Saturday, March 7, 2009


Red Rock - it looks unreal

Outside the Venetian

They say what happens in Vegas stays there, but we tend to disagree.
City Style and Living magazine has always been about sharing, and so here goes, but keep in mind this is just a taste…READ MORE IN THE SUMMER 2009 ISSUE of City Style and Living out in June (

The view from the room at Encore


A few of the staff decided to take a jaunt to the most famous strip of land in the world- Las Vegas. Where did we decide to stay? Why the ultra chic Encore (a Wynn property) on the north strip. Our view alone is to die for- a clear view of the stunning lights surrounding us - all from the 61st floor. The Encore features some of the best shops - Chanel (hands down the most amazing window display of all of the Chanel stores we've been to), Vertu, Swim, are all exquisitely decorated - gold, oversized dripping crystal chandeliers, you get the idea. The red/black décor really make the hotel stand apart from others. Gigantic butterflies and flowers adorn the floors, walls and ceilings at Encore - really visually stunning.

A casino at Encore- look at the red chandelier!

The peacocks outside Sinatra

Our night with Sinatra (
A new restaurant at the Encore is one not to miss. The Italian menu is wonderfully executed by Chef Theo Schoenegger. The subdued but elegant décor is accented by Frank Sinatra’s Emmy, Grammy and Oscar. In fact, our waitress informed us that on opening night (in December 2008), daughter Nancy made a beautiful tearful toast to the memory of her father. Food presentations were bright and fresh, but approachable. One of the highlights was having Chef Schoenegger personally greeting us, while topping our pasta with freshly grated truffles. Peruse the menu below:
Tasting Menu
March 4th, 2009

Quartet of the Sea
Hamachi w/ fennel and grapefruit salad (delicate and light)
Lobster w/ asparagus cream, asparagus (artistic ovals of sumptuous goodness)
Jumbo Lump Crab w/ Citrus, orange aioli (a burst of flavours that tantalize the palette)
Tuna w/ roasted peppers, olives, capers (exquisite to the taste buds, just enough tart, the tuna was light, the one inch miniature mound was packed with baby dices of capers, tuna, olives and roasted red peppers, an artistic invention all on its own )
Ca’ del Bosco Cuvée Prestige, Franciacorta, Italy NV (excellent accompaniment to seafood)

Agnolotti (you know this pasta was made by hand, ricotta and herd filled, chive, winter truffle, delicate, warm, a hint of fresh butter, blanket of sage leaves crisped to perfection, squash filling in two perfect ravioli and the melt in your mouth Agnolotti. What can be better than Chef Theo sprinkling freshly shaved black truffle onto this divine dish)
black winter truffles
Casamatta Vermentino, Tuscany, Italy 2005

Colorado Rack of Lamb (The cubes of polenta were delicately crisp on the outside with a surprisingly creamy and spongy center; the lamb was tender, succulent and delicious)
Soft Polenta, Cauliflower
Whitehall Lane Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, California 2005

Assortment of Desserts (the panacotta was one of the best we have tasted for a long time, creamy, smooth and flovourful the entire assortment of desserts were absolutely delicious )
Maculan ‘Torcolato’, Breganze, Italy, 2005

Chef Theo Schoenegger
Le Reve

One night we attended Le Reve (, the aquatic/aerobatic show at the Wynn. Wow, just when you thought there could not be any more dramatic tumbling- out came a technically mind boggling stunt. A moving stage, beautiful music, white doves, gallons of water and yards of cables- this is a show not to be missed. Our third row seats really made us feel like we were a part of the ensemble.

After a comfortable sleep (really, the beds at The Encore, make you SINK into them), we were excited to have breakfast at The Venetian (Bouchon/Bouchon bakery).

inside the kitchen at Bouchon

The French influenced bistro/ brasserie on the tenth floor overlooking a scenic terrace is both inviting and warm, with exceptionally courteous (but not stuffy) service (muito obrigada Hebby!) Our breakfast meal was delightful. The oeufs au gratin with Lyonnaise potatoes (cooked sous vide no doubt) and caramelized onions were extremely creamy, rich and well balanced. The quiche Florentine- an intermediary between soft and creamy resembled the texture of a smooth crème carmel - thank you Chef Steve. The morning pastries were crisp, light and not overly sweet, and included a cheese/lemon danish, flaky pain au raisin, sticky bun with walnut and fleur de sel and almond brioche.

organization at its best

We were kindly welcomed into the spotless and organized kitchen for a tour with Chef Eric, before being introduced to Executive pastry Chef Chris Herrin. After speaking with Chef Herrin for an hour (it seemed like minutes), about everything from quick rising yeast, cotton candy (this comes in handy later in our story), The Calgary Stampede and shoveling snow (Chris is a Michigan native), we bonded. Extending unparalleled hospitality, Chris invited us back for dessert that evening and were honored (and very happy).

What Chris didn’t mention was that we were about to go on the culinary ride of our lives. Walking into Bouchon that night, the entire staff at Bouchon seemed to have a cheeky grin on their faces. We thought it might be the Vegas air.
No, they were in on the joke.
So it began, slowly at first, dessert course number 1- a lovely beet soup with sorbet, topped with a light tuille. Stunning flavour, very well balanced. Dessert course number 2- ‘the root beer weightless float'. A small spoon of ice cream with root beer cotton candy- a texturally perfect dish. Just the thing to make anyone smile!

the signature CSL dessert (black forest)

And then it began- one by one. Every single dessert dish on the entire Bouchon menu. Really. The efficient staff even made a signature dessert just for the City Style and Living staff- a beautiful black forest cake. Stunning depth of chocolate textures and flavours, vanilla bean cream and Italian sour cherries.

After enjoying eight dessert (there may have been more- we were in a sugar coma, as they say), the waiters came to our table too, one by one chuckling at us. So if this were a television show, this is where there would be someone saying ‘drumroll please’. Because, then came out the two foot tall cotton candy fountain, complete with eight flavours of cotton candy.

Weightless Cotton Candy feast

Eight flavours of cotton candy and eight desserts, we were beyond kids in a candy store. Daddy Warbucks bought the entire candy store for us.

The talented Chef Herrin

Words cannot begin to express our gratitude to Chef Herrin and his team at Bouchon. The work, love, creativity, passion and amazing flavour profiles that went into our dessert dinner will be a memory that we will hold dear to our hearts forever. It goes without saying that we have made a new friend and wish you continued success. You are a ROCKSTAR!
Be sure to visit Chris’s blog (, which profiles the life of a baker- soon to open his own breakfast focused restaurant. And stop by Bouchon next time you are in Las Vegas.

Ps- incidentally, we have a package filled with Bouchon treats which we are savouring as we speak:

Bouchon Bakery kiosk at The Venetian

We had some of the wonderful goodies that Bouchon sells downstairs at their ground floor level kiosk today.

First, we dived into a beautiful chocolate chip cookie. Now, many at CSL do not like cookies that are entirely soft, we prefer them crisp and chewy. Bouchon's cookie is loaded with dark chocolate and milk chocolate chunks and the texture is exactly what we look for. The only thing missing? A cold glass of milk.

Second, we scarfed down the Neapolitan puffed rice square. The chocolate section was draped in chocolate, the vanilla had visible beans and the strawberry had a slight tart flavour.

Third, we devoured some dragee nuts. One staffer absolutely loves hazlenuts, has always loved them ever since she was a little kid. When we bit into the first one and discovered the nuts, she was very happy. The hazlenuts are large, covered in a hard caramel and then thickly dusted with icing sugar. Sometimes dragee nuts are used at weddings as favours, or they can have a rose water taste.

Fourth, we had some almond bark which was not to hard (sometimes the caramel is so difficult to break). There was also a thin layer of chocolate which allows you to appreciate the other elements in this treat.

Fifth, we had a shortbread cookie - crumbly, not overly sweet. This would be divine with a cup of earl grey tea for breakfast or as an afternoon snack.

As you can see there was an immense amount of eating to be done. And this was after having Bouchon pastries for breakfast. After all of that eating, this is all that was left:

Location: Venetian Hotel-Resort-Casino, Las Vegas

Other highlights:

A look inside Beijing Noodle No. 9

Lunch at Beijing noodle No. 9 (inside Ceasers Palace) (
An alarmingly beautiful North Chinese restaurant. Fresh noodles and handmade daily with Executive Chef Zhigang Li. Dim Sum, dumplings other authentic Chinese dishes will have you savouring the ultra fresh (not greasy) menu.

Breakfast at Payard ( Fresh jewel like desserts- try the strawberry éclair and fresh berry tartlet. Our breakfast included Waffles with mixed berries (a platter size) and a fluffy omlette with tangy salad.

Jean Philippe chocolate fountain at the Bellagio: WOW

L'Atelier Joel Robuchon- no words needed.

Read more about where to go and what to do in the summer 2009 issue of City Style and Living, out in June 2009.


Anonymous said...

The Venetian, Bouchon SINATRA and Payard just make my mouth water. The girlfriend getaway sound like such fun, we will definitely put this escape on our list, thanks CSL

Anonymous said...

That vase of Cotton Candy is absolutely heavenly. We will certainly think of Vegas in a different way now.

Anonymous said...

Just got back from Vegas and did not know all this existed. Can't wait for the June issue before heading back to Vegas.

Anonymous said...

WOW WOW WOW!! Mouth watering deserts.

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