Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Pond at GVR

James says this blog should be called ConsumerMachineAway because none of the posts are about LA. Appropriately, these next two posts are from my Vegas adventures!

Simon, in his usual baller Simon way, scored us some free rooms at the lovely lovely Green Valley Ranch. It's in Henderson, a little ways from the strip (which we shuttled to and cabbed back from), and just fucking gorgeous! Easily the prettiest pool in Vegas.

Hotel guests are invited to The Pond (pictured top), which is an enclosed lounge/bar with a pretty pool and waterfall in the middle. Our gigantic group, ten strong, descended upon the pool and generally went crazy.

Crazy with the food, crazy with the silly beers-in-cans. Corona in cans, Newcastle in cans?!?! I guess there's a no glass policy by the pool. I spontaneously created the best cocktail ever! Diet coke with Passionfruit Malibu. Try it. If it wasn't liquid I would have shouted "NOM NOM NOM" while imbibing it.

Tinx got the lobster quesadillas, off limits to me, but gobbled up by her. My lobster allergy is an acquired one, so I definitely know what it tastes like, and I still don't understand the lobster quesadilla thing. CHEESE with lobsters? And why dress down such a decadent, expensive meat with a weirdo tortilla and TOMATOES? Strange, strange.

Well, I'll never know.

I, along with basically everyone else, got the Kobe beef sliders. We at CM know a thing or two about Kobe beef sliders, so, you know, I'm just saying.

But The Pond had a couple things going for it. (1) Crispy onion strings . (2) Patrons who are super hung over and craving greasy food. (3) Special sauce [not TyTy's]. (4) Eating decadently with half of your body in a warm, warm pool.

That's why I freaking inhaled my sliders, not even whining at the alarming coldness of the food; not even pausing when my teeth clamped down on a tiny bit of gristle. The pickle was so excellent (so very very cucmbery!). TyTy and I swam around scavenging others' plates for their pickles like Jaws, and then ate each oval slice gripped preciously in both paws.

With all the fun, I barely noticed the Eurotrash a couple beds over, wearing "USA" tiaras and the tightest, whitest, smallest Speedos ever. The boys kept saying ew ew and looking through spread fingers, but I was kind of into it cuz he was so brazen. Ballin', if you will...

The Pond
at Green Valley Resort Spa Casino
2300 Paseo Verde Parkway
Henderson, NV 89052

Friday, May 23, 2008

Pasta? Looks like barf but tastes good.

Last weekend, I accompanied some of my favorite research assistants to Stanford for an undergrad conference at which they were presenting. As my sister goes there, it was killing two birds with one stone, and between my sister and my RAs it was like total cuteness overload for me.

The first night (actually, I was only there one night) we aimlessly wandered around University looking for dinner. We were all in that terrible low blood sugar + super indecisive state, so it took forever to choose a location. Despite the fact that Hallie had vetoed Italian, we ate Italian (sorry) at Pasta? (The question mark is part of the name. What a terrible decision on someone's part. Not only does their website url have to be [awkward!] but can't you imagine the massive confusion as people are texting their friends "we should go to pasta?")

The ambiance was upscale but the prices were reasonable. My favorite combo. As I am still chugging along at this weekday fish+vegetarian thing, I got Fettucine Al Salmone - Fresh homemade pasta with smoked salmon, peas, onions, and dill in pink sauce. It came out and looked like barf, but tasted SO good. I love it when there is more sauce than pasta - soupy pasta is how I like it. So this was absolutely right up my alley, with the salmon so disintegrated it was more like a roux for the sauce. Also, I have been craving peas for a while now - one night about a week ago I was craving peas & butter as a midnight snack, rushed home from my office in anticipation, only to discover that Tinx had used them all for her damn pasta dish (still love you tho roomie).

Other notable events: Reese talking about how her grandma can drink an entire bottle of whiskey and be totally fine, and how this is also Reese's life goal to be able to do this...Giselle flirting with our cute server, but then totally insulting him by guessing his age to be 30 when it was actually 23 ("Oh, man, I better get some moisturizer" was his response")...calculating the check three different times for no reason...and the piece de resistance, which was my sister's gigantic oozing, weeping, slightly green blister on the outside of her leg, acquired from burning herself on the tailpipe of her boyfriend's motorcycle. I'm totally telling Mom!!!!!

326 University Ave.
Palo Alto, CA 94301

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Rock Bottom Brewery and Buggie Eggs

On my final day in San Diego, I had lunch with my sister and Bunny at Rock Bottom Brewery. It's a chain, but it's the lowest-maintenance eatery when you are with indecisive people.

To begin - the amazing gigantaquitos. Well, that's not the real name, but that's what they were like. They were really Titan Toothpicks - "Our signature starter combines smoked chicken, Jack cheese, peppers and onions in hand-rolled, fried tortillas. Served with guacamole, sour cream, fresh salsa and spicy chipotle BBQ sauce."

I quadruple-dipped and used all of the above condiments. The chicken inside squished out oil in a slightly unpleasant way, but the the shell was so crispy flaky lovely so I forgave it.

My sister got Stout Onion Soup - "House-made with our robust Stout to give this favorite a Brewery twist. Topped with oven-melted Swiss cheese and two focaccia croutons.". I was very distracted by an event I shall chronicle shortly so I wasn't paying attention to whether she liked it or not. In this photo the bread on top looks so incredibly burny crunchy.

I got the Mahi Tacos - "Beer-battered Mahi wrapped in three soft tortillas with our homemade pineapple slaw. Served with black beans, Red Ale rice and pico de gallo. Mahi available grilled." I asked for grilled. I ate an entire taco (cry) when I noticed some brown stuff on the back of my cilantro leaf. I couldn't get a good picture of what was going on, which is lucky for all of us because it will cause you nightmares.

The situation was this: bug eggs. Like a million rows of eggie eggs, stuck in perfectly symmetrical configurations on the back of my cilantro. [shudder] I calmly (I can be weirdly calm in such situations) showed it to my sister, who shrieked.

[I just googled "bug eggs leaf" to insert a photo as an example, and I fear I will never sleep again. Terrible.]

I flagged down a manager and showed him, and he became like weirdly catatonic looking at them. Then he started stroking the eggs with his FINGER! AAAAAA! I told him: "Stop immediately!" and he kind of ran off.

He came back later and said, "OK, well I just checked ALL the cilantro leaves we have, and I assure you that there aren't eggs on any of the other ones." Like I give a fuck about the other cilantro. Then he comped our appetizer and my tacos. I wasn't about to be settled with that so I also ordered a dessert - a seasonal one - the cherry pie.

It looked crusty and delicious but it was just doughy and pretty hard. I promise it wasn't just that I lost my appetite from the eggs.

Amazingly, I think I'll be back. Our waiter was cute and the app was crunchy yummy. And there aren't THAT many bugs in the world, right?

Rock Bottom Brewery
401 G Street
San Diego, CA 92101

Monday, May 19, 2008

Sushi Deli 2

In the conference program book, it had various restaurant recommendations and it said "Sushi Deli 2 - $" Sushi with ONE dollar sign? Sounded shady, but my Chowhound research said it was a sushi hot spot. However, in everything I read, it said "GO EARLY."

So MoMo and I jetted there at around 4:45. Nope. Too late. There was already a line, complete with flustered hostess and grumbly low-blood-sugar people who skipped lunch in anticipation of their early dinner.

As a party of 2, we got in sooner than the others (in about 15 minutes) and squished into the sushi bar. I spied a "Sake special - 99 cents!" sign. Motherfuckin' score!

On account of said 99 cent hot sake bottles, I have very little recollection of the names of the sushi rolls that we ordered. The one pictured top - what was even inside that thing? I'll never know. Sprinkling liberal amounts of tempura crunchies ought to be illegal because it's totally cheating (because fat + carbs will make anything, even shit, taste amazing), but I'm glad it's legal (because fat + carbs tastes amazing).

Directly above are slightly out-of-focus (again, on account of the 99 cent sake) uni rolls. I believed I've blogged before about uni being sea urchin gonads, so I won't go into that here. Suffice it to say that the word "briny" was specifically invented to describe uni. Usually I dissect my uni rolls (eat the seaweed and yellow-stained rice first, then decadently slip the uni onto my tongue to cherish its taste all alone). But, perhaps because of, once again, that goddamn 99 cent hot sake, I threw the entire thing in my mouth with one triumphant stroke of chopsticks, and munched on the entire creamy-briny mess. Then, slightly relieved after offering MoMo the other one and being denied, I repeated with the other one.

We also got a sashimi plate, designed to appeal to Janet's Taste Buds with salmon, tuna, and yellowtail sashimi. The photograph was hopelessly disgustingly photographed so it does not appear here. However, the picture directly above - Ah. Now a roll where I can surmise the insides. It appears to be some sort of tuna, yellowtail, avocado, and [fake] crab concoction. With my favorite tobiko a.k.a. flying fish roe. Once, when I was a child, I very uncharacteristically indulged in some delinquent behavior where I took an entire container of tobiko that I found in our fridge, grabbed a big serving spoon, and scooped huge, heaping spoonfuls of tobiko into my mouth. Like tiny, sweet, salty bursts of the sea - pure heaven. Hey, a girl's gotta be naughty sometimes.

Sushi Deli 2
135 Broadway
San Diego, CA 92101

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