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TO VEGAS AND BEYOND by Sandra Lewis Print E-mail
by Sandra Lewis    Thu, Feb 9, 2006, 03:53 PM

I’ve recently returned from 13-day, two-city, 4000+ mile business trip (and finally free from the upper respiratory infection that accompanied it and followed me home.)

And, yes, I counted before I departed. Thirteen days equated to 39 mealtimes on the road most of which was scheduled to be hotel banquet food; quite the challenge for someone whose hobby is cooking and who’d rather cook-in than eat-out.

I was feeling reticent about my time on the road from the moment my travel plans were settled until I checked into the Mirage on my first stop, Las Vegas.

I can remember the days when the draw to Vegas was cheap  (not good) food and free drinks.

Although you still get free drinks while you gamble (are they really free though if you lose your shirt on the casino floor?) the food is far from cheap.

But, as I discovered by taking a very necessary break from the conference-provided meals, the food is fantastic.

I had a full-flavored rib-eye at The Eiffel Tower Restaurant in the Paris Hotel; a melt-in-your-mouth filet mignon at Stack, and a delightful four-cheese eggplant rollatini at Onda.

Even the buffet-style food served during the conference was tasty and surprisingly interesting. One of my favorites was a Mediterranean-themed dinner buffet with a cumin-rubbed tenderloin served with a cumin-spiced mustard, grilled vegetables, and hummus to name a few of my favorites. Kudos to the Venetian on the conference food.

Orlando was my next stop.  It was a letdown to check into Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside hotel which felt a bit like a cheap motel after a week at the Mirage.

And the food, well, let’s just say it’s lacking. To be fair, the conference was headquartered at the Swan and the Dolphin hotels located on Disneyworld property, but you won’t find Mickey-themed soap in your bathroom there as neither hotel is operated by Disney (go figure).

The one good meal I did have in Orlando was at Fulton’s Crab House in Downtown Disney. My Texas roots were showing that evening, however, when after looking over all the wonderful seafood choices I chose a sumptuous steak instead.

I did manage to get one homemade pasta dinner on the road compliments of family who live in Vegas.

Although I was pleasantly surprised with the discovery of great food in Vegas, my sentiments align with Dorothy. There’s no place like home and I’m happy to be back in my kitchen.

So many recipes so little time.

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