Sunday

Waking up in our Encore Suite to an amazing view of the Las Vegas Strip and beyond, we had worked up quite a hunger for a late breakfast/early lunch, and although there are so many choices just down our elevator, the one you simply cannot miss is...





SOCIETY CAFE

Elizabeth Blau originally conceptualized an Oscar Wilde feel for the room, and it proved to be a perfect place to snuggle into and stuff our faces without an ounce of guilt. The décor is opulent, done up in greens and vibrant pinks, framed by lush green and white striped curtains that surround a room of coffered and rich paneled walls. The Asian theme experienced throughout the hotels is carried over here with the accents of lime green chandeliers and two giant Kentia palms in brightly painted Asian pots. The black crocodile chairs and tables cause the room to come alive. 



Be prepared to gorge on everything breakfast (there’s more fabulous food selections other than breakfast, but this place is “it” for breakfast items). The sticky bun is the best, sweetest, most fabulous sinful experience of gooey satisfaction that you can have this side of a downtown strip club. Piping warm, you can feel your veins clogging, but who cares. Don’t miss it. The Eggs Benedict were superb, primarily because of the homemade muffins. The eggs were perfectly poached, soft on the inside, firm on the outside; and the Hollandaise was gooey and fresh ($18).

If you’re feeling health conscious after all of the above (or if you’re dumb enough to skip our breakfast selections), start with “Liquid Life” ($9) and choose from a variety of healthy juice mixtures.  Or, tell your server that The Dining Duo told you that off menu is something called the “Stop Light Flight” because it’s a flight of 3 smaller juices that are red, yellow and green allowing you to enjoy a variety.  The Red is a mixture of beets, carrots, tomatoes, arugula, zucchini, cilantro and pomegranate; the yellow is a mixture of carrots, rhubarb, asparagus, cucumber, ginger and red pepper; and the Green is a mixture of cucumbers, celery, spinach, fennel, green apples, and parsley, and the flight of three is only $7.

If lunch is your thing, we flipped for the “Sloppy Joseph” sliders that consisted of spiced sirloin, butter pickles and came with a side of sweet potato fries, cut fries and a little mini bottle of ketchup ($15); Michael loved them.  Scott gobbled down the BBQ pulled pork roll served with Virginia slaw, butter pickle and the same fries combo ($17).  Society uses the same butchers as the fine dining establishments, so it’s a great way to sample the fare at a more economical price.
Back to wickedly unhealthy: finish off whatever you eat with some of their delectable desserts.  The “XXXL Chocolate cake” was a blend of both dark and white chocolate ($12) and melted in our welcoming mouths.  A really fun share dessert is their Society Ice Sandwiches, which is a sampling of Oreo chocolate cookie surrounding vanilla ice cream, Drunken raisin oatmeal crisp and rum raisin ice cream, and Reese’s peanut butter wafer with dark chocolate ice cream ($10). And yes, we ate it all.


Society is located right in the thick of things in the casino, so happy hour there (Monday through Friday 3-6PM) in the Bar and Lounge is crazy and fun.  Join friends new and old for “2 for 1” drinks and soak up the people getting soaked.

There were so many wonderful things on the dinner menu that we swore we would come back and sample those as well.   By the way, John Merrill is the affable (and really tall guy with really big shoes) General Manager and if you mention the Dining Duo, 
he just might get you past the ubiquitous lines to enjoy all of the above that much sooner.  Do not miss it.

LAKESIDE

Impossibly located on the edge of a man-made “Lake Of Dreams”, surrounded by an actual forest of trees that change colors at the whim of the wizard behind the curtain who has created many different mini shows to overload your senses, this locale, along with its neighbors

Parasol Down and SW, captures the magic and inspiration of Las Vegas.

The restaurant’s windows slide open (when weather permits) to provide indoor and outdoor elegance that makes dining in this setting as wonderful as the dishes that are served. Book way ahead for Table #101, on the edge of the restaurant’s outdoor patio and watch the landscape change from vibrant purple to iridescent green, while the show on the giant stacked stone waterfall screen appears every half hour; prepare to be dazzled by the light show and the other-worldly effects that take place on the lake.

The grilled Octopus ($22) with white bean salad, in a light garlic sauce, was truly exceptional.  We highly recommend it, even for those who are not octopus lovers. We also enjoyed the Lobster Bisque ($16) loaded with fresh lobster and accompanied by a touch of creme fraiche; it arrived very warm and although cream based, it was not cream laden.   
There were plenty of other items on the menu worth mentioning and sampling, but we were so taken with a gorgeous evening outdoors on a lake that comes alive every half hour (combined with some fabulous wine pairings) that we forgot to take more notes.  Go, explore the menu and you won’t be disappointed.


SINATRA
Man cannot live by a fabulous hotel suite alone, one must also dine; and that is what we kept doing. If you like Italian cuisine, you will love this restaurant. Steve Wynn sets the tone at the door with a picture of his young self with Blue Eyes, and when you swing through the doors, with the sound of Frankie swooning in the background, and non-stop Sinatra movies playing in the bar, you feel as though you’ve arrived in Frank’s personal dining room. Speaking of personal touches, check out Frank’s Oscar and Grammy sitting right at the entrance.  Can you dig it?
Elegant and comfortable, the light wood paneling centers a simple 50” x 100” photo of Frank. The soft orange tablecloths offset the giant green chandeliers that have a slight pagoda look. There is an expansive wall of windows that overlook lush formal Italian gardens, complete with pergolas and fireplaces, where you can dine during the warm weather nights. The attention to details to be served on your plate is initiated with the fine linen napkins, delicately embroidered with butterflies, all to compliment the smart leather chairs.
The Dining Duo always hates when a waiter says, “everything on the menu is good”, so it pains us to relay that everything on the menu is not good; it’s great.  Sam, the sommelier joined the other soms at all of the fine dining restaurants as top notch, so we threw ourselves into his hands, asking for appropriate pairings.
Executive Chef Theo Schoenegger, and his extremely capable assistant executive chef, Kevin Caulfield, have created a menu that is unpretentious, yet richly diverse.
We suggest starting with the Panzanella con Granchio, with jumbo lump crab ($21), which was a most unusual combination of the crab, tomato, cucumber and tomato fonduta. This fabulous concoction of ingredients practically melted on our tongues as most of their dishes we sampled did.
There is a preparation we enjoyed last time we were here and which is seasonable, but it bears repeating.  We rated it amongst the best we ever tasted and we can not recommend it highly enough: Uovo in Raviolo, Parmigiano-Reggiano, Truffled Beurre Noisette, quite simply this is soft boiled egg in a ravioli with black truffles ($25). When you break the egg yoke and it combines with the other pasta ingredients, it creates a taste sensation that is unparalleled. 

Ready to burst, we savored Agnello ($55), their Colorado lamp chops, accompanied by goat cheese mashed potatoes; even Michael, who is not a fan of lamb, ate every bite. It should be noted that if lamb is not prepared at our requested medium rare, we find it almost inedible.  This plate arrived exactly right, with all the confidence of a flawless chef and impeccable restaurant.

Our wine pairings were absolutely perfect, but since the som will pick out the right choice matching your taste buds and food selections, we’ll only here mention that the Chilean 2008 La Postolle, “Clos Apalta” was sensational, as was the Hungarian 2007 Royal Tokaji S Puttonyos Aszu.  Big, bold and beautiful, just like Frank himself.
  
THE COUNTRY CLUB: A New American Steakhouse


This place is all about the exquisite setting, one of best views in Las Vegas. It’s actually hard to believe that you’re in Las Vegas when you take a seat on the balcony overlooking a giant waterfall and rolling hills of verdant golf links. With nothing but big sky beyond, we took in the delightful afternoon in nature, something completely missing from the hectic strip. It was like having a meal at our own private country club, except somewhere in New Orleans.

Chef Carlos Guia hails from the South and we recommend going to his Sunday afternoon Jazz brunch experience.  When you enter, the feel is immediately clubby, with loads of oak paneling, vintage golf photos on the walls and tartan large plaid carpeting throughout.  However, as opposed to “dark” the ceilings are high and there is a wall of floor to ceiling windows out to the final 18th hole of this gorgeous par 70 golf course designed by Steve Wynn and Tom Fazio, terminating at a giant waterfall.  Choose a table outside on the patio (in the shade) or inside the first room so you can enjoy the wonderful sounds of “David and the MoJoPo Band” which will immediately put you in a festive New Orleans mood.
Instead of the gargantuan buffets, this intimate space offers a sophisticated brunch at $59 that is truly a bargain for all it delivers.  Enjoy a glass of champagne or a mango smoothie while feasting on dripping piles of crab claws, giant oysters, and all sorts of meats from a separate carving station.  We were feeling really lazy by the time Sunday rolled around, so the other great option is ordering some “small bite” plates from the waiter (included in the price) and from a separate menu.  We enjoyed this option the best and found three dishes on the choice of eight to be particular standout sensations.  
The Poached eggs with barbecue smoked pork served on Bacon-cheese muffins with charred green chili hollandaise sauce was lightly spicy and sensational and while bouncing to the tunes of the MoJoPo band, we swear we felt like we were at a back-water BBQ.   
The Parmesan crusted free-range chicken served with grilled veggies, apple wood smoked bacon, arugula and roasted chicken jus was also tangy and incredibly tasty. 
There is also a carving station with beef and organic turkey. 

If you feel like something sweet, do not miss the French toast bread pudding; served with Vermont maple syrup, berries, candied pecans, and apple wood smoked bacon.  It was so moist and flavorful that it gave French toast a whole new significance. 
The service was perfectly attentive at the hands of Ryan, and he took care of our every need, including his insistence on bringing over the chef’s signature crispy beignets served piping hot with café au lait sauce for dunking.   

We should have withheld his tip for that one!

  
WORK IT OFF OR RUB IT OFFThe Spa

The Spa and Gym at the Encore go beyond the beyond. We raved about the Spa the last time we were here, and it held up to our recollections this time, even after experiencing some of the world’s best spas.  We had no intention of exercising any of our muscles, but had we, the gym was large and complete with everything you could ever desire. Plus there wasn’t one person in it, which gives you an idea that this vacation is not about exercising, unless it was to pump up for the pool scene.

We headed for the wet areas to soak and steam our bodies. Men usually get ripped off at hotels because hoteliers inaccurately presume that men don’t like all the wonderful things that women enjoy.  Not so here.  The steam, sauna, and shower areas are huge, and beautifully appointed with elegant recliners, large ferns, yards of sensational fabrics and artifacts from foreign lands.   The soaking tubs are like swimming pools, and there are various different temperatures depending upon what you desire.  There are rain showers and waterfall showers that make you feel like you’re in the jungle, or bathing under a tropical cascade.  Mounds and mounds of big, new, fluffy towels are everywhere, as is water and iced towels, fresh fruit and a tea selection.

This time, we decided to get couples massage in the tranquil—if not hypnotic—couples room.

The amble from the men’s or women’s area down the walkway of Moroccan and Asian inspired treatment rooms, complete with the distinct sounds of peaceful Asian music, immediately put us in a space that we wish we could bottle and take home with us. Once in the elegantly appointed room, complete with electric massage beds and a private wet area with enticing day beds, we floated off to massage slumber under the nurturing and firm hands of Mary and Maria, with thoughts of sugar plum fairies dancing in our stomachs. 

 THE BEACH CLUB IS OFF THE HOOK AT THE ENCORE:

If the previous Cabana experience is too mellow for you and you want some thumping, bumping day-scene fun in the sun, it’s all about The Beach Club.  We were lucky to hit the opening day of the summer, and what an opening it was. 
 The place holds about 3,000 people and it seemed like all of them were great looking with HOT bodies and all in the mood to dance to Nero and celebrity DJ Calvin Harris that were making the Hotel towers shake with mutual energy.
 The “real estate” inside is expensive, but so worth it if you are there to see and be seen.  Entrance is $50 for women and $100 for men, and it didn’t stop the troops of men from lining up to get in.
You can get a lounge in the ninety-something degree pool water for about $500 bucks; or you can get an over the top cabana (complete with their own bathroom and bikini-clad attendants) from $3,000 to $6,000.  Some of the cabanas even have their own plunge pool overlooking the “public” pool. 

Bring your ear plugs, bring your bar bells, bring your sexiest bathing suits, bring your friends and come dance, bump and grind in the pool, on the lounges, on the decking, in the cabanas and anywhere else you can fit to swing your arms in the air. 
There are all ages, all ethnicities and both sexes a plenty, but of course The Dining Duo was partial to the muscles that filled the place, and we’re not talking about the kind you find on your plate or under a boat.
  
THEATER EXPERIENCE: La Reve
We’ve seen most of the Cirque de Soleil shows and they all start to blend.  Here at the Wynn theatre, the space is incredibly intimate, almost like a big top feel, and the show, although certainly incorporating elements of a Cirque-style performance holds itself apart as a visually stunning masterpiece of aqua theater-in-the-round entertainment. 
How great to not have to deal with taxis and lines, and just leave our suite and saunter over to the Wynn Theatre.  All the seats in the house are terrific, but we booked the VIP seats, the ones in the back where you can enjoy plush large chairs, a bottle of Perrier Jouet champagne and lots of delicious chocolates served by a gracious and gorgeous hostess. 
On the floor in front of you is a closed circuit television screen revealing the secrets of the show from above the theatre and under the water below; it’s stunning to watch as the show unfolds.


The show is a perfect hour and 15 minutes or so, allowing you to never get bored and then run off to dinner at a reasonable hour.  The colors and effects are mesmerizing, and the creation of someone’s beyond creative imagination.  The performers have perhaps the best physiques we’ve ever seen, and it’s not just the visuals of their musculature, but the abilities they possess to do acts contrary to nature without anyone even giving a thought that, “you can’t do that with your body”.  Add in thrilling heights and falls with underwater scuba theatrics, and you have an experience worth the $195 admission (special package including the champagne and chocolate), and more.  Don’t miss this theatre; it’s just enough visuals to keep you talking for a long time.
  
SLEEPING AT THE ENCORE:

With so much to do, so much fun to be had, and so many diverse experiences under one giant roof, we hated to ever go to sleep.  When we finally made our way to the suite, every night we received fabulous Frederic Robert chocolates by our bedside and the following tidbit facts, a decade a night:

The 1970’s: Las Vegas Population 125,787

Gaming goes high-tech with computerized slot machines.  Elvis plays Vegas for the last time.  Nevada gaming revenues first hit $1 billion mark.  Steve Wynn becomes the youngest casino owner in Vegas history as majority shareholder of the Golden Nugget.

The 1980’s: Las Vegas Population 164,674

Steve Wynn opens the Mirage, the largest hotel in the world, ushering in the mega-resort era.  The first national Finals Rodeo hits town.  Las Vegas celebrates its Golden Anniversary of gaming.  Rock bank U2 films “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” video on Freemont Street.

The 1990’s: Las Vegas Population 258,877

Celebrity chef restaurants transform Las Vegas into a first-class draw for gourmands.  Vegas becomes the world’s most visited place.  Four landmark hotels are imploded to make way for megaresorts.  Steve Wynn opens Treasure Island and the $1.7 billion Bellagio, the most expensive hotel in the world.

The 2000’s: Las Vegas Population 478,434

Las Vegas celebrates its 100th birthday.  Five declining hotels are imploded and new luxury resorts and condominiums arise from the ashes.  Steve Wynn opens the $2.7 billion Wynn Las Vegas and the $2.3 billion encore Las Vegas.  Clark County’s population soars to over 2,000,000.

Restaurants we missed because we ran out of time, but can’t wait to try on our next “Never Leave the Wynn or Encore” vacation:

BARTOLOTTA RISTORANTE DI MARE – James Beard Award-winning chef Paul Bartolotta’s mixture of Italian flavors from Mediterranean waters.

SW STEAKHOUSE – Chef David Walzog redefines the chophouse experience.

WING LEI – A French take on Cantonese, Shanghai, and Szechwan cooking styles.

STRATTA – Italian fare combined with an elegant yet casual setting.

SWITCH – Chef Rene Lenger’s unique seafood and steakhouse with elaborate surroundings that change.

For any dinner reservations (which we strongly recommend at all of these very popular restaurants) call: (702) 770-3463

*****************************************************************************

When our long weekend came to a close, and all the really nice people we had met along the way—from the housekeeping staff to the folks working in the hotel—bid us a quick return, we felt like part of the Wynn family.  Our driver loaded up the limo as the doorman sincerely said, “thank you for choosing us, we know there are other choices and it means so much to all of us that you spent time with us,” we knew that a long weekend in Las Vegas without ever leaving the Wynn or Encore Hotels is like a little slice of heaven all rolled up in something divinely edible. Do go, don’t leave.

On a separate note, we would like to thank all of our readers for joining us on our Facebook page.  This week we crossed over the 10,000 Facebook followers threshhold, reflecting FB friends from all over the globe!  If you haven't yet joined us on Facebook, please do at: 
https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Dining-Duo/283336812924?ref=ts
Appetizingly yours,

Michael and Scott
The Dining Duo

Posted by The Dining Duo | 7:46 PM | 1 comments »

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1 comments

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