The Astronomer was itchin’ to hit the road following our pizza and pasta party at FIVE50, but I wasn’t quite ready to head home just yet.
Chef José Andrés’ China Poblano has been on my radar since it debuted in 2010, but lukewarm reports kept my interest in check over the years. However, the allure of noodles and tacos available under one glitzy roof proved too intriguing to resist on this trip. And thus, a second lunch was born.
“The restaurant’s name is a play on China Poblana, the legendary slave woman of Asian descent whose arrival in Mexico is supposed to have inspired the stereotypical ‘china dress‘ of the 19th century,” according to a New York Times write up. “But in Mr. Andrés’s universe, the second ‘a’ in poblana has segued to an ‘o’ in homage to the mild Puebla chili pepper.”
In the same article, Chef Andrés was quoted saying, “I am afraid of Chinese cooking, doing it authentically, that is… So before I did a full Chinese restaurant, I thought I’d do one that is half and half.”
Upon entering the restaurant, The Astronomer and I grabbed two seats on the Chinese side, a “steamer-rich kitchen” where cooks were filling and folding dumplings. Across the room was a separate squad making fresh tortillas on griddles.
Continue reading ‘China Poblano – Las Vegas (The Cosmopolitan)’
Following our back to back fine dining feasts, The Astronomer and I were primed for something super-casual but equally delicious on Sunday before driving back to L.A. FIVE50 Pizza Bar, conveniently located on the first floor of our hotel, fit the bill just right.
I’ve been a fan of Chef Shawn McClain‘s cooking since dining at Sage several years ago, and was excited to try his spin on classic East Coast-style pizza. The restaurant is named after “the ideal temperature to cook your pizza to perfection,” according to the restaurant’s website.
Even though the cooking at Five50 is serious, the mood is perfectly laid back. The Astronomer appreciated the bountiful flat screens, while I liked the room’s colorful accents.
Continue reading ‘FIVE50 Pizza Bar – Las Vegas (Aria Resort & Casino)’
Joël Robuchon, where have you been all my life?
Just one evening spent under the Chef of the Century‘s spell and I am utterly smitten; I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to make my way to one of his world-class restaurants.
Located a stone’s throw from MGM Grand‘s expansive casino floor, L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon is one of only two Joël Robuchon establishments in the U.S. The other, Joël Robuchon Restaurant, is located next door and offers a more formal dining experience.
The L’Atelier’s space is positively sumptuous, swathed in glossy blacks and heady reds. Best of all is the open kitchen with court-side seating that allows diners to watch their feasts being prepared. It’s amazing how quietly each cook works and how calmly direction is given—Hell’s Kitchen this is not.
The menu here allows for quite a bit of freedom. One can simply order a la carte from the “tapas” menu, construct an abbreviated tasting menu of four ($78) or five ($105) courses, or go all out with the Seasonal Discovery Menu ($165).
The Astronomer curated a fabulous five-course menu perfectly suited to his tastes and appetite, while I couldn’t resist the “Menu Decouverte De Saison.” Sommelier Ben Spicer ran the “front” of the house during our visit, and we could not have had a better time under his care.
Continue reading ‘L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon – Las Vegas (MGM Grand)’
Palm Springs is rad, San Diego is too, but Las Vegas is my favorite weekend escape from the L.A. grind. There’s something about the city’s lights, energy, and glitz that makes traveling four hours out of town feel like a trip to a whole different world.
At the tail end of last year, The Astronomer and I jammed to Vegas for a celebratory getaway following the release of Food Lovers’ Guide to Los Angeles. We stayed at Aria and gorged all over town. It was the perfect escape.
Our first meal in the city was at Tom Colicchio’s Heritage Steak at The Mirage, the chef’s most recent Vegas venture. As luck would have it, the rodeo was in town the same weekend we were. We dined among cowboys this evening, gallon hats, serious boots, and shiny buckles…errywhere.
The specialty here is meats prepared entirely over an open flame—from wood-burning ovens to charcoal grills. I admire that Chef Colicchio only sources antibiotic-free animals raised by purveyors committed to time-honored farming practices and heritage breeds.
Continue reading ‘Tom Colicchio’s Heritage Steak – Las Vegas (The Mirage)’