Saturday, June 30, 2012

What is She Wearing?

So after looking back on this picture on my computer I don't think girl actually owns these insanely high pink platform booties since there appears to be a security tag on them.  But this girl could not have been over ten years old and was so tiny.  I was passing judgement on her mother for letter her wear the shoes so I guess I would only pass judgement if she was allowed to purchased them. :)



Friday, June 29, 2012

Bellagio "Art"

Before we came back home we had lunch at the Bellagio and checked out their new living art exhibit.  It was a dutch theme complete with wooden shoes.


 And a windmill.


 Some of the flowers were alive and some were not.

 

This picture looks like a painting but its really a 3D work of art constructed with live flowers.

 

And I can never pass up looking at Chihuly's ceiling glass sculpture.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Surprise Success

Our successful surprise for Erin on her 30th Birthday. One none of us will soon forget!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

500 - A milestone!

Just two months ahead of my three year blogiversary I hit the 500 post mark.  Somewhat crazy I've been written that many posts.  Just wanted to stop in and say thanks for reading and being a part of my corner of the internet!

With love.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Sugar Factory

While in Vegas I received a recommendation to get drinks at the Sugar Factory in Paris.  Jenny said if we went during happy hour drinks would be buy one get one free.  Well the drinks ended up being very expensive, about $15 each, so BOGO was perfect.  We had two rounds.  The first round included a set of desserty drinks and the second round was very fruity drinks.

 Round one was a S'Mores Marti with the glass rimmed in graham cracker crumbs and marshmallows and a Cinnamon Toast Martini with Cinnamon Toast Crunch Floating on top.


The second round of drinks was a Watermelon Jolly Rancher Martini and a Blow Pop Martini with Rock Candy on the rim.


I was impressed with all of the drinks.  They were innovative and really good. We will have to hit up the Sugar Factory's happy hour next time we're in Vegas!


Saturday, June 23, 2012

She's Getting Old!

I've put almost 20,000 miles on my car and I've only had her 18 months at the end of June!!  This whole living in the midwest puts a lot of miles on our cars!



Friday, June 22, 2012

Eating our Way Through Vegas - Update

I originally published this list back in October 2009 after our last trip to Vegas.  It's hard to believe we waited 2.5 years to return.  I thought it would be nice to update this list with the new places we tried while we were there.  Updates are shown in red.  I've listed out all the restaurants where I've eaten so far, my thoughts on them, and then a few places I 'd still like to 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! 
  • Spago (Forum Shops at Caesar's) - I did an entire write up on this visit. It as great and I'd love to go back.  The tasting menu allowed us to try all of their specials which was incredible.   
Casual Dining:
  • Blondie's Sports Bar & Grill (Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood) - Typical sports bar food that is good for a quick bite.
  • Broadway Burger Bar (New York New York) - Aside from Spago, I would say this was my favorite meal in Vegas.  We had the Southwestern and the Cowboy and split fries and rings.  All of it was great!
  • 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.  
  • Greenburg's Deli (New York New York) - A true New York deli. Sandwiches were really good and it wasn't super expensive.
  • 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.
  •  New York New York Pizzeria (New York New York) - Good new york style pizza but expensive for just a slice and a pop.  Think a more authentic Sbarro.
  • 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.
  • The Buffet - Bellagio (Bellagio) - We had always heard this, along with the Wynn, were the best buffets in Vegas.  I have to say, the food here was good but wasn't great. I'd take The Spice Market over Bellagio's buffet any day.
  • 'Wichcraft (MGM) -  This is Tom Colicchio's take on sandwiches. We had been to his restaurant in Napa which we had really enjoyed.  The sandwiches were definitely gourmet and our food was good but I wouldn't call it great and probably not worth the extra cost. 
Snacks:
  • 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.  Darren's sister and brother-in-law also thought the food was amazing.  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!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Alcatraz

From our whirlwind trip to California.  We started our trip visiting Alcatraz.  Darren and Liz had never been.  We all really enjoyed ourselves.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Eating through Vegas - Spago

One of the things we enjoy most about Vegas is the food.  After we met Dick Butkus we decided to eat in Caesars.  We passed Spago by Wolfgang Puck who was advertising a tasting menu.  We decided what better way to taste all of the food on a menu than order a tasting menu!

Well I got started late on the picture taking but the first course was a trio and included one of our favorite bits of food the entire meal.  The trio included a melon salad and the most tasty mini kobe beef slider. It was a couple of most delish bites I have ever eaten! The problem with blogging so far after the fact you forget the details and I cannot for the life of me remember what the third item of the trio was!!

This next course was incredibly inventive. It was ahi tuna three ways two of which are shown in the following pictures.  For two of the bites they were held in these igloos.  A hallow ice dome, I had not seen presentation in person so neat.  The tuna was awesome.  I was hoping Darren would reject raw fish and I could get more. :)  You can see the detail of the two bites in the dome in the second picture.


The third appetizer course was a duo of asparagus.  The first was an asparagus salad with green and white variaties and the second was a tea cup full of cream of asparagus soup. It inspired and attempt to make a similar soup and it wasn't quite as good as Spago's!


After three appetizer courses, we finally got into the heart of the meal.  Our first course, which I neglected to get a picture of, was a homemade pasta was an egg in it. It sounds terrible but it was so tasty and rich. You couldn't eat a whole plate so a tasting portion was the perfect amount. 

The second entree course was sea bass over a turnip puree with chipolini onions.  Amazing.


The final main course was probably Darren's favorite.  It was filet sliced and served over asparagus and smashed potatoes with a balsamic reduction.  That bone is real and contained marrow which is just a rich tasting fat.  Neither of us use much of it but I can see why some like it.  The dish minus the marrow was still excellent. 


There was an intermezzo served before dinner.  It was the most simple dish and I again did not photograph it.  It was a simple lemon sorbet served with frozen grapes and blueberries. Simple but incredible. 

The last course I will also have to figure out how to make at home, maybe in one of my Friday night marathon cooking sessions.  It was a banana bread pudding with vanilla bean ice cream.  Incredible dessert to cap off the outstanding 8 courses!!  Would love to go to Spago again as they rotate their tasting menus with the seasons!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Gold & Silver Pawn Store

We are definitely fans of the History Channel show, Pawn Stars.  We'd be talking about going to make our pilgrimage to the store for a long time but hadn't been to Vegas since we started watching the show.

All in all we were a bit disappointed because it was so much smaller than we expected and a large portion was devoted to memorabilia from the show such has this car hood.


The store seems so much bigger the way the cut the footage on TV.


This is what Darren was most interested in looking at was the Superbowl and other championship rings.  There wasn't a Bears one though. :)


This car was out in the lot, maybe it will be on the show someday! We did get to be extras in a shot they filmed for an old car, but this wasn't the one referenced.  Stay tuned, maybe we'll be on TV!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Dick Butkus

On our way to the pool at MGM a drivable billboard went past that said "Meet Dick Butkus today at the Forum Shops at Caesars!"  Well how could we resist.  I encouraged Darren that we should go meet him.  When else would we have such an opportunity.

 
 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Christmas 2010

One of my inspired pages in awhile.  I found a cut out of similar shape and decided to make it my own and fit it to my pictures.  I really love the way it turned out and this might be my most favorite chipboard ever!



Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Las Vegas

Last month Darren and I took a vacation.  We didn't have anywhere we were dying to go this trip so decided to take it easy by going to Vegas to eat, drink and gamble.

Well our drinking got off to an early start by getting upgraded to first class from Atlanta to Vegas.  We had no clue we were even eligible anymore and it was a nice unexpected treat.

 Some of Vegas sites: The Eiffel Tower.


The Status of Liberty at New York New York made completely out of Jelly Beans.  Yummy!


A few night shots.

 
 
 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Bears!

In December 2010, Darren's parents, Jerry and Michelle joined us for the Bears vs Lions game at Ford Field.  We had a really fun day and the Bears did end up winning, but on a controversial call.


Monday, June 11, 2012

Introducing...

Annika Marie Bartz!


This peanut was born on May 29th.  She was seven and a half weeks early!  Mom and baby are doing great and hopefully Annika will be released from the hospital in the next week or so.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Pacers vs Bulls

In April at the end of the NBA season, we were able to finally see the Bulls play the Pacers!


The Pacers mascot gets hoisted  to rafters manually being pulled up by a group of men.  Crazy they didn't install something more automatic!


Bulls win, Bulls win!! A 92-87 final!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

My Last Trip to Dallas

My last visit to Dallas, Elizabeth and Steve took me to the Nasher Sculpture Garden.  We had fun goofing around this park and their unique sculptures.


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

New Day Meadery

Back in January, Darren won a door prize at a fundraiser we attended which gave us and 8 friends a free tasting at the New Day Meadery.  This was later in the day following paintballing so my brother and Erin were in town to join us.


 We had such a fun group. Jay, Eric, Rebecca, Vic, Wes, Ashish, me, Darren, Erin and Steven.


With my brother.

 

Later that night.