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Archive for August, 2009

Wynn, Encore chefs to honor Julia Child during Restaurant Week Las Vegas 2009

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009
Stratta will be one of the restaurants at Wynn Las Vegas honoring Julia Child at Restaurant Week Las Vegas 2009.

Stratta will be one of the restaurants at Wynn Las Vegas honoring Julia Child at Restaurant Week Las Vegas 2009. (Photo/content copyright RoyallyFlushed.com 2009)

Masters in their own right, top chefs at Wynn Las Vegas and sister property, Encore, will be paying tribute to culinary icon Julia Child throughout next week’s Las Vegas Restaurant Week. Chefs like Alessandro Stratta, chief toque at Wynn’s two-star Michelin rated French restaurant ALEX and the more casual rustic Italian restaurant, STRATTA, will be offering special and specially-priced menus based on dishes associated with Julia Child and her impact on American cuisine.

Chef Stratta, who met and cooked for Child during his run at Renoir at Mirage Las Vegas, will be preparing his rendition of lobster Newberg at ALEX while at STRATTA, he’ll be offering a special version of coq au vin, the classic dish of chicken, mushroom, onions, bacon and herbs cooked in red wine and served with egg noodles. Diners will be paying at most $50.09 to dine at these and other top Las Vegas dining spots during the national charitable event. A portion of the proceeds from Restaurant Week Las Vegas will benefit Three Square Food Bank, a partner organization of Feeding America, which is working to end hunger in Southern Nevada. (more…)

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Make reservations now for Las Vegas Restaurant Week 2009

Monday, August 24th, 2009

Photo/content is copyrighted by RoyallyFlushed.com  "MGM Grand restaurant SeaBlue will be just one of the top dining spots participating in next week's Las Vegas Restaurant Week."

"MGM Grand restaurant SeaBlue will be just one of the top dining spots participating in next week's Las Vegas Restaurant Week." Photo/content copyright 2009 RoyallyFlushed.com

Restaurant Week Las Vegas starts just one week from now and brings with it your chance to try some of the city’s best – and we mean absolute BEST – restaurants for a fixed price of $20.09, $30.09 or a high (we think “low”) of $50.09. Running from August 31 through Sept. 6, more than 50 of the city’s top dining establishments will participate in the annual event which benefits Three Square Food Bank, a partner organization of Feeding America. Working to end hunger in Southern Nevada, a portion of all Restaurant Week sales will benefit Three Square.

When we say best, we aren’t kidding. Take a look at just some of the top restaurants (link to a list of all participating restaurants at the end of the post) that will be firing up the stoves for this national charitable event:

Wynn/Encore: Alex, Botero, Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare, Daniel Boulud Brasserie (more…)

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CityCenter Las Vegas and Strip Construction Update

Sunday, August 16th, 2009
The Crystals in Las Vegas will open its doors to shoppers on December 3.  (Photo/content property of www.RoyallyFlushed.com)

The Crystals in Las Vegas will open its doors to shoppers on December 3. (Photo/content property of www.RoyallyFlushed.com)

So much has happened since our January report on the happenings at MGM Mirage’s CityCenter Las Vegas that what we’ve decided to do is post our newest CityCenter photos and then give some highlights of the project along with a list of websites/articles you can go to for more info.

Aria Resort & Casino

Scheduled to open December 16, Aria is taking room reservations now at their new website. Click around the ARIA Home Page and you’ll find photos of the rooms, a section on some of the chefs and restaurants planned plus info on the new “Elvis” show at Aria which, to quote the website, comes from the “creative geniuses at Cirque du Soleil® (who) have created a new show exclusively for ARIA. The production pays tribute to Elvis’ music and life, fusing dance and acrobatics, live music and iconic tracks, nostalgia and modernity, high technology and raw emotion. In short, the show will be in Elvis’ image: powerful, sexy, whimsical and truly unique.

Mandarin Oriental Hotel Las Vegas

This 47-story non-gaming hotel features 227 residences plus 392 Adam D. Tihany-designed rooms and suites with contemporary decor and “subtle oriental touches.”  The 23rd-floor Sky Lobby is just one of the luxurious design elements guests will encounter when staying at the new hotel.  Check out the Mandarin Oriental Hotel website for artist’s renderings of the rooms, the soaring lobby and an exclusive online brochure.  Opening date is currently scheduled for December 4th and the hotel will begin taking reservations on August 17th. (more…)

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Big Labor Day Las Vegas hotel discounts now at hotels.com

Wednesday, August 12th, 2009
Golden Nugget Hotel & Casino

Stay at the famous Golden Nugget in Downtown Las Vegas and enjoy the Fremont Street Experience's end of summer bash all weekend long. (www.RoyallyFlushed.com)

In case you needed an excuse to head to Vegas next month, here it is!  Just in time for that last big summer fling in Las Vegas, the Hotels.com Labor Day Sale is here.  Celebrate this last 3-day weekend of the  “Summer of 2009” by taking advantage of big savings on lots of great  Las Vegas hotels plus check out all the cool stuff happening around town that weekend.

Our hotel picks:

Our number one choice for Labor Day weekend in Las Vegas is the downtown fav, the Golden Nugget Hotel & Casino at just $104 per night average.  Spend the days lounging by the pool (considered to be one of Vegas’ finest) and the evenings at the Fremont Street Experience “End of Summer, What a Bummer Bash” featuring the last of a summer-long concert series the weekend of Friday, September 4 through Monday, September 7. Highlighting the weekend will be concerts by Canned Heat on Saturday, Sept. 5, and Three Dog Night on Sunday, Sept. 6.

Looking for a center-Strip location and a reason to party all weekend long? Think Harrah’s Hotel and Casino Las Vegas. No, this isn’t a “top luxury” hotel but the price is right ($142 per night avg.) for a busy holiday weekend plus the outdoor Carnivale Bar, the dueling pianos saloon and the great location all give it extra points in our book.  (And the adjacent Ghirardelli’s ice cream shop doesn’t hurt, either….)

Cool pools, hot nightclubs and a brand-new show debuting from singer Matt Goss will be the highlights at Las Vegas hot-spot  The Palms Casino Resort.  With nine dining venues plus a casual food court, a 14-screen movie theater, busy gaming floor and two of Las Vegas’ hottest nightclubs — Rain and Ghostbar — The Palms will keep guests occupied all weekend long.  Room rates:  $151 per night avg.


Labor Day Sale!

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Nighttime is the right time to see the Bellagio’s divine garden display

Friday, August 7th, 2009
Simply magical.  The Bellagio gardens shine after the sun goes down.  (Photo & all content property of www.royallyflushed.com)

Simply magical. The Bellagio gardens shine after the sun goes down. (Photos & all content property of www.royallyflushed.com)

No matter how busy we are during our trips to Las Vegas, we still never miss the chance to see what gorgeous seasonal display the Bellagio has in store for visitors to their remarkable Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. We definitely consider it to be one of the top free things to do on the Las Vegas Strip.

For some reason, we always seem to be at the Bellagio during the day but because we spent two fabulous nights there this trip, we were able to visit the famed Bellagio garden at night and see it in all its evening finery. If you have never seen the garden at night, you really should make a point of going because it truly is a different experience once the sun goes down.  You can see from the photos how the ambiance changes day to night.

This summer the display features some popular design elements used in the past including colorful hot air balloons floating overhead and a pair of father and son bears made entirely from greenery. New this year: a brilliantly-lit Ferris wheel with cars brimming with sunflowers; a glass “green house” with aviaries featuring flocks of rainbow-colored birds like lorikeets and parakeets; and whimsical over-sized tin cans pouring forth glowing cascades of water.

The current display will be on view until September 14 when the theme changes to one featuring autumn leaves and harvest time colors.

Daytime reveals colorful balloons and a green house filled with exotic birds.

Daytime reveals colorful balloons and a green house filled with exotic birds.

Dancing waters accented with LED lights put on a show at night at the Bellagio gardens.

Dancing waters accented with LED lights put on a show at night at the Bellagio gardens.

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Masterful cooking stars at Keller’s Fleur de Lys at Mandalay Bay Las Vegas

Wednesday, August 5th, 2009

A dedicated wine room overlooks the main dining area at the contemporary French gem, Fleur de Lys at Mandalay Bay Las Vegas.  (All photos and content property of www.royallyflushed.com)

A dedicated wine room overlooks the main dining area at the contemporary French gem, Fleur de Lys at Mandalay Bay Las Vegas. (All photos and content property of www.royallyflushed.com)

In honor of this week’s episode of “Top Chef Masters” on Bravo TV, we give you our review of chef/competitor Hubert Keller’s splendid Fleur de Lys at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. (Warning: gushing ahead!)

This last trip to Las Vegas was memorable for a number of reasons not the least of which was not only did we enjoy a superb dinner at contemporary French restaurant, Fleur de Lys, but also because we had the unique opportunity to meet the chef. (We have been fans of Chef Hubert Keller’s food for years after having dined at his original San Francisco outpost several times over the years so meeting him was a real treat.)

But, more on that later: first, we’ll highlight the food and atmosphere of  Fleur De Lys at Mandalay Bay. (By the way, we used one of our fav dining discounts – a $25 certificate (our cost $5) from Restaurant.com toward our check. See details at the end of the post.)

The space: This is a romantic Las Vegas restaurant perfect for couples and it seems especially designed for those celebrating special occasions. In addition to the low-lighting, lush smoky velvet drapes, widely-spaced tables and hushed atmosphere, the compact space somehow fits in several private, curtained tables for the ultimate in cozy dining. Although compact in floor-space, the room is easily two or more stories high and features a second-floor wine room overlooking the main dining area. (The night of our visit, a private table for two was in use in the glass-fronted, candle-lit space so you may be able to book a table there in advance.)

The focal point of the room is a huge leaf-shaped wall sculpture made entirely of hundreds of fresh peachy-pink rosebuds. When we remarked on it, our server shared that a local floral company came in daily to replace any spent blossoms.

The food: For a chef who has been re-interpreting French classics for decades, Chef Keller’s dishes are as fresh and imaginative as they were twenty years ago. While looking over the inventive wine list – a menu of specialty cocktails is also available – the kitchen sent out an amuse bouche of a tiny bite of cod paired with a creamy smidge of warm potato salad and a spicy aioli sauce.

Tender monkfish, clams and mussels served atop flavorful barley is a winning entree.

Tender monkfish, clams and mussels served atop flavorful barley is a winning entree.

Having settled on a bottle of the Duckhorn Vineyards Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc ($75,) we indulged in the chewy pretzel bread while deciding on the night’s meal. We began the meal by splitting a light salad of organic greens and heirloom tomatoes in a perky herb vinaigrette.

For entrees, we chose the citrus-glazed monkfish ($43) with clams, mussels and chorizo sausage and the “gently heated” Alaskan King salmon filet ($39.) The generous monkfish plate was a riot of color, flavors and textures with the lobster-like sweetness and meatiness of the fish playing off the briny taste of petite mussels and clams and all set off by a risotto-like side of creamy barley festooned with bits of oven-roasted tomatoes, baby broccoli florets and a smoky dice of chorizo.

Though simpler in presentation and number of ingredients, the Alaskan King salmon filet was a master’s example of how to treat a scrumptious piece of fresh fish. Oven-roasted at just 200 degrees, the fish emerges from cooking with a silky, melt-in-your-mouth tenderness and clean, smooth flavor. The accompanying julienne of beets and surprisingly mellow apple rosemary puree and horseradish chive bouillon served to accent rather than overwhelm the pearly filets. We would most definitely order both dishes should they be on the menu on our next trip.

Even though both entrees were more than generous, we specifically went light on the first course so that we could indulge in something sweet post-entrees.  While chocolate and Grand Marnier soufflés are available (order early in the evening to ensure ample time for prep) and we saw several tables sharing the airy confections, we chose the appealing carrot cake ice cream sandwich ($12) and finished every bite. Luscious cream cheese-flavored ice cream was fitted between two slabs of moist carrot cake, the whole sprinkled with candied walnuts and served with a decadent scoop of pineapple coconut ice cream.

Fleur de Lys (Mandalay Bay) on Urbanspoon

The service:  Excellent service with attentive yet non-intrusive servers.

Back to meeting the chef: While we were sipping our wine and relaxing before the first course, out from behind the long velvet drapes that line the front of the restaurant, pops Chef Keller himself – sort of like a culinary Wizard of Oz.  It was so cool to see him in Las Vegas and according to our server, he visits Mandalay Bay for at least one week each month.  Table to table he went, greeting diners and making small talk. Once he reached our table we couldn’t help but ask about his “Top Chef Masters’” experience (he enjoyed it immensely) and compliment him on the many dinners we’ve enjoyed throughout the years at his restaurants.  (For a “foodie” like me, meeting Chef Keller is like coming face-to-face with a rock star you’ve listened to for years!)

More reviews at urbanspoon.

More info:  Save money while dining at some of the best spots in Las Vegas! Save 80% Off w/every $25 Gift Cert. order. Use code PORTION. Pay $2 thru 8/13/09 at Restaurant.com.

Mandalay Bay Resort is a fabulous place to stay while in Las Vegas (have you seen the extensive pool area and “beachside casino?”) plus you can’t beat the great online rates right now.  Check out  Special Online Promotions at Mandalay Bay Las Vegas

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