December 4, 2014

Thanksgiving in Vegas

Annnnd we’re back! Vegas! I don’t know if I’ve necessarily missed you, but I am reminded why you are one of my favorite cities.

In the past seven years I’ve lived in California, I’ve managed to make it down to Sin City five times. Ironically, at the end of each trip I make some mention of being ‘over’ Vegas… just to find myself back there in little over a year’s time. For everything opulent and grand, I find it one of my favorite places for BL and I to hit up for a long weekend.

To save on holiday flights, and to add a little adventure to this trip, we decided to road trip it early Wednesday morning. I actually really enjoy car trips with BL as it gives us time to catch up without distractions and listen to books on tape or my newest obsession- the Serial podcast.

We dominated the eight hour trek with only one quick stop and arrived at our hotel in time for lunch. Thankfully, the Hard Rock has great restaurant options, but we defaulted to what we do best —-> margaritas and Mexican food. You can take the boy outta California, but you cannot take the California outta the boy.

image

The minute we booked Vegas for Thanksgiving, I immediately made reservations at a restaurant I have been dying to try since it opened- Giada. Excited would be underselling it. As a lover of delicious, simple Italian food, Giada has been my favorite Food Network star since Everyday Italian. Since we are only BFFs in my daydreams, booking a table at her newly opened place would have to suffice.

I couldn’t wait for Thursday night so I persuaded BL to do a walk-by on Wednesday evening to grab a drink at the bar and view the impeccably decorated lounge area. Followed immediately by late-night pizza.

wedgiada pizza

Non-traditional Thanksgiving is so.much.fun. Since all of our family is on the other side of the country, I couldn’t think of a better way to spend the holiday. Having a mini getaway to Vegas was the perfect way to recharge before the holiday season and spend time with the person whom I am most thankful for- my husband.

giada

I am also very, very, very thankful that I finally got to eat at Giada. I seriously thought my smile was going to fall off on our walk to the restaurant. Totally cheesing. While we had a feast of foods, I picked a few of my favorite dishes to share with you here.

breadgiada

First, can we talk about the bread basket? Since carbs and I go wayyy back, the presentation and topping bar left me giddy. The breadsticks were my favorite, but trust me when I say that all the bread was good. Like me, Giada is a sucker for lemon and capers on everything so I loved the little tray of pesto, red pepper flakes, and capers that came with the bread.

bread

Next up- this pizza. It’s funny to think how much pizza is in my diet courtesy of BL. No matter where we are in the world, BL will find a way to have pizza.

pizzagiadaProving my point, this pizzette, which wasn’t even on my radar until both the sommelier and BL picked it out. Wood fired mushrooms? Done. I can’t even explain how great the crust was- chewy, yeasty and crispy all at the same time. Thank goodness I was forced to split it.

wine Of all the thing we tried that night, the Arancini di Riso (fried risotto balls) was hands down both BL’s and my favorite. I’ve had a soft spot for arancini ever since I was a kid, so much so that we served them as one of the appetizers at our wedding.

arranThese did not disappoint, and I love that she offers a few different varieties on the menu.  Sigh, seriously G- I think we would both enjoy an evening of laughing and eating all of your food. Call me.

gelato

Friday was spent walking up and down the strip, indulging in a few Black Friday sales, grabbing gelato, and not rushing. I think that’s what I crave most about vacations- the lack of having to rush everywhere. Not being on a schedule is the best vacation I can think of. I know that sounds so old, but it’s the truth. As an over-planner, I need moments where I’m not worried about the next thing on my list. Trust me when I say that Vegas is the perfect cure for type-A personalities.

chipotle

And that’s a wrap! We headed out of town early Saturday afternoon along with what seemed like the rest of the world. After overindulging for the past few days, I was ready to get back into my routine, see a vegetable and stretch. We stopped for my favorite fast-food on the way home, Chipotle. I love Chipotle so, so much and feel like I can eat healthy, even when I’m traveling. This is my go-to bowl that I get 99% of the time: brown rice, black beans, sofritos, corn salsa, spicy salsa, and extra guac.

In short: Great food. Great trip. Bad luck at the casino tables. How was your Thanksgiving?

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  1. OMG that pizza slice was friggin’ HUGEEEEEEE!!!! You just needed to add the guac from the last meal to it for it to be absolute caloric perfection! ha ha!

    • Ha! GUAC all day every day. Seriously, it is my favorite food. It’s funny how huge that pizza looks in the photo because it didn’t seem as huge at the time. Of course I was also a few cocktails in 😉

  2. I have been hearing SO much about the Vegas food scene. Gambling isn’t my thing but dining out certainly is! It’s really becoming a hot spot for people that love to eat great food. I need to get there! And the photo with the perfect pizza slice in the box is simply adorable. Hope you don’t mind a third wheel to your next non-traditional Tgiving! 😉

    • Come! Yes, I think BL played 5 minutes worth of blackjack our entire time there. The food scene really is incredible; even over the past 7 years of going there I’ve noticed a huge change in offerings. So many places to eat, so little time 🙂

  3. Sounds like a wonderful trip! Not having a schedule is one of my absolute favorite parts about being on vacation. Since I overly plan my life, I try not to make any plans when I’m away, but rather a list of a few must-dos. Giada’s restaurants looks absolutely amazing – glad you enjoyed it!

    • Me too! I notice that as I get older, I relish opportunities where I don’t have to be on a schedule. So nice from the day to day. Of course, it takes this type-A personality a day or two to get there 🙂

  4. You are so cute! That is seriously hilarious about Giada! We used to call her my Dad’s “girlfriend” because he had a crush on her. I love her too! Have you seen her travel show? It’s fabulous! Happy belated Thanksgiving!

    • Ha! I know, it’s kinda weird how obsessed I am with her, but mostly because I want her life. Cooking all day and living in Malibu 🙂 Yes! I love her travel show. How do you get that job!?