I love eating, cooking and especially reading about all different types of food. Every month I'll try recipes from some of my favorite culinary magazines and cook books, review restaurants and even share some of my own creations. I'll post pictures and let you know what works, how they taste and tips to make them better. I'll also enlist some friends around the country to tell you about some great food finds where they live.

Become a follower and check in each week for a new FOODIE TRIAL!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Las Vegas

Last week I was in Las Vegas, staying at the new Cosmopolitan Hotel for 4 nights and had a chance to eat at some great restaurants.

Saturday night I went to Fleming's Steakhouse with my uncle.  It's off the strip in Summerlin, which is close to where he lives.  For a chain restaurant, this place was really nice.  The steaks were delicious and the service was unmatched.  The atmosphere was beautiful and gave the space a warm, cozy feeling.

We started with the Lobster and Vegetable Tempura with red jalapeno pepper and soy-ginger sauces, Jumbo Lumo Crab Cakes with roasted red pepper and lime butter sauce and the Wicked Cajun BBQ Shrimp marinated with a flair of garlic and spices.  All were quite good.  I thought the shrimp dish was a bit disappointing.  It came with 4 medium size shrimp swimming in a gratin dish of a creamy sauce.  If I had known about the sauce, I would not have ordered it.

We all got steaks, a Filet Mignon (Main), Prime Ribeye and Prime Bone-In Ribeye.  The steaks were perfectly seasoned and cooked to perfection.  We ordered the string beans and mushrooms as the sides.  These were perfect accoutrements to the steaks.

They have a large wine list with over a 100 wines by the glass.  We stayed clear of dessert because we were so full, but the choices looked good.

Sunday I was lucky enough to have dinner with my other Uncle who, surprisingly, was in town for vacation!  We went to Texas de Brazil, a chain Brazilian steakhouse.  All in all, it's a decent place, but just be prepared to overeat.  There is so much food and the meats are really delicious.  You can't have a bad meal here.  Needless to say, I fell into a meat coma as soon as I got home.

Monday was Valentines Day and I was lucky enough to spend it with my honey.  We went to Nobu at the Hard Rock hotel.  Nobu has been around for years and you know what to expect when you dine there.  Of course, we had the Miso Black Cod, which was divine.  Tons of rolls and sashimi.  We were dissappointed with the lobster ceviche, which we were obsessed with at the Nobu in San Diego.  The menu is a little different, but we were expecting a similar taste.  Oh well.  We have the recipe at home, so we'll make it one night for ourselves.  The sake was delicious, we had the Nobu TK40, sweet and very refreshing.  Very easy to drink.  If you are in NY, Crush Wine sells it and has free delivery to all five boroughs.

Tuesday was quite a night.  I had a 9:30pm reservation at STK in the Cosmopolitan Hotel.  Needless to say, this was the worst restaurant experience I've ever had.  These were the most pretentious, obnoxious, rude and unprofessional people.  I don't mind waiting 15 minutes for a reservation, but we didn't sit down until 10:45pm.  No one at the host desk apologized, offered us a round of drinks, nothing.  They just ignored us. When we finally sat down, the woman who sat us didn't even apologize.  We had a very nice waiter who was apologetic even though it wasn't his fault.  He got the "manager" for us and some guy named Josh came over, apologized and offered to "take care of us" during our dining experience.  That never happened.  Honestly, I don't want to waste anymore time writing about this place.

Wednesday was such a pleasant night.  It was my last night in Vegas and I was going to one of my favorite places, Blue Ribbon Sushi, also located at the Cosmopolitan Hotel.  They have one in Brooklyn and Manhattan, so I was very excited to try this one out.  The service was top notch, the waiter was as nice as can be, handsome as well.  As for the food, I had the Negamaki which just melted in your mouth, it was so delicious.  The sashimi was great, as was the spicy lobster and Blue Ribbon roll.  The Kanpachi Usuzukuri, which is sliced amberjack with yuzu pepper, was pefect. The yuzu pepper had the right amount of heat and the citrusy soy sauce it came with was divine.  The end all was the Oxtail Fried Rice with daikon, shitake and bone marrow.  It was perfectly cooked, almost creamy with the bone marrow.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Recipes from Super Bowl Sunday!

Turkey Chili

12-16 servings
  • 4 tablespoons canola oil
  • 4 lbs ground turkey
  • 3 large white onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 green bell peppers (any color), cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 red pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1/3 cup chili powder
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2-3 chipotles in adobo + 1 tablespoon adobo sauce
  • 2 (28 oz) cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
  • 1 (16 oz) carton chicken broth
  • 1-2 (15 oz) can(s) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt

Accompaniments: grated cheddar cheese, sour cream, chopped avocado, diced sweet onion, chopped scallions, sliced jalapenos, chopped radishes

Heat an extra large, heavy stock pot on high heat, add 2 tablespoons of canola oil. Once the oil is hot, add the turkey. Make sure the turkey gets browned for extra flavor. Before it's fully cooked, remove and put aside in a bowl. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of canola oil, onions, peppers and garlic. Saute until onions are golden brown. Add the oregano, cumin, chili powder, bay leaves, chipotles and adobo sauce. Saute for 2-3 minutes. Add diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, chicken broth, kidney beans, brown sugar and salt.

Simmer for 1-2 hours, stirring every 20-30 minutes. Adjust spices and heat to your taste throughout the cooking process.

Pigeon Peas and Rice

10-12 servings
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 green pepper, finely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh oregano, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 3 cups long grain rice
  • 5 cups chicken broth
  • 2 (15 oz) cans green pigeon peas, drained
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons salt
Heat the olive oil in a large (4-6 quart) heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add onions, garlic and peppers, saute until lightly browned. Add oregano, cumin, bay leaf and cayenne. Stir for 1-2 minutes. Add rice, chicken broth, pigeon peas and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, simmer covered for 30 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.

For the Pico de Gallo recipe, check the March 16th post.

The Rum Cake recipe....not happening, sorry, family secret.

Chocolate Chip Cookies - It was a mix from a bakery in San Francisco called Specialty's.  The best cookies ever.  If you know anyone who's headed to California, Chicago or Washington, ask them to pick up a box of mix for you!!

Roast Pork, this was done by Mr. Steele.  Feel free to email him for his recipe.

Lemonade with Thyme - Get organic fresh thyme, bruise a bit, and tie a bunch with butcher twine.  Add to the lemonade and let it sit overnight.  Drink as is, or add vodka!

Rum Punch - To make a large pitcher, combine fruit punch (frozen or from the refrigerated section), OJ, pineapple juice, peach nectar, cranberry juice, grenadine.  Add rum to your liking.

Let me know if you have any questions.  Stay tuned for the next installment.