Monday, May 11, 2009

Las Vegas, part I - Living (and Eating) Large

We just spent the last three days in Las Vegas with my family, celebrating my dad's 70th birthday, my sister-in-law's birthday, our 10th anniversary, and Mother's Day. Since the Cheng family doesn't know any other way to celebrate than by eating good food, the long weekend was an eatfest of mammoth proportions.

The smorgasbord kicked off with my dad's birthday dinner at Todai, an "all you care to eat" seafood and sushi restaurant chain that has a location in the Planet Hollywood Miracle Mile shopping center (my 2007 Yelp review of this Todai location is here). I was introduced to Todai many years ago in Houston and was an avid fan for a long time; however, I think the quality of the food has declined somewhat in recent years. Nevertheless, the sheer indulgence of a mile-long, self-replenishing sushi bar from which you can eat all you want still holds a certain charm, particularly when you're in the Gross Indulgence Capital of the World. Plus, the Las Vegas location offers birthday diners a free meal while accompanied by at least three paying customers, which appealed to another dominant Cheng family trait: we love a deal. So, my dad dined free for his birthday and the rest of us endeavored to get our money's worth by stuffing ourselves silly.

The only photo I got to take at Todai before I was politely asked to put my camera away. Apparently, their food constitutes some sort of trade secret.

On Saturday, after gently dissuading my dad from his plan to brunch at Denny's, we ended up at the Vegas offshoot of New York's Carnegie Deli. Unfortunately, my experience with these Vegas incarnations of old classics is that they generally fail to live up to the originals; the Carnegie was no exception. Not that it was really bad; it just didn't merit "old classic" status. What they lacked in quality they certainly attempted to make up for in quantity, however, as evidenced by this corned beef sandwich my parents ordered.

Just try to fit your mouth around this baby.

Since mutantly-huge things was the theme of this meal, we gorged on ginormous chocolate-covered strawberries for dessert. These chocolatey wonders were an anniversary gift from Chris, which he'd had delivered to our room by Edible Arrangements. If you ever want to send a woman a present that will make her swoon, I highly recommend a box of these.

These beauties had me at hello.

Our dinner on Saturday evening was so epic that it deserves a blog post all its own, so I'm off to forcibly wrangle my body clock back onto CST. There should also be full Yelp reviews of every place we dined at some point; I'll link them back here when they're written. Sleep; who needs sleep?


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