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Sunday, December 10, 2017

ANNIVERSARY DINNER BY CHEF SERG

ANNIVERSARY DINNER
BY CHEF SERG

Wow....how blessed are we to have our friend Chef Serg cook us up an incredible Anniversary
dinner at his taco stand in Manoa.  Serg shut off a small section of the patio and placed a sign in front that said "Private Party".  This about made me cry.  As I looked in the back, there was a black tablecloth with wine glasses set for the evening.  Wanted to cry again.  This was so cool and unexpected.  As we sat down we already knew we made the right choice for our Anniversary dinner.  As the evening progressed we knew this was one of the best meals and evenings of our lives.  The setting in Manoa on the patio with my Wife and Daughter was far better than any fine dining restaurant on the planet.  This was where we were supposed to be on this night.  It was meant to be.  Chef Serg's Wife joined us as the Garlic Bread and Antipasto Salad hit the table.  She is a local girl and comes from a family of eleven children.  She met Serg while they were both working in Las Vegas.  Serg was a chef at several casinos, fine dining restaurants, Italian and Mexican Restaurants and even a personal chef for a casino tycoon.  The guy truly has cooked everything you can imagine and he really does them all well.  Serg and his Wife decided to leave the Las Vegas life and move back to Hawaii.  They arrived with absolutely no money and within three months he opened Serg's Mexican Kitchen in Manoa.  The restaurant was an immediate success with lines of people waiting for Serg's Mexican food day after day.  To set up and create a restaurant, buy ingredients and develop a menu with no money is a testament to Serg's character, hard work ethic and burning desire to succeed and take care of his family.  The man is a working machine with one of the biggest hearts I have ever met.  There is nothing Serg would not do for others and on this night he spent the entire day cooking up a menu for my family that truly was amazing.  After getting us settled I opened a bottle of wine that I had brought for the evening.  Actually brought a few and we polished them all off.  Since my Wife does not drink it was up to Serg and me to finish the wine.  First up Serg brought out braided Garlic Rolls with Parmesan Cheese.  My Daughter went nuts over these carb treats and so did my Wife.  They put a big dent in the basket of bread and I think would have finished them all if they could.  Next up was the Antipasti Salad with homemade Balsamic Dressing.  Full of cheeses, Italian meats and vegetables.  Probably the best Antipasti Salad I have had in Hawaii.  Serg sat down and joined us as the main courses began to arrive.  First up were the Meatballs with Rigatoni.  I had just come from Las Vegas and enjoyed Rao's Meatballs which are famous.  They are really good.  Serg's Meatballs I can honestly say were better.  So moist and full of flavor.  The sauce brought the Meatballs to another level and the entire family loved them.  I asked Serg what type of meats he uses in the Meatballs.  Must have some Pork and Veal in there I thought.  Nope he said, they are all beef.
To make a Meatball this good and moist with all beef impressed me.  Next up was Chicken Marsala.  Lightly breaded and fried chicken with a Mushroom Marsala Sauce.  Simply delicious.  The Penne Pasta with Shrimp Vodka Sauce was incredible.  Huge Shrimp and a velvety sauce that was delicious.  I was so satisfied here but there was much more to come.  Lobster Ravioli was next and it was amazing.  The Ravioli was cooked perfectly and the taste of the Lobster shined through.  So happy.  We kept going back and forth for seconds and thirds.  Amazing how much we ate I thought but there was plenty left over.  Serg insisted on bringing out dessert so he went back into the kitchen and returned with a massive plate covered in whipped cream and chocolate sauce.  There was a fried tortilla on the bottom topped with ice cream, sauce and several Churros.  Out of this world delicious.
The topper to this evening is that Serg did not know it was our Anniversary prior to the dinner.  We told him when we got there.  This is a dinner he prepared for us out of the goodness of his heart.  Love the man!  Amazing how things happen in life.  We were not expecting anything big for our special day and we end up at a Mexican restaurant and have the dinner and time of our lives.

TOTAL SURPRISE TO SEE THAT SERG HAD RESERVED THIS SECTION JUST FOR US
WHAT A GREAT SURPRISE
GARLIC PARMESAN KNOTS
ANTIPASTI SALAD
MORE BREAD
MEATBALLS WITH PENNE PASTA AND RICOTTA CHEESE
CHICKEN MARSALA
SHRIMP VODKA SAUCE
LOBSTER RAVIOLI
THIS WAS OH SO GOOD!
OUR ANNIVERSARY DINNER WAS ONE TO REMEMBER
CHEF SERG AND ME




Saturday, December 9, 2017

RAO'S - CAESARS PALACE, LAS VEGAS

RAO'S
CAESARS PALACE
3570 S. LAS VEGAS BLVD
LAS VEGAS, NV. 89109
702-731-7267
HOURS:  Sunday thru Thursday 5:00 PM - 10:00 PM
                 Friday and Saturday 5:00 PM - 10:30 PM
http://raosrestaurants.com/location_lv.html
https://www.yelp.com/biz/raos-las-vegas-3
https://www.facebook.com/RaosRestaurant/

Rao's is also a "go to" spot for Italian food when in Las Vegas.  Never have been disappointed here and there are so many things I still have yet to try.  On this visit we enjoyed the Meatballs and Seafood Salad as appetizers for our table of three.  Meatballs moist and flavorful and a great way to start any meal at Rao's.  The Seafood Salad was jammed packed with Seafood including Lobster but there is no Lettuce. It's simply all fresh chilled Seafood.  Delicious.  I went for the Lobster Papardelle and it was one of the best pasta dishes of my life.  Huge chunks of sweet lobster tail and some darn good pasta.  Service was just ok with our waiter just going through the motions to get us in and out.
Click link below for previous post on Rao's;
https://greateatshawaii.blogspot.com/2017/02/raos-las-vegas.html

A LITTLE CHIANTI TO START THE MEAL
RAO'S MEATBALLS AND SEAFOOD SALAD
SEAFOOD SALAD
CHILLED FRESH SEAFOOD AND THATS IT
RAO'S MEATBALLS
LINGUINE WITH CLAMS
LOBSTER PAPARDELLE



BOBBY'S BURGER PALACE - LAS VEGAS

BOBBY'S BURGER PALACE
MANDARIN ORIENTAL LAS VEGAS
3750 S. LAS VEGAS BLVD
LAS VEGAS, NV. 89109
702-598-0191
HOURS:  Daily 11:00 AM - 12:00 AM
http://bobbysburgerpalace.com/locations/9/las-vegas-strip
https://www.yelp.com/biz/bobbys-burger-palace-las-vegas
https://www.facebook.com/bobbysburgerpalace/

Readers of my blog know that I am a huge fan of In n' Out Burger.  Thats really my favorite burger and I usually have at least one every trip to the mainland.  On this visit to Las Vegas, I saw that Bobby Flay now has a burger joint directly in front of the Aria Hotel.  I walked over for lunch one day just to try the burgers from a celebrity chef who I have followed for 20 years.  I entered to find the set up identical to Shake Shack. Large menu board on the wall and order at the counter.  The line was maybe six deep when the bartender from bar inside the restaurant came over and announced that we could order and dine at the bar.  Smart bartender as four people in line and myself bolted to the bar where we were quickly given menus.  I knew that I wanted a simple Cheeseburger and nothing more.  Than I saw Worlds Greatest Milk Shakes so I just had to try the Milkshake.  I ordered a Chocolate Milk Shake which they call a Black and White ($6.95).  The Shake arrived and after one gulp I concluded that this possible could be the Worlds Best.  It was chocolate frozen perfection.  So delicious.  Off to the left I saw a plate of Onion Rings and boom I had to have them.  The Buttermilk Onion Rings ($4.75) were huge a tasty.  Loved the Ranch Dipping Sauce with them.  This really made these some of the best Onion Rings ever.  I ordered the Palace Classic Burger ($10.25) with Lettuce, Tomato and Onion.  All I could think was that my In n' Out Burger is only $2.70 and I am sitting here paying $10 for a burger.  The Burger arrived and it was beautiful.  A plate of color that surprised me with just how good it looked.  Potato Chips and a slice of Pickle were included.  The bartender presented me with a basket of which included Ketchup, Mustard, BBQ Sauce, Green Chili Sauce and I think a Steak Sauce.  I went with traditional Ketchup.  This Burger was delicious.  Probably one of my favorite Burgers next to In n' Out.  Loved the fact that you could taste each ingredient.  The Lettuce, Tomato and Onion all fresh and large enough to get the flavor.  The Burger was cooked and seasoned to perfection.  Really enjoyed it but only ate half to keep my tight figure.
Very surprised how good Bobby's Burger Palace is and will go back again.

BOBBY'S BURGER PALACE IN LAS VEGAS
MENU ON WALL AND COUNTER TO ORDER ON RIGHT
ORDER AT THE COUNTER AND THEY WILL BRING YOUR FOOD TO THE TABLE.
I OPTED TO SIT AND EAT AT THE BAR
BOBBY'S BURGER PALACE MENU
BOBBY'S BURGERS
SALADS AND SIDES
MILK SHAKES DRINKS
BOBBY'S SAUCES AND CONDIMENTS
MILK SHAKE, ONION RINGS AND CHEESEBURGER 
BLACK AND WHITE MILK SHAKE
BUTTERMILK ONION RINGS
BOBBY'S PALACE CLASSIC CHEESEBURGER

MOMOFUKU - LAS VEGAS

MOMOFUKU
THE COSMOPOLITAN OF LAS VEGAS
3708 S. LAS VEGAS BLVD, LEVEL 2
LAS VEGAS, NV. 89109
702-698-2663
HOURS:  Sunday thru Thursday 11:00 AM - 12:00 AM
                 Friday and Saturday 11:00 AM - 1:00 AM

I read a few reviews about Momofuku and everyone was raving about their Spicy Chicken Sandwich.  I arrived at the Las Vegas location in the Cosmopolitan where I was greeted by two smiling hostesses who quickly sat me at a table near the kitchen.  My Waitress arrived with all smiles and asked if I had been here before.  I told her no and that I was here to try the Chicken Sandwich because of all the good reviews.  She proceeded to tell me that that item was removed from the menu but she would ask the Chef to make it for me.  Then she went over the entire menu with me explaining the dishes I was interested in.  She was good.  Real good.  After we went through the menu, she said there as a Special Ramen this day.  The Ramen included .06 ounces of Truffles flown in from Burgundy, France, Truffle Oil, Truffle Butter and more Truffles.  Sounded good but I was leaning more towards the standard Pork Ramen.  She left me to ponder and got me my drink which was a large pour of Champagne.  
In the meantime I ordered up the Beets ($15).  They arrived on a large plate with half of the plate empty and all of the Beets moved to one side.  Weird and very unimpressive presentation.  The Beets however were delicious.  When she came back, I asked her to tell me about the Truffle Ramen again.  She went into the list of ingredients and my mouth started to water.  I asked her the price and she said it was $50.  Holy crap... $50 for a bowl of Ramen I said.  She said it was worth it and added that extra toppings like Mushrooms or a protein were extra.  Heck even adding Bean Sprouts added another $2 to the tab.  When my order was finally in my bowl of Ramen cost me $59.  Expensive yes but I thought to myself this is a once in a lifetime meal and I should go for it.  I did and you know what?  IT WAS WORTH EVERY PENNY!  The most unforgettable and delicious Ramen of my life.  I loved it.  Ramen perfection and the flavor of the Truffles.  Faaaauuuccckkk... So good.  The best bowl of Ramen of my life.  Amazing!

MOMOFUKU AT THE COSMOPOLITAN HOTEL IN LAS VEGAS
PRETTY LARGE RESTAURANT WITH OPEN KITCHEN AND FULL BAR
MOMOFUKU
BEETS
TRUFFLE RAMEN






CARBONE - ARIA RESORT, LAS VEGAS

CARBONE
ARIA RESORT AND CASINO
3730 S. LAS VEGAS BLVD
LAS VEGAS, NV. 89109
877-230-2742
HOURS:  Daily 5:00 PM - 10:30 PM
www.aria.com/en/restaurants/carbone.html
www.yelp.com/biz/carbone-las-vegas

Seems like Carbone is becoming one of my go to spots when staying at the Aria in Las Vegas.  Have been here three or four times already and always enjoy the service and meal.  On this visit I ate at the bar and was totally comfortable and happy.  There is a spot at the end of the bar that is lower than the main part of the bar.  The spot fits two people comfortably and it is perfect if dining alone.  The bartenders here are professional and know every item on the menu in detail.  They are Waiters and Bartenders and they are trained to provide exceptional service.  My goal on this evening was to enjoy a salad and some pasta but at Carbone you get so much more.  After sitting down and ordering a plate of Parmesan Cheese is brought to the table along with a basket of bread, Pickled Cauliflower and Salami.  This is a meal unto itself and delicious.  I ordered the House Chopped Salad and believe me this salad is delicious and enough for two or three people.  Love the light Italian Dressing.  I love the Spicy Rigatoni Vodka Pasta.  Seems like I order this every time now.  Pretty much a perfect dinner for me.  So content with the food and wine here.
Click links below to view previous posts on Carbone;
https://greateatshawaii.blogspot.com/2016/07/carbone-las-vegas.html
https://greateatshawaii.blogspot.com/2016/05/carbone.html

GREAT SERVICE AT THE BAR AT CARBONE
A LITTLE VINO AND CHEESE
BREAK AND SALAMI
AND THIS IS JUST THE COMPLIMENTARY APPETIZERS
HOUSE CHOPPED SALAD
SPICY RIGATONI VODKA
ANOTHER COMPLIMENTARY TREAT TO END THE MEAL

JAVIER'S - ARIA RESORT, LAS VEGAS

JAVIER'S
ARIA RESORT AND CASINO
3730 S. LAS VEGAS BLVD
LAS VEGAS, NV. 89109
702-590-7111
HOURS:  Daily 11:30 AM - 12:00 AM

A trip to my favorite Las Vegas Hotel which is the Aria would not be complete without a stop at Javier's for their Crunchy Shredded Beef Tacos.  These are probably in top two of my favorite Shredded Beef Tacos on the planet.  I usually just sit at the bar and order up the Tacos for lunch or dinner while staying at the Aria.  The Bartender staff here is always polite and professional with great service.  The Tacos are amazing.  Perfectly seasoned Shredded Beef with Lettuce and Cheese.  Taco PERFECTION!
Click links below to view previous posts on Javier's;

THE BAR AT JAVIAR'S
GREAT CHIPS AND SALAS
SHREDDED BEEF TACOS WITH BEANS AND RICE - ONE OF MY FAVORITE MEALS!






HAWAIIAN AIRLINES - HONOLULU TO LAS VEGAS

HAWAIIAN AIRLINES
HONOLULU TO LAS VEGAS

Scored an upgrade on Hawaiian Airlines to fly First Class from Honolulu to Las Vegas.  While the service going over to Las Vegas was not too good the service coming back was exceptional.  Food on both flights was really good.  The Loco Moco coming back was amazing!

ALWAYS START FLIGHTS WITH A FEW OF THESE TO MAKE ME SLEEP
MENU CREATED BY CHEF WADE UEOKA
FIRST CLASS MENU - HONOLULU TO LAS VEGAS
CHINESE CHICKEN SALAD TO BEGIN THE MEAL
MEATLOAF WAS DELICIOUS
GREAT MEAL ON HAWAIIAN AIRLINES
ARRIVED IN LAS VEGAS JUST BEFORE MIDNIGHT
MORNING DEPARTURE FROM LAS VEGAS
VIEW FROM THE UNITED CLUB WHICH IS ABOVE THE HAWAIIAN AIR GATE
BREAKFAST
WATCHED ATOMIC WOMAN AND ENJOYED IT
HAWAIIAN AIRLINES BRUNCH MENU
MENU CREATED BY CHEF CHAI 
FIRST CLASS MENU - LAS VEGAS TO HONOLULU
FIRST CLASS BEVERAGE SELECTIONS
FRESH FRUIT AND ZUCCHINI BREAD
THE "BEST" LOCO MOCO - SOOOO GOOD!
SO HAPPY TO BE BACK IN HONOLULU!