Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Best of Sin City

by Meghann on December 4, 2011

Introducing my cheapest meal since touching down in Vegas:

1 cup of hot water from Starbucks (which was $1 <- first time I’ve had to pay for hot water when purchasing another beverage :/)


1 packet of instant oatmeal (courtesy of Anne)


1 packet of Barney Butter (leftover from Healthy Living Summit swag)


Mix and Serve 🙂


Seriously, the cheapest meal we’ve had on the strip! Everything is a little pricey here and I may regret a few ‘I’m-in-Vegas-and-need-to-live-it-up’ purchases when I check my bank account on Monday. Anne and I both agreed to try and save when we could and instant oatmeal for breakfast was the best trick we had. I wish I had an apple or something to complete the meal because it really didn’t hold me over for long, but I knew an early lunch was in the future anyways.

After breakfast Anne and I met up with fellow blogger Stephanie to do a little exploring. Stephanie and her husband are Vegas regulars and were great at showing us the best that Vegas had to offer by foot.


Last month I had a conversation with my Dad about my upcoming trip to Vegas and how I was really excited, but I wasn’t much of a gambler or a drinker. He made a joke that I wasn’t going to have much fun then because that’s all Las Vegas is.


He couldn’t have been more wrong! I’ve been in Vegas for two days now and I haven’t sat down at a slot machine once and haven’t had a drink since Friday night. Honestly, we sort of avoid the bars and casinos because the smoke makes both of us nauseous and our dry throats even drier.


BUT, I’m still having a GREAT time! There is SO MUCH to see and do in Vegas. We left the hotel at 9:00am and didn’t return until past midnight. We lost ourselves in the day exploring the strip, eating amazing food, and just checking out the sights and sounds that are Vegas.


I wouldn’t stay here for an entire week, but the weekend has been great. You honestly don’t have to be a big drinker of gambler to have fun in Vegas! However, a larger wallet might help.

And bigger shoes. 😉


Stephanie told us we HAD to see the Bellagio on our walk. It was one of her favorite hotels on the strip and from the moment we met up with her, she was going on and on about the iconic hotel.


Stephanie did not disappoint. The Bellagio was GORGEOUS inside and had the lobby beautifully decorated and ready for the holidays.


There was a winter village set up with actual natural daylight (!) filling the room with christmas cheer.



Check out the polar bears.


They were made of fresh flowers and all smelled and looked amazing.




The Happy Holidays house was another favorite.


Leaning in, the fresh cinnamon sticks, pine, and roses smelled like christmas morning – all heavenly and wood-sy. I want to bring it home and set it up at my house so the house will smell like christmas all year. 🙂


The chocolate fountain inside the Bellagio was next on our list.


The fountain was located inside a quaint chocolate shop and dripped all the way from the ceiling to the floor.


Mmmm….. chocolate. 😉


We tried to catch the famous water show in front of the Bellagio, but the noon show was canceled due to high winds. Boo.


Next we headed next door to Cesar’s Palace for lunch.


And found our first hotel map of the trip. We’ve gotten SO LOST trying to find our ways through hotels. There are no exit signs and everything is so dark and vague once you’re inside. It’s like a black hole that’s hard to escape from.


Our final destination was Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill located in the heart of Cesar’s Palace.


We’d heard nothing, but great things about the food at Mesa Grill and were hoping lunch would be a little friendlier on the wallets than dinner.

We were told a 25 minute wait on arrival and sat patiently reviewing the menu and contemplating eating our arms. After 15 minutes we asked for a bread basket to fill our bellies while we waited and were greeted with a delicious assortment of blue cornbread muffins, blueberry crumb cake, spiced scones, and mini jalapeno biscuits.


It was worth coming to Mesa Grill for the bread basket alone. I tried bites of everything and it was all good. The blue cornbread muffin was moist, herby, and just a hint of spice; and the crumb cake melted in your mouth like powder sugar covered butter. It was amazing. 🙂

The bread basket was just what we needed to tide us over until we were finally seated. Since it was just after noon on a Saturday, we were handed the brunch menu to order off of. I was really in the mood for something savory and was sold on the Spicy Chicken and Sweet Potato Hash.


I asked for light on the hollandaise sauce, but I believe the chicken and hash would have been find with out it. The meal was very rich, dense, and delicious.


All of the food that I sample from around the table was full of spice without being spicy. It was the perfect balance that made the food enjoyable without needing to grab your water glass every bite. I loved it and would love to return for the regular lunch or dinner menu in the future.


Needing to unbuckle our pants, the group headed to Ghirardelli for the big blogger meet up hosted by Janae.


What? There’s always room for peppermint bark. 😉


The turn out was insane! Tons of running bloggers were ready to kick asphalt on the strip. So many amazing, talented, beautiful girls in one place.


(photo credit)

And after playing twitter tag, it was great to finally see Aron for a hot minute. Aron is my favorite San Francisco running partner/ blogger who I go way back with. This is the first race we’re running ‘together’ (and by together, I mean at the same time, she’ll be miles ahead of me) since San Diego in 2009!


Anne and I played the roles of Attune coupon fairies in the group and shared the free Attune product love.


We’re both sponsored to run the race through Attune and have a million and one coupons to share with any and every runner we see, so if you see us on the course or at the start, come say hi and collect a coupon good for one free Attune product. 🙂

Every runner we talked to or tweeted with in Vegas warned us about the crazy crowds at the race expo. Saturday was supposed to be the largest attendance at a race expo in a single day ever. Uh oh. Good thing we, you know, waited until that last minute on that.


Honestly, the expo was crowded, but it was also a well oiled machine of getting runners in and out. It took us maybe 10 minutes tops to grab our bibs, swag bag, and shirts. Not bad considering all the people.


The worst part was navigating the crowds out of the expo. They had it set up like a maze where you had to weave through every single booth to find the exit. I understand they want to give every booth prime real estate, but it forced all the crowds through the same narrow path and created a ton of traffic jams. I got to do a little shopping, but I wish the congestion wasn’t as bad so I could have done a little more. Oh, well.

We had followed Rosa over from the blogger meet-up and I’m so glad I had a chance to chat with her. She’s currently 13 weeks pregnant and tomorrow will make half-marathon #2 for baby. She even bought the cutest little onesie to commemorate the occasion, since the baby earned a race shirt too.


Anne and I were pretty much done after the expo. We walked around the Venetian a little bit before crashing on the floor near the entrance (apparently there are no benches in Vegas?)



We had big plans for dinner out, but walked by Otto and were instantly in love. There’s a Otto in NYC that I tried to eat at a couple of years ago, but couldn’t get a reservation. It was a sign we had to eat there.


In the laziness that is all laziness I called the restaurant while we were crashing and burning in the lobby and asked if there was a wait. There was a tiny one, so I made a reservation for 6:00 (it was currently 5:30). We sat in the lobby for 20 minutes, then walked to be seated. It was perfect.

The food was worth staying for. Everything was amazing and just what we were craving. We ordered family style and shared everything.

Escarole, Pear and Walnut Salad


Roasted Beets with Saba


I don’t know what made these walnuts so different, but they were the best walnuts I’ve ever tried. They were very meaty and paired beautifully with the drool-worthy pear and fresh parmesan cheese.


Pancetta and Goat Cheese Pizza


The pizza crust was light and slightly chewy, the pancetta was a tad salty, but not at all over powering and the goat cheese was creamy and bubbly. Anne had requested a sprinkling of fresh cracked pepper on top that totally made the dish. Delicious.


A much needed caffeine boost in the form of a cappuccino was welcomed as a post dinner treat.


Anne and I were dying to see a show while we were in town and thought Peep Show would be a fun not-make-you-think source of entertainment.


Truth be told I’m a closet Girls Next Door fan and really wanted to see Holly Madison. I know. I’m a reality tv junkie and I’m not ashamed.

I thought the show would just be the ‘Holly Madison Show’ but it was a great ensemble cast that focused more on the other girls than her. The story line was very vague, but also not very important. Girl after girl and boy after boy amazed the audience with their strong, athletic bodies and how they moved with them.

Yes, it was a burlesque show all about stripteases, but it was so much more than that. I was impressed with the dancing, the great acrobatics, and so much more. If you’re looking for some fun entertainment in Vegas I would highly recommend it. 🙂

We crashed hard last night after the show and are still struggling to get up this morning. It’s so weird that it’s 9:00am on race day and I’m still in bed. This should be interesting… 😉

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