Viva Solo

Day 4: Pampering Me!

While the rest of the crew was packing up, I was planning my next 24 hours of alone time (aka Heaven on Earth). Oh, there were so many choices! I decided on:

  • Foot and scalp massage at MGM Grand Spa. FABULOUS – and double that with the spa saunas and whirlpools for two hours of bliss.
  • Dinner at L’Atelier De Joel Robuchon. Details…
  • A seat high above the stage to watch the O! show. So many words to describe that experience. More than once I was speechless. Still don’t really understand how their bodies do some of those moves.

Day 5 was wrapping up my trip with a little shopping (need to find that rockstar pair of shoes), packing, and just a little bit of gambling. Didn’t win a dollar.

Total FABULOUS count:

Lucky 13 FABULOUS THINGS in ONE weekend

L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon

A recommendation from a new friend lead me here…There was some kind of quote like “if you eat nothing else in Vegas, eat their mashed potatoes”. Okay, that may not be right since my mind is running on too little of sleep! So, onward.

What a FABULOUS way to end the weekend – and a great place to dine alone (I am sure it would be fine with friends, too.) I choose the five course menu selection…that started with a refreshing palate cleanser (tomato, avocado and a little Piment d’Espelette).

First course: Cheesy, mussel soup (another dose of Piment d’Espelette and a lemon oil “float”) complete with homemade croutons.

Second course: Scallop wrapped in phyllo dough and momentarily deep fried on a bed a greens and pesto

Main course: Salmon crusted with sesame seeds, cooked to perfection with a side of Pommes Purée (mashed potatoes made in a butter churn, possibly more butter than potato). And even better than the recommendation!

Cheese course: Paired with delicious country breads, the three cheeses included a blue, a sharper cheese and a soft goat cheese. FABULOUS!

Dessert: A series of five tarts. The order on the plate: Chocolate Fudge, Pear, Chocolate Mousse, Raspberry, Cinnamon. The cinnamon was so reminiscent of Grandma Dorothy’s milk pie. All were delicious BUT the combination of Chocolate Mousse and Raspberry was complete HEAVEN!!!

The location:

L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon  | 3799 Las Vegas Boulevard | Las Vegas, NV 89109 | 702.891.7358 | Website

Domaine Drouhin, 2007 Pinor Noir

The spice of this glass of wine combined perfectly with the spice in the first few courses (Piment d’Espelette). It was YUMMY! And Fabulous!

I also picked it thinking it was fun to drink something from close to home while I was eating a meal that felt like I was miles away from home.

The winemakers notes:

2007 will long be remembered for the lovely, graceful growing season that led up to a rather stressful harvest.  Robert, Véronique and Philippe Drouhin literally spent three October weeks in a high-stakes chess match with the vineyards.  In the end, a year’s worth of superb viticulture and a month of microscopic attention to detail allowed for a very successful vintage.  It’s been easier before and since, but vignerons live for the challenge.

Sleepless Viva!

Day 3: Sleepless

After a morning of laughter that doubled as a good ab workout, the plan all day was to nap and catch up on sleep. Some how that never happened. A little walking and shopping, another pool side lunch (‘wichcraft again, this time goat cheese and avacado), a whirlpool bath…and it was time to think about dinner and dancing again.

Dinner: Tom Colicchio’s craftsteak. The highlight of the weekend.

Dancing: Studio 54 (again)

Breakfast: French Toast with great company – Thanks to FABULOUS Matt from Orange County. Who knew you could meet someone who grew up on a ranch in a smaller town that I did? Totally fun to share stories from growing up.

Justin Vineyards, 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon

First glass (bottle) of wine at craftsteak

When the staff recommended Justin to go with our steak, it was an quick “yes”.   Justin has been on my list to try since the holiday season when it was a recommended at a wine shop (they were out of stock, otherwise I would have tried it sooner).

And, wine tasting in Paso Robles is on my bucket list  for the next few years. It was a treat to get a preview of what that trip may hold. (Any excuse to travel to San Luis Obispo area works for me!)

What the Justin winemaker says…

Ruby-red core to a cherry-red rim, this young Cabernet displays generous fruit in the nose. Some sweet black and red fruits, like blackberry, raspberry and fig, mingle with caramel and vanilla from the American oak. The entry is soft, mouth coating and filled with delicious red berry and sweet black plum. The wine itself is dry and palate filling, with a soft but well-structured, velvet finish. Tannins are modest but present in this youthful but approachable Cabernet Sauvignon.

Taylor Fladgate, 40 Year Tawny Port

My notes are simple: Amazingly sweet, yet smooth!

An incredible example of an old Tawny port. A rarity, as few houses will make a 40 year old tawny. This wine is olive gold in colour with rich caramel, butterscotch, hazelnut flavours. The concentration in this port also produces a wine with amazing length, which lingers beautifully in the palate.

Abacus, Eighth Bottling

The treat of a lifetime!

I recently discovered ZD Wines (see blog post) and now I am an even bigger fan. I savored every sip (not even knowing what I was drinking as this glass was shared by our new friend Marc).

Abacus is a proprietary wine from the cellar of ZD Wines and has evolved into a Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon unlike any other produced in the world.  I had no idea what I was drinking, so had to do some research the next day online (gone are the days I traveled without a computer). The team at ZD Wines combine several years of their Cab  (read their story here).

Only in Vegas do you have strangers share wine like this!



Dinner @ Tom’s (Colicchio)

Yah! Our dear friend Tom invited us for dinner…every Top Chef fan’s dream.

Okay, the real story begins here. After a few days in Vegas without enough sleep, a steak dinner was in order! Why not eat right in our hotel? Except Bon Jovi was playing at our hotel that night. But it was suggested if we come in around 9, we can more than likely find a spot in the bar. The advice worked! We walked right in as two places were opening up at the bar.

We had already scoped out the menu to know what we wanted, so we challenged our bartender with a good red bottle of wine in our price range. She came through with a pour from Justin – 2008 Cab. We invested in a bottle. (And the nice gentlemen from Atlanta shared some tips on other bottles we might like as they work by day as wine distributors.)

Now comes the meal that would bring us back to life for another night of dancing…Like most meals, we started with a little salted bread topped with a little butter. Usually I skip the bread, but not tonight! Our main course was the 10 oz filet minion with snap peas and potatoes gratin. The goal was to eat variations of veggies and potatoes that we wouldn’t take the time to make at home. Goal achieved!

As we finished our meal and poured our last glass of wine, a new friend (Marc from New Jersey – got to make this blog feel like you are in Vegas where every nametag includes a hometown) beckoned us to move down a few chairs and chat with with him as we enjoyed our wine. Marc had just ordered his dinner and talked us into trying a few of his plates: we taste-tested oysters and angus skirt steak.

Of course, we did finish our wine before his meal was complete. So he kindly shared his bottle, an Abacus. He also insisted on a round of dessert port, a 40 year old tawny port. We were really ready to go dancing now!

The location:

craftsteak | 3799 South Las Vegas Boulevard | Las Vegas, NV 89109 | 702.891.7318 | Website


After a day in the sun, a nice pasta dinner was in order. And we needed the carbs to power us through another night of dancing! Since we were going to the Cosmopolitan, I checked out the restaruant list and found a match for my pre-trip research list: Scarpetta, a restaurant from award-winning chef Scott Conant.

Tucked away in the chaos of a casino was a great find! Beyond the entrance, the dining experience unfolded. While waiting for our table, we invited ourselves with another group that was on the tour of the kitchen table. The table offered a bird’s eye view into the kitchen where we were able to pre-select some elements of our meal to come! Back in the main area, we sat with a view over the Bellagio and Caesar’s, enjoying the fountain show and sipping on a glass of Barbera.

We ordered three courses tonight:

p r i m i   p i a t t i:

Stracciatella (baby beets, sicilian spiced pears, hazelnuts & baby greens)

And of course, the bread came out with three options to decorate it: an olive oil infused lime, eggplant tapenade and butter marscapone. All three were delicious.

p a s t e :

The special of the night – linguine with freshly shaved truffles (right at the table by our host Gilles)

d o l c e :

Amedei Chocolate Cake (toasted almond gelato & salted caramel sauce)

The salted caramel sauce was too die for. We were granted a second dish to enjoy with the warm molten cake.

The location:

The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas | 3708 Las Vegas Boulevard | South Las Vegas, NV 89109 |

Viva en Sunshine

Day 2: Sunshine – F-A-B-U-L-O-U-S

A relaxing day by the pool was in order – especially to rest our dancing feet for another night of kick’n it. Yes, sunscreen was needed although the missed spots were just a little pink. Three highlights from the pool:

  • A FABULOUS foot massage.
  • A very yummy chicken salad sandwich from ‘wichcraft.
  • Interesting discussions with our New Jersey friends.

And the evening adventures started as Cosmopolitan, with dinner at Scarpetta and dancing at the Marquee Night Club (won’t direct you to their page – says it is opening on New Year’s. You would think it would be current!). Of course we had to check out the club as it touts it is the largest in North America. It needs to be larger so you don’t dance with five other girls touching you because there is not enough space!

So we headed back to the MGM…Tabu was on the dance card next. Again, dance floor to small, no where to go but back to Studio 54. And there we ran into our New Jersey friends from the pool. Kyle and Ron were happy to be our husbands for the evening….or was it morning when the lights came on? Who knows…but it was time for breakfast!