Vegas vacation

I dragged my feet out of bed Friday morning to squeeze in a workout (I wanted to start off our gluttonous weekend with one last healthy hurrah).  It wasn’t one of my best, but it was better than nothing. 


While Kyle showered I made him a birthday breakfast of rosemary hash browns.  I baked the potato first in the microwave for 4ish minutes so it would sauté quicker.  Then I gave it a rough chop (hot potato!) and threw it in the pan with cooking spray, salt, pepper, and rosemary. 


After the hash was done, I tossed in an egg, poured him some coffee, and set his place for a lovely birthday meal. 

After some present opening and last minute packing, we hit the road.  I had apples, bananas, and bars aplenty…


Plus my lifeblood.  Who’s loving the new Starbucks logo?  I think the siren calls to me even stronger now without the words above her head (but then I’m a sucker for fan of anything The ‘Bucks does).


And the wolf pack was on it’s way…


We spent most of our time in the new(ish) Cosmopolitan hotel.  It’s home to several of the best restaurants, the new “it” club (Marquee), and a 3 story Chandelier bar that epitomizes everything Vegas represents (glitz and glamour on the verge of gaudy).

It was noon when we arrived, so we dropped off our bags at the hotel (The Jockey Club is connected to the Cosmopolitan/Convention Center and is the best kept secret in Vegas, so let’s keep this between us, ok?) and headed to lunch.


Our friends met up with us and we settled into a booth at Holsteins Shakes and Buns. 

Their food emphasizes fresh, natural and organic ingredients with a funky, homegrown attitude.  The menu features specialty burgers and house-made sausages as well as a wide variety of shakes and sides.  All items – including toppings, buns and condiments – are custom crafted in-house.


The decor had me concerned (there’s nothing like a poster with the cuts of a pig to entice a vegan…) but a quick glance at the menu reassured me that I’d be happy with my meal. 


I chose the Urth Burger sliders (there was a full burger option too) with a house-made vegan patty with cucumber, avocado, and sprouts.  I was excited that the restaurant was not only able to accommodate a vegan, but actually had an item (in a burger joint no less) designated for the non-carnivorous crowd.  I mean really!  Considering we were in Vegas (not exactly the health food capital of the world) I really feel like times are a changing. 


Looks pretty stellar huh?  Please note the background drank choice (they brought my Bud Light in the cozy).  [Depending on where you live, this drink sleeve may be known to you as a koozie]


They were awesome.  The perfect portion and 100% delish.  They were soft and you could see chunks of veggies and seeds in the patty.  The avocado on the other hand wasn’t so great.  I think it was made from a fake guac mix.


Kyle ordered the The Rising Sun with Kobe beef, teriyaki glaze, nori furikake, crispy yam, spicy mayo, and tempura avocado


After lunch we wandered across the street to Planet Hollywood for some March Madness fun.


In order to get a table, we had to meet a $20 per person per hour minimum.  This translated to a bucket of beers each every hour.  The good news?  We got our money’s worth.  The bad news?  We got our money’s worth.


Sadly, our parlays all struck out.


For dinner, we all went to Mandalay Bay for a deal (we had pre-purchased a $100 coupon for only $8). 


Mandalay Bay is home to several well known dining spots (Fleur by Hubert Keller, Lupo by Wolfgang Puck, Rick Moonen’s RM Seafood, Stripsteak, Border Grill, etc.).  We made our way to Shanghai Lilly, which featured classical Cantonese cuisine with Szechwan specialties. 


We started with cabernet sauvignon and appetizers.


On the left, mixed apps for the table.  On the right, potstickers just for Seamus.


Even though we ordered family style, the tofu and scallops with black bean sauce were pretty much just for me (I gave the scallops to Kyle). 


The difference between the General Tso Chicken and the Sweet and Sour pork was minimal. 


I also had a side of vegetable fried rice, which was not really fried at all.  I didn’t mind the lack of grease, but for others who may be looking for the traditional fried rice flavors, it was definitely not that.  It was a little on the bland side, but once I poured the extra black bean sauce on it, it was great. 

Another bottle of wine later…followed by a round of ports for dessert…


I can’t even tell you how fun this dinner was.  I couldn’t stop laughing the entire time, and that may or may not be because we were Seamus was absolutely trashed. 


We won quite a bit at Wheel of Fortune…but then lost it all at the Craps table.  Despite multiple lessons, I’m still trying to learn how that game works…

I don’t know what happened after one am, but I know I did NOT want to be dragged out of bed as early as I was the next morning.


Thank goodness Planet Hollywood has Starbucks.  I took two trips to this location over the course of Saturday.

At this point I should mention two other friends joined us in Vegas on Saturday.  I have no idea how, but in our drunken stupor the day before, we managed to convince our friends to fly out the following dawn (at 5 am to be exact).  We bribed them with free flights and a couch to pass out on and they actually came through!  It was hilarious. 

We all met up for brunch to cheer on the Bruins (sad loss).  Eager for a repeat afternoon of fun, we went back to the same bar in Planet Hollywood that we were in the previous day. 

You KNOW it’s bad news bears when the staff remembers you (I mean, seriously how many people do they see every day in Vegas?). 


Salad for breakfast?  Sure why not.  I subbed the feta cheese out for avocado instead.  Avocado makes everything better, even a hangover.


The boys went a different route…with a bucket of fried chicken and Dorito crusted mac ‘n cheese.  Truth be told, nobody liked the mac ‘n cheese.  It was too greasy to even meet hangover food requirements.


Dear Seamus,

You may not remember this, but you did indeed beg for a feature role in this recap.

I always make good on my promises.  🙂

[Apparently his role in this post wasn’t enough of a feature] 

The Bruins lost, lunch time rolled around, and we all split up for naps and whatnot.  I was hungry again and made my way to the Aria for a SkyBox takeaway order.  The menu was again limited in the vegan friendly realm, so I went with a salad nearly identical to my breakfast one. 


Mixed greens, candied pecans, etc. with artisan bread toasted and spread with cranberry jelly.  I also added an entire avocado on in place of the cheese.  I was charged extra but it was worth it. 

The toast with jelly tasted like an english muffin with jam.  It hit the spot.  The salad was actually kinda a beast too, which made me VERY happy.  I felt like there were more toppings (especially pecans) than greens, too (something that I feel is pretty atypical in a to-go salad). 


Kyle decided to get some greens as well, ordering the Cobb salad.  Sadly, he wasn’t a fan of the ranch dressing they gave him (seriously, Ranch dressing on a Cobb salad?).  He ended up eating it plain, but still enjoyed it.


After a shower and nap, we set off for the opposite end of the strip…



As a huge Beatles fan, I’ve been wanting to go to this show forever.  Kyle got to go a few years ago for a work function and I was filled with jealousy. 


It was every bit as fantastic as I had hoped.  My inner hippie left with thoughts of peace and love. 


I found a candy shop on the way through the Mirage so I had lots (LOTS) of dark chocolate covered pretzels, almonds, and raisins to get me through the show. 


After the show we high tailed it back to The Cosmopolitan for a nice dinner at Blue Ribbon sushi.  Kyle and I are big fans of the Blue Ribbon restaurants (there are a few in NYC) so we knew this would be a great choice. 


Even though it was nine o’clock, the place was still packed (I think time doesn’t exist in Vegas).  We ended up getting a seat at the sushi bar.  Oddly enough (given my adoration for sushi) I’ve never eaten at the bar part of a restaurant.  Weird. 


I spotted a ginger drink on the menu and my mind was made up.  It was SO good.  I wish I could figure out remember what Asian liquor was in it. 


I ordered a seaweed and tofu salad, but also stole a few bites of Kyle’s various maki rolls.  And naturally, I ate all the pickled ginger garnish. 


After dinner we met up with the rest of the group again for drinks. 

Holstein’s is located across from Marquee and I was truly baffled by the ridiculous outfits (or lack thereof) that some of these girls were rocking.  I felt like a grandma. 


I discovered a new favorite drink.  A dark ‘n stormy has dark rum, ginger beer, lime juice, and ice.  And it’s delicious.  Round one is (was) the tall boy that’s empty on the left.  Round two is next to it.  🙂

Fortunately, my photos from the weekend end there.  The ride home was actually not too bad, aside from the LA marathon traffic and torrential downpour. 

Have you been to Vegas?  What’s your favorite place to eat, drink, and/or be merry?

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Comments (26)

  1. Annabel @

    i’ve heard Wynn’s vegan menu is off the hizzle. have you checked it out?

  2. Gabriela @ Une Vie Saine

    WOW that looks like a fun trip!! I love the veggie burger sliders especially. And I had no idea that they opened a Marquee in Vegas! I’ve never been to Sin City, but they do have most of the Vegas hotspots in NYC as well, so I guess some of the excitement is kind of gone?

  3. elise

    thats what kyle and i were joking about the whole time…once youve lived in NYC, its not that much of a treat because its all the same places, haha.

  4. elise

    i had no idea! next time…

  5. Emily

    Oh, I love Vegas! We’re planning a trip for our anniversary, can’t wait 🙂

    Copa d’Oro has a really good dark and stormy on their happy hour menu. Totally my favorite bar in SaMo.

  6. movesnmunchies

    ah i wna go to vegas one day!! i love that burger and skybox salad!!

  7. Katie

    Mmm, I want a burger now. And I want to go to Vegas. I’ve been there once and it was complete debauchery. I don’t even remember eating anything…just drinking. At Toby Keith’s bar.

  8. elise

    i looooove copa d’oro (its a little pricy but very much my fave bar in santa monica too). have you tried their moscow mule? its also ridic. yummmmy!

  9. Amanda

    This makes me want to go to Vegas so badly!!!! I haven’t been since the summer. (Ok that’s not really a long time.)

    I’ve been wanting to see that Love show too. Glad it was good!

  10. Christine (The Raw Project)

    The rosemary potatoes look great. The vegan sliders sound wonderful! Better than Kyle’s burger. 🙂 Aw, Wheel of Fortune is a Vegas weakness for me! What a great recap, I could totally use a fun trip to Vegas!

    Yes, almost two years ago when we eloped and I’m ready to go back. I haven’t been to enough restaurants to have a fave, but I was really impressed with Capitol Grill.

  11. J3nn (Jenn's Menu and Lifestyle Blog)

    We went to Vegas last November; we saw Cirque Dusoleil, too! But the acrobatic version, not the Beatles. 🙁

    Those sliders look delicious! Actually, all the food does!

  12. Emily

    Wow! $8.00 for a $100.00 gift certificate is amazing, I am now on searching for deals in NYC. It looks like you’re having a ton of fun!


  13. rebecca lustig

    wow. so much happened in this post I don’t even know where to begin! I’ve actually never had a huge desire to go to Vegas, but it’s definitely a city I know I’ll end up going to– it’s a major U.S. ‘landmark’, no? lol

    glad you were able to enjoy!!

  14. lynn @ the actor's diet

    those burgers look terrific!!! i don’t go to vegas very often, but last time i went i always go to the celebrity chef’s places

  15. julie

    i’m waiting for a what happens in vegas story..

    also i LOVE the new starbs logo

  16. Laura

    Is is sad that the koozie is the FIRST thing I noticed??? It is SAWEET! Please tell me you got to keep it?

    Also, is it pathetic that a koozie is one of the things I am packing on my 5-month journey??

  17. zoe (and the bealtes)

    ohmygod!!!! i’ve been DYING to see the beatles love! so jealous 🙂 looks like you had a really awesome time!

  18. Jessica @ Dairy Free Betty

    So fun… and those burgers… YES!

  19. Juliette

    Okay, this may sound lame, but my boyfriend & I love to play blackjack at the Sahara. Ya, it’s a dive, but you just can’t pass up $1 blackjack. Rum & cokes at PURE and we love the Cirque du Soleil “O” show. We went last year and it is truely amazing.

  20. elise

    yes that is pathetic. and yes i got to keep it 🙂

  21. elise

    vegas is SOOO fun. one night is usually enough, but its a blast nonetheless

  22. elise

    haha…never been to the sahara, but cheap tables are good ones in my book. the cheapest craps table we could find all weekend was $15 (crazy!!)

  23. elise

    it. was. awesome!!!!!!!!

  24. elise

    hahaha. no weddings…

  25. elise

    i know! such an awesome website!!

  26. Pingback: Restaurant wars « hungry hungry hippie

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