Every year, Jasper attends a pair of conventions in Las Vegas and I like to tag along. He attends lectures while I lounge by the pool, indulge in a spa, or go shopping. Afterwards, we meet up and head out to eat at one of Vegas's many excellent restaurants. I could write volumes about hotels and shows and sightseeing, but here it is all about the food.
I'll begin with the casual restaurants inside Caesar's Palace, where we stayed (and which I recommend - one of the best pools on the strip, the best spa, and some of the best shopping).
This bakery and pastry shop was my first stop of the day, every day. With a design that looks like Willy Wonka's factory and a clock that spits out free truffles every hour, this place is a chocolate lover's dream.
The pastry case is magnificent and filled with artful delicacies that are almost too pretty to eat... almost.
We were going to see the Nutcracker Ballet in DC and wanted to find a restaurant w/ a Pre-Theater menu. We settled on Tosca, an upscale Italian restaurant, which has two courses and a dessert for $35. It is also within walking distance of the Warner Theater, where we were heading, and the Metro Center station. The dining room is rather large, with a small and crowded bar tucked in by the door. The wine list was wonderful - we are more familiar with Italian wines than any other, so we love a good Italian wine list.
There are two dishes that are mentioned in every single review of Tosca I have read. They were both on the Prix-fixe menu, so of course I ordered both! The first was a carrot flavored pappardelle, topped with a rabbit ragu and fresh thyme. The idea is really cute (rabbit, carrots...), and the execution was wonderful. Big, soft pasta noodles smothered in a rich and comforting ragu, with just a hint of freshness from the thyme. This was my favorite dish of the night. The second course was a ravioli dish with a roasted veal, prosciutto, and pistachio mortadella filling, topped with a red wine reduction sauce with sage. This dish was very good as well, but having two hearty pasta dishes in a row did not allow for much differentiation. Jasper, who had a caprese salad as his first dish, loved it. We ordered a cheese plate for dessert - four cheeses selected by the chef with a few accompaniments. Overall - the pre-theater menu is a great deal, I will definitely return and I would order that carrot pappardelle any time.