Tag : where-to-travel

Travel | Decoded – Las Vegas Vanilla Edition

What pops into your mind when you think of Las Vegas? I’m thinking probably casinos, shopping malls, and clubs? After college, I’ve been visiting Las Vegas to get away from the cold and its delicious food, amazing entertainment, and pretty things.IMG_20140312_062722

This time, we stayed at Vdara Spa and Hotel, which turned out to be an excellent choice. Vdara does not have house a casino and is relatively tucked away with its valet only parking service. We stayed at the 40th floor with a perfect view of Bellagio and a little bit of the fountain.PhotoGrid_1397062491398The first place we tackled after arriving early in the morning is Hash House a Go Go at The Quad. It is in the middle of the casino floor and accessible by its exclusive escalator. Its dish was featured on Man vs Food and thus I had to try it. The line was quite long even at 10:30am, but after 30 min wait, we were in. When the famous Sage Fried Chicken & Waffles arrived, people around us kept asking to take photos of it because it was enormous.

Since we were super full, we went to The Cosmos (a partner hotel of Ritz-Carlton) and walked around and remembered a recommendation to try out the Secret Pizza Place. The place was not labeled and we were directed to the wrong floor. After wandering from the east tower to west tower and barging into employee resting area, we pored over the Yelp reviews to find that it was next to the Blue Ribbon Sushi on 3rd floor. Because it took us quite some time to find the place, now we are ready to down more food. It was delicious! Definitely recommend if you don’t have too much time and want to eat something quick.

PhotoGrid_1397060259059When we took the tram from Vdara to Bellagio, we saw an advertisement for Las Vegas restaurant week that actually fell on the week of our visit. For those who don’t know what restaurant week is, it’s basically a week where numerous restaurants come up with a 3 course lunch and/or dinner meal at a fixed price almost like prix fixe.

From the list, we chose Alizé at Palms, a one Michelin place and known as the restaurant with the best view. At 56th floor, seated at the corner, we had a breathtaking view of Las Vegas. The food was delicious (lighting was terrible for pictures, but the most important thing is in the experience, right?).

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The following morning, we headed over to Aria‘s Jean Philippe for breakfast. It was difficult deciding between all the mouth-watering selections of crepes, desserts, and pastries, so we ended up with the variety sandwiches and sweet trio. The chilled sandwiches was delicious, despite being chilled, the bread was still soft and chewy. The flavor was decadent with mustard seed, water cress and other gourmet ingredients. The sweet trio is also my favorite with the mini rose macarons, peanut butter lollipop and crème brûlée.

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For lunch, we drove off the strip to Bachi Burger and we were so glad we did. The must orders are oxtail chili fried, pork belly steam buns, truffle fries and their burgers. Since there were only two of us, we went with the pork belly steam buns, Kiki’s burger and Shogun burger with wagyu and fried egg. The steam buns were delicious, but Kiki’s is amazing! Angus beef with shitake, enoki, and eryngi mushroom, caramelized bacon and onion with sauce, who can resist?

PhotoGrid_1397058950096Then we head to the Las Vegas Strip and if you’ve never been, Coca Cola World and M&M World are must visits. At Coca Cola, try the 16 Coca Cola products around the world and believe me, try the Beverly then if you brave the whole cup, get the I tasted Beverly pin to show it.

At M&M world, watch the free 4-D movie, “I Lost My M In Vegas” at 3rd floor. It is silly but so cute. At the fourth floor, we bumped into the blue M&M and took a pic with him.PhotoGrid_1397059743342My favorite M&M products are actually the Leonardo Da Vinci, Van Gogh, Munch, etc inspired t-shirts. The idea is brilliant. PhotoGrid_1397053903534We had planned to watch Celine Dion that night at Caesars and settled with Mesa Grill owned by Bobby Flay for a pre-show dinner. Since it is located right next to the Colisseum, it was the perfect place to dine without having to rush. My favorite is the coffee rubbed filet mignon and the unexpectedly delicious corn tamales.

PhotoGrid_1397058525763We decided to check out the Fremont St Experience, the place that all tours visit, but out-shined by the Strip. Parking is not free at hotels near Fremont St, so be prepared to pay for street parking or parking garages. The place is run down, but it’s the other side of Las Vegas that everyone should experience. (Every night from 6pm to midnight, there is a light show on the strip. If you have a chance, check it out!)

We also ran into Mint 400 track racing inspection near the end of Fremont St. and saw a lot of really cool roadsters and off-road race cars.

PhotoGrid_1397058744204I’ve been wanting to visit the High Roller Ferris Wheel anticipating its opening this spring, but alas when we went, it is still not ready. However, I felt better after getting the tall spiked slushie that I’ve always wanted to get but never had the chance. (You can purchase ticket now by going here. There is high demand, so purchase ticket online.)PhotoGrid_1397059152280The one lobby that I visit every single time I go to Las Vegas is Bellagio. Their flower arrangement follows the season and is always so refreshing. I love how this time, it seemed as though we’ve shrank to the size of a bug walking in a glamorous garden.PhotoGrid_1397059273886And of course, before we fly out, we headed to Jean Philippe at Bellagio this time to get the rose macaron.

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My Recommendations

Food
Buffet
Bacchanal Buffet | Caesars
Wicked Spoon | The Cosmopolitan554571_1940186537796_1833001197_nThe Buffet at Aria (best for weekend brunch for crab legs and desserts by Jean Philippe)

539222_1940185937781_1471207798_nFine Dining
Alizé | Palms
Mesa Grill | Caesars

Fast Food
Bachi Burger | 470 E. Windmill Ln. Ste100
Secret Pizza Place | The Cosmopolitan

Desserts
Jean Philippe | Aria or Bellagio

Entertainment
Show
The O Show | Bellagio
Celine Dion | Caesars

Places to Visit
Shopping
The Shops at Crystals
The Fashion Mall (There is live fashion show on Fri, Sat, and Sun from 12pm-5pm every hour. Takes place near Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom)
Las Vegas Premium Outlets
Palazzo | The Venetian
Forum Shoppes | Caesars

Coca Cola World
M&M World
Fremont St Experience
High Roller | The Linq
Bellagio Garden Lobby

 

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Above: Aug 2013 Display | Below: View from Vdara Hotel Room

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Where do you visit when you go to Vegas?

Thanks for reading ^^
Patty

Categories: Travel

Travel | Happy Lantern Festival: Taiwan

It’s February 14th, Valentine’s Day, but it’s also the 15th day after the lunar new year making it the Lantern Festival. As the name suggests, it’s the day for lanterns. Every city in Taiwan, big and small, holds their own lantern displays professionally and locally made. One special city is selected to have the biggest display of lanterns and main light display. This year it is in Nantou’s ChungXin Village.

I was able to visit four different cities this time. If you have a chance around lunar new year, stay from Day 1 through the 15th and you’ll sure have a blast.

KaoHsiung City Love River (愛河)

Strolling down the river, welcomed by intricately designed lights and numerous booths with delicious treats, KaoHsiung welcomes you.DSC_0086-001ChungXin Village (中興新村)

I didn’t visit at night, but it was the biggest ever lantern display using over 20,000 LED lightbulbs.

chungxin VillageTaichung City (圓滿劇場)

The entire area was filled with people. It was quite impossible to navigate around. Good thing there is a amphitheater with a concert going on so there was space to rest.IMG_5786

Tainan City (月津港)

Instead of the common theme, horse, for the year of the horse, Tainan went with.. Jellyfish? With the water element at the bay, the light displays are quite impressive.

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Special Events

There are also two very special events on this special day. One in Northern Taiwan and the other in Southern Taiwan. Commonly referred to as “北天燈,南蜂炮” or “Northern Lanterns and Southern Firecracker”

In Pingxi, tens of thousands of people decorates their own lantern with their wishes and desire and sends it off for good luck.

平溪天燈Pingxifrom http://www.travelplayhard.com/

In Southern Taiwan, Yen Shui, the city is filled with firecrackers pointing toward the street for the fearless and the adventurous. It is recommended that you are fully armed before attempting to try this out.

鹽水蜂炮Tainanfrom http://timefortaiwan.tw/

Every year, Taiwan spends millions upon millions of dollar on this day. If you ever plan on visiting Taiwan, plan strategically and check the lunar calendar and you will experience Taiwan at its best (given that you tried out the food and toured around a bit that is).

 

Categories: Travel