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Hiking in Red Rock Canyon.

Today is the day after I returned home from my trip to Las Vegas.

It was one of the best Las Vegas trips I’ve ever been on. The weather was gorgeous. Warm during the day. Cool at night. My husband and I were alone except for the one evening we got to spend with a college friend of his.

We hiked out at Red Rock Canyon, worked out in the gym at the Encore and walked around the downtown Vegas area.

We even managed to get in a few naps. And yes, I mean real naps. Well, at least we slept after.

But can we talk about the food?

The food was f*&cking amazing. We went to some tried and true favorite restaurants of ours. And they did not fail to dazzle. But we also tried this new restaurant that I had read about a few months ago. Desnudo Tacos. Naked Tacos. We had dinner there on our first night. And lunch there on our fifth day. And in between, we went to a pop-up dinner that we were invited to by one of the owners of Desnudo Tacos, featuring local breweries at a pizza place.

I got on the scale this morning. After my morning cup of coffee. And I was a little surprised to see the scale go up to five pounds more than it was when I got on it last Monday morning before I left.

Oops.

And honestly, I DON’T care. A few of those pounds will come off quickly since I won’t be drinking slightly dirty martinis with blue cheese stuffed olives. Every night. And the rest will come off when I get back in to my exercise routine later this week.

Totally. Worth. It.

And the following day-by-day recap of our eating adventures will help you understand why.

MONDAY

We flew in to town in the late afternoon. Checked in, freshened up and headed down to Allegro, in the Wynn, to say hello to our favorite bartenders and have one of those martinis. After, we drove over to Desnudo Tacos and ordered a few things: a Mahi Mahi ceviche, the Chivo taco (slow braised goat with guajillo chile, avocado leaf, banana leaf, onion, cilantro and radish) and the Tinga Poblana taco (braised pork shoulder, in-house made chorizo, chipotle, tomato, tomatillo, roasted garlic avocado and crema) as well as an order of a fresh tasting guacamole. After a bit, one of the owners, Christian Dolias, came out and we struck up a conversation with him. When he found out that we liked pickled things, he brought us out a sampler of pickles he is concocting. All different tasting. All really delicious. Then he invited us to that pop-up dinner. (See Wednesday.)

Monday

Clockwise from upper left: Mahi mahi ceviche, Tinga Poblana (pork) Taco, guacamole, Chivo (goat) Taco with black beans and a tomatillo rice.

TUESDAY

We were going on our six mile hike out in Red Rock Canyon so we needed early morning sustenance. We found it at EAT across the street from the new Downtown Container Park. Awesome coffee, a truffled egg sandwich with bacon, feta and wild mushrooms and huevos motulenos with red and green chile, black beans, feta and sauteed bananas.

After the hike, we stopped at Bachi Burger in Summerlin and split edamame sauteed with ginger and chilis, a green and blue burger and the best pork belly steamed buns with a homemade hoisin sauce.

After a nap, dinner found us back at Raku. No pictures because we’ve been here half a dozen times. But we sampled a whole fish served first as sashimi and then taken away only to be brought back fried. Kobe beef skewers with roasted garlic. And my favorite, a dish with uni, ikura, okra and a poached quail egg.

tuesday

Edamame, truffled egg sandwich, pork belly steamed bun, huevos motulenos and a blue and green burger.

WEDNESDAY

The morning had us downtown, stopping at The Beat for coffee and walking in and out of the casinos on Fremont. For lunch,we headed over to my favorite Vegas Thai restaurant called Le Thai. I could eat everything on the menu if only my stomach was bigger. But I loved our selections. The pork jerky is a must. The short rib fried rice? Sublime. And the best Pad Thai I’ve ever had.

Our dinner that night was at the east side Naked City Pizza and was hosted by Christian and his partner Chris Palmeri. Each dish was prepared with one of the featured local brews. And each dish was amazing. It was cool to be part of something really local. Braised pork belly ravioli over an arugula parmesan pesto, ribs braised with a brown ale served with a potato cake and a scallion salad and butter poached shrimp served with beer braised wild mushrooms and baby spinach. The meal ended with a dark chocolate ice cream oatmeal cookie sandwich. F@#k yeah.

wed

Clockwise from upper left: Short rib fried rice, pork jerky with sticky rice and warefall sauce, Pad Thai, Braised pork belly ravioli over arugula Parmesan pesto topped with a fried egg, the talented Christian Dolias with hubs and an oatmeal cookie sandwich with dark chocolate ice cream.

THURSDAY

I met a Vegas friend for lunch. And it was great to catch up. But no pictures. We were too busy talking. That night, hubs and I returned to Kabuto Edomae. Another favorite restaurant on Spring Mountain Road. We did the omakase and each course was better than the next. Clean and simple tastes handed to us one by one across the low sushi counter (by a kid who looked to be my son’s age). Dinner seemed to last for an eternity. In a good way. If eternity meant fresh fish and free-flowing sake. I’d rather spend money on a meal like this than on a show. But that’s just me!

thursday

Clockwise from the top: bluefin tuna accompanied by seaweed and pickled cucumbers, green tea tiramisu, four fabulous pieces of sashimi.

FRIDAY

For lunch, we went back to Desnudo Tacos. On Monday night, Christian had told us about his version of chile rellenos and also the history behind Salco The Pig sandwich. (Involving a police officer, of course.) And I hadn’t stopped thinking about them both. My brainpower was not wasted. Those two dishes, along with a sopa de fideo, made an incredible last lunch.

For our final dinner, we stayed local and ate at Allegro in the Wynn. We really love it there partly because we always get such a warm welcome from staff. The chef, Enzo Febbraro, is a bear of a man who gives great hugs, has a good sense of humor and runs an amazing kitchen. Earlier in the week, while sitting at the bar, I had a few slices of the Bosco pizza: roasted mushrooms, ricotta and truffle oil. I wanted to go a little lighter this night (ha) so Enzo made me up a half order of shrimp fra diavolo that was amazing. And hubs had a giant osso buco. It was the perfect end to the week.

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SATURDAY

We had an uneventful trip back to the Fort Lauderdale airport and on the hour drive home, hubs came up with the idea of stopping at our favorite pizza place. Though to call it a pizza place would be an insult. Pizzeria Oceano is so much more than that. As you can see from the pictures below. With a few glasses of wine, and some amazing flavor combinations, we ended our vacation with a taste bud bang.

sat

Clockwise from top left: A not so basic pizza with spigarello, spicy shrimp papaya salad, a crisp Pinot Gris, butterhead lettuce with blue cheese, roasted onion and croutons, pasta with pecorino, egg, salame calabrese, scallions and chili flakes, and poundcake with strawberries, white chocolate and cardomom.

Totally worth every single one of those pounds. Now it’s back to reality. Salads, simple proteins and small(er) portions.

But I’ll be dreaming of my next trip out there. We’re going back in August. And no, I haven’t counted the days. Yet.

I love you Las Vegas. My pants? Not so much.