“I like Vegas for its spontaneity.”
Yep, you read headline that right.
I still can’t believe I did this. On a whim, I got an email for a foodie event, but the event was in Vegas. So I looked at tickets, booked, and a week or two later, took off.
Being in Southern California has its perks sometimes. And accessibility to travel is one of them. So I decided to go. I left work an hour early, drove down to LAX, hopped a Virgin America flight, went to the event, checked in at the hotel, met up with a buddy, went for a night on the town, made it to the airport at 6:30 the next morning for an 8 am flight, landed in LAX, made it in to work by 10ish, and acted like nothing happened.
And IT. WAS. AWESOME.
July and August boasted amazing travel deals. Round trips for $80 from cities like Los Angeles to Chicago and Dallas to Atlanta ran rampant. I couldn’t just sit by and let these deals pass me by.
But I didn’t have much of an opportunity to take off work. So when the event email popped up in my inbox, I clicked on over to Google Flights to check out the dates. Sure enough, I could get round-trip to Vegas for $80. Perfect.
I even had a choice of airlines. But since I was going to Vegas for a whirlwind, less-than-24-hour trip, I opted for Virgin America. Its planes are hip, youthful and modern. (Not to mention I love their safety video.) It was exactly the fun touch I was looking for on a trip to Vegas.
All I packed was my purse, and a shoulder tote with undergarments, an outfit for work, toiletries, my phone charger, and the shoes on my feet. It was the perfect jetsetting moment.
So I got in to work early, and ducked out around 2:30 pm. I got down to LAX, parked and whisked right through security and to my gate 30 minutes before boarding. And, I was off.
Rhythm Kitchen’s Food and Wine Dinner
I slept on the flight. I’m not an idiot, I knew it was going to be a long night and an even longer Wednesday. And as soon as we landed, we were en route for Cajun food.
A few years ago, I stumbled upon Rhythm Kitchen, this totally off-the-beaten-path, gem. It is a New Orleans-style Cajun restaurant west of the Strip. And I love it.
The restaurant was hosting a 3-course food and wine dinner with wines pairings, so I thought it a perfect excuse to go. The event menu was amazing, featuring a wine pairing with each course. The first course was a Blackened Chicken Salad with a Pineapple Mango Salsa and White Balsamic Vinaigrette. It was impeccable. The lightness of the dressing paired with the flavors of the blackened chicken and the sweetness of the salsa was perfect for summertime.
Next, we had the Crab Cake topped with Crawfish Etouffee. The Etouffee was spicy and added just the right amount of heat to the dish, coupled with the tender crawfish. The third course was a Lamb Chop drizzled with a Cabernet Demi served with Sweet Potato Fries and Bacon Brussel Sprouts. OMG. It was decadence all around with the tender meat coupled with the sweet and saltiness of the sweet potato fries and the decadent brussel sprouts. It was so good. I was extremely pleased I had attended, and it was the perfect reason to hit Vegas.
For more on Rhythm Kitchen, check out my upcoming post on this non-Strip Vegas gem.
After dinner, I made my way to the Strip to my hotel. Since I was going for fun and excitement, I chose Planet Hollywood to stay at for my quick jaunt. And Planet Hollywood was all of that and more. The hotel had a great vibe to it but also an element of upscale fun. The gorgeous chandelier was the first thing that caught my eye and I spent a good amount of time watching the colors change and photographing it. The casino floor was much more expansive that I imagined, and of course, Planet Hollywood boasts a huge shopping area.
The room was fantastic. And that view! Given how centrally located the hotel and casino is, you have dope views of the Strip. I was fortunate enough to score a top-floor, Strip-View room, and WOW! The view was amazing!
This is definitely a hotel to stay in if you are looking for a good time and to be centrally located. It is right across the street from the Crystal’s complex, along with Aria and Cosmopolitan hotels, and just off to the right is Bellagio. The only thing that made me sad was that I could see the Bellagio Fountains, but the show didn’t happen that late in the evening. They should really work on that.
Check out my full Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino Review coming soon!
After being in the room for all of 30 minutes, I was off again. I only had 14 hours, after all.
Another buddy picked me up and we headed to the Encore. We were off to hit Andrea’s, another hip restaurant, named for Steve Wynn’s wife. When we walked in, I was hit by the open layout and hip décor of Andrea’s and, of course, the bar with the eyes. And I wasn’t alone in thinking the restaurant was cool, as a very famous NBA player was also dining there at that moment.
We decided on drinks and to sample the Asian-fusion cuisine (as if I hadn’t already had a delicious meal). We opted for the Rock Shrimp Tempura and the Tuna + Crispy Rice.
Now anyone who knows me knows that I don’t love raw fish. Not even a little bit. But when I tell you that this Tuna + Crispy Rice, with the warmth of the rice, was everything, it was everything. It was fresh and light and felt cooked because of the warm rice. I would definitely have this appie again. And the Rock Shrimp Tempura was huge. Fresh shrimp and the batter was delicious. Nice job by Andrea’s.
Then we doubled down on dessert. We shared two items: One was a shaved ice mountain with fresh fruit, condensed milk, raspberry syrup and a sweet bean. The other was a special, something about Elvis, with chocolate mousse and peanut butter. They were both decadent. The whole meal, paired with delicious drinks, was excellent. I can certainly see why Andrea’s is so popular.
After dinner #2, we swung by the Chandelier Lounge in Cosmopolitan. How had I never seen this place before? It was absolutely exquisite! Three floors of pinkish-hued chandelier, drinks, music, and lounging. It was one of the dopest places I have hung out in Vegas. I will definitely be stopping through here before I have a night on the town next time I am in Vegas. The ambiance was perfect and the scene and crowd was chill. It was a nice way to cap off an evening in Vegas, pre-game before hitting the clubs, or even a great substitute spot to a night of clubbing.
Back to Reality
After about 3 hours of sleep, I got my wake up call. My flight was at 8 am so I got to the airport at around 6:15 even though I had no bags. Good thing I did, because the Vegas airport stays crowded, especially for the early morning flights. I guess everyone had the same thoughts as me, trying to make it in to work because they were missed. I hopped my LAX-bound flight, got my car, and drove in to work. It was back to reality. When a co-worker asked me what I did last night, I casually replied “Oh, I just hung out… on the Strip… in Vegas.”