Monday, June 9, 2014

FvF on the Road: Las Vegas

Let's be serious: I drank a lot more than I ate in Las Vegas. This is comical in and of itself, considering drinks run about $11-20 a piece. But hey, when in rome - get loaded on expensive craft cocktails, right?

Rx Boiler Room - Mandalay Bay

Food portions are on the smaller side, but the citrus braised veal cheeks were excellent. If you're my co-worker, they may throw a hot plate of pastrami sliders at you and then only offer to replace that spilled plate for free after ruining your shirt.
The basic rundown is this: all of the servers are outfitted in steampunk regalia. If you don't know what that means, imagine if Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Bauhaus had a kid, and it got picked on at school all the time (why wouldn't it?). More importantly, the female servers and hostesses are wearing little more than a corset and some tulle. Which is great when they're pouring you one of these right out of the skull-shaped, smoke filled bottle:
Doesn't look like much, but check out this video for the full experience (and no, that lightweight is NOT me). It really was tremendous. It smelled like someone was boiling maple syrup over a campfire, and the blend of cola syrup was just right. I enjoyed the hell out of this. Service here was meh. They made a big misstep in how they attempted to correct the food spillage on my work buddy. 3.5/5

Carmine's - Shoppes at Caesar's Palace
I'll admit, this photo of Chicken Saltimbocca looks gnarly, but it was delicious. I can't find this dish on a menu in Dayton to save my life. Even more amazing, but not pictured, was the veal. Holy hell, it was out of this world. For those unfamiliar, Carmine's is a family style Italian joint with its original location in NYC. This is their Las Vegas second coming, which I hear happens a lot there. By family style (now it's your turn to get your minds out of the gutter), the dishes serve about 3-4 people a piece, so don't be alarmed at the $30+ per entree pricing. Service was outstanding, mostly because our server really knew the menu and wine list.

I had another great cocktail somewhere at the Mirage, but all I can remember is bourbon, peaches, mint and ginger. It was delicious. I obviously liked them enough to order a subsequent one, and forget where I was or what it was called.

Non-food-related notes - the pools and conference facilities at Mandalay Bay were fantastic. Rooms were fine. Not particularly earth-shattering, but the bathrooms were really nice. Views are a little limited because MB is on the ass-end of the strip. 

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

FvF on the Road: Toledo Eats

It thrills me that even when I'm not updating, over 100 people a day still come check out FvF.  However, it also makes me feel like a dick for neglecting it - considering I used to top 500 readers a day.

So, dear eaters, I give you a brief food tour of Toledo. Between my work travels and a real vacation, I've had a lot of outstanding food lately (and some I could have lived without) - so it doesn't seem fair to withhold all of these perfectly good recommendations...should you ever find yourself in the city by the lake. In chronological order:

Biaggi's - Levis Commons
Reminded me a LOT of Brio or Bravo.

The major difference was the combination of letters after the B. It was good, but I wouldn't say remarkable. I also didn't order a remarkable dish because it was lunchtime and I'm not an animal. I got some kind of panini that claimed to have gouda, which I couldn't taste - but the tomato bisque was nice. Would I choose Piada over it about any day? Probably.  4/5

Byblos - Holland
Hooooooooooooly falafel, Batman. This salad should be served at all times, at any and all loosely Mediterranean joints. Also, best pickles of my life. Ever. I wanted to fill my purse with them and fill my hotel mini-fridge with them, as to enjoy them my entire stay. If you've never been to Toledo (I can't say I recommend it for a lengthy stay), probably 50% of the eateries put fresh, warm pita bread on the table where you'd normally find a boring loaf of bread. This is another thing most restaurants should start adopting. Right away. Anyhow, the salad was comprised of some kick-ass falafel, fresh cukes, tomatoes and radishes - and as you can see, covered in parsley. It was so good, I didn't even miss the meat. They also have a few Turkish/Greek wines on their list that I may have enjoyed one or a handful of.      6/5

Empire Restaurant - Oregon
Just don't eat here. Really. Just don't. You're welcome.

Tony Packo's - Original Location
A Toledo institution (of the food variety, not mental).

 It was explained very basically to me, and delivered on what was promised - coneys with a split sausage instead of a hot dog. The side of paprikash I got left a lot to be desired, but the dog and sauce were great.     3.5/5

Poco Piatti
Super legit tapas. Meat lollies!!!

The great sangria, beer selection and chorizo tacos didn't hurt, either. Nifty little place, with nifty little plates.
And again, with the fresh pita on the table. 4.5/5