How Time Flies.

Where does time go??  Life and all that comes with it quite often happen in the blink of an eye.  That’s certainly the way I’ve been feeling these past couple weeks.  Between working many days at the restaurant  anywhere between 10 and 12 hours a day, planning Ashley’s up coming birthday celebration (she’s turning 26 next thursday but don’t tell her that, haha), working on creating new recipes (I one day wanna be able to have my own recipe book printed and published), and starting to plan me and Ashley’s 1 year wedding anniversary ( yes it’s still 4.5 months approx away haha), life has been nothing shy of busy and just flown by ever since we got off that plane returning home from Las Vegas 2 weeks ago.

I want to elaborate a bit on the comment I made about creating and writing new recipes.  As you may or may not be aware I am a certified and culinary school trained chef.  I have worked my way over the years through the kitchen and surrounding areas working such jobs as; prep cook, line cook, chef de partie, Executive Sous Chef, and now as well as Executive Sous Chef I am also working simultaneously as a catering sales manager.  Over the past couple weeks since returning from Las Vegas I have come back to the kitchen with a renewed sense of desire for my profession and desire to hone my skills in my trade even more.  One of the things that I’ve been doing over the past couple weeks that has really excited me is the creation of recipes, and cooking them for people.

Some of my notable recipes I’ve created recently include:

-Italian Smashed Potatoes

-Italian meatloaf

-Bruschetta

-Creamy Pesto sauce

-Italian Garlic Meatballs

 

There are many other dishes I’ve created over the years.  If you would like the recipe for any of the above dishes, or any other dishes please let me know and I would be only too happy to share my recipes with you.

At that I will bid you lovelies a good night and a happy Thursday tomorrow, and I promise I wont wait two plus weeks to do my next blog entry.

-Ben-

 

We Came, We Saw, We Conquered Vegas.

After 5 wonderful days in Vancouver, Ashley and I moved on the Las Vegas Nevada for the last 4 days of our fabulous fall vacation.  This past weeks 4 days in Vegas was the first time either of us had been back since our wedding there 7 months ago (March 2012), this trip however was a more relaxed and go at our own pace trip with a great opportunity to explore the city including the hotels and casinos and check out some of the many fabulous shows and restaurants Vegas has to offer.

In this post I am going to highlight some must see hotels and casinos, must eat at restaurants, must see shows, and attractions in “Sin City”, as well as some fabulous pics from some of these places.

Must See Hotels and Casinos:

Caesar’s Palace (a true classic)

MGM Grand Hotel and Casino (a mini city all in one complex including a 16,000 seat hockey/basketball/concert arena)

The Venetian (a touch of Italy in the United States desert)

Pretty much any hotel on the “Las Vegas Strip”.  Yes there are some that pale in comparison but truthfully most of the Las Vegas Blvd resort hotels and casinos are more than worth the viewing.

Must See Shows:

David Copperfield, at the MGM Grand

Cirque Du Soleil; Zumanity, at the New York New York hotel and casino

Cirque Du Soleil; The Beatles “LOVE”, at The Mirage

Jersey Boys, at Paris Hotel and Casino

(I have personally seen all four of these shows and would easily recommend any and all of them to anyone and everyone)

A few other shows I have heard can’t be missed: “Cirque Du Soleil; Mystere”, at Treasure Island, Donny and Marie; at The Flamingo Las Vegas, and Le Reve; at the Wynn Las Vegas.

Ashley and I in front of the Zumanity theater at New York New York.

Must Eat Ats:

Bacio by Carla Pellegrino, at the Tropicana Las Vegas.  Now I truly can’t say even close to enough great things about this Italian masterpiece of a restaurant.  From the food, to the service, the atmosphere, and if you are lucky enough to get to meet and chat with owner and chef extraordinaire: Chef Carla Pellegrino herself.  Now I have eaten at many Italian restaurants before but Bacio by Carla Pellegrino tops my list of Italian restaurants and must eat at places in Vegas.

Chef Carla Pellegrino and I outside her Italian Restaurant “Bacio” at the Tropicana Las Vegas.

Wolfgang Puck’s Bar and Grill at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino.  This is a casual-upscale restaurant situated in the heart of the casino at MGM Grand from celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck.

BBQ chicken pizza at Wolfgang Puck Bar and Grill

Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville, at the Flamingo Las Vegas; great casual bar dining atmosphere with an amazing selection of margaritas and other alcoholic beverages.

Other restaurants I have had highly recommended to me: Mesa Grill by Bobby Flay, at Caesars Palace, Spago by Wolfgang Puck at Caesars Palace, Rao’s in Caesars Palace.

Must See Attractions in and around Las Vegas:

The Volcano at the Mirage: this free attraction happens once an hour on the hour in front of the hotel starting nightly at 7pm and going until its final show nightly at 11pm.

Pirate ships at Treasure Island. (Free attraction)

Fountains of Bellagio (free attraction)

The Roller Coaster at New York New York hotel and casino ($14.00 per adult per ride)

Eifel Tower at Paris

Secret Garden and dolphin habitat of Sigfried and Roy at the Mirage hotel and Casino

Shark reef and aquarium at Mandalay Bay.

Hoover Dam

The Grand Canyon

The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace

Many others not listed.

 

I hope this list of my best picks for Las Vegas help you if you’re planning a trip to “Sin City”.

I will add another instalment in my Vegas picks in March 2013 as that’s when Ashley and I will be making our return to “Sin City” for our 1 year wedding anniversary.

Viva Las Vegas

-Ben-

Long Overdue Madonna Concert Review From September 30.

Here I return after an almost two-week absence from blogging.  Let me quickly fill you in on what was the cause for the absence, I was on a 9 day vacation that took me and Ashley to Vancouver, British Columbia; and Las Vegas, Nevada until 2 days ago, but am happy to be back communicating with all you wonderful readers again.

During the time we spent in Vancouver I was able to cross off an item from my “bucket list”, this item was….. seeing Madonna live in concert.  I will admit I have been a huge Madonna fan for as long as I can remember and have waited for years in fact 2 decades for this opportunity, and I will say this; it certainly didn’t disappoint, in fact it was easily the greatest and most entertaining live performance I’ve ever seen, even Ashley who isn’t a big Madonna fan agreed that it was an amazingly wonderful concert.

At age 54 the Material Girl has more energy on stage and enjoyment of what she does than most 20 something artists do.  From the moment she opened the show with “Girl Gone Wild” off her latest album MDNA all the way to ending the show with “Like A Prayer”, and “Celebration” she had the 17,000+ in attendance wrapped around her finger.  I will say that she doesn’t really do a “wholesome” or PG-13 show but let’s be honest with ourselves she hasn’t really gotten to where she is in thew world by being wholesome or family friendly, instead she has gotten here by being herself even if that means provocative at times.

Here are some pics from the beyond amazing show she put on in Vancouver British Columbia on Sunday September 30 at Rogers Arena.

View of the Material Girl’s stage from our seats at Rogers Arena.

Madonna entered the stage on this lift in the background.

 

second last song but most energetic performance of the night “Like a Prayer”

Madonna MDNA tour set list from September 30 2012 at Rogers Arena, Vancouver British Columbia. Set list courtesy of setlist.fm

 

Again, and I can’t say this enough: hands down the greatest concert I’ve ever seen in my life, and if you have the opportunity to ever see her live, take it, you can’t put a price tag on seeing an entertainment legend like Madonna.

If you have seen her this year on this tour I would love to hear from you on what you thought of the show you saw.

-Ben-