Last weekend, Ken and I flew to Pittsburgh to attend our friend’s wedding. It was really fun walking around Pittsburgh and showing Ken where I grew up (Squirrel Hill has changed so much but also hasn’t changed at all since I moved away). We had a really fun time at their wedding – here are a few pictures!
Yuko and her dad walking down the aisle:
The staircase at Yuko’s country club:
The delicious wedding cake:
And me and Ken at the end of the night:
The wedding was beautiful and Yuko and Mark both looked great! They’re off in Africa on a safari for their honeymoon – I can’t wait to hear about it when they get back!
After our mediocre meal at Tetsu, Ken and I ventured off the Aria property for brunch the next day. Everything is so spread out in Las Vegas that it took us a little time to get to Mon Ami Gabi, but we arrived with a few minutes to spare for the brunch menu. If possible, you should ask to be seated in the patio area because then you can enjoy the fountain show at the Bellagio across the street:
We ordered a variety of breakfast foods, including a fruit parfait, buckwheat crepes, and a spinach omelet with feta and hash browns:
Me and Ken:
The food is pretty average but it’s a fun spot to enjoy a cocktail or your breakfast as you people watch or fountain-show watch.
Back in April, I went on a work trip to Las Vegas for a few days. Ken just happened to be in Phoenix that same weekend and we ended up making a little vacation out of it. I flew into Phoenix and Ken was supposed to get on the same flight as me, but it turns out that he booked a flight for the day after and I ended up getting off the plane and we drove from Phoenix to Las Vegas together. It wasn’t a bad drive (only four hours) and it was my first time in Arizona.
We arrived in Las Vegas in the afternoon and ended up meeting up with some friends at the pool before going back to our hotel room, washing up and getting ready for dinner. Dinner didn’t end up being until around 10:30 so we decided to go to Tetsu since it was in the hotel.
Tetsu is part of Bar Masa, which is part of the Masa empire. We had eaten all day and weren’t too hungry so we decided to share a few things. The restaurant has seating around Teppanyaki grills so you can see how the chefs prepare your food. No tricks like Benihana, but the food is served quickly:
We started with the lobster:
The lobster was prepared with a chili lime dipping sauce but was flavorful on its own because it was cooked with a lot of butter.
I also ordered the grilled zucchini:
The sea bass:
And the forbidden rice sauteed with beef:
Everything was o-k not extremely special. The place is good for people watching; we saw a lot of interesting characters at the restaurant (I’ll leave it at that!) There were a lot of different options for meals in Las Vegas but it was a little too late to go anywhere when we finally got our acts together so we ended up eating at the hotel. I don’t think I’d go back.
I work in the same complex as the new “French Eataly”, so it was only proper that I would go on opening day a couple of months back. The Battery Park area has a lot of great restaurants now, including Mighty Quinn’s, Blue Ribbon Sushi, Northern Tiger, Dig Inn, Blue Ribbon Sushi and more (great for lunch, although it gets crazy packed during lunch hours because everyone goes to the food court area to eat). Le District is owned by the Financier people but their prices aren’t the same and their service is drastically different, too. While Financier runs very smoothly, there hasn’t been a lot of training for the people that work the counter at Le District and people are very snippy with customers and with their coworkers.
The day I went, we focused on the cookie display:
They sell the cookies by the 1/4 pound and offer you a free gift tin if you purchase 1/2 pound or more. I can’t recall how much it comes out to per cookie, but it was definitely expensive. My friend, Stephane, ended up buying 5-6 cookies and I thought they it would cost $12 at most but I think his total came out to over $25!
Le District also sells cute French candies:
And lots of different decorative metal tins thaty ou can purchase to fill with candy or other knicknacks. They also sell the cookies in smaller plastic bags:
Le District is split into multiple areas, including the cookies area, a crepe bar, coffee bar, to go area, and a sit down restaurant. They also sell desserts next to the crepe area:
I think the plan is to have an area where they can sell groceries, similar to Eataly, but when I visited on opening day, they were still under construction.
The coffee is slightly cheaper at Le District than Financier, but you have to put up with a little bit of a wait because the staff isn’t that well trained yet. However, it might be worth it because my coworkers that go everyday say the coffee at Le District is slightly better than Financier.
Growing up in central Illinois, I was introduced to deep dish pizza at Papa Del’s. My mom used to have pizza parties for her students and her students would always request Papa Del’s (Champaign surprisingly has a lot of good pizza spots, including Monical’s, Jupiter’s and Papa Del’s). The pizza from Papa Del’s has the best crust out of the places I’ve been to and I once made my friend hand carry a pizza back to me after his visit home. The closest to Papa Del’s in Chicago is Pequod’s, which *might* be better because they add Parmesan cheese to the crust and let it caramelize while the pizza is cooking. Ken and his family grew up eating Lou Malnati’s (and it is really good, I must admit). When Ken and I first met, we shipped Lou Malnati’s to New York so we could have a Chicago-style dining experience while watching a Bears game.
Fast forward to 2015 – I’ve lived here for almost ten years and I have never seen a restaurant serve deep dish pizza in the city. I think Emmett must’ve thought the same thing because he’s from the North Shore area in Illinois and missed deep dish pizza so much that he decided to open a restaurant specializing in the type of pizza he grew up with. We heard about Emmett’s through some friends and decided to check it out on a Saturday evening.
The bar area was pretty packed and the restaurant is kind of small but put our names in and waited for about 30 minutes before we were seated. While we waited, we ordered some beers from the bar:
The pizza takes 30-45 minutes to make because they prepare the pizza to order and we put in our order while we were still waiting at the bar. The pie arrived soon after we were seated:
Ken and I both love sausage, peppers, and mushrooms on our pizza (New York style or Chicago style). The toppings are a bit expensive at Emmett’s, but it’s worth it. Ken and I were both pretty hungry at this point:
Look at the cheese!:
My clean plate:
Someone next to us only ate the toppings and threw out the pies (how rude!) The pizza tasted very similar to Papa Del’s and Pequod’s, although I think it was a little doughy in the center and cooked perfectly on the crust. I really loved the pizza and Ken did, too. Now we can go to Emmett’s instead of shipping Lou Malnati’s to us!
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