Sunday, April 21, 2013

Las Vegas

Okay, in my defense, I've done a lot in the past few weeks. Some pretty momentous things have happened...

I started making these Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies with the intent to blog... but I, uh, forgot to take pictures after the third step. (Bad blogger, bad blogger!)

I did my first SoulCycle class to benefit Swim with Mike, which supports physically challenged athletes. While I take regular spin classes at school, SoulCycle kind of kicked my butt! It was an awesome workout, and I came out sweaty, sore, and exhausted. That's the sign of a good workout, folks!

A-Trak came to my school to perform in a concert festival. I let my hair down (literally) and swung my head so hard that it hurt to turn the next day. Worth it!

Ben & Jerry's Free Cone Day was on April 9th. My roommate D and I got a ZipCar and trekked to Union Station just for our ice cream. D had Coconut Seven Layer Bar and I had Candy Bar Pie. Mine was rich and peanut buttery... yum!

And... I went to Vegas for a long weekend! I went to play in an ice hockey tournament with my team. We stayed in a dump (like, cockroaches bad) but luckily we didn't have any bedbugs and didn't spend much time there.

We consumed a huge amount of pizza one night after a game and then immediately went to get frozen yogurt. Hockey's a tiring sport, everyone!

We didn't have much free time around our game schedule, but I went to the Bellagio one night with friends and suddenly realized that I needed a macaroon. Like, urgently.

My friend A and I sprinted around the famous fountain to get to the Sugar Factory in Paris before they ran out. We pushed through the fountain-watching crowd and ran through intersections trying to get the cookies.

It was totally worth it. While macaroons are definitely better at Ladurée, these were passable. My friend and I both had two; we each had a buttercream and a chocolate. Pictured is the chocolate.

After we consumed our treats, we wandered around the Strip for a little while. Obviously, we had to stop in Caesar's, just to see what the hype was all about.

It was in Caesar's that I began to realize that I didn't exactly like Vegas. No offense if you happen to love it, but Vegas just isn't real life. There's so many statues and frescoes imitating this amazing art, and end up butchering the meaning and care behind them. Also, casinos smell vaguely like cigarettes and desperation, but that may just be me...

Does anyone feel the same way about this? Vegas is a city that pops out of nowhere, where the only activities are drinking, gambling, clubbing, and sitting by pools. Everything seems so fake and shallow to me. Give me somewhere with a mild dose of history any day, folks!

On Saturday, once we finished our game, a few of us went to Caesar's, round two, for a dose of Max Brenner.

Max Brenner is a small collection of restaurants in big cities. While they do serve proper meals, they are well and truly known for their chocolate. My group (about eight of us) all ordered various desserts to share (or hoard).

This was a little molten chocolate lava cake, served with vanilla ice cream, a chocolate shot (no alcohol, just chocolate and whipped cream), and chocolate sauce to pour over the cake. A few people ordered this, and I had a bite of someone's, and it was a little underwhelming. The cake itself was dry and needed the chocolate sauce for moisture.

Vanilla ice cream, served with chocolate sauce, hazelnut bits, and little chocolate balls. Simple and delicious. I split this with a friend, and we loved it. We also ordered...

This is fried bananas, served with toffee and melted chocolate. It was fondue-style, so we speared little bits of banana and dunked them into the toppings and then groaned in appreciation.

This is one of Max Brenner's famous chocolate syringes. It's pretty self-explanatory. It's a huge chocolate syringe filled with their liquid chocolate. To consume, all you do is put the tip in your mouth and "inject" yourself with chocolate.

I didn't order one (I was really full... and a little sugar comatose) but those who did sat there with expressions of amazement. Next time, I suppose!

Alright, so don't judge me, but we all ate a lot that weekend. Still on Saturday, after a little bit of retail therapy, our team went out to a big Thai dinner at a very interesting place... Around when we got our appetizers, a Thai man got onto the little stage and began to "sing" various songs.

I'm 90% sure he was lipsynching, but whatever. By the time we'd all about eaten our meals (which took forever to come out, my gosh), he put "Gangnam Style" on... either a calculated move or a large mistake.

We rose en masse and proceeded to dance in front of the whole restaurant. And then we moved onto karaoke.

Credits to MS
Crushed it during a particularly rousing rendition of "Dancing Queen". Yep, we went there.

We terrorized the restaurant for almost an hour with our various karaoke and dancing endeavors--by which point we all realized we were absolutely exhausted and went back to the hotel to sleep.

The next morning, we got up nice and early and hit the road back to LA. We hit some traffic on the way back, but the car I was driving was equipped with Planet Earth DVDs. I know lots about caves and seasonal forests now, everyone!

We stopped at Chipotle on the way back and then finished our drive in relative quiet, exhausted after lots of hockey games, eating, and sightseeing.

Keep an eye out for me on Instagram to keep abreast of what I'm up to in Los Angeles--I promise there's lots of food there! Find me @kat_herine_w

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