Grace has slightly different priorities than the average rally-goer. Here’s her perspective on the weekend.
Our first meal of sorts was on the airplane. Southwest Airlines gives you snack boxes that have Oreo cookies, nuts, cheese nips (ack! I’ve been racially slurred!), and strawberry fruit chews. I supplemented the airplane food with Pocky sticks, both regular and “men’s”, ie dark chocolate, and a dented can of Heineken. Men’s Pocky was the big winner on the flight.
Friday night dinner was at AJ’s Steakhouse, located in the Hard Rock Hotel. The restaurant goes for an upscale, yet old-school steakhouse feel with velour swivel armchairs, faux leatherette menus, repro starburst light fixtures, and waiters in tuxes. I wish I had an .mpg of Bryan hugging the menu and sighing, “I love you menu”. The irony hangs heavy but the food is good.
Complimentary soft sourdough and dark rye breads are on the table, along with a ramekin of real butter, no stingy little pats here. Our party ordered the veal dish, a porterhouse, and three of us ordered the special: two petite filet mignons in a merlot and truffle oil reduction, on garlic mashed potatoes. I ordered mine rare, and while I’ve eaten a better quality steak at Morton’s, I thought that overall this was a great steakhouse. The sauce was plate-licking delicious, and the potatoes were a good foil for the richness of the dish. I ate a stalk of steamed broccoli and passed on the spinach sauteed in olive oil. I was too stuffed for dessert, but the banana pudding pie and chocolate cake that others ordered looked great. I had a mojito to start, which is a white rum/lime/mint/sugar syrup concoction. This will surely be served in basements and porches all over Galewood this summer. Delicious. We had a French cabernet with dinner. I really don’t know anything about wine, except that I like them sherazzzes, but it tasted fine. We went back upstairs, unbuttoned our collective pants, and enjoyed food-coma. Thanks again to my boyfriend and his high-rollin’ ways that got us freeloaders a comped meal.
The next morning, we didn’t get a chance to eat breakfast. Ken and I had lunch at Hamburger Mary’s across the street from the HRH and there our good food kharma abandoned us. No host ever came to seat us, despite the “please wait to be seated” sign, and we should have taken that as a signal to eat elsewhere. Showing both optimism and stupidity, necessary in Las Vegas, we took a seat at the bar thinking we would have faster service. We waited 45 minutes for bad burgers. Actually, the meat itself might have been ok, but it got lost in the seat cushion-sized stale bun. The lettuce was shredded and limp, and although I ordered mine with onions, it arrived onion-less. I asked the bartender for some onions, and he said sure, and then proceeded to forget my request. Bleah bleah bleah.
Dinner on Saturday more than made up for lunch. We went to Lotus of Siam, a highly touted Thai restaurant away from the strip. It’s in a nondescript strip mall. Not much “ambiance” but it’s clean, airy, and there’s room between the tables. Ask for Bill, the co-owner, or Bang, who was our waiter. Our first dish was the sour sausage/crispy rice dish, which was a wonderful combination of flavors and the perfect thing to get your tastebuds going. A minced vinegary sausage is combined with chilis, mint, green onion, and crisp fried rice. It’s served with sliced cucumber and fresh cabbage to cool things off a bit. Bang recommended a few wines and poured us sample glasses, and we picked a German riesling. It was a great compliment to the spicy food. They ask you what spice level you prefer, on a scale from 1 to 10, and we picked lucky 7. Our next dish was the southern-style pork larb. Bang tried to nudge us towards the northern-style, and I should have listened. This dish was similar in seasoning and presentation to our first dish, except with minced pork and lime. Also good, but I think we should have ordered something sweet, like mee krob or the garlic chicken wings, for contrast. Our next dish was grilled sliced beef with a sesame-soy dipping sauce. Steamed rice also arrived with this, again a good foil for the spicy rich food goodness. Our last course was tuna tartar. Small, maybe 1/2-inch square diced chunks of tuna coated in dry spices. It’s not on the menu, since Bill will only serve it if the day’s tuna shipment is good enough. Sashimi grade, buttery-rich, melt-in-your-mouth good dish. Bang brought us a small steamer of sticky rice to accompany the tuna, and then finished our meal with another complimentary treat, coconut ice cream imported from Thailand. Wow. The whole bill was $60 including tax. I highly recommend this place to anyone who likes Thai food.
By 5 a.m. on Sunday, I was hungry again so Bryan, Tracie and I went to Mr. Lucky’s 24-hour diner in the HRH. They had sandwiches that came out right away but my Tupelo chicken fingers took a long, long time. I ate Bryan’s fries while waiting. I was pretending to stab someone with my knife when the waiter came out and apologized. The long-awaited fingers were nice big strips and not dried out at all, but the breading was just like Arby’s chicken fingers. I like my breading more bready and less battery. The apricot-mustard dip needed more apricot.
The last meal I had in Vegas was the Pizza Hut personal pan pizza at the airport. We were all crabby enough that even Bryan was telling people off. We were on a flight with people who apparently had never been in an airport, seen a plane, or understood the concept of a line. The pizza cheese grease took the edge off for me, while Tracie calmed down with a fistful of Dramamine and a hot dog. I refused my Southwest snack box in favor of falling into a restless, drooling sleep.
What a great scooter rally!