Sunday, June 28, 2009

Scenes from Sin City

Intriguing entrance to one of the hottest spots in town

The glory days of the Roman empire lives on at Caesar's Palace Hotel's upscale shopping arcade

Continuing our tour of Italy, it's on to Venice for a view of these gondolas gliding along the canals of the Venetian Hotel

From Venice to Paris is a short walk. Vegas triumphs with its own Arc de Triomphe!

Planet Hollywood has a casino, a peepshow , a strip house and a mile long shopping mall

Triple 3x. Hey, that's a winner! (it's a five-cent machine, lol)

Oops, someone got a little out of hand. Graduation week!

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Images by Charie

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Cheapest days and times to fly


More DIY videos at 5min.com


Recently on a flight from SFO to Las Vegas, I bought a ticket on Virgin America just 24 hours prior to departure for $54.00 one way for a mid afternoon flight. And the return was $49.00. Though the flight was delayed out of SFO for about an hour, I thought it was still worth it compared to other fares I checked which started at $129 and soared as high as $182, one way.

Don't wait till the last minute to buy your airline tickets but if you can't avoid it, check the airline sites for best last minute fares.

Fare Compare's CEO, Rick Seany, tells us the cheapest days and times to fly.

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Friday, June 19, 2009

Dale Chihuly's Glass Flowers

Dale Chihuly's glass flowers at Bellagio Hotel

Whenever I'm in Vegas, I make it a point to go to Bellagio to see its botanical gardens, it's Gallery of Fine Art exhibitions, and the hand-blown glass flowers by Dale Chihuly. What an explosion of colors these 2,000 glass flowers create suspended as they are from the ceiling above the reception area of the hotel! Nothing says "Welcome" better than these warm and tropical beauties.

For more on Dale Chihuly visit his website at http://www.chihuly.com/.

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Photos by Charie

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Roy's Las Vegas Hawaiian Aloha Hour

Cheers!

Aloha hour starts at 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday at Roy's on East Flamingo. With $5.00 drinks and $5.00 appetizers, you can't get a better deal. It's the best way to unwind after a long and exhausting day at the Strip. We sat at the bar surrounded by locals and served by amiable and attentive staff. I ordered the Hawaiian colada, a blend of Montecristo light rum, Malibu coconut rum and fresh coconut purée, with a hint of lime juice and mint. My cousin, who was our designated driver, had a virgin colada and the simple margarita was my sister's choice.

Pork and Shrimp Shumai

Check out the pupus we ordered from the menu: pork and shrimp shumai wasabi ogo bazu, beef sliders with wasabi sour cream mayo and garlic truffle fries, chicken lettuce wraps with shiitake mushrooms and chili hoisin soy, and lobster roll . The beef sliders (with Kobe beef) were a big hit as were the chicken lettuce wraps. I liked the lobster roll best. It was bursting with flavor and I tried to divine the ingredient that left such an impression. I couldn't quite pinpoint it but I've never had sushi this good!

Beef sliders

Roy's Las Vegas - Flamingo is at 620 East Flamingo Road and is a short ride from the Strip. Phone: (702) 691-2053.

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Photos by Charie

PF Chang's - Las Vegas

Chicken lettuce wrap

Food is always at center stage in any family gathering. Good times together are usually associated with where and what you ate. This weekend's luncheon at PF Chang's in Las Vegas was no exception. It was truly memorable not only for the shared stories, the laughter, the hugs and beso beso, but for the selection of dishes which our famished group devoured in good stead. For starters we had light wonton soup with shrimps and vegies and chicken lettuce wrap. The combination of fresh lettuce and minced chicken with a little bit of hoisin sauce was a "no guilt" sandwich.

Stir fried eggplant

There were two choices of eggplant dishes on the menu and we ordered both. I liked the ground chicken and eggplant best over the spicy stir fried eggplant (we requested a milder dish) because the latter had a sweet sauce. Everyone raved about the walnut shrimps with honeydew. Also on our table were plates of Mongolian beef, Cantonese chow fun noodles, and house fried rice.

Chocolate dome

Sadly there was no room to try the fancy desserts on the menu like the chocolate dome with strawberries and the cheesecake. My cousin had been to the bakery Kamaaina Fancy Treats in Henderson and bought a custard pie, a guava cake and boxes of assorted malasadas for us to take back to California. They were nice enough at PF Chang's to let us eat our pie and cake. The guava cake was light and a delight.

PF Chang's is located at 4165 S. Paradise Road Las Vegas, NV 89169 Phone: (702) 792-2207. They have a new location at Planet Hollywood Hotel on the Strip. Kamaaina Fancy Treats is at 9th Eastern Avenue #103 in Las Vegas.

Recipe for Chicken lettuce wrap:
http://www.recipezaar.com/P-F-Changs-Chicken-Lettuce-Wraps-15865

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Photos by Charie

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Build your own tacos

Fish taco with rice and beans

We recently tried the group catering service of Rubio's Mexican Grill in Menlo Park. For 18 people we ordered two Beach Mex Buffet, each serving 10. It's a build your own taco bar. We selected the beer battered fish taco and the grilled chicken fillings. The buffet includes corn and flour tortillas, 3 kinds of salsa, lettuce, cheese, beans, chips and guacamole. For the vegan in our group we ordered a cheese enchilada which he thoroughly enjoyed.

Salsa/cheese/guacamole and lettuce tray

The tacos arrived in three separate trays - fish, chicken and salsa/cheese/guacamole/lettuce tray. There was plenty to build a super taco with. And there were bountiful seconds for all of us. But the fish tacos went fast.


Everyone raved about the food. They all wanted to know where the food came from. Rubio's is located at 515 El Camino Real in Menlo Park. Check their website for menus and other locations: http://www.rubios.com/.

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Photos by Charie

Silver Lake Seafood Restaurant

Walnut prawns

My family and I never get bored eating at Silver Lake Seafood Restaurant. And we always order their walnut prawns and pork spareribs. Last weekend's family get together was no exception. Our choices were house fried rice, walnut prawns, spareribs, tofu, bokchoy, and rock cod nuggets. A clear broth is served by friendly staff and Tom, the owner, is always around to greet loyal patrons. As loyal as our cousins who've been coming to the restaurant for the last ten years. Wow, that says a lot about this unpretentious place.

Tofu

For starters we had an appetizer tray of duck. I'm not much of a duck fan but my cousins commented how tasty it was. The walnut prawns are glazed but they are not sweet. The spareribs are always crispy and the rock cod nuggets are doused with just the right amount of salt to complement the taste. I really like the sweet bean dessert which comes with every meal. It's like soup but sweet. I always ask someone at our table for their dessert just in case they decide to skip it after such a big meal. It seems like we ordered quite a bit of food but we left a clean table behind. And all that for $68.00. Incredible!

Silver Lake is located at 2291 S. El Camino Real in San Mateo.

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Photos by Charie