Vegas – you can bet on this gem!
Sep11

Vegas – you can bet on this gem!

Next time you’re in Vegas you MUST try The Lotus of Siam. ( http://www.saipinchutima.com) Actually, I would almost do the four hour drive from LA just to go this family-owned restaurant. (With a quick visit to my favorite Goldfish slot machine, of course.) What an experience! Outstanding, authentic, and simply deeelicious Thai Food. (Ranked #27 of 3877 restaurants on Trip Advisor) And reasonably priced, too.       I discovered this hidden gem on Top Chef Masters, when some celeb chef was singing its praises. I thought it would be a fun place to take my brother Neville, and his wife, sweetheart Petra—visiting from South Africa. Can you tell which one’s my brother? (or boet as they say in SA)     Cuz, Dale who lives in Vegas, and her boyf, Will were good sports and braved it too, and happily everyone was impressed.   It’s about a 15 minute car-ride from the Las Vegas Strip in a nondescript strip mall. The lineup of cabs out front is the first sign that the general public have caught on, and if you don’t have a resy you could wait for hours. The walls are covered with magazine articles and Zagat Ratings. The gorgeous wine cellar is another clue that this isn’t your average hole-in-the-wall.   We took our server’s recommendations, and each perfectly balanced dish was interesting, with huge depth of flavor. Here are some of my faves: Crispy Garlic Prawns    Giant garlic prawns. And I’m not talking “shrimp.” These are the real deal: meaty, gorgeous, deep fried with crispy shells that eat like chips. (I don’t usually do fried, but these were definitely worthy.)   Beef Short Ribs  The short ribs are un.bee.lievable. Fork-tender and tasty, with lovely, light, fresh noodles. (I could easily have polished that one off myself!   Crispy Duck Panang Curry I’ve never tasted such succulent and tender duck. The curry sauce didn’t over power, and despite being pan fried it wasn’t too rich. Green Papaya Salad (Healthy Pick)     If you haven’t tried this before, it’s not what you’d expect. I’m not a huge fan of fruit in salads, and this can be misleading because when you think papaya you think sweet fruit, right? But the green, unripe papaya is crispy and fresh—fab way to sneak in some greens. I couldn’t actually find this on the menu, but since it’s something I always order at Thai restaurants (and it was on the server’s top ten) it was a no-brainer. Pad Thai     It was a little embarrassing to order Pad Thai (which you’ll find at any Thai restaurant in the US) at this exotic establishment, but hubby, Sam, had to...

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How I Gained 4 Pounds in 4 Days (NY Confessions)
Jun26

How I Gained 4 Pounds in 4 Days (NY Confessions)

We’re back from 7 nights in New York and Boston, and after a fantastic trip I’m happy to say there’s no place like home! I’m definitely a West Coast girl. Staying smack dab in the middle of Times Square did not a relaxing vacation make. But we didn’t go there to relax! And what a trip to be staying “On Broadway!” (Those of you who knew me in my musical theater days will appreciate that.)     I was sooo happy that I packed my Best Weight Watchers Travel Snacks when we were delayed for NINE hours. (You might have seen my #IHateDelta tweets) Who needs stale pretzels when you have Cosomi Cookie-Crackers? Anthony Bordain’s Kitchen Confidential on my iPad Mini kept me from losing it completely! (Though I’m not sure I wanted to hear what really goes on in the kitchens of NYC just before dining in some of them. Scaaaary.) We checked into The W Hotel at 3:45am (!), and were ecstatic that Hazel had attempted to erase our nightmare travel day with a gorgeous corner suite on the 55th floor. After numerous warnings about teeny-tiny NYC hotel rooms, we were stoked. (Can you say upgrade?!) And so ensued a Four Day Eating Fiasco You must know by now that I’m a bonafide foodie, and despite having a (mostly) healthy food blog, I’m obviously into baked goods, hence the name “OrnaBakes.” So I wasn’t about to miss this opportunity for trying good eats across NYC. It’s a good thing we walked for MILES each day. (Would you believe I forgot to take my FitBit Flex!!!)   Everyone asks me the same thing: What was your favorite food? So here it is!   Eataly (sigh) Wow. What an experience. I mean—there’s an entire Nutella Room! (Check out my Greek Yogurt Panna Cotta with Nutella Sauce for the BEST dessert EVER!)       Seriously the best pizza ever to pass my lips—with fresh buffalo mozzarella that tasted like Italy.   And who knew that simple spaghetti in butter, olive oil, parmesan and pepper could taste so unbelievable!   And then of course I couldn’t miss fresh Hazelnut Gelatto. (My top 5 foods on earth)   Fun to watching these friendly bakers effortlessly make foccaccia. (Not sure why there were three of them on this task. But it looks interesting!)   Sam was ecstatic to find his beloved GUS (Grown Up Soda) which is increasingly hard to find in LA. (Gelsons still carries it)   I was so overwhelmed by the shelves and shelves of magnificent Italian confections, that I didn’t even come away with a single one! (Plus I knew if I bought a...

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