Wednesday, November 12, 2014

What They Don't Tell You About Vegas: Transportation

Basically it is bad.

This will be the only time that I will say that Google Maps is totally incorrect.  If it says that public transportation will take an hour, tack on three more hours and you'll have an idea of how long it will take to get there.  Vegas is bigger than you think it is, and it takes forever to get anywhere.   One time my friend took public transportation home; She traveled 14 miles in 4 hours.  I'm dead serious.

Everything is so far away, walking is just not an option.  When it is, you are better off just driving due to the weather.  Either it is too hot, or people just assume that you are homeless.  Unless you are hanging out in a park smelling good, just don't spend time outside.  The only time I've walked around anywhere, it was just me and homeless people. It was so awkward that I never wanted to walk anywhere again.  In fact when I was back home and someone suggested walking somewhere, I almost said "We aren't homeless, why would we walk?"

This is how out of touch Vegas makes you sometimes.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Things They Don't Tell You About Las Vegas: Free Parking

Not only free valet (if you don't count tipping), but free self parking nearly everywhere.  Even downtown if you park in a lot owned by a casino, most of them will have a place to validate it inside that casino.

Quick story: I've lived in the state all my life, and so I'm flabbergasted every time I'm faced with paying for parking.  In recent years it's even tacked onto hotel charges in LA, which I think is so stupid.

About 6 years ago I went on a crazy day trip to LA with some friends.  We went to Santa Monica and paid to park in a parking garage.  About $10, but because it was a touristy area I just accepted it and we went about our day.  Later on that evening we were meeting a friend in Hollywood, and we drove around for what seemed like forever until we found a place to park.  It stated it was valet, so I drove up and started to get out of the car.  The guy stopped me, then pointed me towards the back of the super tiny garage and told me to park it myself.  I parked it, then he said that no, I had to back it in.

Y'all, I'm not good at backing anything in, let alone my friend's car that I wasn't used to driving.  We made it work though, and finally got out of the car 100 years later.  Then the valet said "Okay, now I need $20 and the keys to the car."

LA People, help me understand the logic in this.  I had to park my own the car the way that HE wanted it parked, and now he was what, robbing us?  Did he even work there?  That is totally bullshit.  I told him to go screw himself, and we parked in a residential area and just prayed that we didn't get a ticket.  We didn't.

How the story would have gone in Vegas: We parked, we partied, we left happy.  We didn't walk up any hills to get there, and everything went well.  Put away your money and park your car for free here.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

What They Don't Tell You About Vegas: Radio Stations

According to Wikipedia, Las Vegas has 25 radio stations.  When I first moved here 10 years ago, I went through the radio stations in my car to find the ones that I could set up as presets.  I went around three times without setting up a single one.

Our radio stations suck.  I got SiriusXM the next week.  I never looked back, and it has always been worth the money.  Get Spotify, Pandora, whatever you can....because the radio stations here are terrible.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

What They Don't Tell You About Vegas: How Awesome Being a 24/7 Town Is

Yes, I'm sure that you know that Las Vegas is a 24 hour town.  But, do you really know?  Have you ever gone food shopping at Winco at 4 o'clock in the morning?  Had a nice sit-down meal?  Called a Locksmith?  Had a drink at a bar?  Gotten married?

It's glorious.  We have a 24 hour Starbucks, AutoZone Auto parts store, and so much more.  My favorite Vegas moment was finding out that if you go to the LVAC on Eastern and the 215 at 3:00 AM, you'll run into a LOT of strippers.  True Story.  You'll love the freedom that comes with grocery shopping in the middle of the night.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Definitive Las Vegas Macaron Collection

 The first time I saw a French Macaron was this scene, and I thought "WTF is she eating?"  It looked like...Play-doh candy.

As the years went on, it seemed like macarons were only for the upper class.  There was some snooty teenager I followed on tumblr that would post at least one box of macarons per week from some NYC bakery in a designer box.  I started associating them with annoying people without ever having tried one.

Then I heard people I actually respect say they liked them.  I started seeing more pictures.  When I was in Manhattan Beach, I spotted some.

My sister and I decided it was time to try them out.  We bought a Strawberry, Raspberry, Passion Fruit, Chocolate, Lemon, and Pistachio from Manhattan Beach Creamery.  The were perfectly sized for a delicate two bites, and they were nothing like I was expecting.  We also had a salted caramel ice cream there that was to die for, if you ever get to MBC.

I was sold at that moment on macarons.  They were moist and chewy and oh so delicious.  I decided to continue on my search for the perfect macaron in Las Vegas.  We have plenty of amazing places to eat, surely we had a wide variety of dessert places.

Stop #1: Bonjour Bakery

So, I fell in love with Bonjour Bakery the moment we walked in, because it was completely unpretentious.  When the lady answered the phone, she pronounced "Bonjour" with a flat American accent, and I couldn't contain my laughter.  We got this box for around $20 and I liked almost all the flavors.  Lemon was my absolute favorite, but everything else was great too.  I was enamored with these little candy hamburgers.  Maybe there was one out there better.

Stop 2. Patisserie Manon

After a lunch at Cantina Laredo inside Tivoli Village (A whole 'nother blog post), we headed over to Patisserie Manon.  A little more snooty, the place was bigger than it looked on the outside.  The macarons are much bigger, like Hamburgler's Jewish mother made it.  Although I don't know a Jewish mother who uses that much sugar.  They did have mint chocolate chip, which is my absolute favorite.  However, they tasted like mint extract and cavities.  I think I might have slipped into a tiny diabetic coma right after eating them.  And I'm not diabetic. When we left there were a few panhandlers that asked us for change.  Was I becoming the 1%?

Stop 3. Peridot Sweets

Peridot is in a tiny little strip mall, and aesthetically it is really cute.  The guy behind the counter was very friendly, and said that macaron making was actually very difficult.  His looked almost perfect, but sadly I didn't really end up liking their flavor.  I would try them again though, his customer service goes a long way.

Stop 4. Payard Patisserie

Final Stop!  I saved this one for last because it is the most snooty of all the French Bakeries.  This the same place that serves $100 cakes and was in an episode of Sex and the City, so I expected to feel completely overwhelmed.  Although it was a little more subtle with the flavors, it did come in a close second.  However, it was $20 for these 6, and look how many we got for the same amount at Bonjour. 

I think that in the end, Bonjour was my favorite.  However, I think macarons are kind of like sex and pizza; even when they are bad, they are good.

Bonus Stop: Bouchon Bakery

Sadly I don't have any pictures, as I had wrapped this blog post up and had it ready to post when we happened to be inside The Venetian for something else and happened across their tiny little spot outside of the theatre.  I tried a caramel and a rose flavored, and it was very yummy, but very expensive.  About $10 for four.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Pineapple Park @pineappleparklv DOLE WHIP ALERT!

Some people say that the best food at Disneyland is the Dole Whip at the Enchanted Tiki Room.

It is pretty impressive.  The Dole Whip Float is an amazing piece of culinary art.  It really is almost too pretty to eat.  We got this on our second trip to their location inside the Boulevard Mall, because the first time they had run out of the pineapple flavor.  Yes, they are that good that they ran out on their opening weekend. 

When we swung by the first time, I was a little disappointed that I wasn't about to re-taste my childhood, but the owner recommended (At least I'm pretty sure he was the owner.  He seemed to be running things, and was super-friendly) some other flavors.

The Neon Beast got banana, and I got raspberry.  I'm not lying when I say that when I took my first bite, I was so happy that they had run out of pineapple.  It was the most amazing flavor, and the NB's banana was really good.  That's coming from someone who really hates banana.

It's like they made it so that it was almost too pretty to eat.  Neon Beast got a blue spoon and I got a pink one.  I couldn't figure out if that was for aesthetic purposes or there was a gender thing going on.  As you'll notice, when we shared one we got two blue spoons, so I'm guessing it was purely for looking good.

So, this is located in Boulevard "I'm afraid to leave my car outside because it's going to get stolen" Mall.  I'm still not tooooo happy with the location, but it's better than a Luv-It Custard location.  According to this article, more locations are opening soon.  Huzzah!

Their social media is on point as well.  Every time I posted something they answered me within minutes.  Minutes!  I have to have respect for that.  I also really enjoy their Instagram feed.  I suggest you drop everything you are doing now and go give them business and your stomach a great snack.  Did I mention that Dole Whips are totally Vegan?  Well THEY ARE.  So all you tree hugging kids have a new snack.  You're welcome.

Friday, August 29, 2014

This Shit is Banana Bread

My sister came to stay with us this year, and brought this amazing banana bread recipe with her.  I haven't been much for cooking in Vegas because everything dries out so quickly.  This banana bread however...yum!  For days afterwards, as long as we kept it in a Tupperware container, it stayed just as delicious.  I'm not really a foodie or cooking blog, but I had to share this recipe.  I have to say now, I have no idea where she got it, and I lay no claim to it whatsoever.  Here you go, Vegas-proof banana bread:

What you are going to need:

3-4 Bananas
1/3 cup of melted butter
1 cup of sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1 pinch of salt
1 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp nutmeg

What you are going to do:
 Mash up those bananas by hand or use a stand mixer if you are so lucky.  Mix in the sugar until it is combined with the bananas.  Then mix in the butter, vanilla, and egg.
In separate bowl, mix all the remaining dry ingredients together (baking soda, salt, flour, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg)
SLOWLY and a little at a time, mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.
Pour into a greased 8x8 (or close to 8x8) pan and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.  Check after 30 minutes with a toothpick.  If the toothpick comes out of the pan clean, you are good to take it out!

Happy eating!

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