My Date

Sampling Sin City’s Finest Feminine Forms

Word of my decision to relocate to Las Vegas spread quickly among my buddies. We men lack the ability to voice how much a changing friendship dynamic is going to suck. Knowing my comrades would be attending Sox games, indulging in libations at our favorite Irish pub and serving as wingmen for one another without me burned a little. To ease the burn, I made each promise to visit, insisting I would afford them Vegas debauchery to the highest degree.

I instinctively knew, Travis, a previous college roommate, would be the first to oblige. I had no clue it would be so soon. He’d scored a killer deal on a flight I suspect he purchased after too many Heinekens, given his late-night, slurred voicemail announcing his impending Thursday arrival.

I could not request Friday off given my new-hire status, so Travis opted for a hotel room on the Strip in an effort to maximize his recreation time. Anyone who has visited Sin City knows it’s much grander in person than imaginable, and Travis was no exception. We caught up over the esteemed tasting menu at Alizé at The Palms Thursday night. Regrettably, I had to make an early exit because I needed to be functional Friday morning.

Travis, however, reveled in Vegas allure well into the night. Friday’s string of texts alerted me to the fact he was pretty pumped by the plethora of ads for in-room female entertainment at every turn. He was hinting in a major way that he wanted to partake in some form before his plane took off.

Strippers in Vegas are everywhere, and I could tell he was buying into the falsehood that those advertised on handbills and on trucks in Vegas were the real deal. When we met up at a Mandalay Bay bar Friday, he actually had a few cards in hand, grinning like a kid on Christmas. Thankfully, I had done some legwork at the office regarding the best options for this undertaking.

Charlie, a coworker around my age, is a guy I’ve fast warmed up to. He’s relatable, and I felt comfortable asking him for some direction. I explained wanting to show my friend an exceptional time since I was feeling pretty awful about my early bail on Thursday. I wasn’t exactly sure what I was looking for, and suspected Charlie would appropriately direct me in how to secure a pair of great looking girls to pay us a visit.

I could not have been any more correct.

“Man, you need Bunnies,” he announced instantly. He went on to explain that this company, Bunnies of Las Vegas Escorts, is his go-to when it comes to strippers for Vegas bachelor parties he has planned for friends. He confirmed my suspicion that if a guy seeks to have a quality Vegas escort or stripper pay a visit, those advertising on handbills and the like should be avoided. He insisted the lovely ladies at Bunnies of Las Vegas escorts would not disappoint.

He could not have been any more correct.

In the spirit of sharing reviews of new Vegas experiences and because Mom has yet to learn about the existence of this site, I’m offering up a review of sorts of our experience with two young Bunnies who knocked it out of the park.

Of the two of us, Travis is the one with the ability to request large breasts like he’s asking for anchovies, so he was the man to make the call. He performed the task at hand with ease and even asked if he could request one of the two be Asian and that they had prior experience working as a duo. Travis was promised two girls, and we made the expedited strut to his room in much the same manner we did when going to our first college parties.

In his effort to find a cheap place to stay on the Strip, Travis stumbled on an impressive room deal at Mandalay Bay. The spacious accommodations would provide the perfect platform for our live entertainment. While I’d been somewhat nonchalant about the endeavor, excitement was overtaking me. Being single for some time, the thought of luxuriating in the feminine form was invigorating.

Arriving faster than we assumed, we were in awe the moment our young ladies entered the room. Kym, a generously chested Asian, and Abby, a red-hot redhead, were consummate professionals, dressed to the nines, and simply gorgeous. Seeming to possess a six sense that we were new to this, they were gentle!

As music began to flow from a small Bluetooth speaker, the girls embarked on a downtempo groove that was engaging and highly erotic. Subsequent songs amped up their display quite nicely. They had to have worked together previously because they were entirely at ease and really played off one another’s sensuality. Giggles escaped when Abby freed Kym of her skin-tight ensemble but struggled briefly with a zipper. This was hot as hell, and they weren’t even fully unclothed at this point.

At the risk of sounding coy, I am going to save the most erotic details for the memory bank. What bears mentioning, though, is Kym and Abby’s way of making the time spent feel upscale and relaxed. They were confident and classy from start to remarkable finish. They were not in a rush to make a dash for the door and even engaged in conversation regarding the best clubs for singles in Vegas.

Travis’ first foray into Vegas decadence was epic thanks to Kym and Abby. I have to give the biggest shout out to Bunnies of Las Vegas Escorts and Charlie for his recommendation because I’m certain Travis is going to brag up his stay in Sin City to the guys back home, building my rep as a top-notch host.

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alize-wine

Fine French Dining Las Vegas Style

Fine dining experiences are normally saved for occasions when I am wooing a member of the opposite sex. I made an exception when visited recently by a friend from home. I wanted to treat my first visitor to something special. After hearing about the phenomenal views from the 56th floor, Alizé at The Palms was my choice.

Esteemed Michelin-starred French Restaurant in Las Vegas

Everything good one would assume about an esteemed, Michelin-starred French restaurant in Las Vegas is served up at Alizé. It is high-end all the way. The panoramic views courtesy of 16-foot floor-to-ceiling windows throughout are unparalleled by any other restaurant in Las Vegas with a view of the Strip.

Guys are not supposed to care about the aesthetics and ambiance of any eatery, but I feel strongly that elegance and refinement are indicative of a higher standard applied to all kitchen practices. If the table linens’ thread counts are impressive, you know the sous chef isn’t on probation. Overall, I liked the vibe of the place. The prices are not out of control, but are significant. For those seeking to dine on the cheap, Alizé isn’t the place.

Hard-to-Find Armagnac and Cognac in Las Vegas

A focal point of the interior of Alizé is the two-story wine cellar boasting 7,500 bottles of wine in over 1,500 labels. Those seeking the best wine selections Las Vegas has to offer will appreciate the expansive selection of wines at Alizé. While my dining partner and I are not wine connoisseurs, we do appreciate good cognac. Alizé prides itself on being home to the largest armagnac and cognac selection in Las Vegas while also ranking in the top three in North America.

We were taken with the expansive nine-page cognac and fine spirits menu. We opted for the Chateau du Tariquet, Three Stars. Smooth, with a subtle vanilla flavor, this armagnac was an excellent selection. I plan to come back for more extensive tastings of their celebrated brands. My bankroll is too modest to afford myself a taste of their $34,000/bottle Jacques Hardy Cognac, Private Reserve, Vintage 1777, but I am a big fan of partaking in a lower-end libation knowing there’s Jacques Hardy Vintage in the house.

Summer Tasting Menu at Alizé

After one drink at the swanky bar, we were seated and ordered the summer tasting menu. Armed with less-than-refined palates, we appreciated the simplicity of the tasting menu: three choices for each course. The first in each trio is Chef Mark Purdy’s modernized approach on refined French cuisine. The second in line is a nod to renowned Chef André Rochat’s creations. Vegetarian selections are the third in each course list.

Alizé Summer 2014 Tasting Menu:

HAMACHI TARTARE Watermelon, Quail Egg, Capers, Red Onion, Potato Crisp

MAINE LOBSTER Ratatouille, Tomato-Garlic Aïoli, Crispy Potato

CHILLED VICHYSSOISE AND TOMATO SOUP Crispy Potatoes, Minced Chives & Truffle Oil

SAUTÉED FOIE GRAS Caramelized Peaches, Blackberry Purée, Candied Sunflower Seeds

FOIE GRAS TERRINE Smoked Duck & Artichoke Crêpe, Orange Marmalade, Candied Pecans, Basil

POINT REYES BLUE CHEESE-STRAWBERRY CROUSTILLANT  Balsamic Reduction, Candied Pistachio 

CALAMARI “CAKE” Falafel Crusted, Cucumber & Mint Salad, Tzatziki Sauce 

IRISH SALMON Purple Peruvian Potato, Asparagus, Pickled Mustard Seeds

ROASTED MUSHROOM TOBAN-YAKI Miso-Mushroom Broth Rice Noodles & Sesame Oil 

DUCK BREAST Honey-Lemon Cake, Foie Gras, Sautéed Spinach, Leeks, Strawberry Gazpacho

RABBIT TENDERLOIN Corzetti Pasta, Fava Beans, Rabbit Bratwurst, Espelette Mustard Velouté

HEIRLOOM TOMATO RISOTTO Crescenza Cheese, Marinated Tomato, Herbs

RACK OF LAMB Apricot Couscous, Cucumber, Almonds, Cilantro Za’atar, Lamb Jus

BEEF RIB EYE Empanada, Plantain, Piquillo Pepper, Avocado, Marinated Tomatoes, Chimichurri Sauce

PAN SEARED TOFU Puffed Rice Cracker, Tofu Crème, Soy Glaze

TÊTE DE MOINE Apricot Confiture, Aged Balsamic Vinegar, Zucchini Date Bread

LA TUR Port Poached Prunes, Candied Pistachios, Rosemary Raisin Crisp

ETORKI Sweet Onion & Honey Confiture, Rye Toast, Balsamic Vinegar

CHOCOLATE DECADENCE Strawberry Sorbet, Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

GRAND MARNIER SOUFFLÉ Sabayon

CHOCOLATE SOUFFLÉ Chocolate Sauce

My Savored Selections

A complimentary soup sample set the supper in motion. For the first course, I opted for the Maine lobster. This palatable part one was a great first course and just a phenomenal lobster ratatouille. Kudos to the chef for his attention to detail, as my second course proved to be delectable and visually pleasing.

It was after this course of savory sautéed foie gras with a hint of subtle sweetness that the restaurant manager approached our table to inquire about our meal to that point. The touch of class was appreciated and genuine. As he was making his exit, our third installment was forthcoming. I relished the Irish salmon that was served with an asparagus spear, mustard seeds and a purple potato. The concoction was thought-out and well-presented. I felt the chef had to be a magician because it was a delightful amalgam of flavors unlike any salmon dish I’ve sampled.

The fourth course left a little to be desired. I went with the rabbit tenderloin, simply because I had yet to try rabbit in any capacity. I felt the dish fell short with tasteless fava beans and an uninspired corzetti pasta. The fifth course of beef rib eye was uplifting with a marinated tomato that complemented the beef quite nicely. With beef this great, I easily forgave the rabbit falling short.

When making my sixth course selection, I was indifferent. Nothing appealed to me, but I took a stab at the la tur, and was glad I did. Who knew pistachios would add so brilliantly to port poached prunes? Not this guy. The seventh course, the dessert course, was the chocolate soufflé. Chef knocked it out of the park again with this because it was a chocolate lover’s dream. I don’t often order dessert, but am grateful when a tasting menu forces me to indulge.

Overall, Alizé is deserving of its adulation. Given the limitless libations, I envision taking clients here for drinks and a bite, while the charming ambiance lends itself to being a perfect date night venue. Add the breathtaking views to an impeccable menu, and guests are in store for a culinary experience with the ultimate backdrop in the form of the best view in Vegas.

Reservations are recommended, and Alizé is open nightly, 6-10

Alizé telephone number: 702-951-7000
Restaurant home page
Reservations

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pizza

Secret Pizza in Las Vegas, Not-So-Secret

Generally, I strive to avoid any and all single-guy clichés. I fall short in one area; I am a sucker for great pizza. My Chicago upbringing groomed me to believe Chicago-style pizza is the ultimate. As I navigate my new surroundings, one thing is certain: securing a favorite pizza in Las Vegas is a must.

While my above-average fondness for pizza plays into every single-white-male stereotype, I am no longer in college and can afford to pay a little more for a pie. This has resulted in my evolution from the days I deemed Dominoes king and Pizza Hut fancy. I’ve learned pizza from quality, fresh ingredients trumps any of the national pizza chains’ offerings, and part of the joy associated with appraising new pizza is trying to map out what’s in the sauce, especially when it’s remarkable sauce.

Searching for the best pizza in Las Vegas is going to be a pleasurable culinary endeavor, and my first sampling was literally a search as I endeavored to find the not-so-secret Secret Pizza inside the Cosmopolitan Hotel. This place is unofficially coined “Secret Pizza” as it lacks an official name. Adding to the mystique is the lack of an online presence or any signage inside the Cosmo directing would-be pizza consumers to their final destination.

Typically, an establishment with such a gimmick boasts lackluster offerings because customers are paying for the stratagem more than for food quality. Knowing this, I was quite surprised to read a plethora of excellent reviews for this undercover eatery. I decided to venture to the Cosmopolitan, purposely avoiding online spoilers regarding the coordinates of Las Vegas’ Secret Pizza. With respect to the ruse, readers will receive no spoilers here. For those with more concern about the cuisine than the chase, there are plenty of reveals found online regarding Secret Pizza’s location.

I’ll admit; my hunt was prolonged as the Cosmo hotel is an impressive space, and I found myself distracted as I maneuvered the casino floor. A couple of escalators and a vinyl album-covered hallway later, I’d arrived. I could smell Secret Pizza before it came into view. As I scanned the place, I was pleased to find a rather modest line. I’ve read the place is packed at lunch and after nearby clubs close, given Secret Pizza’s reputation for being one of the best late-night pizza places in Las Vegas.

An immediate observation one makes about Secret Pizza is its size. The place is small. There are four chairs and a counter with enough space for roughly a dozen people to stand at while munching their savory slices. Additional seating is available outside the place on couches in a large hallway. Despite its small size, the place is endowed with a cool, casual urban vibe. Employees are polite and engaging; one is spinning crust while another is pouring a draft IPA into a red Solo cup.

I assumed the obscure location would lend itself to pretentiousness, but that is not the case. Strangers in line were striking up a conversation while awaiting their ration as a gaggle of giggling girls attempted selfies in front of a vintage pinball machine. When my turn to order arrived, I opted for two slices, as the sizes are generous and set a person back about $5 per slice. A whole pie is right around $30, depending on toppings.

Secret Pizza’s white pizza is amazing. I’d gone with a slice of the white pizza with sausage and immediately made the determination this was going to be my go-to slice before giving time to my pepperoni and mushroom. Ricotta cheese with a hint of garlic lends to the unique, palatable taste of Secret Pizza’s white pizza.

With made-fresh-daily crust and a tasteful sauce, both slices I purchased were excellent. The hype is well-deserved as are the plethora of favorable online nods. The pizza is so exceptional, the place could probably survive sans the schtick, but this is Vegas, and every entity needs an angle. My final determination is this unnamed, poorly kept secret is a hidden gem in the sea of eateries on the Strip.

Where is Las Vegas Secret Pizza?

3708 S. Las Vegas Blvd. Hours: 7 days per week, 11 am to 4 am

P.S. I would really like to provide everyone a link to a site but I don’t think Secret Pizza has one, if any readers know of one please let me know so I can update this post, thanks!

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TJS Things

Single Guy in Las Vegas, Rolling the Dice

What compels a 28-year-old single male to uproot from the Midwest and embark on a life-changing trek to Las Vegas without knowing a soul, but for a handful of future counterparts at a leading Las Vegas advertising agency? In my case, a sense of adventure and a craving for something new is all it took. In June, I accepted a job offer so enticing I left my position at a Chicago advertising firm to try my hand in Vegas. My mother will tell you I employed no logic in this decision, but I’d like to think I did.

Being single and in no hurry to settle down, I figured leaving the state I’d been born, raised and educated in was an adventurous, now-or-never determination. The decision is not one I came to easily as family means the world to me; experiencing another section of the country trumped my inborn affinity for Mom’s home-cooking and appreciation for Dad’s continued habit of slipping me a twenty during every visit, warning to, “Put it to good use.”

Road Tripping One Way for One of Us

The logistics were simple once my decision was made. I reserved a U-Haul and recruited long-time partner-in-crime, Jack, to endure the road trip with me. It was a last hurrah of sorts for him and me as giving up our regularly relished midwestern brand of debauchery was nearly as painful as bidding adieu to being home for every holiday.

We plotted our route, outfitted ourselves with the latest travel apps and set out on the most ballsy adventure I had ever undertaken. For those of you who have not traveled several states in a 14-foot U-Haul, take me at my word that the ride is less-than-smooth, anybody other than my best friend would have asked to be rerouted home via Greyhound after 500 miles and the touted 10 MPG is just a wacky estimate.

With more fuel going on my Amex card that I’d anticipated, we secured lodging in a seedy hotel after a full day on the road. We were worse-for-wear and painfully reminded we are no longer the 20-year-olds who road-tripped to Florida in a minivan packed with 7 guys and four beer coolers. All we wanted was a clean bed and a few hours of shut-eye to erase our road weariness.

Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada

A hot Tuesday late afternoon greeted us as we pulled the U-Haul into my apartment complex after more hours on the road than we’d hoped. I’d seen the layout of my place in a display unit on my trip to Vegas to interview. I like it well enough, but will settle on something more permanent when I have a few months residency and can make an ideal selection on location.

By Wednesday afternoon, I had furniture in place with scattered boxes littering my limited square footage. Jack’s early Thursday morning flight left us in short supply of time to kick back on the Strip, but we had to hit it given he has never been to Las Vegas and was anxiously awaiting taking it in, even for a short while. We sampled several libations sold street-side and were safely delivered via cab to my new abode after checking out a string of casinos.

While we didn’t hit up anything too upscale, I was taken by the activity level for a Wednesday night outside select clubs. I am definitely stoked to start checking out the Las Vegas nightlife. Taking in things to do late-night in Las Vegas excites me, and I cannot wait to discover the adventures awaiting me in my untried environment that is fast proving to be hotter than Chicago in more ways than one!

My Mission

Chronicling my transition to life in Las Vegas on this site is my way of having a record of it all and hopefully making friends along the way. Given my current state of trepidation about making my mark in Vegas, I hope this site serves as a Las Vegas travel guide for visitors and new residents. Perhaps a lofty goal, but I also hope to provide long-time residents a fresh look at their remarkable city through the wide eyes of a new resident.

Navigating the city and learning its ways enable me to share the good and the bad with an honest, fresh approach. My goal is to create a worthwhile site helpful to anyone seeking a look at Las Vegas off the beaten path while also having a plethora of in-depth reviews of some of Las Vegas’ major attractions.

Thank you for taking the time to learn my story. My hope is you check back often for weekly reviews and personal anecdotes.

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