I've been super busy in my 8-5 job so I hadn't got the chance to post in a while but here it is! We spent this past NYE in Vegas and we agreed that 4 days is more than enough to spend in Vegas hahaha, no seriously, you could definitely spend more time here but I feel that in 4 days you can see all the highlights, eat in your top pick restaurants, gamble, party, shop and watch some shows.
I'm past the partying stage and I'm not a gambler (this time I set aside a budget of $40 to gamble haha that it became $186 so maybe I should consider gambling?) mostly because I rather eat, drink and shop! and even though I'm not drawn to Vegas because of it's most popular pastime I always have a blast over there.
Here is a glimpse of our itinerary and my top recommendations. The best part of Vegas it is the variety of good quality restaurants so the biggest issue it is which one to choose from. We stayed at the Mandarin Oriental and I absolutely loved it! This was our first time staying at hotel without a casino and I feel that it was the perfect choice for us, it is right next to Aria and within 5 min walk to The Cosmopolitan so you can easily get to the casino and get the party ambiance but without all the drawbacks of staying at one of the big hotels i.e long lines to check in, crowds and noise. The Mandarin was a superb experience from beginning to end. I specially loved the bedrooms and their big bath tub.
I have to admit the on this trip I did not take the best pictures because food was so delicious and company was even better that I just couldn't afford to take perfect ones! After all that's how vacation's should be. Here are my top pics for restaurants:
Picasso at Bellagio. This two star Michelin by chef Julian Serrano is worth every penny! Plus they have a fantastic view of the Bellagio Foundations so extra points for romance. Their 4 course Prix Menu are well balanced and have a little bit for everybody.
Nobu Inside Caesar's Palace, come here for the small plates and not for the sushi. The sushi is just mew.. but the rest of the dishes are amazing! I love that it is Tapas style so we all got to try several dishes. One of my favorites were: black cod miso, Lobster tacos and Blue fin toro tartare
Bouchon: Thomas Keller, French Laundry's chef (high on my bucket list!) created a beautiful menu filled with French classics and an elegant yet casual restaurant inside The Venetian. Loved the ambiance and the comfort food. This is also a great spot for Brunch with nice views of the hotel's gardens.
Bardot Brasserie: came here for brunch after NYE. It has the most romantic and "old school" bar that it is great for a pre-dinner or show cocktail. It is located on Aria's second floor so it is more secluded and intimate. We've been following chef Michael Mina since we moved to San Francisco and this one does not disappoints!
Milos Estiatorio: This is a great spot for Lunch inside The Cosmopolitan. They have super fresh seafood that you can actually pick from and they also offer a light pre-fix lunch menu that won't break the bank. Had a terrific white wine from Greece, a first!
Julian Serrano : A Spanish restaurant inside Aria by Julian Serrano (way more affordable than Picasso) with a great selection of Spanish classics and more fusion dishes. Bright and cheerful decor throughout the restaurant.
oh well and no trip is ever complete with a mandatory stop at Shake Shack! :)
Besides eating... we did more things! My highlight of the trip was watching Bruno Mars at the new theater in the Monaco Hotel... OMG it was the best! We also watched O at the Bellagio and we were speechless! On other trips with seeing Love and KA by Cirque Du Soleil but so far "O" it's my favorite!
This year we had a very different Christmas since it was the first time we spent it away from our families. We always rotate between spending it in Denmark and Costa Rica but this year we thought it would be nice to spend it in the mountains with our little family of 2 + 2 dogs!
We rented an Airbnb cabin in the middle of nowhere about 30 minutes from Vail, CO and oh boy was it amazing! We loved our time at the cabin! We both like to cook so we chose ambitious recipes for every night. We loaded up the car with almost all of our kitchen utensils (for sure we over did it!), put the dogs in the backseat and then we hit the road.
Even though we planned daily dinners at the cabin we still wanted to try some of the good restaurants in Vail, after some research (of course!) and I discovered Mountain Standard a gastro pub located in the middle of Vail village. This place is hands down one of the best lunches we've had! It's a very casual and cozy restaurant that cooks most of its food on an open wood fire. We had the grilled salmon and an open face tuna sandwich that reminded me a lot of the Danish traditional Smørrebrød. We also had two delicious "brunchy" type cocktails that did not disappoint.
After our delicious lunch we walked around Vail Village to soak in the Christmas atmosphere! The village couldn't look better! I always feel that the snow makes everything look more magical. We strolled through the shops, restaurants and pubs filled with after-skiers and stopped for a hot chocolate, I know it is a cliche but it is for a reason!
After a day in Vail we headed back to the cabin and started cooking Christmas eve dinner: rack of lamb with mint jelly, roasted vegetables and potato au gratin! yum! and then for dessert we had the traditional danish Christmas dessert ris ala mande which is a rice pudding with almonds and amareno cherries. The rest of the days we chilled, read, played in the snow with the dogs and watched Christmas movies, the most perfect 4 days!
Hope everyone had a great time during the holidays!