Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Todd English's Olives (Las Vegas Strip)

Located in the Bellagio, I've passed this restaurant on more than one occasion. It is ALWAYS crowded. Being an olive lover, I heard about the complimentary olive/olive tapenade that comes with the bread, and surely had to make a reservation ASAP!

Beware, just like all the 5 star restaurants on the strip, Olives was just as expensive. You'll need to spare some of that gambling money for your meal here.

What also left me sour was how the hostess made me feel while making our reservation. We were walking through Bellagio earlier that day, and my BFF, Nick and I decided to make a reservation for that night. Having just hopped off the plane a couple hours before, I didn't think I had dressed that poorly. Apparently the hostess thought I did, and looked me up and down to her dismay. I had read many reviews on Yelp stating how the restaurant was rude or very highfalutin, and understood immediately what these Yelpers were talking about.

I was relieved though, when we went back for dinner, and our waitress was very pleasant and checked on us often.

While I did enjoy the food and the service was decent, I expected a lot more for the price. Having just dined at Arancino in Honolulu, I expected this place to WOW me. After ordering a bottle of Silverado Merlot, we ordered their signature items- Fig and Prosciutto Flatbread, Butternut Squash Tortelli and their Ricotta Ravioli.

The flatbread was crispy and light, but the figs and the fruit jam that was lathered on made the whole pizza just way too sweet for me. I ended up eating the prosciutto off the last 3 pieces that were left. As for their Butternut Squash Tortelli, here's another sweet, sweet dish, that almost seemed like it should be made for dessert! Nick only had one piece, and declared it way too sweet for his liking. I did enjoy the fact that it was stuffed with lots of butternut squash, though. And lastly, Nick's Ricotta Ravioli; another mediocre dish.

What really stood out to me was their bread basket filled with a variety of different breads- cheese lavosh, focaccia, and this bread roll filled with what seemed like raisins (who knows, it was so dark in there I could hardly tell what I was eating!), which was my absolute favorite.

All in all, we had a fun time drinking that whole bottle of Merlot, and walked out happy campers. REALLY HAPPY. haha ;)

Complimentary Olives and Olive Tapenade

A selection of different breads for the Olives

Fig and Prosciutto Flatbread

Ricotta Ravioli

Butternut Squash Tortelli

Filled with a hefty amount of butternut squash

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thankful for Vegas 2011

Yep, that's right, we had our traditional Thanksgiving Holiday in Vegas once again! And yep, I guess that means we are thankful for Vegas. Haha ;) Thankful for the plentiful food, the family and friends we spend Thanksgiving with, and of course, the "plentiful" money. That's of course, IF we win! But really, we love Vegas- the excitement, the lights, the extravagance, the riskyness, and all that it brings. To us "Hawaii"ans, Vegas is in our blood!

Stay tuned for my post on Todd English's Olives Restaurant at Bellagio!

Bye Bye Hawaii!

Hello, Bellagio Conservatory!

Bellagio Cafe Fruit Bowl- always a winner. So sweet.

Bellagio Cafe French Onion Soup. The most cheese in an Onion Soup I've ever had.

Lobster Omelette- tomatoes, mozzarella, asparagus and Lobster.

Dad's Salmon Burger, piled extra high!


These boots were made for walkin' Vegas. Thanks Steve Madden!

Don't worry, it's just a key chain. Although, to all you men out there, I wouldn't mind one this gigantic.

Mikinola blouse, BDG jeans, SM boots

Thanksgiving Champagne Lunch/Dinner!

Pumpkin and Butterfinger ice cream scoops, Citrus Cheesecake.

Alaskan King Crab Legs!

So happy after some Black Friday shopping!

MUST GO- Gold Coast's Ping Pang Pong Restaurant. Where all the locals go for GREAT Chinese food. These Garlic String Beans are a winner.

Fish Hot Pot. Bubbly and tender fish.

MY personal favorite- Stuffed Fried Tofu. Simple yet crispy!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Baked Brie

During the holiday season, Baked Brie seems like one of most festive appetizers to serve. While walking around Costco with Dad one day, one of the samples was this super easy heat-and-serve Baked Brie. And did I mention how delicious it is?! I first had Baked Brie from Brasserie Du Vin, and tried to make my own, but it certainly did not compare. Costco's is less than $10 and so easy to prepare! Just place it on a baking pan, preheat oven to 350 and stick it in for 20-25 minutes. The chutney-like fruits and almonds on top are amazingly sweet and gooey! Whoever thought of this amazing combo of fruits and cheese?!!?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Raspberry Lemon Drops

If you need a drink to go with these delicious pupus at Ichiriki Loft, try their Raspberry Lemon Drop! This one, though, is a "silent killer." It is so easy to drink 3-4 of these!

Bamboo Sky Willow and Clay sweater, F21 skirt, Steve Madden boots

Monday, November 21, 2011

Arancino on Beachwalk

This has to be one of my new favorite Italian restaurants here in Hawaii! What a great place. I just wish they made one for the locals, that isn't tucked away in Waikiki. Arancino on Beachwalk is the original location, but they also have a second restaurant, Arancino Di Mare, by the Marriot at the other end of Waikiki. Why two Arancino's in Waikiki!?!? Couldn't you have moved one to East Honolulu?! Pretty please?

Anyway, I honestly wish I had tried this place sooner. There are so many other menu items that I'd really like to try. I hear from friends that their Tiramisu is amazing, as well as their Risotto. And their Pizzas! We saw a lot of tables ordering pizzas, and they looked delicious, with lots of different unique toppings and a thin, crispy crust. Some other interesting things? What looked like Fondue was actually Bagna Cauda, an anchovy, garlic and olive oil dip served with fresh slices of veggies. Everyone was ordering it! I also saw Lobster Bisque on the menu that I'm curious about, as I am the clams served in a white wine garlic sauce. Oh, and don't let me forget the Tobiko and Calamari Pasta! So many things to try! Can't wait to go back soon. Ooh, and for all you that like your Uni Pasta, they have that here!

Another thing I was impressed with was their Limoncello Tonic cocktail. What a simple, but delicious drink! It's sort of a sweeter lemon-y fizzy drink, and tastes like there's no alcohol in it whatsoever. Be careful though, these are the kind of drinks where you can drink many of them, but then you stand up, and you can definitely feel the buzz. We call this a "silent killer." ;)

Some tips when dining at Arancino:
1. Make reservations- Call ahead, but realize that they only take reservations from 5-6pm. It's worth it though. When we left, there were tons of people outside waiting.
2. Corkage is $15 a bottle
3. Parking is in the Bank of Hawaii building, right after you see the 7-11 on your left. It's just $1 if you get it validated in Arancino!
4. Lunch Specials- you get a salad or soup, 4 choices of pizza or pasta and a drink. If you're a local, ask for the Kama'aina discount, and the Manager said it should come out to about $10 for everything. Such a deal! The Tobiko and Calamari pasta is one of the choices! I'm coming back for lunch.
5. The Arancino Di Mare at the Marriot is bigger and has open-air seating. They also have a larger menu with more meat options, like Osso Bucco. The Arancino we went to seemed to be more focused on Seafood. That's ok with me though!!

Limoncello Tonic

The bread was served hot and very soft!

Caesar Salad with anchovies! YUM!

Meatballs for Dad

Linguine Ai Gamberetti- Linguine with Black Tiger Shrimp and Arugula in Tomato Sauce

Can't wait to try their Gnocchi too! Not too many places here in Hawaii make it fresh.

The outside of the restaurant when we left. Very crowded.

Build a Bear store with a real-life bear! These kids were so cute kissing and hugging the bear. Adorable.

This entire outfit is pretty much Bamboo Sky from the top to the cardigan (Ladakh, first seen here) to the skort (vintage Bsky) and even the necklace! Love them!