Thursday, October 29, 2009

New Inspiration

Last week Sarah and I got a chance to scrapbook and I was finally inspired!  These are pictures from mid-June when Sarah, Emily and I ventured to our old standby, the Stage and then the following night a group of us had a girls night at the Melting Pot.  YUM!

Heidi & Emmanuel's Wedding

The reason for our trip to Chicago was for the wedding of Emmanuel Dockter and Heidi Anderson.  Heidi is one of the few people from elementary school that I am still friends with and talk to occasionally.  Her mom was actually my Brownie troop leader starting in 2nd grade, now 20+ years ago!  Coincidently, Heidi is a Doctor will now be Dr. Heidi Dockter! ;)  Congratulations Heidi & Emmanuel!!

Art Institute of Chicago

I do not claim to be an expert in any sort of art especially defining what constitutes art.  But on our visit to the Art Institute this weekend, I can certainly tell you these are not art...

This works of "art" are called the Hang Up (Eva Hesse), Triple Role (Richard Serra) and Chalk-Mirror Displacement (Robert Smithson).

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Beauty of Fall

This was last week in front of my house.  If it could stay this pretty with temperatures in the 70's, I'd be in heaven!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Eating Your Way Through Las Vegas

I've been to Vegas now 6 times in my adult life and aside from seeing shows and gambling, my favorite thing to do there is eat!  There are so many excellent restaurants and famous chefs in such a small place.  I've listed out where all I've been so far, my thoughts on them, and then a few places I must try in the future!

Fine Dining:
  • Capital Grille (Fashion Show Mall) - It is a chain, but a darn good one!  Jon and I both had fish that was excellent.  Get the truffle fries, they are great!
  • Enoteca San Marco (Grand Canal Shoppes at the Venetian) - The menu was somewhat limited and so much was in Italian we had to ask what everything meant.  Get the risotto balls, they are tasty!
  • Fiamma Trattoria and Bar (MGM) -  This was my one disappointing fine dining restaurant I've eaten at in Vegas.  Nothing about the meal was memorable.  We wanted to eat off the tasting menu and they seemed to look down on us for that.  The meal was very expensive and it definitely didn't live up to the cost.
  • Joe's Stone Crab (Forum Shops at Caesar's) - I've not known anyone to have a bad meal here.  The steaks and the seafood were both high quality.  When I went we sat in the bar area and the service was great.
  • Kokomo's (Mirage) - Tried this on a whim this trip and were not disappointed!  The tasting menu was reasonably priced especially for the portions.  We had Filet and Sea Bass and both were great and we will go back for another time.
  • Mesa Grill (Caesar's Palace) - I've never had a full meal here but the Shrimp Tamale appetizer is reason enough to go there on its own.  The drinks are expensive but they are amazing and if you make it through 3 you will be under the table passed out!
Casual Dining:
  • Blondie's Sports Bar & Grill (Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood) - Typical sports bar food that is good for a quick bite.
  • Chin Chin Cafe (New York New York) - This was a great find.  The entrees are huge like a normal Chinese restaurant so 2 people can easily split an appetizer and an entree and get out of there for $30, even at dinner.
  • La Salsa Cantina (Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood) - La Salsa was just ok.  I'm sure there are much better Mexican restaurants on the strip.
  • Nine Fine Irishmen (New York New York) - Traditional Irish fare.  It was pricey for lunch but the servings are really large and the cheese dip was awesome.
  • Ocean One Bar & Grill (Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood) - Their lunch menu is super cheap as far as Vegas standards with items, such as a fish or chicken sandwich, starting at $5.99.  The food was good but not really memorable.
  • Oyster Bay Seafood (Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood) - This is located next door to Ocean One.  The food is a better quality but the prices are also higher.  They serve a lot of fresh fish but do have a great sounding brunch menu.  We both ended up with lunch.  Try the Cajun fries.
  • Pampas Churrascaria Brazillian (Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood) - Typical Brazillian Steakhouse with unlimited meat off the "sword."  I've heard it doesn't come close to Fogo though.
  • Planet Dailies (Planet Hollywood) - Good for a late night snack since it is open 24/7.  The food is good but is expensive for a normal breakfast or lunch place.
  • Spice Market Buffet (Planet Hollywood) - This buffet is great.  It isn't the cheapest (brunch ~$23 and dinner ~$30) but it is all encompassing.  We went for brunch and aside from the traditional breakfast trade, they had seafood, salad, soup, Italian, Asian, American, Middle Eastern and Mexican stations.  The buffalo shrimp, shrimp tempura and Asian won tons should not be missed!  I think I've eaten here at least 4 times now.
  • The Buffet (Hilton Las Vegas) - Due to my Hilton Honors, brunch was free.  Definitely good for free but I wouldn't pay $20 for it.
  • Pink's Hot Dog Stand (Planet Hollywood) - They were good hot dogs.  Great for a quick dinner like we needed before seeing O.  Darren got some crazy concoction of 2 hot dogs in a burrito with cheese, chili and onions.  I had 2 bites and had heartburn, but it was tasty. 
  • Serendipity 3 (Caesar's Palace) -  We had a frozen hot chocolate as seen on Oprah.  It was really good but tasted like a rich chocolate milk shake.  Darren was not that impressed and definitely not that impressed with the price.  Everything at the restaurant seemed really expensive, even at the to-go window.
Must Try:
  • Delmonico Steakhouse (Grand Canal Shoppes at the Venetian)
  • B & B Ristorante (Grand Canal Shoppes at the Venetian)
  • Eiffel Tower Restaurant (Paris) - My brother was told the food there was as good as you can get in Paris.  Where do I sign up!
  • Yellowtail (Bellagio) - Taylor Swift said it was the best meal of her life... Let's see what all her fuss was about!

Friday, October 23, 2009

My Take on Cirque du Soliel's 'O'

For the most part O was a great show as long as it stuck to its core of acrobatics, artistry and diving.  When it deviated from that path it seemed almost confusing.  There were definite characters and character types but we could never really figure out what the story was or if there was even a story.  With Zumanity, they didn't try to perpetuate a storyline outside of each scene which made it easier to follow and less confusing.  The set was absolutely amazing with the floor that lowered in sections to create pools of different sizes and depths.  One moment they would be diving in the water from 100 feet and then the next they would be able to walk in or on the same area of water.

Their were two clowns that provided "comic" relief during set/costume changes.  They were on the roof of a floating house.  They were horrible and not funny at all!  Their comedy was so repetitive and you wished they would just hurry up and get on with the show.

All in all I think I liked Zumanity better but I'm unsure if that was because it was my first Cirque show or if O was just so over hyped.

The verdict:
Stephanie: 3.5 Stars
Darren: 2 Stars

(On a scale of 1-5)


Ok so maybe it wasn't a gigantic jackpot but I did end up winning about $275 while we were in Vegas last weekend.  I played mostly on the slots but didn't fare too badly on the video poker either!  Here I'm posing with my largest win ticket for $221.85.  Now Jon, don't be too jealous. :-D

Thursday, October 15, 2009

He's BACK!!!!!

Yes, yes, I'm one of them... A die hard Garth Brooks fan!  I'm thrilled that he is coming out of retirement for an indefinite stint at the Encore resort in Las Vegas!  I haven't yet left for Vegas this weekend but am obviously planing to see him on my next trip out there... Before he retires again... For good!  They are hoping the show continues for the next 5 years so I should make it by then and be able to die a happy girl!!  Hopefully this go-around he has a better stylist though! ;)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

A Family Affair

My parents joined Darren & I at Elizabeth & Steve's wedding in Northern Kentucky last weekend.  They made it utill 1:30am when the reception finally ended and were up early for breakfast the next morning! They were troopers!  Props also to my dad for setting up the battery operated amplefier so the band could play again!!

Mr & Mrs Steven Bartz

A little delayed but the most adorable couple none the less!

Congratulations Elizabeth & Steve!!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Good and Bad of the Kanter/Bartz Wedding

First off, the Bad:
  • It is over...
  • That the power went off during the reception for 1.5 hours!!
  • No more pre-scheduled trips to see Elizabeth! :(
And now the Good:
  • Not flashing the congregation in my low cut dress while arranging Elizabeth's train!
  • No one in the wedding party falling on the marble floor or stairs!
  • Catching the Priest as he stumbled down the aforementioned marble stairs!
  • That the power went off during the reception for 1.5 hours!
  • No power provided tons of opportunity for mayhem!
  • Cornhole set up in the corner of the reception hall!
  • Open free form karaoke singing "Don't Stop Believing," "Sweet Caroline," "Baby Got Back," and "Sweet Home Alabama!"
  • About 20 guys down on one knee serenading Elizabeth with "You've Lost That Loving Feeling!"
  • My dad joining in on a kick line and singing during a rendition of "New York, New York!"
  • The bar staying open 45 minutes later than planned and the band playing until after 1am -- Latest Wedding Reception, EVER!!

The list could go on and on... Great weekend with great friends and family.