The Final Goodbye by Krista Boivie

This was the last picture I took before leaving Las Vegas, and truly,  it was the first item on my must see list.  I have driven past this iconic sign for years, but I have never gotten out of my car to take the classic photo.  

My friends have told me that I needed to be in the picture, but perhaps I will save that for the day when I come back to visit.  For now, this is my final goodbye of Las Vegas. 

Vegas Goodbye...Week 4 by Krista Boivie

I am glad that I managed to get to Mount Charleston this week, due to the fires that began a few days later.  I had never driven through the canyons and it was a beautiful evening. The pictures are of Kyle Canyon and Deer Creek areas.

Now onto the food...

  • Restaurant:  Lucilles Smokehouse
  • Location: 2245 Village Walk Dr  Henderson
  • Ordered: Biscuits (appetizer), BBQ Half Chicken and Two Meat Platter

Review: Due to the size of the portions, my brother and I decided to split one meal.  The biscuits with the apple butter were so delicious I could have easily just eaten them and nothing else.  The BBQ  meat was perfectly smoked and juicy.  The chicken was tender and perfect, but my favorite meat was the beef brisket.  We were so focused enjoying our meal that we forgot to try their three signature sauces.  Their strawberry lemonade was also the right balance of sweet and tart...however I was stunned that they were $5 a piece.

  • Restaurant:  Novecento Pizzeria
  • Location: 5705 Centennial Center Blvd Suite #170, Las Vegas
  • Ordered: Chopped Salad, Margherita Pizza, Pistachio Gelto (dessert)

Review: I forgot to take pictures during my meal and so my one little picture is of my leftover pizza.  Chef Marc of Parma fame opened Novecento Pizzeria to be a casual dining experience for his customers.  I met a college buddy for lunch, and we had the pleasure of meeting Chef Marc. Before we ordered he educated us on true Neapolitan Pizza.  I am a huge fan of Settebello Pizzeria, which is also authentic Neopolitan Pizza, and has a few locations in town. I found Novecento pizza to be just as good.  Pizza is one of my favorite foods and I could eat it for every meal.  If you happen to be up in the north part of town check it out.

  • Restaurant:  Wine 5 Cafe
  • Location: 3250 N Tenaya Ave, Ste 110, Las Vegas
  • Ordered: Samosa (appetizer), Seared Salmon and Nairobi Pork Chops

Review: Wine 5 Cafe is a Kenyan-US-French fusion restaurant.  The interior looks like a French cafe and the menu offers a large variety of traditional American cuisine with a Kenyan and French twist.  The samosa was spicy and a huge hearty portion.  I really enjoyed both the salmon and the pork chops.  The chops had an interesting spice in the gravy that was very pleasant.  I am usually hesitant about ethnic foods, but this was a great little restaurant tucked away in the north part of town.

Vegas Goodbye...Week 3 by Krista Boivie

I was so productive in week three that I didn't want to stop working on my side projects to go out and about the city, but I broke down, braved the heat and off I went, and I am very glad that I did.

This week I visited the Mob Museum.

Location: 300 Stewart Avenue, Las Vegas, NV 89101 (ticket prices are $10 for locals, $20 for adults)

The Mob Museum is spectacular.  It was one of the most enjoyable small museums that I have visited in years.  I loved the variety of the interactive and learning exhibits.  It is housed in the old courthouse/post office down town, and the location and building add to the character of the experience. Each of the various exhibits details the life of mob history in the United States.  I had been expecting the Mob Museum to just focus on Las Vegas mobsters, but it is much larger in scope which kept it interesting for me.  My friend Jen and I visited on a Thursday afternoon and there were just enough people to move through the displays without incident.  I think that kids 13+ would enjoy the museum; there were some displays that had very graphic images along with some crude language, so it is not the type of place I would bring younger children.  It really is a great learning experience and would highly recommend that you visit.

Now for the food...

  • Restaurant:  Lotus of Siam
  • Location: 953 E. Sahara, Suite A5, Las Vegas 
  • Ordered: Fried Wontons (appetizer), Chicken Pad Thai, Duck Curry

Review: I am rarely disappointed with Thai food and after about 10 different people recommended that I try Lotus of Siam, I knew I had to include it on my list of restaurants to visit.  Jen and I visited it after our trip to the Mob Museum and I quickly saw what all the hoopla was for.  Although the location is not at all convenient to me, the food was spectacular.  The pad Thai was so delicious, if not the best, I've ever had. Jen ordered the duck curry and it was not too spicy for me and had a nice, rich flavor.  I enjoyed it so much that I might have to eat here one more time before I leave. The service is also spectacular.

  • Restaurant:  Brio Tuscan Grille
  • Location: 420 South Rampart, Las Vegas (...this is a nation wide chain restaurant)
  • Ordered: Bruschetta Quattro (appetizer), Pasta Verona, Shrimp Mediterranean

Review: I didn't realize I had eaten at Brio until after I arrived.  Oh well, it has been more than a year and I didn't remember much of the first experience.  This was not because the food wasn't good, but I didn't eat anything, I was only there for a brief meeting, and I only had a soda and bread.  Brio has excellent Italian food that is full of flavor. My favorite dish was the bruschetta and I would have been perfectly happy not to eat anything else and just savor the delicious selection.  The pasta was cooked to my dente. I notice that some Italian restaurants often overcook the pasta and I was pleased that this was not the case.  Considering that this is a large chain restaurant, I would have been shocked if it had been terrible.  The decor and settings made it feel like the wealthier cousin to the Olive Garden with a much larger selection.  

Vegas Goodbye - Week 2 by Krista Boivie

This week, I decided to combine my food and my activities in the same post because I am a little behind with my posts and also because I only went a couple of places.

The first activity was to see Human Nature perform at the Venetian.  Human Nature features four guys from Australia that have been performing Motown classics together for the last 20 years.  It was an energetic, fun-filled show.  My brother Scott and I sang loudly along with the the group for almost every song.  Although the average age in the theater was 60, the audience was lively and fun.  It was a great evening and a fun show for the whole family.  After the show the guys sell their DVD's and CDs and will sign them for you.  Normally, I don't buy show merchandise but in this case we did and the cd is just as good as the show. Ticket prices start at $70 per person.

Now for the food of the week:

  • Restaurant:  Holsteins
  • Location: 3708 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas (Inside Cosmopolitan Hotel/Casino)
  • Ordered: Red Neck Poppers (appetizer), Long Horn Burger and Carbanara Chicken Burger

Review: Holsteins was recommended by one of my students and it has all sorts of crazy burgers and specialty shakes.  I found the food good, but the price of each burger averaged $16+ and for that price I expect to be delighted.  I thought I could get a burger even more juicy at Red Robin for half the price.  If you are in the Cosmopolitan you probably will enjoy it, but I wouldn't make a special trip just to eat there.

  • Restaurant:  Shoku Ramen-Ya
  • Location: 470 E Windmill Ln #110, Las Vegas 
  • Ordered: Gyoza & Fried Rice (appetizer), Tonkotsu Ramen & Abura-Soba

Review: This was the second ramen restaurant in two weeks, but I had read some reviews about their fried rice and I was in the neighborhood.  Their fried rice is AMAZING!  I am not a big rice fan, but this rice was awesome. It was hearty and full of bacon.  Although I preferred the ramen at Anime Ramen, I would return to this restaurant to just eat the rice.  If you find yourself in the southern part of Vegas and want some delicious Japanese food, swing by you won't be disappointed. 

Next week I ventured to Thai and Italian Restaurants...

Vegas Goodbye - Week 1 by Krista Boivie

Eating out is a luxury I almost never indulge in.  When I decided to tackle all the best food joints in town I took to Facebook to ask my Vegas friends their recommendations.  Two of the three restaurants I visited in week 1 were on their “must-eat” list.

  • Restaurant:  Naked City Pizza
  • Location: 3240 Arville St, Las Vegas (Inside Moon Doggies Bar)
  • Ordered: Not So Wee Pepperoni and Sausage Pizza

Review: Naked City Pizza was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and I knew last summer I had to visit.  Their specialty is Brooklyn Style Pizza and this was my first foray into that style.  Chef Chris is famous because he makes all the ingredients and you can taste that attention to detail in the pizza. In spite of the bar atmosphere and LOUD music, the pizza is delicious.  My terrible picture does not do it justice. 

  • Restaurant:  Anime Ramen & Teriyaki
  • Location: 4355 Spring Mountain Rd, Ste 101, Las Vegas
  • Ordered: Tonkatsu Ramen, Teriyaki Chicken,
  • Dessert: Banana Split

JPop music welcomes you in this fun and eccentric restaurant. In addition to the colorful anime posters and decorations, cosplay waitresses take your order. I haven’t had good ramen since my 2009 trip to Japan and it was as delicious as I had remembered.  The teriyaki chicken was also nice, but I found the sauce a little too sweet for me.  Feel free to skip the dessert—there wasn’t anything particularly special about the deconstructed banana split. 

  • Restaurant: Mon Ami Gabi
  • Location: 3655 S. Las Vegas Blvd., Las Vegas
  • Ordered: Steak au Poivre, Mussels Marinière,
  • Dessert: Bananas Fosters Crepe & Profiteroles

Mon Ami Gabi is a delicious French restaurant in the Paris Hotel & Casino.  My friend Grace and I spend a leisurely Saturday afternoon reveling in the food.  This was my first experience with mussels and I found them delicious—although who can really say when they were drenched in the most delectable white wine sauce.  The steak was perfectly cooked as were the crunchy fries.  This meal was a little pricey—but oh so worth the experience. 

Vegas Sites...Week 1 by Krista Boivie

The first item on my list of places to visit was the Neon Boneyard.  I have wanted to come and see the old neon signs for years and after talking to my friend Tiffany, we decided to head down and visit on the first day we had free from school.  It was a hot, yet beautiful morning and although I had to navigate a crowd of people, I was still really happy with the pictures I was able to capture.  Next time you are in Las Vegas, I would highly recommend seeing the boneyard.