Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Adventure Las Vegas: Bouchon, A Food Lover's Home Amid the Neon Lights

I love to explore and travel—it is one of the reasons my sister and I embarked on this website journey in the first place. There are many places that I want to see before I die and Las Vegas is not one of them. For starters, I hate crowds—the idea of hoards of people crammed into a small space does not appeal to me. I am also not a fan of tourist traps or any travel option that bills itself as a Disneyland-esque experience. That being said, you may find it odd that several weeks ago, I decided to venture to Vegas with my husband for the weekend. He has been there on several occasions and has tried to convince me that I would be amazed at the Vegas food scene. Being a skeptic and a foodie, I usually raise my eyebrows when the subject comes up. However, over the past several years, I have read many-an-article on the evolving food scene in Las Vegas. You can barely pick up a magazine or newspaper without reading about the famed chefs who have invaded the desert—turning a once over-the-top cheesy, buffetland into a foodie’s paradise. So we went for the weekend to relax, drink lots of wine, and eat our way through sin city.

There are hundreds of restaurants to go to in Las Vegas, but this article is about one—one that ranks supreme on food quality, atmosphere, and service—Bouchon. Dining at Thomas Keller’s Bouchon will make you forget that the congested streets, neon lights, and ringing slot machines lurk beyond its doors. From the moment you step into the restaurant, you feel like you are in an authentic Parisian bistro—leather booth-lined walls, warm lighting, and a bustling atmosphere that would make any Francophile proud. Since we had not made our way out of Chicago (alone) since our son was born, we wanted to share a really great bottle of red wine to compliment our dinner. The house sommelier, Paul Peterson, offered many different options and varieties. He also recommended his favorite entrées to pair with the wine we chose. I have worked in many restaurants and have dined out enough to be able to say that this sommelier really knew his stuff. Everything he suggested was perfect—he even brought a glass of white wine to go with our oysters while our bottle decanted.

The meal that followed went like this: Delectable beet salad with horseradish vinaigrette, classic frisee with lardons and a perfectly poached egg, flawlessly executed juicy roast chicken with a beautifully crispy skin, and mind-blowing braised pork shoulder with root vegetables that left me wanting to lick the plate. Every morsel of our dinner was tastier and more mouth-watering than the bite before. We finished our meal with a crème brulee that was the best I have ever had in my life—creamy on the inside with a perfectly hard, caramelized shell on top.

As we sat at our table savoring our last drops of Chateauneuf du Pape, obsessing about our amazing meal, I couldn’t help but think that maybe I would return to Vegas every year just to immerse myself in the delectable food world of Thomas Keller. Through Bouchon, I now have a new affection for Las Vegas. As Keller’s website describes, Bouchon is “a casual place, a social place, a place where people come to relax and eat. A kind of home.”


Anonymous December 13, 2008 at 7:24 AM  

That sounds unbelievable! What is the closest comparison you recommend in Chicago?

Sarah December 13, 2008 at 7:52 AM  

My favorite place for French food was Cafe Le Coq in Oak Park--sadly, they have closed. I have not been in a while but Bistrot Margot (Wells Street in Old Town) is really good, classic French fair. Also, the chef from Le Fracais opened a more casual restaurant called Old Town Brasserie (also on Wells.) It consistently receives good reviews on ambiance and classic French brasserie food.

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About Mod City Mom

After becoming mothers, sisters Sarah Romine and Leah Weyandt wanted to marry the activities and interests that they experienced before motherhood with their new found lives with children. This was not always an easy task—traveling to obscure places, shopping at off-beat boutiques, and sipping lazy-afternoon cocktails doesn't always fit neatly with parenthood. Stemming from their frustration, they meticulously searched, and continue to search, for activities, establishments, and entertainment that they take pleasure in and their families benefit from. The result? Mod City Mom.

About Sarah

Sarah is a passionate cook, fashionista, writer, actor, and mother. Like all actors, she ended up working at many-a-restaurant to make ends meet and shopping at countless bargain boutiques to maintain her sense of personal style. Her culinary journey, love affair with fashion, and desire to remain true to herself after becoming a mother are the inspirations for this site. Sarah lives with her husband and two sons in Chicago.

About Leah

A polymath wannabe, Leah loves books, films, music, cooking, and travel. After co-starting a writing and editing shop in 2002, Leah has spent her spare time frequenting her favorite cities, hangouts, and haunts. Her obsession with finding the new, innovative, and quirky is the impetus behind this site. Leah lives with her two sons and husband in North San Diego County.
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