was feeling a bit peckish, so I decided to stop in to Tides Oyster Bar for an appetizer.

    Tides Oyster Bar
    Image

    Tides was showing some opening week missteps in terms of service. At the time, I was ready to really trash the place based on this, but when I found out the hotel was only open for such a short time, I decided to cut them some slack while all the personnel in the restaurant figures out who does what when it comes to serving a solo diner sitting at the counter. I ordered some steamed clams, which I watched being prepared in the bustling open kitchen behind the counter.

    Steamers, Tides Oyster Bar Style
    Image

    The clams were served in a nice cast iron vessel, however there was no accommodation made for discarding the empty shells. I ended up using the cover of the serving piece. Also the clams were somewhat sandy. On the positive side, the cooking liquid was very tasty and was delicious when sopped up using the supplied bread.

    But enough about all that, what about The Salt Lick?

    Salt Lick BBQ
    Image

    The Salt Lick is the real deal. Sure, it’s inside a Vegas hotel, but they have gone out of their way to make sure the BBQ is cooked the same way it is in Driftwood, TX. There is a large pit in the center of the open kitchen area that you can see as you walk in.

    Open Pit
    Image

    The meat is pulled off the pit and carved to order

    Carving Station
    Image

    The Salt Lick was doing a brisk business at around 5:30 P.M. There was a wait of around 1 hr, but no wait at all if I wanted to eat at the bar. The bar sounded good to me. I ordered a combination plate, which consisted of a couple of ribs, some sausage, brisket, potato salad, coleslaw and beans.

    Salt Lick Combination Plate
    Image

    The nice(?) Thing about eating at the bar in Vegas is that you can eat and gamble at the same time. Of course, I was too busy enjoying this great BBQ to bother to gamble. The meat was unbelievably good and the cole slaw was unique and delicious. This was sublime BBQ and there is no way that I will ever return to Vegas without heading to The Salt Lick.

    MMMMM...Meat
    Image

    The most amazing thing is that Las Vegas has turned into a true BBQ destination with both Memphis Championship and The Salt Lick serving up world class BBQ in a city where the shrimp cocktail was once king.

    The Salt Lick BBQ
    Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa
    11011 West Charleston Blvd.
    Las Vegas, NV
    702-797-7576
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven

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