Sin City has its alluring qualities and flashy devilish charms, but hidden amongst the countless yards of alcohol and not so flattering clothing choices, are the sweet and deliciously decadent, which my boyfriend and I found on our trip around the strip. Brandon is the first person I went to Vegas with after I turned 21. We were freshly friends on a mission to seek out some delicious inspiration and new restaurant ideas for growing chefs in a new place. Since then, almost five years ago, one of my favorite pastimes in Vegas is restaurant menu searching and eating.
Our adventure to Vegas was filled with fun trips to different casinos to see menus with seasonal inspiration. On our way around, we decided to stop at a really amazing sweet shop at the Forum Shops in Caesars Palace called Vosges Haut-Chocolat. Every time we go here, there’s always some new and interesting combination of flavors that I need to try and also, some that I always go back to. We looked around for a while, and finally decided on a box of truffles, white chocolate lavender hot coco mix, and chocolate toffee. The truffles were fantastic, the toffee was eaten before I had any and I could pass on the lavender white chocolate because I’m not a fan of lavender, but it was still pretty delicious.
Later on in the evening, we met up with some of my friends (Thomas and Joanna) for a couple of drinks and another walk along the strip. We walked from Excalibur down to the Cosmopolitan, where we had drinks at Bond . The Cosmopolitan is one of my favorite hotels in Vegas. If you’re lucky enough to go there, I’d say it’s something to behold— interesting, chic, modern, and beautiful—and this bar was all those things and more. Bond has an interesting combination of stylish modern cocktails or a standard stiff drink. As we sipped wonderfully well-made drinks with good company, I couldn’t help but think how awesome my friends are. I had a Berry Long Island and Brandon had a Lemongrass Ginger Kamikaze; both drinks were strong, but still light and flavorful, with fresh juices and high quality liquors.
The trip was one of the best I’ve ever had and I’m sure we’ll have more great adventures in Las Vegas to come.
Joanna is my Asian sister from another mother. We have high adventures including copious amounts of flowing mimosas or wonderful bottles of wine, delicious food, lots of life chats, and plenty of shit talking. We’ve grown and changed along with one another and made it fun and sometimes difficult, but we always know we’ll be there for one another. Joanna’s birthday was at the beginning of the month and because I have so many Pisces around me, this month I wanted to dedicate a blog to one of my favorite fish, Joanna.
Sprout is a beautiful restaurant situated on West Fullerton. The street is filled with small places to eat, convenience stores, and homes which if you blink twice you may miss the green banners for Sprout. I did the 1st day I was in town, I walked by completely unknowing. But once inside you really get the feel of a classy and elegant dining experience. The tables are lined with white linen and these strange kind of abstract ash tray looking holders with little flowers. The table is set with classic silverware and the lighting is dim but not too dark. The color is of brick, beige, and dark woods and along the side of this restaurant is a beautiful wooden bar. I was sat early for my reservation seeing as my dinner partner was no longer going to meet me but was sat promptly as the restaurant was to close at 10pm. My server Scott was brilliant, very knowledgeable and kind. As I looked over the menu Scott made sure all the details were explained well with charisma and confidence. The items are placed on the menu with no explanation just a list of ingredients that play a main role in the entree and then once inquired about are explained to their full potential with intricate detail so pay attention. If you’re allergic just have the server explain what’s going on in your dish, these very eloquent dishes are worth the inquiry. The menu is devised so that you choose an appetizer, entrée and dessert as three courses after each of the 1st two courses an intermezzo is served from the chef and is not stated on the menu. As I looked over the menu certain things popped out at me and so I decided on my three courses which were explained on the menu as
DUCK: foie gras : cherry : corn : mustard
SKATE WING: strawberry : zucchini : bacon : beet
BERRIES: white chocolate, hibiscus, coconut :ginger
I began with a very ingenious cocktail of champagne mint blueberry and white port. It was so refreshing and a perfect way to start out my meal. My server also placed a little dish of bread and “butter” which was an very smooth delicious white bean puree.
Duck: My meal started out with this beautiful dish. The duck was a very smokey thinly sliced cured duck breast. It was situated aside a nicely baked corn cake that had wonderful texture and was very moist. It was also sitting on top of a sweetly tart cherry sauce. Piped atop the corn cake was this smooth creamy foie gras mousse which had the buttery fully whipped quality of whipped cream but was savory and extremely luxurious. Every bite was a new experience and if that wasn’t enough there was also a small tossed salad of radishes, raw zucchini, arugula, and mustard vinaigrette which cleans the pallet and refreshes the taste buds from the creamy richness of the foie mousse.
Yellow Beet Soup: This small soup so delicately prepared reminded me how much I love soups and how under appreciated they are in kitchens all over. The smoothness of the soup was something to rival many others I’ve had with a very luscious texture but cleansing and not to heavy either. Red Micro Shiso that’s what I’m talking about.
Skate Wing: This skate wing is one of the best things I ate in Chicago. I loved the preparation of the fish itself which was lightly panko encrusted and seasoned perfectly. The skate wing was sitting atop a bed of bacon which had sherry vinaigrette that gave a really strong sharpness of sherry that had been cooked down with the crispy bacon pieces. I sorted through my dish on a scavenger hunt of flavors, picking through a sea of watercress, perfectly ripe strawberries, seasonal radishes, slivers of zucchini, and perfectly prepped pink beets. The flavors were so fun and well thought out. I even started at the top of the dish and missed some of the sherry bacon but once I found it the full flavor or this amazing dish blossomed. A dish to remember forever. Skate wing is so delicate and flaky definitely something everyone should try.
Grilled Cheese with Prune Dijon
This grilled cheese is almost as if you’re eating a very sharp cheese crisp filled with more cheese and a lovely bite of green apple, it’s served alongside a huge portion of prune Dijon mustard for the small sandwich which the flavors should be experienced on their own in my opinion. I loved the prune Dijon though, it was fantastic. This is a very intelligently made cheese course thought out and covered the basics of a good cheese board in the form of a small sandwich. The course also comes with a very good hard apple cider that compliments the sandwiches saltiness with its crisp sweetness.
Berries: This dish had a really lovely explanation that just put it over the top. The berries dish is conceived of various textures and flavors. You have this wonderful hibiscus broth that is at the bottom of the bowl then sitting in the broth is this gorgeous jello like texture of fruit jelly then on top of this was this very soft sweet coconut and ginger whipped topping with shaved white chocolate and a beautiful mountain of huckleberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries. One bite is a multitude of flavors something easy on the pallet after so much amazing food.
After so much amazing food in such an elegant place with the best service I’ve had in such a long time by not only my server but others working in the restaurant as well as the lovely and talented Dale Levitski who was the sweetest most modest person I’ve ever thanked for the many meals I’ve had. Chefs like Dale, Sara Nguyen his sous chef, and the people in his kitchen deserve credit beyond what is given to them. This is an amazing place for dining in Chicago, I’d have no problem going back one day.
Thank you everyone at Sprout.
I love going out almost as much as I love eating in. It isn’t uncommon for me to spend a good chunk of money supporting my favorite local eateries or going to try somewhere new on the map or at least new to me. My lovely fashion blogger friend Stephanie was/is my partner in crime for local valley fun snacks and drinks to Santa Monica vegan cuisine at Real Food Daily.
I’ve been hearing lots of great things about Real Food Daily for a long time. Real Food daily has two locations one in Santa Monica California as well as another in West Hollywood California. They specialize in vegan cuisine and the whole restaurant is vegan friendly no meat products or animal anything is in this place and I have a great respect for that.
Of course when you head out to a distinguished area such as Santa Monica you’re in for a time finding a parking space but I know it comes with the area so finally after trolling around a couple of blocks three times I found a structure not too far for the restaurant for us to park. At the price of 7 bucks a car we started off the evening in the hole.
Walking up to the restaurant you’ll see a wide verity of people, hippies, scene-sters, athletic health freaks, as well as the more stylish side of Santa Monica and the like passing through the glass doors or ordering a latte or take out from the bakery portion of the restaurant. The host stand sits outside and once we walked through the doors the large white ceiling fixtures, yellow walls, the shinny espresso machine, and large vegan pastry case are the 1st focal points I noticed. We were sat in a small section upstairs in a back corner, I would say not the best seat in the house but without a reservation it would do. A bunch of tightly packed seats of wood and simple tables with utensils with paper napkins placed on the tables.
Real food Daily sells wine and beer so that’s always a nice added perk. Their wine list and beer list feature organic wines and organic breweries. I had really lovely dark ale called triple exultation by eel river brewing company located in Fortuna, ca. The ale had a deep rich sweetness with a nice dark aftertaste. I enjoyed it very much. Stephanie had pale ale from butte creek brewery located in Northern California.
As we enjoyed conversation and interesting girly gossip about new things we didn’t know about each other, we finally finished perusing the plethora of vegan options that Real Food Daily has to offer.
Combining local organic ingredients and some of the best vegan options I’ve seen in a long time, it took me a while to really see what I wanted. But I decided on sharing a sundried tomato hummus and pita and for my entree i would have the BBQ Bello Salad.
The hummus to our surprise was under seasoned and underwhelming and honestly not very memorable, but not bad but not good. I would say the seasoning was lacking but maybe that’s the way of this place who knows. I thought the ratio of pita to hummus was a little strange as well. I knew that my beer was wonderful so I kept my expectations at a minimum for my salad as to not be disappointed either way.
Finally after we finished up a bit, I’d say the waitress was doing double the work she should be been and if I was a needy customer we would of felt avoided because we saw our waitress herself about 3 times during the meal. She was attentive and sweet but you could see that she was over stretched at the moment.
My salad arrived and the smell was just wonderful. It had a peppery sweetness to the whole dish and I couldn’t wait to try it but of course pictures first. The mango and avocado was divine it had all the textures that i look for in a good salad. The peppery ranch dressing is something that made the whole salad come together. The smooth creamy avocado with the sweet pungency of mangoes and red onions and the roasted BBQ flavor of portobello mushroom mixed with soft silky tofu was spot on. If this wasn’t a special for that month I’d say to order it straight away. I think I’ll definitely be making this salad myself sometime in my kitchen I’ll put a link to this post when i do. It’s definitely something memorable,different, and quite delicious.
Stephanie had a Caeser wrap that was filled with Blackened tempeh, avocado, capers, romaine hearts, caesar dressing, spinach tortilla she also added veggie bacon which she added was some of the best veggie bacon shes had since being vegetarian for almost a year now. Over all I’d say she was very happy with her wrap which was on side of a small mixed salad.
Sometimes expectations of things cloud the purity of the idea of a chef as well as some chefs just get side tracked, here just like anywhere we can find things that may turn us off but here there is the simple locality of wonderful vegan food and a restaurant that cares enough for it’s community to use local and organic ingredients and those things are what make Real Food Daily stand out.