I eat: Mastro’s Steakhouse [3]

When people ask me, “What’s your favorite steakhouse?”, I respond without hesitation, Mastro’s. I’ve been to Wolfgang Puck’s CUT and I’ve been to Peter Luger’s, but in my opinion, Mastro’s blows all of the competition out of the water. The two times I’ve been to Mastro’s, we’ve always ordered steak (specifically the 12oz filet mignon for myself and the 33oz. “chef’s cut” rib-eye for Henry). This time around, I took the parentals out for my mom’s birthday and we ordered two “chef’s cut” rib-eyes as well as a rack of lamb (22oz) and chilean seabass (12oz). Since Mastro’s is a steakhouse, I didn’t expect much from our non-steak entrees, so imagine my surprise when both turned out just as delicious as the beloved steaks! Mastro’s makes a killer rack of lamb; it was perfectly cooked and well seasoned. The chilean seabass was flaky and succulently sweet. While my dad loved the steak, he raved and raved about the seabass. In addition to our entrees, we also ordered lobster mashed potatoes and sauteed spinach. I fell in love with lobster mash during my first visit to Mastro’s and I’ve ordered it every time I’ve returned. Lobster + Potatoes + Butter … what could be better? 😉

Verdict: 5/5
Mastro’s Steakhouse
246 N Canon Dr.
Beverly Hills, CA 90210

I make: Chicken Katsu

We wanted to make something quick and easy since we figured we would be tired from a long drive home from Mammoth. I remembered that we had some chicken in the ‘fridge and a box of panko in the pantry, so it was a no-brainer to make chicken katsu. Who doesn’t love a breaded piece of chicken? And btw, panko is far superior than regular bread crumbs since it’s much more crispier.

(yields about 8 servings + rice)
Ingredients:
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (each halved to 8 thin pieces)
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
1 cup canola oil, or as needed

Directions:
1. Place flour, eggs, and panko in 3 separate shallow dishes.
2. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil (per piece of chicken) in frying pan on medium-high heat.
3. Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper on both sides. Dip in flour, then egg, then coat thoroughly with panko bread crumbs.
4. Cook chicken about 4 minutes each side, or until golden brown.
5. Remove chicken and place on paper towel to soak up excess oil.

Serve over rice with katsu/tonkatsu sauce (available in most markets)

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Bon appetit!

Down With The Sickness

I’ve been severely congested for the past few days. My nose is so red and raw from the constant need to shoot out snot, I look like Rudolph. I’m sure this is contagious so I probably shouldn’t have gone to work.

Not only have I been congested, I’ve also had muffled hearing in BOTH ears! I guess I’ve been taking my hearing for granted because I never realized how much it SUCKS to not be able to hear clearly. My boss freaked me out by telling me about his friend who started having muffled hearing one day and never regained full auditory capability. Needless to say, I b-lined to the nearest urgent care center. One look in my ears was all the doctor needed to diagnose me with… ear infections!

Really? Ear infection? How the heck did I get ear infections? The Dr. said it was caused by my prolonged sinus congestion, but I think it was a combination of that + the higher elevation in Mammoth. So, following Dr.’s orders, I’m currently drugged up on Sudafed (12 hour), Ibuprofen, Amoxicillin and Guaifenesin (Mucinex generic). Isn’t taking meds such a drag?

Well, looks like “March Madness” has turned to “March Sickness”.

Note to self: Take it easy, woman. You’re not in college anymore.

Great Escape

A weekend in Mammoth is never enough. It’s always depressing when we have to pack up and go home. I wish I won the lottery so I could stay up here for the whole winter!

The conditions were spring-like this weekend: hard-packed surfaces in the early mornings that turned into slushiness in the afternoon. This was due to temperatures reaching 40-50 degrees during the day (which is super HOT!) and cooling down to 20s at night for the past week or so. Despite dying from the heat while waiting in the lift lines, I was more than pleased with the beautiful clear blue skies and low winds. You win some, you lose some, right?

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Us at the top with Henry’s friends that we met up

We stayed in the Bradley building of Summit Condominums (#246), which is about a 5 minute walk from Eagle Lodge. We found a pretty good deal and booked our 1 bedroom/1 bath condo through 101 Great Escapes. While this was definitely a better experience than the one I had two weeks ago, there were still a few issues with the condo. Being on the 2nd floor, we had to walk up three flights of stairs from the underground parking garage to get to our condo. When you’re exhausted from a full day of boarding and fueled by only a few hours of sleep (or about half an hour in Henry’s case), the last thing you want to do is climb stairs. It would have been nice if the website stated which floor the condo was located, though I’m not sure how much this would have swayed my decision at time of booking since this was the cheapest and best looking condo we found. Best looking was determined by the pictures provided and as I first walked through the condo, I realized that the pictures on the website made the condo look nicer than it really was. I didn’t mind this too much at first because everything seemed clean, but the kitchen was HORRIBLE! All the dishes/utensils/cookware were dirty, and by dirty I mean I found food particles and grease stains. I didn’t go on vacation to clean someone else’s mess!

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Despite the dirty kitchen, we still cooked our meals as usual. I used two recipes from the Cooking Light magazine that I recently bought. Both recipes happened to have bacon; bacon makes everything better, doesn’t it? I did change the recipes slightly, such as using 2% milk instead of non fat and adding more cheese, so I guess I wasn’t really “cooking light”. But hey, there’s nothing wrong with extra cheese. 🙂

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Spicy shrimp and grits

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Bacon, ranch and chicken mac and cheese

I eat: Bouchon

When one of the girls suggested dinner at Bouchon, I immediately jumped on board. I became an avid Thomas Keller fan after my trip to The French Laundry last October, despite the astronomical price tag. Thus, I was eager to try Keller’s more affordable restaurant, Bouchon.

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Bouchon, Las Vegas, is located on the 10th floor of the Venetian. Luckily, we were staying on the 12th floor so walking to the restaurant only took a few minutes. So location itself? FIVE STARS! 🙂

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We were seated promptly for our 6:15PM reservation. Being so early, the restaurant was practically empty. The menu was printed on a parchment-like paper and wrapped around the dinner napkin. Cute points! I had a hard time deciding what to order. It seemed like the menu listed everything I love: lamb, duck, salmon, mussels, gnocchi. I was only able to cut my list down to lamb or duck so I pressed the waiter for his thoughts. He told me he preferred the duck since he loves him some good seared duck breast. Well sir, it just so happens that I too, am a sucker for a good seared duck breast so duck I shall have! Three of us actually ordered the duck, two ordered the moules frites (mussels and fries) and one ordered the salmon. We also shared the french onion soup, potato puree and macaroni gratin.

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We started our meal with the usual bread service and I absolutely loved the butter (as I also did at The French Laundry). The french onion soup, though comforting since it was cold and windy that day, was nothing special; it tasted like any other french onion soup.

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The mussels were very plump and juicy. On the menu, the description read: Maine bouchot mussels steamed with white wine, mustard & saffron. Though I’ve never had this combination before, the sauce didn’t taste like what I had imagined after reading the menu. It actually reminded me of the chicken marsala I just made. The frites were a bit… disappointing. You may be right about most things, Anthony Bourdain, but Bouchon’s fries are not the best things I ever ate. Don’t worry though, I’ll still keep you in high regard.

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The macaroni gratin fell flat as well. Yes, it was cheesy enough, but the flavors just weren’t there. I don’t know, perhaps use a more sharper cheese? The potato puree (no picture available) on the other hand, was straight up smooth buttery goodness! I would be more than happy to consume 3000 calories worth of that in one sitting.

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The waiter was right about the duck being seared beautifully. But that was the only thing good about this dish. The flavors didn’t mesh well, mainly caused by the tart-sweetness of the rhubarb. With all of the other components being mild and savory, I didn’t expect that punch. The sauce eventually grew on me by the end of the meal, but not to the point where I could say that I loved it. Nice try, Chef de Cuisine, Bryan Podgorski. I realize that rhubarb is now in season and I get what you were trying to do, but ultimately the flavor combination was a fail. However, I will commend you for such a perfectly seared duck breast!

We ended the meal by sharing a creme brulee. I’m glad it was delicious, or else I would have had to hurt somebody.

Verdict: 3/5
Bouchon
The Venetian
3355 Las Vegas Blvd S
Las Vegas, NV 89109