Tapas, Sushi Burritos and The Must Have: Vegas Edition

With all the traveling I’ve done over the last few weeks, I realize it’s been a little while since I’ve imparted my Food Brews Beats wisdom with you beautiful people.  Well, dry those pretty li’ll eyes of yours, ‘cuz I’m back and I’m ready to write!

I’m envisioning some old-timey lookin’ candy shoppe on some rich-ass street corner in Greenwich, CT called the “Au Courant Candissery” or something equally ridiculous where only descendants of the royal Sir Date McStuffin are allowed to lay their eyes on the hand etched recipe without risk of their face melting like Arnold Toht at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark.

When I last posted about Vegas, we were on day 1 of 3 and we hadn’t left Henderson yet.  Since it was a very quick trip (and the wife was there for work, anyway) we didn’t go for the “WOOOO HOOOOO VEGAS” type of vibe.  While we did venture into Vegas proper, we actually stayed away from the strip and explored more of the “real Vegas” (as our friends Pam and Jim have put it).

HIGHLIGHT(s) FROM DAY 2 OF 3
FIREFLY Tapas Kitchen
3824 Paradise Rd
Las Vegas, NV 89119

File Dec 14, 5 10 43 PM
My peeps cheezin’ it up in the back booth

Even though this place sits just 2 blocks off the strip, it does not at all feel like Vegas…which is a good thing.  Lots of reds and blacks, low key and very, um…normal.  This strikes me as a place where the locals who live near the strip would go out for dinner and drinks because of it’s lack of flashing lights and, ya know, casino shit (for lack of a better term).  Oh, and the food is really damn good.  Important piece of info.

Love the tapas concept (aka: small-plates), especially when you’re going out with a group.  It gives everyone a chance to try a whole bunch of different stuff without feeling like you’re over-indulging…even though it’s entirely possible to do so.  That being said, here’s what we over-indulged in:

  • Tuna Tartare [marinated ahi tuna, avocado, sesame dressing, taro chips]
  • Tomato Basil Soup [with mini grilled brie sandwich]
  • Stuffed Dates [bacon-wrapped, smoked almond, red wine reduction, blue cheese]
  • Firefly Fries [parmesan, herbs, aioli]
  • Mushroom Tart [puff pastry, herbed cream cheese]
  • Chicken and Chorizo Stuffed Mushrooms [chicken, chorizo, tomato, garlic butter, parmesan]
  • Scallop Escargots [scallops baked in garlic-herb butter]
  • Albondigas [meatballs in sherry tomato sauce w/ parmesan
  • Chicago Beef Bocadillos [shaved beef sandwiches w/ house made giardiniera]

Now, everything we had was super good and I recommend everything on that list.  There were a couple standouts though.

The Award for “Most Surprisingly Awesome”:  STUFFED DATES!!!
Holy hell.  Where have these been all my life?  I woulda taken a pic, but we ate them too fast.  I mean, these things were something out of a candy store that doesn’t actually exist in real life, but can only be found by the cultural elite.  I’m envisioning some old-timey lookin’ candy shoppe on some rich-ass street corner in Greenwich, CT called the “Au Courant Candissery” or something equally ridiculous where only descendants of the royal Sir Date McStuffin are allowed to lay their eyes on the hand etched recipe without risk of their face melting like Arnold Toht at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark.  Thankfully, you can get these for $6.50 at FIREFLY and not deal with that whole thing.

Best In Show: CHICAGO BEEF BOCADILLOS
Photo Nov 16, 10 39 52 PM
Knowing that the head chef is from Chicago, I can see why these are a) On the menu to begin with and b) SO amazingly delicious.  I’m a total sucker for a good Italian Beef sammich and will get one 99% of the time if it’s on a menu.  Maybe it’s because I literally can’t get one anywhere here in Central Florida.  I don’t know.  What I do know is that they’re awesome and this version was as good as you’ll get anywhere in Chicago.   We got 2 plates.

Beer Pairing for the Evening
HORCHATA ALMOND MILK STOUT (Milk Stout)
ALMANAC BEER CO. (San Francisco, CA)

Photo Nov 16, 9 37 02 PM
With all the different types of food we were enjoying, this wasn’t necessarily chosen for it’s food pairing capabilities.  I probably would have needed 3 different styles of beer to do that, and I’m not all about projecting the vibe of an alcoholic when out in public.

The use of almond milk in the brewing of this beer leaves it feeling a little thin to my taste, but the mild nature of it actually went really well with the varying styles of food we were eating, so SUCCESS!!!

HIGHLIGHT(s) FROM DAY 3 OF 3
JaBurritos
2600 W Sahara Ave #115
Las Vegas, NV 89102

Photo Nov 17, 11 39 21 AM
The Damn Dam
12239352_10207998667661836_5818128651319175088_o
The Dam Crew

After spending the morning/early afternoon at the Hoover Dam (AMAZING, btw). We made our way back toward Vegas and wanted a quick and easy lunch, so we went to this little place in a strip mall just off the strip that was recommended to us by a friend of ours.  Let me tell you.  We were ready to franchise this place within the 1st couple bites.

IMG_1698Sushi burritos.  How this isn’t a more of a common thing these days is totally beyond me.  Not that I’m a seasoned connoisseur of sushi burritos (this was my 1st), but I have had some pretty damn good sushi and a supreme amount of burritos in my day and this place is doing it ALL the right way.  They make their own soy sauce.  I’ll repeat that.  THEY MAKE THEIR OWN SOY SAUCE. I’m not even gonna get into that whole process, but it’s massively labor intensive and can take weeks to make.  They also prep a huge variety of different salsas, sauces, proteins and toppings from scratch that give you a limitless number of combinations.  Here’s what I created and damnit, I’m giving it a name too…

THE LAND, THE SEA, THE SHIZ

  • Grilled Steak
  • Shrimp Tempura
  • Seaweed Paper
  • Mango Teriyaki
  • Tomato
  • Avocado
  • Roasted Corn
  • Jalapeño
  • Tortilla Strips
  • Salsa Verde
  • Soy Sauce

No lie.  This was one of the greatest things I’ve ever eaten in my life.  I wanted to go back on our way to the airport later that night to get another one.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t exactly on our way to McCarran from where we were staying in Henderson, so my wife and I opted for another option…

THE MUST HAVE

Living out here in Florida, we have our fair share of amazing food options; namely, some of the freshest seafood you’ll ever have the pleasure of eating.  We also have, to the surprise of many non-locals, some of the best Thai and Vietnamese in the lower 50.   What we do not have access to, though, is one of the great culinary experiences of our time.  In-N-Out Burger.

image1
This was the drive-thru line at 9pm on a Tuesday

Now, I don’t want to hear from anyone out west saying that, “In-N-Out is SO overrated, brah!”  Shut it.  You can have it anytime you want and for that, you should wake up every morning and say a little thank you prayer to the burger gods.  Now, go put on your knit cap in the middle of summer and work out.

Full Disclosure: I’m a simple In-N-Out kinda guy.  No “Animal Style” for me.  Just gimme a Double-Double with grilled onions.  Burger Nirvana.

Here’s how the rest of this evening went.  Without enough time to commit to sitting down in the restaurant and eating like civilized human beings (you never know how effed up the security lines will be in Vegas), we got the burgers and brought them with us…to the rental car drop off, on the shuttle to the airport, in line at the ticket counter, and thru security.  And yes, if it came down to it, we would have scarfed down the burgers at airport security a’la Liz Lemon.  They’re that good.

 

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