Wednesday, December 13, 2006

okay, I lied.

So, I said I would post last week, and obviously that didn't happen. I have a good excuse though! I've been coughing up a lung the past week, and I'm just now getting over my hack and general misery. I'm ready to blog once again. I will really be ready to blog when I leave my crappy job in 2.5 days. Wheeeeeeeeeee!

Okay, anyway, about a week and a half ago, we went to Ad Hoc in Yountville, CA. Ad Hoc is the latest (and temporary (for now)) addition to Thomas Keller's growing collection of restaurants.

Our friend Tanya, made the reservation for eleven, and we were on our way. There's something very inviting about the atmosphere at Ad Hoc. It's sort of like having dinner at a friend's house. Make that a rich friend's house.

Ad Hoc's menu is set, so there's no ordering to do other than drinks. However, they will ask if anyone has any food allergies. The menu changes on a daily basis and the focus is on comfort foods. I've read in that they have served things like fried chicken in the past. All dishes are served family style.

Our first course was a sweet potato and lentil soup. I have to say this soup was amazing. It was hearty, slightly sweet, but not overwhelming at all. The soup also had sausage and cilantro, and as we all know, sausage makes everything taste better. This soup was a crowd favorite.

Next up was duck. Our server informed us that they braised the duck at 82 degrees Celsius for 10 hours and then seared it right before serving. I wish they had only cooked my duck at 82 degrees Celsius for 9.5 hours instead of 10. I'm pretty sure the duck would have been perfect then. While the skin was amazingly light and crispy, the meat was dry in some areas. Even though it was dry, I'm still going to say it's the best piece of duck I've ever had. I don't like it when duck has that big fatty layer between the skin and the flesh (yes, I know that's the good part blah blah blah). This duck however, did not that extra layer of fat and the meat (though dry) still fell off the bone. I think my end of the table just had a "bad" batch because our table had several dishes of duck. Mr. Cupcake sat at the other end of the table, and later told me that his duck was phenomenal. If only I had known! He said he'd go back just for the duck if he could.

One of the good things about Ad Hoc is that the portions are big, so you can have more than one serving. Soo, Lars, and I skinned one of the extra legs for the crispy, fatty, goodness just because we could.

I can't say I get excited for cheese courses mostly because I don't particularly care for cheese. Our cheese for the night was some Ig Vella Dry Jack Special Reserve. It's a form of Jack cheese, which was only so-so for me. It was somewhat dry, and also had that pasty cheese texture that I really dislike. I will tell you that the orange stuff you see on the upper right was fantastic. It's quince paste. I'd never heard of a quince until that night, and now I'm forever a fan. Our server described it as a mix between an apple and pear that is made into a paste. Soo being the cheese lover that she is, liked the quince smeared on the cheese.

Finally, for dessert, we had a chocolate brownie with caramel sauce and marshmallow ice cream. I was super excited for marshmallow ice cream. I wasn't sure how they'd go about making the ice cream, but all I could think about was how homemade marshmallows are amazing. I mean really, were they going to take the Jet Puffed Marshmallows that you get in the store and make it into ice cream?! Well, that's sort of what it tasted like. The ice cream was overly sweet, in fact, a little hard to eat. The brownie was okay. It was a bit fluffy for my taste, but they used a really nice dark chocolate that gave it a rich flavor. I liked the few bites where I actually tasted bits of chocolate. I wish there had been more of those.

Our total cost for four courses not including alcohol, tax, and tip was $495. For eleven people at $45/person, it's not a bad deal at all. Though, I do have one gripe about our visit. After we finished dessert, we were chatting it up, but then our server asked to leave because another group had arrived and they needed our table. It wasn't a huge deal, but really, I can't remember the last time I've been asked to leave a restaurant. I guess they try to turn the tables a few times in a night, so don't expect to linger if you go.

Even with my one gripe, I do hope they keep the Ad Hoc doors open. Our server hopes so too because he doesn't want to lose his job. So if you go, and love it, he says write in and tell them that you love it.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

a month?!

Today, I'm one day shy of not posting for a month. A month?! I can hardly believe it myself. I apologize to those who read my blog. It's that thing called life and it's been getting in the way of blogging. I have been working a lot, and that will soon slow down. Not to say life won't still be busy; I'm in the process of working on a new venture. Whether or not it will be successful, I'm not sure, but there's no way to tell unless I try. Perhaps I will expound upon that on a later date.

Anywho, so let me tell you about my last month. I worked a lot. I went down to Monterey for work. I have to say that the town doesn't have much in the way of food. It's tourist trap after tourist trap. I did manage to eat one meal in Monterey that I'd recommend to others. It's called Sea Harvest Fish Market and Restaurant.

It's half fish market, half restaurant. I did a little bit of research before our business trip, and found this place. My colleague and I ended up going there for lunch, and found the fish and chips to be surprisingly good. The batter was light and crispy, and the fish was the local catch of the day. I'd have to say the best part was that I didn't end up with heart burn, which automatically makes it a winner in my book. I did go to another restaurant in Monterey that was fancier and on Cannery Row, and I must say, Fish Harvest blew it out of the water.

This was my first trip to Monterey, and I'm not sure I'll make an effort to go back. However, I will definitely go back to Carmel. Now, I've been there before, and it's been okay. It feels a bit stuffy, but there's nothing inherently wrong with that. Fortunately, thanks to my friend Clive, I had an amazing meal at Le Coq D'or. He has been visiting this place for years, and let me in on his secret.

It's a small place that is run by an elderly woman who is not quite as mobile as she may have once been. It's an extremely charming little restaurant that only sits about 35 people. The menu is split between French and German offerings. I had the spaetzle and my friends had the beef bourguignonne, onion tart, and escargot. We were all amazed by the sheer quality of the meal. I plan on taking Mr. Cupcake there and I will do a full report in the near future. Until then, I urge you to stop by if you're in the area.

Lastly, Thanksgiving. I had a weird Thanksgiving. My family decided that they wanted to go out to dinner for Thanksgiving to avoid the hassles of eating at home. However, this did not stop my mother from making a full turkey dinner for "leftovers". Yeah, that was my reaction too.

We ended up going to an Italian restaurant for dinner. Mr. Cupcake let me know that it was the first time he's had pasta for Thanksgiving. I'm not too upset about it because my great turkey deep fry is on like Donkey Kong. I sent out an invite and so it means I actually have to do it. I'm dreaming of a deep fried turkey with sides like deep fried twinkies and deep fried mac n cheese. Oh the possibilities!

Also on the agenda is Ad Hoc in Yountville, CA. It's Thomas Keller's 6 month pet project that seems to be doing well. I will have a full report sometime next week.

So, that's what I've been up to. I promise to make December a more interesting blogging month.

Monday, October 30, 2006

halloween eve ramen

I have been avoiding my blog. This thing called life has been getting in the way. I've thought a lot about my blog recently, but really, I haven't had anything interesting to write about. The food excursions in the last few weeks have been lackluster, and I haven't had time to make anything at home. I did have all of my cash and one of my credit cards stolen at a restaurant in San Francisco while on my two week no blogging hiatus. I thought about writing about that experience, but decided it was too bizarre. Maybe another day. So, folks, the point it is I'm back. At least for now.

Anyway, today I was at work, and Mr. Cupcake sends me this email about pumpkin ramen at Ramen Halu in San Jose. Pumpkin ramen. Who knew there's such a thing? Well, apparently the people at Ramen Halu are on it.

I normally eat my ramen at Ryowa in Mountain View. It's tasty ramen that's close by. So tasty, that I haven't bothered venturing out to other ramen houses. However, this piqued my curiosity because I've never had pumpkin ramen. It's a special that Ramen Halu puts on around Halloween. They serve 20 bowls per lunch and dinner and that's it.

With those kinds of limitations, I knew we had to go and fast - or wait another year. Me being the impatient type, knew that wasn't going to happen. I persuaded Mr. Cupcake to ditch work and have an early ramen dinner with me.

We arrived just before their 6pm opening. And we weren't the only ones, there were four other people hanging out when we arrived.

The restaurant is definitely a hole in the wall. The walls are white, and seating is limited. The left side had maybe four tables, each partitioned off by screens. The right side had a row of tables sans screens. We were seated at one of the screened tables. Secretly, I was pleased because I knew I could take my pictures on peace.

It didn't take long for me to decide what to order. In fact, as soon I read the description I knew what I was going to get. Mr. Cupcake. on the other hand, had trouble deciding. Should we both have pumpkin ramen? Decisions, decisions. Another ramen won out.

I loved the presentation of the pumpkin ramen. The bat shaped nori was a nice touch. The bowl was filled with thick, pumpkin infused ramen noodles. They were thicker and more al dente compared to the noodles at Ryowa. There was also corn, Parmesan cheese, crispy pumpkin slices, pork, and onions in the broth. I was hoping for an intense pumpkin flavor, and unfortunately, it was anything but. The broth was actually somewhat bland as were the noodles. The only flavor additions on the table were hot pepper sauce and crushed garlic. I wasn't feeling the garlic and pumpkin combination, so I just went for the hot sauce which didn't turn out to be very hot. I also felt the Parmesan cheese was an interesting choice for the soup. Though, I will say the texture of the noodles were chewy and quite lovely.

Mr. Cupcake ended up ordering the Halu ramen. This turned out to be the better choice of the two. He found it to be sufficiently salty and the broth was thicker than he was use to. He was a fan of the chewy noodle as well. The only downside for him was that it was light on the pork.

Our total bill for the two bowls of ramen was just under $20. Ryowa is still my ramen of choice in the South Bay. I love eating the kimchee while waiting for my buttered corn ramen. Though, I'm not disappointed that we ventured out to Ramen Halu. Now I can say I've had pumpkin ramen. And you can too if you'd like. Tomorrow is the last they're serving the it, but go when they open for either lunch or dinner, or you'll probably miss out.

Friday, October 13, 2006

back to business

It's been a challenge to find good Korean food in the South Bay. I've been to several Korean restaurants in the area, and for the most part, I haven't had the desire to go back to any of them. When I first moved here, I met this Korean guy who has lived here his entire life. So I presented him with this burning question: where are all the good Korean restaurants? His response: Si Jol Gip.

Sol Gol Jip translates to 'country house'. It's a little hole in the wall in Santa Clara with zero atmosphere and a big flat screen tv. However, it is bustling with a healthy size Korean clientele. If you can't read Korean, then you'll have to locate it based on the street number.

On this particular night, it was Mr. Cupcake, Soo, Chrisi, and myself. We went with our normal protocol and ordered family style. Unfortunately, that protocol also means ordering too much food.

Our server presented us with four rice pods. I've never seen these before, and they looked a bit intimidating with their slimy exterior appearance. Soo assured us that they were fine.

I bit into one and it was filled with a semi-sweet sesame paste. The outside felt a bit stale and was very chewy. Had the rice coating been on the softer side, I could have eaten 10 of these.

We had our normal spread of side dishes. Though, I'm missing the picture of the coleslaw side.

Soo ordered the Kim chee stew with pork and tofu. The kim chee stew is just that: a stew that tastes like kim chee. It contained big chunks of pork with the skin on. It was spicy and rich in flavor. Soo was particular fond of it.

The beef short ribs was one of the top dishes of the night. The beef was on the sweet side which is what I like. The only thing I didn't like about it was that some pieces were a bit too fatty and not as tender as I was hoping for. I was the only with this problem though, so my guess is I picked the few loser pieces. Overall, it was quite good and something I'd consider ordering again.

Ever since we went to Brother's Restaurant in the city, Soo has been dreaming about the deep fried fish. She ordered it here hoping for the same result. The fish was pan fried, and I can't remember what kind of fish it other than it was white. The skin wasn't super crispy like it was at Brother's. I'd rate this fish as just okay. Soo just wants someone to throw a whole fish into a deep fryer for her. Maybe next time Soo.

The pork bul go gi is a staple whenever we go out for Korean food. Si Jol Gip doesn't have the built in grills in the table, so they cook the meat for you. It was about what I expected. It was fairly spicy and the meat had a faint sweetness to it. Though, the flavor was lacking in depth.

Chrisi has been dying for a seafood pancake. The last time we ordered one was at Brother's in the city and it was a disaster. However, this version was quite good. The pancake was light crispy on the outside and was stuffed with green onion and various chunks of seafood. The only downside was that the inside was soggy. However, I'd say it's still definitely worth ordering.

Our total bill including tax and tip was $75.60. This was very reasonable for the amount of food that we ordered and couldn't finish. Typical. While the food didn't blow me away, it was still good and I'd go back. In fact, Mr. Cupcake and I went back three days later with Angie, Scott and her grandparents. Mr. Cupcake ordered the pork bul go gi which was much better this time around. I ordered the tofu soup which wasn't spicy as I was hoping for. The flavor was watered down and definitely not the best version I've had. It was okay though because I helped Mr. Cupcake plow through his pork.

Now that we've visited a number of Korean restaurants in the area, Soo and I have decided to try our hand at actually making Korean food. I'll do a report if it ever comes to pass.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

off the strip

By our third day in Vegas, I was getting tired of the meals on the strip. They were expensive and luckluster. I did a bit of research on chowhound while I was there and found that Vegas offers very good Chinese and Thai food; one just has to go off the strip. I was ready, but I wasn't sure how my companions felt. Fortunately, everyone was game, and we were off to Lotus of Siam.

Lotus of Siam generates a lot of buzz on places such as Chowhound. It's alledgedly one of the best Thai restaurants in the US. Those are some lofty claims, but we didn't have anything to lose. When we walked in, there were awards and articles plastered all over the wall. I never know if this is a good sign or not because a lot of restaurants can't live up to the hype. I was still hopeful. The restaurant definitely lacks in the area of ambiance and the location is shady. However, often times, I prefer places such as this.

We opted to order family style. I asked the server for some recommendations for appetizers and he suggested the crispy rice and sour sausage (nam kao tod).

This was one of the highlight dishes for me. It was a very unusual dish which was also the reason why I went with the server's recommendation. I can't say I've ever had anything like it before. The sausage was indeed sour, but it mixed very well with the crispy rice and cilantro. I'm guessing the crispy rice was fried, but I really loved the texture. Soo thought the dish was too sour, but Mr. Cupcake liked it a lot because of the sourness. I'd recommend it if you can find it.

The papaya salad was lifeless. This is one of the few dishes I could have done without.

The fried wontons were about what I expected. The wontons were stuffed with ground chicken and came with a sweet and sour dipping sauce. I can't say I'm ever disappointed with fried food unless it's overly greasy. This version was just fine.

Chrisi ordered the Tom Kah Kai soup. It had chicken, coconut milk, straw mushrooms, lemon grass, galangal, and lime. The soup was fairly spicy and the coconut flavor wasn't as strong as I was hoping for. It's not something I'd order again, and I recall most of our group deeming it as one of the loser dishes.

We ordered two noodle dishes. One was awesome, and the other not so much. This is the latter. The lad na (I think) noodles came in a gravy that was lacking in the flavor department. The noodles themselves had a nice texture, but that's about all it had going for it.

Delia ordered the pad sw-ew, and it was among the winners. I can't exactly tell you why; I just remember the dish was probably the best version of pad sw-ew I've ever had. This is why I need write reviews sooner rather than later because I forget all the details. I'll never make it as a food writer due to my need for procrastination.

I decided we needed a curry. This was Thai food afterall. I liked the panang quite a bit. It was spicy and rich in coconut flavor. This was a less popular dish among the crowd because it was one of the few dishes with leftovers.

Here we have the nua sao renu which is described as sliced charbroiled beef served on a bed of cabbage, topped with tamarind sauce and fried dried chili. This dish wasn't popular with the group either. I honestly don't remember the details about this dish other than it was only so-so.

Finally, for dessert, we ordered a sampler. The platter included mango with sticky rice, coconut ice cream and fried bananas. I liked everything on this plate, especially, the mangos. The mangos were slightly under ripe, but our server told us that was intentional. It wasn't overly sweet, but it complimented the sticky rice perfectly. I'd also like to mention that the sticky rice was excellent. It had perfect texture and a wonderful coconut flavor. The coconut ice cream was similar to ice milk. It wasn't extremely rich or creamy, but I prefer ice cream this way. It's far less overwhelming. The bananas were wrapped in a wonton wrapper and deep fried. Some pieces were better than others because some were cooked more. It made for a gooey center. Some pieces were like eating a raw banana. There was a bit of variance there, but overall, dessert was my favorite.

Dinner including 6 beers, 2 teas, soda, tax and tip was $138. I should also include the $40+ worth of cab fare for two cabs to and from the hotel. Vegas only allows 5 people in a cab and we had 6 people. However, it was still probably cheaper than all of us eating on the strip somewhere.

The meal had its ups and downs, and I wouldn't call it the best Thai food in the US, but it was still a lovely evening. We watched Chrisi make it past level 10 on Delia's cell phone which was intense. And it was great to be away from all the craziness of the strip. Looking back, I'd probably say this was my favorite meal in Vegas. It didn't have the glamour of a celebrity chef's name, but the food was good as was the company.

This wraps up my Vegas report. We visited other places, but since it's taken me this long to write three reviews, I've decided to nix them. The other restaurants we went to weren't all that great and I prefer to avoid trashing them in this blog.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

buffet - that's boo-fey to you

My Vegas trip report seems to be dragging. I only have 2 more after this and then it's back to business as usual.

On our second day in Vegas, we had plans. There was a bit of gambling, and 'O', but, first, we had meals to attend to. Chrisi, Tristan, and I woke up early, so we picked up some goods at the Bouchon Bakery and sat poolside. We tried to keep it light because we knew the motherload was coming. That's right folks, the Wynn Buffet.

In case you've been living in a hole, the Wynn is the new fancy schmancy hotel that opened earlier this year. I remember watching Matt Laurer live at the Wynn on the Today Show the day it opened. I guess it was that big of a deal.

Anywho, it's just down the street from the Venetian, so the six of us hoofed it over.

It was Sunday morning around noon, and we had about a 30-45 minute wait. We were hungry, but decided it was worth waiting for.

This picture is the entrance to the dining area. I took this picture as Mr. Cupcake paid for our meal. Two adults for Sunday brunch sans the bloody mary/champagne add on was $62.39 including tax.

Everything about the Wynn is grand. It's one of those things where I can't decide if it's nice or bordering gawdy. I will say that the buffet is ginormous. There was Italian, Chinese, Japanese, seafood, salads, omelet station, breakfast, endless desserts, etc.

It seemed to go on and on, and I somehow had to pick something to eat. Normally, I would just eat off Mr. Cupcake's plate as well as mine so I get double the pleasure. However, we didn't sit next to each other. Soo and I sat together in a two seater while everyone sat at another table. They told us we couldn't put the tables together because it was a fire hazard. I was forced to fly solo.

For my first trip, I decided I wanted breakfast. I went with a tomato, ham, green pepper, and mushroom omelet, eggs benedict, a waffle, and some bacon. I really tried to ignore the bacon, but the bacon won. I figured I'd make up for it in my second trip. The quality of the food was pretty good. I can't say I was blown away, but hey, it's a buffet. My only complaint was that I asked for egg whites, and the lady gave me the full egg. It wasn't the end of the world, so I ate the filling rather than the eggs.

I made up for the bacon by getting some yogurt and fresh berries. The berries were tasty and sweet. This was surprising because I don't normally expect good fruit at a buffet.

On round two, I decided to go a bit lighter. Looking back at the picture makes me think maybe I was drunk based on my selections. I picked up an egg roll with sweet and sour sauce, a biscuit, ceasar salad, strawberries and cream, and white peaches. The only reason why I picked up the biscuit was because I thought they had biscuits and gravy. Oh how I love biscuits and gravy. It turns out it was a seafood gravy, which I wasn't in the mood for. I did enjoy the strawberries quite a bit. Soo and I found the egg roll to be lacking in filling, but at least it was crispy.

Soo and I were going to get a dessert assortment. In theory, this was a great idea, however, we were both so full that we were uncomfortable just sitting. She had stuffed herself with various ceviches, and soup. I had bacon and ceasar salad among other things. Damn you bacon!

In the end, I decided I needed to have dessert. We were on vacation so it was my duty to indulge and engage in sweet, sweet glutony. With the vast selection, it was incredibly hard to choose. There was ice cream with a wide assortment of toppings, tarts, cakes, cookies and more. I ended up a candied apple, and a piece of strawberry cake. The candied apple was pretty good. I only ate a piece, but it was about what I expected; a sugary, hard candy shell wrapped around an apple. The strawberry cake was blah. Earlier, I tried Delia's floating islands, which was probably the best dessert out of all them. I only know about floating islands because I saw the Barefoot Contessa make them once for a rehearsal dinner. Now that I think about it, maybe I should try and make them myself. I heart you Ina!

The only word that come to mind when I think of the Wynn Buffet is overwhelming. By the end, most of us were in serious pain. And to think, we were trying to figure out where to go for an early dinner before the show. Yeah, that didn't happen.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

happy birthday mr. cupcake!

Everyone, today is Mr. Cupcake's birthday. If you see him, wish him happy birthday! Yay Mr. Cupcake!

my hero

Not Martha is my hero. I'm sitting here eating lunch at work, and I see that she deep fried mac n cheese, twinkies (take note Chrisi), and a Snickers bar. I have hearburn just looking at the pictures, yet, I so want to be her friend.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

paninis, pastries, tarts, oh my!

While Bouchon for dinner was somewhat lacklaster for a lot of us, Bouchon the bakery made up for it.

In the Venetian, there's a Bouchon Bakery stand in front of the casino, near the Phantom of the Opera gift shop. We found the bakery on the first day before dinner. Soo, Delia, and I picked up a few tarts and a creme caramel and had a snack. I had a fig tart. I'm obsessed with fresh figs these days. I had a fresh fig for the first time a few weeks ago and I've been in love ever since. If you haven't had a fresh fig before, I suggest you run to the store and find one. Anyway, to get back to my point, the desserts were tasty, and we were very happy. So happy that we went back every morning and ate pastries from the bakery. It was our pre-breakfast warm up.

This was our assortment on our last day in Vegas. I have to say my favorite item from the bakery was the ham and cheese panini. I only had a bite because Delia ordered it, but seriously, it brought tears to my eyes. Okay, I didn't really cry, but I should have. The bread was crusty, the ham was salty, and the cheese was creamy. It was the perfect combination.

The bakery isn't exactly a bargain, but then again, I can't say I was expecting to find any bargains in the Venetian. The panini was $8.50 and pastries were about $5 each, as were the tarts. It was was worth it though. It's hard to find a bakery that can make things that taste as good as they look, and Bouchon definitely succeeds in that aspect.

dinner #1 in vegas

When we were planning our trip to Vegas, I was excited to learn that Bouchon is located in the Venetian. There's a Bouchon in Yountville, CA up near Napa, but Mr. Cupcake and I have yet to make the trip up to that area. Bouchon is owned by the famed Thomas Keller who also owns the French Laundry. We will eventually make the trip for French Laundry. I'm thinking birthday '07 (do you hear that Mr. Cupcake?!).

I used OpenTable to make a reservation for six about a week prior. Our party included Tristan, Delia, Soo, Chrisi, Mr. Cupcake, and me. We were all a bit delirious from traveling that day, so this was our "Welcome to Vegas" meal. We needed something special after our food court lunch where we dined on specialties from Panda Express.

I managed to snag a Bouchon menu, but unfortunately, I think I left it in the room at the hotel. So, I'll try to my best to recall our meal from memory.

The meal started off with bread. I was convinced this was a good sign of the things to come because the bread was nice and crusty on the outside. It wasn't quite as dense as I like, but it didn't keep me from stuffing my face with the carby goodness. The group also liked pulling apart the nubby pieces of bread.

Mr. Cupcake and Chrisi ordered the French onion soup. Mr. Cupcake is a French onion soup lover, but he and Chrisi weren't impressed by this soup. The main issue was that the soup tasted like beef broth instead of salty onions. It was lackluster for both of them, but it at least made Chrisi's sore throat feel better.

I debated whether or not to get the French onion soup, but our waiter convinced me to get the corn soup. It tasted like sweet creamed corn and after tasting the French onion soup, I was very happy with my selection. The soup was very smooth and creamy. There was also a small piece of sweet corn bread in the middle. I wish it had been bigger because it was tasty. This soup will please any corn lover.

Soo and Delia ordered what they thought was a watercress salad. When it came out, everyone oooh'ed and ahhh'ed. Unfortunately, it didn't taste as impressive as it looked. They were both disappointed that there was very little watercress. Instead, the salad was mostly endive. They felt the menu was misleading.

Chrisi ordered the steak and fries. While the overall quality of the meat was good, Chrisi wasn't a fan of the sauce on top. I can't remember what it was. Maybe he'll chime in and tell us. In the mean time, we can sit here and eagerly anticipate his response.

Tristan ordered the roast chicken. It had a honey (I think) mustard sauce to it. He was afraid that the sauce was going to be too overwhelming, but it wasn't. Instead the flavor was light, the skin was crispy, and the meat was tender and juicy. Later in the trip, he declared this was his favorite meal of the trip.

Delia and Mr. Cupcake ordered the pork roast special. It came with a pear and potato side. Neither of them were particularly fond of the potato, but Delia felt the pork was the best meal of the weekend. Mr. Cupcake liked the pork, but wasn't blown away. I tried the pork and was surprised how tender it was. It nearly melted in my mouth. I didn't really feel the pear complimented the pork that well. It seemed out of place.

When we were ordering, Delia couldn't decide over the steak or the pork. The waiter told us the French fries were a signature item, which made the decision even harder. Delia went with the pork, and we ordered a side of fries. The order was huge, and we didn't come anywhere close to finishing them. However, the fries were very good. Bouchon cooks the fries in peanut oil, and it gives them a really nice flavor. It also gave me a really nice night of heartburn. I hate getting old.

I ordered the gnocchi. I usually love gnocchi, but this version was not my favorite. It was mixed with mushrooms and tomatoes. I ate all the tomatoes and the mushrooms, but the gnocchi itself was too overwhelming. The potato dumplings seemed to be pan fried, but there was a greasiness to them. The gnocchi really needed a sauce because it left a very dry feeling in my mouth. After I ate all the vegetables, I looked for something else to eat, but all I could reach for were the french fries and the bread on the table. The end result was carb overload. This dish has a lot of potential; it just needs a sauce.

Soo had the fish special. I can't remember what it was, but Mr. Cupcake thinks maybe it was grouper. There were beets in the sauce, which she wasn't sure about, but she took the plunge anyway. I know she wasn't super impressed with the fish. Again, I can't remember why. Tell us why Soo!

We passed on dessert because we were all stuffed. This became a common theme in our trip. Even breathing was challenging at times because we ate too much, but more on that another day.

Our total bill including drinks, a bottle of wine, tax and an automatic 20% tip was $340.44. While most of us weren't blown away Bouchon, it was still a good night. I mean come on, we were in Vegas! I'm pretty sure Chrisi and Tristan were having a good time considering they drank half a bottle of rum in them before we even made it to dinner. I'm not opposed to giving Bouchon another chance; it just won't be in Vegas. After our trip, I got the distinct feeling that a lot of these restaurants don't need to provide outstanding food; people will pay anyway.