Las Vegas, NV // Vegas, Uncork'd!
Vegas Uncork'd, holy crap you were amazing! Who knew a random Caesar's ploy to get my mom and her friend Karen to Vegas would be such an incredible adventure.
It all started a few weeks ago when my mom and I were trying to arrange her birthday and/or mother's day hangouts. Those of you who know me personally know I try to both of those holidays with her every year because my brother and father are...talented...at other things...:). This year it didn't work out for us to spend those two weekends together, so we thought we'd meet in the middle in Vegas! Insert latest Caesar's gift - "some food party we had never heard of" - and my mom, brother, her friend, her friend's aunt, my friends & my friends mom all booked that weekend in Vegas #werolldeep .
Vegas Uncork'd is a partnership between Bon Appetit, Caesar's, Venetian/Palazzo, Chase Sapphire and Southern Wine and Spirits where they host several events throughout those properties in Vegas for a weekend. Sadly the Nobu sushi making class sold out immediately (like, WHAT?!), but we did get into a chocolate bark making seminar with Sarah Dickerman and the Grand Tasting which was the big event where 55 booths of alcohol and food - including Nobu, Giada and Gordon Ramsay themselves - filled the Caesar's main pool in an all out feast. More on that laters.
I've been to Vegas too many times to count (we estimated this weekend it's probably around 30) but it's never rained on me there, so with Saturday rain on the forecast I hit the pool immediately. Funny enough I ended up at 3 different spots throughout the day, picking up and losing people along the way as other engagements (aka slot machines) came up. My brother and I were staying in the Venetian which I majorly prefer as all the rooms are suites and the best food, shops, atmosphere and of course POOL. The Venetian and Palazzo both have several pools that all connect to each other and the Venetian has an additional building Venezia Tower with a much quieter pool (and Bouchon, booyah).
After a few hours at the pool, my mom and I headed over to Sara Dickerman's chocolate bark class. She was this absolutely wonderful woman from Seattle who likes to eat with the seasons (one of my current goals!) and did a 30 minute demo with Q&A. During the demo she made us her springtime bark (at least I think it was Spring!) which had crushed pistachios and dried cherries mmmm. My mom and I ended up staying for quite a bit after and of course I ordered both her previous book Food Lover's Cleanse (not a cleanse but about eating right and with the seasons after a big holiday binge) and her upcoming book about dehydrating food, Dried & True. I've gotta say I was unbelievably impressed with some of the questions my mom had and the conversation between her and Sara. Her Rouxbe Plant Based Certification really was something!
After the bark demo it was a quick additional pool jaunt follow by rapid fire getting ready for the Grand Tasting! I had been planning this outfit of American Apparel crop top and Reverse palm frond shorts from Shopbop (similar here) for weeks as it's on my upcoming Mexico packing list, so at least that part was easy! Once I walked over to Caesar's and met up with the crew we popped in line because MAN WAS IT PACKED! Pro tip - wear comfortable shoes and prepare to rub a ton of elbows, but it's soooo worth it.
When you finally arrive they greet you with a cool plate & wine holder combo to bring around and taste, plus a map of what each of the 55 booths are. There's also a ton of alcohol right up front (you'd think someone planned that, eh ;)?). We started off with Searsucker by Brian Malarkey, Mr Chow, Nobu (swoon) and Giada. While Nobu's miso fluke was our favorite, each of these restaurants really brought their A game. I'd give Giada's pea & asparagus risotto second place for the whole evening. Other highlights were the Kahlua Frrrrozen Hot Chocolate from Serendipity 3 and vegetable dumplings from Tao. If you're ever going to venture to this unbelievable celebration of food, I have 3 pieces of advice:
- Pace yourself on the meat, there's a lot of it. I would have loved the meatballs from Carmines but could barely fit anything else in my stomach!
- Unless you're interested in meeting the chefs, split your group up and ask for several portions at each station - much more efficient
- If you see someone you want to meet or take a picture with, go for it! All the chefs were so happy to be there and having a great time. I really regret not asking Nobu for a photo when I talked to him (sooo nice and yes I died!)
After the Grand Tasting we could all barely move so we just gambled for a bit and went up to the room early. It was so nice to enjoy the comfortable beds and my brother's wonderful company.
Even though we could barely think of food after that, we did have the wits about us to make plans for Bouchon brunch in the morning. This is a Vegas staple for our family and it hasn't disappointed me in over 9 years. Last time we were here my mom got a tour of the kitchen we love it so much! My brother had the chicken & waffles while I had a quiche of course. Then we split beignets for the table, obbbbbviously.
I would have gone to the pool after brunch of course except it was RAINING. Like full on pouring all day. Check out the view from our room Friday vs. Saturday below - so nuts. I spent the whole day in the Canyon Ranch Palazzo spa (another Vegas staple of ours) getting an out of this world facial from Kym and enjoying the amazing amenities in that spa. There's a jacuzzi, steam room, sauna, salt showers, frozen room and an amazing lounge area with a room that makes you feel like you're floating in space. Total Zen!
After a day full of bliss, we wafted toward a perfect pre-birthday dinner for my brother at Mastro's Ocean Club in the Crystal Shopping Center. Rahim and I went to the Malibu location for our anniversary last year and this one was just as nice, albeit not an oceanfront view. To top it all off Rahim (my wonderful boyfriend who couldn't join us) sent a bottle of Veuve over! Great job honey ;).
For Sunday back to the pool I went after a brunch with the whole crew at Hash-a-Go-Go in the Linq. We also got to walk around the area a bit and hit up Serendipity 3 for a banana split. It was a perfectly beautiful day as opposed to Saturday so I was trying to spend as much of it outside as possible until the Sharks game where Kevin and I had placed bets on the Sharks winning of course. We won which put me up $20 for the weekend! I had won $30, but then lost $10 at the Game of Thrones slot machine the night before (god I love Jon Snow, Tyrion, Daenerys and her dragons haha). To top the night off I met with a camp friend I hadn't seen in years and we had a lovely dinner at Nobu!
I'm far too tired to continue typing so off to bed I go. Viva Las Vegas, forever!
Namastayyy in bed,