Monday, September 30, 2013

Post Workout Beer?

According to an article in The Washington Times, researchers have discovered that beer is a better post-workout drink than water or Gatorade.  Who am I to argue?

Usually I think that beer tastes like drinking bread, and I'd rather eat bread than drink it; however, I do like some flavored beer.  Since fall is here, I thought I'd try out Abita Pecan Harvest Ale which is brewed with spring water and Louisiana pecans.

After my afternoon workout, I jumped off the treadmill, put away the weights and cracked open Abita Pecan.  Upon first sniff, it just smelled like beer to me.  The flavor is nothing like drinking bread though.  It's more like drinking spring water with a slightly nutty flavor.  It's very refreshing on a hot September day in L.A.  I feel more hydrated already!
Happy drinking!

Saturday, September 28, 2013


My husband and I were over at CBS Studios this morning, and since we were nearby, we decided to go to Lala's for lunch.  I ate there once before many years ago, and I didn't remember why I'd never gone back.  Recently, we'd had several friends recommend Lala's when we were asking what restaurants to try, and this seemed like the perfect time to give it another chance.

Parking was probably the reason it took me years to return.  There's a tiny lot, and it's valet only.  I really don't like giving people the keys to my car, especially when they're just going to park it 10 feet away.  If you're lucky (like we were) you can find metered parking on the street.

It was pretty empty inside around 1pm on a Saturday afternoon.  We were seated right away, and they brought bread and chimichurri sauce to our table while we looked over the menu.  I prefer the chimichurri sauce that my husband and I make.  This was too liquidy, but it was still nice to have something to snack on.

When I went to Lala's years ago, I'm pretty sure I had the skirt steak.  I wasn't in the mood for a huge steak dinner at lunch time, so I went with the Con Salmon salad.  On the menu, it's described as "grilled, fresh filet of salmon brushed with home-made dijon sauce, on a bed of baby mixed greens, tomato & onion, tossed with balsamic vinaigrette."  My first impression when my meal arrived was positive.  I was impressed at the size of the salad, and it looked like a decent size salmon filet.  Then I got to work chopping up the onion and tomatoes.  I'd never seem tomato slices on a salad before, but it was easy enough to eat once I cut them up.  I usually ask for dressing on the side when I order a salad unless it's a vinaigrette; usually vinaigrette just adds a nice light flavor without making the salad too goopy.  In this case, I was wrong.  I should've asked for the dressing on the side.  My lettuce was drenched.  There was also a sauce on the salmon that wasn't mentioned in the menu description.  The salad had a nice flavor, and the salmon was well cooked; however, in the future I'd ask that they put any dressing or sauce on the side.

My husband ordered the Lomito sandwich which is described on the menu as "grilled thinly cut Certified Angus Beef skirt steak with lettuce, tomato & Argentine sauce."  It came with two sides, and my husband chose rice and salad.  I was going to ask for a bite of his sandwich so I could taste it, but he'd licked the plate clean before I was halfway through my salad.  I guess he liked it!  Just as well.  I was getting full at that point, so I let my husband eat what he wanted of my salad.  If it hadn't been so sopping wet with dressing, I would've taken the leftovers home, but soggy salad doesn't taste good the next day.

Oh, well.  Lesson learned.  Always ask for the dressing on the side!

Happy eating!

Friday, September 27, 2013

McDonald's - Egg White Delight McMuffin

I'm not a huge fan of fast food.  It obviously isn't the healthiest, and it isn't necessarily the best deal.  If you're in a hurry though, sometimes it's not a bad option.

When forced to eat a fast food breakfast at McDonald's (often at an airport), I usually go with the Egg McMuffin.  At only 300 calories, it's one of the better choices.  It has a nice mix of carbs and protein that also keep me feeling satisfied. When I heard about the Egg White Delight McMuffin, I knew I'd have to try it.

On the McDonald's website, the Egg White Delight McMuffin is described as "freshly grilled egg whites, extra lean Canadian bacon and smooth white cheddar, stacked on a toasted English muffin made with eight grams of whole grain. Great taste for 250 calories."

You had me at "white cheddar."  Ever since visiting Vermont last year and enjoying a bowl of White Cheddar Soup, I've been hooked.  I also like egg whites better than full eggs, so this breakfast was made for me.  It doesn't hurt that it's only 250 calories.

If you have to grab a quick breakfast, the Egg White Delight McMuffin certainly satisfies and could easily fit into a healthy diet.  I definitely wouldn't recommend eating fast food everyday, but when circumstances require it, there's no need to feel guilty about this breakfast.  Good job, McDonald's.

My only complaint?  The "meal" comes with hash browns, which is not a healthy option.  It should come with apple slices or a fruit cup.  Unless that happens, I wouldn't recommend ordering the "meal."

Happy eating!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Miguel's - more food to review!

If you read my first post about Miguel's, you know that this is my favorite restaurant in Coronado, CA.  I love the atmosphere, the food and especially the jalapeno white sauce they give you with the complimentary baskets of tortilla chips.  Yes, I love Miguel's.  My husband and I were recently in Coronado for a few days, and we ate at Miguel's twice.  We tried a few different things this trip, so I thought I'd share my thoughts.

I mentioned in my previous review that if I were going to have dessert at Miguel's, I'd want to try the Mini Chimis.  During our first visit to Miguel's this visit, we made sure to save room for dessert.  The Dulce de Leche Mini Chimis are described on the menu as follows: "crispy flour tortilla filled with ripe bananas and caramel sauce, rolling in cinnamon and sugar, topped with vanilla ice cream." I guess they are as described, but the serving was definitely smaller than I expected.  The cooked bananas in the chimis were sweet and delicious, but it was wrapped too tightly in the tortilla.  When I hear "chimi" I think "chimichanga."  That's burrito-sized.  I know this said "mini," but they were more like taquitos than chimis.  I would have preferred two slightly bigger chimis more the shape of small burritos instead of the four little pieces we were given.  I wouldn't order them again, although I do love the taste of cooked bananas.  (Remind me to share my recipe for easy and delicious cooked bananas sometime.)

During our second visit, we arrived during happy hour and decided to try their margaritas.  I ordered a Mango Margarita, and my husband ordered a Strawberry Margarita.  They were both really sweet, well-blended and delicious.  The happy hour size is only 8 oz, but that was enough.

I tend to get a "usual" at restaurants, and my current "usual" at Miguel's is the Fiesta Salad, which I mentioned in my previous review.  The menu indicates that the salad comes with chicken, but I recommend asking the waiter for steak instead of chicken.  I tried it with chicken once, and it was a little dry and overcooked.  The steak tastes much better and adds more flavor to the salad.  I think the thing is that if steak is overcooked it's just well done, but if chicken is overcooked it's dry.  I also mentioned in my previous review that I thought the tortilla shell was too greasy.  It is greasy, but this time it actually reminded me of an elephant ear or funnel cake.  It's not that sweet, but it almost has a hint of sweetness to it. 

My husband always orders something different, usually a combo.  During our first visit, I think he ordered Combo #1.  It includes one taco (either beef, chicken or fish...he chose fish) and a cheese enchilada.  All the combos also come with rice and beans.  I didn't take a picture of that combo, but I didn't take a picture of what he ordered during our second visit, which was similar.  He ordered Combo #7 which came with 2 enchiladas (either beef, chicken or cheese...he chose one beef and one chicken).  Then, from the happy hour menu, he added a fish taco.

Basically, there's no bad choice when it comes to the food at Miguel's, but I like the beef better than the chicken.

Happy eating!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Il Fornaio

If you're looking for an Italian restaurant with a great view of the San Diego skyline, you can't beat Il Fornaio, located across the bay in Coronado, CA.

This afternoon, my husband and I decided to enjoy an early lunch/late dinner at Il Fornaio since he was craving Italian food, and I always love a restaurant with a view.  We arrived around 4pm, and the restaurant was almost empty.  We were seated at a table by the windows which offered a great view of the bay and the San Diego skyline.  At lunch time probably until about 6pm, you can get a table pretty much anywhere you want, but if you're coming here for dinner, especially on the weekend, I would recommend making a reservation and requesting a table by the windows.  The view is what makes this restaurant worth coming back to.

While we looked over the menu, we were given water and a basket of bread which included Italian bread, a grainy roll with raisins in it and an olive loaf.  The waiter also poured olive oil and vinegar in a plate for dipping.  Personally, I like the taste of balsamic vinegar much more than olive oil, so I would've preferred if the proportions had been opposite.  All I could taste was olive oil.  I don't like olives, so I didn't try the olive loaf.  The grainy rolls were okay, but I think I'd prefer multi-grain bread.  The Italian bread even tasted a little bland, and I'm a girl who loves her bread.  Maybe it would've been better if it were warm?

We looked over our menus and placed our order.  The waiter asked if we wanted a salad, and originally we said no.  After talking it over, we decided to see if we could share a salad.  We didn't really want to eat an entree size salad before our entree, but we figured it wouldn't be too much food if we shared.  My husband tracked down someone who worked there (not our waiter) and requested to add the Insalata di Spinaci to our order.  He also asked if it could be split for us, and it sounded like that was no problem.

While we waited for our food, we enjoyed watching the sailboats and kayaks float down the bay.  I also glanced around the restaurant (took pictures for this blog) and noticed that you can clearly see the kitchen from the restaurant.  That's a nice touch.  I watched the chickens going around on the rotisserie.  I also noticed that they used pasta for decoration.  I love when restaurants use food in their decor.

While we waited (and actually the entire time we were there) the people at the table behind us were talking in a foreign language really loudly.  That was not the restaurant's fault, but it was really annoying.  I kept wishing they'd leave soon.  It was hard to hold a conversation with my husband because they were being so loud.  I've noticed that some restaurants turn their music up a little louder (not head-banging loud) so that it drowns out some of the noise.  A baby could cry or people could laugh loudly, and you'd still hear it, but it'd be muffled and not nearly as annoying as if the music were softer.  Miguel's (our favorite restaurant in Coronado) does this well. 

Our waiter came over with our salad.  He seemed slightly confused, which I suppose is understandable considering we changed our minds and decided to order a salad after telling him that we didn't want one.  We were also slightly confused because the salad wasn't split in half for us as we had requested.  The waiter set the salad in the center of the table and gave us each a small plate for sharing.  I scooped half of the salad onto one plate, and my husband ate the rest from the plate it came on.

The Insalata di Spinaci consisted of organic baby spinach salad with aged ricotta, red onions, applewood-smoked bacon, tomatoes, champignon mushrooms and toasted walnuts with a warm vinaigrette.  The walnuts were interesting.  I don't know that I would choose to put walnuts in a salad; almonds probably would've tasted better.  The vinaigrette gave the salad an excellent flavor.  I would totally order it again based on the flavor, but it seemed a little overpriced for the size.

Then our entrees came out.  I ordered the Petto di Pollo al Peperoncino which consisted of a grilled free-range chicken breast marinated with sage, rosemary, thyme, crushed red pepper, white wine, Dijon mustard and lemon and served with spicy peperoncino sauce, sautéed organic spinach and roasted Yukon Gold potatoes.  I chose this entree because the description sounded so delicious.  I mean, the marinade alone sounded incredible.  I was expecting some amazingly seasoned food, but I was disappointed.

Watch out for garlic in the spinach!
The presentation of the butterflied chicken breast was nice because it seemed to resemble a heart.  The chicken was tender and well cooked; however, I didn't taste any of those delicious herbs that were supposedly in the marinade.  If it weren't for the spicy peperoncino sauce, I would've needed a lot of salt and pepper to eat that chicken.  The sauce was delicious, but it kinda just reminded me of wing sauce.  

I was impressed with the serving size of the spinach; however, it had no flavor.  I kept dipping it in the peperoncino sauce.  That helped.  The spinach also had slivers of garlic cooked in with it.  That could be scary if you're on a date.  I tried to be careful to pick out the garlic so that I didn't eat it, but I apologized to my husband anyway just in case I ended up with garlic breath.

The potatoes also had no flavor, unless grease is considered a flavor.  I love potatoes, and really, how hard is it to make roasted potatoes delicious?  Not very.  I was disappointed. 

My husband ordered the Cannelloni al Forno which consisted of large fresh pasta tubes filled with free-range rotisserie chicken, sun-dried tomatoes, ricotta, pecorino, smoked mozzarella and organic spinach and topped with béchamel, marinara and mushrooms.  I only had two bites of his entree, but I liked it better than mine.  I had never had cannelloni before, but I totally want to make it now.  It's like the Italian version of enchiladas.  The flavors of everything inside the pasta tubes melded together, and the sun-dried tomatoes gave it all a nice kick.  We used the sauce to had flavor to the bread in the bread basket and my entree's chicken and potatoes.  My husband thought the sauce was a little soupy.  I agree, but it was great for dipping.

We were too full for dessert, but we asked to see a dessert menu.  This is one of those restaurants that brings out a tray of desserts for you to look at instead of a dessert menu.  If I had been hungrier, it could've been fun to try the dessert trio.

In short, the main reason to go to this restaurant is the view.  You want to sit by the windows, so if you're going for dinner, make a reservation to make sure you get a window seat.  Otherwise, you shouldn't have a problem sitting wherever you want.  The food is okay.  Some things are better than others, and everything's over-priced.  If it weren't for the bay view, I wouldn't come back, but we had a perfectly lovely meal.  I'm sure we'll eat here again but not nearly as often as we'll eat at Miguel's.

Happy eating!

Thursday, September 19, 2013


Tonight we decided to try Puerto Rican food.  We like Cuban food, and we assumed it would be kind of similar.  I had a Groupon for Mofongos in North Hollywood which is the only Puerto Rican restaurant in Los Angeles (at least according to their website).  The food had good reviews on Yelp, so I felt optimistic.

We arrived around 8:30pm on a Thursday night.  The restaurant was almost empty.  I'm not terribly surprised considering it's not all that easy to find.  We had the address programed into our GPS and still didn't see it the first time we drove by.  We were actually able to find street parking right out front, which was a nice surprise.

The waitress was nice and pointed us to a table.  She brought us menus to look over and explained about the dish they're known for, mofongos.  A mofongo is a traditional Puerto Rican recipe.  It is made from green unripe plantains mixed with chicken crackling, garlic, and other spices. It is traditionally topped with a chicken broth. At Mofongos, they serve it in a cup form with chicken stew in the middle.  The waitress said the Mofongo de Camarones (a mofongo stuffed with 6 jumbo shrimp) is their most popular dish.

We decided to start with the appetizer sampler platter, "De Todo un Poco Platter."  If you reference the picture, the round balls on top are Relleno de Papa, potato balls filled with beef.  The only other place I've had potato balls was at Porto's.  The ones at Porto's are denser and spicier.  These were much bigger than the ones at Porto's, and the outside was kind of like a shell.  I cracked it open with my fork, and the meat separated from the potato.  It was good, but I'm partial to Porto's. Starting from the left, the platter included one beef and one chicken pastelillo.  A pastelillo is an empanada.  I tried the beef one.  It was good but kind of just tasted like beef and grease.  That's just my opinion.  If you like empanadas, you'll probably love these.  The platter also included one beef alcapúrria.  The dough on the outside was made from cassava (yuca).  This was my personal favorite.  The final item on the platter was a pork pastel, which is on the far right of the picture.  It's a pork filled banana tamale.  This was my second favorite.  I told my husband, "I'm not sure what I'm eating, but I like it."  I tasted the dipping sauce but didn't use it.  My husband thought it tasted like ranch mixed with ketchup.  I thought it tasted like flavored mayo.

Between the two of us, we tasted everything on the platter, but we only ate about half of the food.  We wanted to make sure we were hungry enough for our entrees.

My husband kind of wanted to try the Cubano just to compare it to the one at Porto's, but he ended up ordering the Jibarito de Bistec, which consisted of thin sliced steak, cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, and mayo on a plantain bun.  You had me at "plantain bun."  I tasted it, and the plantain bun is kinda awesome.  I may need to learn how to make those.  It'd be great for someone who has a gluten intolerance, or just someone who loves plantains!

I decided to order a mofongo.  That is what they're known for after all.  The tough part was deciding which one to try.  In the end, I went with the Mofongo de Pollo Guisado, which was a mofongo stuffed with savory chicken stew with bell peppers.  It was amazing and big.  I could definitely get used to eating mofongos!  The chicken stew could've been spicier, but it was perfectly tender.  It came with a side of either fried green plantains or fried sweet plantains.  Per the waitress's suggestion, I went with the sweet plantains.  They were so good, sweet enough to be dessert.  It was a lot of food, especially after the appetizer platter.  My husband helped me eat everything, and we still had leftovers.

Of course, there's always room for dessert.  We decided to share the Flan de Queso, which is a cheese flan topped with caramel.  I'm usually not a huge flan fan, but this tasted more like cheesecake.  It was really thick and was dripping with a caramel sauce.  I liked everything that we ordered, but the flan was my favorite part.  I'd be happy just going to Mofongos for flan, but I'd probably get a mofongo too.

The atmosphere leaves a little to be desired, but the food and service are great.  I'm sure we'll be back.  If you're in the L.A. area and want to travel to Puerto Rico through your taste buds, you must go to Mofongos!  Check out their menu at

Happy eating!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Quick Boneless Pork Ribs

Tonight, my husband was in the mood for meat.  We ended up buying some boneless pork ribs and whipping up a quick and delicious dinner.  Serve these ribs with your favorite BBQ sauce, sweet potato fries and a salad.

Quick Boneless Pork Ribs

4 lbs boneless pork ribs

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Put pork in an oven-save pan and sprinkle with TexJoy.  Bake for 30 minutes or until internal temperature is 145 degrees.

It's just that easy.  Happy eating!

Everyday Salad with Light Balsamic Vinaigrette

My husband and I eat a side salad with dinner almost every night.  This salad has changed slightly over time, but we definitely have a "usual."  It's quick, only takes a few ingredients and tastes perfect with almost any meal.  It's definitely our "everyday salad," but it's delicious enough for company.

The recipe below is for 1 serving. 

Everyday Salad

2 cups mixed greens (I love the half and half spring mix and baby spinach mix at Vons)
5 grape or cherry tomatoes
1 tsp Parmesan cheese
1 tbsp goat cheese
1 tbsp Light Balsamic Vinaigrette  (recipe to follow)

Put mixed greens in a salad bowl or on a plate.  If the leaves are large, tear or chop them to a smaller bite-size.  Sprinkle with TexJoy.  Drizzle with vinaigrette.  Quarter the tomatoes and scatter on top of the salad.  Crumble goat cheese on top, and finish by sprinkling with Parmesan cheese.

Everyday Entree Salad
Want to turn this salad into an entree?  Double the recipe above and add one or more of the following: three ounces of diced chicken, 8 pieces of turkey pepperoni chopped in fourths, or 2 slices of crispy crumbled bacon.

This salad is especially delicious when paired with baked sweet potato fries or buttermilk biscuit triangles.

I often use the Light Balsamic Vinaigrette from Trader Joe's for this salad.  Last night, I ran out of this dressing, and Trader Joe's was closed.  Thankfully, I found a super easy recipe at

I already had all the ingredients in my kitchen, and it only took a minute to whip it up.  It tastes almost exactly like the Trader Joe's version, but it's much lower in sodium content.  An added bonus is that it fills my leftover salad dressing bottle perfectly.  Even if you're short on time, you'll have enough time to throw together this easy dressing.

For convenience, I'm adding the recipe below. 

Light Balsamic Vinaigrette

Makes 1 cup

1/2 c balsamic vinegar
3 tbsp olive oil
1/4 c water
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp honey
1 tsp garlic powder

In a jar or container with a screw-on lid,  add all ingredients, screw on the lid and shake the container vigorously until everything is well combined.

You can store the the dressing in the same container.  Just be sure to shake the container before serving. 

I recommend washing out an empty salad dressing container and reusing it for this dressing.

Now, go, eat salad with everything!

Happy eating!

Salsa Eggs

Sometimes I'm just really in the mood for eggs.  I like omelets and fried eggs, but scrambled eggs are certainly the easiest.  Scrambled eggs can be as simple as just eggs or more complex so that they're more of a messy omelet.  Enter Salsa Eggs.  This easy recipe is quick, and thanks to the mixture of veggies and seasonings in salsa, it tastes a lot more complicated than it really is.  Spice up your breakfast with this easy recipe that's a twist on scrambled eggs.

The following recipe is for 1 serving

Salsa Eggs

3 eggs
2 tbsp water
2 tbsp salsa
1 ounce shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Whisk eggs and water together in a small bowl.  Spray a frying pan with cooking spray and adjust cooking temperature to medium heat.  Pour the egg mixture in the pan and let cook for a couple minutes or until it starts to look set around the edges.  Add salsa and stir with a spatula to "scramble" the eggs.  Add the cheese and a sprinkling of salt and pepper.  Stir/scramble until the eggs are completely cooked and the cheese is melted.

Transfer to a plate and enjoy.  To complete the meal, serve with toast and fresh fruit.

A couple notes:

First, you can omit some or all of the egg yolks if you prefer egg whites.  I usually prepare my eggs with one whole egg and two whites.  It's just personal preference.  

Second, mixing the eggs with water helps keep them light and fluffy.  Some people don't mix them with any liquid.  I used to mix them with milk, but I prefer the fluffy texture from water.

Third, I like Trader Joe's Chipotle salsa, but you can use your favorite salsa.

Finally, if you wanted to make this recipe into an omelet, you totally could.  Just don't scramble the eggs.  Let the eggs cook completely, add all ingredients without scrambling, fold the egg in half with a spatula, and voila.  If you don't fold it over perfectly, just quickly mess up/scramble the eggs, and you're back to the original.

Happy eating!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Wicked Spoon - Buffet at the Cosmopolitan

This was my first visit to the Cosmopolitan, and I have to say, I'm hooked.  I love, love, love the glamorous yet whimsical decor throughout the casino, and that same attitude flows into the Wicked Spoon buffet.

I didn't plan on visiting Wicked Spoon this trip.  I had vaguely seen it listed on a top 10 list of Vegas buffets, but I thought I'd just stick to my favorites.  We did a timeshare tour, and in exchange, we got this buffet for free.  I'm so glad we did or I never would've known how wonderful it is.  It's definitely a surprising new favorite.

During this trip to Vegas I actually ended up eating at The Wicked Spoon twice.  The first time was on Labor Day.  We arrived during the end of brunch.  Wicked Spoon only does brunch and dinner where some other buffets have separate breakfast, lunch and dinner food and pricing.  Usually the buffet is open from 8am-2pm for brunch during the week and from 8am-3pm on the weekends.  Since it was a holiday, brunch lasted until 3pm.  Also, usually The Wicked Spoon buffet is closed after brunch until 5pm when it reopens for dinner, but on Labor Day, it stayed open all day.  Take note of this because most buffets don't close between lunch and dinner.  Make sure you arrive with enough time to enjoy the buffet before it closes if you're arriving for brunch.

Since we were there on Labor Day, bunch cost as much as dinner usually costs.  Holidays always cost more.  That doesn't mean the food is any different than usual though.  Although, in this case, it meant that the buffet didn't close between brunch and dinner, and we were able to enjoy brunch food and then stay and enjoy dinner food as well.

There are 2 lines at this buffet before you're seated.  You have to get in line to buy the buffet.  Then you get in a 2nd line to be seated.  I'd never seen that before.  At every other buffet that I've been to, you get in one line to pay for your food, and then you stay in the same line to wait to be seated.  I just got in the second line at Wicked Spoon.  There actually wasn't anyone in the first line, so I basically didn't even see that I was supposed to go somewhere else first.  The hostess was nice enough and let me hold my place in the second line while my husband jumped in the first line to pay.

As I've already mentioned, I love the decor.  The square booths are super cute, and the pictures are whimsical, for example, a high heel stuck through cheesecake and a necklace wrapped around an onion.  I also love that the flat screen TVs scroll through definitions of different food terms. 

A beverage comes with the buffet, so I started with coffee.  It came in a nice tall cup, but it was a little strong for my taste.  One cup of coffee, and I moved on to Diet Coke.  I like that they have Coke products instead of Pepsi.

Now, onto the food.  There was a lot to love.  During brunch, the roast beef and herb roasted tomatoes were standouts.  The salad bar area had a lot of individual serving size salads.  I loved trying all of those.  For dinner, I thought the prime rib and lamb were just okay, but the crab legs and the gnocchi were amazing.

I didn't love most of the desserts, but for me that's actually a good thing.  Usually I like them too much.  I do have a sweet tooth.  The chocolate covered strawberries dipped in toffee were pretty good, and the gelato selection was about the biggest I've seen at a buffet.  The salted peanut caramel was awesome.

We enjoyed the buffet so much that we went out of our way to visit it for brunch the day we left to drive back to L.A.  We arrived just before 11am on a Saturday.  The line was pretty short, and we were seated right away.

I tried a few brunch items that I hadn't tried the first time.  I loved the Blue Moon Beer & Granola pancakes.  They were especially good when topped with whipped honey butter, powdered sugar and syrup.  I usually don't get seconds of the same food at a buffet because I want as much variety as possible, but I ended up going back for a second pancake.  They were just that good.

I also loved the Ciabatta Panini with scrambled egg, bacon and white cheddar.  You really can't go wrong with that combination.  It was a wonderful breakfast sandwich and a million times better than the fast food english muffin version.  White cheddar is amazing.

I read in one review of this buffet that this is the only buffet where you'll see model-types eating on a regular basis.  There are a lot of small plates and healthy options.  I really like that about this buffet.  You can eat a lot, enjoy it, get variety, and not feel like a pig.  Wicked Spoon is now my second favorite buffet in Vegas.  I look forward to eating here during future trips to Vegas.  Well done, Cosmopolitan.  Well done.

Happy eating!

Friday, September 6, 2013

The Buffet at Bellagio

The Buffet at Bellagio used to be the top rated buffet in Las Vegas, but over the past few years a few new buffets have come along that have trumped it.  Still, this is an impressive buffet, and depending on what you're in the mood to eat, it might be exactly what you're looking for.

I first went to this buffet several years ago, back when it was rated #1.  I went again today, a Friday, and I was pleasantly surprised.  I had forgotten about the outdoor decor like street lamps and brick decorating the dining room area.  I had also forgotten just how big this buffet is.

We arrived at lunch and stayed for dinner.  You know about this trick, right?  You arrive shortly before lunch ends, pay the lunch price and stay for dinner.  This works out well if you're willing to eat an early dinner (or a late lunch) since dinner starts at 3:30pm.  For frugal people, this is a really good deal, especially on Friday and Saturday when Bellagio has a special gourmet dinner featuring 3 kinds of caviar.  That's right folks, pay the normal lunch price, and you too can taste caviar.  I actually didn't try it.  Eating fish eggs just doesn't appeal to me.

We arrived around 2pm.  The line was almost nonexistent, and we were seated right away.

They serve Coke products here, which I like.  I had Diet Coke.  They also have coffee, tea, etc.

At lunch they also had breakfast food, making it more of a brunch.  I enjoyed the eggs benedict.  The egg was cooked long enough that the yolk was hard.  I don't like runny yolks.

As far as lunch food, I enjoyed the salmon, the mashed sweet potatoes and the pesto mashed potatoes.  They had beef and turkey sliders which tasted a little bland and overcooked.  I like the sliders much better at the Bacchanal Buffet at Caesars Palace.  There were several different carving stations.  They had flank steak, but it wasn't nearly as good as the flank steak at The Buffet at Wynn, and they had turkey, but it wasn't as good as the turkey at Le Village Buffet at Paris.

As far as dinner food, I enjoyed the beef wellington, which I hadn't seen at any other buffet.  They also have crab legs (but so does every buffet at dinner time), and as I mentioned earlier, 3 types of caviar.

Regarding dessert, I especially enjoyed the bread pudding, bananas foster and coconut macaroons. They had chocolate covered strawberries, but I like them better at Wicked Spoon at The Cosmopolitan.

They don't have gelato, which is a huge negative considering this is an Italian-themed resort/casino/buffet.  They do have 2 soft-serve ice-cream machines.  One has chocolate, vanilla and swirl.  The other has peach sorbet, raspberry sorbet and swirl.  The ice-cream and sorbet were too icy and cold.  It wasn't creamy enough.  If I wanted soft-serve at a buffet, I'd rather eat the soft-serve at Le Village Buffet at Paris.

To end my meal, I finished with a cup of coffee, which was perfect.  That's one nice thing about buffets, everything (except alcoholic beverages) is included.

As far as buffets go, I rate Bellagio's buffet as #4 in Vegas.  It has a lot of variety, and most of the food is well cooked and well seasoned, but the flavor is better at other buffets.  Also, the lack of gelato is unforgivable considering it's Italian theme.  And, one more annoyance, some of the food labels were wrong.  For example, "peach sorbet" was labeled "raspberry sorbet" and vice versa.  Also, the "eggs benedict" and "eggs florentine" labels were switched.  I didn't see mislabeling at any other buffet.  It just seems like sloppy work.

Still, there are some "gourmet" items on this menu that you won't find elsewhere.  If you want caviar, this is the buffet for you!

Happy eating!