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Gift Guide and Bucket List of Our Favorite Holiday Things

Tis the season…We put together a list of our favorite places, products and services from stocking stuffers to bucket list events around town. Happy Shopping and Socializing, mamas! 

Gifts for your #1 mom (Yes, YOU!)

Vent Salon also has 2 locations also: Downtown Summerlin and Henderson 3 blowouts per month runs about $55/month. Look Style Society has 2 locations in the Valley – Tivoli Village and Town Square. They offer unlimited blowouts for $99/month and unlimited makeup application for $99/month!

For furry babies: Barking Dogs on Blue Diamond has a great selection of treats and toys to reward your pets after you have them groomed or just do the self wash option. I love the friendly, resourceful staff here and the products are top notch.

I have worn the same lipstick for probably the entire time I’ve lived in Las Vegas (since 2003!) It’s called Stay Currant and it’s a Revlon Colorstay lip stain. I know, the drug store under $10 choice for the win! I’ve tried other brands, other shades, but this is my absolute go to – fancy or casual, day or night, summer or winter. I love this deep red and the fact that it lasts all day & even into some mornings – Lol! Just remember to pick up Neutrogena make up remover too (or the Up & Up Target brand works just as well for half the price) or the fancy Bifacil by Lancôme. They all take off lip stains with minimal effort.

Tervis cups are my new jam. They have been around forever, are super sturdy and incredibly stylish. I love drinking just about everything out of them! There is a Tervis store at PH’s Miracle Mile Shops, but they are also available at Macy’s and Bed, Bath & Beyond(home of the never expiring 20% off coupons!). You can rep your favorite sports teams or choose fun festive designs. With an active, bull-in-a-china-shop toddler you need to be ready for the next foul ball or rogue plane. We also have pets so cleaning up broken glass is too much of a risk! 

Speaking of drinks… The good folks at Total Wine can help you find great wine and spirits to fit any occasion. They carry much, much more than simply wine! There is beer and cordials and hard alcohol as well as unique accessories and paraphernalia to make any wine connoisseur squeal.

Comfort food from Yardbird Southern is a cozy way to spend time connecting with your honey amidst the craziness of the holidays. When it’s cold out, rich foods are the way to go! We need to get our winter coats on – What else will we have to work off in the New Year?! Mandarin Oriental has a festive high tea as well. Start your new tradition today!

Brunch at Craft Kitchen, tea and multiple menu offerings at Truffles N Bacon, Filipino gastropub from Cutting Board & anything from Served LV and now at Americana… These are a handful of favorites around town for taking friends to share a unique experience that will give them something new to try or just make every day meals feel like a special occasion.

I love Hobby Lobby and Michaels for easy DIY kits from ornaments to toys, but the unique finds will be at Cost Plus World Market! Our elf even shops there!

There are 2 indoor playgrounds that we absolutely love (warning, sock zone!): Rockin Jump the trampoline gym is fantastic for the whole family so definitely head over when you have restless visitors in town. Super clean, open warehouse style, a stunt bag, dodge ball courts, a climbing tower, basketball hoops of varying heights, lockers and great music playing. For kids 10 years and younger, go to Kangamoo. You will not be disappointed! You could literally be there all day, they have a walking track, slides, swings, trampolines, a zip line, miles of crawl space, free massage chairs, free coffee, tea and water, a charging station and plenty of wifi.

Sharing experiences and quality time with loved ones is really what the holidays are all about. There are several notable seasonal events and attractions around town. You can never go wrong with Opportunity Village’s Magical Forest where there are so many local sponsors who are annual contributors. The trees are ever changing and can be a constant inspiration for your own home decorations. New to the Valley is Operation North Pole: an interactive experience with our favorite jolly couple! This includes photo opps, visiting the candy shoppe, the toy workshop, and one on one time with Mr. & Mrs. Claus! Make it a point to visit seasonal exhibits at Bellagio, Venetian and now The Park for festive gatherings and holiday decorations. Ice skating is always a fun family night too at Downtown Summerlin, Cosmopolitan and also The Park now too! There are also several homes decked out in Christmas Lights with synchronized music too! Hypnotist Marc Savard’s home on East Robindale is for sure a local favorite. The schedule for House on Robindale can be found on Facebook. If you want to stay in your car, try the Glittering Lights at the Speedway! They have Groupons and deals for bringing canned goods too.

Great shows to see anytime, but going to shows is more festive during the holidays: Terry Fator at Mirage, Jabbawockeez at MGM, and Absinthe at the theater in front of Ceasar’s (<–Absinthe is NOT for suitable for kids! …or anyone easily offended by vulgar language and suggestive content).

Brunch, Food, Live Like a Local, Moms, New & Hot, Restaurants, Reviews

Bottiglia at Green Valley Ranch

Fitting that Bottiglia ( pronounced boh-TEE-yah) means “bottle” because even if you don’t go for the food you will want to be there for the drinks. Styled as a European yup-scale 1960s farmhouse chic restaurant it’s the perfect blend of retro elegance and modern touches. I could not help but imagine Audrey Hepburn here; Breakfast at Tiffanys? Brunch at Bottiglia! Picture a gastro pub that has been white washed, studded with reclaimed wood furniture, pastel fabrics, geometric chrome accents and sporadic wicker whimsy. They must have designed their drinks according to their decor. YES, I want my bellini to match my plush peach seat and YES, I would love for you to make my white sangria smell like the bouquet on the back of my chair damnit! And YES, I want my Malbec to be inspired by my velvety fig colored booth. Pinks, peaches, plums, gold and robin-egg- blues? I’ll drink all of it please…….Oh and I’ll be waiting for my drinks on the wrap around terrace if you don’t mind, thank you. I know what you are thinking: this sounds all very…… feminine.

Don’t let the décor fool you though the fine dining side of things could impress the likes of Anthony Bourdaine. This IS a fancy Italian restaurant and they’ve got the Lobster Fra’ Diavolo to prove it. I think we can all agree, Italian cuisine is all about love and you can tell where Chef Patrick’s heart is: The sea…. The sea of love….. I want to tell you just how much… I love his Halibut….. Among other things. One word ANTIPASTA. Their mastery of wood-smoked eggplant spread is only surpassed by their straight up ownership of lemon ricotta stuffed zucchini blossoms. The tuna carpaccio blushes as deep as the beets in the roasted beet salad. The chopped salad is nothing short of an orgy of tart, tang and sweet kiss of green grapes. The eggplant parmesan? Miniature like a ballerina and just as ‘en pointe’ ( sul punto in Italian) If you want to get some romance get intimate with the appetizers. You’ll go home satisfied.

But let’s get back to that Halibut. You put a piece of fish in front of me and all of a sudden I look like  teenager that just had her first drink. I giggle, I wiggle and smile. Most sushi chefs think I’m flirting with them. Maybe I am and I don’t realize it, but if I am, it’s only because I’m part penguin. For that reason, the Pan Roasted Halibut spoke to me, even though I don’t speak Italian or even understand most Italian, that fish and I understood each other. It knew I would adore it no matter what. But the condiments and garnish excited me more than the fish by itself. The fish was laid on a bed of faro (thick fluffy grain) with a water color green butter sauce, dollops of carrot puree and then the peas (ohlordthepeas!) The peas were short spring inspired love poems, each a pleasurable burst inside my mouth whispering sweet nothings to the fish.

They didn’t have to bring anything else out. But they did and to be completely honest The Shrimp Puttanesca and the Lobster Fra’ Diavolo could have their way with me too. I KNOW I sound like a cheating foodie perv but if I could have a menage`a trois of fish shrimp and lobster in one sitting every time I dine at Bottiglia….. I WOULD. Both the shrimp and the lobster are equally spicy and beautiful. While sexy in name, puttanesca, meaning whore’s pasta, in Italian has become slang for “a bunch of sh*t in the cupboard goes in the pasta”. Classically, you need the capers and olives to kick the ever loving crap out of you in order to make this dish a success, which is what made this my favorite of the pastas, because capers are my life. The creamy pink sauce on the lobster though was seriously indulgent. It was almost like a deconstructed lobster ravioli. But a warning: if you don’t like you food to look at you, request the face to be removed cause you get the entire lobster.

Dish after dish was placed and removed by what seemed like six different super models which made the dinner feel like a seduction. If I can’t be seduced in Italy then I’ll gladly take a little Italian seduction in Henderson. So…. while I’m in the mood, I’ll tease you with some dessert. I’ll give you some hints: one melts in your mouth and the other was filled with fun ….. I’ll leave the rest to your imagination… Bon Apetit!

        

Reserve your table today: Bottiglia at Green Valley Ranch ***BRUNCH SERVICE BEGINS SUNDAY 28 AUG 2016***

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Truffles N Bacon Cafe : A Culinary Love Story

Welcome to my first sentence ever to post on a blog! I’m just a guest here. I don’t know how guest blogging works really or how many more of these you’ll see from me but I am so appreciative to Las Vegas Moms Blog for having me here. Blogging is fun. wheeeeeee!

TNB foodiesWhen Cee Cee from LVM asked me to come to a private lunch tasting at Truffles N Bacon AND write about it, I almost flipped. I think I actually squeed.  The name Truffles N Bacon, in my mind, evokes images of smoky fat crisped bacon and indulgently pungent truffle oil, right? Nope! I was totally wrong and super okay with it. Think sweet pork and chocolate with a little bit of South Pacific flair. Truffles N Bacon Cafe namesakes are attributed to their award winning bacon jam and their chocolate truffles. The chocolates are pretty self-explanatory: little rolled balls of chocolate covered in things. Simple and delicious. And then their bacon jam, so complex and versatile, they can (and do) put it in nearly everything. In fact, two of the foods that blew me away were dishes that both boasted the jam.

Our hostess, Magnolia, had prepared us a gorgeous French Countryside High Tea experience (sans tea.) Wild flowers floating in tea cups placed on floral chiffon table cloths next to 6 types of finger foods piled on porcelain hors d’oeuvre tiers.  Each tier of food was labeled. The entrees: The Lucia, Kahlua sliders, Mad Bird and Not Yo Mamma Mac. And the dessert:  Cocoa powder dusted chocolate truffles, coconut covered chocolate truffles and balsamic strawberries.

Kahlua Sliders

Kahlua Sliders

As the Instagram pros got up to start their photo shoot, I started swilling down water to keep from sweating and swearing in public: At that moment I hated myself for not ever taking up photography. I also had not eaten all day in anticipation of this tasting and I was starting to imagine fight scenes between lions and hyenas.  After the sandwiches had been staged or “styled” and were taken away to be snapchatted, periscoped, and instagrammed, the writers felt comfortable enough to loiter around the tables and sneak away with plates of food.

I have a confession to make. Even though I tried and enjoyed all of the foods we tasted, there are two I really want to talk about and it’s because they are, in my opinion, extraordinary. While the Mad Bird (the turkey burger with pepper jack cheese, roasted tomatoes, artichokes and sriracha avocado spread on ciabatta) and the Kahlua Sliders (slow roasted pork shoulder with tropical slaw on Hawaiian sweet roll) were lovely and delicious, I am in awe of Not Yo Momma Mac and I am in love with The Lucia.

Not Yo Momma Mac is THE unicorn of macaroni and cheese. It’s the mythical mysterious mac that has eluded me for years. I knew something like it existed but could never find it….until now. This is nothing short of ambrosia.  As if unadulterated mac and cheese wasn’t good enough, TNB had the audacity to put pieces of brisket, kale and their signature bacon jam in theirs and thank the gods they did. I want to dump truck the entire dish in my mouth and drown in it. This is pure creamy, crispy, spicy, smoky, melty, sweetness. I have found the mac and cheese Valhalla. I can die now.

The Lucia

The Lucia

And yet, as magical as the mac and cheese was nothing compares to the Lucia. This is my love letter to a sandwich… I think about you my beautiful grilled cheese, aka my finger food soul mate, EVERY DAY. Cheddar, bacon jam, tomato compote, chipotle ranch spread an on grilled white toast. The smokiness of the tomatoes in a bath of chipotle and the sweetness of the bacon jam is everything I never knew I wanted. That sandwich did something to me.  I find myself humming the Andrea Bocelli tune “Santa Lucia” throughout the day. I often think about making my own grilled cheese but then… it just wouldn’t be the same. My friends say I am changed. I didn’t realize I was empty until I had this sandwich. If it is possible for Tesla, one of the greatest scientists of the 19th century (and possibly ever) to be in love with a pigeon, then I believe it is possible for a 21st century girl, to be in love with a sandwich (especially in the current dating climate).

The bacon jam dishes should be enough of a reason to visit Truffles N Bacon Cafe, but if food isn’t really your thing, they double as an art gallery and offer high tea service too. You just have to call ahead to schedule it. I plan on doing that soon. (I need to visit my boyfriend Lucia, anyway)

photo credit: 
Erik Kastner and Arianna Domingo of Fifty Fifty Studios
LVM: Cee Cee Bautista
via Instagram: @happytummy_702@ninser_the_foodie, @hei02miyachi

TNB 2    

Truffles N Bacon Cafe
8872 South Eastern Ave, Ste 100
Las Vegas, NV 89123
702-503-1102

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