Travel Post: Exploring Gluttony in Sin City

10:10 PM



I am a regular visitor to the city of Las Vegas, Nevada. I attended college in Southern California where the drive to Vegas was only a few hours. As a result, weekend trips to Vegas were frequent and often in between. I know the Vegas strip like the back of my hand. In fact, I went so often that bouncers at some clubs recognized me!


And contrary to what I initially believed, moving back to Northern California has not impeded my trips to Vegas. Thanks to the Southwest Rewards Premier Credit Card, I am able to easily accumulate Rapid Reward points to fund my travel. (Sign up for the card here!) 

Part of the reason I love Las Vegas so much is that it feels like a new experience every time - maybe because I don't remember most nights? ;) But in any case, there are a plethora of things to do in Vegas: casinos, shopping, shows (I HIGHLY recommend the Boyz 2 Men show at the Mirage hotel!) and most importantly - food!
In addition to the Michelin-acclaimed, fancy pants restaurants, there are some great spots on and off the Strip. 

I had the chance to dine at some praise-worthy places during my Sin City visit this past weekend. Click below the fold to see where!

1. Monta Ramen (website)








I am a huge ramen fan. I enjoy trying ramen wherever I am able: San Diego, the Bay Area, New York, and now Las Vegas.  I would not have thought it, but Monta Ramen actually serves one of the best ramen I've ever had at a ramen shop. It's tasty and fairly cheap for the quality. So it is no surprise that there is always a long line when I visit.

Their broth is extremely savory and exhibits great depth. You can really taste all the ingredients that went into making such a wonderful base. The noodles are on point - tender, thick and wavy, just the way I like them. They also serve the thin ramen noodles too. As for the pork - thin, buttery, and melts in your mouth!

One of my favorite components in a ramen bowl is the egg. At $1.50 as an add on item at Monta Ramen, it's definitely worth it! The egg is cooked perfectly here. The egg yolk is cooked so perfectly, that when bitten into, it explodes in a beautiful yellow and cascades into your spoon. Yum!

I've had the Tonkatsu Ramen with black garlic oil, and the miso ramen on separate occassions. Both were fantastic. All my friend's broths were great too; they had the Shoyu and Spicy Tonkatsu ramens. One note I will mention is that the Spicy Tonkatsu can be overpowering after a while.

I am almost hesitant to write about this place because then the line might just become that much longer! It doesn't hurt that ramen is a great hangover food. 

2. Snowflake Shavery (yelp)





Across the plaza from Monta Ramen is a shaved snow dessert place. I've had shaved snow at Class 302 in Rowland Heights and Blockheads in LA, and this wasn't dissimilar. Shaved snow, for those of you who do not know, is a soft, fluffy dessert reminiscent of frozen yogurt. It is even more delicious with toppings - mochi, red bean, condensed milk, etc.


I purchased a small green tea shaved snow with a sweet condensed milk (free) and mochi ($.50).  I paid a little over $4 in total for my little bowl.



The girl who filled my bowl was generous with the mochi, but less so with the condensed milk. However, the green tea snow was so flavorful that I really didn't need the condensed milk. I enjoy eating shaved snow because though the portions typically look big, it is actually light on the stomach since it's mostly water based. This was a great dessert following the ramen.

(Also nearby on the strip: Bambu (Vietnamese drink dessert), subpar pho at Pho Kim Long, Lee's Deli, and a Chinese bakery)

Tip: Snowflake Shavery and Monta Ramen are a couple miles off the Strip, so it's easiest to drive unless you want to fork over the cab fare to get to these places.

3. Bobby's Burger Place (website)







Bobby's Burger Place recently opened less than a week ago in Vegas. It is located between the Cosmopolitan Hotel and Aria (tip: Pinkberry is next door). I was intrigued when I learned that the "Bobby" referred to Bobby Flay, and was curious to see how it compared to Gordon Ramsey's Burgr (Sidenote: I didn't particularly enjoy Burgr when I tried it; I find it overpriced and slow. Not sure what the 1-2 hour waits are about!)


BBP exemplifies everything a burger place should be about: reasonably priced, quick, and friendly. Burgers don't need to be complemented with fussy service. And for under $10 for a gourmet burger, BBP really delivers.



There was no wait at BBP, but I expect this to change once people start to take notice of this restaurant; it's only 1-2 weeks old! We sat ourselves at a booth with a number tag, and our food came out pretty quickly. Several employees stopped by to check up on us, showcasing really great service.

Our food was delicious. The patty was juicy and cooked perfectly to the medium rare I requested. BBP offers the free option to "crunchify" your burger, and I elected to add this to our burgers. It's essentially adding a pile of chips to the burger, and really adds a great crunch to the burger.









I ordered the Brunch Burger (fried egg and bacon, asked for cheese on the side) and my companion got the Canadian Burger (Canadian bacon with maple mustard sauce and white cheddar cheese). Both burgers came with a huge pickle on the side.

At the booth, there were a variety of sauces - burger sauce, chipotle ketchup sauce, honey mustard, jalapeño...I tried them all, and my favorites to accompany my burger was the chipotle ketchup and the burger sauce.





Customer service was prompt and took our plates away once we were done. BBP definitely ranks higher than Burgr in my book, and I look forward to trying more of their burgers the next time I visit.



4. Secret Pizza (yelp)
Source: Secret Pizza Yelp page


In my humble opinion, the best post-partying food is pizza. It's greasy, savory, and nothing beats soaking up all the liquor in you than melted cheese and bread. 


Across from the Marquee Nightclub/Dayclub is Secret Pizza. It's tucked away into a little corner, so you would not know of its existance other than by its constantly long lines. At $5 a slice, it's a bit of a splurge for pizza, but so very worth it when your poor feet are worn out from being cramped into heels on the dance floor.

And maybe, if I'm very honest, the pizza itself is not spectacular if you ate it sober. But when I'm hungry, tired, and drunk - I'm all for it! Plus, it's open until the wee hours of the morning.


Tip: If you go around 12:00 - 1 am, there is no line!

Other 24/7 places to go to on the strip - various McDonald's, Earl of Sandwich.



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On the drive back from Las Vegas, we stopped by two places in Tustin, CA that I feel merits some recognition.

1. Full Moon Sushi (yelp)






Full Moon Sushi's Poke bowl = amazing! At under $9 a bowl (prices are cheaper during lunch hours), this is a great deal. They top the bowl with fresh tuna and salmon sashimi on a bed of japanese rice.






2. Cream Pan (yelp)



SHUT THE FRONT DOOR, Strawberry Croissants?! Let me tell you - the croissants here are life changing. I almost cried tears of happiness when I bit into this for the first time. The crust is crispy, flakey, and buttery. The custard filling is creamy and smooth, and the strawberry flavor really brings it all together. My wish in life might be to have a unlimited supply of Strawberry Croissants to stuff in my face at my whim.



And that concludes my Vegas (and Orange County) food recommendations. Have you, or will you, try any of the above?

-Mina


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