It’s no secret that Bouchon, Chef Thomas Keller’s lovely French bistro-inspired eatery in the Venetian Hotel, is one of my favorite restaurants.  I’ve been there on many occasions, with friends, with family, and often by myself!

It’s also no secret that Bouchon boasts what is quite possibly the most popular, and most award-winning brunches in Las Vegas.  Among its accolades, Las Vegas Weekly named Bouchon one of the 20 Most Important Restaurants in Las Vegas, Eater: Las Vegas awarded it Best Brunch in Las Vegas, Saveur Magazine named it one of 100 Favorite Restaurants, and What’s On Magazine called it one of theTop 3 Brunch Spots!

Read more: Brunch, Vegas Style

Wait!  ANOTHER sake bomb?!!  Okay...twist my arm!  Here we go!  “SAKE ROK!  SAKE BOMB!!!”  Hey!  Here comes Godzilla!  Wow!  This sushi is FABULOUS!  Look!  Our host is dancing on the bar!  What IS this place??!!

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Visiting Vegas?  Are you looking for an off-Strip dining experience?  An old-school joint where locals congregate for a good meal, strong cocktails, a little gaming, and even dancing and live entertainment?  Well, in a nondescript strip mall on East Flamingo and Pecos, is Ichabod’s Lounge, where you’ll find good, hearty real-people food and drink - a true throwback to the restaurants I remember from my childhood.

Read more: Ichabod's Lounge (Dine, Drink, Play, and Dance with the Locals)

Seersucker: A carefree fabric popular for its ease and comfort.

Searsucker: Chef Brian Malarkey’s Las Vegas eatery, popular for its carefree social dining experience, easygoing atmosphere, and a menu of New American Classics - comfort food with a modern twist!

Located in the casino at Caesar’s Palace, and modeled after Malarkey’s original restaurant in San Diego, Searsucker was indeed a comfortable space, with a warm, artistically haphazard decor, featuring exposed brick walls, distressed wood accents, a pressed tin ceiling above the open kitchen, and deconstructed chandeliers of rope and bare bulbs with happily glowing filaments, while on the wall in front of me, big letters that looked scavenged from Vegas’ neon boneyard, spelled out E-A-T.

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My internal monologue: (Deep echo effect)  Good Lord!  This is SO much FOOD!  And it’s all so GOOD!  There’s no WAY I’ll be able to finish this!  I hope they can pack it all up for me to take back to my room.  It’ll certainly make a great midnight snack!

I’m dining at Buddy V’s Ristorante in the Canal Shoppes at the Venetian Hotel.  Buddy V is Buddy Valastro, otherwise known as TLC’s “Cake Boss,” and while he is best known for his skills as a baker, the menu at Buddy V’s shows that he’s equally adept with classic, hearty Italian fare.  This is Grandmother food!  One thing to know about Valastro, is that family; la famiglia, is of supreme importance, and at Buddy V’s, it shows.  Many dishes are named for members of his family, and indeed it feels as though he, his father, or his Nonna might actually be in the kitchen putting their love into every order.

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Did you know Las Vegas has a Chinatown?  None of my out of town friends knew this, and were surprised when I spoke of it.  Granted, it’s not very close to the big hotels, and it’s not a quaint, clearly delineated tourist locale, like the ones in New York or San Francisco, but some intrepid visitors and eaters have discovered Vegas’ Chinatown - roughly two and a half miles of Spring Mountain Road, lined with strip malls, tea shops, karaoke clubs, and Asian-themed eateries, just west of the Strip.

Read more: Chinatown Adventure

You might be surprised to find that the organic, sustainable food movement is alive and well in Las Vegas!  At the Bellagio Resort and Casino, you’ll find a modern new space with a spare but impressive decor, featuring huge stone slabs, warm wood accents, and a glassed-in kitchen right in the center.  The food becomes your focus, and the focus here is freshness.  This is Harvest by Roy Ellamar!

Read more: Harvest by Roy Ellamar

Chocolate.  Who doesn’t love chocolate, to some degree or other?  Dark or milk chocolate, fancy truffles or a candy bar from the corner store, chocolate is one of our favorite treats.  We give each other chocolate on Valentine’s Day or drown our sorrows with it after a break-up because it releases endorphins and triggers the chemical associated with sexual arousal and pleasure!  Chocolate is literally a love drug!

Read more: Choicest Chocolates

By now, a great many visitors are aware of Las Vegas’ status as a major food destination.  Haute cuisine from around the world can be found everywhere on the Strip and beyond.  But what if you’re not in the mood for rich, fancy food?  Where can a hungry visitor or local go when craving something as simple as...a hamburger?  Well, luckily, burgers are a hot food trend in Vegas right now, and there is a wealth of burger joints all over town.

Read more: Vegas Burger Bonanza!

If you haven’t seen the Strip-side entrance to the Monte Carlo Resort lately, you might not recognize it.  Gone is much of the neo-classical statuary, and no trace remains of the ornate fountain that once marked the street entry to the megaresort.  Instead, you’ll find a modern courtyard, with angular water features, and evergreens in sleek, geometric slate planters.  This is BLVD Plaza.  

Read more: Double Barrel Roadhouse

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