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Bobby Flay, Francois Payard, Lotus, and MJ

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

I love America. Sometimes all the pieces-parts come together. And they're always together, it's just that certain times it's so obvious how easy it is to love.

First of all, this was another great Las Vegas day. We had reservations at for an early lunch at Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill at Caesar's. 

Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill, Las Vegas NV

Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill, Las Vegas NV

Love Bobby Flay's story -- he dropped out of high school at 10th grade and, well, his success is incredible.
Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill, Las Vegas NV

This was one of those times when I made the reservation to knock it off the list (let's finally try a Bobby Flay restaurant) more than really, truly looking forward to it for its own sake. Not incredibly high expectations, really. Well, we were impressed starting with the bread basket of all things (blue corn cornbread, yum). And our entrees weren't too far behind: this is Leslie's smoked chicken and black bean quesadilla with avocado and toasted garlic creme fraiche. She *loved* it. Smoky, deep-deep flavors. Yes.

We made friends with the people at the table next to ours, and they were so impressed with Leslie's quesadilla that they ordered -- and loved it -- too. 
Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill, Las Vegas NV

I ordered the cornmeal-crusted chile relleno with roasted eggplant and manchego cheese plus sweet red pepper sauce and balsamic. There was nothing not to like here. The insides were the right amount of soft, and the crust made the right crunch. Zero oiliness in any part. Putting little portions at the tip of the fork and making swirls in the sauce made each bite feel a little custom.  This wasn't the self-same chile relleno from almost anywhere, it was really different. Just delicious.
Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill, Las Vegas NV

On our next trip, we'll skip this one, but we were very satisfied with how good it all was.  No dessert, but we figured that we'd find something tiny and sweet elsewhere. We walked around the shops at Caesar's (finally went to a Henri Bendel -- and speaking of stories, could go on forever about how much I love his, starting out in the Jewish community in Lafayette, Louisiana and going on to NY, the monument he built his parents, and the way in which he lovingly treated his employees and partner...).

We also made our way to Francois Payard's Patisserie and Bistro.

Francois Payard Patisserie & Bistro, Las Vegas NV

If Thanksgiving had been at our home this year, one of these turkeys would have made his way to our dessert table.
Francois Payard Patisserie & Bistro, Las Vegas NV

*So* many beautiful gelatos.
Francois Payard Patisserie & Bistro, Las Vegas NV

Francois Payard Patisserie & Bistro, Las Vegas NV

Francois Payard Patisserie & Bistro, Las Vegas NV

Francois Payard Patisserie & Bistro, Las Vegas NV

Francois Payard Patisserie & Bistro, Las Vegas NV

Francois Payard Patisserie & Bistro, Las Vegas NV

Francois Payard Patisserie & Bistro, Las Vegas NV
As gorgeous as everything looked, there wasn't anything we just had to try.

We made our way back to the hotel to change again for supper, and took a cab. When the driver realized that we were a little bit early for our reservation (we made it for 5:30p, the time they open each night, so we wouldn't have to rush to our show later that evening) and the restaurant was closed, he actually offered to stay with us, as the shopping center it's in doesn't look that great.

Lotus of Siam, Las Vegas NV

He was so sweet, not wanting to leave us out alone. Leslie spotted a -- not sure what it's called, really -- a foot accupressure place just a door or two down from the restaurant, and we explained to them we had 15 minutes. After walking all over the Strip, we were in need of some foot/leg attention and it was just the thing.

So 5:30p, we are ready for our reservation and seated. As the restaurant stays booked, within ten minutes almost all the tables are taken.
Lotus of Siam, Las Vegas NV

So here we are, at Lotus of Siam, supposed to be one of the best Thai restaurants in the US.

I started with Tom Kah. Leslie and I joke that "Tom Kah" is a boyfriend. We talk about Tom Kah, we want to bring home Tom Kah, we want everyone to meet Tom Kah. Tom Kah is a rockstar.
Lotus of Siam, Las Vegas NV

We ordered a few things for the table. Not amazing, but good.

Lotus of Siam, Las Vegas NV

Lotus of Siam, Las Vegas NV

But I want to tell you about one of the best things ever.

This. Crispy duck in red curry with noodles, khao soi, I think. The duck was so perfectly cooked. So moist and the skin crispy/crunchy even with all this curry around. The noodles we could have eaten forever. Every single time from now on, this is getting ordered at Lotus. Yesssssss.
Lotus of Siam, Las Vegas NV

Rather than a cab, we ordered an Uber for the drive back to Mandalay after we were in total food-bliss.  This is where the whole day, it all crystallized: the app asked if I wanted to choose what to play in our driver's car during our ride. I didn't want to specify as we were going to give the deference to the driver, as it's his car. We got in, are talking about music, and he asks if it's okay if we listen to Christmas music, that it's what he's in the mood for. Of course!! He tells us that he's an Iranian Christian and some of his story. So here we are, two Jewish girls in the car blasting "White Christmas" by Irving Berlin with a man who came here to enjoy his own freedom with big plans for the future and we're all enjoying each other and just happy as little clams.

Beautiful, America.

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Lastly, we changed and went back downstairs for the Cirque du Soliel: Michael Jackson ONE show. Before the show, the 'paparazzi' came over and picked me out to 'take pictures' which was funny and sweet and the show itself was pretty great too with lots less 'story' but more acrobatics. We saw the CdS Beatles show the night before and I really liked that one better. Still, though, this was pretty great. xoxo!

Michael Jackson Cirque du Soleil Show, Las Vegas NV






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