Local Eats: eat Summerlin

You may be familiar with eat from its original location in downtown Las Vegas. The breakfast and lunch restaurant recently opened a new location in Summerlin.

Here are a few things about the original location. The original restaurant on Carson Street consistently gets great reviews. Second, the backstory on Natalie Young is inspiring.

I’ve never been to the downtown Las Vegas restaurant so I made this visit to the farthest reaches of Summerlin because of recommendations. I’ve lived just outside of Summerlin for more than five years and had no idea where the restaurant was located.

After driving around 3 or 4 roundabouts and two shopping centers I finally found eat. Ironically, the restaurant is 10 minutes away with no loops if I take the highway. (This is a reminder for myself).

Eat Summerlin feels cozy but isn’t small. We sat in the front and I was later informed that there’s a large back area of the restaurant. I had work to do (drink coffee) and didn’t feel like exploring. Sorry.

Good morning!

I was told that I must get the pancakes and I take direction well. So, I ordered pancakes without looking at the menu. I don’t eat pancakes often but the pancakes at eat were probably the second best I’ve ever eaten.

The batter is very good and the pancakes are light and fluffy. I like my pancakes a little more crisp around the edges. DuPar’s pancakes at the Suncoast remain my favorite for this reason.

However, the meal as a whole was spectacular.

I ordered my pancakes with an adorable turkey-apple sausage. It was the best thing on the plate. The coffee was even better. It was a nice mild but hearty breakfast blend. The coffee is good enough to solicit a return visit another time.

The syrup that comes with each order comes in a small jar. Eat charges $1 for each additional jar. I’ve never seen this before. The policy doesn’t bother me because the jar was more than enough. It’s just really annoying.

The staff was great and we saw Chef Nat hanging out with some customers on the way out. The breakfast menu for both locations is the same if you’re a fan of the downtown restaurant.

I live about 10 minutes from the Summerlin location and maybe 20 minutes from downtown Las Vegas after I find parking. I’ll opt for the easy parking in Summerlin if I have a choice. Good breakfast and lunch restaurants seem to be popping up in the area every few weeks. That’s not a bad thing in my eyes.

Good breakfast and lunch restaurants seem to be popping up around Summerlin and Spring Valley every few weeks. I’m into it.

eat is at 1910 Village Center Circle

Local Eats: Happy Hour At Hawthorn Grill

Happy Hour At Hawthorn Grill
Happy Hour At Hawthorn Grill

Hawthorn Grill is located inside the J.W. Marriott in Summerlin. The hotel is attached to Rampart Casino through a hallway but technically the buildings are separate. This is a relatively new high-end steakhouse that opened earlier this year.

The restaurant prices are appropriate for fine dining in the area. It’s expensive but not out of line. However, the food and drinks on the bar menu (select bar & lounge) are 50% off for Happy Hour.

The burger was a perfectly cooked medium. It was juicy and flavorful. The fries were surprisingly good although I wouldn’t add the mojito sauce next time. Overall, this meal is probably worth $15.

Forget that, the burger and fries were only $7.50. That wasn’t even the best part of Happy Hour at Hawthorn Grill.

I seriously might use Uber or Lyft the next time I visit Hawthorn Grill. Many of their signature cocktails and beer are 50% off. Paying $3-$4 for a Fat Tire or Stone Pale Ale is good but 50% off a $13 Chimay is a great deal. I love beer from Belgium and this Trappist Ale was perfect on a hot day.

$10 for a Happy Hour dinner of a beer, burger, and fries is an excellent deal. Being able to upgrade the experience with a Chimay for a few more bucks is great. I’ll definitely be back and odds are good that I’ll be drinking a few beers this time.

 

Welcoming Fogo De Chao To The Burbs

Fogo De Chao at Downtown Summerlin
Fogo De Chao at Downtown Summerlin

Fogo De Chao just opened a new location in the suburbs of Vegas (Summerlin) and I was happy to greet the restaurant when it opened. The newest location for Fogo De Chao in Vegas is at shopping complex Downtown Summerlin. (Unrelated to Fogo, Downtown Summerlin is quickly becoming my go to dining location when I’m looking for somewhere to grab a bite.)

Fogo De Chao is a chain of Brazilian steakhouses with locations all over the US, Brazil and one in Mexico. Brazilian steakhouses were in the doghouse with me until a recent visit to Via Brasil. That dinner gave me faith that the idea of “gimme all of the meats” could be delicious and not make me feel ill.

Fogo De Chao
Gimme all of the meats

This was my first visit to Fogo De Chao and it did not disappoint.

I was invited to the ribbon cutting and grand opening preview which was quite the experience. It seemed as though the entire staff for the restaurant was working on this night. That was a blessing and a curse. The service was almost too fast and too attentive. Let me explain.

When you order a rodizio style meal the servers will bring you food when the round sign above is on the green side and stop when it’s red. It’s nice to be able to breathe a minute before having a new piece of meat. We actually had to use the red side on this preview night – a lot.

There were so many people working that the service was beyond great and almost too fast. (Awww…too much meat being brought to me too quickly. Call the wahmbulance. I know.) That’s not the worst thing in the world but it wasn’t perfect.

Fogo De Chao - The Meat Service Begins
Fogo De Chao – The Meat Service Begins

Service with a smile…again! Remember this guy at Via Brasil?

Fogo De Chao has 6 cuts of beef on their menu and a variety of chicken, pork and lamb. Looking back I think I had every piece of meat that they offered. The Beef Ancho (ribeye) and Fraldinha (Bottom Sirloin) were probably my favorite items on the menu.

The full churrasco dinner is $49.95 and includes the market table/salad bar. I tend to avoid the market table as I’d rather use that space in my tummy for meat.

The same churrasco for lunch during the week is only $32.95. That’s a great deal if you don’t mind eating such a large meal in the middle of the day.

Note, prices at the Summerlin Fogo De Chao are $2 cheaper than the other Las Vegas location.

Fogo De Chao - Molten Chocolate Cake
Fogo De Chao – Molten Chocolate Cake

I’m not normally a dessert person but after a little post dinner chit-chat and too much delicious coffee it seemed like the thing to do. The (rare) beautiful picture above does the molten chocolate cake justice. This was a perfect way to end the evening.

The food and service at Fogo De Chao were both excellent but the atmosphere in the massive space left something to be desired.

The food made me think I was eating at a Brazilian steakhouse but the room made me feel as though I could have been eating any food anywhere. I guess that’s the difference between a chain restaurant like Fogo De Chao and an independently operated restaurant like Via Brasil.

Both Brazilian steakhouses have good food but have a different way of presenting it. There’s nothing wrong with having different options for different moods.

I certainly wouldn’t say no to visiting Fogo De Chao because of vibe from a restaurant preview night. I generally visit a restaurant to eat good food. Chances are that a return to Fogo De Chao will be in my future.

Cheap Drinks At Suncoast

I recently found two cheap drink options at Suncoast. The first deal (and most important to me) that I found at Suncoast is at their bars. They sell Corona and Heineken for just $2.Why is this such a good deal?

Well, Red Rock Resort (my joint) is just down the street and sells Corona for $4.50. That’s twice the price for a much nicer environment. There’s one caveat at Suncoast – you have to ask for lime for your Corona because of the lime shortage. THAT’S CRAZY! You’ll notice my beer doesn’t have a lime…yet.

Corona Extra Beer Instagram From Suncoast Casino Las Vegas
Corona

Another cheap drink I found at Suncoast is $8 bottles of wine at Cafe Sienna. This isn’t much of a deal on a great wine since this is about how much the wine sells for at liquor stores. It’s just cheap booze. 🙂

The real win here is that you can get a 40% discount for the bottle if you pay for it using your B-Connected players club card. That’s a sweet bottle of cheap wine in a casino for $5 in comps! I haven’t tried this yet but I think I can be convinced fairly easily.

$8 Bottles Of Wine At Suncoast Casino Las Vegas
$8 Bottles Of Wine!

Las Vegas 51’s Sold And May Move

Holly Madison Las Vegas 51's Baseball Game
Holly Madison

Baseball is my favorite sport. It’s the only organized sport I played growing up and the professional sport I attended most (Go Yankees!). Since I moved to Las Vegas I’ve wanted to get out to a Las Vegas 51’s game but have never made it. That will change this year since they’re now the New York Mets AAA affiliate and have some prospects I’d like to see play. After weeks of rumors the 51’s have officially been sold and may be moving down the street from me in the future.

The biggest new challenge for the new owners is to win public support for their proposal to move the 51s from 30-year-old Cashman Field near downtown Las Vegas to a new $65 million ballpark next to Red Rock Resort in Summerlin near Charleston Boulevard and the Las Vegas Beltway. The owners envision a ballpark called The Ballpark at Summerlin Centre with 8,000-9,000 seats on 16-20 acres to be donated by Howard Hughes Corp., which values the land donation at $40 million.

I think Cashman Field is a great location for the Las Vegas 51’s especially now that downtown Vegas is having such a large business and residential expansion. Unfortunately the stadium is an ancient 30 years old and something needs to be done. Few things in Las Vegas remain the same for that long. There, seemingly, hasn’t been anything done until now to provide a new stadium for the players or fans. It’s understandable since previous owners, who also own The D, had their focus elsewhere.

The 51’s aren’t much of a tourist attraction to Las Vegas but the team does provide an affordable alternative to seeing a show and a good excuse to go to downtown Vegas. Paid attendance was about 4,500 but fewer people actually went to the games. This won’t have a huge effect on business downtown but it will have an effect.

I’m 50/50 with the Las Vegas 51’s moving to my hood. I love baseball but don’t like the idea of giving families another excuse to clog things up in my corner of suburbia. The 51’s will probably move here and I’ll enjoy the games because I can.

photo: 1 blue jays way

Reaching The End of Vegas

Las Vegas is much bigger than the strip. Believe it or not. As curious as I may be, I’m not much of the exploring type. When the weather turned to windows down driving weather I went for a drive to explore the burbs where I live in Vegas.

On this beautiful day I drove by a slew of golf courses and found Rampart Casino while I enjoyed a smoothie from Tropical Smoothie Cafe. Mid-drive I found a road and part of Las Vegas that wasn’t finished.

The road above was clearly meant to go straight towards the mountains and through a community, but neither the community or road were finished. Instead of building the road through vacant land to be build on when there housing market improves, like you’ll see across Vegas, the road was just curved to go into an area already build.

The road and vacant land is kind of surreal in a post apocalyptic way, but I guess this is what happens when the money stops.

As a city guy this is an area I’ll never go to when it’s dark. I don’t like the complete darkness. If you’re ever in Summerlin, near Red Rock Casino this road is just past the casino towards the mountains. It’s worth the 5 minute drive for the experience, especially if you’re from a big city.

Rockin at Rampart Casino

It’s true, last week I was rockin at Rampart Casino. I’m a fairly regimented person. When I find something I like, I go there pretty often. Generally, I’m not the exploring type. I actually plan my exploration, like I did with my trip to Laughlin that I detailed on Vegas Chatter.

Well that pattern took a slight change last week. I needed to take in a beautiful day and decided to grab a smoothie and explore the Vegas burbs (Summerlin) until I finished my smoothie. Besides finding about 5 different golf courses and a road that just stopped being created (pics soon) I drove by Rampart Casino.

Rampart Casino is next to Suncoast Casino and north of where I live. I rarely head that way, so I never think to go there. When I was was exploring local casinos I didn’t consider it since it’s not associated with any casinos near the strip like Station Casinos (Red Rock Casino) or Boyd Gaming casinos (Suncoast).

After driving by Rampart Casino, I decided I’d check it out another day. Why not? It’s close even if it’s not a direction I normall travel. That night I looked at vpFREE to see what kind of  video poker games they have. They had 10 play nickel 9/6 Jacks or Better. I’ve never seen that before and although there’s not much money making, but there’s little at risk.

While checking out a new casino I always drop a little in a machine or table to see what kind of offers I get. I thought maybe I could get a Royal Flush in honor of Denver Gambler’s quest (#royalflush2012) for one since I’m playing 10 games at once. Good times for all. As you can see from the image above and video below, I got a Royal Flush!

I actually changed from Jacks or Better to Bonus Poker but I got the Royal Flush! As you might expect, 4,000 nickels is not nearly as awesome as $1’s, but I’ll happily take it! That $200 will pay for all the smoothies I can handle. Haha.

My venture to Rampart was more to get a vibe of the casino. The outside is very old and classy looking. I thought the inside may be the same. The decor at Rampart Casino is somewhere between 1920’s and 1980’s. I’m not sure if that’s on purpose, but the casino reminded me of some of my favorite New York City classic steakhouses. Comfortable, but not modern.

The casino itself is tiny, but not much smaller than the other casinos in the area. There is a lot of video poker throughout the casino. There are games I’ve never seen, which is always fun. There are new and older slots and there were lot of people.

I’d say 98% of the people I saw at Rampart Casino were over 60 years old and smoking about 40% of those people had walkers and/or oxygen tanks. Rampart Casino felt like the Atlantic City casino where people go to die…and I liked it.

Even though the place was overly smokey, everyone was nice and many of the people playing knew each other from the area. Everyone was having a good time and in turn I was having a good time. The smoke was so bad that I had to throw my clothes in the washing machine and jump in the shower when I came home from (no joke) but I enjoyed my visit to Rampart Casino.

I don’t see Rampart Casino replacing Red Rock casino as my local casino, but it’s a nice alternative. If it wasn’t for the fun video poker games (full pay 10 play and below) that I won’t find anywhere else, I probably wouldn’t return. That said, I’ll be back at Rampart Casino when I’m bored and need a video poker fix.