31 Jul 2009 09:20 am

For those who want the best of everything, two destinations come to mind: Las Vegas and South Florida, where decadence is served in spades. Although the best hotels serve food and drink poolside nationwide, the best hotels in Vegas and South Florida do so with a unique five-star flair, serving incredible food prepared by celebrity chefs within the most spectacular settings. TravelsinTaste.com has searched for — and found — the best poolside dining both cities have to offer, where you can sit in cabanas, enjoy massages and sample meals cooked by celebrity chefs that are delivered with a perfectly chilled glass of champagne without you having to lift even a finger. Here’s where to reserve your cabana and your next first-class meal.

 

Vegas:

Azure

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Newly opened Azure at the Palazzo offers the ultimate in luxury pools. Reminiscent of the French Riviera, yet situated on the Vegas Strip, Azure offers an abundance of luxury accoutrements, including complimentary fresh fruit, beverages, ice towels, Evian mistings and fine cuisine samplings. Entertainment includes music, models and fashion shows — all poolside. For a fee, one can indulge in champagne and a massage. In your lounge, daybed or cabana you can treat yourself to some of Wolfgang Puck’s tantalizing creations, such as smoked salmon pizza with black caviar, Maine lobster salad, or tuna and salmon “crudo,” all served with specialty cocktails, wine, bottles of premium liquors like Absolut and Jack Daniels, or magnums of premium champagne. For those watching their waistline, Canyon Ranch’s delectable yet healthy offerings are available.

 

Palms Place

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With dramatic views of Red Rock Canyon in the background and the pool at your feet, you can savor “Rock ‘n’ Roll Chef” Kerry Simon’s inspired creations at Palms Place. Since beginning his career at the CIA in Hyde Park, Chef Simon’s graced some of Manhattan’s most legendary kitchens, including La Cote Basque, Lutece and Jean George Vongerichten’s Mercer Kitchen. At Palms Place you can dine on his savory courses either in your cabana or poolside, either after your spa treatments or before your dip in the pool. For a taste of luxury beach cuisine, try the grilled steak sliders from the winner of The Food Network’s “Iron Chef America” (assisted by Kim Canteenwalla, executive chef of Society Cafe Encore, Chef Simon out-cooked Cat Cora in “Battle Hamburger”!).

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Wynn / Encore

Wynn’s impressive resorts include such indulgent cabana amenities as massages, bottle service, morning yoga, lily pad and Euro bed rentals in addition to scrumptious fine cuisine, such as ahi tuna tartar and other delicacies,  prepared by culinary luminaries Mark LoRusso (Encore), formerly of Tableau and Aqua, and David Speros (Wynn), formerly of the Ritz Carlton Naples.

South Florida:

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Palm Beach’s Omphoy Ocean Resort

Opening Aug. 15, the Omphoy Ocean Resort — South Florida’s only beachfront boutique hotel north of South Beach — will showcase the clean Mediterranean flavors of James Beard Award-winning and Five Diamond Chef Michelle Bernstein, who’s trained under Jean Louis Palladin and Eric Ripert. If you’re longing for a meal on the beach or at the pool, your own personal waiter will attend to your desires breakfast, lunch or dinner. Chef Bernstein’s signature cuisine focusing on Mediterranean flavors will be delivered from MB Terrace to your lips while you take in breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean. If you’re lucky, those flavors might even include sweet onions, as Chef Bernstein won “Battle Sweet Onion” against Bobby Flay on Food Network’s “Iron Chef America.”

 

Ritz Carlton South Beach

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Since joining DiLido Beach Club, Season Five Top Chef Contender Jeff McInnis has been traveling, studying the food, techniques and cultures of North Africa and Europe. The Johnson and Wales University graduate creates cuisine that’s influenced by these regions and served right on the beach. Alternately, a cabana or daybed by the pool includes complimentary champagne, water and fruit, as well as the option to order from DiLido’s menu, which includes such delicious dishes as seared haloumi cheese and whole grilled lobster.


31 Jul 2009 06:01 am

MARCHÉ BACCHUS FRENCH BISTRO & WINE MARKET PROVIDES GUESTS AN ALLURING ASSORTMENT OF SUMMER SPECIALS TO BEAT THE HEAT

Marché Mondays

With one of the best wine programs in the city, Marché Bacchus is extending further savings on Mondays, with an extra 10% off of wine purchased in the wine shop.  Guests dining in the restaurant can enjoy a delicious dinner paired with great wine, as all bottles are priced $10 off on Mondays.  Live music lakeside under the stars by Flamenco Jazz Guitarist Dirk K from 6pm-9pm rounds out this incredible start to the week.

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Live Jazz Wednesdays & Fridays

Enjoy live entertainment every Wednesday and Friday night from 6pm-9pm lakeside under the stars with an array of talented saxophone musicians including Martin Mancuso and Tommy Alvarado of The Wayne Brady show.  The lakeside terrace seating is complete with umbrellas, comfortable chairs and beautiful views, along with a Koolfog cooling system that lowers Summer temperatures by 15-20 degrees. 

 

Marché Thursdays

Start your weekend early at Marché Bacchus with a complimentary glass of champagne with your dinner every Thursday night from 5:30pm-9:30pm (one glass of Champagne per person, per entrée ordered).

 

Free Wine Tasting Saturdays

Marché Bacchus offers free wine tastings of highly-rated wines from around the world every Saturday from 11:30am-1:30pm.  Recently named the Best Wine Shop in Las Vegas, these complimentary tastings are a great way to experience new and quality wines.

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Sangria & Small Plates Sundays

Marché Bacchus has recently introduced Sangria & Small Plates Sundays from 6pm-9pm, featuring a variety of dishes and Sangria created by Executive Chef Jean Paul Labadie.  This taste of Spain is complemented with live music from Flamenco Jazz Guitarist Dirk K.  The small plates menu changes every Sunday, with selections such as seared hamachi sashimi on sautéed mushrooms and spinach with soy pearls; lobster, arugula and hearts of palm salad in a truffle vinaigrette and Osetra caviar; deep-fried truffle crab cakes with heirloom tomatoes, grilled radicchio and arugula pesto; pan-roasted veal sweetbread on mushrooms, pancetta and haricot vert with roasted shallot reduction; and foie gras torchon and duck breast served on brioche toast with fig jam, onion sioubise and toasted almonds.  Chef Labadie’s red Sangria recipe is inspired by his native Puerto Rico and made in-house with fresh fruit.


29 Jul 2009 06:21 am

Here’s a Taste…

Michael Jordan’s is not your typical steakhouse, and Michael Jordan was not your typical basketball player. Owned by the Glazier Group, which is not your typical restaurateur, this restaurant has the perfect combination of prestige and pizzazz, with all the razzle-dazzle of a Tiffany diamond. Set inside a national landmark with dramatic views of Grand Central Terminal, Michael Jordan’s has it all, including dramatic lighting, exceptional and seamless service, creative cuisine and an established reputation. In fact, because it’s been around since 1998, the restaurant has more than a decade of experience under its belt, which makes for a truly seasoned dining experience. For steaks, seafood, a light bite or even a drink at the bar, Michael Jordan’s is the perfect place to take a break from your busy day while you sit back and watch the world pass by….read more

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A little about the space…

Grand Central Terminal — “crossroads of a million private lives,” as the opening to the old radio show Grand Central Station aptly used to say — has lived just as many private lives as it has hosted. The first Grand Central, which was erected in October 1871 on property that Cornelius Vanderbilt purchased two years previously, rivaled both the Eiffel Tower and Crystal Palace as the most dramatic engineering achievement of the 19th century. There have been multiple landmarks achieved since then, including the electrification of the terminal as the steam locomotive era was drawing to a close. Fast forward to 1967, when New York City’s Landmarks Preservation Commission designated Grand Central Terminal as a landmark. The following year it was leased to UGP Properties, which proposed building new office towers above the space, which would mean demolishing a portion of the terminal. Lawsuits ensued and city leaders prevailed. Among them: Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, whose support and constant pressure ultimately helped Grand Central Terminal achieve status as a National Historic Landmark. A $425 million renovation commenced in 1996 and culminated in a rededication celebration on Oct. 1, 1998. Located on the north and west balconies of this terminal now lies one of the rededicated terminal’s five premiere restaurants: Michael Jordan’s The Steak House N.Y.C….read more

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Read the menu….

Executive Chef Michael Vignola may be new to Michael Jordan’s The Steak House N.Y.C., but he is no stranger to exquisite cuisine. Chef Vignola has quite the pedigree — and he’s come full circle. A self-taught steakhouse chef with a passion for seafood, he has worked for some of the world’s best steak and seafood chefs. He’s worked under Eric Ripert at Le Bernardin, for instance, under Brian Bistron at Citarella, under David Walzog at Monkey Bar, under Marcus Samuelsson at Aquavit and under Gabriel Kreuther at The Modern. He’s also been with the Glazier Group for eight years, however — first at Monkey Bar and then at Strip House, under Executive Chef John Schenk. Interestingly enough, Chef Schenk hired Chef Vignola at Clementine, back in Chef Vignola’s blue-haired punk days! By 2006, Chef Vignola had become executive chef de cuisine for Strip House, opening restaurants in several markets as part of the Glazier Group’s finely tuned expansion plan….read more

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Learn about the appealing highlights…

A restaurant in Grand Central Terminal must be dark, dingy and loud, right? Wrong on all counts. Dark? Michael Jordan’s The Steak House N.Y.C. has some of the most spectacular lighting in New York City thanks to skylights and arched windows throughout the main terminal, which let in plenty of natural light. Dingy? Grand Central Terminal received an entire overhaul in 1996 and is spectacularly taken care of due to its status as a national landmark. Rather than dingy, it’s delightful. From here you can see everything: the opal clock above the information booth, the people scurrying for their trains and your favorite constellation in the meticulously restored celestial ceiling overhead. Loud? Absolutely not! No music plays…read more

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See how it rates in comfort….

>Michael Jordan’s The Steak House N.Y.C. is not your typical celebrity-named steakhouse. There’s no beer spilling on the bar, no basketball hoops, and no raucous sports bar atmosphere. If the game happens to be playing, it will be featured only on the one television at the back of the bar. It doesn’t interfere with your dining experience. This restaurant is simply an elegant, fashionable setting in a landmark space — with cuisine to match. If you’d like to know a little more about what to expect, how to dress and where to get the best seat before you arrive ….read more


27 Jul 2009 07:50 pm

Even the most dedicated foodie needs time off once in a while between meals.  It’s an exhausting life after all -deciding where to eat, negotiating for the perfect table, poring over menus, agonizing over wine pairings - only the strong survive.  It’s important to give those weary taste buds a rest now and then.  So as you take a break this summer, at the beach or by the pool, here are a few foodie book suggestions to pass the time. 

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“Finger Lickin’ Fifteen”, by Janet Evanovich

“Finger Lickin’ Fifteen” is the latest novel from publishing power house Janet Evanovich.  I found the fact that the story centered on the murder of a celebrity chef somewhat intriguing, so I picked it up last week and gave it a go.  As it turns out, “Finger Lickin’ Fifteen” is a great read, but unless you count some very bizarre barbecue sauce incidents and a maniac who murders with a butcher knife, it really has nothing to do with cuisine.  Still I highly recommend it.  It’s a fast paced story, with plenty of intrigue, humor and romance to keep things moving.

Fine dining aficionados might enjoy trying to figure out the role model for the victim of this murder mystery, celebrity chef Stanley Chipotle, who meets his fate in the first few pages at the hands of a psychopath with a butcher knife.  Chipotle is a well known chef, famous for his barbecuing, his series of failed marriages, and his difficult relationship with the staff of his food channel TV show.  Hmm…..any ideas?  I know I have one in mind!  If you think you can solve the far-too-easy mystery of this celebrity chef’s identity, click on comments below and let me know - I’m sure my foodie readers will be spot-on with this one!

My Life in France”, by Julia Child with Alex Prud’homme

Before “My Life in France” came out in 2006, I must admit that most of what I knew about Julia Child came from that hysterical Saturday Night Live skit back in the ’70’s.  As it turns out, Julia Child, who in real life looked nothing like Dan Aykroyd, was the first to make French cuisine truly accessible to Americans.  Child was a fascinating woman who lived a life that would be the envy of any lover of food and fine dining.  This memoir covers her early adulthood in France, spent learning the intricacies of French cuisine, cataloguing recipes, experimenting in the kitchen, and developing her trademark no nonsense approach to enjoying the best in food.  With its sensual descriptions of the beauty of France, and the richness of its cuisine, “My Life in France” is an inspiration to sit back, slow down, and savor the best life has to offer. 

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“The Sweet Life in Paris: Delicious Adventures in the World’s Most Glorious - and Perplexing - City”, by David Lebovitz

You might recognize the name David Lebovitz from one of his successful cookbooks, like “The Great Book of Chocolate”, or “Room for Dessert”.  Unlike Julia Child, who moved to France and then decided it might be a good idea to learn how to cook, Lebovitz already knew his way around an éclair by the time he decided to move to Paris in mid life and get a fresh start. 

“The Sweet Life” is a humorous look at the life he encountered in France, and the bewildering manners and customs of the French people.  Part memoir, part cookbook, Lebovitz intersperses his light hearted stories of adapting to his new home with the recipes he collected from his Parisian neighbors and friends.  A thirteen year veteran of famed Bay Area restaurant Chez Panisse, and an accomplished pastry chef, Lebovitz also shares some recipes of his own making.  Each chapter includes a charming recipe from his explorations of the City of Light, such as the perfect chocolate cake from his neighbor across the street, which I can’t wait to try out, and the goat cheese salad that he enjoyed on his first day in this ‘glorious and perplexing’ city.

 

Happy reading, and bon appétit,

Rob Lubin


25 Jul 2009 10:34 am

Here’s a Taste…

In the heart of Manhattan’s Flatiron district lies the neighborhood’s newest addition, Aldea, a true Iberian restaurant with authentic flare. Every element of the restaurant — which was designed by Stephanie Goto, who also designed the restaurant Corton — is well thought out, from the blue tints that are reminiscent of the air and sea to the bamboo and curly wood that decorate the recessed walls. The lighting is spectacular and the open kitchen, which has plenty of intimate seating, is truly dinner with a show. The real star, however, is Executive Chef and Owner George Mendes’ superior cuisine. An alumnus of some of the world’s best kitchens — including New York’s Bouley, France’s Ducasse and Spain’s Berasategui — Mendes prepares a seasonal menu that is compact but varied, and Mom always said good things come in small packages. She’s right: Here, in addition to the normal menu, you’ve got small bites and charcuterie, all changing seasonally and all bringing unique flavors to your palate. Each plate is more avant-garde and creative than the next. Whether you’re eating a full meal or grabbing a light bite with a glass of vino from the unique list of global wines, Aldea should be first on your list!…read more

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A little about the space…

Located in Manhattan’s fashionable Flatiron district, a neighborhood with abundant restaurant choices, lies an exquisite gem of a restaurant, Aldea, which loosely translates as “village” in Portuguese. Situated midway between Fifth and Sixth Avenues on Seventeenth Street, the restaurant has an elegant yet unassuming exterior that’s comprised of two stories of etched glass windows. Between the two stories, “ALDEA” is elegantly emblazoned in blue and white against a backlit concrete frame. Nothing flashy. Just simple, understated elegance. The name of the neighborhood…read more

 Read the menu….

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Executive Chef George Mendes pays homage to his Iberian heritage with Aldea. A first generation American born to Portuguese parents, he has graced the kitchens of some of the world’s best chefs, including David Bouley, Alain Passard, Alain Ducasse, Sandro Gamba, Roger Verge and Martin Berasategui. The minute you taste his cuisine, you’ll see that his inspiration has been elevated every step of the way. His journey started at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park. After graduation he met his mentor, Chef David Bouley,…read more

Learn about the Appealing Highlights…

Aldea’s lighting is some of the most unusual we’ve seen. Two chandeliers decorate the restaurant; one illuminates the bar and the other the chef’s tables. The chandelier over the bar is a long, rectilinear structure that follows the line of the bar and is suspended from the ceiling by a series of long, thin chrome filaments. The more unique chandelier is the one that provides cascading light over the chef’s tables. It is especially exquisite. Although both chandeliers were designed by Stephanie Goto,…read more

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See how it rates in comfort….

Aldea is a gem of a restaurant with a number of distinctly different dining options. If you want to maneuver the waters of this Iberian paradise without fail, continue reading below to figure out where you’d like to sit, how to make a reservation, what to wear and more….read more

 

Read about our meal with the chef…

TravelsinTaste.com recently made our way to Manhattan’s Flatiron district, which is home to one of New York’s hottest new restaurants, Aldea. We decided we simply had to try its Iberian specialties and we were lucky enough to do so in the company of Executive Chef George Mendes, who is a disciple of David Bouley and Alain Ducasse, among many other notable chefs. When we arrived we were taken to a table overlooking the open kitchen. Shortly thereafter Chef Mendes was able to join us…read more


24 Jul 2009 08:16 am

Strawberries. Apples. Bananas. Americans’ favorite fruits are fine in a pie, in a fruit salad or atop your morning cereal. If you’re like most people, though, you occasionally crave a more fantastic fruit. Something a little bit different. A little more exotic. But not too different. When you do, the mango is the perfect snack.

Native to southeast Asia - where they’re are as everyday as apples and oranges are in the United States - mangos are a fruit that’s at once familiar and foreign to the average American, who’s likely to have tasted a mango but never actually bought one. If that describes you, you’re missing out.

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Although mangos are grown in limited supply in California, Florida and Hawaii, the United States gets most of its mangos from Mexico, Puerto Rico and Central and South America, including Peru, Ecuador, Brazil, Guatemala and Haiti. Just as diverse as the countries that export them are the mangos themselves, which can be yellow, orange, red, green or any combination thereof, and either soft and pulpy or firm and fibrous, depending on the variety.

No matter the size, color or texture, however, all mangos have at least one thing in common: their unique and delicious fruity flavor, which lends itself equally to sweet and savory dishes. You can snack on mangos raw, for instance, atop ice cream for dessert, or serve them diced in a salsa or chutney with meat or fish for your main course.

No matter how you eat them, you’ll be eating something that’s both nutritious - mangos are especially high in fiber and vitamin C - and interesting, as mangos have a long and storied history. Known as “the king of fruit,” they grow on tall evergreen trees that are considered sacred in India, where some believe mango trees can grant wishes (Buddha himself was said to have meditated beneath a mango tree) and where Hindus use mango twigs to brush their teeth on holy days and mango leaves to celebrate childbirth.

Of course, you don’t have to hold mangos sacred to enjoy them. You just have to be adventurous enough to pick one up at the supermarket. When you do, look for mangos that are slightly soft to the touch - like a ripe peach - and that emit a full, fruity aroma from the stem end of the fruit. When you get it home, cut a “cheek” from each side of the fruit, leaving behind one slice - the inedible core - from the middle. Score the fruit inside each cheek, being careful not to cut through the skin, then turn the whole mango half inside-out in order to reveal a series of mango cubes that you can slice off the skin with a knife.

Although it sounds like a lot of work compared to eating an apple, the sweet snack - familiar, yet foreign - is well worth the extra effort.


23 Jul 2009 01:46 pm

NEW SUMMER LITE ENTREE SALADS AT CHARLIE PALMER STEAK (LAS VEGAS)

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SAUTEED HAWAIIAN BLUE PRAWNS

MIZUNA GREENS / SWEET CORN / SALSA VERDE

$22

 

OVEN ROASTED CALIFORNIA SEA BASS

ORGANIC WATERCRESS SALAD / PIXIE TANGERINE VINAIGRETTE

$24

 

CHARCOAL GRILLED URUGUAYAN FLAT IRON STEAK

ROMAINE / SWEET PEPPERS / CHIMICHURRI

$25

 

BISON STRIP LOIN

BABY SPINACH / APRICOT MOSTARDA

$24

 

HERB MARINATED QUAIL

WILD ARUGULA SALAD / PETIT HEIRLOOM TOMATOES

$23

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 HOT SUMMER NIGHTS / COOL SUMMER WINES

SELECT FROM THEIR NEW SUMMER LITE WINE LIST FEATURING A VAST

SELECTION OF BOUTIQUE, ADVENTUROUS WINES FROM AROUND THE WORLD

$38 - $65

 ________________________________________________________________

FOR DINNER RESERVATIONS PLEASE CALL 702.632.5120

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON CHARLIE PALMER STEAK AND OTHER FABULOUS DINING DESTINATIONS VISIT WWW.TRAVELSINTASTE.COM


22 Jul 2009 05:35 am

The Miami International Wine Fair is fast approaching and TravelsinTaste.com has secured a special deal for our loyal readers!  15% off tickets!  This includes discounts to any of the special wine and food pairing dinners and connoisseur seminar programs!  Tickets can be purchased on www.miamiwinefair.com or by calling 877-577-WINE.  Use discount code TRAVEL to get your 15% off!  Cheers and Enjoy!

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 The 8th Annual Miami International Wine Fair, to be held September 26-27, 2009 at the Miami Beach Convention Center, is one of the largest wine tradeshows in America, featuring over 85,000 sq ft (~8,000 m2) of exhibit space with nearly 500 producers showcasing more than 1,500 wines from 20 countries. Hundreds of renowned importers, distributors and retailers participate every year in the Fair’s innovative Buyers Program that guarantees exhibitors meetings with relevant potential buyers from all 50 states, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. Over 2,000 meetings will be scheduled in the 2009 edition, generating estimated sales of over 500,000 cases of wine.

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20 Jul 2009 05:15 am

Experience the 3-course prix fixe menu at Andre’s Restaurant & Lounge at Monte Carlo & Alizé at the Top of the Palms. Entrée’s include a 10oz Prime Ribeye, Free-Range Chicken and Sautéed Salmon; this menu will be offered between 5:30pm - 7:00pm and again at 9:00pm - 10:00pm for $45.00 per person.

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From the 56th floor a top the Palms tower, Alizé boasts a nearly 280-degree panoramic view of the Las Vegas Strip from 16 foot floor-to-ceiling windows.

Andre’s at Monte Carlo now has a new sexy, luxurious and modern urban feel. Considered the first Las Vegas celebrity chef, André Rochat has enhanced his AAA Four Diamond restaurant by combining its original old-world charm with a modern twist to create a warm, welcoming atmosphere.

For reservations to Andre’s Restaurant & Lounge at Monte Carlo please call 702.798.7151 or you can make them on-line at your convenience; and for reservations to Alizé at the Top of the Palms please call 702.951.7000 or you can make them on-line. 

**Prix Fixe Offer Not Valid with Other Promotional Offers.**

For more Vegas Value Menus click here!


17 Jul 2009 09:35 am

FIRST Food & Bar Announces Sunday Brunch Featuring Champagne Fountain, Live DJ Performance and Extensive Selection of First Favorites

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WHO:

FIRST Food & Bar - the hip, yet comfortable restaurant and lounge is set in the heart of the Las Vegas Strip.

 

WHAT:

Now open serving Sunday Brunch featuring an extensive selection of American eats from FIRST’s menu in addition to a champagne fountain and live DJ performance starting at just $12.90.

 

Brunch selections include items such as:

  • Lucky Strike Omelet - with ham, gruyere, melted shallots and thyme
  • Midwest Killer - Sunnyside up eggs over Kentucky fried pork chop, creamy grits, homemade biscuit and gravy
  • Peppers & Eggs “Sam” Wich - served on a Kaiser roll with potatoes
  • Brioche French Toast
  • Mc Douggie - Donut, bacon and eggs
  • Two-Fisted BLTA - a twist on a BLT with avocado, Chipolte mayo and onion rings
  • Champagne Fountain - Additions include fresh strawberry, peach or orange purees and juices to pair with a glass of champagne

 WHEN:

Sunday -9am until 4pm

Live DJ set from 11:30am - 3:30pm

COST:

Sunday Brunch at FIRST Food & Bar has offerings starting at just $12.90, unlimited champagne fountain $7

WHERE:

Inside The Shoppes at the Palazzo

3327 Las Vegas Blvd. South #2812

Second floor; access next to Barneys New York

Additional entrance from the Las Vegas Strip

For our interview with Chef Sam DeMarco click here!


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Travels In Taste is a website devoted to gourmet food. We want to provide you, the diner, with the most comprehensive and objective information on the Web about the world's most talked-about dining experiences so that you can make your informed decisions.
Rob Lubin
Matt Alderton

Susannah Kopecky

Jarrett Melendez
TravelsinTaste Staff
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