Glitz. Glam. Glendale! Can you dig it?
I made my way to The Americana at Brand last week, the epicenter of Glendale’s aforementioned glitz and glam, for a very special dinner celebrating Chef Michael Mina’s newly opened Bourbon Steak and the upcoming Vegas Uncork’d. Both merited plenty of wine and red meat.
This is Chef Mina’s 18th restaurant and the 5th Bourbon Steak; there are additional locations in Scottsdale, Washington D.C., Miami, and San Francisco. The space feels incredibly swanky with an impressive patisserie up front, plush leather seating throughout, and a grand piano by the bar.
The evening’s menu featured a diverse selection of dishes highlighting Bourbon Steak’s contemporary approach to classic American fare. There was plenty of meat and seafood, of course, but also very thoughtful and interesting starters and sides. [See full menu here].
Back when Chef Mina’s XIV was alive and kickin’ on the Sunset Strip, these duck fat fries were a happy hour mainstay. Fried crisp-golden, the shoestrings were served with house-made ketchup, barbecue sauce, and truffle aioli.
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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.
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Le Bistrot Paul Bert cooks up the classics simply and brilliantly on a quiet residential stretch in the 11th arrondissement. Bertrand Auboyneau, along with Chef Thierry Laurent, opened the bistro in 2000, and together they have created a dining room that’s loved by locals and buzzed about by visitors.
We arrived at Paul Bert ready to refuel after a long day of sightseeing. The Astronomer’s cousins who reside in Paris, Olivier and Francois, met us here for dinner.
Even though we had encountered a portable slate board menu earlier at Le Beurre Noisette, The Astronomer and I still got a kick out of seeing the clunky thing on our dinner table. The day’s offerings were scrawled on the board, and nearly everyone ordered the €36 set menu that included a starter, main course, and cheese or dessert. Since the restaurant’s famous steak wasn’t included in the formule, we ordered it a la carte.
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Day two of the #Foodies2Aria press trip started off with red meat and lots of it at Jean Georges Steakhouse. Located on the second floor of the Aria Resort & Casino, the restaurant feels worlds away from the usual hustle of the casino floor. Here, legendary chef and restauranteur Jean Georges Vongerichten has created a different kind of steakhouse experience, one that’s surprisingly playful, seriously sexy, and bloody good. Literally.
Before we sampled select items from the menu, Chef Vongerichten took our group on a tour of the facilities. In addition to hearing about the restaurant’s architecture and menu, we also learned about the chef’s philosophies. I was especially pleased to hear Chef mention that even with over thirty restaurants in his empire, he insists on having a say in every last detail of each one. From ambiance to food to everything in between, nothing gets the green light unless he gives it.
Chef also pointed out several fun little touches that set his steakhouse apart from the pack—the tables are adorned with tufts of green grass, the bar features spilled milk icicles, and if you look closely, the walls are covered with bovine silhouettes.
The fun really started when we made our way into the kitchen. On the menu this morning were half a dozen Angus 300 Australian Tomahawk Chops. I can’t say I’ve ever eaten a slab of steak larger than my face before.
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