Scott Conant makes my tummy swoon: Scarpetta in Vegas

It was a lazy day of pool and grubbing.. and yes, more drinking… but we finally decided to get our deal together and realized that it’s hard to find a good place to eat on a Friday night.. trying to book a table when it’s already 7pm… in Vegas…OOPS.  After a few failed attempts with the concierge at Caesars…

…[we got ready anyways] and ended up deciding on Scarpetta

[Oh Scott Conant you so dreamy <3 swoon]

…with an old coworker of mine, who also happened to be in town.. we headed over to Cosmopolitan – GORGEOUS hotel.  Had a few drinks at the bar and then finally sat down before 10.

Bread and yummy stuff to dip it in… MMM BREAD!!!

George & I

Appetizers Round

Roasted Sea Scallops
truffled white asparagus, pink grapefruit & uni aoili

Super tender scallops… delicious white asparagus… MMMMMM….. To me, if someone can cook a scallop to perfection, they can cook. It’s hard to get it just right, especially since it’s so easily overcooked and turns rubbery like whoa.  These melted at the touch of my tongue. Light, decadent. Amazing. But hello. Two scallops and two asparagus for three people? Awkward!

Special: Steak Tartare

This was okay.  Probably shouldn’t have ordered it, wasn’t bad, wasn’t great.  Wish there was a bigger portion….

And the best dish of the night — and possibly of the whole time in Vegas:

Creamy Polenta
fricassee of truffled mushrooms

Here is the guy pouring the sauce with truffled wild mushrooms all over the creamy polenta…


SO good we got it twice – YES twice!!! We started smothering ALL of our food with this stuff.  Words can NOT describe how amazing it is… and as soon as we licked the bowl clean, we ordered another one.  I’ve never had creamier, buttery polenta in my life.  It was like melted ice cream of savory truffled goodness.  Delicious tender mushrooms.. OMFG.  Last dinner sort of food. I can die happy in a hot tub of this.


We all ordered our own dish but shared everything – not allowed to order the same thing hahaha….

Duck & Foie Ravioli
marsala reduction

This  was obviously mine.  It was the least tasty of the three, methinks, not that it wasn’t tasty.. the filling was good but a bit dry/mealy.  The texture was a little weird for me, but the flavors were spot on – and the pasta was a good al dente.

George picked the Special: Bone-In Prime Rib with a side of Potatoes

It was delicious. If you fuck up beef, than you can’t cook at all.  It was HUGE, Fred Flintstone style. I love a good piece of meat with a nice bone in it.

Kelly got the Special: Chicken & Sweet Corn Agnolotti

This was actually  in my running to be one of my choices.. it was really good and the only thing we all finished!!!! YUM – the corn was amazing and added such a great texture and sweetness to it. YUM

We opted out of dessert but our awesome server gave us some deliciousness anyways…

Butterscotch pots <3 YUM

We headed to XS afterwards…. but ended up waiting a million hours in line.  I ended up cutting a ton of people to get thru, get stamped, just to wait LONGER.  Got to see B for a brief moment and say hi at least…. at least tummy was happy – cuz feet were NOT.

Vegas Birthday Dinner @ Circo

After an already FANTASIMICALLY AWESOME time in less than 24 hours… it was Birthday Dinner time with my girls…. SO the plan was to go to Scarpetta – me and my huge crush on Scott Conant, yes yes, but we shopped and drank for awhile at Caesars after a long day at the pool and we were tired and lazy… halfway thru my large fruity  drink I decided we should just eat in the Bellagio – since there’s a million delicious places to eat there anyways – So Circo it was… we got beautiful with my newly bought dress and went downstairs to dinner with my sexy shoes Katy bought me :D

As soon as we walked in, I asked for my table.. they got my NAME wrong and wrote me down as “Jing” and asked me if I had a table at Le Cirque instead…. I’ve already had the ORIGINAL Le Cirque in NYC why would I come here for it?!  Plus I was in the mood for some nice simple Tuscan/Italian food :] MMMM.. and MONKEYS…!!!

Monkeys monkeys monkeys EVERYWHERE!! designed by Adam Tihany…

Where are we?! Circus Circus?  There were cute monkeys EVERYWHERE in the restaurant OMG.. we got a nice table with a good view of both outside and the kitchen :D

Yep a 18,255$+ bottle of wine… they had a crazy awesome wine selection, apparently over 900 different sorts of bottles.. I talked to the sommelier and found a delicious light fruity Italian wine [red obviously] that would go well with all of our dishes!!!… Katy ended up not liking it too much which meant – MORE FOR MEEEEE hahahha..

My lovies!!!

Delicious bread and EVOO

Antipasto del Circo

Assortment of Traditional Tuscan Appetizers

SOOOO YUM!  A delicious selection of cheeses…. some bruschetta on the most delicious toasty garlic bread.. sOOO super garlicky and the tomatoes were SO fresh and sweet… MMMM, we had super garlic breath :] My favorite was the salami and then, obviously, the prosciutto.. YUM YUM!! OH and then there was the artichokes on the side.. NOM NOM NOM!

Kelly’s Ravioli Di Mama Egi

Mama Egi’s Recipe of Sheep’s Milk Ricotta, Spinach, Swiss Chard, Butter Sage Sauce

She seemed to love them.. wait did I try a bite? They looked so pretty and saucey :D  And smelled absolutely amazing. I LOOOOVE sage and I tend to get vegetarian raviolis more than I get meaty ones… :] Save those for agnolottis… teehee

Katy’s Frantoiana

Tuscan Vegetable & Bean Soup with Fettunta 

This was a huge bowl, and so are Katy’s beautiful boobs,… wait, too crude? I’m a 16 y/o horny teenager [male] seriously, okay back to the food – KATY LOVED IT!!!.. it came with Fettunta.. which is just super indulgent garlic bread :D NOM!!!…. It was FILLED with fresh cooked down super tender veggies and beans!!!!

And then, of course, my Il Coniglio

Roasted Napa Valley Rabbit Loin wrapped in San Daniele Prosciutto, Polenta ‘sfogliatina’, Roasted Beets, Green Pea Veloute, Rabbit Jus

As soon as I said I was gonna order this, poor Katy got wide-eyed… and talked about “Harry” the bunny from her backyard. Kelly tried some and liked it but Katy wouldn’t nibble on Harry teeheee… I actually found that I don’t like cooked prosciutto… the closest I like cooked prosciutto is either really really dried out and crunchy, broken and sprinkled on salads or something.. OR…. placed on freshly baked pizzzaaaaaa… [prosciutto and fresh sweet figs on white pizza, OMG... orgasmic] ANYWAYS.. I felt like it tasted really gamey cooked and affected the taste of the rabbit, plus it was a bit too salty. I ended up just eating the bunny part. I LOVED the way the polenta was cooked. I’m ALL about crunch and texture… and while the taste itself was almost bland, the texture was FABULOUS!… and the beets, OH the beets… I LOVE BEETS <3

We were stuffed from eating and drinking all day so that little food actually filled us up a lot… so we got one dessert…  a delicious Molten Lava Chocolate Cake.. it had a classier name but whatever… hahaha

HAPPPPPY BIRTHDAY TO MEEEEEEEE

My signature blowing out candle pic :D TEEHEE

Afterwards, we rushed back to our room for our second outfit change – teeeheeeee.. yes I wore two outfits that night and I also ended up curling my hair… finish up the rest of the trip on this entry.

Gilt City’s Wine + Dine + Design

Thanks to Z as the hand model *clap clap clap* [hahahah I wrote slap before, wish I could blame autocorrect], here are our tickets… with a “pretty” shirt as background :] Har har…

But SERIOUSLY… what’s with Miami and ugly shirts? It’s like a spanish version of the Jersey Shore here…

So basically here’s how it goes down…. Gilt City‘s Wine + Dine + Design… everyone meets up in the Design District of Miami [seriously GORGEOUS furniture stores!!!!] for champagne and hors’doeuvres on the outdoor patio at Vino e Olio. On their tickets, they’re already split up into three different groups.. I think it was team red, green and blue :] We switch off each of the three restaurants for 3 different courses – that means each group gets a completely different dish at each resto and basically a diff 3-course meal. INSANE.

Get it? Tough cookies. Re-Read and if you still don’t get it… ask someone to explain it to you :]

it was super crowded and disorganized IMO.. the appetizers were okay… but usually things made in bulk aren’t too great. Mini pizzas, mini anchovy bites [too fishy], some olive bites that were pretty good… fried potato bites.. I like the jamon on a breadstick.. but then everyone just ate the jamon and left the cardboard breadsticks alone… haha

FINALLY.. after a glass or two of bubbles and stealing all the jamon from the plates, the teams were called into their groups and we all headed in different [or in some cases same] directions…. very disorganized and easily lost, good thing all the restaurants were near each other….

Team RED !!!!!

First Course
Sra. Martinez
Chefs: Michelle Bernstein with John Besh [Restaurant August]

Miami Weathergirl

We shared a table with a group of other foodies.. including someone who worked for Gilt City [we found a lot of them at this event, gee whiz, guess why...] and others… we chitchatted a bit, but I secretly wanted a two-person table so me and Z could enjoy our food, company and wine together in peace – no smoozing.. haha

Redfish Courtboullion
Paired with: Abadia de San Campio Albariño 2009, DO Rias Baixas

The first was SO fresh, PERFECTLY cooked and oh-so-tender… just melted in my mouth. The sauce was a bit rich for me so I didn’t eat much of it… loved the bits of greens on top.. very very delicious. I couldn’t help but stare at my neighbor [OCD much] who actually picked apart his dish into separate areas on the plate rim and ate them separately… #andithoughtiwascrazy

TO BE HONEST. I didn’t like the wine pairing, thought it tasted yicky together — So I had my fish. Cleansed my mouth with h2o and drank the wine – separately.

We also had some bread and EVOO.. not really pretty to look at so I’ll leave out that pic.

Soooo, like I said before the event seemed a bit disorganized so it took a long time.. we were way behind schedule and we had to wait extra long since the restaurant we were supposed to go to next was taking a long time to clean up and re-setup.

THANKFULLY SO. I went to go to the bathroom and go to meet JOHN BESH!!!! *faints* I want to make a trip to New Orleans SIMPLY just to eat his food. #diedandgonetofoodieheaven… I duno why I look like I’m grabbing my crotch [again - memories; I think I just duno where to put my hands -- too excited] but he was SUPER SUPER nice – just like he seems on tv and stuff… yep, time to make that trip down south ASAP.

Z thinks he looks like David Duchovny what do you think?



Hahahaha I had to choose this pic cuz as you scroll, you’re like oh….. OHHHH… but yeah, I don’t really see it…..

REALLY wish I got to meet Michelle though *pout*

Second Course
Fratelli Lyon
Chefs: Ken Lyon and Andrew Carmellini [Locanda Verde]

I enjoyed this table SO much more.. they were mainly from the NY/Long Island area and we just talked about fav restaurants and food and drinking etc.. etc.. :D Great fun group!!! They were a lot older than us [we're usually the youngest] but just SO fun!!! One of the ladies told me that she’d TOTALLY meet up with me next year at the Let Them Eat Cake party…. :] I gave them this blog addy but who knows how much wine they’ve drunk already — if they’re reading this hiiiiiiiiiii!!!!

While we waited FOR-EVER to come here, get in and get our food… it was WORTH the wait, best meal of the night.

Quaglie con Uva y Polenta
Pan-Braised Heritage Quail with White Grapes and Buckwheat Polenta

Paired with: Guado Al Tasso Il Bruciato 2008

The wine was pretty good and Z and I got refills [obviously, that's how we roll] — While the group was talking I was busy just nodding, smiling and gnawing on my quail, so what if I was in a nice dress… I used my fingers – best tools everrrr…. the grapes were fresh, sweet, tart, crisp which paired SO well with the succulent tiny quail. It was SO juicy and tender – perfectly cooked [theme of the night] and OH MAN, the polenta <3 Ultimate perfect dish for me. Now if only I could ask for seconds…..

The Chefs talking…

I’m actually really curious about this place.. it seemed kind of like an Eataly.. but smaller… not quite sure and didn’t get na chance to explore.

Third Course
Michael’s Genuine
Chefs: Michael Schwartz with Iron Chef Michael Symon [Lola]

We asked for a table for just two [no sharing please] and we got a cozy little table in the back :] Outside of course – gorgeous weather… HOW EXCITED was I when I saw TWO wine glasses each….

Braised Deep Creek Beef Cheeks
Whipped Carrot, Local Vegetable Giadinere and Salsa Verde

Paired with: Chateau Ste. MIchelle, Thos Cabernet Sauvignon 2007
& Chateau Ste. Michelle Ethos Syrah 2007

And it’s a Seattle winary!!! The last time I was in the area, I visited since it’s my mommy’s name :] Wasn’t too into the Syrah, liked the Cab tho.. drank a lot of both.. Z actually gave me some of his cheek.. before he tasted it of course – he said he was getting full, but devoured it crazy fast :] As did I.. the cheek was sooo tender and just melted in your mouth. Loved the fresh veg and the yummy carrot puree. I love carrots :] This dish was super well done… kinda sad it was such a small serving tho… #fattie

Afterwards we ended up at Ornare for the “Dessert Finale”….

We took some more goofy photobooth pictures outside [I'm too lazy to scan them and post them up.. maybe later.. haha] and then headed in to eat… and we were blown away by all the sweets and fun activities inside….

Candy Galore…

We each made a goody bag filled with Malt Balls, Gummy Bears, M&Ms, Twizzlers, Swedish Fish…….. and Sour Patch Kids [sorry, brain fart there]

Sexy Women Eat

OK — I already read this and have the book but now I get an AUTOGRAPHED one for FREEEEEEEEEEE and I get to meet Divya :D I talked – a lot – like I always do… oops, held up the line :D And of course wanted a picture…

YAYYYY!!! Isn’t she a cutie?

A shot of espresso or two [which is funny cuz earlier that day illy had tweeted me to stop by and visit them in Miami LOL]

TOTALLY forgot which ice cream place made these but they were really good. Oatmeal Raisin Ice Cream Sammys FTW… we took a few of these back to the hotel with us too… actually I think we forgot about them in our freezer #oops

ginnybakes biscotti’s…

Fresh but really soft/chewy, I like a crisper biscotti.. wait or maybe I just like stale ones ;D

These were all really cute/pretty but just OK tasting… but of course we tried at least one of each :D JUST IN CASE

Something.. I forgot…. I think it was good tho.. the toffee on top at least :]

All you can drink Champagne….

I want these…..

I want appo

Entertainment for the night: Andrew Belle

Not bad.. we got his CD in our shhhh-wag bag too :D

Time for some custard…
Both tasted like booze to me… and then we saw the flavors sign…

Delicious. Nothing beats a good Shake Shack frozen custard :] #craving .. I miss living so near one :[ *pout*

… somehow I ended up with like.. 20 pairs of Shake Shack shades in the hotel….. #questionable. Maybe I’ll give them away to readers?

Some Shhhhhh-wag.. we got like more FOOD, chocolate, coffee, cds, coconut water, etc… etc…

I think we ended up with like 21 bars of Dylan’s chocolate?

Biscotti mix!!! :D Hahaha.. and our candy and biscotti bags….

Check out what we ate when we got back…

Convivio, Best of the Best

Dear Chef Michael White… you have made me fall in love with pasta all over again. For me, Italian food is something I have to be in the mood for, but I can see me coming to Convivio over and over and over again, just for your food… and your amazing perfect pasta. I haven’t had such amazing pasta, maybe ever [aside from the homeland in Rome], since dell’anima…. and I still keep pushing Scarpetta back… but I think my heart now lies here…. in your creations.

Convivio is the new Southern Italian restaurant from Chris Cannon and Chef Michael White. A restaurant rich in conviviality, flavor and passion, this acclaimed restaurant offers a pure translation of soulful dining—the Southern Italian way. Inspired by warm memories of Italian kitchens and the country’s unforgettable flavors—tomatoes, pancetta, sea urchin, and pesto—White’s menu travels through Italy’s Southern towns and creatively interprets revered recipes. Located in Manhattan’s charming Tudor City neighborhood, in the space of their former award-winning L’Impero, Convivio offers guests an irresistible opportunity to dine leisurely, sensuously and with gusto.

My date arrived later than me so I sat down first and ordered some champagne, a nice bubbly glass of Brut Nicolas Feuillatte NV

Delicious whole wheat bread with a burnt crust and the most amazing extra virgin olive oil to dip it in – EVER…. I was in love and ate at least 4 pieces of bread that night… amazing.. I could bath in that oil and lick it off my toes…. oh wait, TMI?

Delicious delicious wine

2006 Etna Rosso ‘A Rina Girolamo Russo

Round One

Barbabietole
beets, mozzarella, almonds

The creamy mozzarella combined with the earthy roasted beets [cooked perfectly might I add] and then the crunch of the almonds – delicious. I am a sucker for fresh mozzarella… everytime I buy a huge ball of it, it never lasts for more than a day… aside from homemade pizzas and homemade caprese salads… I just eat it like there’s no tomorrow…

Insalata di Mare

warm seafood salad, caper berries, lemon

I wouldn’t call it a “salad” perse but it was a nice light combo of seafood… perfectly cooked shellfish with a nice crusty garlic bread on the side. Didn’t really notice the caper berries or lemon too much but it was amazing nonetheless…

Arancini

saffron risotto croquettes

LOVE. LOVE. LOVE. LOVE. LOVE. The first time I had one of these was in Denver at duo… and since then I was hooked. These were even simpler than the duo ones… a light dusting of cheese atop the perfectly fried risotto balls… orgasmic.

TMI ALERT TMI ALERT — A certain someone once suggested me eating a Bahn Mi, drinking bubble tea and getting some loving = Ultimate — tempting but I think these would be even better ;D Hahaha…

Round Two

Zuppa di Ceci

chickpea soup, pig trotters, escarole

Tenderly cooked chickpeas [garbanzos, whichever -- you say toe-may-toe I say toe-ma-toe] A delicious thick, but light, blended – super creamy – chickpea soup, almost chowder like, with nice tender veggies, some crunchy buttery garlicky [best word ever] croutons… not sure where the pig trotters were tho… pureed in the soup? irregardless… droool* I licked the bowl clean [obviously]

Polipo

tomato braised octopus, polenta, asiago

I love octopus and while there was more polenta than anything else on the plate, the octopussy was tender… and the polenta was AMAZING… I gobbled it all up!!!

Polpettine en Brodo

pork meatballs, broccoli rabe, ricotta salata

You know I’m obsessed with meatballs….  Obsessed… ;D These were tender, succulent and oh so tasty… love love lovessss… mine are still better tho ;D

Round Pasta [aka Three]

Then came the pasta dishes…. dinner date and I actually ended up ordering TWO more pasta dishes because they were so so tiny…  I’m a growing girl [horizontally] and I need my carbs!!!!…

Malloreddus

sardinian saffron, gnocchetti, crab, sea urchin

MMMM…. love gnocchi, love Sardinia [speaking of which, still need to go to that special restaurant to eat in the wine cellar with that certain someone...... I was stupid not to go last time I was offered to.... sigh*; and then there's that Sardinia episode of No Reservations when Anthony Bourdain goes to his wifey's homeland and that SEXY gooey cheesy scene... effing orgasmic...]  and of course, crab + Uni are just……. breathtaking…. the uni was super subtle, whereas if I didn’t know it was already in there, I wouldn’t be looking for it…. but the gnocchi was magnificent and perfectly cooked.

Orecchiette Nero

squid ink pasta, seppia ragu, lardo, broccoli rabe

SOOOO good…. I’m a huge fan of squid ink pasta, maybe it’s just the blackness of it, but I’m convinced the flavor is just as fantastic… and then of course… LARDO.. freaking LARDO… and broccoli rabe…. :D

This is when I ordered another set of pasta dishes.. still hungry for more carbs…..

AHH, this was the special of the day… totally forgot what it was… some squash tortellini - I remember it being a bit too sweet for me….. so I only ate a little bit of it and gave it all to the dinner date….

But then it gave me plenty of time to focus on my gorgeous….

Maccheroni alla Carbonara

pancetta, pecorino, scallion, egg, black pepper

The first time I ever had carbonara was my sophomore year in college… one of my close friends, Dave Choi, made me the most delicious and memorable dinner of my life. This was one one of the first meals that made me really fall in love with cooking… and truly appreciate egg yolk for more than a sunny-side up. This was also the first time I learned about pancetta.. and bacon being the lamer, but still good, substitute… since then, this is my go-to meal when I only have a few simple ingredients to create something wonderful… I even got my dad to fall in love with carbonara… and he hates cheese [except on pizza]

Round Four

My choice, a delicious side of Funghi Arrosto

wild mushrooms, garlic

I could never resist mushrooms.. altho I DO find while getting them in restaurants, they’re often too oily… but nonetheless, while they WERE, they were SO flavorful and there was SO many varieties of ‘shrooms… oh joy <3

Along side it, the “MAIN” course of the night… the duck.. quack quack… I’ve had so much pig that I decided to stick with duck and just duck as the main course [altho now I kinda wish I had gotten the suckling crispy piggie as well ;D hehe... The glutton in me...

Anatra

long island duck breast, grilled sausage, sunchokes, apples

Look at that perfect balance of skin, fat and rare medium rare meat... Delightful... not super memorable, but good

The night ended on a sour note with the date, so I opted to skip dessert... [altho I already had my choices picked out] … I paid the bill and we left in a hussy….

One a side note… when I went to the restroom…

SOOO many rolls of toilet paper to choose from on the wall…. Awesome, yet… why?

Novita Wine Bar & Trattoria

We ate at Waterzooi 3x last week… so we decided to switch the beer up a bit and get some wine….. so we found Novita and it ended up being the sister restaurant of Waterzooi….

[wait, starting to realize that I don't think I've written about Waterzooi yet... or their beer event, boo.... Promise to do it soon....]

We started off with two delicious glasses of champagne [J Cuvee 20 Brut Non-Vintage – Russian River Valley, CA - White Light body, dry, crisp, refreshing49% Chardonnay, 49% Pinot Noir & 2% Pinot Meunier, Gracefully opens up with crisp lemon peel & honey suckle. It is followed by flavors of Fuji apple, grapefruit, almonds & a hint of angel food cake. Wonderful acidity in the finish] and they brought us bread in a… brown paper bag… haha…

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