Las Vegas Day 5 + 6

Technically, we didn’t stay in LV for Day 5 and only spent half of Day 6 there. Still, since it was where we started off and ended, I’ll label it like so!

X and I woke up early to pick up the rental car from the airport and then drove back to pick up S and M. We ended up with a slow start since there was a hot choco issue in the car. Our first stop was Boulder City to pick up some sandwiches for lunch and to have breakfast at World Famous Coffee Cup, which S found online.

They were featured on Diners, Dives, and Drive-Thru’s so we wanted to try it. I made my own omelet with mushrooms, cheese, and avocado. Every omelet comes with a side of toast and your choice of fruit, hash browns, or home fries. I, in an attempt to be healthier, went with fruit. End result? I couldn’t finish all of it! The waitresses were all super nice and I really enjoyed our breakfast.

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After breakfast, we made our way to the Hoover Dam. We arrived around 11:30am and brought tickets for the 12:00pm tour. We paid $30 for all three parts of the Dam – the dam tour, the plant tour, and the Visitor’s Center. You start off with a short video explaining the building of the Hoover Dam. Then you’re separated depending on the tour you’re going on. If you do the whole tour package, you’re first taken on a plant tour and then switched to another tour guide to do the dam tour.

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Both of our tour guides were nice, informative, and very professional. It does get a bit cramped in the dam part of the tour so if you’re prone to claustrophobia, you might want to reconsider doing that portion of the tour. It is really quite amazing that they were able to build the Hoover Dam in such a short time and without the same machinery that we have now. It’s definitely worth a visit – whether or not you’re a history buff or an architecture buff.

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Expect to spend about 2-3 hours and plan accordingly. I think we definitely didn’t plan enough time and ended up staying later than we thought we would.

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After the Hoover Dam, we swapped drivers for the drive to the Grand Canyon South Rim. M drove and S navigated while X and I took a nap. We swapped again a few hours later, so I got to experience riding shotgun while driving in the dark with no roadside lamps. I don’t think I’ve ever done this before, so it was a new experience! We arrived at about 6pm at the Maswik Lodge, our home for the night.

The plan was to get some sleep and wake up at 6am to catch the sunrise at the South Rim. End result – we got up at 6am to a floor full of snow!

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Las Vegas Day 4

In retrospect, it was probably not a good idea to have a ton of drinks, get back to the hotel at 12am, and then have to wake up at 4am to make a sunrise hot air balloon. Despite the fact that we complained the entire time, I think we all agreed at the end that it was well worth it.

We had brought Groupons with Vegas Balloon Rides and opted to do a sunrise ride instead of a midday ride. For those skeptical about buying a Groupon for this, don’t be! Redemption was super easy and everyone in the crew was super nice. You make your reservation and call the night before to confirm if the flight is going as scheduled. We had to meet at their office by 5:45am, which was a bit hard!

Once everyone has assembled, they drive you out to a lot where they blow up the balloon and then you’re off! Our pilot told us that this was their first flight in 15 days, so we felt very lucky indeed. We managed to get over the canyons, which was beautiful. It was a bit scary being up so high, but the view and the experience itself was so worth it!

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We ended our ride with champagne with the crew (none of them actually had any) and they even drove us back to our Strip hotel. We asked to be dropped off at the Cosmopolitan since we were planning to grab breakfast and then naps.

Breakfast was at Eggslut, which was recommended by a friend who had it in Los Angeles. Eggslut is a pretty popular new breakfast spot that specializes in egg dishes for breakfast.

I split the Fairfax Sandwich (cage-free soft scrambled eggs, cheddar cheese, and sriracha mayo in a warm brioche bun) and the Slut (cage-free coddled egg on top of a smooth potato puree, poached in a glass jar and topped with gray salt). To be honest, both were super delicious in their own way. It’s really hard to decide which one was better!

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The soft scrambled eggs in the Fairfax Sandwich were really soft and gooey – really hit the spot. But the Slut was also really good – the potato and egg mixed together very well and tasted great both on the toasted baguette and by itself.

Smorgasburg

The Boyfriend and I have been going to Smorgasburg for a few years now – we often make our annual trek to Williamsburg in June. This year, we opted to go early in May to try to beat the heat – and the crowd! We arrived around 12pm and the fair was still relatively empty. All the stands were already open so we strolled around and stopped when we found something that caught our eye.

The first stand that caught our attention was Rise & Swine, which serves breakfast bacon sandwiches. Rise & Swine cures, smokes and cooks bacon made exclusively from Heritage breed Pigs. We picked their Bacon, Egg and Cheese ($8.00) sandwich served on an English muffin. The sandwich comes with a fried egg, caramelized onions, cheddar cheese and jerk bacon. The bacon was really tasty (when is bacon not tasty??) and the onions and cheese really added a lot of flavor. But beware! The fried egg has a very gooey yoke that bursts the moment you bite into the sandwich!

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Our second stop was Big Mozz, which serves up freshly made mozzarella that’s craft on site! You can even stand by and watch as they stretch and roll the mozzarella balls! We opted for the Mozzarella Bomb ($7.00), a ball of mozzarella cheese injected with pesto and served over greens. This was one of my favorites of the day – the pesto was very flavorful and tasted amazing when mixed with the super fresh mozzarella and greens. I highly recommend a stop at Big Mozz!

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Our third stop was at an old favorite, the Lumpia Shack. We had their signature pork lumpias, which were crunchy and crispy. They’re a more refined version of the traditional Filipino lumpia, which is crunchier and probably 10x oilier! We’re not partial to either – a good lumpia is a good lumpia!

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Our fourth stop was Carnal – we had not planned to stop but the smell got to us. We walked a few feet within the stand and could already smell the delicious grill! Today, Carnal was serving up Beef Short Ribs ($13.00) topped with bone marrow, spring onion and black pepper. The price tag is a bit steep but the ribs are divine! They’re very moist and tender – basically falling off the bone with each bite. The bone marrow and spring onion topping is so flavorful and buttery. It’s a messy dish but it’s a damn good one.

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Our fifth stop was Rai Rai Ken, who was serving just one dish that day – cold Unagi Mazemen ($9.00) with barbeque eel, cucumber, shredded omelet, onion and Sichuan pepper. They use a tiny blow torch to heat the barbeque eel on site so it’s really cool to watch. The mazemen is really refreshing on a hot day and super tasty. The ramen noodles were cooked to a perfect al dente and each bite had a nice bounce to it. There’s an option to add a scoop of guacamole for $2 – we weren’t adventurous enough for this but we heard good things from the others that ordered it.

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Our last official stop was Home Frite, who was selling Belgian fries – Pomme Frites style. The line was longer than the Ramen Burger line and we were seeing numerous people walking around the lot with them so we had to try it. There’s only one size so it’s definitely something to share between 2-4 people. We opted for the Truffle Fries ($8.00) with the Truffleist Truffle Oil, parmesan cheese, and lemon garlic aioli for dipping. The fries were good and the dipping sauce was even better! The fries come out pretty quickly so the line does go by fast.

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We didn’t really get dessert at the fair but we did have a lot of beverages. Standouts included the oldie-but-goodie Kelvin Natural Slush (Arnold Palmer base with cherry flavor is surprisingly good!), POG (passo-orange-guava juice) from East Coast Poke, and the iced teas from Bellocq Tea Atelier. Their teas are always super refreshing and very light on the palate! There were quite a few vendors that I would’ve loved to try out – if I had more stomach space. I think I’ll make a repeat trip this year – stay tuned!

Egg Shop

We were meeting up with some college friends for drinks and dinner but I was completely stumped on where to eat. A friend suggested Egg Shop, located in Nolita, just a few blocks shy of both Soho and Chinatown. A quick look at the menu showed promising options so we decided on it. We arrived around 7:30 on a Monday night and was seated right away.

We decided to split appetizers to start since none of us could figure out what to get for our entrees! The entire menu looked so good! We started off with their Golden Bucket ($16.00), which is fried chicken with hot honey, fresh herbs and sea salt. I really, really liked the chicken! The outside was crunchy while the meat was juicy. I also liked the hot honey because it was sweet and had a kick at the same time. IMG_7430

We also split two orders of the Maple Sausage Sliders ($11.00) since each order only came with two. The Maple Sausage Slider featured a housemade sausage patty with Vermont maple syrup with a fried quail egg on top. They had me at the fried quail egg! The sausage was a bit messy to eat because of the runny quail egg yoke but it was pretty flavorful – with a bit of a kick as well.

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For my entree, I went with the Eggshop B.E.C. ($10.00), which features a broke yoke, Shelburne Cheddar Cheese, black forest bacon, and tomato jam on a panini roll. The first thing that caught my eye was the leaky yoke – I absolutely love a broken egg yoke. I love it when it leaks into the bun of the bread and softens it up. This sandwich was really good – the bacon was thick and flavorful and the tomato jam was a more refined version of your standard ketchup. I wish I could eat this for breakfast everyday!

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We also split a side of fries ($5.00), which comes with Sohha yogurt and sweet chili sauce for dipping. We barely touched the sweet chili sauce cause the Sohha yogurt was the better of the two. For those of you unfamiliar with Sohha, it’s a Mediterranean, savory yogurt that’s located in Chelsea Market. It’s literally the best dipping sauce ever because it’s creamy and savory, which compliments the salty fries.

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For dessert, a friend and I split the French Toast ($9.00), which features french toast soaked in Vermont maple syrup and Ronny Brook Chocolate Cream. It’s topped with fresh fruit – in our case, it was blueberries and apple slices. The french toast was good but the best part was the sweet chocolate cream – it tasted so good!

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Service was attentive throughout and our waitress was very nice. I would definitely recommend either coming really early or really late because around 8:00 – 9:00PM, the restaurant was packed! By the time we left around 10:00, it was only half full. And yes – they let us sit there for almost 3 hours!

Buvette

I was looking for a new breakfast spot to try out when I stumbled on Buvette, located in the West Village. Buvette is a quaint little French restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. It’s pretty hard to find if you’re not familiar with the West Village – both the Boyfriend and I actually went the wrong way twice!

We arrived around 11:15am and the Boyfriend ordered lunch while I ordered breakfast.  I like that they offer the breakfast menu with the lunch menu so we can get both at the same time. I went with their most popular dish – Steamed Scrambled Eggs with Prosciutto ($12.00). They offer a smoked salmon option as well but I opted for the less traditional breakfast combo. The dish comes with the fluffiest eggs I have ever eaten and three slabs of bread drizzled with olive oil. The result is a build-your-own egg bruschetta dish that was pleasantly filling.

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The Boyfriend with with the Steak Tartare ($16.00), which features chopped beef with capers and cornichons. The steak tartare was also served with toast. The tartare was very good – fresh and seasoned perfectly. I’m used to the beef being chopped a little more finely than the one here but it was still pretty good. The Boyfriend quickly gobbled up all the tartare and was left full but not too much.

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The Boyfriend ordered an Americano with milk on the side while I ordered a Latte. Both were extremely good – the coffee was strong without being bitter. There’s seriously nothing better in the morning than a fresh cup of good coffee. The service was good – there was nothing amazing about it. The dishes did take a bit longer than usual to come – I’m chopping it up to the fact that their eggs are steamed and scrambled in an espresso pot. Overall, great dishes but a bit pricey for a normal breakfast.

Fiat Cafe

Fiat Cafe, located in Nolita, is a small little restaurant that’s easily overlooked if you’re not on the lookout for it. But the service and the food is definitely not easy to forget once you’ve had it. We arrived at around 11am and we were seated right away. The storefront is pretty small though so every table is a bit of a squeeze. We were given menus to look over and we definitely took our time because everything sounded so god!

We finally decided on the Prosciutto di Parma and Mozzarella ($6.50) to share. It’s a very atypical dish to order for a mid-morning meal but I never say no to mozzarella and prosciutto. The dish was drizzled with olive oil and a dash of black pepper – just the way I like it. Both the mozzarella and prosciutto were very fresh and really solved my mozz cravings!

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I went with the Poached Eggs with Gravlox Salmon ($7.00), which was served on top of toasted English muffins and topped with hollandaise sauce. It also comes with a side salad with balsamic vinaigrette, which was very refreshing. At the $7.00 price tag, this was the cheapest Eggs Norwegian I have ever had. The taste definitely did not seem like it was only $7.00 either! The eggs were poached perfectly and there was definitely enough lox to go around.

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The Boyfriend went with a BLT on Ciabatta bread ($8.00), which also comes with a side salad. The BLT was very good – just the right amount of mayo on the ciabatta, which was warm and crunchy. I also love how they didn’t skimp on the bacon.

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The service was attentive and our waitress was super nice. She was very friendly and was very accommodating to all customers in the restaurant. I’m actually thinking about returning next week for some French Toast!

Hawaiian Edition – Cinnamon’s

On our way to Lanikai Beach on the East side of Oahu, our cousins took us to Cinnamon’s for breakfast. Cinnamon’s is another one of those restaurants that get super busy around prime eating time – our wait was around 35 minutes for a party of 5. They have both indoor and outdoor seating, which does help speed up the waiting time a little bit.

We looked over the menu before we were seated so once we had a table, we were able to order right away. We ordered one cinnamon bun ($3.50) to share. If a restaurant is named for a certain dish – you order it! The cinnamon bun was very good – the bun was soft and gooey. The bun is pretty big so you should definitely order one to share or else you won’t have any more room for anything else!

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We also ordered Red Velvet Pancakes ($7.50 for two) to share. Their red velvet pancakes are served with a white chocolate drizzle, which gave the entire dish a very cake-like taste and consistency. The pancakes tasted more like an actual cake than pancakes but they were still pretty yummy.

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I opted for the Crab cake Eggs Benedict ($13.50 for full order), which comes with your choice of home fries or hash browns. I opted for the home fries, which were amazing! This was my first time having crab cake with eggs benedict so it was a great introduction to the dish. The crab cakes, made with their own special recipe, were packed lightly and easy to separate. The best part was the poached eggs, which were perfectly cooked. The yokes burst the moment I cut into them and soaked the crab cakes – so yummy!

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Service was prompt and pretty quick. We got most of our dishes in a timely manner. I really like that you can get the eggs benedict and pancake dishes by half orders or full orders – this way you’re never stuck with too much food if you’re not a big eater. All in all, I would definitely return to Cinnamon’s the next time I’m in Hawaii. Next time though, I’ll be there earlier to avoid the wait!