Visiting Las Vegas, NV (Or, Two Food Fanatics Tour Their Favorite Destination For The Fifth Time)

Visiting Las Vegas, NV (Or, Two Food Fanatics Tour Their Favorite Destination For The Fifth Time)

Posted by Joseph Linscott on

How do I fit everything that we love about Vegas into one blog post?


As I mentioned in our Louie’s announcement blog earlier this month, this whole visit was started because I read this article by Amanda Fortini in Believer Magazine. If you want to have some idea about why Amy and I love Las Vegas enough to fly cross country on a random February Tuesday, I suggest you read that whole article. To boil it down to one sentence for you, though? “[J]ust because it’s tacky doesn’t mean it isn’t fun.”


I won’t spend this whole blog pontificating on the truest, basest representation of America that Las Vegas presents — in all its beauties and disgraces. Instead, I’ll talk about the real reason Amy and I wanted to go back to the city: food. We’ve touched on the fact (many times) that our relationship really strengthened into what it is now because of our mutual love of food. We both also really love a place that just has the right *vibe*. Vegas has the best of both.


But, if you’ve learned anything from reading this blog, even semi-consistently, it should be that Amy and I will take any excuse to go literally anywhere and try and find the best food we can. So when I tell you that this trip was about the food in Vegas, what I’m actually telling you is that this trip was also about the food in Boston, where we stayed overnight before boarding our first flight, and it was subsequently about the food in Austin, TX, where we got stuck in a five hour layover after our connecting flight had three (3!!!) damaged bolts. So without further ado...


In Boston, we ate at:

 

 

Hei La Moon (Food Opera)

What we got: steamed pork with taro, salted egg yolk baos, egg custard tarts (above left)... and a few other things, too

Don’t let the word “steamed” fool you on that pork —it was deceptively amazing, and the best piece of meat I’ve had on the east coast since we’ve moved back.

 

Momosan Morimoto

What we got: karaage, spicy dan dan brothless ramen (above right), and kakuni bap served in a scalding stone bowl

Because if you can eat at an Iron Chef’s concept kitchen, you do it… unless it’s Bobby Flay, don’t bother with that guy. He doesn’t wash his rice. The rice in our kakuni bap, however, got a perfect amount of crisp to it thanks to that scarily hot bowl.


In Austin, we left the airport for a couple of hours and ate at:

 

Easy Tiger

What we got: Half a baguette with strawberry-ginger jam, avocado toast, lemon cake, and the second best chocolate chip cookie I’ve ever had

The best chocolate chip cookie I’ve ever had is the brown butter salted chocolate chip cookie that Amy makes every fall. And no, I’m not biased.) Also, in true Amy and Joe fashion, we ate our cookie in the middle of the airport terminal outside of the TSA checkpoint before we went back into our gate. (Not pictured because, well, we scarfed it down at the airport.)


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Those were our appetizers, and for the entree portion of our trip (you know, in the place we were actually traveling to) we ate at:

 

Mothership Coffee Roasters

What we got: copious amounts of our favorite coffee, plus the gooiest (I also don’t like how this word looks) blueberry lemon scone that also managed to have a crackery outer crust

Either everyone else was horribly messing up how they make scones, or they now are horribly messing up how they make scones. Also, Mothership’s coffee is so, so good. Per tradition, we stop in here for coffee a minimum of three times per trip.


Best Friend 

What we got: slippery shrimp, kalbi beef, aguachile, uni dynamite rice, korean fried chicken wings, milk bread, and miso squash at

If that sounds like a lot of food, then you are a normal person who probably wouldn’t have eaten it all and wouldn’t have proceeded to be more than a little bit mad at your waiter for not being impressed with the fact that you and your delicate little wife put all that food away. Seriously, they have a picture on their IG of a table of six eating that much food. Also, yes, I know that we have a problem.


Pepper Club

What we got: ube french toast, chicken & matcha waffles (above left)

This was the best version of both of these breakfast classics that either one of us had ever had, and I only had a slight stomach ache eating my ube french toast and chasing it down with my ube cocktail. But that didn’t stop me from following these up with...

 

Chica

What we got: pumpkin seed hummus, salsa, guacamole, and goat’s cheese with chipotle served with assorted veggies and tortillas, short rib and cotija mashed potatoes, and arroz negro with slightly overcooked shrimp

We went with our friend Micah, who now lives and works in Vegas at a quaint little music venue that just opened up. 

After dinner, Micah and I went to The Griffin, one of the last remaining “locals” bars on Fremont Street, and played the timeless Guy Game™ of “What’s that song that’s playing right now” with the bartender.

 

PublicUs 

What we got: loco moco (above right) and chilaquiles for breakfast the next morning

This is another great coffee shop with great *vibes* that’s located right across the street from Mothership. If you’re ever in Vegas and find yourself awake before 10am and want food that isn’t Denny’s, IHOP, or some other derivative of that, then PublicUs is the place you want to head to.


Sparrow & Wolf

 What we got: to round  out our trip, we pregamed our red eye flight with milk bread and yuzu butter, a little rice paper burrito with duck cooked four ways, parsnip dumplings in a rabbit sauce, broccolini with black garlic, the greatest steak either one of us has ever had, and a banana split with miso ice cream

Unbeknownst to us, this place — located in a strip mall next to a Macy’s — was nominated for a James Beard award this year. It also, as I’ve mentioned, cooked the greatest piece of steak that I’ve ever had.

Do you want to know how good this steak was? It was served with lobster. I didn’t even mention the lobster. I don’t even remember the lobster. That steak was a perfect bite of food. I’m legitimately angry typing this right now, 1) because I can’t put another piece of that steak in my mouth right now, 2) because I don’t live in Vegas and can’t easily access that steak, and 3) because I have no idea how they cooked that steak and have no shot of ever being able to recreate it.

 

 

And here we end things, just as mine and Amy’s relationship started: by eating too much food and being angry about how good food can be. It was the most decadent vacation I’ve ever taken, and it was totally worth the amount of money it cost us and the amount of weight I put on.


An addendum —

Upon reading through this post to make edits, Amy suggested that I mention some of the non-food activities that we did while in Vegas. Here are a few highlights:

 

 

Hanging out at Fergusons Downtown (above left) a little community space tucked away off of Fremont Street that may actually be our favorite spot in all of Las Vegas. In addition to being home to Mothership, it features a truly calm outdoor space where locals love to hang out, read, and enjoy their coffees. It's also home to lots of small independent shops, including Hey Maker, All For Our Country, and LV Plant Collective.

Exploring the whimsical interior of Writer’s Block (above right) which describes itself as a bookshop, coffee shop, writer’s workshop, and artificial bird sanctuary. No other comments necessary.


Walking around the Arts District, which is full of cool bars and restaurants, art galleries and artist collectives, and a few boutique shops as well (Amy’s favorite was For The Love LV).

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